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South Asia . Learning Objectives. Explain the linkages and tensions between ethnicity, religion, and contemporary geopolitics Examine the impacts of sustained population growth on South Asia’s economic, social, and natural environments

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learning objectives
Learning Objectives

Explain the linkages and tensions between ethnicity, religion, and contemporary geopolitics

Examine the impacts of sustained population growth on South Asia’s economic, social, and natural environments

Compare and contrast economic and social development across the region




Hindu Nationalism



Caste System

Mughal Empire





Key Concepts

setting the boundaries
Setting the Boundaries

Second most populous region in the world

Distinct landmass separated from the rest of the Eurasian continent: Subcontinent

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives

Regional unity: Shared history and culture


India- Population growth , Monsoons, Technology service sector (Out sourcing) Subcontinent

Nepal & Bhutan - Himalaya Mts. (convergent ) Isolated, lack of arable land

Bangladesh- High Population density, low elevation on river delta, flooding

Pakistan- Kashmir conflict with India, Fight against terrorism

Maldives - Archipelago, tourism, low islands in fear of global warming

Sri Lanka- Religious conflict

the himalayan mountains
The Himalayan Mountains

The worlds highest mountains, the majestic snow capped Himalayas, from the northern border of the Indian subcontinent. Mt. Everest, the worlds tallest peak at 29,035feet.

convergent boundary
Convergent boundary

The Indian boundary is called the convergent boundary because the Indian continent and the Eurasian continent converge into each other.

The Himalayas are produced and the boundary is formed.

Even now the Himalayas are growing because the continents are still converging.


The monsoons are seasonal winds that bring heavy rain to northern and southwestern part of India.

This rainfall is crucial to life on the subcontinent, but it can cause severe hardships for millions of those who live in the lowlands of India and Bangladesh.

the river ganges ganga
The River Ganges (ganga)

The 2,510km (1557mi) long river begins at the Gangotri glacier in the central Himalayas which passes though the plains in northern India before draining into the bay of Bengal. The river, held sacred by Hindus is worshipped as the personified form of the goddess Ganga after whom the river is named.

ritual bathing in the ganges river
Ritual Bathing in the Ganges River

Hindu pilgrims achieve purification by bathing in the Ganges.

contemporary religion
Contemporary Religion
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Sikhism
  • Buddhism and Jainism
  • Other religious groups

Figure 12.22

Hinduism is directed towards selfless living, a fundamental belief being that the soul or atman survives death.
  • All Hindus aspire to develop a positive karma which will influence a better rebirth. God assumes many forms in Hinduism of which Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer are most central.
caste system
Caste System

Figure 12.20

  • Complex Hindu social order
  • Hierarchy
  • Dalits (untouchables)
  • Structure being undermined by modern economy and social reform

Hindu temple

buddhism is an offshoot of hinduism
Buddhism Is an offshoot of Hinduism
  • Buddhism arose from the inspiration and teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni (624 BC).
  • It is a complete way of life concerned with the wholesome development of the individual.
  • Buddhism can be best summarized by the words of Buddha himself:
  • Learn to do good, Cease to do harm, Control the mind, And benefit others.
the 4 noble truths
The 4 Noble Truths
  • (i) the world is full of suffering (ii) suffering is caused by desire (iii) suffering can be removed (iv) in order to remove suffering one has to overcome desire.
both hindus buddhist believe in reincarnation the continues cycle of birth dearth rebirth
Both Hindus & Buddhist believe in reincarnation, the continues cycle of birth, dearth & rebirth
south asia
South Asia

The Golden Quadrilateral Highway being built in India

Figure 12.2

Figure 12.1

environmental issues overview
Environmental Issues – Overview
  • Diverse landscapes
  • Complex problems

Figure 12.1.1

Figure 12.3

Kaziranga National Park

environmental issues cont d
Environmental Issues (cont’d)

Natural hazards


Wildlife extinction and protection

Figure 12.5

Figure 12.4

India: logging small trees

Bangladesh: Flooding from a cyclone


Logging & agriculture, as well as industrial & urban expansion are causes of deforestation in South Asia

population explosion in india
Population Explosion in India

India currently faces a vicious cycle of population explosion and poverty. India, being a developing country, has had to face several economic and political challenges. According to, “India's population hit 1 billion in May 2000, increasing the urgency for the country to moderate its population growth.”

population and settlement cont d1
Population and Settlement (cont’d)

Figure 12.2.1

  • Rapid population growth
  • Differing approaches to family planning

Figure 12.10

West Bengal: village health clinic


urban landscapes
Urban Landscapes

Mumbai: Hutments built on formerly busy sidewalks with no sanitary facilities

Karachi: known for economic power and ethnic violence

Figure 12.15

Figure 12.17

urban landscapes cont d
Urban Landscapes (cont’d)

Figure 12.16

  • Problems due to rapid growth
  • Political and ethnic tensions
  • Forward capital
  • Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka, Karachi, Islamabad, Mumbai

Dhaka: vibrant metropolis with both slums and prosperous areas

mahatma gandhi 1869 1948
Mahatma GANDHI(1869 – 1948)

Mohandas Gandhi is the first freedom fighter for India to gain independence from the Britishers. Gandhi was the major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. His protests did not use violence to achieve his goals. (nonviolent resistance)

He gained independence to India on Aug 14,1947.

ethnic conflict kashmir
Ethnic Conflict – Kashmir

Indian soldier

in Kashmir

Figure 12.34

Figure 12.31

dispute over kashmir
Dispute over Kashmir

India and Pakistan have spent millions of dollars to develop nuclear weapons in their continuing dispute over Kashmir. This has left less money to spend on improving the lives of their citizens. India's claim is contested by Pakistan which controls a third of Kashmir.

ethnic conflict
Ethnic Conflict

Civil War in Sri Lanka


border fence

Figure 12.35

Figure 12.33

social development
Social Development

Figure 12.41

  • Relatively low levels of health and education
    • Several pronounced discrepancies
    • Sri Lanka, Kerala
  • Status of women
  • Gender ratios

Kerala: South Asia’s most highly educated region