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In this article, we will discuss the impact of India’s physical environment on its culture.
As we have elaborated earlier, the major contributing
factor in the building of a region’s culture is its environment. It plays a
vital role as the soil, atmosphere and heredity are factors that determine the
local characteristics of a place.
Geography and culture are
always closely connected. India’s geography and
ecology have played a crucial role in the formation and evolution of the nation’s culture.
To understand its effect, we
have to first know the basic physio-graphical divisions of the Indian
subcontinent, which is divided into the following three parts :
The Peninsular region
iii) The Himalayas are located in the north of India, geographically
separating the country from the rest of Asia. Over the centuries, the mountain
ranges have prevented nomadic and military invasions and immigrations into
India. For e.g.: Possible invasions of hordes of Genghis Khan.
iv) The Himalayas supply water perennially to the three great river
systems, namely the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra. These three rivers have
formed large plains of alluvial soil in the north and the plains were the first
to witness India’s first urban civilization
i.e. the Indus Valley Civilisation.
v) Later, the Gangetic plains saw the rise and expansion of many
great empires and states of imperial character like Mahajanpadas, Nandas,
Mauryas, Guptas, etc.
vi) India is known for its Eastern and Western ghats, the Deccan
plateau and an extensive river system. Deccan plateau is a rocky and hilly land
mass, which ends with Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. Due to the four major
rivers, namely Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari and Mahanadi and their deltas, the ghats
are formed of alluvial plains.
Climate is another factor holistically
impacting the country’s culture.
Different categories of monsoon
based on the direction of rain-bearing winds (Northwest monsoon and Southeast monsoon),
the amount of rainfall, change in temperature and relative humidity across regions
in India has a deep impact on the life and psyche of people.
Due to the large river systems,
fertile alluvial soil and a good monsoon, agriculture has been the main
occupation of the Indian society since prehistoric times. Though the industrial
sector is gaining prominence, agriculture still has an impact on the nation’s economy and the lifestyle of citizens.
Types of soil, agricultural
products and the time of harvests differ from region to region, thereby giving
rise to varying cultures in different regions.
It can be concluded that geography,
climate and agricultural patterns shape people’s food preferences, clothing habits, and physique, among other features.
India’s diverse physical environment encourages the spirit of tolerance
towards differences in various aspects of life. It has enabled the nation to
assimilate new cultures/practices/ movements from other parts of the world as
well as from different regions of India.
Eventually, the art and culture
of India is inspired by a deep sense of humanism that intensely recognises the
unity in diversity.
To read the other articles in the series
Capsule 1 :
Capsule 2 :
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