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Physical Geography of South Asia

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1 Physical Geography of South Asia
Mr. Belter

2 Landforms and Resources
Main Idea The geography of South Asia varies from towering mountains to lowland river plains. Geography and You How would you like to feel truly “on top of the world”? You could if you climbed Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth. Read to learn about this mountain in South Asia and the region’s other physical features.

3 subcontinent South Asia is made up of seven countries. India is the largest among them, covering three-fourths of the region. South Asia also includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka (SREE LAHNG∙kuh), and Maldives (MAWL∙DEEVZ). Most of these countries are located on the Indian subcontinent. A subcontinent is a large landmass that is a part of a continent.

4 Northern Mountains Three huge walls of mountains form South Asia’s northern boundary and separate the subcontinent from the rest of Asia. These mountain systems are the Hindu Kush, the Karakoram (KAH∙rah∙KOHR∙ahm), and the Himalaya (HIH∙muh∙LAY∙uh). The Himalaya range is the highest mountain system in the world. Among the snowcapped peaks of Nepal is Mount Everest, which, at 29,028 feet (8,848 m) is the tallest mountain in the world.

5 Northern Plains South of South Asia’s massive mountains are wide, fertile plains. These areas are watered by the region’s three great rivers—the Indus, the Ganges (GAN∙JEEZ), and the Brahmaputra (BRAHM∙uh∙POO∙ truh). The people of the region have long depended on these rivers for farming, transportation, and trade.

6 Delta The Indus River begins north of the Himalaya in Tibet, China, and flows southwest through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. The Ganges flows from the Himalaya in a different direction—southeast through India’s Ganges Plain. This vast lowland area boasts some of the country’s richest soil and is home to about 40 percent of India’s population. In eastern India, the Ganges River turns south through Bangladesh. There it combines with the Brahmaputra River to form the world’s largest delta. A delta is a soil deposit at the mouth of a river.

7 Southern Landforms The landscape in the south is quite different from that in the north. At the base of the subcontinent are two chains of eroded coastal mountains—the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. Between them lies a highland area known as the Deccan Plateau. The Western Ghats block seasonal rains from reaching this plateau, leaving it extremely dry.

8 Islands of South Asia South Asia includes two island nations: Sri Lanka and Maldives. Sri Lanka, the larger of the two nations, lies off the southeast coast of India. Shaped like a teardrop, the country has a small pocket of highlands in the interior. This area is made up of ridges, valleys, and steep cliffs that offer spectacular scenery. Coastal lowlands encircle these highlands and cover more than 80 percent of the island.

9 Maldives which lies off India’s western coast, is one of the smallest countries in the world. Maldives includes more than 1,300 islands, though people live on only about 200 of them. Many of the islands are atolls, circular-shaped islands made of coral. Coral is a rocklike material formed from the skeletons of tiny sea creatures. As coral deposits build up, many of them eventually become covered by soil and sand to make islands. Atolls have a shallow body of water in the center called a lagoon. The outer ring of the island protects the lagoon from the sea.

10 Natural Resources South Asia is not a land of plenty. Even good farmland is scarce outside of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Although most South Asians grow crops or tend livestock, plots of land are small, and many farmers barely earn a living. India is luckier than its neighbors. As South Asia’s largest country, it not only has productive land, but it also has most of the region’s mineral resources. These include iron ore, manganese, and chromite, which are all used in making steel. Pakistan, too, has some valuable minerals, especially limestone, which is an ingredient for making cement.

11 Environmental Concerns
Main Idea South Asia’s growing population is creating more demand for food and fuel and threatening the region’s environment. Geography and You Have you ever been on a street or in a stadium crowded with people? What kind of an experience was that? Read to find out how the masses of people in South Asia affect the environment.

12 Environmental Concerns
Few places on the planet are more densely settled than South Asia. The region is home to more than 20 percent of the world’s people, but they live on only 3 percent of the world’s land. To add to the pressure, South Asia’s population is increasing. This growth seriously affects the environment. For one thing, greater numbers of people mean greater demand for animal products. Farmers then raise more livestock. This leads to overgrazing, which causes grasslands to dry up. It is not just land that is at risk, though. South Asia’s growing population also threatens the water, the forests, and the air.

