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THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

What is in the Taj Mahal?

Located in Agra, India, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for the wife of the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan. After Arjuman Banu Bagam's death in 1631, her husband began construction of the mausoleum in 1632. Over 300 feet (91.4 meters) tall, the white marble mausoleum is a grandiose and striking memorial to her life and death.

What makes New Delhi so new?

From 1773 to 1912, the capital of India was Calcutta, then was moved to Delhi in 1912. Because the British wanted to build a brand-new capital city, they began to construct a new city adjacent to Delhi (now known as Old Delhi). When construction was completed on this new city in 1931, it became the capital of India and was known as New Delhi. The metropolitan area of Old and New Delhi is one of the world's largest urban areas, containing a population of over 16 million people.

Where did Bombay go?

In 1996, India changed the name of the third largest metropolitan area (population 19 million) from Bombay to Mumbai.

What is Bollywood?

Known as "Bollywood," Mumbai, India (previously called Bombay), is the world's movie capital. The entertainment industry in India produces more than 1,000 films annually, which is much more than the United States.

Where is Dum Dum airport?

Each year, over two and a half million passengers pass through Dum Dum Interna tional Airport in Kolkatta (Calcutta), India.

Does India have a population control program similar to China's?

Though India does not limit births to one child per family, it does have one of the oldest population control programs in the world. The program, begun in the 1950s,

An ancient drawing of the Kublai Khan (image courtesy of National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan).

An ancient drawing of the Kublai Khan (image courtesy of National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan).

Does a cashmere sweater come from Kashmir?

The Kashmir goats, which make the fine wool known as cashmere, do come from the Kashmir region in India (a disputed area not controlled by any one nation). This region, which is located in northern India bordering on Pakistan, is plagued by violence and unrest. In 1947 the British decided to split the colony of India into two separate countries—one Hindu (India) and one Islamic (Pakistan). The state of Jammu-Kashmir has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, which has led to conflict within the region. India and Pakistan have waged three wars over this region, and sporadic violence continues today.

encourages the use of birth control and family planning, and the Indian government provides grants to people who undergo sterilization surgeries. Though India's population is growing more slowly (1.46%), the world's population growth rate is still lower, at 1.17 percent.

How does India's caste system work?

The caste system is the extremely rigid, hierarchical social class system of India. Based on the ancient Hindu text "Law of Manu," the caste system consists of four categories: Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaisyas (merchants), and Sudras (servants). There are many people who are considered to be outside of the caste system, or who have no caste, called the Harijans or untouchables. The untouchables serve the most menial jobs and live literally outside of the social class system. The caste system in India dictates not only one's profession, but also whom one can marry, social contacts, and all other aspects of life.

Where is the world's second-highest mountain?

K2, at 28,250 feet (8,611 meters), is the world's second-tallest mountain. K2 sits in the disputed Kashmir region of northern Pakistan.

Where was East Pakistan?

When the British left South Asia, they divided the region into India and Pakistan. Muslim regions in Pakistan were located to the east and west of Hindu India. These two separate territories became East and West Pakistan, and were separated by approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers). Having been extremely geographically separated from West Pakistan for over three decades, East Pakistan declared independence and became Bangladesh in 1971.

Why does Bangladesh flood so often?

Given that most of Bangladesh's elevation is near sea level, and that it is located within the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, it is not remarkable that the country is easily flooded by regular monsoons (periodic winds and accompanying rainfall) and hurricanes. Unfortunately, Bangladesh also suffers from a poor emergency warning system, so people in Bangladesh are not adequately warned of impending disaster.

 
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