Chapter 8 – South Asia

Report
GEOG 101 – World Regional Geography
Professor: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue
Chapter 8 – South Asia
A – The Realm of the Monsoons
B – South Asian Cultures and Religions
C – Regions of the Realm
Overview
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Well defined physiographically
The world’s second largest population cluster
Significant demographic problems
Low income economies
Population concentrated in villages - subsistence
agriculture
■ Strong cultural regionalism
■ Boundary problems
A The Realm of the Monsoons
■ Monsoons
• From the Arabic word “mausim” which means season:
• Annual weather cycle within the tropical and subtropical continents of
Asia, Australia and Africa and the adjacent seas and oceans.
• Most vigorous and dramatic cycles of weather events on earth:
• Torrential rains.
• Floods.
• Tropical cyclones.
• Blow from the southwest from April to October:
• Wet season.
• India gets more than 80% of its rainfall during the monsoon.
• Blow from the northeast from October to April:
• Dry season.
• The shifting of the pattern rather unpredictable:
• An early or late Monsoon can have negative impact on agriculture.
The Realm of the Monsoons
Condensation
Evaporation
■ Convectional rainfall
• Mostly during the summer, almost
everyday around the tropics.
• Hot temperature causes rapid
evaporation.
• As the humid air climbs, it cools and
causes torrential rain falls.
■ Orographic rainfall
Wind
• Mostly during the monsoons.
• High mountain ranges force humid
air masses to climb.
• It cools and rain falls.
• Highest levels of precipitation are on
the Indian side of the Himalayas
(more than 30 feet of precipitation
per year).
Dominant Wind Patterns in the Winter (October to
April) – Dry Season
H (Cold)
Monsoon Region
L (Warm)
L (Warm)
Monsoon Region
Dominant Wind Patterns in the Summer (April to
October) – Wet Season
L (Warm)
Monsoon Region
Monsoon Region
H (Cold)
Average Annual Precipitations (in millimeters)
Driest desert
on earth
Dry continental
0 - 100
100 - 200
200 - 400
400 - 600
Gobi Desert
600 - 1000
1000 - 1500
1500 - 2000
2000 - 3000
> 3000
Ganges Delta
Monsoon east
Borneo
Raining every day
with no dry season
Mawsynram, India
(467” of rain per year;
11860 mm). Most
precipitation on earth
Monthly Precipitations (in mm)
700
Bombay (19N)
Rangoon (19N)
Padang (15N)
Pontianak (O)
Jakarta (6S)
Darwin (12S)
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
B South Asian Cultures and Religions
■ A culturally fragmented realm
• Religious and linguistic diversity.
■ Religious Patterns
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Islam is predominant in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Hinduism is predominant in India.
Sikhism thrives in northern India.
Buddhism is predominant in Sri Lanka.
South Asian Cultures and Religions
■ The Indus River
• Where an early culture emerged and developed.
• Arts and trade routes emerged from isolated tribes and villages
to towns and beyond.
• Hinduism emerged from the beliefs and practices brought to
India by the Indo-Europeans (Aryans) (6th century BC).
• Buddhism born of discontent; made the state religion of India in
3rd century BC.
• Islam sweeps through central India from the 8th -10th centuries
AD.
South Asian Cultures and Religions
■ Hinduism
• Oldest of the major religions (3,000-4000 BC).
• Originated in northern India.
• Polytheistic with more than 333,000 gods:
• All part of Brahman; the one ultimate reality.
• Main deities:
• Trinity of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver of good and order)
and Shiva (god of destruction and creation).
• Four major facts:
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Karma: Your deeds, good or bad, will return to you.
Reincarnation: You are the sum of numerous past existences.
Dharma: Laws and duties of being (restrains and observances).
Worship: Your communion with gods.
• Cast system reflecting one’s position in the ladder.
• About 1 billion followers (India and Indian communities).
South Asian Cultures and Religions
■ Buddhism
• Emerged around 563 B.C. in northern India:
• Reform of Hinduism.
• Called a religion, a philosophy, an ideology and a way of life.
• Siddhartha became the first Buddha, or “Awakened One”.
• Similar concepts than Hinduism (Karma, Reincarnation and
Dharma).
• Four Noble Truths:
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Suffering is universal and inevitable.
The immediate cause of suffering is desire and ignorance.
There is a way to dispel ignorance and relieve suffering.