13 Water Because South Asia has such a huge concentration of people, supplies of freshwater are low. The climate, which brings long dry seasons to much of the region, contributes to water shortages. In addition, farmers, the largest consumers of water, often use wasteful irrigation methods. Much water is also wasted in cities because of old, leaky distribution pipes.

14 Water To meet the demand for water, South Asian countries are tapping underground aquifers. In urban areas, however, as fresh water is being pumped out, saltwater enters the aquifers. The higher salt content makes the water less useful. This problem is particularly troublesome in the cities of Dhaka in Bangladesh and Karachi in Pakistan. Water pollution is increasing, too. The Ganges River is among the most polluted waterways in the world. The water it brings to urban areas is dirtied by sewage, runoff from factories, and waste products. Rural water supplies are often no cleaner. Even rural Nepal has seriously polluted rivers. Many farmers apply fertilizers to fields to increase crop yields. Runoff from fertilizers then makes the drinking water unsafe.

15 Deforestation Only a small part of South Asia is forested. Most of the land was cleared centuries ago. However, many of the forests that remain are now being cut down to provide building materials as well as wood for fuel. Rural people throughout South Asia rely on wood for heating their homes and for cooking. For example, almost 70 percent of the energy used in Nepal comes from burning wood.

16 Air Pollution Air pollution is another challenge that affects parts of South Asia. The number of cars in the region’s cities has risen rapidly in recent decades. More automobiles mean the release of more exhaust fumes that make the air in urban areas dangerous to breathe. Air pollution is affecting rural areas as well. Many villagers cook and heat their homes by burning wood, kerosene, charcoal, or animal dung. These substances release smoke and chemicals that are harmful in closed spaces. As a result, many people develop breathing problems, and some die of lung diseases. livelihoods.

17 Air Pollution Air pollution from South Asia (and from Southeast Asia as well) is so severe that a brown cloud of chemicals, ash, and dust has formed over the Indian Ocean. The cloud decreases the sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface there by 10 percent. Scientists worry that this clouding may be changing the region’s climate and disrupting rain patterns. That, in turn, may cut crop yields and threaten people’s

18 Climate Regions Main Idea Seasonal dry and wet winds are the major factor shaping South Asia’s climate. Geography and You How does the environment where you live change from season to season? The pattern in your area is probably quite different from that in South Asia, as you will read in this section.

19 Video


21 Natural Disasters The monsoon winds likewise have mixed effects. The rains they shower on Bangladesh and the Ganges Plain help crops there grow well. However, areas outside the monsoon’s path—such as the Deccan Plateau and western Pakistan— may receive little or no yearly rainfall. If there is no rain, or not enough, some areas become scorched, or burnt, by drought.

22 cyclone Another kind of weather disaster often strikes South Asia. A cyclone is an intense tropical storm with high winds and heavy rains. Cyclones are similar to hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and typhoons in the north Pacific Ocean. In South Asia, cyclones can be followed by deadly tidal waves that surge from the Bay of Bengal. In 1999 a cyclone struck India’s northeast coast with winds of more than 160 miles (257 km) per hour. Waves reached over 20 feet (6 m) high. The storm killed nearly 10,000 people and left about 15 million people homeless.

23 contrast Tropical Areas Much of south central India has a tropical dry climate. The region’s grasslands and deciduous forests grow green in the short wet season and turn brown in the long dry season. Bangladesh and southern Sri Lanka, by contrast, have a tropical wet climate with warm temperatures year-round.

24 Thar Desert Dry and Temperate Climates The wet monsoons, of course, do not reach all of South Asia. As a result, some areas have dry climates. Along the lower Indus River, the land is dry and windswept. Farmers must use irrigation to grow wheat and other crops. To the east of the Indus River lie the sand dunes and gravel plains of the Thar Desert.

