South Asia
 Background
– South Asian region consists of India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan
– region enclosed by Himalayan and Karakorum Mts.
in the north, the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Bay
of Bengal in the east
– most of the region under the colonial power of Britain
until after WWII
– countries divided on religious lines with India
predominately Hindu and Pakistan mainly Muslim
Karakorum Mts
Deccan Plateau
– old and new exist side by side
– India can built nuclear reactors, make nuclear
bombs, support a sophisticated hardware and
software industry
– yet only 50% of the population can read; only 20%
has adequate sanitary facilities, and 2/3’s of children
are malnourished
– India, second poorest region of the world
 Historical
influences
– 3,000 BC Dravidian people forced out of Indus
Valley into southern India
– taller, lighter skinned Indo-Aryan tribes replaced
the Dravidian people in the north
– Sanskrit language and Hinduism associated with
these Indo-Aryan peoples in north India
– Buddhism also strong in early India
– caste system arose out of differences between
Aryan and non-Aryan peoples
– Aryans had stratified social system with priests
(Brahmins), warriors (Kshatriyas) and farmers and
merchants (Vaisyas); Sudras, the laborers, born to
be servants to the other three castes, especially the
Brahman.
– non-Aryans with menial occupations including the
untouchables
– attractiveness of Buddhist faith was that it rejected
the rigid caste system of Hinduism, but Buddhists
were largely expelled from northern India, migrated
south to Sri Lanka or Myanmar (Burma)
– Mughal Empire in 12th C brings Islam to Indian
sub-continent
– Islam popular among lower classes, preached
more social and political equality, but Islam never
replaced Hinduism in central India
– Islam strongest in northwest in Lahore
– 18th C Mughal empire broke up, many small
kingdoms established by Muslim or Hindu rulers
– Portuguese (Vasco de Gama) arrive first, Dutch
second, then British in 17th C
– British East India Company, a dominant force
in India
– British East India Co. backed by British Indian
army increased its hold on India, particularly strong
in Bengal, Sri Lanka, and Punjab.
– After Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, British government
took control of India; East India Co. abolished;
princely states remained
– typical core/periphery economic relationship
between Britain and India in 19th and 20th C with
India producing raw materials for the “mother
country”. Indian economic development retarded
– India produced cotton on irrigated land in the Indus
and upper Ganges plain.
– British saw their role as one of “civilizing” India by
means of Western education, introduction of new
technology, building public works, and introducing
system of English law
– built railroads, irrigation canals, other infrastructure
projects
– tea, rubber and coconut plantations established in
India
– Indian Tamil labor worked on plantations
– emphasis on export crops with a neglect of
traditional agriculture growing rice
– Indians fought with Britain in WW I, demanded
more influence in government, progress toward selfgovernment slow
– Agitation for independence prior to WW II led by
the Indian Congress Party in India and the Muslim
League in Pakistan. Muslims wanted their own
political organization; feared Hindu domination
– India and Pakistan get their independence in 1947
– demands for a separate Muslim state because of
fears that Muslims would be a underprivileged and
persecuted minority in India
– majority of Muslims in Punjab and Bengal
– Mahatma Gandhi, spiritual and political leader of
India; Jawaharlal Nehru, pragmatic political leader
and first prime minister of India
– Mohammed Ali Jinnah, father of modern Pakistan
– British independence plan called for dividing
provinces of Bengal and the Punjab between India
and Pakistan
– Muslims and Hindus caught in “wrong country” were
encouraged to move to avoid ethnic bloodshed
– 12 million people displaced in migrations between
India and Pakistan; over 1 million died in brutal ethnic
clashes
– issue of Kashmir
 Muslim
insurgents in Kashmir proclaim provisional
government
 75% of population in Kashmir were Muslims but the
territory had a Hindu maharaja as ruler of Kashmir
 mahraja announces accession of area into new Indian
Republic
 India sends troops to Srìnagar, the capital of Kashmìr
 war erupts in Kashmir
 debate in UN leads to cease fire, promise of a plebiscite
which was never held because India objected
 conflict over Kashmir between India and Pakistan
remains hot emotional issue
 Physical
Divisions of India: (1) Outer Wall of
Mountains; (2) North Indian Plain; and (3)
Peninsula Plateaus
– Outer Wall of Mountains
 mountains
from Arabian Sea to Kashmir with Hindu
Kush Mts separating Afghanistan from India and
Pakistan
 mountains from Kashmir to Assam and Myanmar
(Burma); Karakorum range separates India from China;
 Himalayan Mts. also separate India and China along a
1500 mile border
 92
of 100 highest peaks in world found in this region with
Mt.. Everest at 29K and K2 at 28 K
 military action across the border between India and China
in 1962; quite since that time.
