Monsoonal Unity in India
Despite the regional diversities in climatic conditions, there exists a climatic unity in India.
The ‘Climatic Unity’ means that weather conditions over different parts of India are more or less the same during different seasons round the year leaving minor variations as exceptions to the rule.
Indian climate is called ‘monsoon climate’. It explains how much influence the monsoon winds have in bringing climatic unity. This unity in climatic conditions results from the combined influence of regular movements of monsoons (seasonal winds) and the bounding role of the Himalayan mountain system.
The monsoonal unity of India caused by these twin factors is discernible. It reflects upon the life styles and activities of the common masses in India. They are –
- (i) Rhythm of seasons
- (ii) Thirst for Water
- (iii) The Waiting for Monsoon Rains
- (iv) Incidence of Droughts and Floods
Rhythm of seasons
The sequence of hot, wet and cold seasons affects the life styles and economic activities of the people throughout India in the following ways –
- Firstly, the farmers all over India start their agricultural activities like ploughing of fields, sowing of seeds, transplantation etc. with or just before the onset of monsoons. Kharif crops – rice and millets, cotton and sugarcane in different areas is an expression of amount of rainfall they receive. During winter, wheat is the major rabi crop in cool and irrigated areas; whereas barley, gram and oil seeds are common crops of unirrigated areas in northern and central India.
- Secondly, the clothes are also affected by seasons. During summer, the people wear cotton clothes whereas the woollen clothes are used in winter season especially in north and central India.
- Thirdly, most parts of India have to bear a long dry season; contrary to it, the season of life giving rains is limited to only a few months. This has a far reaching effect on the life style of the Indian people. When the rain drops the monsoon clouds fall on the thirsty parched land. Their music and fragrance coming out of the land generate similar emotional responses all over India. This is reflected in the Kajari of Bhojpuri and Malhar of Brij and their counter parts in other regions of India. Most of the Indian festivals are closely linked with seasons. In north India, Baisakhi is celebrated when rabi crop is ready for harvesting. During winter, when the sun shines vertically over the Tropic of Capricorn and extreme cold weather conditions prevail over northern plains Lohri and Makar Sakranti are celebrated in the north and west while Pongal distinctly is its southern counterpart. Holi is celebrated in spring after bidding good bye to the prolonged cold winter especially in the north.
- Fourthly, the rain-fed subsistence farming has been the oldest response of the village community. Its entire economy is based on it, howsoever meagre rain it may be.
- Lastly, the seasonal and regional variations in weather conditions have made different regions capable of producing different crops in varying quantities making all regions completely interdependent. This is not a less contribution of the monsoons in promoting underlying unity despite all pervasive diversity.
Thirst for Water
Rain occurs over most parts of India only during four or five months of the year. Thus, India remains dry for seven to eight months in a year. Even during rainy season, spells of dry period are common.
Being an agricultural society, the need for water is all pervasive in most parts of India. Even the rainiest parts around Cherrapunji and in Konkan and Kerala have no drinking water during the long and dry summer months.
All eyes are focussed on black monsoon clouds in every part of the country.
The Waiting for Monsoon Rains
The farmers as well as citizens all over India eagerly wait for monsoon rains after a long dry season not only to get rid of summer heat but to start agricultural activities which sustain rural as well as urban economy.
So, bursting of monsoon is welcomed with equal joy everywhere in India.
Incidence of Droughts and Floods
The paradox of Indian monsoons is that no part in India is spared from occasional or even frequent floods or droughts, if not famines. The drought are common even in the areas of heavy rainfall like Kerala and Assam; likewise, dry areas of Northwest India are not free from floods, be it Punjab or Rajasthan. Consequently, there is need to conserve, control and store water for irrigation, drinking and power generation.
Bibliography : NIOS – Geography
- Distribution of annual Rainfall
- Cycle of Seasons in India
- The Retreating Southwest Monsoon Season
- The Advancing Southwest Monsoon Season
- The Hot Weather Season
- The Cold Weather Season
- The Concept and Mechanism of Monsoon
- Factors influencing the Climate of India
- Climate Variations in India
- Consequences Of Migration