25 Highlands Highland climates are found along South Asia’s northern edge, where towering mountains rise. Above 16,000 feet (4,877 m), temperatures are always below freezing. As a result, snow never disappears, and little vegetation can survive. Farther down the mountain slopes, the climate turns more temperate. In Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, January temperatures average a mild 50°F (10°C). The average July temperature is a pleasant 78°F (26°C).

26 History and Governments
Hindus believe that the water of the Brahmaputra River cleanses the body and the soul. Located near Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, the Brahmaputra River is where, on a specific day, thousands of Hindu believers take baths to receive blessings. People believe that on this holy day, the river contains all the blessings of all the holy places in the world.


28 Early History Indus River Valley By 2500 b.c., people in the Indus River valley had built what may have been South Asia’s first cities: Harappa (huh∙RA∙puh) and Mohenjo Daro (moh∙HEHN∙joh DAHR∙oh), which are shown in Figure 1 on the next page. These cities, with brick buildings, were well planned. They had carefully laid-out streets, ceremonial gateways, and buildings to store grain. The cities also had plumbing, sewers, and other technology that would not be matched again for centuries. As the population grew, farming, small industries, and trade brought wealth to the Indus Valley. The people made copper and bronze tools, clay pottery, and cotton cloth. They also developed a writing system.


30 Aryans About 1500 b.c., nomadic herders known as Aryans were settling in parts of northern South Asia. The Aryans developed a spoken language called Sanskrit (SAN∙skriht). They passed on hymns and religious teachings by word of mouth. When Sanskrit later became a written language, these traditions were recorded in sacred, or holy, texts called the Vedas.

31 varnas The Vedas show that the Aryans were organized into four varnas, or broad social groups. Priests had the highest status. Warriors came next, followed by farmers. At the bottom were unskilled laborers and servants. At first, people of different groups could marry each other and change jobs.


33 Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions and the third largest. It developed gradually as the beliefs of the ancient Aryans mixed with the beliefs of other peoples in the region. This blending might explain why Hindus worship thousands of deities. They tend to think of all deities, however, as different parts of one eternal spirit. This eternal spirit is called Brahman (BRAH∙muhn).

34 reincarnation Hindus believe that every living being has a soul that wants to be reunited with Brahman. To achieve this reunion, a soul must repeatedly undergo reincarnation (ree·ihn·kahr·NAY·shuhn)—being born into a new body after dying. Thus Hindus believe that a soul passes through many lives, becoming purer each time, before reaching Brahman.

35 consequences To ensure that their next lives are better, Hindus believe they must perform their duty, or dharma (DUHR·muh). Each caste has its own dharma. For example, a farmer has different duties than a priest, and a woman has different duties than a man. The consequences, or effects, of how a person lives are known as karma (KAHR·muh). Hindus believe that if they do their duty, they will have good karma. This will move them closer to Brahman in the next life.

36 Caste A Caste is a social group that someone is born into and cannot change.

37 Buddha In the 500s b.c., Buddhism arose in South Asia. It was founded by a young prince named Siddhartha Gautama (sih∙DAHR∙tuh GOW∙tuh∙muh). Born in a small kingdom near the Himalaya, Gautama gave up wealth and family in search of truth. After many years, he found what he was seeking. He became known as the Buddha, or “Enlightened One.”

38 nirvana The Buddha taught that people suffer because they are too attached to material things, which are not lasting. He believed that people can be released from these attachments by following the Eightfold Path. The eight steps include thinking clearly, working hard, and showing deep concern for all living things. By following the eight steps, people can escape suffering and reach nirvana (nihr·VAH·nuh), a state of endless peace and joy.

39 South Asian Empires In addition to new religions, powerful empires also arose in early South Asia. In the 300s B.C., a family called the Maurya (MAUR∙yuh) founded the Mauryan Empire. The most famous Mauryan ruler, As´oka (uh∙SOH∙kuh), brought much of the subcontinent under his control. About 260 B.C., As´oka dedicated his life to peace and became a Buddhist.

