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MAJOR GEOGRAPHIC QUALITIES SOUTH ASIA
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan
1. Well-defined physiographically, extending from the southern slopes of the
Himalayas to large islands like Sri Lanka and small island groups like the
Maldives and Laccadives in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
2. The two major river systems, the Ganges-Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh
and the Indus in Pakistan form crucial life lines for 100s of millions of people.
The annual wet summer monsoon is also critical to them. The monsoon
supports agriculture in most of the area and often causes flooding, especially in
Bangladesh.
3. India is at the center of the world's second largest population cluster, with a
billion people in 2000 (the U.S. has 305 million in 3 times the land area in
2007). India will exceed China's population by 2025 if growth is not slowed.
4. Some of the world's worst demographic problems: urban and rural crowding,
food, water, health care, pollution, etc.
5. All are low-income economies. Malnutrition, poor health prevail for millions.
6. Agriculture is less efficient and productive than in other parts of Asia.
7. Although there are some very large cities, most people of the realm live in rural
villages and practice subsistence level agriculture and cottage industries.
8. Strong cultural regionalism. Hinduism dominates India, especially since 1947
at partition. The Pakistanis are Muslims, as are the Bengalis of Bangladesh.
The Sri Lankans are mainly Buddhists in the South, although there is
considerable strife there between them and Hindu Tamils who migrated there
from India as agricultural laborers. The Nepalese are Hindus, the Bhutanese are
Buddhists.
9. The modern political and geographical frame work is a result of European
colonialism, with modifications since the European withdrawal at mid-20th
century.
10. India is the world's largest and most complex democratic federal state. It is
also an ancient culture and the “most foreign of all countries.”
11. India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons.
SOUTH ASIA: INDIA, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH, AFGHANISTAN
3 Physiographic Regions
1. The northern mountains, the Hindu Kush (Afghanistan) in the northeast, the Karakoram
(China) in the northwest and the Himalayas (Place of the Gods) (China, Nepal, and Bhutan),
to the north
2. The southern peninsular plateau, Deccan Plateau, with the western Ghats, higher, where the
monsoons occur, and the eastern Ghats, lower, drainage is to the east
3. Belt of River Lowlands: North Indian Plain Ganges, wet climate (Hindustan), to
Brahmaputra, the core of India; and Punjab Indus, land of 5 rivers, arid Pakistan, India and
Bangladesh all part of British India until 1947, when India and Pakistan (east and west)
became independent.
In 1971, Bangladesh formed and there were 3 countries.
India is Hindu, Pakistan and Bangladesh are Muslim.
PAKISTAN
 Punjab: five rivers; Pushtuns
 Afghanistan, many Afghanis live in Pakistan
 Kashmir, Muslim province of India under dispute
 stan, an area to the west, “the land of ____”
AFGHANISTAN - Buffer zone crated by British and Czarist Russia, 20 languages, 7 major
ethnic groups. Home of the indigenous Taliban, who fight in Afghanistan and western Pakistan,
and the foreign-born Al Qaeda, who use the country as a base and refuge and commit terrorist
acts around the world. Osama Bin Laden has been hiding there for over a decade. The US has
tens of thousands of troops and support staff there. Small numbers of coalition forces also fight
there. Most Afghans are Sunni Muslims.
SRI LANKA formerly Ceylon.
Long civil war with minority Hindu Tamils, who migrated under the British Raj, and majority
Sinhalese Buddhists.
BANGLADESH
Muslims, desperately overcrowded, 120 million in the space of Iowa, cognate with Bengal, speak
Bengali, floods all the time. Dhaka (Dacca) is capital. Thousands of Bengalis are migrant
workers in other countries. This winter, thousands of Bengali oil workers have been fleeing the
violence in Libya.
REGIONS OF INDIA

States are based on linguistic adherence at Partition.

Indo-European Languages in North

Dravidian languages in the South

Hindi is the Lingua Franca, but the money has 10 languages, many urban dwellers speak
English.
HISTORY

2000 to 1500 BC invaders from Asia pushed Dravidians to the South

1500 BC the Aryans move into India in the Northwest (Swastika)

Harrapa becomes the first major city, followed by Mahenjo Daro and others

Vedas written, long epic poems from a highly literate ancient society



300 BC, the ruler Ashoka embraced Buddhism, a liberal and humane ruler, who believed in
the rights of the individual and India was Buddhist for a few centuries
100s of Buddhist monasteries built.
Buddhism later replaced by resurfacing Hinduism, which is typified by many gods, belief in
reincarnation, release from worldly concerns, caste system.

150 to 200 AD, Kushana Kingdom, came from the northwest across the Indo-Gangetic Plain,

Roman Trading Ports established 5th and 6th centuries AD, Gupta Period. India as we know
it today, Hindu.
Core in the Middle Ganges

12th century AD, Muslim invasions, economic incentives, India seen as a garden. Many low
castes converted to Islam.


16th century European invasion Portuguese trading port on the southwest coast, Dutch, Brits
and French in the northeast,
Mogul Muslims in the north, moving down from the northwest, great patrons of the arts, took
elements of Hindi art; the Taj Mahal is one result. Related to the Khans, Genghis and
Kublai, Tammerling.

Dutch in Ceylon

4 main cores when Europeans arrived Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), Madras (Chenai), Calcutta
(Kolkotta).
British built the Grand Trunk Road from the Khyber Pass to Calcutta and lined it with trees.
Many independent states when the British came, all abolished at independence and reformed
by linguistic criteria.


RELIGION
Hindus

Hinduism exists all the time, caste system, social hierarchy of purity and pollution.

Highest = Brahmins

Kshaytriyas -- warriors, suttee (wife burns with dead husband)

Vaishyas -- peasants

Sudras --artisans

Pariahs -- untouchables

And many, many more…
Buddhists

not too many any more in India, more in China and Southeast Asia, Japan, although Buddha
was born in India on the North Indian Plain.
Christians

in the south and extreme northeast, were Animists, but were converted by Christian
missionaries.
4 kinds:

Syrian (Antioch) Christians

Church of Rome

Eastern Orthodox

Coptic Christians
Sikhs web page

1500s synthesis of Islam and Hindi, no castes, egalitarian, Punjab at Amritsar.

Every Sikh's last name is Singh

15th century Guru Nanak.

Sikhs assassinated Indira Gandhi.

Speak Punjabi, never cut their hair or beard, must carry a dagger.

They're great farmers and own a lot of land in the Sacramento Valley and other agricultural
areas.

During floods in the 1980s and 90s, flood warnings in the Valley were broadcast in English,
Spanish, and Punjabi.
Jains web page

Off shoot of Hindi.

wealthiest people.

Vegetarians, non-violent to the extreme.
Islam

10 % of Indians, majority in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.