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The South Asia subcontinent is a region as vast in size as Europe. The major nations of the region include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. However, the region is dominated by the largest nation of the subcontinent, India. Me Himalayas and the Hindu Kush present a high mountain wall along the northern boundary, a mountain wall which has frequently isolated the subcontinent and had a major impact on the culture of the region. South of the mountains, the peninsular subcontinent is flanked by the Bay of Bengal on the east, the Arabian Sea on the west and the Indian Ocean on the south. Narrow coastal plains rise to the great plateau of India. The Himalayas are the source of the river system of the north - the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra which are the great water storehouse of the subcontinent. The Thar Desert, southwest of the rich Indo- Gangetic Plain, constitutes a large part of the state of Rajastan. Both the Eastern and the Western Ghats (hills) frame the Deccan Plateau, an area of agricultural productivity and and scrublands. The vegetation of the subcontinent is dependent upon the rainfall. 70% of the total working population are engaged in agriculture, primarily the subsistence type. Mineral resources are available but unevenly distributed.
With the exception
of high mountain altitudes, the region is largely tropical and sub-tropical,
bisected by the Tropic of Cancer. Rice, wheat, maize (corn), sugar, tea,
coffee and cotton are among the chief crops of the subcontinent as well
as jute and sesame seeds. The farmers have a single growing season and
the success or failure of agriculture is dependent upon the monsoon.
The United States has been blessed by its geographic location and by its beautiful natural geography.
1. Just as an understanding of our geography gives us important insights into the history and the culture of the region, it is important to look at the geography of South Asia to develop an understanding of the region.
Reading 1: Exploring India's Diversity: Geography
and Map Study and Map Study 1: The Physical
Divisions of India
Allow students to work individually or in small groups of three or four. Students will read the fact sheet and complete the exercise. Teacher will review answers with class.
Summary / Application
Some geographers view the United States, Canada and Mexico as a single geographic habitat.
Write an editorial: Is Geography India's Greatest Enemy or Greatest Ally ?
Expanding the Activities
1.Give the students the assignment of writing a short story about South Asia, incorporating the physical characteristics in the setting.
2.Use the different maps for group work rather than a whole class activity.