40 Gupta Empire About A.D. 320, a ruler named Chandragupta I (CHUHN∙druh∙GUP∙tuh) set up the Gupta Empire in northern India. Under the empire’s Hindu rulers, trade increased and ideas were exchanged with other parts of the world. As a result, science, mathematics, medicine, and the arts thrived. South Asian mathematicians developed the numerals 1 to 9 that we still use today. These symbols were later adopted by Muslim Arab traders, who brought them to Europe.

41 Moguls During the early 1500s, Muslim warriors, known as the Moguls (MOH∙guhlz), who came from the mountains north of India, formed an empire in South Asia. Akbar (AK∙buhr), the greatest Mogul ruler, added new lands to the empire, lowered taxes, and supported the arts. He brought peace to his empire by treating all of his people fairly. The majority of Hindus were allowed to worship freely and to serve in the government.


43 Modern South Asia Main Idea After a period of British rule, South Asians set up independent countries during the 1900s. Geography and You Think about how you might feel if someone made all your choices and decisions for you. Under British rule, South Asians had no control over their own lands. Read to learn how South Asians eventually won their independence.

44 the East India Company During the 1600s, English traders from the East India Company arrived in India. They built a string of trading posts along the coasts, with forts to protect them. In 1707 the English and the Scots joined together to form the United Kingdom. Both peoples— known as the British—created the British Empire. Through trade and military might, the British became the dominant power in South Asia. By the mid-1800s, they had colonized most of the subcontinent.

45 British Rule For many years, the task of governing South Asia was left to the British East India Company. As the company introduced European ideas and practices, resentment grew. Many local people felt that the British were trying to change their culture. In 1857 Indian soldiers in the company’s army rebelled against their British officers. The revolt spread across northern India. Britain sent more troops and put down the rebellion. Soon afterward, the British government took direct control of India.

46 railroads Over the years, the British brought many positive changes to the region. They set up a well-run government and founded schools. They built railroads, bridges, and ports. They also introduced the telegraph and a postal service throughout India.

47 New Nations By the early 1900s, independence movements had spread across South Asia. The most popular Indian leader was Mohandas Gandhi (MOH∙huhn∙dahs GAHN∙dee). Gandhi opposed violence in all forms. Instead, he protested British rule using nonviolent civil disobedience—the refusal to obey unjust laws using peaceful protests. Gandhi and his followers held strikes and boycotted, or refused to buy, British goods. Their goal was to bring independence to the subcontinent. Gandhi’s movement won widespread support among Hindus. Muslims, however, feared that the much-larger Hindu population might mistreat them in an independent India.

48 After World War II, Britain realized that it could not keep control of South Asia. Giving the people independence was difficult, though, because of the bitter divisions between Hindus and Muslims. In 1947 the British government divided India into two independent countries. Areas that were mostly Hindu became the country of India. Areas that were mostly Muslim became the country of Pakistan (PA∙kih∙stan). Pakistan was made up of two areas geographically separated by India. West Pakistan was northwest of India, and East Pakistan was to the northeast.

49 Bangladesh Following this division, many Hindus in Pakistan fled to India, while many Muslims in India fled to Pakistan. Fighting erupted and as many as 500,000 people were killed. Tensions soon surfaced between the two parts of Pakistan too. In 1971 East Pakistan declared its independence. After a brief civil war, it became the new country of Bangladesh. Pakistan now includes only the lands northwest of India.

50 Sri Lanka Meanwhile, other political changes were occurring in South Asia. In 1948 Britain gave independence to the island of Ceylon. This country later took back its ancient name of Sri Lanka. Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, won independence from Britain in Nepal and Bhutan, two countries in the Himalaya area, had always been free of European rule.

51 Conflict in South Asia Tensions between India and Pakistan continue today. Religious differences play a part in this conflict. Another dispute involves land, with both countries claiming ownership of the region of Kashmir (KASH∙mihr) in the Himalaya and Karakoram mountains. India and Pakistan have fought several wars over this matter. Terrorists from Kashmir also have carried out attacks in India. Because both nations have nuclear weapons, people worry about the outbreak of a nuclear war.

