India is a diverse multiethnic country that is home to thousands of small ethnic and tribal groups. It is often said that India is a perfect example of unity in diversity. People belong to different religions and speak different languages in India. Yet, they are united with a common cultural heritage and feeling of unity in spite of having external differences.
According to the Census of 2011, India’s population is 121 crores. It is the second most populous country in the world after China. Population in India is unevenly distributed over its vast area. Some regions are densely populated while others are sparse.
Population in northern plains is very dense. Reason for this is fertile land and climate which is suitable for agriculture. Industrial belts of the country are also densely populated. Mining and industries provide job opportunities which attract people from other regions. Coastal plains are also hugely populated. Fertile alluvial soil has made these regions agriculturally productive. Hills, mountains and desert are the regions with harsh living conditions. These areas have a thin population.
India is a melting pot of races. Different people from different regions have made India their home throughout history. We find elements of three major racial groups in India. These racial groups are Caucasoid, Australoid, and Mongoloid.
More than 1600 languages and dialects are spoken in India. 22 languages are officially recognised in the Constitution of India. Indian languages mainly come from two language groups, i.e., the Dravidian group and the Sanskritic group. Dravidian group of languages includes Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. Each language of this group has its own script. Sanskritic group of languages is a branch of Indo-European family of languages. Most languages of North India belong to this group. It includes Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Oriya, and Urdu.
India is a secular country. It does not have any state religion. Followers of all the great religions of the world are found in India. Important religious communities of India are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis, Jews, and Buddhists.
Apart from these there are various tribal groups like the Gonds, Bhils, Santhals, etc., in India. The Gonds of central India are the largest tribal group. They are also known as Koior Koitur. The Bhils are the second largest tribal groups in India. Their area of concentration is Rajasthan. They constitute about 39% of the total population of Rajasthan. The Santhals are the third largest tribal group of India. They are concentrated in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.