With a total population approaching 1 billion, India is the second most populous nation on earth after China. Collectively, the people of India are called Indians or Asian Indians. However, within its borders, there are dozens of ethnic and language groups with great diversity. These groups are mostly divided according to geographic region, making India seem more like a collection of countries than a single nation.
Among the largest of these groups are the (1) Andhras, a Hindu group in the southeast, (2) the Gonds, a large hill tribal group, (3) the Gujaratis, a Muslim group who inhabit western India, (4) the Marathas, a Hindu group that inhabit western India, (5) the Oriya, Hindus who inhabit eastern India, (6) Rajputs, Hindus who inhabit north and west India; and (7) the Tamils who practice Hinduism and Islam and inhabit southern India and Sri Lanka. This chapter has articles on all of these groups except the Tamils, who are profiled separately in the chapter on Sri Lanka in Volume 8. This chapter begins with an article on the people of India as a whole.