INDIA. A land of fascinating and infinite variety is India, which thrusts   1,900   miles downwards from the Himalaya   Mountains (into the Indian Ocean, and is inhabited by almost one-sixth of the human race, And what contrasts among these crowded people!  They are di­vided into numerous races and clans; they speak more than 200 dis­tinct languages and dialects; they profess countless shades of religious beliefs ; they are ;split into 2,300 different social castes; and they are grouped into more than 700 provinces and petty states.   Despite their civilization reaching back 5,000 years, more than 90 per cent. of these people cannot read or write in any language.  Some of the more powerful Indian princes, with their secret stores of gold and silver and precious stones, are among the most wealthy men in the world; yet unbelievable poverty reigns for the most part. Thousands die of starvation almost every year, and thou­sands more, weakened by hunger, fall victims to the plague.


A broad view of the
country shows four sep­arate and well-defined regions. The mountain and hill districts of the Himalayan ranges, and the slopes of the Af­ghanistan and Balu­chistan highlands form the northern and north­western borders. Then come the great river plains of the Indus, the Ganges, and the lower Brahmaputra, forming a broad belt from the head of the Arabian Sea to the head of the Bay of Bengal.


Next is the great tableland known as the Deccan, which includes the southern half of India; it is bounded by the range of hills known as the Eastern Ghats (literally,"step­ping stones") sloping down to the Coromandel Coast, and by the Western Ghats descending to the famous Malabar Coast. On the other side of the Bay of Bengal, but politically a part of India, is Burma, a wild and hilly region south of the Brahmaputra valley and extending far down along the west side of the Malay Peninsula, skirting the possessions of Siam.

 

Extent— North to South, 1,900 miles; east to west, 2,000 miles. Area, about 1,800,000 square miles. Population about 350.000,000.
Physical Features. —Himalaya Mountains, the highest in the world (30,000 to 29,000 feet) ; Vindhya Range and Eastern and Western Ghats, inclosing the Deccan plateau, deserts in Sind and Rajputana. Principal rivers: Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra.
Product's.— Millet, rice, wheat, barley, oil-seeds, cotton, jute, sugar, indigo, coco-nuts, tobacco, tea and opium, cotton and silk  manufactures, metal work; coal, gold, and petroleum.

Chief Cities. Calcutta  [1,385,000 population),  Bombay (1,175,000;, Madras (650,000), Hyderabad (400,000), and Delhi, the capital [440,000).
History.— Aryan invasion, about 1500 b.c- ; rise to Buddhism 6’ th century b.c. ; Alexander the Great's conquest of the north-west, 327 b.c.; Mohammedan conquest §A.D. 1001: establishment of Mogul empire, 1526; English East India Company obtained trading posts at Madras (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta (1696); battle oi Plassey established British supremacy over the French, 1757; expansion of British India, 1774-1856 ; Indian Mutiny, 1857; British Crown takes over government from East India Company, 1858.

 

The northernmost portion of India, and one of the most im­portant of the native states is Cashmere (Kashmir), which ex­tends over the first Himalayan ranges, and includes the famous Vale of Cashmere (see Cashmere). Beyond the Indus, between Gash-mere and Afghanistan, stretches the North­west Frontier Province —a wild rocky region, which forms a buffer between peaceful India and the untamed Af­ghan tribes. Here is the approach to the famous Khyber Pass, scene of many bloody encounters, through which a railway now runs. Even more wild and unsettled is Baluchistan, immediately to the south, which borders on Persia as well as Afghanistan. Only the nor­thern part, about Quetta and the Bolan Pass, is under direct British rule. Nepal and Bhutan, on the borders of Tibet, are independent moun­tain states with foreign relations subject to British control. In Ne­pal is found the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest; and here, too, are the fa­mous fighting men, the Gurkhas, who volunteer in large numbers for service in the British armies. These mountain states and border dis­tricts form a picturesque background for the far more important river plains. Here is a tract of level cultivation about 2,000 miles long, and from 200 to 4=00 miles broad, without a stone of any bind, scarcely a pebble. The soil is com­posed of river sand and silt, washed down through countless ages from the slopes of the mountain walls to the north.


