India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” -- Mark Twain
“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.” -- Albert Einstein
"It is, indeed, a remarkable circumstance that when Western civilization discovers Relativity it applies it to the manufacture of atom-bombs, whereas Indian civilization applies it to the development of new states of consciousness." -- Alan Watts (1915-1973) Harvard ...view middle of the document...
The bulk of Indian religion and almost all of its literature is Indo-European. Second to the Indo-Europeans, but more ancient in India than the later immigrants, are a people who speak languages from the Dravidian family of languages. While we cannot be certain, the Dravidians were probably the authors of the great Indus River civilizations, contemporary with the Mesopotamian civilizations to the west.
The major languages, most of which are Indo-European, are Hindi, Urdu (which is very closely related to Hindi but uses Arabic script), Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Sindhi, Oriya, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Nepali, Telugu (Dravidian), Tamil (Dravidian), Kannada (Dravidian), Malayalam (Dravidian).
Despite this variety of languages, Indian culture is remarkably fluid and the contacts between peoples frequent and productive. Very few cultures are so tied into the overall geography of their region; Hinduism requires frequent pilgrimages as part of one's spiritual perfection, so the intercourse between different peoples has been constant throughout Indian history.
Geography. The most striking element of Indian geography is the natural barrier formed by the mountain ranges in the north of India. The central mountain range, passing across in the shape of a sword near the northern edge of the Indian subcontinent, is the...