Since around 1990, an increasingly well-educated younger generation has arisen from thoughout India's own people groups - with their diverse ethnic origins, cultures, languages and religions - to spearhead the country's astonishing economic emergence to its current position as a world leader in industries such as computer software and service industries.
Yet add to India's ethnic diversity - and sheer scale of population - a Hindu-based 'caste' system of social hierarchy (forbidden in India's constitution but entrenched in daily life for the majority of the population), and the result is one of the world's most complex countries to define.
Indeed, many ethnic and religious groups in India have struggled - sometimes violently - to define and improve their own situations. The world's largest democracy has flirted with religious extremism which has frequently erupted, at best into political turmoil, at worst into bloody violence.
Meanwhile, countless ordinary Indians await any trickle-down effect of their country's astonishing economic growth, and face a day-to-day challenge to scrape a living.
And right at the bottom of the caste system, tens of millions of Dalits ('untouchables') must sadly consider themselves fortunate to achieve even that.
Religion: Hinduism (majority). Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, traditional ethnic beliefs
Christians in India
While religious freedom in India is constitutionally guaranteed, the rise of Hindu extremism during the 1990's impacted both the Muslim and Christian minorities.
Individual states in India have varying powers to introduce laws, and a number sought to bring in anti-conversion laws which have added pressures and even dangers to the lives of Christians seeking to share the gospel and plant churches. A number of workers have been murdered in high-profile incidents in recent years.
Nevertheless, Christianity in India has a rich heritage with a wide denominational representation. After the missionary endeavours of William Carey 200 years ago - with many others following on - a notable feature of the Indian Church has been the scope and quality of training for indigenous Christian leaders, with many highly-respected Bible colleges and institutes being established.
From time to time, areas of India have experienced church growth akin to revival, while other regions remain notorious for being amongst the toughest mission fields on earth.