The Indus at
the west and the Brahmaputra at the east have their sources in Tibet behind the snow peaks of the Himalayas, at no great dis­tance apart; and curving around in opposite directions include in their embrace not only the main Himalayan mountain chain but all that portion of northern India which is properly known as Hindustan. This country, in turn saturated by warm rain, chilled by light frosts, and scorched by desert winds, is the cradle of ancient In­dian civilization. The Ganges valley is one of the most crowded re­gions in the world, many extensive dis­tricts supporting more than 600 persons to the square mile, all of whom get their living directly from the soil. By way of contrast, Baluchistan is very sparsely populated in­deed, having only about six persons to the square mile.

A HOME ON THE MOUNTAIN BORDER Perched like eagles' nests on the steep slopes of the Himalayas, these small native houses are as much forts as dwellings. For this border­land is disturbed by frequent tribal feuds and robber raids. When the householder sees enemies approach­ing, he barricades his door and urges the foe to move on, with a gun muzzle thrust through one of those loopholes in the wall.

India’s rich plains region are the Punjab or " Land of the Five Rivers," Rajputana, the provinces of Oudh and Agra, the Bengal dis­trict and Assam.

The third division of In­dia, the peninsula known as the Deccan, offers a marked contrast to the northern plains. The hill country begins not far south of Delhi, and spreads fan-wise south-east and south-west; while farther south a series of ranges crosses the pen­insula from west to east. Close to the coast as they are, the Western Ghats form the true backbone of India; for from their rugged sides the whole country slopes generally eastward; the rivers which rise in their narrow landward gorges flow for the most part clear across the penin­sula and empty into the Bay of Bengal. The Eastern Ghats, on the other hand, are of no very great altitude, for they average less than 1,000 feet.   They are broken through in a great number of places by rivers, both large and small, which cut deep gashes to the sea.

The  central  Deccan consists  principally  of rough hills, some covered with dense forests, others with tall jungle grass, and still others swept bare by dry winds. At intervals are broad well-cultivated plateaus, and the banks of the numerous streams are dotted with tiny irrigated farms and cleared pasture lands.
The political divi­sions of southern India are more, con­fused than are those of the north.  The Bombay Presidency includes the Sind re­gion and more than 350 small native states. Its chief city is Bombay, the second largest  in India. East of the Bombay Presidency lie the native states of the Central India Agency and the Cen­tral Provinces under direct British rule. The cities of Gwalior in the north and Nagpur in the south are the most im­portant. Farther south and occupying the very heart of the Deccan are the dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad, the largest and most populous of the native states.


The Madras Presidency, the largest of the British provinces, begins south of the Bengal district, includes the whole east coast to Cape Comorin, and extends to the west coast, almost completely sur­rounding the large native state of Mysore (capital. Bangalore), and crowding the states of Cochin and Travancore into the south-west comer. This region, especially the Carnatic, is rich in historic traditions. The city of Madras is the third largest in India, and extends for some distance along the Coromandel coast; while among the other important places may be men­tioned Madura, Trichinopoly, Calicut, Mysore, Nagapatum and Cuddalore.                       -

The monsoons are the salvation of the mil­lions in India who live on the fruits of the soil. There are two of these winds, the "great" or south-west monsoon, which blows from June to October; and the
" lesser " or north-east mon­soon, which blows during November and De­cember. A good monsoon season means plenty of food for India, a bad monsoon means starvation, misery, and death for thou­sands of helpless victims.

In general, southern India enjoys a more equable climate than the river plains or moun­tain regions. The latter are subject to extremes of heat and cold, dryness and moisture.  In the Sind and the Thar desert are places where day after day in the summer the thermometer reaches F. IIO° in the shade, and a variation of 70° in a day is not uncommon.

The scourge of malaria and other "In­dian fevers" claim a greater number of victims each year than all other causes, in­cluding even cholera and plague.  Europeans during the hottest weather usually seek the high altitudes of Simla, Cashmere, and elsewhere.

