- a country in southern Asia that occupies the greater part of the Indian subcontinent; population 1,156,897,800 (est. 2009); capital, New Delhi; official languages, Hindi and English (14 other languages are recognized as official in certain regions; of these, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu have the most first-language speakers). Hindi name Bharat.
Much of India was united under a Muslim sultanate based around Delhi from the 12th century until incorporated in the Mogul empire in the 16th century. Colonial intervention began in the late 17th century, particularly by the British; in 1765, the East India Company acquired the right to administer Bengal. In 1858, after the Indian Mutiny, Britain took over the company’s authority, and in 1876 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. Independence was won in 1947, at which time India was partitioned, and Pakistan was created from mainly Muslim territories in the northeast (now Bangladesh) and the northwest. A member of the Commonwealth of Nations, India is the second most populous country in the world
via Latin from Greek India, from Indos, the name of the Indus River, from Persian Hind, from Sanskrit sindhu 'river', specifically 'the Indus', also 'the region around the Indus' (compare with Sindhi). Both the Greeks and the Persians extended the name to include all the country east of the Indus. Compare with Hindi and Hindu