India with an area of 32,87,263 sq. kms, is 7th largest countries in the world. Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8o 4` to 37o 6` north and longitudes 68 o7` and 97 o25` east. The longest distance from north to south, is 3214 kms and 2933 kms from east to west. India, a subcontinent, has a land frontier of 15,200 kms and a coastline of 7516.6 kms (including island coastline).
Indian people do not belong to a single racial or linguistic people. The population includes a harmonious blending various racial, linguistic and religious groups. The anthropologists divide Indian people into the following racial groups.
1. The Negritos: They are the oldest racial group of India. Tribal groups such as Kadars, Poligars, Irulas and some tribals from Rajmahall Hills and Andaman Nicobar Islands.
2. The Proto-Australoids: They are the 2nd oldest racial group in India. This racial group is represented by Oraons, Mundas, Santhals , Chenchus , Kurumbas , Bhils and Kols.
3. Mongloids: The mongloid racial stock in India is concentrated in the Himalayan borderlands , Particularly in Ladak, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh.
4. The Mediterraneans: These are long headed people, who brought high level of civilization and the bearer of earliest form of Hinduism. We can find three distinct groups of these racial stocks
- Palaeo Mediterraneans are represented by Tamil and Telugu Brahmins
- Mediterraneans were the builders of Indus valley civilization and are now they constitute the bulk of the population of lower castes in North India and are also represented by the Namboodiri , Allahabad and Bengal Brahmins.
- Oriental types are represented by Punjabi Kharties and Rajasthani Banias.
5. The Western Brachycephals: These groups consists of the three main types.
- Alphinoids represented by Gujarati Banias, Kathis of Kathiawar and Kayasthas of Bengal.
- Dinaric represented by populations of Bengal, Orissa and Coorg
- Armenoids represented by Parsis,Bengali Vaidyas
6. Nordics: They were the last to migrate into India. These people were called the Aryans. They were a predominant type in the North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan, Punjab , Haryana and Rajasthan.
Major religious groups in India on the Basis of 1991 population
There are 187 languages spoken by different sections of our society . Of these 94 are spoken by less than 10,000 persons and 23 languages account for 97% of the total population of India. The languages spoken by the people of India belong to the four language family.
a) Austric Family (Nishada) includes the tribal languages, dialects of the central tribal belt, Khasi and Jaintia hills and Andoman and Nicobar islands.
b) Sino â€“ Tibetian Family (Kirata) languages are spoken by tribal groups of the North East , of the Himalayan and Sub Himalayan regions.
c) Dravidian Family (Dravida) are spoken by 20% of the population of India. Telgu,Kannada , Malayalam are the major groups of this family. The lesser groups are Tulu , Kurgi , Yerukala , Kui , Parji and Khond.
d) Indo-Aryan Family (Aryan) are spoken by 73% of the Indian people. These languages are mainly concentrated in the plains of India. Hindi, Urdu, Kachchhi, Sindhi and Marathi are the principal languages of this Family.