It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.
The Indian early medieval age, CE to CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs. Areas directly governed by the British are shaded pink; the princely states under British suzerainty are in yellow. Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between and The appointment in of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state.
These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.
Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.
Mahatma Gandhi right led the independence movement. The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks—many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets.
After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served ,  a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislations , by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol. Indian participation in World War II , the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism.
All were capped by the advent of independence in , but tempered by the partition of India into two states: Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture. Geography of India A topographic map of India India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate , and part of the Indo-Australian Plate. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.