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The Indian people represent a civilization in Civilization VI. They are led by Gandhi, under whom their default colors are dark purple and turquoise; and (with Rise and Fall) by Chandragupta, under whom their colors are reversed.

The Indians' civilization ability is Dharma, which provides their cities with the Follower Beliefs of all religions practiced within them. In Gathering Storm, Indian cities also receive +1 Amenity Amenity for every religion with at least one follower, their Missionaries have 2 more spreads and their Trade Route Trade Route output +100% Religious Pressure. Their unique unit is the Varu, and their unique tile improvement is the Stepwell.


Starting bias: None

With strong Faith Faith generation, massive and populous cities from their Stepwells, and bonus Amenities Amenities from present religions, India is one of the best civilizations for a Religious Victory under Gandhi. On the other hand, armed with their powerful Varu, India can also compete for a Domination Victory, particularly under the leadership of Chandragupta.


Religious pressure and religion follower system[]

There are multiple ways a city can accumulate or lose religious pressure:

  • Every time a city grows a Citizen Population, it adds 50 religious pressure of the majority religion (including atheism).
  • Cities with a majority religion exerts 1 religious pressure per turn of that religion to all cities within 10 tiles. This pressure is increased to 2 if the city has a Holy Site and to 4 if it is a Holy City.
  • Cities with a majority religion exert 0.5 religious pressure per turn to any city that's sending a Trade Route Trade Route to it, and +1 religious pressure per turn to any city it's sending a Trade Route Trade Route to. This will get covered later, but for India, these numbers get doubled to 1 and 2, respectively.
  • A spread charge of a Missionary adds religious pressure equal to 2 times its current HP, and removes 10% of all other religious pressure present.
  • A spread charge of an Apostle adds religious pressure equal to 2.2 times its current HP, and removes 25% of all other religious pressure present. It will remove 75% of all other religious pressure present if that Apostle has the Proselytizer Promotion Promotion.
  • A charge of an Inquisitor removes 75% of all other religious pressure present.
  • Winning a theological combat adds 250 religious pressure to all cities within 10 tiles.
  • Losing a religious unit in theological combat or from a military unit's condemnation subtracts 250 religious pressure from all cities within 10 tiles, unless the Monastic Isolation belief is adopted.
  • If the Pilgrimage Founder belief is adopted, every Envoy Envoy to city-states adds 200 religious pressure there.

The number of followers of a certain religion in a city is calculated based on the ratio of religious pressure accumulated among different religions, including atheism, then rounded. For example, a city has 200 religious pressure of Islam, 100 of Buddhism, and 100 of atheism, the ratio of follower will be 2:1:1, respectively. Therefore, if that city has 7 Citizen Population, there will be 3 Islam followers, 1 atheist and 1 Buddhist, none of which will establish a majority religion. When that city reaches 8 Citizen Population, there will be 4 Islam followers, 2 atheists and 2 Buddhists, making Islam the majority religion.

Bonuses for having multiple religions present in cities[]

If going for a Religious Victory, this seems somewhat counter-intuitive. Rather than attempting to extinguish all other religions in your cities (by using an Inquisitor, for example), it is in India's best interest to have a flourishing mixing pot of different religions. However, this ability in and of itself is already quite powerful, because Follower beliefs are some of the most game changing beliefs in the game, with the largest, most game changing benefits from religion, such as the massive amounts of Production Production from Work Ethic or the great boon to Culture Culture from Choral Music. What's more, every religion is guaranteed to have a Follower belief, meaning that India is guaranteed to benefit from this so long as there are multiple religions present in their cities.

This ability basically turbo-charges India's religion by adding more Follower beliefs to it, as long as you can balance the number of followers in the city correctly. In order for this ability to achieve highest efficacy, your cities need to have Citizen Population high enough for multiple religions to establish a foothold (your Stepwell will help with this). The maximum number of religions can be founded in a game depends on the map size (not the number of players in game), starting at 2 on Duel maps up to 7 on Huge maps.