52 Cultures and Lifestyles
In Jaipur, India, elephants are decorated with bright colored paint, fancy cloth, and jewelry for the Elephant Festival. The festival is held on the day before the celebration of Holi. This is the Indian festival of colors when people welcome the coming of spring. Spectators watch elephant races and polo matches and even an elephant tug-of-war, in which elephants compete against men. Read the next section to learn more about the people and cultures of South Asia.


54 The People of South Asia
South Asia is home to nearly 1.5 billion people. The region includes three of the world’s seven most populous nations— India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Ongoing, or continuing, population growth presents major challenges for South Asia.

55 Population Squeeze The population of South Asia grew dramatically during the last century. One reason for this growth was improved medical and health care, which lowered death rates. Another factor was continued high birthrates. In the 1990s alone, India’s population rose by 175 million people. Although growth rates have slowed in recent years, the number of people in South Asia is still climbing steadily.

56 population densities Of course, while the population swells, South Asia’s land area stays the same size. As a result, population densities in the region are very high. India averages 869 people per square mile (2,250 per sq. km). In comparison, the United States averages 80 people per square mile (31 per sq. km). Crowding is even worse in Bangladesh, South Asia’s most densely populated nation. Bangladesh has a whopping 2,594 people per square mile (6,718 per sq. km). Compare to OKlahoma

57 What do we call this type of farming?
Urban and Rural Life The growing cities of South Asia buzz with human activity. Sidewalks and shops are packed with people buying and selling items. People, animals, carts, bicycles, and cars move through crowded city streets. Towering skyscrapers and modern apartments are signs of urban wealth and the growing middle class. At the same time, poverty is widespread in South Asia. Large numbers of people live in inadequate housing or are homeless. Children, many homeless or orphaned, are forced to beg in the streets for money to buy food. Unemployment, pollution, disease, crime, and lack of clean water are common problems in the region’s urban slums. People living in South Asia’s rural areas also face challenges. Farmland is limited in mountainous Nepal and Bhutan and on the sandy islands of the Maldives. Elsewhere in the region, overcrowding has reduced the size of the land plots that farmers can work. In addition, inefficient farming methods lead to low crop yields. As a result, millions of people barely grow enough food to feed their own families. Rural villages in South Asia may also lack safe drinking water and electricity.


59 Buddhism, which spread from India beginning in the 400s b. c
Buddhism, which spread from India beginning in the 400s b.c. as shown in Figure 2 on the previous page, is no longer a major religion in that country. It remains strong, though, in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. In Bhutan, dzongs, or Buddhist centers of prayer and study, have been important in shaping the country’s arts and culture.

60 Sikhism The people of South Asia practice a number of other religions. Sikhism (SEE·kih·zuhm) was founded in the early 1500s. It teaches belief in one God and stresses doing good deeds as the way to escape the cycle of reincarnation and join with God. Most of South Asia’s Sikhs live in northwestern India. Many of them want an independent Sikh state there.

61 Jainism Another religion, Jainism, has about 4 million followers in India and perhaps 100,000 elsewhere in South Asia. Jains try to reach spiritual purity by rejecting all violence. They aim to protect every living creature. Small Christian communities exist in some urban areas of India.

62 The Arts Since early times, the arts have reflected a strong religious influence. Painters have been inspired by sacred writings. Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh architects built beautiful temples across the region. Many of these holy places hold elaborate carvings and sculptures of Hindu deities or the Buddha. Muslims, too, built beautiful mosques, forts, and palaces in South Asia. These buildings include the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Made of gleaming white marble, the Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim ruler as a tomb for his beloved wife.


64 sitar Music is another important art form in South Asia. Classical Indian music usually features the sitar (sih·TAHR), a longnecked instrument with 7 strings on the outside and 10 inside the neck. The sitar helps give Indian music a distinctive sound. Contemporary, or present-day, South Asian music reflects the growing influence of Western styles. Rock music, for example, has recently gained popularity in Pakistan.


66 Bollywood The city of Mumbai, nicknamed “Bollywood,” is the center of the Indian film industry. Traditional Bollywood movies are known for their grand spectacles with wild plots and lots of singing and dancing.

