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The Republic of India is a sovereign state located in central southern Asia. India is one of the largest nations on Earth. It borders China, Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Nepal, and Bhutan. It also borders the Union of Greater China autonomous region of Tibet.
The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity. When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan. However, when his successor tried to expand eastward, he was defeated by the king of Bengal. When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south. No ruler in this period was able to create much of an empire or consistently control lands outside of his core region. The caste system, which was developed in India, consequently began to show regional differences during this period of time. In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language. They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent. By the 8th and 9th centuries, Indian culture had spread through all of southern Asia, spreading from Burma to Indonesia. After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206, which controlled most of northern Asia. After repeated Mongol invasions, the Delhi were able to repulse the empire, protecting India from falling under Mongol. The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire, which had a large influence on south Indian culture.
Early modern India
During the early 1500s, the north of India fell under mostly Muslim rulers, but these fell to the superior mobility and firepower of Central Asian warriors. The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices which accepted the numerous different ethnic and religious groups of India despite the predominantly Islamic governmental system. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status. The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion, and created a new golden age of Indian culture. Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which would lead to the rise of other empires throughout Indian history. As the empire disintegrated, the Maratha Confederacy became the new regional power in India. By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company which had established coastal outposts in numerous areas of India. This would lead to the British domination of the Bengal region, foreshadowing their conquest of the whole of India.
Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. Technological changes, such as railways, canals, and the telegraph, weren't introduced to India until years after they were introduced to Europe. Disaffection with the Company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule. In response to this, the new rulers were allowed to elect princes and proclaimed a unitary state. The rush of technology and the commercialization of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks; famine was common and farmers began to gain massive disadvantages. Despite the risks of infrastructure development brought by Indian taxpayers, little potential for industrial employment was created for the citizens of India. After the Pacific War, Japan seized India and created a puppet state known as Azad Hind.
After a stunning Japanese defeat in the Japanese Imperial War, India was liberated under a new democratic system of government. India is a prosperous state with one of the world's richest economies, with powerful industries ranging from farming to mining to technology. India also benefits from its strategic position near the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, which makes trading with Middle Eastern, African, and Southern Asian states much easier.