The Himalayan climate is favourable to a tremendous variety of plant life. Below the snow line are to be found vast fields of rhododen­drons, then thick forests of evergreens, and on the damp lower slopes to the east a rank and tangled undergrowth of coarse grass, bushes, cane-brakes, bamboo, and great trees, whose branches are thick with orchids.


A Region Rich in Fruits and Woods

The plains region is notable for the babul, a species of acacia, the mango, the banyan, the plantain, and the betel-palm. The northern Deccan forests consist chiefly of scrub trees, but in the south teak, sandalwood, and satinwood nourish abundantly.

Wild animals abound all over India, for religion forbids the majority of the people to kill any living creature. The tiger is found in all the wilder forest regions, and is responsible for about 500 deaths a year throughout the empire. Lions, once plentiful in Hindustan, are now confined to the Kathiawar peninsula between the Gulf of Cutch and the Gulf of Cambay. Bears are numerous in the mountains, and leo­pards infect many of the more remote tracts.
Elephants still exist in the primeval forest's of the south-west, but the ranks of the domestic elephants are mainly recruited in the hills of Assam and Burma, where dwells also the rhino­ceros.

The gaur or Indian bison, the wild buffalo, and the wild pig offer exciting sport to the hunter. The wolf, the jackal, the wild dog, and the striped hyena are plentiful. Monkeys are numerous near settlements, and do great damage to crops- The larger rivers are filled with crocodiles: snakes abound in all districts, the cobra and the krait being the most dangerous, and causing thousands of deaths annually. Insects are incredibly numerous. A few, such as the bee, the silkworm, and the lac-insect, are encouraged for their useful products.


How the Country is Peopled

The population of India may be roughly placed in five groups:
(1) The descendants of the earliest known inhabitants of India, some­times called Dravidians, who are represented by the savage Bhils and Gonds of central and western India, and by the Tamils of the south.
(2) The pure-blood descendants of the successive tides of Aryan invaders who conquered the Dravidian inhabitants, and who are best represented by the Rajputs.
(3) The great mass of Hindus formed by a mixture of the two
preceding types.
(4) The descendants of the Mohammedan invaders who began pouring in the 7th. century.
(5)
The Mongol or Tibetan types, which are found chiefly in the extreme north - east and in the Himalayas border regions.


The people of Dravidian stock are short, dark, with curly or wavy hair and broad noses. At the other extreme are the Rajputs, tall, slender, and handsome.

 

The many separate languages of India can be generally divided into those derived from the ancient Sanskrit and those from the early Dravidian tongues, with a mixture of Malay and Chinese elements.   In northern India the inter­state and intertribal dia­lect is Hindustani or Urdu, a blend of Persian with the dominant "Hindi" language—a pleasing combination. The chief religions of India are Hindu, Mohammedan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, and Parsee. Next to the crude beliefs of the primi­tive hill peoples, who see gods in rocks and trees, Hinduism is the oldest religion, and includes in its numerous sects more than 200 million persons. Hinduism has many forms, all of which are marked by a belief in many gods, and in universal reincar­nation.  The Sikhs form a religious community whose history dates back to the 16th century. Their faith is a curious mixture of Mohammedanism and Hinduism, and for a time they constituted a power­ful and formidable military brotherhood. Today the Sikhs number somewhat more than three millions.


The Jains, on the other hand, tend to combine the Buddhist and Hindu religions. There are to-day about 1,250,000 Jains, and among them are many of the richest and most influential of Indian merchants. Their temples, among which are the famous ones on Mount Abu, are the finest in all India. The Parsees are descendants of Persian Zoroastrians — fire and sun worshippers, who fled to India to escape the Mohammedan massacres of the 7th century. They form now a rich mer­chant class of great power, despite the fact that their total number is only 100,000.