67 Daily Life The life of South Asians centers on the family. Marriage in South Asian countries is commonly viewed as the joining of two families. As a result, parents often arrange marriages for their children by choosing partners they consider suitable. After a woman marries, she becomes part of her husband’s family. In India and Pakistan, several generations often live together in the same house.

68 sari Western-style clothing is popular in South Asian cities, but many people still dress in traditional garments. Indian women, for example, wear colorful saris. A sari (SAHR·ee) is a long, rectangular piece of cloth that is draped gracefully around the body. Women complement their outfits with earrings, bangle bracelets, and other jewelry.


70 South Asia Today A Federal System
India, like the United States, is a federal republic. In other words, power is shared between a national government and various state governments. The national government, located in the capital city of New Delhi, has certain clearly defined responsibilities. These include defending the country and dealing with other countries. The states have their own duties, such as carrying out energy policies and providing police protection.


72 Structure of the Government
India’s national government has much in common with our own. There are three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—that operate under the principle of separation of powers. This means that each branch of government has specific rights and responsibilities that the other branches cannot interfere with.

73 India’s Economy After India became independent, the government worked to improve the economy. At first the government brought much of the country’s industry under its control. It also increased the amount of land that could be farmed. During the 1970s, the economy slowed. In hopes of boosting growth, India began moving toward a free market economy. The government reduced its controls, and businesses were shifted to private ownership. Foreign investment was also encouraged in order to create jobs. Today India has one of the world’s most rapidly growing economies. Even so, with such a large population, not enough jobs exist and many residents remain poor.

74 Agriculture and Related Industries
Farming is an important economic activity in India. Nearly 75 percent of Indian workers are farmers, and more than half of India’s land is used for farming. Today India produces most of the food it needs. It has benefited greatly from the green revolution, a set of changes that modernized agriculture and greatly increased food production in the 1970s. New strains of wheat, rice, and corn were developed that produce more grains. The government also built dams to store water for irrigation during the dry season.

75 Jute Indian farmers raise a variety of crops, including rice, wheat, cotton, tea, sugarcane, and jute. Jute is a plant fiber used for making rope, burlap bags, and carpet backing.

76 Manufacturing There are two types of manufacturing industries in India: cottage industries and factory-based industries. Cottage industries involve people working in their homes and using their own equipment to make goods. They craft pottery, spin and weave cloth, or create metal or wooden items. These items can then be sold to individuals or to companies for resale or export.

77 Services India’s service industries are growing faster than any other part of the economy. Computer software services, in particular, are booming, especially in southern Indian cities such as Hyderabad and Bengaluru (Bangalore). Many of India’s software developers and tech support people work for American companies. In a practice known as outsourcing, many American businesses hire overseas workers to do certain jobs. Outsourcing work to India is popular because wages there are low and because the country has large numbers of workers who are educated, skilled, and fluent in English.


79 Muslim Nations Pakistan is a long, wide country wedged between Afghanistan, Iran, and India. Tall mountains rise in the far north, and the Indus River valley is located to the south. This area provides the fertile land Pakistan needs to support its growing population.

80 The People With more than 160 million people, Pakistan is one of the world’s most populous nations. Its population continues to grow rapidly too. Although Pakistan’s death rate has declined, its birthrate is still very high. Almost all the people of Pakistan are Muslim. Their religion gives them a common bond, but it does not always bridge their cultural differences. Pakistanis come from many ethnic groups, and each one has its own language, territory, and identity.

81 The Economy For many years, Pakistan’s government had a strong role in the economy. In the 1970s, Pakistan’s industries were nationalized, or put under government control. Since the 1990s, however, many government-owned industries have been sold to private owners. The government maintains control over certain parts of the economy, such as banks, hospitals, and transportation.

82 About half of Pakistan’s people are farmers
. A large irrigation system helps them grow crops such as sugarcane, wheat, rice, and cotton. Cotton cloth and clothing are among the country’s major exports. Manufacturing and service industries are another important part of the economy. Many people also work in cottage industries making metalware, pottery, and carpets.

