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PHYSICAL FEATURES]
375
INDIA

addition to this ecclesiastics have to obtain a personal authorization for all their books and for the acceptance of the editorship of a periodical (Nos. 41-42). The penalty of excommunication ipso facto is only maintained for reading books written by heretics or apostates in defence of heresy, or books condemned by name under pain of excommunication by pontifical letters (not by decrees of the Index). By the same constitution Leo XIII. ordered the revision of the catalogue of the Index. The new Index, which omits works anterior to 1600 as well as a great number of others included in the old catalogue, appeared in 1900. The encyclical Pascendi of Pius X. (8th September 1907) made it obligatory for periodicals amenable to the ecclesiastical authority to be submitted to a censor, who subsequently makes useful observations. The legislation of Leo XIII. resulted in the better observance of the rules for the publication of books, but apparently did not modify the practice as regards the reading of prohibited books. It is to be regretted that the catalogue does not discriminate among the prohibited works according to the motive of their condemnation and the danger ascribed to reading them. The tendency of the practice among Catholics at large is to reduce these condemnations to the proportions of the moral law.

See H. Reusch, Der Index der verbotenen Bücher (Bonn, 1883); A. Arndt, De Libris prohibitis commentarii (Ratisbon, 1895); A. Boudinhon, La Nouvelle Législation de l’index (Paris, 1899); J. Hilgers, Der Index der verbotenen Bücher (Freiburg in B., 1904); A. Vermeersch, De prohibitione et censura librorum (Tournai, 1907); T. Hurley, Commentary on the Present Index Legislation (Dublin, 1908).  (A. Bo.*) 

INDIA,[1] a great country and empire of Asia under British rule, inhabited by a congeries of different races, speaking upwards of fifty different languages. The whole Indian empire, including Burma, has an area of 1,766,000 sq. m., and a population of 294 million inhabitants, being about equal to the area and population of the whole of Europe without Russia. The population more than doubles Gibbon’s estimate of 120 millions for all the races and nations which obeyed imperial Rome.

The natives of India can scarcely be said to have a word of their own by which to express their common country. In Sanskrit, it would be called “Bharata-varsha,” from Bharata, a legendary monarch of the Lunar line; but Sanskrit is no more the vernacular of India than Latin is of Europe. The name “Hindustan,” which was at one time adopted by European geographers, is of Persian origin, meaning “the land of the Hindus,” as Afghanistan means “the land of the Afghans.” According to native usage, however, “Hindustan” is limited either to that portion of the peninsula lying north of the Vindhya mountains, or yet more strictly to the upper basin of the Ganges where Hindi is the spoken language. The “East Indies,” as opposed to the “West Indies,” is an old-fashioned and inaccurate phrase, dating from the dawn of maritime discovery, and still lingering in certain parliamentary papers. “India,” the abstract form of a word derived through the Greeks from the Persicized form of the Sanskrit sindhu, a “river,” pre-eminently the Indus, has become familiar since the British acquired the country, and is now officially recognized in the imperial title of the sovereign.

The Country

India, as thus defined, is the middle of the three irregularly shaped peninsulas which jut out southwards from the mainland of Asia, thus corresponding roughly to the peninsula of Italy in the map of Europe. Its form is that of a great triangle, with its base Position
and
shape.
resting upon the Himalayan range and its apex running far into the ocean. The chief part of its western side is washed by the Arabian Sea, and the chief part of its eastern side by the Bay of Bengal. It extends from the 8th to the 37th degree of north latitude, that is to say, from the hottest regions of the equator to far within the temperate zone. The capital, Calcutta, lies in 88° E., so that when the sun sets at six o’clock there, it is just past mid-day in England and early morning in New York. The length of India from north to south, and its greatest breadth from east to west, are both about 1900 m.; but the triangle tapers with a pear-shaped curve to a point at Cape Comorin, its southern extremity. To this compact dominion the British have added Burma, the strip of country on the eastern shores of the Bay of Bengal. But on the other hand the adjacent island of Ceylon has been administratively severed and placed under the Colonial Office. Two groups of islands in the Bay of Bengal, the Andamans and the Nicobars; one group in the Arabian Sea, the Laccadives; and the outlying station of Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea, with Perim, and protectorates over the island of Sokotra, along the southern coast of Arabia and in the Persian Gulf, are all politically included within the Indian empire; while on the coast of the peninsula itself, Portuguese and French settlements break at intervals the continuous line of British territory.