– Northern Indian Plain
 large
alluvial plain across three countries- Pakistan, India,
and Bangladesh
 Indus River and its tributaries in Pakistan
 Ganges River and its tributary the Jumma River from
Punjab to Bengal
 Brahmaputra River from Assam to Ganges Delta
 40% of the Indian population lives on the Ganges Plain
 capital city of New Delhi (11 mil); Bombay (17 mil) and
Calcutta (12 mil) on northern Indian plain
– Peninsula India
 southern
peninsula triangle of plateaus known as the
Deccan Plateau
 most of region approximately 2,000 feet in elevation
 rivers cut deep trenches through the Deccan making
irrigation difficult
 prevalence of water tanks that catch rain
 western side of peninsula contains Western Ghats
 eastern side of peninsula contains Eastern Ghats
 heavy population along western coastal plain (Malabar
coast) and eastern coastal plain (Coromandal coast)
 main metropolitan cities of peninsula are Madras with
4.3 mil and Bangalore with 4.1 mi
– Climate
 extremes
of climate in the Indian subcontinent
 temperatures vary from the very cold temperatures in the
northern mountains to tropical heat of peninsula India
 precipitation varies from some of the driest climates to
some of the wettest
 hottest temperatures occur in late spring just before the
monsoon
 India lives and dies by the monsoon
 If rain comes late to Central India, it can cause
tremendous suffering and hardship
 winter temperatures are relatively warm and dry
 high
pressure over Punjab and winds blow over the Indian
subcontinent to the ocean
 early summer, unbearable heat is broken by the summer
monsoon
 summer monsoon from June to September
 two arms of the wet monsoon- one strikes Western Ghats
and drops high rainfall on western side of Mts.
 second arm of wet monsoon approaches Bay of Bengal
 rain in Assam can reach 400 inches per year
 rain up the Ganges falls as one goes northwest
 tropical cyclones in Bay of Bengal can bring devastating
summer floods in Bangladesh
– Water resources
 water
vital to extend agricultural cycle
 canals, reservoirs, dams built in northwest India
 construction of wells and tanks to stretch water reserves
 motor-driven pumps are high priority of government
 Population
– India has world’s second largest population behind
China
– rate of population increase higher in India
– rate of growth was 250 million in 1920; 440 million
in 1960; 775 million in 1990; estimated population
of 1.3 billion by 2025
– family planning pushed by Indian government, but
not as coercive as China
– government plan to push male sterilization led to
fall of the government of India Gandhi in 1977
– Indian population growing at 2% per year which
adds one million people/month
– high infant mortality keeps birth rate high in rural
areas
– Muslim population disapproves of birth control
– significant population of India still lives in rural
areas
 Ethnic
/Religious Diversity
– Hindus constitute 80% of population; Muslims
about 11%; Christians and Sikhs 2% each;
Buddhists and others 5%
– rise of religious militancy among Hindus; Muslim
mosques attacked; invasion of Sikh temples to
capture militants; recent elections show support for
radical Hindu politicians. Future problems
predicted
– diversity of languages with only 30% speaking
Hindi; 15 other official languages in Indian states
– 1,600 different languages spoken in subcontinent
– English, language of educated elite and commerce
– 15 million Indians live abroad in South Africa,
Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Persian Gulf States, England,
Caribbean, Fiji
– many Indian entrepreneurs and shopkeepers
throughout the world
– significant “brain drain” to West among Indian
educated elite.
– remittances from expatriates were $3 billion in 1992
 Differences
between Hindus and Muslims
– Islam monotheistic and insists on rigid obedience to
religious practices, no idols or statues; Hinduism
pantheistic and open to diverse points of view,
representation of many gods
– Islam believes in equality of all people; Hinduism
adheres to caste system with rigid hierarchy
– Islam views cattle as source of food; Hindus believe
the cow is sacred, forbidden to kill them
– Islamic rituals austere and solemn; Hindus sing,
chant, dance and engage in noisy celebrations
– religious zealots on both sides exacerbate political
tensions
 Economic
Development
– India has one of largest economies outside of core
European countries with areas of highly productive
agriculture and growing manufacturing, yet most
people remain poor
– parts of economy expanding and diversifying
– farming declined from 44 to 31 % of GDP;
manufacturing rose from 22 to 29% of GDP;
services rose from 34 to 40% of GDP
– from 1947-1991 India chose not to become a major
part of world economy, concentrated on increasing
food production and self-sufficiency
– avoided close links with core countries and
multinational corporations
– bureaucrats from central government controlled
economy following socialistic principles
– after 1991 Indian economy in crisis, Soviet trade
ended, Western countries urged India to restructure
by opening up country to foreign investment and
producing commodities for export trade
– direct foreign investment increase from $150 to $660
million between 1991 and 1994
– investment in Indian company shares rose from $156
million to $4.1 billion
– more decision-making power in economic area
given to Indian states
– private capital flourished, tremendous economic
growth in short period of time; poor did not benefit
from these changes
– infrastructure projects in power supply,
telecommunications and road construction
promoted
– farming output particularly in states of Punjab and
Haryana in northwest improved dramatically
– rural areas in these states generated growth and
income for poor
– Green Revolution in India increased yields of
irrigated rice and wheat by more than 300%
– production of food grains tripled from 50 million
tons to over 180 million tons
– local infrastructure concentrated on rural
electrification, all weather roads, good bus and
truck transportation
– irrigation in Punjab and Haryana produced dramatic
results; other parts of India languished without
adequate water supplies (irrigated cotton)
– poor monsoon rains in 80’s created problems in
South India
– durum wheat (used in pasta) vegetables, fruits, and
flowers promoted with processing facilities to make
French fries, tomato puree, wines, etc. which are
exported to Persian Gulf
– tea is a major industry in Assam hills, MNC’s active
in tea plantations
– Ganges Plains still retain traditional farming
methods, small plots, landless laborers in the
poverty trap
– Ganges/Brahmaputra Delta site of jute industry;
factories in Calcutta cut off from jute-growing areas
in Bangladesh
– coastal deltas drained for rice and cotton production
– hilly areas grow millet and sorghum that can tolerate
drier conditions
– huge number of livestock, particularly cattle which
are sacred in India. Hindus do not eat beef
– mineral resources in northeast part of Choto Nagpur
Plateau
– large reserves of bauxite
– some natural gas and oil supplying 75% of India’s
needs
– large fishing industry off coasts
– forest resources limited except on southern slopes of
Himalayas
– growing manufacturing sector from small-scale craft
industries to large iron and steel complexes
– main steel industries in Bihar and Orissa
– car and vehicle assembly linked to MNC’s like GM,
Ford, Chrysler, Peugeot, Volvo, Mitsubishi,
Daewoo, and VW. India produces with Suzuki its
own car, the Muarati
– textiles a major industry with exports to US and EU
– high tech industries concentrated around Bangalore
in Karnataka state. MNC’s like 3M, Motorola,
IBM, Texas Instruments have plants in Bangalore.
