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This page is about the Republic of India. For other uses, see India (disambiguation).

Republic of India

भारत गणराज्य
Bhārat Gaṇarājya

Motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
"Truth Alone Triumphs"

National song
Vande Mataram
"I Bow to Thee, Mother"[a][3]

Area controlled by India shown in dark green;
claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.

CapitalNew Delhi
Largest cityMumbai
18°58′30″N72°49′33″E / 18.97500°N 72.82583°E / 18.97500; 72.82583
Official languagesHindi
Recognised regional languages
National languageNone[7][8]
Religion79.8% Hinduism
14.2% Islam
2.3% Christianity
1.7% Sikhism
0.7% Buddhism
0.4% Jainism
0.9% others[9][10]

• President

Ram Nath Kovind

• Vice-President

Venkaiah Naidu

• Prime Minister

Narendra Modi

• Chief Justice

Dipak Misra

• Speaker of the Lower House

Sumitra Mahajan
LegislatureParliament of India

• Upper house

Rajya Sabha

• Lower house

Lok Sabha
Independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

• Dominion

15 August 1947

• Republic

26 January 1950

• Total

3,287,263[11] km2 (1,269,219 sq mi)[b] (7th)

• Water (%)


• 2016 estimate

1,293,057,000[12] (2nd)

• 2011 census

1,210,854,977[13][14] (2nd)

• Density

395.9/km2 (1,025.4/sq mi) (31st)
GDP (PPP)2016 estimate

• Total

$8.727 trillion[15] (3rd)

• Per capita

$6,664[15] (122nd)
GDP (nominal)2016 estimate

• Total

$2.384 trillion[15] (7th)

• Per capita

$1,820[15] (141st)
Gini (2009)33.9[16]
medium · 79th
HDI (2014) 0.609[17]
medium · 130th
CurrencyIndian rupee (₹) (INR)
Time zoneIST(UTC+05:30)

• Summer (DST)

DST is not observed
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Drives on theleft
Calling code+91
ISO 3166 codeIN
Internet TLD


The Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य) is a country in Asia. It is at the center of South Asia. India has more than 1.2 billion (1,210,000,000) people, which is the second largest population in the world.[19] It is the seventh largest country in the world by area and the largest country in South Asia. It is also the most populous democracy in the world.[20][21][22]

India has seven neighbours: Pakistan in the north-west, China and Nepal in the north, Bhutan and Bangladesh in the north-east, Myanmar in the east and Sri Lanka, an island, in the south.

The capital of India is New Delhi. India is a peninsula, bound by the Indian Ocean in the south, the Arabian Sea on the west and Bay of Bengal in the east. The coastline of India is of about 7,517 km (4,671 mi) long.[23] India has the third largest military force in the world and is also a nuclear weapon state.[24]

India's economy became the world's fastest growing in the G20 developing nations in the last quarter of 2014, replacing the People's Republic of China.[25] India's literacy and wealth are also rising.[26] According to New World Wealth, India is the seventh richest country in the world with a total individual wealth of $5.6 trillion.[27][28] However, it still has many social and economic issues like poverty and corruption. India is a founding member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and has signed the Kyoto Protocol.

India has the fourth largest number of spoken languages per country in the world, only behind Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Nigeria.[29] People of many different religions live there, including the five most popular world religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. The latter three religions came from the Indian subcontinent along with Jainism.

National Symbols of India[change | change source]

The National emblem of India shows four lions standing back-to-back. The lions symbolise power, pride, confidence, and courage (bravery). Only the government can use this emblem, according to the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005

The name India comes from the Greek word, Indus, ultimately derived from the word sindhu, which in time turned into Hind or Hindi or Hindu. The preferred native name or endonym is "Bharat" in Hindi and other Indian languages as contrasted with names from outsiders.

History[change | change source]

Main article: History of India

Two of the main Classical languages of the world— Sanskrit and Tamil, were born in India. Both of these languages are more than 3000 years old. The country founded a religion called Hinduism, which most Indians still follow. Later, a king called Chandragupt Maurya built an empire called the Maurya Empire in 300 BC. It made most of South Asia into one whole country.[31] From 180 BC, many other countries invaded India. Even later (100 BC  — AD 1100), other Indian dynasties (empires) came, including the Chalukyas, Cholas, Pallavas, and Pandyas.[32] Southern India at that time was famous for its science, art, and writing. The Cholas of Thanjavur were pioneers at war in the seas and invaded Malaya, Borneo, Cambodia. The influence of Cholas are still well noticeable in SE Asia.[33]

Many dynasties ruled India around the year 1000. Some of these were the Mughal, Vijayanagara, and the Maratha empires. In the 1600s, European countries invaded India, and the British controlled most of India by 1856.[34]

In the early 1900s, millions of people peacefully started to protest against British control. One of the people who were leading the freedom movement was Mahatma Gandhi, who only used peaceful tactics, including a way called "ahimsa", which means "non-violence".[35] On 15 August 1947, India peacefully became free and independent from the British Empire. India's constitution was founded on 26 January 1950. Every year, on this day, Indians celebrate Republic Day. The first official leader (Prime Minister) of India was Jawaharlal Nehru.