 

The native Christians of India total about four millions, with the Roman Catholics far in the lead. The Mohammedans, with over 77 millions, form the largest religious group next to the followers of Hinduism (see Moham­med).   The Buddhists, once exceedingly power­ful in the land, have vir­tually disappeared from India proper; of the 11.000,000 counted in the empire today, all but about 300,000 are found in Burma. {See Buddha.)

The followers of Hinduism, which means at least two - thirds of the population, are grouped into countless castes which are half social, half religi­ous. The caste system had its foundation in the old Aryan law, which divided the people into four classes —the priests or Brahmans, the warriors or Kshatriyas, the farmers or Vaisyas, and   the labourers or Sudras.

To-day these four ori­ginal castes have been sub­divided again and again until it is impossible to tell the number. Estimates vary between 2,000 and 3,000 distinct groups. The members of each handi­craft, such as potters, jewellers, etc., tend to form separate castes which amount to trade guilds or unions.


  The restrictions which surround members of a caste are innumerable. Generally speaking a person may not marry outside his caste, nor
may he touch or associate with a member of a lower caste. Certain of the high-caste Hindus feel that they are profaned if even the shadow of a European or of the member of a lower caste falls upon them or their food or anything which belongs to them, and that they must thereupon perform elaborate rites of purifica­tion.


  Lower yet than the Sudras are the Pariahs or outcasts — a mass of 60,000,000 people, one-sixth of all the population of India.  These "untouch­ables" are prohibited the use of public roads, bridges, and temples.   They are forced to live outside the villages, and are allowed to enter only such despised occupations as street-sweep­ing and leather-working. So defiling is their touch that most Hindus would rather die than accept their help, and they are not even allowed to draw water from the public well.


The average Hindu is a peaceful, patient person. " Life in India," says one writer, " is regarded, in a very serious spirit by which even the children are sub­dued. You will never see them romping at play, and their games are of the quietest description. They take no pleasure whatever in teasing animals, and the birds and beasts of the household are extraordinarily tame. They are not so much petted as treated with the consideration due to members of the family; the cultivator appeals to his bullocks as ' my brothers.'


   "To adults life offers few pleasures. Eating is a monotonous experience of the plainest dishes. Drinking, for the respectable, is limited to water. There are no attractions in sport or in physical exercises. Pairs and festivals give some ex­citement to the women who can attend them; but the men derive their pleasure rather from the gratification of a sense of dignity and im­portance than from the exercise of the functions of mind or body."

The Lowly Tasks of the Women The position of Indian women is not enviable. They are usually not permitted to learn to read and write, but are closely confined to their homes, where they perform all the menial tasks, 'They are not even permitted to sit down to meals with their husbands, but must serve them in silence and take what they leave. A recent census showed that more than 2,000,000 girls were married before the age of ten. The Sarda Act of 1930 penalises marriage until the bride is fourteen and the bridegroom eighteen.

 

Although the practice of suttee, which allowed a Hindu widow to burn herself on the pyre of her husband, has been stamped out, a widow must keep her head shaved, give away all her jewels, and usually performs the most menial labour for her dead husband's family,

 

At the dawn of history India was already famous for its wealth, its gold and silver and precious stones, its fine silks, its spices and, drugs and rare woods. Treasures   from    India reached the ancient courts of Assyria and Egypt.

 

To-day India's wealth is not reckoned in gold or precious stones, but in the products of the fields. Agri­culture is the most import­ant industry, 230,000,000 of the population, out of a total of 350,000,000, making their living by farming, forestry, and stock-raising. And with the increased development of irrigation and transportation facilities the industry is growing rapidly. The millet grains form the chief crop, for these hardy, drought-resisting, and prolific cereals are the staple food of the lower classes. Almost the entire crop is consumed at home. Next in importance are rice, wheat, and pulses (lentils, chick-peas, pigeon-peas, etc.).


The Widespread Use of Oil Oil-seeds and oil-producing plants, such as linseed, rape, mustard, sesamum, ground-nuts, castor plants, etc., are extensively grown, for the natives use vast quantities of oil for cook­ing, for their primitive lamps, and for anointing themselves, and large quantities of these oils are exported.