Some high tech also in Mysore
– Mumbai (Bombay) in Maharashtra and adjacent
Gujurat are important manufacturing centers
– Mumbai also commercial capital of India
– active film industry concentrated in Bombay
produces 500-600 titles per year
– Uttar Pradesh produces tanned leather goods, brass
goods, and carpets using child labor
– service jobs growing particularly in private sector
– health and education need additional resources
– India produces too many college graduates but not
enough graduates with basic education
– health problems are enormous with 300,000 children
dying of diarrhea each year, high infant mortality,
major public health problems because of impure
water and bad sanitation
– Overall, India is making significant economic
progress, but the benefits of these gains needs to
filter out to the general population
 Environmental
Problems
– Water and air pollution due to industrial
development
– Environment disaster at Bhopal which killed
2,500
– Deforestation along Brahamaputra River from
Nepal to delta. Destruction of forests along
Ganges as well.
– Wildlife extinction and protection- elephants,
tigers, small animals
– Chipko movement of “tree huggers”
 Pakistan
and Bangladesh
– Background
 Pakistan
and Bangladesh share the same cultural and
political heritage as India but little else in common except
the Islamic faith
 initially they were one country, divided into two different
locations, West Pakistan and East Pakistan
 revolt in East Pakistan led to the creation of Bangladesh in
1971
 Pakistan is a country of arid lowlands with high mountains
on the periphery
 Bangladesh is a country with low, well-watered lands with
a hilly eastern region
 Pakistan
has a major problem managing scarce water
resources
 Bangladesh has major problems dealing with floods
that devastated the country in 1974, 1988, and 1991
– Population
 Bangladesh
only 1/5th the size of Pakistan but has
approximately the same size population- 146 million
people in Pakistan vs. 125 million people in Bangladesh
 birth rate slightly higher in Pakistan
 problem of Bangladesh is to feed and find jobs for its
people
 many laborers from Bangladesh find employment in the
Persian Gulf or Malaysia
 lack
of an educated workforce hampers development in
Pakistan
 Karachi, largest city in Pakistan with 10 million;
Lahore with 5 million is center of Islamic culture in
Pakistan
 Islamabad with 300,000 people is the new capital of
Pakistan located near India/Kashmir border
 Dacca is largest city and main port of Bangladesh with
a population of 3 million
 Chittagong is main port of Bangladesh with population
of 3 million
 Urdu is official language of Pakistan, but few speak it;
Punjabi is more commonly spoken language
– Economic Development
 Pakistan
and Bangladesh are both poor countries but
GDP of Pakistan twice as large as Bangladesh’s GDP
 British built some infrastructure (roads and irrigation
facilities) in Pakistan; Bangladesh was largely ignored
 both states heavily dependent on agriculture
 75% of the labor force in Bangladesh are farmers
growing jute, rice, tea or sugarcane
 cotton chief agricultural commodity grown in Pakistan
 best farmland in Pakistan in hands of a small group of
wealthy farmers with great political power
 no large reserve of minerals in either country though
Pakistan has some gypsum, rock salt and soda ash
– Political problems
 political
instability in Pakistan alternating military rule
and corrupt civilian political rule
 breakdown of law and order in Pakistan due to social
dislocation produced by the Afghanistan war after 1979
 arms acquired by Islamic fighters used inside Pakistan
to rob bank, kidnap prominent persons for ransom
 1971 civil war in Bangladesh destroyed 70% of the
roads, bridges, port facilities and electric generating
facilities
 tropical cyclones in 1971 results in great loss of life
with more than 100,000 people killed in floods
 Bangladesh one of the poorest and most densely
populated countries of the world
Pakistan
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South Asia - Saint Martin's University