Diversity and Complementarity Of Physiographic Divisions Part 6

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Diversity and Complementarity of Physiographic Divisions

India Possesses A Wide Variety Of Landforms And Relief Features. Its Young Fold Mountains Of The North Have Very Bold And Sharp Features. They Include Very Long As Well As Tall Mountain Ranges, Towering Mountain Peaks, High Mountain Passes, And Precipitous River Valleys. If Some Parts Are Without Thick Forests, The Others Are Clad With Varied Natural Vegetation From Tropical Rain Forests To Alpine Grasslands. They Rightly Boast Of Large Snowfields, Glaciers, Picturesque Water Falls Along The Hanging Valleys, And Glacial Lakes Such As The Dal Lake In Srinagar. Equally Awe-Inspiring Are Its Deep Gorges Establishing Balance Between Steadily Rising Mountain Ranges On The One Hand And Silent Down Cutting Action Of Weighty Trans Himalayan Rivers Like The Indus, Sutlej And Brahmaputra On The Other.

These Highest And Largest Mountain Chains Of The World Have Enabled Indian Subcontinent To Develop Its Unique Culture By Acting Itself As A Physical Barrier Between The Subcontinent And The Rest Of Asia. Perhaps Even More Effective Is Its Role As A Climatic Divide. This Physiographic Division Acts As A Store House Of Snow And Water, Giving Rise To Hundreds Of Perennial Rivers To Drain And Irrigate One Of The World’s Largest And Most Fertile Plains. In Fact, The Plains Themselves Are A Gift Of These Mountains And Rivers Flowing From Them. It Is Also A Store House Of Hydel Power, Fuel Wood, Timber, Various Forest Products And Medicinal Herbs, No Excluding Some Strange Wildlife Species. No Wonder, If This Region Is Able To Attract Tourists From Far And Near, Both In Summer And Winter.

The Northern Plains Are Flat Plains Which Are Mostly Well Drained And Fairly Well Irrigated Through The Use Of Surface And Ground Water. The Meandering Rivers, Ox-Bow Lakes, Braided River Channels, And A Maze Of Distributaries Help To Break The Monotony Of These Extremely Level Plains. Once A Forest Land, It Has Now Been Brought Under The Plough Almost Fully. The Lower Parts Of The Deltas Are Having Mangrove Or Tidal Forests. These Well-Watered Plains, Supported By Highly Fertile Soils, Produce Varied Crops Year After Year Sustaining A Very Large Chunk Of The World’s Population. They Are One Of The World’s Largest Food Baskets Producing Cereals, Pulses, Oil Seeds, Vegetables, Fruits Besides Industrial Or Cash Crops Like Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane And The Like.

In Sharp Contrast With The Northern Mountains And Plains Stand The Hills Of Moderate Attitude And A Highly Denuded Rocky Landscape, Representing One Of The Oldest Landmasses Of The World- The Peninsular Block Of India. Its Rounded Hills And Flat-Topped Ridges Have A Beauty Of Their Own. The Varied Metamorphic And Old Granite Rocks Have Given Rise To Hills, Plateaus And Foliated Rocks. Furthermore, The Basalt Or Deccan Trap Of Western India Has Its Typical Flat-Topped Hills And Ghat Or Stair Like Structures.

Its Steep Wall-Like Escarpments Run For Miles And Miles Without Interruption Overlooking The Arabian Sea. This Physiographic Division Is Known For Millets And Various Industrial Crops Such As Cotton, Sugarcane, Coffee And Groundnut. More Importantly, It Is A Store House Of Minerals Specially The Ferrous Ones And Mineral Fuels Like Coal And Atomic Or Radio-Active Minerals. They Have Also Sizeable Hydel Power Resources. They, Thus, Provide A Sound Base To Develop Both Agro-Based And Mineral-Based Industries.

The Coastal Strips Are Having A Coastline Which Is Partly Regular And Partly Indented. The Latter Has Provided Spacious Natural Harbours Like Mumbai And Marmagao. The Coastal Strips And Island Groups Have Ideal Conditions To Tap Deep And Shallow Water Fisheries. The Coastal Plains In The East Have Very Fertile Deltas Providing Rice-Bowls. If It Is A Coast Of Emergence In The Eastern Coast Then The Major Part Of The Western Coast Is That Of Submergence. The Plains Are Rocky And Highly Eroded. Rice, Coconuts, Rubber, Tobacco, And Spices Are Some Of The Agricultural Produce. Off-Shore Oil And Natural Gas Fields Have Also Been Located. The Lakshadweep Are Of Coral Origin, And The Andaman And Nicobar Islands Are The Peaks Of Emerging Mountain Chain. These Islands Are Of Great Strategic Significance To The Defence Of The Mainland. They Face Seven Different Countries Across The Seas Washing Their Shores- Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia And Sri Lanka. The Islands Are Known For Fishing, Forestry And Tourism.

This Is How The Great Diversity Of Macro And Micro Relief Features And Land Forms Has Contributed To Enrich Our Culture, Enhanced Agricultural Potential To Grow Almost Every Crop, And Lay Strong Foundations Of Modern Industry Making All Its Physiographic Divisions Totally Interdependent On One Another.

In Brief, It Can Be Said That:

The Indian Subcontinent, Flanked By The Towering Mountains In The North And Girdled By The Seas And The Ocean In The South Stands Distinct From The Rest Of Asia. This Explains Why The Subcontinent Has Been Able To Develop A Distinctive Culture Of Its Own. India Occupies A Dominant Position In The Subcontinent As It Alone Claims Three Fourths Of The Total Population. Also, It Has Fairly Long Common Frontiers With Each Member Of The Subcontinent. In Terms Of Area, India Stands Seventh In The World But In Population It Ranks Second Next Only To China. It Means There Is Tremendous Population Pressure On Our Limited Land And Water Resources.

Being Located At The Head Of The Indian Ocean It Is In A Very Good Position To Promote Trade With The Continents Of Asia, Africa And Australia. The Construction Of Suez Canal Has Brought Europe And North America In Its Easy Reach. India Is Only At A Relatively Short Distance From The Oil-Rich Countries Surrounding The Persian Gulf.

The Latitudinal Extent Of The Country Implies Marked Variations In The Climate Of The Northern And Southern Parts Of The Country. The Longitudinal Extent Is Responsible For A Time Lag Of Almost Two Hours Between Its Eastern And Western Extremities. This, However, Has Been Minimised By Adopting 82o30'e Longitude As The Standard Meridian Of India Whose Local Time Is Taken To Be The Standard Time For The Entire Country.

The Physiographic Divisions Of India Are Very Bold And Highly Contrasting. In Fact, Each One Of Them Can Be Presented As An Ideal Example Of Its Kind- Be It A Mountain, A Plateau, Or A Plain. Besides Adding To The Diversity, They Also Stress Economic Complementarity. They Make All These Macro Regions Entirely Interdependent On One Another, Making The Whole Country A Single Economic And Political Entity Benefiting Each And Every Part- Big Or Small.

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