The Monsoonal Unity in India, Rhythm of Seasons, Thirst for Water, the Waiting for Monsoon Rains, Part 4

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The Monsoonal Unity in India

Despite the regional diversities in climatic conditions, it is obvious from the above description that there exists a climatic unity in India. The climatic unity means that weather conditions over different parts of India are more or less the same during different seasons round the year leaving minor variations as exceptions to the rule. Indian climate is called monsoon climate. It explains how much influence the monsoon winds have in bringing this climatic unity. This unity in climatic conditions results from the combined influence of regular movements of monsoons or the seasonal winds and the bounding role of the Himalayan mountain system.

Image of monsoon maps

Image of Monsoon Maps

Image of monsoon maps

The monsoonal unity of India caused by these twin factors is discernible. It reflects upon the lifestyles and activities of the common masses in India. They are:

Rhythm of Seasons: The sequence of hot, wet, and cold seasons affects the lifestyles and economic activities of the people throughout India in the following ways:

  • The farmers all over India start their agricultural activities like ploughing of fields, sowing of seeds, transplantation etc. with or just before the onset of monsoons. Kharif crops like rice, millets, cotton, and sugarcane in different areas is an expression of the amount of rainfall they receive. During winter, wheat is the major rabi crop in cool and irrigated areas whereas barley, gram, and oil seeds are common crops of unirrigated areas in northern and central India.

  • The clothes are also affected by seasons. During summer, the people wear cotton clothes whereas the woollen clothes are used in winter season especially in north and central India.

  • When the rain drops of the monsoon clouds fall on the thirsty parched land, their music and fragrance coming out of the land generate similar emotional responses all over India. Most of the Indian festivals are closely linked with seasons. In north India, Baisakhi is celebrated when rabi crops are ready for harvesting. During winter, when the sun shines vertically over the Tropic of Capricorn and extreme cold weather conditions prevail over northern plains, Lohri and Makar Sankranti are celebrated in the north and west while Pongal distinctly in its southern counterpart. Holi is celebrated in spring after bidding good bye to the prolonged cold winter especially in the north.

  • The rainfed subsistence farming has been the oldest response of the village community. Its entire economy is based on it, howsoever meagre rain it may be.

  • The seasonal and regional variations in weather conditions have made different regions capable of producing different crops in varying quantities making all regions completely interdependent. This is a big contribution of the monsoons in promoting underlying unity despite all pervasive diversity.

Thirst for Water: The rain occurs over most parts of India only during four or five months of the year. Thus, India remains dry for seven to eight months in a year. Even during rainy season, spells of dry period are common. Being an agricultural society, the need for water is all pervasive in most parts of India. Even the rainiest parts around Cherrapunji and in Konkan and Kerala have no drinking water during the long and dry summer months. All eyes are focussed on black monsoon clouds in every part of the country.

The Waiting for Monsoon Rains: The farmers as well as citizens all over India eagerly wait for monsoon rains after a long dry season not only to get rid of summer heat but to start agricultural activities which sustain rural as well as urban economy. So, bursting of monsoon is welcomed with equal joy everywhere in India.

Incidence of Droughts and Floods: The paradox of Indian monsoons is that no part in India is spared from occasional or even frequent floods or droughts, if not famines. The drought is common even in the areas of heavy rainfall like Kerala and Assam. Likewise, dry areas of northwest India are not free from floods, be it Punjab or Rajasthan. Consequently, there is need to conserve, control, and store water for irrigation, drinking, and power generation.

In Brief, It Can Be Said That:

India is a country of climatic diversities which are expressed in variations in the distribution of temperature, pressure, winds, and amount of precipitation. The factors which are responsible for determining the climate of different regions of India include her location and latitudinal extent, physiography, the role of Himalayan ranges as a climatic divide, the monsoon winds, upper air circulation, western disturbances and cyclonic storms. Derived from Arabic word ‘mausim’, monsoon implies the rhythm of season and seasonal reversal of winds. Meteorologically, the year in India is divided into four seasons namely the cold weather season, the hot weather season, the advancing southwest monsoon season, and the retreating southwest monsoon season. These seasons have different characteristics of weather conditions.