Also, in Gathering Storm, for every religion present in the city, 1 Amenity Amenity is granted. That is why although not mandatory, India's ability works best when India has a religion of its own, especially when led by Gandhi. Having a religion of your own and establishing it in every city of yours adds at least an extra Follower belief and a belief of another type and 1 Amenity Amenity. This is especially strong considering that in Gathering Storm, cities no longer start with 1 free Amenity Amenity anymore.

To truly maximize the number of religions present in your city, there are two things to pay attention to:

  • Your cities need to have high Citizen Population. A religion is only considered as "present" if it has at least 1 follower in the city, which means the number of present religions will never exceed the city's Citizen Population. It may be tempting to have a city with x Citizen Population and x religions present (despite being quite unrealistic), it is vital that a city should always have a majority religion, so that you can purchase religious units of that religion, and spread that religion's presence to other cities.
  • In order to fully take control of the number of religions present, it is a good idea to settle new cities close to the territory of other civilizations who already founded a religion. These new cities will quickly succumb to foreign religious pressure, which can be a good base to buy Missionaries to spread new religions to other bigger cities in your empire. Once you have spread this new religion's presence everywhere, you can convert those peripheral cities of yours back to your own religion if your religion has a good Founder, Enhancer and Worship belief. Otherwise, you can just leave those smaller cities under foreign religions, so that when you found new cities, you can spread presence of other religions to those new cities as well. Just pay attention to the majority religion of your whole empire, as long as at least 50% of your cities follow your religion, you're good to go.

Additional spread charges for Missionaries[]

This is a useful aspect and synergizes quite well with all the bonuses you will get for having multiple religions in a city. Missionaries have 2 clear advantages over Apostles in facilitating the establishment of multiple religions. First and most obvious, they are a lot cheaper. Second, they are just the better fit for the job. You don't want to completely convert your cities to a new religion, you just want at least 1 follower of each religion present. Each Missionary spread only removes 10% of other religious pressure while each Apostle spread removes 25%, so the chance you accidentally remove too much pressure of minority religions with Missionaries is very low.

When using Missionaries outside of your territory, it can be a bit trickier, especially against religious civilizations with good Faith Faith output, like Russia or Ethiopia, since Missionaries are very susceptible to Apostles and defending Inquisitors. However, you can circumvent this by starting your religious endeavors earlier than other civilizations. This ability doesn't synergize too well with Chandragupta, but under Gandhi, with the extra Faith Faith from this leader ability, the fact that you can easily earn a Golden Classical Era after building a Stepwell and training a Varu for an Exodus of the Evangelists dedication, and maybe the Holy Order belief, you can start spreading your religion way before other civilizations have Apostles. With the Golden Age dedication Exodus of the Evangelists, and later a Mosque in the city, and an optional Hagia Sophia, your Missionaries can have 9 charges. Just from an economic standpoint, as long as you have these conditions lining up, it is always better to purchase a Missionary than an Apostle to spread your religion, unless you're the suzerain of Yerevan, which allows you to freely choose any Apostle Promotion Promotion.

Boosted religious pressure from Trade Routes[]

In Civilization VI, religious pressure spread from Trade Route Trade Routes are minor, and even with India's bonus, it still barely makes any difference. The idea of spreading religious pressure through Trade Route Trade Routes is that you always get back more pressure than you give. Let's say, when City A sends a Trade Route Trade Route to City B, City A exerts 0.5 pressure of its religion to City B, but receives 1 pressure of City B's religion. (India doubles these numbers to 1 and 2, respectively.) Therefore, the prospect of focusing your Trade Route Trade Routes to one international destination to flip that city to your religion is incredibly slow and unrealistic, especially for big cities with their own Holy Sites. Even if you're sending domestic Trade Route Trade Routes between cities with different majority religions, diversifying religious presences to activate your civilization ability, you have a better, faster, more reliable (yet still very cheap) way to achieve this: through Missionaries. All in all, this "ability" is only there for thematic purposes, as its consequences are all very limited.


