Various names of the Country:
The sub-continent of India stretches from the Himalayas to the sea i.e. from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is known as Bharat Varsha or the land of king Bharat, a King famous in the Puranik tradition.
Bharat Varsha was said to form a part of larger unit called Jambu dvipa that was considered to be the innermost of the seven concentric island—continents into which the earth as conceived by the Hindus was supposed to have been divided.
Early Buddhist evidence points out that Jambu dvipa was a territorial name actually in use from the 3rd century BC. It was applied to that part of Asia, outside China, throughout which the powers of the great imperial family of the Mauryas made itself felt. The present name India can be traced back to the early invaders of the country, the Persians and the Greeks. Their progress towards this country usually stopped at the Indus or the Sindhu.
Hence they called the country “the land of the Sindhu”. Since the Persians pronounce the letter ‘s’ as ‘h’ they pronounced the word Sindhu as Hindu and the latter designation Hind or Hindustan as used by the Medieval Muslims. Its area is 32, 76,141 sq. km. (including Sikkim) its length is 3,119 km. (North-South) and breadth is 2,977 km. (East-West).
It is a hard task to construct a systematic ethnography of the Indian population. As different ethnic groups came to India as invaders and mingled with Indian people, they developed their own civilizations and languages. India contains a large variety of human types. There are three primary broad ethnological types of mankind in India. They are the Caucasians or white type, the Mongolian or yellow type, and the Ethiopean or black type (in the Andamans). Sir Herbert Pissly in the 1901 Census Report suggested eight types of Indian population living in different parts of India.
These types are:
(1) The pre- Dravidian aboriginal type marked by broad nose short stature
(2) The Dravidian type found in the region lying to the South Uttar Pradesh marked by short stature long aboriginal type marked by broad nose, dark complexion and plentiful hair
(3) The Indo-Aryan type found in Kashmir, the Punjab, and Rajputana with fair complexion, tall stature and aquiline nose
(4) The Turko Iranian type found in North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan and regions of the West of Indus having tall stature fair complexion, and long and narrow nose
(5) The Seytho Dravidian type found in Sind Gujarat and Western India is marked by lower stature greater length of head a short nose
(6) The Aryo Dravidian type of east Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar traced to the mixture of Indo-Aryans with the Dravidians has long head, complexion ranging from brown to black and nose from medium to broad, stature below the average
(7) The Mongoloid type traced, to Mongolian invasion from Tibet and China and found in Burma, Assam, Nepal, Bhutan, U.P., the Punjab and Kashmir has broad head dark yellowish complexion, scanty hair on face, short stature, flat face and oblique eyelids
(8) The Bengali type or Mongolo-Dravidian in Bengal and Orissa is marked by broad head, dark complexion, plentiful hair on face, medium stature and medium nose with a tendency to broad.
On the West Coast some Jews are found living. Similarly the coast of Bombay is now inhabited by a large number of parsis who remained loyal to their religion Zoroastrianims. The Musim migration that began before the eighth century AD and ended with the establishment of the Mughal Empire influenced perceptively the composition and culture of the Indian population. The Mophahs of the Malabar region are the products of fusion between Arab Muslims and the indigenous people of the West Coast.
The Negroid or Negrito of Pre historic India were the first human inhabitants. They appear to have been food-gatherers rather than food producers. The negritos were supplemented by the later imigrants the Proto-Australoids and absorbed by them. They survive in-a few primitive tribes in South India.
Traces of the Negrito have been found in the Nagas of Nagaland and Andamanese in Andaman Island. The Proto-Australoids form the basic elements among the Indian population. They gradually underwent some transformation owing to admixture with other people, the Negritos and the Mongoloids. With the result we have the Kol or Munda type, the Mon. Khmer type in Assam, Burma, the Nicobarese in the Nicobarlsland. The Proto-Australoids were influenced by the Austric speaking people.
They contributed to the fundamental basis of Indian civilization on the material side, the cultivation of rice, the raising of some important vegetables, the manufacture of Sugarcane and use of wine in life and in rituals the habit of counting on the basis of twenty along with some ideas of future life. The Ausric temperament of Superstition, Cheerfulness, gaity, and love of music were present among the Kol or Munda community living in Eastern India.
India presents a large variety of religions. The majority of the people profess Hinduism, a religion that suits so many millions by its universal outlook and Synthetic Comprehensiveness. There are several millions of people throughout the country who profess Islam. Besides these there live Budhists, Jains, and Parsis and Christians at present.
Until human settlements developed on a large scale, a good part of India abounded in forests which provided forage, fuel and timber. In early times when burnt bricks were not usually used timber houses were constructed. Pataliputra provided specimens of timber houses including the Mauryan palace. The Indus and the Western Gatigetic plains produced Wheat and Barley while the middle Gangetic plains produced rice.
Copper usually found in Chotanagpur plateau were tapped by both pre-Vedic and Vedic people. Tin was found in Rajasthan. The Harappans procured some tin from Rajasthan even though the main supply came from Afghanistan. The rise of Magadha and Avanti with its capital at Ujjain owed much to the availability of iron. The Satavahanas and other powers which emerged South of Vindhyas exploited iron ores of Andhra and Karnataka. As gold was scarce in early times. Indians had to import gold from central Asia and Roman Empire.
Thus the physical features of the country with good environment for human habitation with its numerous rivers and lofty mountains favored a speculative bent of mind and the development of philosophical ideas. Indian rulers mostly busy with military exploits within the natural limits of the country rarely entertained the dreams of conquering regions beyond the boundaries of India.
Despite the immensity of country, its various strands of culture civilization and religion, the whole of India bears a distinct stamp of common movements of thought and life with common ideals and institutions which marks a unit in the history of the social, religious and intellectual development of mankind.