After 1947, India has had a socialist planned economy. It is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. It has fought many wars since independence from Britain, including in 1947-48, 1965, 1971, and 1999 with Pakistan and in 1962 with China. It also fought a war to capture Goa, a Portuguese-built port and city which was not a part of India until 1961. The Portuguese refused to give it to the country, and so India had to use force and the Portuguese were defeated. India has also done nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998, and it is one of the few countries that has nuclear bombs.[36] Since 1991, India has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.[37]

Government[change | change source]

India is the largest democracy in the world.[22]

India's government is divided into three parts: the Legislative (the one that makes the laws, the Parliament), the Executive (the government), and the Judiciary (the one that makes sure that the laws are obeyed, the supreme court).

The legislative branch is made up of the Parliament of India, which is in New Delhi, the capital of India. The Parliament of India is divided into two groups: the upper house, Rajya Sabha (Council of States); and the lower house, Lok Sabha (House of People). The Rajya Sabha has 250 members,[38] and the Lok Sabha has 552 members.[38]

The executive branch is made up of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, and the Council of Ministers. The President of India is elected for five years. The President can choose the Prime Minister, who has most of the power. The Council of Ministers, such as the Minister of Defence, help the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India on May 16, 2014. He is the 19th Prime Minister of India.

The judicial branch is made up of the courts of India, including the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of India is the head of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court members have the power to stop a law being passed by Parliament if they think that the law is illegal and contradicts (opposes) the Constitution of India.[39] In India, there are also 24 High Courts.

Geography and climate[change | change source]

India is the seventh largest country in the world. It is the main part of the Indian subcontinent. The countries next to India are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Bhutan, and Nepal. It is also near Sri Lanka, an island country.

India is a peninsula, which means that it is surrounded on three sides by water. One of the seven wonders of the world is in Agra: the Taj Mahal. In the west is the Arabian Sea, in the south is the Indian Ocean, and in the east is the Bay of Bengal. The northern part of India has many mountains. The most famous mountain range in India is the Himalayas, which have some of the tallest mountains in the world. There are many rivers in India. The main rivers are the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Yamuna, the Godavari, the Kaveri, the Narmada, and the Krishna.

India has different climates.[40] In the South, the climate is mainly tropical, which means it can get very hot in summer and cool in winter.[40] The northern part, though, has a cooler climate, called sub-tropical, and even alpine in mountainous regions.[40] The Himalayas, in the alpine climate region, can get extremely cold. There is very heavy rainfall along the west coast and in the Eastern Himalayan foothills. The west, though, is drier. Because of some of the deserts of India, all of India gets rain for four months of the year. That time is called the monsoon. That is because the deserts attract water-filled winds from the Indian Ocean, which give rain when they come into India. When the monsoon rains come late or not so heavily, droughts (when the land dries out because there is less rain) are possible.

Defence[change | change source]

Main article: Indian Armed Forces

The Indian Armed Forces is the military of India. It is made up of an Army, Navy and Air Force. There are other parts like Paramilitary and Strategic Nuclear Command.

The President of India is its Commander-in-Chief. However, it is managed by the Ministry of Defence. In 2010, the Indian Armed Forces had 1.32 million active personnel. This makes it one of the largest militaries in the world.[41]

Currently, the Indian Army is becoming more modern by buying and making new weapons. It is also building defences against missiles of other countries.[42] In 2011, India imported more weapons than any other nation in the world.[43]

From its independence in 1947, India fought four wars with Pakistan and one war with China.

Indian states[change | change source]

For administration purposes, India has been divided into smaller pieces. Most of these pieces are called states, some are called union territories. States and union territories are different in the way they are represented. Most union territories are ruled by administrators sent by the central government. All the states, and the territories of Delhi, and Puducherry elect their local government themselves. In total, there are twenty-nine states, and seven union territories.[44]


Union territories:

Union territoryCapital
Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPort Blair
Dadra and Nagar HaveliSilvassa
Daman and DiuDaman

Trouble with the borders[change | change source]

There are disputes about certain parts of the Indian borders. Countries do not agree on where the borders are.[45]Pakistan and China do not recognise the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.[46] The Indian government claims it as an Indian state.[46] Similarly, the Republic of India does not recognise the Pakistani and Chinese parts of Kashmir.[46]

In 1914, British India and Tibet agreed on the McMahon Line, as part of the Simla Accord.[47] In July 1914, China withdrew from the agreement.[47] Indians and Tibetans see this line as the official border. China does not agree, and both mainland China and Taiwan do not recognize that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India. According to them, it is a part of South Tibet, which belongs to China.[48][49]

Economy[change | change source]

Main article: Economy of India

The economy of the country is among the world's fastest growing. It is the 7th largest in the world with a nominal GDP of $2,250 billion (USD), and in terms of PPP, the economy is 3rd largest (worth $8,720 trillion USD).[50] The growth rate is 8.25% for fiscal 2010. However, that is still $3678 (considering PPP) per person per year. India's economy is based mainly on:

India's economy is diverse. Major industries include automobiles, cement, chemicals, consumer electronics, food processing, machinery, mining, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, steel, transportation equipment, and textiles.[51]

However, despite economic growth, India continues to suffer from poverty. 27.5% of the population was living in poverty in 2004–2005.[52] In addition, 80.4% of the population live on less than USD $2 a day,[53] which was lowered to 68% by 2009.[54]

People[change | change source]

There are 1.12 billion people living in India.[55] India is the second largest country by the number of people living in it, with China being the first. Experts think that by the year 2030, India will be the first.[56] About 70% of Indians live in rural areas, or land set aside for farming.[57] The largest cities in India are Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad.[44] India has 23 official languages.[58] Altogether, 1,625 languages are spoken in India.[39]

Languages[change | change source]

There are many different languages and cultures in India. The only geographical place with more different languages and cultures is the African continent.[44] There are two main language families in India, the Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages. About 69% of Indians speak an Indo-Arayan language, about 26% speak a Dravidian language. Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic group. Around 5% of the people speak a Tibeto-Burman language.