Gandhi has one of the worst leader abilities in the entire game. His bonus stays significant for only a short while, phases out of relevance quickly and can be easily nullified. It is a rare ability whose efficacy depends almost entirely on actions of others, not you, which leads to another issue: lack of reliability. Overall, try your best to found your own religion, and pretty much let fate take the wheel.

Extra Faith from peaceful religion founders[]

Gandhi's India receives 5 Faith Faith per turn for each civilization that has founded its own religion and currently not at war, including India. Note that other empires do not have to be at war with India specifically to nullify Gandhi's bonus, it just needs to be at war with any other major civilizations. While this certainly is a significant bonus at the start of the game, it pales a bit in the later stages of the game where you have multiple cities with Holy Sites producing Faith Faith, in addition to other sources.

For reference, a single Holy Site with a +2 adjacency bonus, a Shrine, a Temple, and a worship building that yields +3 Faith Faith (a Cathedral, Gurdwara, Meeting House, Mosque, Pagoda, or Wat) will produce 13 Faith Faith per turn. This is practically the lower limit for how much a well-placed Holy Site can produce; combine the right policy cards and pantheon, and you can easily break 20.

In the beginning, focus on exploration to scout out as many civilizations as you can, as the extra Faith Faith can be quite substantial in early eras. However, when the conquering begins, you will start to lose this Faith Faith bonus quite easily, as it depends on actions of others, not you, and there is little you can do to change it. You can even lose the 5 Faith Faith you earn for founding a religion if you receive a declaration of war, so even that Faith Faith is not secured by being peaceful. One small opportunity can arise when two religion founders are at war with one another. Although you will lose out on 10 Faith Faith per turn since both these civilizations are less likely to have another enemy, you can take advantage of the situation, swoop in and convert both of them.

Double war weariness for enemies[]

In addition, any civilization at war with Gandhi receives double the penalty to Amenities Amenities. To quickly summarize how war weariness works, for every battle fought and death incurred, both sides of the war gain war weariness. Battles and deaths that take place on foreign soil, and wars in later eras incur more weariness. Also, surprise wars incur more war weariness than wars with a Casus Belli.

This bonus, coupled with the Varu, can dissuade other empires from ever declaring war on you. Lots of casualties on Indian soil against Gandhi can incur a huge amount of negative Amenities Amenities rapidly, which may allow you to stay peaceful and keep your 5 Faith Faith for a bit longer (not that this bonus matters that much). However, after your Varu becomes obsolete, you still need to be on the lookout. War weariness is most dreadful during a long, drawn-out war with a lot of casualties. If your army is weak and can barely offer resistance, any invasion attempt will be quick and conclusive, rendering this ability not much of an insurance against invasion, but being totally worthless.


Chandragupta is vastly superior as the leader of India. While Gandhi's bonus is insignificant, quickly becomes irrelevant and largely undependable, Chandragupta's ability is powerful and maintains its prowess long after it becomes available, allowing India to snowball quickly toward a Domination Victory.

Chandragupta's India allows you to play more aggressively. With Arthashastra, you may declare a War of Territorial Expansion after researching the Military Training civic. After using this Casus Belli, units gain +5 Strength Combat Strength and +2 Movement Movement for 10 turns. This bonus catapults the status of the Varu from a slow-moving defensive cavalry unit to an unstoppable blitzkrieg Classical Era tanks. After Political Philosophy, in order to reach Military Training, you also need Military Tradition and Games and Recreation. Since your first push will be mounted on the shoulders of the Varu, which is unlocked with Horseback Riding, a tech that is easy to beeline, you need a healthy generation of Culture Culture in the early game to reach Military Training quickly. Therefore, build Monuments in every city and assign Pingala with Connoisseur in your largest city, most likely your Capital Capital.