 

Cotton is one of India's most valuable pro­ducts (see Cotton). Other crops of importance are barley, jute, sugar-cane, indigo, tea, coco­nuts, tobacco, and poppies for the production of opium.

 

It is estimated that there are more cattle in India than in any other part of the world, but they are a hump-backed species of inferior quality, and since the religion of the great majority of Hindus forbids eating beef, the animals are chiefly used for draught purposes. Half-tamed buffaloes are also used in many sections for farm labour, and in the north­west camels are the principal work animals.

 

Among the most important manufacturing establishments of India are cotton-mills, jute-mills, and sugar-mills. Coal, gold, and petro­leum are the leading mineral products. Rail­way development has proceeded further in India than in any other part of Asia. About 40,000 miles are now in operation, consisting of broad-gauge trunk lines connecting the large centres of population, and a network of narrow-gauge lines. The rivers and canals carry much inland traffic.

 

The currency of India is based upon the rupee, a silver coin worth about one shilling and fourpence. Tlie lesser coins rank as follows: 12 pies make one anna and 16 annas make one rupee. The native custom is to call 100,000 rupees a lakh, and 100 lakhs are called a crore.

 

The early history of India is mostly lost in the mists of ancient traditions. The great Hindu epic poem " Rig-Veda," written about 1500 b.c., tells of the old struggle between the Aryan invaders and the " black people " who were in possession of the soil. By the 6th cen­tury b.c., 16 Aryan states had been established south of the Himalayas, and Brahmanism was nourishing. In 327 b.c. the armies of Alexander the Great reached the Hydaspes River, and the Greek settlements he left behind made a pro­found impression upon the art and literature of the country. The next 13 centuries were marked by a succession of bitter struggles for power between Indian princes, and by a succession of invasions, among which stand out clearly the inroads of the White Huns in the 5th and 6th centuries a.d.

 

The first attacks of the Mohammedans were repelled, but in the llth century the Turkish ; leader Mahmud established the Ghazni dynasty in the land. The great Mongol invasion of Genghis Khan followed in 1219, and in 1397 Tamerlane's Tatar hordes poured into India (see Mongols). In 1526 Baber, who was a descendant of Genghis Khan as well as Tamer­lane, seized the throne at Delhi, establishing the great Mogul empire, which remained intact until the close of the 18th century.

 

The south of India was never completely conquered, but the empire of the north, under such rulers as Akbar and Shah Jehan, was perhaps the most bril­liant in the history of the Orient. During the reign of Aurungzebe (1618-1707), the last of the " Great Moguls," arose the power of the Mahrattas in the south, which so undermined the Mogul rule that its last years present a picture of weakness and decay.

 

Meanwhile the struggle between Europeans for supremacy in Indian affairs had begun. With Vasco da Gama's discovery of the ocean route around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498 there began a race for the rich Indian trade between Portugal, Holland, and France. In 1600 the English East India Company joined in the rivalry, and soon had trading posts at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta (then called Fort William). The history of India from that time forward deals chiefly with the long commercial struggles of these Euro­pean rivals. The French enlisted and drilled native troops, and with these interfered so successfully in native quarrels that by 1751 the Carnatic and the Deccan were under French influence.

 

British Influence Restored

 

Just as British influence was threatened with extinction in India, the genius of Robert Clive turned the tables. First his storm, and success­ful holding of Arcot in 1751 and then his victory at Plassey in 1757 overthrew the French power and laid the foundations of the rule of the Eng­lish East India Company (see Olive, Robert). Later mere trading rights gradually grew into political rule. It was one of the strangest conquests in history, this by which a private trading company conquered an empire by the use chiefly of soldiers (Sepoys) raised in that land itself.

 

Warren Hastings, who became Governor-General for the East India Company in 1774, built soundly upon the foundation Clive had laid. He subdued the Mahratta princes and crushed the famous Hyder Alt, sultan of Mysore (see Hastings, Warren). In the next 30 years the rule of the British Company extended over a great part of India. Be­tween 1848 and 1856 the Sikhs were defeated and the Punjab was annexed.

