Geography of India• Location: Southern Asia, bordering the ArabianSea and the Bay of Bengal, between Myanmarand Pakistan• Area:▫ Total: 3,287,263 sq km▫ Country comparison to the world: 7▫ Land: 2,973,193 sq km▫ Water: 314,070 sq km• Area – comparative: Slightly more than one-third the size of the U.S.• Land boundaries:▫ Total: 14,103 km▫ Border countries: Bangladesh 4,053 km,Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km• Coastline: 7,000 km
Government of India• Capital: New Delhi▫ Largest city: Mumbai (in both population andarea)• Official languages: Hindi, English (Hindi in theDevanagari script is the Union’s official language.English is an extra co-official language forGovernment work.)• Demonym: Indian• Government: Federal parliamentaryconstitutional republic• President: Pranab Mukherjee• Vice President: Mohammad Hamid Ansari• Prime Minister: Manmohan Singh (INC)• Speaker of the House: Meira Kumar (INC)• Chief Justice: Altamas Kabir (INC)• Legislature: Parliament of India• Upper house: Rajya Sabha• Lower house: Lok Sabha
Pranab Mukherjee• Born in Mirati, Bengal Presidency (now West Bengal,India) on 11 December 1935.• 13th and current President of India, in office since 25July 2012.• Was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress andheld numerous ministerial portfolios in the Governmentof India, in a political career extending over six decades.• Was Union Finance Minister from 2009-2012, and theCongress party’s top troubleshooter, before his electionas President.• Got his break in political life in 1969 when PM IndiraGandhi helped secure his election to the Rajya Sabha,the upper house of Parliament, on a Congress ticket.• After a meteoric rise, he became one of Indira Gandhi’smost trusted lieutenants, and as a minister in 1973.• Was charged with (like numerous other Congressleaders) with committing gross excess es during thecontroversial Internal Emergency of 1975-1977.• His service in various ministerial capacities led to hisfirst stint as finance minister in 1982-1984.• Additionally served as Leader of the House in the RajyaSabha from 1980-1985.
Mohammad Hamid Ansari• Born in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency (nowKolkata, West Bengal) on 1 April 1937.• 14th and current VP of India, in office since 11August 2007.• Is, after Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the onlyindividual to be elected for the position of VP ofIndia for two consecutive terms.• Also the current President of the Indian Institute ofPublic Administration and Chancellor of PanjabUniversity, Chandigarh.• Worked as a diplomat and served as Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University from2000-2002; was later Chairman of the NationalCommission for Minorities from 2006-2007.• Was elected as VP of India on 10 August 2007; wassworn in the following day.• Was re-elected on 7 August 2012 and was sworn inby Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India; theoath taking ceremony took place at RashtrapatiBhavan on 11 August 2012.
Manmohan Singh• Born in Gah, Punjab, on 26 September 1932.• 13th and current PM of India; assumed office on 22 May 2004.• Celebrated economist; only PM since Jawaharlal Nehru to return topower after finishing a full five-year term, and also the first Sikh tooccupy the post.• His family migrated to India during its partition and subsequentindependence in 1947.• Worked for the United Nations from 1966-1969 after earning hisdoctorate in economics from Oxford.• Later started his ceremonial career when Lalit Narayan Mishraemployed him as an assistant in the Ministry of Trade.• Held numerous important positions in the Government of India,during the 70s and 80s.• In 1991, when India underwent a harsh economic crisis, recentlyelected PM P.V. Narasimha Rao unexpectedly brought the apoliticalSingh into his cabinet as Finance Minister; throughout the next fewyears, in spite of strong opposition, he as Finance Ministerconducted numerous structural changes that liberalised the Indianeconomy.• Whereas these standards were successful in stopping the crisis, andincreased his standing internationally as a leading reform-mindedeconomist, the incumbent Indian National Congress did poorly inthe 1996 general election.• Later served as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (theupper house of the Indian parliament) during Atal Bihari’sgovernment, 1998-2004.
Meira Kumar• Born in Sasaram (now Bihar) on 31 March 1945.• Five-time MP.• Was elected unopposed as the first woman Speakerof Lok Sabha on 3 June 2009.• Lawyer and ex-diplomat.• Was elected to the 8th, 11th, 12th, and 14th Lok Sabha,in which she remained Cabinet Minister of SocialJustice and Empowerment (2004-2009), beforebeing a member of the 15th Lok Sabha.• Was born in the Patna district in Bihar to the ex-Deputy PM and important leader Babu JagjivanRam and a freedom fighter, Indrani Devi.• Attended Welham Girls School, Dehradun andMaharani Gayatri Devi Girls’ Public School, Jaipur.• Did her MA and LLB at Indraprastha College andMiranda House, Delhi University.
Altamas Kabir• Born in Kolkata on 19 July 1948.• 39th and current Chief Justice of India; assumed officeon 29 September 2012.• Was born in a Bengali Muslim family.• Studied law at the University of Calcutta, Kolkata.• His father, Jehangir Kabir, was a leading Congresspolitican and trade union leader from West Bengal whowas a Minister in the B.C. Roy and P.C. Senministries, and also went on to be a minister in the firstnon-Congress government in West Bengal in 1967, withAjoy Kumar Mukherjee as the Chief Justice of WestBengal.• Studied in the renowned Mount HermonSchool, Darjeeling, and Calcutta Boys’ School ofCalcutta.• Amazed by one of his argumentative articles on socialmatters and their answers, an instructor at CalcuttaBoys’ School recommended that he follow a career inlaw.• Studied law after graduating in history from PresidencyCollege, then affiliated with the University of Calcutta.
Indian National Congress• One of India’s two main political parties; the other is theBharatiya Janata Party.• Biggest and one of the oldest democratically-functioningpolitical parties in the world.• Its modern liberal platform is mainly seen as left-wing inIndia’s political spectrum, in contrast to the right-wing socio-religious ultra-nationalist-based Bharatiya Janata Party.• Founded in 1885 by members of the occultist movementTheosophical Society (Allan Octavian Hume, DadabhaiNaoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee,Surendranath Banerjee, Monomohun Ghose, MahadevGovind Ranade, and William Wedderburn); became a centralmember in the Indian Independence Movement, with morethan 15 million members and more than 70 millionparticipants in the fight against British colonial rule in India.• Became the country’s governing party after India gainedindependence in 1947, and was led chiefly by the Nehru-Gandifamily; only recently have any significant competitions forparty leadership come around.• Emerged as the single biggest party in the Lok Sabha in the2009 general election; 206 of its nominees were subsequentlyelected to the 543-member house.• Accordingly, as a participant in a coalition of politicalorganisations called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), itachieved a majority, forming the government.
Bharatiya Janata Party• One of India’s two main political parties; the other is theIndian National Congress.• Founded in 1980; second biggest political party in India,in relation to parliament representation and in thenumerous state assemblies.• Designates “integral humanism”, based upon a 1965book by Deendayal Upadhyaya, to be its formal ideologyand key philosophy.• Labelled as “Hindu nationalist”, and supports socialconservatism, self-reliance as outlined by the Swadeshimovement, and a foreign policy focused on keynationalist beliefs.• Its party platform is normally believed to be right-wingof the Indian political spectrum.• Led the national government together with a coalition ofparties of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from1998-2004, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as PM,accordingly making it the first non-Congressgovernment to spend a full term in office.• Has been instrumental in the opposition in parliamentsince its election defeat in the 2004 general elections.