India is a country located in South Asia that is home to the 2nd largest population in

the world (behind China) estimated at 1.2 billion as of the year 2011. India is the largest

democracy in the world, its official form of government being a federal constitutional repub-

lic. It also has the 7th largest geographical area in the world at 3,287,263 sq.km. It became

an independent nation on August 15, 1947 by gaining freedom from the British Empire

that was won by a peaceful resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. For thousands of years

previous to that time, the Indus Valley civilization was located in India. Currently, India is

comprised of 29 states, 7 union territories, and 640 districts. In terms of religion, Hinduism

is the one with the most followers at 817,112,705 or 72.03% of the country. As for language,

Hindi is the most spoken first language with 180,764,791 speakers. India is a big continent,

it accounts for about 2.4 percent of the total surface area of the world. India is nearly

twenty times as large as Great Britain. Many of the Indian states are larger than several

countries of the world. Figure 2.1 indicates the Indian subcontinent with administrative

boundaries of different states. India is predominantly rural, but it also has many densely

populated metropolitan areas. Most of the land is inhabited except for the higher regions

of the Himalayan mountains. Since the time of the Indus Valley civilization, the key factor

that settlers have considered in deciding where to live in India has been the ability to have

continuous cultivation. This is mainly determined by water availability and soil fertility.