India has a wide cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic variety. Linguistic diversity is very large, with one third of the population speaking Hindi. The Hinduism is the predominant religion (+ 80% of the population), Muslims account for about 12% of the population and are concentrated in the north.
Physical and Natural Aspects of India
The relief of the South Asia region is composed of modern folds, the Himalayas, by alluvial plains, the Indo-Gangtic Plain, and by residual plateaus, among them the Decan Plateau.
- The Himalayan Mountain Range is the result of the clash of the Asian and Indian tectonic plates; is the highest mountainous chain in the world and contains the highest global point, Mount Everest; the plates remain in motion, raising the mountains about 5 millimeters a year. This mountain range covers areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and China.
- The Indo-Gangtic Plain is a huge stretch comprised of the most populous parts of India, the region most affected by the monsoon climate.
- The Decan Plateau lies between the Western Ghat Mountains and the Eastern Ghat Mountains. The mountains separate the plateau from the coast. The Decan corresponds to most of the territory of India.
The two main rivers of the region are: the Indus , which is born in the Himalayas and flows into the Arabian Sea; and the Ganges , sacred river of the Hindus; its springs also occur in the Himalayas, but this river flows eastwards, flowing into the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh.
In India, the tropical climate predominates with great influence of the monsoon regime .
During the summer, a large expanse of the Asian continent (map below) has low pressures due to the higher warming, therefore receives the humid winds (summer monsoons) that provoke torrential rains.
In winter, the low temperatures (high pressure) in the continent originate cold and dry winds, which are denominated winter monsoons.
The abundant rains cause floods, often catastrophic, but, on the other hand, they are fundamental for the cultivation of rice, which is the staple food of the immense population.
South Asia is plagued by tropical cyclones or typhoons, which cause major material damage and fatalities, especially in the delta plains.
In India, the primitive vegetation cover consisted mainly of tropical and subtropical forests, and the savanna vegetation stood out in the northwest portion .
The Himalayan ridge is the main watershed or interflow where the main rivers are born: the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.
The Indian population
India is the second most populous country in the world (+ 1.32 billion), has about 330 inhab./km 2 and its natural or vegetative growth is around 1.5% per year. Projections indicate that the population of India (1.5 billion people by 2040) will exceed the Chinese population in the coming decades.
One of the most striking characteristics of the country is the high rates of natural growth, which also shows a high degree of misinformation or little access to contraceptive methods.
In addition to high growth rates, the population has poor socioeconomic indicators: high infant mortality rates, high illiteracy rates, low life expectancy, malnutrition and malnutrition.
Another important consequence of high growth rates is the formation of a predominantly young population. It is estimated that approximately 40% of the total inhabitants of the region are in the age group between zero and 19 years.
When analyzing the proportion of economically active population in relation to the total population, it is noted that the proportion of adults is reduced, implying a greater participation of children and adolescents in the labor market.
The rural population is still predominant, although the small percentage of the urban population, around 40%, is located in a few cities, which, as a result, are among the largest in the world, Bombay), Kolkata (ex-Calcutta) and New Delhi.
The caste system
Hindu society is organized into hereditary groups called castes. People belonging to the same caste define themselves according to social position, forming a stratified society, in which the destiny of an individual is traced from the earliest days of his life.
The most important varieties are:
- Brahmins (composed of priests);
- xátrias (formed by military);
- vaixias (consisting of farmers and merchants) and the lowest;
- sudras (people who should serve the higher castes).
Those who do not belong to any caste are called pariahs or untouchables , people who perform the most degrading services in Hindu society.
Indian economic growth has led to the spread of caste in India: there are now about 3,000 castes; this is also due to the diversification of economic activities in the country, which attracts countless foreign companies.
Economic Aspects of India
Known to the Western world since the 16th century, because of the spice trade, India was invaded by Portuguese, English, Dutch and French. British rule and exploitation were consolidated after a war against France (1756-1763).
The end of the colonization took place in 1947, with political independence, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi . Consequently, Indian industrialization began in the post-independence period, motivated by the following factors: external investments, domestic market with probability of growth, abundant labor and diversified mineral resources.
The Indian subcontinent is part of the so-called underdeveloped world, presenting an economy linked to agropastoral and extractive activities. Foreign dependence on international capitals and advanced technology also characterize the economic dynamics of this region.
The agricultural industry absorbs a large amount of labor, which is based on family labor, with little use of technology, low productivity and production directed to the domestic market. The types of cultivation that stand out are rice and wheat.
In the late 1940s, there was a need to increase production to eradicate the serious problems of hunger. Indian rulers sought to solve this problem with seed development projects, use of machinery in the field to increase productivity and application of chemical fertilizers.
At first, productivity reached desired levels, increasing the availability of food for the Indian population, but, in a second moment, there was an increase in the cases of intoxication, since the products used in the crops had, in their composition, harmful heavy metals both for human health and for the environment.
The most modern agricultural areas are plantations , introduced in the region by the Europeans, that meet the demands of the industrial sector or the foreign market. In this system, the most cultivated products are cotton, jute, tea and sugar cane.
As for livestock , although the cattle herd is the largest in the world, it has little economic importance: first, because the consumption of meat is prohibited by religious principles, being used only for work and consumption of milk, and then by the fact that the breeding is done in a rudimentary way, which makes the quality of the meat produced bad. Even sheep, goats and buffalo herds have low productivity and supply only regional markets.
In industrial activity, India is the only country with some development in South Asia, especially in the urban centers of Mumbai, Madras, New Delhi, Kolkata (ex-Calcutta) and Bangalore. The most developed sectors are those linked to the presence of regional raw materials, such as the steel industry, the great wealth of iron, manganese and coal, and the textile sector, which takes advantage of the production of jute and cotton.
India is also currently the world’s largest exporter of software , handling around seven billion dollars a year. Madras and Bangalore are the major producing hubs, with about 60% of total production (Indian Silicon Valley). The main factor that explains this apparent contradiction between a poor country and the production of software is the great development of teaching in the area of exact, especially mathematics, the command of the English language and abundant and cheap labor.
Highlights or industrial zones
- Damodar Valley: famous steel region (“Ruhr” of India), favored by mineral resources (coal and iron), highlighting the city of Rurkela.
- Tamil Zone: involves the city of Madras, with diversified industries (automobiles, ships, locomotives and airplanes), but the main activity occurs in the chemical area. It also involves the city known as the “Indian brain”, Bangalore, with software production .
- Areas of Kolkata and Mumbai: traditional (textile) and agriculture-related industrialization: jute around Kolkata, and cotton, near Mumbai (formerly Bombay). In this, the modernity also advances, including with the production of atomic energy.
- Bollywood, the capital of Indian cinema, is in the Mumbai region and is the most active film industry in the world, releasing thousands of films a year.