India is a large country. India is called as the largest peninsula of the continent, located south of the Himalayan Mountains and north of the Indian Ocean. Its wide plot is like an asymmetric quadrilateral. It is similar to the whole of Europe except for Russia.
The Greeks have called this country Indica and the medieval writers have referred to it as Hind or Hindustan.
According to the geographical structure, it can be divided into 4 parts-
- The mountainous region of North
- Northern plains of Ganga and Indus
- South plateau
- Far South Plains
Let’s talk in further detail on these points-
Hilly Region of North
It is a vast stretch extending from the marshy forests of the Tarai to the top of the Himalayas, covering the states of Kashmir, Kangra, Tehri, Kumaon, and Sikkim. This part is about 1500 miles long and about 150-200 miles wide.
Northern plains of Ganga and Indus
The region includes the Indus Valley and its tributaries, the dry part of Sindh and Rajasthan, and the regions irrigated by the Ganges and the Yamuna.
This part of the country is the most fertile, not surprisingly, large empires were established in this part. Arya culture flourished here. So, this is called the Aryavarta.
This region consists of Narmada in the north and the part between Krishna and Tungabhadra in the south. The plateau of central India and south.
Narmada and Tapti flow from east to west. Other rivers of this part flows from west to east.
In the dry season, the rivers dry up and are not fit for shipping. The Vindhya and Satpura mountains separate northern India from the south.
Far South Plains
It consists of long and narrow sea areas in the south. These parts come in the fertile deltaic regions of Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery rivers.
The plateau of the south and the regions of the far south form modern South India. The Narmada and Tapti rivers, the Vindhya and Satpura hills, and the Mahakantar forests, together separate North India from South India.
Free from the influence, the Aryan culture flourished in North India. A completely different culture developed in South India called Dravid. The remnants of this culture still exist in the south.
It can also be understood that the plains from the Yamuna to the Brahmaputra are called Madhya Pradesh or middle country. This part was the center of Aryan culture.
North-Western India is called Uttarapath. Western India was called “Praanteey” (Provincial) or “Aparaant” (Immaculate). Eastern India was “Praachy” (Oriental). And South India was called Dakshinapath.
Nature has given India a distinct geographical unit.
In the north, the Himalayan Mountains have been protecting it like a high wall and the Indian Ocean surrounds it from East, West, and South.
Due to these natural borders, India is mostly protected. The country was able to build its own independent and separate civilization.
The specific or special effect of geography on Indian history-
- Each region here tells its own story.
- On one side there are huge mountains and on the other side there are plains , on the one side there is a very fertile place and on the other side there is a huge desert.
- There are high plateaus, dense forests, and cool/secluded valleys. At the same time, many places are extremely warm and some are very cold.
- Due to different geographical subdivisions, there are many variations in the natural and social levels of the place.
- Each geographical location of India has developed into a distinct entity. It has maintained its uniqueness for centuries.
- A variety of ethnic and linguistic elements have also been responsible for this uniqueness.
- As a result, many great rulers have been trying to establish political unity many times.
- The history of India is a story of a continuous struggle between the tendencies of centralization and decentralization.
The vastness of the country and its isolation from the rest of the world have produced many important results.
With India being a unique geographical unit in itself, Indian rulers and army heroes expanded the empire outside the country or fulfilled their military ambitions. He never made any attempt to expand, but he expanded his empire in India. The example of the Cholas of the far south can be considered as an exception in this subject.
People of different castes, religions, languages, thought and ethics reside in India. Variations here can strike any outside observer.
But unity among these variations is visible in India, which no one can ignore. As a result, unity in diversity has become the most important feature of Indian culture.
Although political unity in practice is very less established, but it can be seen in every era of history as a principle.
Cultural unity has been more evident. Language, literature, social and religious ideas have been the main medium of this unity.
Since the very ancient times of Indian history, we have had this fundamental unity. In Mahakavya and Puranas, this entire country has been called Bharatvarsha, the country of Bharata, and the residents here are called Bharati (children of Bharata).
Vishnu Purana clearly expresses this unity –
“Samudra ke uttar me tatha himalaya ke dakshin me jo sthit hai wo Bharat Desh hai thatha waha ki santane Bhartiy hai”
(English: North of the sea and what is located in the south of the Himalayas is the country of ‘Bharat’ and the children are born there are ‘Bhartiy’. )
This sense of unity has existed in the minds of ancient poets, writers, and thinkers for centuries.
The seven holy rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Indus, and Cauvery, are here.
Seven Mountains- Mahendra, Malay, Sahya, Shuktimaan, Rakshaya, Vindhya and Pariyatra.
Seven cities – Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kashi, Kanchi, Avanti, Puri, and Dwaravati.
Despite being inhabited in different parts of the country, it has been equally revered for all the residents of the country. The scriptures of Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. are universally respected and gods like Shiva and Vishnu are worshiped everywhere.
Although there are many languages here, they all originate or are influenced by Sanskrit itself. It is the same.
Through the rituals of Yajna, Rajasuya, Ashwamedha, etc., aspiring emperors of the post of Chakravarti have always expressed the feeling that the vast land of India is one.
Thus, substantial unity among diversity remains the most important feature of Indian culture.