 

But certain high-handed methods employed by the British Company, together with the teachings of mis­sionaries and the advance of European customs, had stirred up a great wave of unrest. In 1857 a rumour was circulated among the native troops enlisted under the British flag that the cartridge papers, which the soldiers must tear with their teeth, were greased with the fat of cows and pigs — the former  held sacred by the Hindus, and the latter abhorred by the Mohammedans. This ru­mour set fire to the tinder of discontent, and the great Indian Mutiny of 1857 was the result. The insurrection spread rapidly in the north. Nana Sahib, a Mahratta prince, besieged a British force in Cawnpore, and, after promising safe-conduct, treacherously massacred his prisoners, including women and children. Another British force was besieged in Lucknow, but after the commander, Sir Henry Lawrence, and many others had been killed the survivors were rescued. Not until Delhi was captured in September was the mutiny broken.

 

The End of "John Company" This tragic outbreak put an end to the poli­tical rule of " John Company." In 1858 its rights of government were transferred to the British Government, and the last flames of the mutiny were quenched. Since then greater respect has been shown to the religious and other susceptibilities of the people, and about two-fifths of India is still left to be ruled by its native princes.

 

The remaining history of India is the history of rapid industrial and commercial development, enlivened by occasional border warfare, par­ticularly on the Afghanistan frontier. The spectres of famine and plague constantly hang over the land. The educated Indians, par­ticularly the Hindus, have demanded an increasing share of self-government.

 

India's Help in the World War

At the outset of the World War, Germany counted upon a repetition of the Indian Mutiny to cripple Great Britain's fighting strength, and secret emissaries of the Berlin government agitated among the Mohammedans, urging them to join hands with their Turkish co-religionists in a holy war upon the British. But these schemes failed, and India contributed a generous share towards the cause of the Allies, not only in money but in fighting men. At the close of the war, however, unrest spread throughout the country and culminated in strikes and riots in many of the larger cities.

British India, which comprises about three-fifths of the total area of India and more than three-fourths of its inhabitants, is administered in England by a Secretary of State for India. The executive authority in India is in the hands of a Governor-General or Viceroy, appointed by the British Government. He is assisted by an Executive Council in India, consisting of the heads of the various departments of govern­ment. The Indian legislature—composed in part of native Indians—consists of two chambers, the Council of State and the Legislative Assembly. It enacts laws governing all persons in the British provinces and all British subjects within native states.

 

Government of British Provinces

 

Each of the 15 British provinces has its own Governor, nominated by the Viceroy. By an act of the British Parliament passed in 1919 eight of the provinces. were granted a considerable measure of self-government. Legislative coun­cils, containing at least 70 per cent. of elected members were set up, bearing a relation to the Indian legislature similar to that between the provincial and Dominion legislatures in Canada.

 

The native states, about 700 in number, are governed by their own princes, ministers, or councils, under the advice of a British Resident assigned by the Viceroy. Some are required to pay an annual tribute. They are restrained from making war or entering into alliances with one another or with foreign powers.  The size of their armies is restricted, and in case of gross misrule the British Government reserves the right to interfere. But in most other matters the princes have supreme authority. British rule has brought factories,  railways, hospitals, police systems, Western courts, modernized cities, schools, and universities, and brisk trade. But to quote the Earl of Ronaldshay, "the organization of industries on the lines evolved by Western nations is something which is altogether alien to the genius of the Indian people." The difference between the races was greatly intensified after the World War. During the conflict, India loyally sent money and men to the aid of Britain. These men returned with a new sense of the •importance of India to the Empire, and de­manded a larger share in the government. India signed the Peace Treaty and was made an independent member of the League of Nations. But many of the Indians had expected freedom, or at least home rule. Mr. E. S. Montagu, Secretary of State for India, had announced the policy of the British Govern­ment as increasing " the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible govern­ment in India as an integral part of the British Empire." Many expected immediate fulfilment, which was not implied.   Discontent became open revolt.

