Broadly India can be divided into North and South India. The origins of the people of India cannot be exactly be known, but its known that the modern population is made up of two distinct heterogeneous, genetically divergent people that mixed about 4,000 to 5000 years ago. These two distinct groups are the Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians.
North India includes the States of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and the Union Territory known of Chandigarh. Indo-Aryan Language is dominant in the North.
The North is predominantly Indo Aryan with ethnic groups such as Brahmins, Ahirs, Jats, Rajputs, Gurjars, Kolis, Khatris, Kambojs, Banias and Dalits.
The dominant religion is Hinduism, with an overwhelming population practising in the states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Various ethnic groups either practice Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. Islam has a huge following in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Sikh has a majority following in Punjab.
The states that make up South India Include; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu including the union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep archipelago.
The dominant ethnic groups in South India include the Tamils, Telugus, Kannadas and Malayalis. Hinduism has majority of followers in South India with about 80% of the 252 million population in the South. Islam ranks second with 11% of the population and Christianity a distant third at 8% has the second largest followers in the region, with 11%, while 8% follow Christianity. The state of Kerala is home to the highest number of Christians in the whole of Indian Union. There are 4 languages in the south namely the Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam with Gondi and other minor dialects which are all Dravidian along with the Austro-Asiatic Munda Languages. In South India, the most dominant language is the Dravidian divided in 1956 by the States reorganisation act separating states along linguistic lines.
People of India
Commonly known as Indians, they are citizens of the Republic of India. India forms a significant geographical part of Southern Asia, with the Indian people forming about 17% of the world’s population. The people of India consist of a diverse with many etho-linguistic small groups who represent a rich but complex Indian history.
Anthropologists have classified the people of India being composed of one of 6 major ethno-racial groups that frequently overlap with one another due to progressive racial mix-up.
Indian population consists of many diverse ethnic groups but there are 6 major ones namely:
Negritos are the earliest of the races to arrive in India from Africa. Currently, they are mostly located in their original ancestral habitat in Andaman and the Nicobar Islands. Tribes include the Onges, Sentinelese, Jarawas and Andamanese. Located in south of the mainland India are the Kodars, Kurumbas, Paniyans and Irulas tribes.
Australoids or Austrics
After the Negroids, the Australoids were the next group to arrive in India. They are an ethnic group composed of people characterised by brown bodies covered in wavy hair, long heads, low foreheads, thick jaws with small chins. The Indian Austrics have medium height with a dark skin complexion and flat shaped noses. Interactions with Negroids earlier on might explain their dark complexion and the shape of the nose. They are mostly located in Myanmar and islands South East of Asia with their native language used in East and Central of India.
This ethnic group is found the states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, Meghalay, Mizoram and Tripura that form North East of India. Some are also located in the Northern parts which include Sikkim, Bengal and Ladakh. They are characterised by a yellow complexion, high cheek bones with medium height.
Tribes include the Dinarics, Alpinoids, Armenoids, Parsis and Kodavas. Found West of India in the Ganga Valley, Kashmir, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, The Western Bracycephals are characterised by their broad heads.
The Dravadians are believed to have arrived earlier than the Aryans. The Dravidians can be located south of India. Most South Indians belong to this ethnic group. They share the same ancestors with the Asia Minor, Crete and pre-Hellenic people of Greece. They have greatly contributed to Indian civilisation and have association to the Indus valley.
The last of the six to arrive in India between 2000 to 1500 B.C. Mostly located North and Central parts of the Country.