83 Government and Foreign Relations
Like India, Pakistan is a federal republic. Democracy, however, is limited in Pakistan. Since independence, the military has often forced elected leaders out of office and seized, or taken, power. This happened most recently in 1999, when General Pervez Musharraf (puhr∙VAYS moo∙SHAHR∙uhf) took over the government. Three years later, Pakistan’s people overwhelmingly voted to keep him as president.

84 Bangladesh Bangladesh, established in 1971, is the “youngster” in South Asia. It is struggling for success as an independent nation, but with a large population and few resources, it has not been easy. Bangladesh sits surrounded by India on three sides, with the Bay of Bengal to the south. In area, Bangladesh is slightly larger than Wisconsin, but it holds 144 million people—about half the population of the entire United States. As a result, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

85 The People Bangladesh’s people are largely Muslim. They are also overwhelmingly poor. About 75 percent of the people live in rural villages.

86 The Economy Most people in Bangladesh earn their living by farming. The warm climate, fertile soil, and plentiful water make it possible to plant and harvest three times a year. Rice is the country’s most important crop. Other crops include sugarcane, jute, wheat, and tea.

87 Nepal and Bhutan Nepal and Bhutan are small, mountainous kingdoms to the north of India. Both are still largely rural and struggling to build stronger economies. Nepal forms a steep stairway to the Himalaya. In the north are 8 of the world’s 10 highest mountains, including Mount Everest. Hills, valleys, and a fertile river plain are also part of the landscape.

88 Nepal More than 85 percent of Nepal’s people live in rural villages. Kathmandu (kat·man·DOO), the capital, is the only major city. Many ethnic groups make up the population. Hinduism is Nepal’s official religion, but Buddhism is practiced as well.

89 consumer goods—products
Tourism and trade, however, help the economy. For centuries, Nepal had no links to other countries because the mountains formed a strong barrier. Today, there are roads and air service to India and Pakistan. Nepal exports clothing and carpets, and it imports gasoline, machinery, and consumer goods—products that people buy for personal use.

90 Island Republics South Asia includes two island republics: Sri Lanka and Maldives. Both lie south of India in the Indian Ocean.

91 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka lies off the southeastern coast of India
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka lies off the southeastern coast of India. Much of the country is rolling lowlands, with white sandy beaches that attract tourists. Highlands cover the center, and tourists come here, too, to hike on nature trails that are rich with wildlife.

92 civil war Sri Lanka’s people are made up of two main groups. The Sinhalese (sihng∙guh∙LEEZ), who form about 74 percent of the population, live in the south and west and are mostly Buddhist. The Tamils (TA∙muhlz), who make up about 17 percent of the population, live in other parts of the country and are mainly Hindu. Since 1983, the Tamils and the Sinhalese have been fighting a violent civil war. The minority Tamils claim they have not been treated justly by the majority Sinhalese. They want to set up a separate Tamil nation in northern Sri Lanka. Thousands have died in the fighting.

93 tsunami Adding to its troubles, Sri Lanka suffered its worst natural disaster in December A tsunami, or huge ocean wave, was released by a powerful earthquake near Indonesia on the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. The tsunami struck Sri Lanka two hours later, killing more than 30,000 people and leaving 850,000 homeless. Tourist areas were damaged and much of the country’s fishing fleet was destroyed.


95 Countries of South Asia
6. Bhutan 1. Pakistan 7. Nepal 2. India 5. Bangladesh 4. Sri Lanka 3. Maldives Islands

96 While South Asia is bordered by bodies of water in the east, west, and south, what are the borders to the north? 1. Afghanistan 2. China 3. Myanmar (Burma)

97 Physical Geography South Asia is a sub-continent
A large landmass forming a distinct part of a continent.

98 Physical Geography The region is a land of extremes, from the tallest mountains in the world to some of the driest deserts to areas inundated by the monsoon rains.