 

In a rebellion against foreign domination and Western civilization, the strange ascetic, Mohandas Gandhi, initiated the Swaraj, or Home Rule, movement. He urged passive resistance and tried to end the cruel caste system and the wasteful hate between Mohammedans and Hindus, ro that India might present a united Front against everything British—government, imports, machinery, philosophy.  Another faction of Swaraj, led by Ghitta Ranjan Das, urged violence. In 1922 Gandhi was sentenced to prison for sedition, and although he was released in 1924, his imprisonment increased Indian resistance and his own popularity.

 

At the same time com­munism was gaining, and the country was more and more torn by religious feuds between Hindus and Mos­lems. These riots became more frequent in 1920, and in the following year the British government appoin­ted a commission with Sir John Simon as chairman to inquire into the advisability of altering the constitution, and to investigate all phases of the government of British India.

 

All during 1929 Indian Nationalism grew in ardour. In 1930 Gandhi demanded immediate dominion status for India; when it was not granted, he inaugurated his "Salt Rebellion," attacking the government monopoly on salt. Rioting broke out afresh and Gandhi and his associates in the campaign were imprisoned.

 

The report of the Simon Commission outlined a new constitutional organization for British India on the basis of a federation of autonomous provinces with the exception of Burma, which was to develop separately towards self-govern­ment. A "round-table conference" of British and Indian leaders to consider the details of such a scheme met in London in 1930.

 

Finally, after a series of conversations between Gandhi and the Governor-general, an agreement was reached whereby the Indian National Congress would discontinue the passive resist­ance campaign and take part in another London round-table discussion in 1931.  The failure of the conference signalled the reopening of the civil disobedience campaign in India. Early in 1932 Gandhi and many other leaders were imprisoned, and the Indian government took vigorous steps to repress demonstrations.

 

Architecture is the chief art of India, and it has always been distinguished by the same highly decorative style which gives such unique beauty to Indian metal work, jewellery, pottery, and textile patterns.  Because most of the early Hindu buildings were of wood and clay, India contains no relics of architecture such as have been left to us in Egypt and Greece, and it is open to doubt whether the early Brahman faith encouraged the building of temples.

 

With  the  advent  of Buddhism  and  Jainism, monasteries  and  shrines sprang up over the land-When to these early styles Mohammedan influences were added from the llth century onward, India developed a varied art of building which gave to the world some of the most beautiful structures in existence. The distinctive feature of Indian architec­ture is the delicacy and elaborateness of its details. Some of the temples are covered with   mazes of carved figures in unbe­lievable profusion.

 

Many of the shrines are cut out bodily from the rock, such as the famous underground temples on the island of Elephanta in Bombay harbour. For sheer elegance and grace nothing can compare, however, to the buildings put up by the Great Moguls, such as the world-famous Taj Mahal, and those erected by their Rajput rivals, including noted palaces built on the islands of Lake Pichola in Udaipur.

 

Hindu painting, occupied as it has always been with a grotesque religious imagery, makes no profound appeal to Western eyes. Sculp­ture suffers from the same fault, and while many of the pagan gods are impressive because of their size and ornamentation, they cannot be called truly artistic. Much more fascinating is the work of the Indian craftsmen, such as the enamelling done by the Sikhs, and the dama­scening of metal objects in gold and silver wire, which is practised in Cashmere, in various parts of the Punjab, and in the state of Hyderabad.

 

The earliest Hindu literature consists of the Vedic hymns, of which the "Rig-Veda " is the most ancient collection. This consists of 1,017 short poems, giving a definite picture of a high civilization existing about the time the Aryan invaders had reached the banks of the Indus and were fighting the "dark people" to the south. To the Vedic poems were attached prose works called "Brahmanas," explaining the duties of the priests; then were added the " Sutras," telling of laws and ceremonies; and later the "Upanishads," treating of God and the soul; the "Aranyakas," giving directions for leading a holy life; and finally the "Puranas" or sacred traditions.