Hindi is the official language in India with the largest number of speakers.[59] It is the official language of the union.[60] Native speakers of Hindi represent about 41% of the Indian population (2001 Indian census). English is also used, mostly for business and in the administration. It has the status of a 'subsidiary official language'.[61] The constitution also recognises 21 other languages. Either many people speak those languages, or they have been recognised to be very important for Indian culture. The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.[39]

In the south of India, many people speak Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. In the north, many people speak Chhattisgarhi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi, Oriya, and Bihari.[62][63]

India has 23 official languages. Its constitution lists the name of the country in each of the languages.[64]Hindi and English (listed in boldface) are the "official languages of the union" (Union meaning the Federal Government in Delhi);[65]Tamil,Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Odia are officially the "classical languages of India."

LanguageLong formEnglish PronunciationShort form
Assameseভাৰত গণৰাজ্যBhārôt Gôṇôrājÿôভাৰত Bharot
Bengaliভারত গণরাজ্যBʰārôt Gôṇôrājÿôভারত Bharot
English[51]Republic of IndiaIndia
Gujaratiભારતીય પ્રજાસત્તાકBhartiya Prajasattakભારત.
Hindiभारत गणराज्यBhārata Gaṇarājyaभारत Bhārat
Kannadaಭಾರತ ಗಣರಾಜ್ಯBhārata Gaṇarājyaಭಾರತ Bhārata
Konkaniभारोत गोणराजभारोत
MalayalamഭാരതംBhāratamഭാരതം Bhāratam
Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei)ভারত গণরাজ্যভারত
Marathiभारतीय प्रजासत्ताकBhartiya Prajasattakभारत Bhārat
Nepaliभारत गणराज्यBʰārat Gaṇarādzyaभारत Bʰārat
Punjabiਭਾਰਤ ਗਣਤੰਤਰBhārat Gantantarਭਾਰਤ Bhārat
Sanskritभारत गणराज्यम्Bhārata Gaṇarājyamभारत Bhārata
Sindhiڀارت، هندستانڀارت،ڀارت،
Tamilஇந்தியக் குடியரசுIndiyak-Kudiyarasuஇந்தியா India/Bharadham
Teluguభారత గణరాజ్యముBʰārata Gaṇa Rājyamuభారత్ Bhārath
Urduجمہوریہ بھارتJumhūrīyat-e Bhāratبھارت Bhārat

Culture[change | change source]

Cave paintings from the Stone Age are found across India. They show dances and rituals and suggest there was a prehistoric religion. During the Epic and Puranic periods, the earliest versions of the epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata were written from about 500–100 BCE,[67] although these were orallytransmitted for centuries before this period.[68] Other South Asian Stone Age sites apart from Pakistan are in modern India, such as the Bhimbetka rock shelters in central Madhya Pradesh and the Kupgal petroglyphs of eastern Karnataka, contain rock art showing religious rites and evidence of possible ritualised music.[69]

Several modern religions are linked to India,[70] namely modern Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. All of these religions have different schools (ways of thinking) and traditions that are related. As a group they are called the Eastern religions. The Indian religions are similar to one another in many ways: The basic beliefs, the way worship is done and several religious practices are very similar. These similarities mainly come from the fact that these religions have a common history and common origins. They also influenced each other.

The religion of Hinduism is the main faith followed by 79.80% of people in the Republic of India; Islam – 14.23%; Christianity – 2.30%; Sikhism – 1.72%; Buddhism – 0.70% and Jainism – 0.37%.[71]

It's the first time ever since independence that Hindu population percentage fell below 80%.

Technology[change | change source]

India sent a spacecraft to Mars for the first time in 2014. That made it the fourth country and only Asian country to do so. India is the only country to be successful in its very first attempt to orbit Mars. It was called the Mars Orbiter Mission.

ISRO launched 104 satellites in a single mission to create world record. India became the first nation in the world to have launched over a hundred satellites in one mission. That was more than the 2014 Russian record of 37 satellites in a single launch.

Pop culture[change | change source]

India has the largest movie industry in the world.[source?][72] Based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the industry is also known as Bollywood . It makes 1,000 movies a year, about twice as many as Hollywood.[73]

Sports[change | change source]

Main article: Sports in India

There is no national game in India.[74] Indians have excelled in Hockey. They have also won eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the Olympic games. However, cricket is the most popular sport in India. The Indian cricket team won the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cup and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20. They shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka and won the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.Cricket in India is controlled by the Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI. Domestic tournaments are the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy and the Challenger Series. There is also the Indian cricket league and Indian premier league Twenty20 competitions.