In order to declare a War of Territorial Expansion, you need two cities within 10 tiles of two cities of another civilization, which makes this one of the easier casus belli condition to satisfy. There are two notes regarding this:

  • This makes Chandragupta almost a non-factor on water-heavy maps, maps with high degrees of discontinuity, or maps where the number of players is reduced. India, as a whole, is an underwhelming civilization. They have a finnicky civilization ability, a very underwhelming tile improvement, and a slow and defensive unique unit. Without being able to activate Chandragupta's ability, India is an overall subpar civilization.
  • Unlike other early domination civilizations, you actually need to put effort into early expansion before starting your conquest. At least 2 more Settlers (3 cities in total) can be a good base to launch your attack.

Similar to other Casus Belli, a 5-turn denunciation is required. Within 10 turns of a War of Territorial Expansion being declared, a Varu has 45 Strength Combat Strength and can move as fast as a Horseman. Additionally, since a unit next to a Varu has its Strength Combat Strength lowered by 5, a Varu basically has 50 Strength Combat Strength in battles against adjacent units, essentially making it an Ancient/Classical Knight! Try to finish the war quickly before the bonus runs out, so that your army has enough time to heal and start the next conquest. Keep original Capital Capital and cities required for Loyalty only, so the lack of Amenities Amenities won't weigh you down too much. You can completely wipe out empires or you can keep them barely alive, in case you become the target of an Emergency. In that situation, all you need to do is to declare a War of Territorial Expansion on one of the civilizations you have "visited" but still keep alive to give your army a boost against the Emergency participants. The empires you have crippled most likely already denounced you, and cannot cause you extra troubles.

Regarding religions, although India's ability is better if you can found a religion of your own (as detailed above), it is not mandatory. In the early game, you have to prepare for your attacks by building Monuments, Settlers, Builders, and ideally an Encampment with a Stable, your plate is a bit too full to comfortably fit a Holy Site and a Shrine in anywhere. If you start conquering early and manage to capture a few Holy Sites before all religions are founded, you can potentially get one of your own. Although Crusade seems tempting for any religious-domination civilization, it is very much a "win-more" way of thinking, and you most likely won't use it. Customize your religion to maximize Amenities Amenities to keep your conquered cities happy and loyal. These Holy Sites, as well as the Stepwells, will help provide Faith Faith to be used in combination with the Grand Master's Chapel, keeping your army up to date beyond the relevance of the Varu.


The Stepwell is an underwhelming tile improvement, as it directly competes for space with Farms and can usually be replaced with Farms for better Food Food yields.

Players are incentivized to build Stepwells next to a Farm and a Holy Site. A yield of +2 Food Food, +1 Faith Faith, and +1 Housing Housing is a strong yield in the Ancient Era, when they first become available. Even with just Farm adjacency, +2 Food Food and +1 Housing Housing is better than a Farm until Feudalism is researched. The key words in the previous sentence are "until Feudalism is researched." Feudalism marks a crucial milestone in every civilization's civic development, since it unlocks the powerful Serfdom policy card. Building Stepwells in the early game means you will have to train more Builders to build Farms elsewhere to trigger the Inspiration Inspiration for Feudalism. Feudalism only unlocks two eras after the Stepwell, making any investment into Stepwells inefficient. Additionally, the bonuses for building Stepwells adjacent to multiple Farms and Holy Sites aren't cumulative, so the Stepwell will often interfere with triangular placement of Farms. And since Stepwells cannot be placed next to one another, the total Food Food and Housing Housing can get from Stepwells building Stepwells in one city are always less than just focusing on building Farms.

There are three other unique improvements that grant 1 Housing Housing right from the get-go: the Kampung, Terrace Farm, and Mekewap. These, however, are among the most powerful improvements in the game because they either have a unique placement restriction that allows the civilization to take advantage of certain terrains before other civilizations can, or provide huge yields that scale well (Gold Gold for the Mekewap, Production Production and Food Food for the Terrace Farm and Kampung). Stepwells provide Faith Faith, but in an amount so small it doesn't make a difference: +1 with Feudalism and an additional +1 if placed next to a Holy Site. All in all, what the Stepwell critically lacks is an identity, as it's very hard to answer the question of why you should build Stepwells instead of Farms. A Stepwell may require less space and provide more Housing Housing than a Farm, but extra Housing Housing without enough Food Food to grow your cities is meaningless.

