"The soul of India lives in its villages", declared M. K. Gandhi at the beginning of 20th century. According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 236,004 Indian villages have a population of fewer than 500, while 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000+. Most of the villages have their own temple, mosque, or church, depending on the local religious following.
In Afghanistan, the village, or deh (Dari/Pashto: ده) is the mid-size settlement type in Afghan society, trumping the hamlet or qala (Dari: قلعه, Pashto: کلي), though smaller than the town, or shār (Dari: شهر, Pashto: ښار). In contrast to the qala, the deh is generally a bigger settlement which includes a commercial area, while the yet larger shār includes governmental buildings and services such as schools of higher education, basic health care, police stations etc.