Tennis has become popular due to the victories of the India Davis Cup team. Association football is also a popular sport in northeast India, West Bengal, Goa and Kerala.[75] The Indian national football team has won the South Asian Football Federation Cup many times. Chess, which comes from India, is also becoming popular. This is with the increase in the number of Indian Grandmasters.[76] Traditional sports include kabaddi, kho kho, and gilli-danda, which are played throughout India.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. ↑"[...] Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram
The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is thought to be of "outstanding universal value".[30]
The Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple of the Sikhs.
A 2008 Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match being played between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders

Indian English is any of the forms of English characteristic of India. English is the only official language in some states of India and is a lingua franca in the country.[2]

English proficiency[edit]

Though English is one of the two official languages of the Union Government of India, only a few hundred thousand Indians, or less than 0.1% of the total population, have English as their first language.[3][4][5][6]

According to the 2001 Census, 12.6% of Indians know English.[7] An analysis of the 2001 Census of India[8] concluded that approximately 86 million Indians reported English as their second language, and another 39 million reported it as their third language. No data was available whether these individuals were English speakers or users.

According to the 2005 India Human Development Survey,[9] of the 41,554 surveyed, households reported that 72 percent of men (29,918) did not speak any English, 28 percent (11,635) spoke at least some English, and 5 percent (2,077, roughly 17.9% of those who spoke at least some English) spoke fluent English. Among women, the corresponding percentages were 83 percent (34,489) speaking no English, 17 percent (7,064) speaking at least some English, and 3 percent (1,246, roughly 17.6% of those who spoke at least some English) speaking English fluently.[10] According to statistics of District Information System for Education (DISE) of National University of Educational Planning and Administration under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, enrollment in English-medium schools increased by 50% between 2008–09 and 2013–14. The number of English-medium school students in India increased from over 15 million in 2008–09 to 29 million by 2013–14.[11]

India ranks 22 out of 72 countries in the 2016 EF English Proficiency Index published by the EF Education First. The index gives the country a score of 57.30 indicating "moderate proficiency". India ranks 4th out of 19 Asian countries included in the index.[12] Among Asian countries, Singapore (63.52), Malaysia (60.70) and the Philippines (60.33) received higher scores than India.

Court language[edit]

In December 2015, the Supreme Court of India ruled that English is the only court language.[13]


Indian English generally uses the Indian numbering system. Idiomatic forms derived from Indian literary languages and vernaculars have been absorbed into Indian English. Nevertheless, there remains general homogeneity in phonetics, vocabulary, and phraseology between various dialects of Indian English.[14][15][16][17]


English language public instruction began in India in the 1830s during the rule of the East India Company (India was then, and is today, one of the most linguistically diverse regions of the world[18]). In 1835, English replacedPersian as the official language of the Company. Lord Macaulay played a major role in introducing English and western concepts to education in India. He supported the replacement of Persian by English as the official language, the use of English as the medium of instruction in all schools, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers.[19] Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, primary-, middle-, and high-schools were opened in many districts of British India, with most high schools offering English language instruction in some subjects. In 1857, just before the end of Company rule, universities modelled on the University of London and using English as the medium of instruction were established in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. During subsequent Crown Rule in India, or the British Raj, lasting from 1858 to 1947, English language penetration increased throughout India. This was driven in part by the gradually increasing hiring of Indians in the civil services. At the time of India's independence in 1947, English was the only functional lingua franca in the country.

After Indian Independence in 1947, Hindi was declared the first official language, and attempts were made to declare Hindi the sole national language of India. Due to protests from Tamil Nadu and other non-Hindi-speaking states, it was decided to temporarily retain English for official purposes until at least 1965. By the end of this period, however, opposition from non-Hindi states was still too strong to have Hindi declared the sole language. With this in mind, the English Language Amendment Bill declared English to be an associate language "until such time as all non-Hindi States had agreed to its being dropped." This has not yet occurred, and it is still widely used. For instance, it is the only reliable means of day-to-day communication between the central government and the non-Hindi states.

The view of the English language among many Indians has gone from associating it with colonialism to associating it with economic progress, and English continues to be an official language of India.[20]

While there is an assumption that English is readily available in India, available studies show that its usage is actually restricted to the elite,[21] because of inadequate education to large parts of the Indian population. The use of outdated teaching methods and the poor grasp of English exhibited by the authors of many guidebooks, disadvantage students who rely on these books.[22]


Indian accents vary greatly. Most Indians speak with a more vernacular, native-tinted accent.


In general, the Indian English has fewer peculiarities in its vowel sounds than the consonants, especially as spoken by native speakers of languages like Hindi, the vowel phoneme system having some similarities with that of English. Among the distinctive features of the vowel-sounds employed by some Indian English speakers:

  • Modern Indians, especially a minority of English students and teachers along with some people in various professions like telephone customer service agents, often speak with a non-rhotic accent. Examples of this include flower pronounced as /flaʊ.ə/, never as /nevə/, water as /wɔːtə/, etc.
  • Many North Indians have a sing-song quality as they speak English, which perhaps, results from a similar tone used while speaking Hindi. Indian English speakers have the cot-caught merger and thus do not make a clear distinction between /ɒ/ and /ɔː/.
  • Most Indians have the trap–bath split of Received Pronunciation, affecting words such as class, staff and last (/klɑːs/, /stɑːf/ and /lɑːst/ respectively). Though the trap-bath split is prevalent in Indian English, it varies greatly. Many younger Indians who read and listen to American English do not have this split. The distribution is somewhat similar to Australian English in Regional Indian English varieties, but it has a complete split in Cultivated Indian English and Standard Indian English varieties.[citation needed]
  • Most Indians have a hoarse-horse split.