Despite their shortcomings, there are a few situations in which Stepwells should be considered. Since they can be built on terrain that Farms cannot, they make expansion into Desert, Tundra, and Snow biomes more feasible, which is especially important if you plan on building Petra, St. Basil's Cathedral, or the Amundsen-Scott Research Station. As unique improvements, Stepwells built outside a city's 3-hex workable area still provide extra Housing Housing when Farms do not. Lastly, in the expansions, an early Stepwell and Varu can help India reach a Golden Age Golden Age in the Classical Era. Gandhi can pick Exodus of the Evangelists to found and spread his religion, while Chandragupta can make good use of the extra Loyalty pressure when he begins his conquest with the Varu.


The most important aspect of the special ability of the Varu is that it acts on multiple units at the same time. A single Varu will reduce the Strength Combat Strength of all enemy units next to it, so the best use for these majestic beasts is to throw them directly into the line of battle and support them with other hard-hitting troops. The Varu will not only weaken all adjacent enemies, but they will also do decent damage. Varu are also an amazing defensive troop since a group of them will weaken an entire army, reducing the damage done to your cities.

Under Gandhi, this unit is more defensive with a domination tendency for skilled players since it is quite slow, but under Chandragupta, the Varu force turns absolutely deadly. Once a War of Territorial Expansion is declared (one of the easier Casus Belli to satisfy), it moves as fast as the standard Horseman, and its 40 Strength Combat Strength and ability to weaken surrounding enemies make it the strongest military unit on the field. A Spearman has only 30 Strength Combat Strength (counting its +10 bonus against cavalry) when fighting next to one Varu, and (in vanilla Civilization VI and Rise and Fall) even less when next to two or more of them. Aim for Military Tradition to unlock Maneuver and keep cranking out an army of Varu, and nothing will be able to stop your march. The Varu's Strength Combat Strength penalty to nearby units even applies to both land and naval units, even when the Varu is embarking. However, it will not reduce the Strength Combat Strength of a nearby embarked unit below the embarkation Strength Combat Strength threshold.

With the release of Gathering Storm, Varu change in some noteworthy ways. The Strength Combat Strength penalty they impose on enemy units is no longer cumulative, so enemies will lose 5 Strength Combat Strength even if they're adjacent to multiple Varu, balancing out its power level a little bit. However, in exchange, their Gold Gold maintenance cost is reduced from 3 to 2, so the Indians won't put as much of a strain on their economy by adding some Varu to their army. Lastly, they can still be trained after unlocking Cuirassiers (until Combustion renders them obsolete).

Overall, the Varu is a powerful and effective unit killer. Its negative Strength Combat Strength aura helps your other units, especially ranged units on the backline, deal more damage on offense and take less damage on defense as well. It is a crucial unit under Chandragupta, much less so under Gandhi.

Victory Types[]

With their boost to Faith Faith from Stepwells and Satyagraha, India is among the top contenders for a Religious Victory. The penalty to Amenities Amenities for other civilizations helps Gandhi survive the inevitable backlash in the form of Holy Wars from practically all other founders of religions, while Chandragupta can just conquer early religious rivals instead.

Alternatively, the bonus Faith Faith may be fueled towards Great People, particularly if India can acquire the Oracle. Following this approach, they can focus on a Cultural Victory, but there are a lot of other civilizations that have the advantage against them.

A third approach is to build massive amount of Faith Faith generation, change government to a Theocracy and purchase a massive army with Faith Faith to conquer the world. In addition to your advantage in warmongering, your enemies' cities will struggle against the inevitable Amenity Amenity penalty (if you're playing as Gandhi) or a faster-moving army (if playing as Chandragupta).

Science Victory is a possibility if focusing on building tall (large cities) and funnelling the Citizen Population towards scientific districts, provided you can acquire enough Amenities Amenities to keep them all happy.