 

During the period from the 1st to the 8th century a.d. were composed a number of Sans­krit epics and dramas filled with adventure and romance. The old Hindu fables of animals, which were translated into the Persian as early as the 6th century a.d. and so found their way into Europe, are said to be the basis of many of the familiar nursery stories that have charmed the children of England and America. A New National Literature

Under the influence of modem education many Hindu writers are developing a new and interesting national literature.   Most conspic­uous among these is Sir Rabindranath Tagore (bom 1861), who has attempted to embody in his poems, tales, parables, and dramas the advanced ideas of European civilization, while keeping the best traditions of ancient Hindu idealism. In 1913 this eminent Hindu writer was awarded the Nobel prize for literature, and in 1915 he was knighted, but later re­nounced this honour for political reasons. Among his well-known works are " The Crescent Moon: Child Poems," "The Gardener," and " Gora," a novel.

 

Indian music is peculiar to Western ears in that it contains no harmony. It is made up of melody and rhythm only. There is no accom­paniment to the melody as in Western music. No two different tones are sounded at the same time. Several instruments are rarely used together, and when they are they play in uni­son.   Songs, which are of the greatest importance in Indian life, are sung in unison also. Among instruments, drums and flutes are favoured. There are also stringed instruments, some of ancient origin.

 

Intellectual Awakening

 

There is in India, also, a great revival of in­terest in science.   Centuries ago Hindu as­tronomers and mathematicians were highly honoured and contributed an important share to the development of knowledge. They ex­changed ideas with the Greeks at the time of Alexander's conquest, and in the 9th century im­portant Hindu scientific works were translated by the Arabs and so reached Europe, but with the advent of the Mohammedans science declined, and it has remained for the universities of Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Allahabad, the Punjab, Patna, Nagpur, Andhra, Agra, Ran­goon, Lucknow, Dacca, Annamalai, and Delhi-and their large number of affiliated colleges to bring back the traditional love of learning to the Indian youth. There is a Hindu Uni­versity at Benares and a Mohammedan University at Aligarh.

 

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal are also under the Indian administration. The former group, consisting of the I.ittle and the Great Andamans. divided by the Duncan Passage, with a total area of 2,508 square miles, has been used as a penal colony. The natives of these islands are of negrito race and of great, interest to scientists. The Nicobar group consists of 111 islands, 13 of which are inhabited. The total area is 635 square miles,

The French, who were once supreme in India, retain the following stations and trading posts: Pondicherry, Karikal, and Yanaon on the Coromondel coast; Mabe on the Malabar coast, and Chandenagore in Bengal. These possessions, with a total area of 203 square miles, are administered by a governor residing at Pondichorpy. The Portuguese retain some territory on the Malabar coast called Goa (1,169 square miles), the seaport of Damao, which is situated about 100 miles north of Bombay, and the island of Diu on the other side of the Gulf of Cambay.

 

Indian Ocean

 

Two thousand years ago, when mariners were still venturing only on the most cautious coastal voyages along the Atlantic coast, the Indian Ocean could already boast established trade routes, and the Egyptian Greeks boldly made their way across the open sea between Arabia and Hindustan through they possessed neither chart nor compass. They had nothing to fear if they avoided the hurri­cane months from December to April, for they had observed that the monsoon winds blow half the year in one direction, half the year in the opposite.

 

Washing the shores of Asia on the north, the Antarctic continent on the south, Africa on the west, and the East Indian islands, Australia, and Tasmania on the east, the Indian Ocean is the third largest of the five oceans.

 

Its length from north to south is somewhat over 6,500 miles, its breadth 4,000 to 6,000 miles, and its area about 27,500,000 square miles. The average depth is between 11,000 and 14,000 feet, the deepest sounding so far being 20,340 feet off the south-east coast of Java.

 

At Cape Comorin, the southern tip of India, the Indian Ocean forks into the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, the latter branching again into the Persian Gulf- Beyond the Arabian peninsula it connects with the Red Sea. From Asia several great rivers enter it—the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Irrawaddy, and the Indus; and from Africa the Zambezi and the Limpopo. Its great islands are Ceylon and Madagascar, the rest of them being mostly small groups.