Among the most distinctive features of consonants in Indian English are:

  • Pronunciations vary between rhotic and non-rhotic; with pronunciations leaning towards native phonology being generally rhotic, and others being non-rhotic.
  • Most Indian languages (except Punjabi, Marathi, Assamese and Bengali), including Standard Hindi, do not differentiate between /v/ (voiced labiodental fricative) and /w/ (voiced labiovelar approximant). Instead, many Indians use a frictionless labiodental approximant[ʋ] for words with either sound, possibly in free variation with [v] and/or [w] depending upon region. Thus, wet and vet are often homophones.[23]
  • Related to the previous characteristic, many Indians prefer to pronounce words such as <flower> as [flaː(r)], as opposed to [flaʊə(r)], and <our> as [aː(r)] as opposed to [aʊə(r)].
  • The voiceless plosives/p/, /t/, /k/ are always unaspirated in Indian English, (aspirated in cultivated form) whereas in RP, General American and most other English accents they are aspirated in word-initial or stressed syllables. Thus "pin" is pronounced [pɪn] in Indian English but [pʰɪn] in most other dialects. In native Indian languages (except in Dravidian languages such as Tamil), the distinction between aspirated and unaspirated plosives is phonemic, and the English stops are equated with the unaspirated rather than the aspirated phonemes of the local languages.[24] The same is true of the voiceless postalveolar afficate /tʃ/.
  • The alveolar stops English /d/, /t/ are often retroflex[ɖ], [ʈ], especially in the South of India.[25] In Indian languages there are two entirely distinct sets of coronal plosives: one dental and the other retroflex. Native speakers of Indian languages prefer to pronounce the English alveolar plosives sound as more retroflex than dental, and the use of retroflex consonants is a common feature of Indian English. In the Devanagari script of Hindi, all alveolar plosives of English are transcribed as their retroflex counterparts. One good reason for this is that unlike most other native Indian languages, Hindi does not have true retroflex plosives (Tiwari, [1955] 2001). The so-called retroflexes in Hindi are actually articulated as apical post-alveolar plosives, sometimes even with a tendency to come down to the alveolar region. So a Hindi speaker normally cannot distinguish the difference between their own apical post-alveolar plosives and English's alveolar plosives. However, languages such as Tamil have true retroflex plosives, wherein the articulation is done with the tongue curved upwards and backwards at the roof of the mouth. This also causes (in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) the /s/ preceding alveolar /t/ to allophonically change to [ʃ] (<stop> /stɒp/ → /ʃʈap/). Mostly in south India, some speakers allophonically further change the voiced retroflex plosives to voiced retroflex flap, and the nasal /n/ to a nasalised retroflex flap.
  • Many speakers of Indian English do not use the voiced postalveolar fricative (/ʒ/). Some Indians use /z/ or /dʒ/ instead, e.g. treasure/ˈtrɛzəːr/,[25] and in the south Indian variants, with /ʃ/ as in <"sh'"ore>, e.g. treasure/ˈtrɛʃər/.
  • All major native languages of India (except Bengali) lack the dental fricatives (/θ/ and /ð/; spelled with th). Usually, the aspiratedvoiceless dental plosive[t̪ʰ] is substituted for /θ/ in the north (it would be unaspirated in the south) and the unaspirated voiced dental plosive[d̪], or possibly the aspirated version [d̪ʱ], is substituted for /ð/.[29] For example, "thin" would be realised as [t̪ʰɪn] instead of /θɪn/ for North Indian speakers, whereas it would be pronounced unaspirated in the south.
  • South Indians tend to curl the tongue (retroflex accentuation) more for /l/ and /n/.[citation needed]
  • Most Indian languages (except Urdu varieties and Assamese) lack the voiced alveolar fricative /z/. A significant portion of Indians thus, even though their native languages do have its nearest equivalent: the unvoiced /s/, often use the voiced palatal affricate (or postalveolar) /dʒ/, just as with a Korean accent. This makes words such as <zero> and <rosy> sound as [ˈdʒiːro] and [ˈroːdʒiː] (the latter, especially in the North). This replacement is equally true for Persian and Arabic loanwords into Hindi. The probable reason is the confusion created by the use of the Devanagari grapheme < ज > (for /dʒ/) with a dot beneath it to represent the loaned /z/ (as < ज़ >). This is common among people without formal English education.
  • Many Indians with lower exposure to English also may pronounce /f/ as aspirated voiceless bilabial plosive [pʰ]. Again note that in Hindi (Devanagari) the loaned /f/ from Persian and Arabic is written by putting a dot beneath the grapheme for native [pʰ] < फ >: < फ़ >. This substitution is rarer than that for [z], and in fact in many Hindi /f/ is used by native speakers instead of /pʰ/, or the two are used interchangeably.
  • Inability to pronounce certain (especially word-initial) consonant clusters by people of rural backgrounds, as with some Spanish-speakers. This is usually dealt with by epenthesis. e.g., school/isˈkuːl/.
  • Sometimes, Indian speakers interchange /s/ and /z/, especially when plurals are being formed, unlike speakers of other varieties of English, who use [s] for the pluralisation of words ending in a voiceless consonant, [z] for words ending in a voiced consonant or vowel, and [ɨz] for words ending in a sibilant.
  • Again, in Assamese and dialects like Bhojpuri, all instances of /ʃ/ are spoken like [s], a phenomenon which is also apparent in their English. Exactly the opposite is seen for many Bengalis.[citation needed]
  • In Assamese, /tʃ/ and /ʃ/ is pronounced as /s/; and /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ is pronounced as /z/. Retroflex and dental consonants are not present and only alveolar consonants are used unlike other Indian languages. Similar to Bengali, /v/ is pronounced as /bʱ/ and /β/ in Assamese. For example; change is pronounced as [sɛɪnz], vote is pronounced as [bʱʊt] and English is pronounced as [iŋlis].
  • In case of the postalveolar affricates /tʃ//dʒ/, native languages like Hindi have corresponding affricates articulated from the palatal region, rather than postalveolar, and they have more of a stop component than fricative; this is reflected in their English.
  • Whilst retaining /ŋ/ in the final position, many Indian speakers add the [ɡ] sound after it when it occurs in the middle of a word. Hence /ˈriŋiŋ/ → /ˈriŋɡiŋ/ (ringing).[citation needed]
  • Syllabic/l/, /m/ and /n/ are usually replaced by the VC clusters [əl], [əm] and [ən] (as in button/ˈbuʈʈən/), or if a high vowel precedes, by [il] (as in little/ˈliʈʈil/). Syllable nuclei in words with the spelling er/re (a schwa in RP and an r-coloured schwa in GA) are also replaced VC clusters. e.g., metre, /ˈmiːtər/ → /ˈmiːʈər/.[citation needed]
  • Indian English uses clear [l] in all instances like Irish English whereas other varieties use clear [l] in syllable-initial positions and dark [l] (velarised-L) in coda and syllabic positions.