Domination Victory becomes a more viable option when playing as Chandragupta. Both the Stepwell and the Varu are available along with the Dharma ability while the leader bonus becomes Arthashastra. With Arthashastra, declaring a War of Territorial Expansion gives you +2 Movement Movement and +5 Strength Combat Strength for military units for 10 turns, which can be a decisive factor in the war. After conquering another civ with a religion, use your Missionaries to spread their religion to your cities to take advantage of the civ ability. This can easily get you 2-3 more Amenities Amenities per city and massive bonuses to cities with Holy Sites. This benefits your empire and makes future conquest much easier.

Counter Strategy[]

Most of India's bonuses are weak and inconsequential, with the exception of Chandragupta's leader ability...assuming he can activate it. If he can't declare a War of Territorial Expansion, he literally doesn't have a leader ability, and like any Casus Belli, that has a five-turn period of warning. Unless you're Canada, you can cut in with a Surprise War and fight him on your own terms - just be aware of the Grievances Grievances from such an approach.

That aside, the only big thing you need to worry about against India is their potential for a strong religious push. Having your own religion and defending it in your own lands will stop India ever winning a Religious Victory, and because India has a particular incentive to rely on their buffed Missionaries for religious spread, you can bring Apostles into theological combat and face less resistance than you might think. The Proselytizer Promotion Promotion is particularly valuable for taking India down a peg, because its charges will weaken all other religions in that city and that can deny them Amenities Amenities and other bonuses.

Civilopedia entry[]

India can be viewed as either one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, or among its most recent. Situated at the crossroads of the world, India has had its share of empires and conquerors, including the Maurya and Gupta in the north (incidentally running afoul of Alexander at one point), and in the south the Chola, with its deep connections to Southeast Asia. But for much of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods, India was under the sway of other invaders: the Mughal Empire was founded by descendants of the Mongols, and became one of the shining highlights of Indian arts, architecture, and achievements. Under this Islamic rule, such structures as the Taj Mahal, and the Red Fort rose... until, that is, the British East India Company made their appearance.

In 1498 AD Vasco de Gama’s fleet managed to find its way around Africa and “discovered” India, even though some of its kingdoms and empires had been trading with the West since the days of the Roman Empire. The Portuguese stuck trading posts along the coast of the subcontinent; they were followed by the Dutch, the British, and eventually the French – all in the guise of chartered trading companies. The Honorable East India Company, a joint-stock corporation, had been granted its charter by Elizabeth I in December 1600 to trade in basic commodities with the Far East; at its height, it would account for half the world’s trade. In time, it was the only European company with holdings in India.

Besides the complexities of the local politics, what with all those princelings about, the Company also had to deal with the sheer diversity of local faiths. The subcontinent was the founding place of four major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism – with their many sects and offshoots. In addition, several other religions had their toehold, brought by merchants or conquerors, such as Islam, Zoroastrianism and even Judaism. However, the British may have been responsible for some of these "isms," formalizing practices such as caste (that had previously been heterogenous) and creating a category of "Hinduism" out of the vastly diverse practices that existed before their arrival.

It was a crisis of faith that led the British government to end the charade of Company autonomy. By 1857, the Company was the dominant power on the subcontinent, with its own administration, army and social infrastructure, corrupt and inefficient as they may have been. Although there were several reasons – as is always the case – for the Sepoy Mutiny, the spark was the introduction of new, greased, cartridges for the muskets used by the native troops. Whether unfounded or not, they came to believe that the cartridges, which had to be bitten to open the powder, were greased with beef tallow (offensive to Hindus) and pork fat (anathema to Muslims). Since the British, displaying their usual insular empathy, insisted their troops use these cartridges, in short order the native soldiers revolted.

After much bloodshed, the British Army had to be called in to quell this “First Indian War of Independence”; public outrage in England caused the Crown to dissolve the Company the next year and absorb all its holdings. The British, nothing if not efficient, over the next few years reorganized the Indian army, financial system and colonial administration. India became part of the British Empire, and Queen Victoria had “Empress of India” added to her impressive list of titles. For the next 90 years, the British Raj was the centerpiece of an empire “on which the sun never set.”