India is shut off from the rest of Asia on the north by a vast mountainous region, known in the aggregate as the Himalayas, amid Boundaries. which lie the independent states of Nepal and Bhutan, with the great table-land of Tibet behind. The native principality of Kashmir occupies the north-western angle of India. At this north-western angle (in 35° N., 74° E.) the mountains curve southwards, and India is separated by the well-marked ranges of the Safed Koh and Suliman from Afghanistan; and by a southern continuation of lower hills from Baluchistan. Still farther southwards, India is bounded along the W. and S.W. by the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Turning northwards from the southern extremity at Cape Comorin (8° 4′ 20″ N., 77° 35′ 35″ E.), the long sea-line of the Bay of Bengal forms the main part of its eastern boundary. But on the north-east, as on the north-west, India has again a land frontier. The Himalayan ranges at the north-eastern angle (in about 28° N., 97° E.) throw off spurs and chains to the south-east, which separate Eastern Bengal from Assam and Burma. Stretching south-eastwards from the delta of the Irrawaddy, a confused succession of little explored ranges separates the Burmese division of Tenasserim from the native kingdom of Siam. The boundary line runs down to Point Victoria at the extremity of Tenasserim (9° 59′ N., 98° 32′ E.), following in a somewhat rough manner the watershed between the rivers of the British territory on the west and of Siam on the east.

The empire included within these boundaries is rich in varieties of scenery and climate, from the highest mountains in the world to Three regions. vast river deltas raised only a few inches above the level of the sea. It practically forms a continent rather than a country. But if we could look down on the whole from a balloon, we should find that India (apart from Burma, for which see the separate article) consists of three separate and well-defined tracts.

The first of the three regions is the Himalaya (q.v.) mountains and their offshoots to the southward, comprising a system of stupendous Himalayas. ranges, the loftiest in the world. They are the Emodus of Ptolemy (among other names), and extend in the shape of a scimitar, with its edge facing southwards, for a distance of 1500 m. along the northern frontier of India. At the north-eastern angle of that frontier, the Dihang river, the connecting link between the Tsanpo of Tibet and the Brahmaputra of Assam, bursts through the main axis of the range. At the opposite or north-western angle, the Indus in like manner pierces the Himalayas, and turns southwards on its course through the Punjab. This wild region is in many parts impenetrable to man, and nowhere yields a passage for a modern army. Ancient and well-known trade routes exist, by means of which merchandise from the Punjab finds its way over heights of 18,000 ft. into Eastern Turkestan and Tibet. The Muztagh (Snowy Mountain), the Karakoram (Black Mountain), and the Changchenmo are the most famous of these passes.

The Himalayas not only form a double wall along the north of India, but at both their eastern and western extremities send out ranges to the south, which protect its north-eastern and north-western frontiers. On the north-east, those offshoots, under the name of the Naga and Patkoi mountains, &c., form a barrier between the civilized districts of Assam and the wild tribes of Upper Burma. On the opposite or north-western frontier of India, the mountainous offshoots run down the entire length of the British boundaries from the Himalayas to the sea. As they proceed southwards, their best marked ranges are in turn known as the Safed Koh, the Suliman and the Hala mountains. These massive barriers have peaks of great height, culminating in the Takht-i-Suliman or Throne of Solomon, 11,317 ft. above the level of the sea. But the mountain wall is pierced at the corner where it strikes southwards from the Himalayas by an opening through which the Kabul river flows into India. An adjacent opening, the Khyber Pass, the Kurram Pass to the south of it, the Gomal Pass near Dera Ismail Khan, the Tochi Pass between the two last-named, and the famous Bolan Pass


  1. The spelling throughout all the articles dealing with India is that adopted by the government of India, modified in special instances with deference to long-established usage.