Officially the Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also official names of India), is a country located in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four of the world’s major religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism—originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium CE and also helped shape the region’s diverse culture. Gradually controlled by the British East India Company from the early 18th century and directly administered by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence which was marked by non-violent resistance and led by Mahatma Gandhi.