Spelling pronunciation[edit]

A number of distinctive features of Indian English are due to "the vagaries of English spelling".[29] Most Indian languages, unlike English, have a nearly phonetic spelling, so the spelling of a word is a highly reliable guide to its modern pronunciation. Indians' tendency to pronounce English phonetically as well can cause divergence from Western English.

  • In words where the digraph <gh> represents a voiced velar plosive (/ɡ/) in other accents, some Indian English speakers supply a murmured version [ɡʱ], for example <ghost> [ɡʱoːst]. No other accent of English admits this voiced aspiration.[25]
  • Similarly, the digraph <wh> may be aspirated as [ʋʱ] or [wʱ], resulting in realisations such as <which> [ʋʱɪtʃ], found in no other English accent.[30] However, this is somewhat similar to the traditional distinction between wh and w present in English, wherein the former is /ʍ/, whilst the latter is /w/.
  • In unstressed syllables, which speakers of American English would realise as a schwa, speakers of Indian English would use the spelling vowel, making <sanity> sound as [ˈsæniti] instead of [ˈsænəti]. This trait is also present in other South Asian dialects (i.e. Pakistani and Sri Lankan English), and in RP, etc.
  • The word "of" is usually pronounced with a /f/ instead of a /v/ as in most other accents.[29]
  • Use of [d] instead of [t] for the "-ed" ending of the past tense after voiceless consonants, for example "developed" may be [ˈdɛʋləpd] instead of RP /dɪˈvɛləpt/.[25]
  • Use of [s] instead of [z] for the "-s" ending of the plural after voiced consonants, for example <dogs> may be [daɡs] instead of [dɒɡz].[29]
  • Pronunciation of <house> as [hauz] in both the noun and the verb, instead of [haus] as noun and [hauz] as verb.
  • In RP, /r/ occurs only before a vowel. But some speakers of Indian English, primarily in the South, use /r/ in almost all positions in words using the letter 'r',[29] similar to most American and some Irish dialects. The allophone used is a mild trill or a tap. Indian speakers do not typically use the retroflex approximant/ɻ/ for <r>, which is common for American English speakers.[citation needed]
  • In certain words, especially Latinate words ending in ile, is pronounced [ɪ] in America and [aɪ] in Britain. Indian English, like most other Commonwealth dialects, will invariably use the British pronunciation. Thus, <tensile> would be pronounced as [ˈtɛnsaɪl] like the British, rather than [ˈtɛnsɪl] like the American; <anti>, on the other hand, use i, as [ˈænti] like in Britain, rather than [ˈæntaɪ] like in America. Similar effects of British colonisation are 're', 'ise', and 'our' spellings in words like 'metre', 'realise', and 'endeavour', respectively, which Americans would spell as 'meter', 'realize' and 'endeavor'.
  • Deletion is not commonly used. For example, "salmon" is usually pronounced with a distinct "l".

Supra-segmental features[edit]

English is a stress-timed language, and both syllable stress and word stress, where only certain words in a sentence or phrase are stressed, are important features of received pronunciation. Indian native languages are actually syllable-timed languages, like French. Indian-English speakers usually speak with a syllabic rhythm.[31] Further, in some Indian languages, stress is associated with a low pitch,[32] whereas in most English dialects, stressed syllables are generally pronounced with a higher pitch. Thus, when some Indian speakers speak, they appear to put the stress accents at the wrong syllables, or accentuate all the syllables of a long English word. Certain Indian accents are of a "sing-song" nature, a feature seen in a few English dialects in Britain, such as Scouse and Welsh English.[33]

Morphology and syntax[edit]

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Numbering system[edit]

The Indian numbering system is preferred for digit grouping. When written in words, or when spoken, numbers less than 100,000/100 000 are expressed just as they are in Standard English. Numbers including and beyond 100,000 / 100 000 are expressed in a subset of the Indian numbering system. Thus, the following scale is used:

In digits (International system)In digits (Indian system)In words (long and short scales)In words (Indian system)
100one hundred
1,000one thousand
10,000ten thousand
100,0001,00,000one hundred thousandone lakh (from lākh लाख/لاکھ‬)
1,000,00010,00,000one millionten lakh (from lākh लाख/لاکھ‬)
10,000,0001,00,00,000ten millionone crore (from karoṛ करोड़/کروڑ‬)

Larger numbers are generally expressed as multiples of the above (for example, one lakh crores for one trillion).[34][35]


Indian English, naturally, has words of Indian vernaculars that have made their way into the English language, such as jungle, tank (water, irrigation), bungalow, shampoo and verandah. It has political, sociological, and administrative terms of modern India: dharna, hartal, eve-teasing, vote bank, swaraj, swadeshi, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, NRI; it has words of Anglo-India such as tiffin, hill station, gymkhana; and it has slang.

Some examples unique to, or chiefly used in, standard written Indian English include:

  • academic (noun) (also Canadian and U.S. English): In pl.: Academic pursuits in contrast to technical or practical work.
    • Example: 1991 Hindu (Madras) 6 Dec. 27/2 For 14 years he immersed himself in academics and was a fine achiever.[36]
  • accomplish (verb, transitive), chiefly Indian English: To equip.
    • Example: 1992 H. L. Chopra in V. Grover Political Thinkers of Modern India XVII. lxiii. 488 His insatiable thirst for knowledge accomplished him with all modern standards of scholarship.[37]
  • airdash (verb intransitive) Indian English, to make a quick journey by air, especially in response to an emergency.
    • Example: 1973 Hindustan Times Weekly 25 Mar. 1 Governor B. K. Nehru, who airdashed to Shillong yesterday, flew back to Imphal.[38]
  • Cinema hall (noun) a cinema or movie theater/theatre.[39]
    • Example: 2018 Times of India (India) 03 Jan., Cinema halls in Uttar Pradesh will soon display the newly-unveiled logo for Kumbh Mela, right after the national anthem is played, to make youths understand the importance of the religious festival, a senior official said on Wednesday.[40]
  • English-knowing (adjective) originally and chiefly Indian English (of a person or group of people) that uses or speaks English.
    • Example: 1941 J. Nehru Toward Freedom vii. 40 The official and Service atmosphere... set the tone for almost all Indian middle-class life, especially the English-knowing intelligentsia.[41]
  • freeship, Indian English. A studentship or scholarship which offers full payment of a student's fees.[42]
    • Example: 1893 Med. Reporter (Calcutta) 1 Feb. 57/1 Two permanent freeships, each tenable for one year and one of which is for the second and the other for the third year class.
    • Example: 2006 Economic Times (India) (Nexis) 12 Oct., Private institutions can only develop if they are allowed to charge reasonable fees, while also providing need based freeships and scholarships for a certain percentage of students.[43]
  • matrimonial (noun) B. 3b. Chiefly Indian English. Advertisements in a newspaper for the purpose of finding a marriageable partner.
    • Example: 1999 Statesman (Calcutta) 10 Feb., (Midweek section) 4/3 When I have a job I'll have to begin a whole new search for my better half... Back to the newspaper matrimonials on Sundays.[44]
  • press person n. (chiefly Indian English, frequently as one word) a newspaper journalist, a reporter, a member of the press
    • Example: 2001 Hindu (Nexis) 20 June, The Prime Minister greeted the presspersons with a ‘namaskar’ and a broad smile.[45]
  • redressal (noun) now chiefly Indian English. = redress (noun)
    • Example: 1998 Statesman (India) (Nexis) 2 Apr., There is an urgent need for setting up an independent authority for redressal of telecom consumer complaints.
    • Example: 2002 Sunday Times of India 15 Sept. 8/4 Where does he go for the redressal of his genuine grievances?[46]
  • upgradation (noun) Indian English, the enhancement or upgrading of status, value or level of something
    • Example: 1986 Business India 8 Sept. 153/1 (advt.) Our Company lays great stress on technical training and knowledge upgradation.[47]

Spelling and national differences[edit]

Indian English generally uses the same British English spelling as Commonwealth nations such as Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and South Africa, occasionally with minor differences.

Similarly, in common with most of the Commonwealth, the final letter of the alphabet, Z is pronounced zed. In addition, the punctuation mark denoting the end of a sentence is referred to as a full stop rather than period.

See also[edit]