While the British busied themselves with completing the unification, skirmishes along the frontiers, and squeezing out as much wealth as they could, they shaped the Indian landscape and infrastructure. The British built schools and hospitals and libraries and bandstands and all the other things that they considered the marks of civilization, to which many Indians had access. They codified notions of ethnicity and religion into easily-digestible census blocks. They instituted uniform standards of law, coinage, penal incarceration, methods of execution, and postage. The British brought along the technology of the Victorian Age, building a network of telegraph lines, newspapers, irrigation systems, roads and railroads across the land. And they fostered a sense of Indian identity; if nothing else giving all the disparate native peoples an equally-detested common enemy.

Under the Raj, from 1880 to 1920 the Indian economy grew one-percent each year, as did the population. But the British penchant for meddling in the social and moral forms of the locals repeatedly caused upset. For instance, in the last decade of the 1800s various reformers (British and Indian) took up the cause of widow remarriage. In an effort to soothe religious dissention (and improve administrative efficiency), Lord Curzon divided Bengal into a Muslim east and a Hindu west in 1905; that lasted until he was recalled in 1906. The Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 gave Indians a limited role in the colonial and provincial governments, spurring the growth of the All-Indian Muslim League and the Indian National Congress. With all their reforms, the British had laid a firm ideological and organizational foundation for a nationalist movement to independence, especially among the relatively new Indian middle-class. Oops.

Adding to this impetus for self-rule was the reoccurrence of severe famine, due to colonial mismanagement and the shipment of food stuffs back to England for profit. The Great Famine of 1876-78 AD took 5.5 million lives in British-controlled territory alone, and millions more in the yet unincorporated princely states. The famine twenty years later cost another five million dead, and two years after that the 1899 famine another million. Ironically, these had to do with improved infrastructure: as rail lines could move grain to ports for export, they left none for the locals who had grown it. And this doesn’t count the rounds of pandemics that decimated the population on a regular basis.

The First World War proved a watershed in the progression towards independence, and self-reliance. It was greeted – at first – with an outpouring of patriotic fervor by the Indian nationalists, and most others in the country. The already revered Mahatma Gandhi agreed to actively recruit his young countrymen for the war … and in contrast to his recruitment efforts during the Boer and Zulu wars, this time for combat roles rather than the medical corps. (Some apologists have argued he did so in order for India to have a trained and experienced military when it did gain its independence later.) The various native political parties as well as the general nationalist movement waved the flag with gusto, save for a few hotspots such a Bengal where the unrest was such as to paralyze the local administration. But the high casualty rates, soaring inflation compounded by high taxation, and disruption of trade united the usually bickering nationalist organizations, who argued the sacrifice of the Indian peoples deserved a reward... like self-rule. In 1916, the Hindu National Congress and the Muslim League forged the Lucknow Pact, an agreement to work together to pressure the British to get out.

In 1921 AD, in the wake of the bloody 1919 Amritsar Massacre, Gandhi assumed leadership of the Indian National Congress, not without controversy. With the influence of Gopal Gokhale and other moderates, he was elected president and promptly implemented a policy of resistance through non-violent civil disobedience. This led other leaders of the movement to resign from the Congress, among them such militant stalwarts as Chitta Das, Annie Besant and Motilal Nehru. The Congress was split.

For the next 20 years Gandhi, as the “image” of resistance to British rule, organized rallies, boycotts of British imports, protests and marches, including the famous “Salt March” in 1930, in which he and thousands of followers marched to the sea to make salt in protest of the British tax on it. He was imprisoned on a number of occasions, including a two-year stint in 1942 for his role in the Quit India movement, during which his wife died and he contracted malaria. He was soon released because the British authorities feared he would die in prison, making him a martyr to the cause. (He became one eventually, being assassinated by a Hindu nationalist just months after independence was granted.)