The eightfold path is the means to achieve liberation from suffering. This
path includes (1) Right View, (2) Right Thought, (3) Right Speech, (4)
Right Action, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Mindfulness,
and (8) Right Concentration.
South Asian Cultures and Religions
• Multitude of possible paths.
• By achieving the right path, one enters Nirvana:
• State of absolute desirelessness and peacefulness.
• Withdrawal from material world through meditation.
• Mahayana Buddhism:
• Mostly practiced in East Asia (and Vietnam).
• Salvation can be achieved through the intervention of deities.
• Bodhisattva are people who postpone entry to nirvana to save other
beings.
• Theravada Buddhism:
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Mostly practiced in Southeast Asia (Indochina and Thailand).
Individual is responsible for salvation.
Achieved through good deeds and religious activity.
Importance of monastic orders.
South Asian Cultures and Religions
■ Islam
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Monotheistic.
No idols.
One sacred book.
Uniform dogma - 5 pillars.
Intolerant (of other religions).
Eat beef/Sacrifice cows.
Bury dead.
Social equality (in theory).
Theocratic society.
■ Hinduism
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Polytheistic.
Many idols.
Various sacred writings.
Varying beliefs.
Absorbed other religions.
Venerate cows.
Burn dead (& alive).
Caste separation.
“State” of secondary importance.
South Asian Cultures and Religions
■ Sikhism
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Another reform of Hinduism in view of Islam (16th century).
Originated in the Punjab region.
About 20 million adherents.
Monotheistic religion:
• God who has 99 names.
• Belief in reincarnation:
• Samsara (the repetitive cycle of birth, life and death).
• Rebirth following death.
• Belief in Karma:
• Accumulated sum of one's good and bad deeds.
• Prohibited from worshipping idols, images, or icons.
C Regions of the Realm
■ Pakistan
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Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Population of 149.6 million.
80% Sunni Muslims; 16% Shia minority
Subregions:
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Punjab.
Sind.
Baluchistan.
North west frontier.
• Outcome of the partition of the British India in 1947:
• Initially a dysfunctional state.
• Two parts; East (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan.
• Bangladesh separated in 1971.
Regions of the Realm
■ Kashmir
• Independence & partition.
• Jammu & Kashmir faced with the choice of joining either Hindu
India or Muslim Pakistan.
• Kashmir – Hindu maharaja but Muslim population.
• 1947 – Pakistani tribesmen invade.
• Maharaja flees to Delhi and accedes to India.
• Indian troops deployment – Pakistani regulars join in the fight.
• January 1949 – UN cease fire.
• 1980-88 Muslim extremists continue insurgency.
Regions of the Realm
■ India
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Secular state; world’s largest democracy.
Account for 75% of South Asia’s land area.
Population of 1.086 billion people.
28% urbanized
14 major and numerous minor languages:
• English is the lingua franca.
• Northern Indians:
• Primarily Aryans, people who lineage at least partially comes from
peoples from Central and Western Asia.
• South Indians:
• Dravidians, a race completely distinct from the Aryans.
• Physically shorter and have darker skins than North Indians
• Subject to prejudice in the north.
Regions of the Realm
■ Caste system
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A structured social structure.
Hereditary occupation.
Introduced in the second millennium BC by the Aryan.
There are four castes:
• Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (farm owners,
merchants, artisans), and shudras (menials, laborers, serfs).
• Below are the untouchables, a group so low that they are completely
outside the caste system, composed of non-Aryan aborigines and
workers such as street-sweepers, tanners, corpse-handlers.
• Adds to the divisiveness of India.
• Have been made illegal, but still persist today.
Regions of the Realm
■ Bangladesh
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Formally East Pakistan.
Population of 140 millions.
85% Muslim and 12% Hindu.
Low lying country in the Ganges Delta.
One of the poorest country in the region and in the world.
Rice cultivation.
Prone to floods.
Regions of the Realm
■ Sri Lanka
• Formerly Ceylon; Independent since 1948.
• 19.7 million people (70% Buddhists)
• Plantation agriculture:
• Tea, rubber, coconuts.
• South (majority of population):
• Aryan.
• Buddhists.
• Speak Sinhala (indo-European).
• North (18% of the population):
• Dravidian.
• Hindu.
• Tamil language.
• A civil war has erupted between extreme elements of the
country's Tamil population and the Sinhalese majority.

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