  1. ^"In defence of English: Blame the Indian education system, not the language". 
  2. ^Census of India's Indian CensusArchived 14 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Issue 25, 2003, pp 8–10, (Feature: Languages of West Bengal in Census and Surveys, Bilingualism and Trilingualism).
  3. ^FAMILY-WISE GROUPING OF THE 122 SCHEDULED AND NON-SCHEDULED LANGUAGESArchived 7 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. – 2001 Census of India
  4. ^Tropf, Herbert S. 2005. India and its LanguagesArchived 8 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Siemens AG, Munich
  5. ^For the distinction between "English Speakers," and "English Users," please see: TESOL-India (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)], India is World's Second Largest English-Speaking CountryArchived 4 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Their article explains the difference between the 350 million number mentioned in a previous version of this Wikipedia article and the current number:
    Wikipedia's India estimate of 350 million includes two categories – 'English Speakers' and 'English Users'. The distinction between the Speakers and Users is that Users only know how to read English words while Speakers know how to read English, understand spoken English as well as form their own sentences to converse in English. The distinction becomes clear when you consider China's numbers. China has over 200 million that can read English words but, as anyone can see on the streets of China, only a few million are English speakers.
  6. ^"These four charts break down India's complex relationship with Hindi". 
  7. ^published in 2010
  8. ^"EF English Proficiency Index – A comprehensive ranking of countries by English skills". www.ef.com. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  9. ^Desai, Dubey; Joshi, Sen; Sharif, Vanneman (2010). "HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA"(PDF). Oxford University Press. Archived from the original(PDF) on 11 December 2015. 
  10. ^"Number of children studying in English doubles in 5 years". 
  11. ^"EF English Proficiency Index – India". www.ef.com. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  12. ^"Court language is English, says Supreme Court". 
  13. ^Mukesh Ranjan Verma and Krishna Autar Agrawal: Reflections on Indian English literature (2002), page 163: "Some of the words in American English have spelling pronunciation and also pronunciation spelling. These are also characteristic features of Indian English as well. The novels of Mulk Raj Anand, in particular, are full of examples of ..."
  14. ^Pingali Sailaja: Indian English (2009), page 116: "So what was Cauvery is now Kaveri. Some residual spellings left by the British do exist such as the use of ee for /i:/ as in Mukherjee. Also, some place names such as Cuddapah and Punjab"
  15. ^Edward Carney: Survey of English Spelling (2012), page 56: "Not all distributional differences, however, have important consequences for spelling. For instance, the ... Naturally enough, Indian English is heavily influenced by the native language of the area in which it is spoken."
  16. ^Indian English Literature (2002), page 300: "The use of Indian words with English spellings: e.g. 'Mundus,' 'raksha'; 'Ed Cherukka,' 'Chacko Saar Vannu'"
  17. ^Lalmalsawma, David (7 September 2013), India speaks 780 languages, 220 lost in last 50 years – survey, Reuters 
  18. ^John MacKenzie, "A family empire," BBC History Magazine (Jan 2013)
  19. ^Annamalai, E. (2006). "India: Language Situation". In Brown, Keith. Encyclopedia of language & linguistics. Elsevier. pp. 610–613. doi:10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/04611-3. ISBN 978-0-08-044299-0. Retrieved 6 February 2015. Lay summary (6 February 2015).  – via ScienceDirect (Subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries.)
  20. ^"The rise of Hinglish: How the media created a new lingua franca for India's elites". 
  21. ^Chelliah, Shobhana L. (July 2001). "Constructs of Indian English in language 'guidebooks'". World Englishes. 20 (2): 161–178. doi:10.1111/1467-971X.00207. 
  22. ^Wells, p. 627
  23. ^Wells, pp. 627–628
  24. ^ abcdWells, p. 628
  25. ^ abcdeWells, p. 629
  26. ^Wells, p. 630
  27. ^Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (Cambridge University Press, 1995), page 360
  28. ^[1]Archived 1 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^Varshney, R.L., "An Introductory Textbook of Linguistics and Phonetics", 15th Ed. (2005), Student Store, Bareilly.
  30. ^"Investors lose Rs 4.4 lakh crore in four days | Business Standard". Bsl.co.in. 27 November 2010. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  31. ^"Corporate chiefs getting crores in salaries: 100 and counting! – The Smart Investor". Smartinvestor.in. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  32. ^academic (noun), 6, Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, December 2011 
  33. ^accomplish (verb, transitive, 3a', Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, December 2011 
  34. ^airdash (in air, Compounds, C2) (verb, transitive, Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, December 2008 
  35. ^https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cinema-hall
  36. ^https://m.hindustantimes.com/india-news/up-cinema-halls-to-show-kumbh-logo-before-screening-movies/story-H7O5J6z57We4L4MKBZEKqL.html
  37. ^English-knowing (adj). Compound, C2, Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, December 2008 
  38. ^"freeship". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  39. ^freeship, 4., Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, March 2008 
  40. ^matrimonial (noun) B. 3b., Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, March 2001 
  41. ^press (noun), Compound, Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, March 2007 
  42. ^redressal (noun), Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, September 2009 
  43. ^upgradation (noun), Oxford English Dictionary, 1993 


  • Balasubramanian, Chandrika (2009), Register Variation in Indian English, John Benjamins Publishing, ISBN 90-272-2311-4 
  • Ball, Martin J.; Muller, Nicole (2014), Phonetics for Communication Disorders, Routledge, pp. 289–, ISBN 978-1-317-77795-3 
  • Baumgardner, Robert Jackson (editor) (1996), South Asian English: Structure, Use, and Users, University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-06493-7 
  • Braj B. Kachru (1983). The Indianisation of English: the English language in India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-561353-8. 
  • Gargesh, Ravinder (17 February 2009), "South Asian Englishes", in Braj Kachru; et al., The Handbook of World Englishes, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 90–, ISBN 978-1-4051-8831-9 
  • Hickey, Raymond (2004), "South Asian English", Legacies of Colonial English: Studies in Transported Dialects, Cambridge University Press, pp. 536–, ISBN 978-0-521-83020-1 
  • Lange, Claudia (2012), The Syntax of Spoken Indian English, John Benjamins Publishing, ISBN 90-272-4905-9

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