Weakened by two world wars and frustrated in finding no answer to Gandhi’s irritating tactics, in 1947 the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act. The act set a date for withdrawal of all British administrative and military presence and a partition of the British colony into two countries along the much-disputed Radcliffe Line: Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. On August 14 at 11:57 p.m. Pakistan was declared independent and free; just after midnight, at 12:02 am, the same for India. The remaining 560 princely states were given the right to join one or the other or be independent – a commendable intent which didn’t last long once the Indian and Pakistani military got rolling.

The partition and creation of two nations with radically different beliefs in this faith-ridden land set off one of the greatest mass migrations in history as some 15 million believers scrambled to get on their side of the Radcliffe Line. The refugees, abandoning everything, displayed sound good sense, for it also saw unimaginable acts of mass violence, as the two new nations were simply unable to stem a tide of bloodshed that belied the non-violent nature of the successful resistance that had brought freedom. It is estimated that over a million Hindus, Moslems and Sikhs were killed, leaving a legacy of distrust between Pakistan and India.

In January 1950, India was declared a socialist, democratic republic. Since then, India has become a progressive and peaceful – save for the occasional war with Pakistan and border dispute with China – member of the brotherhood of nations.



Males Females Modern males Modern females
Darshan Anasuya Ameretat Aanya
Govind Asha Armaan Aarohi
Kuruvilla Bhadraa Dhruv Diya
Krishna Dakshina Jaskirit Lakshya
Narayan Kerani Krishna Mrinalini
Paramveer Lajila Pranay Navya
Pulkit Reeya Rayansh Priyanka
Purshotam Savatari Tanish Tanvi
Surya Sita Utkarsh Sushma
Uday Vineeta Vivaan Vaani


  • Prior to the release of Gathering Storm, Gandhi's colors were magenta and cyan, and Chandragupta's the reverse.
  • The Indian civilization's symbol is the Sacred (Indian) Lotus, the national flower of India, which occupies a unique position in ancient Indian art and mythology.
  • The Indian civilization ability is named after the Hindu and Buddhist principle of cosmic order.
  • India's theme music is based on the Hindu bhajan "Vaishnava Jana To," which was one of Gandhi's favorite bhajans. It is commonly played to honor or symbolize him.
  • The Indian architecture style in the Medieval Era is based on Mughal architecture. The Mughal style is also shared by the Arabs, the Persians, the Scythians, and the Ottomans.



Related achievements[]

Be the Change You Wish to See In the World
Be the Change You Wish to See In the World
Win a regular game as Gandhi
The phrase is a famous quote by Gandhi.
Give Peace a Chance
Give Peace a Chance
Playing as India on a Huge map, receive +35 Faith in one turn from the Satyagraha ability.
'Give Peace a Chance' is the name of a song written by John Lennon, who was a known pacifist.
A Burning Splendor
A Burning Splendor
Win a regular game as Chandragupta
Part of an inscription praising Chandragupta II on the iron pillar of Delhi.
I Thought We'd Moved Past This Joke
I Thought We'd Moved Past This Joke
As Chandragupta, launch a nuclear weapon.
A reference to the Civilization fanbase's inside joke of Gandhi's tendency to use nuclear weapons.

See also[]

Civilization VI Civilizations [edit]
AmericanArabianAustralian1AztecBabylonian1BrazilianByzantine1Canadian GS-OnlyChineseCree R&F-OnlyDutch R&F-OnlyEgyptianEnglishEthiopian1FrenchGallic1Georgian R&F-OnlyGermanGran Colombian1GreekHungarian GS-OnlyIncan GS-OnlyIndianIndonesian1JapaneseKhmer1KongoleseKorean R&F-OnlyMacedonian1Malian GS-OnlyMāori GS-OnlyMapuche R&F-OnlyMayan1Mongolian R&F-OnlyNorwegianNubian1Ottoman GS-OnlyPersian1Phoenician GS-OnlyPolish1Portuguese1RomanRussianScottish R&F-OnlyScythianSpanishSumerianSwedish GS-OnlyVietnamese1Zulu R&F-Only
1 Requires DLC

R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.