99 Physical Geography With headwaters in the Himalayan Mountains, three of the world’s great rivers flow through this region. Indus (Pakistan) Brahmaputra (Bangladesh) Ganges (India)

100 Physical Geography Himalayan Mountains
Mt. Everest: tallest mountain in the world (29,000+ ft.) That’s almost 5.5 miles! Himalayas separate South Asia from the rest of the continent. The Himalayas are a result of tectonic activity. India “crashed” into Asia, creating the crumpled mountains. ~203 people have died climbing Everest.

101 Physical Geography Monsoons Seasonal winds
Crucial for life on the subcontinent. Beneficial and disastrously unpredictable.

102 History Most of South Asia was formerly known as “British India”.
Today it is made up of ….

103 History In 1947, India became independent from Britain.
What other country received independence in this year?

104 History Mohandas Gandhi Led an independence movement in India.
Encouraged “non-violent resistance” which greatly influenced what American?

105 History Why did British India divide like it is today?
Religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims dictated that “British India” be divided into predominantly Hindu (India), *Muslim (Pakistan) and *Muslim (Bangladesh).

106 Religion Four of the world’s major religions are practiced in this region. There has been conflict between Hindus and Muslims and between Hindus and Sikhs. Hindu Islam Buddhism Sikhism

107 Population South and East Asia account for over 50% of the world’s population. 3 billion+ people.

108 Population India alone accounts for nearly 20% of the world’s population. 1 billion people - It is estimated that within 50 years India will pass China as the world’s most populous country.

109 Population India What can you tell about the future of these countries by their population pyramids? Pakistan Bangladesh

110 World Clock

111 Population Despite the large number of people, India has still not exceeded it’s carrying capacity. They are not overpopulated. They can feed their people.

112 Population Most of the villages have been left behind when compared to modern cities like Mumbai (Bombay), Bangalore, and Madras.

113 Population India has not exceeded its carrying capacity because of the Green Revolution. A breakthrough in agricultural technology that allows India to produce enough food for its population.

114 The Green Revolution The Green Revolution allowed farmers to use genetic engineering to produce more crops quicker. The main researcher behind the Green Revolution was Norman Borlaug of Texas A&M (whoop!)

115 Government and Economies
India is the world’s largest democracy. They practice “universal suffrage”.

116 Government and Economies
They speak many different languages in South Asia, but the “lingua franca” is English. Why?

117 Government and Economies
The economy of India today is growing rapidly. *Note the gross domestic product and compare with the USA.

118 Government and Economies
Tata Nano car, released last year in India. It costs ~$2000.

119 Government and Economies
While much of the economy of India is growing, there are still hundreds of millions who are mired in poverty. Slumdog Millionaire?

120 Government and Economies
The “caste system”. Acquired status: you just get it, there is no hope for movement up the ladder.

121 Government and Economies
Outsourcing! Many technical jobs, such as call centers, have moved to India. How is time an important factor here? Many qualified, educated Indians will work for much less than Americans.

122 Government and Economies
India produces more films than any other country. “Bollywood” (Mumbai/Bombay) is the capital of their film industry.

123 Government and Economies
Most of India lacks adequate infrastructure, but the country has more miles of train tracks than any other in the world. This is a remnant of British rule.

124 Government and Economies
Pakistan Has fallen behind India economically because of unstable government and religious fundamentalism. There is a history of conflict between India and Pakistan.

125 Government and Economies
Education is available in Pakistan, though many attend “madrasas” (religious schools).

126 Government and Economies
While Bangladesh is a country of contrasts, it is still a heavily agrarian society that lives on the whim of cyclones and monsoons.

127 Government and Economies
The Grameen Bank, started in Bangladesh gives small loans to women to start small businesses. This method was very successful and copied worldwide.

128 Grameen banks These loans have allowed women to become self-sufficient and participate in the global marketplace.

129 Government and Economies
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

130 Government and Economies
Sri Lanka (the “tear drop of South Asia”) is one of the largest growers of tea in the world. Like most of South Asia, Sri Lanka is a blend of the old and the new. A civil war has plagued this region for many years. (Tamil Tigers) Bike military unit.

131 Government and Economies
South Asia has many roots in British culture. Games such as cricket transcend conflicts that have broken out in the past. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel

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