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Introduction to India

Last week, we continued to study India with 4 different texts. We were separated into 4 groups and had to introduce each document.

The first one was about Hinduism. We learnt that it is the oldest religion in the world. However, Hinduism is different from the others beliefs. It is a kind of "family of religions", with many philosophies. And there is no single founder of Hinduism. Hindus believe in a cyclical life and reincarnation. It depends on your "karma"; the different actions that you accomplish in your human life.

The second text was about Indian colonization. It began in 1600 with the arrival of the British East India Compagny, which was a trading compagny. They exploited resources of India, like cotton, silk, tea or spices. In 1857, native members of the British army revolted because the rifle catridges had been greased with pig and cow fat and it was unacceptable to them as they HIndus and Muslims. A brutal conflit erupted then between Muslims and Hindus and the British. In 1877 Queen Victoria became Empress of India.

The third document was about the independence of India. We learnt that a group of people, led by Gandhi, started a non-violent anti-British campaign. It created a division between Hindus, who were a majority, and Muslims, who were a minority. In 1947 the British left the country and India became independent but there was a lot of violence between Hindus and Muslims. Half a million people died.. This movement resulted in the creation of Pakistan and Bengladesh.

The last document was about modern India and its democracy. The government is modeled on the british Parliament : the president is elected for 5 years by Parliament members, and he chooses the Prime minister. India raised the political level by electing the 1st woman Prime minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1964 and then the first woman President, Pratibha Patil, in 2007.

Then on Thursday, we were separated into 2 groups, one whith our English teacher, and the other with Theresa, an american student. The groupe with Theresa studied an article written by Alexandra Petri in The Whashington Post. It was entitled "Is poetry dead ?". During an hour, we read the article and tried to find arguments for and against this idea. We have to find others arguments at home now, because we will have a debate just before our holidays.

Finally, on Friday, we went on the computers to make a quizz on the internet aboutIndia. We had half an hour to find information and try to answer 30 questions. For Monday, we have to learn the information we talked about in class about India because we will have a test.

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