People, north india

Two basic components of this heritage, which have at the same time shaped this heritage, are the land, the natural and physical environment of India, and the people who have inhabited this land. The generations of people who have inhabited India during various periods of her history have interacted with their physical and natural environment. They have also interacted among themselves. Through these processes of interaction - between people and their natural and physical environment and among themselves - the people have created their history, their social, economic, cultural and political life. These processes of interaction have been going on for thousands of years, bringing in changes in the life of the people. The world of man, therefore, has never been stationary. The people inhabiting the country from very early times as well as people of other parts of the world have viewed it as a single integral and distinctive unit. Since the time of the Old Stone Age, people from neighboring as well as distant regions have been coming into India through the mountain passes and the seas and making India their home. The people of India have been formed as a result of these migrations over thousands of years. They are the descendants of groups of people belonging to almost all the 'racial stocks' which have gone into the making of the Indian population are the Proto-Australoids, the Palaeo-Mediterraneans, the Caucasoids, the Negroid and the Mongoloids in their varying degrees of mixtures. In historical times, the ethnic groups which have come to India and made India their home include the Indo-European speaking people (the Indo-Aryans), the Persians, the Greeks, the Kushanas, the Shakas, the Hunas, the Arabs, the Turks, the Africans and the Mongols. During the past few hundred years, many Europeans have also made India their home. All there 'racial' and ethnic groups have intermingled with one another and few of them can be recognized in their original form. Thus, India has been a crucible of various 'races' and ethnic groups.

The migration of people into India has been a major factor in the development of various aspects of India's life and culture since pre-historic times. In historical times, the importance of this factor is conspicuous in almost every period of India's history. The people from other cultures and civilizations have brought with them their own traditions, which got intermixed and integrated with the pre-existing traditions. Similarly, people of India have gone to other parts of the world and various elements of culture carried by them have intermixed and have been integrated with the pre-existing cultures there. During the past 2000 years, the influence of various elements of Indian culture has been particularly evident in many countries of Asia.