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  • The Republic of India, whose capital is Delhi, is bordered by Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) to the east and Pakistan to the west.
  • It’s the seventh-largest country, covering more than three million square kilometres, and second only to China in terms of population, at over 1.1 billion. Hindus comprise eighty percent of the population, Muslims thirteen percent, and there are millions of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Twenty-three official languages are spoken, along with more than a thousand minor languages and dialects; Hindi is the language of over forty percent of the population; English is also widely spoken.
  • The caste system is pervasive and, although integral to Hindu belief, it also encompasses non-Hindus. It holds special sway in rural areas and may dictate where a person lives and what their occupation is.
  • Seventy-three percent of males are literate, compared to 48 percent of females: 61 percent of the total population.
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