HistoryIndia gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947 due to the activism of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and many other leaders of the Indian National Congress. India consisted of much of the former British Raj, but a power-sharing deal between Nehru and the Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah failed and led to the formation of the independent Muslim state of Pakistan, the eastern half of which would later become independent as Bangladesh. Since the partition of India, India has been historical rivals with Pakistan, waging several wars against them, starting with a war over Kashmir immediately after independence - to this day, Kashmir is still disputed between the two countries. In addition, India fought a border war with China in 1962 over the Aksai Chin mountains, and China was victorious over India in the short Sino-Indian War. Today, India still has conflicts with Pakistan and Pakistani-supported Muslim militant groups in Pakistan, as well as radical Sikh groups that seek to achieve the independence of the state of Khalistan in the Punjab.
Ever since the start of civilization in India, the country has been home to many beliefs and cultures, with Hinduism being the dominant religion of the country. Its caste system has been in control of society since the start of Indian history, and women are still forced into arranged marriages in the country as a part of tradition. Under Jawaharlal Nehru, India instituted a policy of secularism to allow followers of the other main religions - Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Christianity - to practice their beliefs without being oppressed by the government. Today, 79.8% of Indians are Hindu, 14.2% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.72% Sikh, and .24% other religions. Hindi is the main language of the Indian people, but the official language is English, a language spoken by politicians, businesspeople, and upper-class people; there is no "national language".