The dance of the winds over the Indian Ocean and the resultant monsoon are majestic geographical process. We are among the twenty countries of the world where 80% of all rainfall is attributed to the monsoon. Monsoon is very intricately linked to India’s history, culture, geography and economy. Let’s take a round trip to the various facets of the monsoon.
The historical bearings of the monsoon– A good monsoon overlapped with the period when in the past when armies could no longer go for expeditions. On the contrary, a bad monsoon was the right time for waging wars and expeditions. The fact that the Mughal successions were somewhat parallel to the monsoon failures shows that the Monsoon was a political factor which could dethrone an emperor. Later In colonial times, Indian budget got the epithet of a ‘gamble on monsoon’ by a British officer, another historical footprints of the Monsoon.
Monsoon’s cultural collection– The melody of ‘Sawan ka Mahina’ and the numerous songs in a panoply of languages or the rich collection of poetry dedicated to monsoon are testimony of its cultural importance. Paintings depicting the joyous moments exhibiting monsoon are other examples. The festival’s and celebratory rituals to welcome the monsoons dear to the farmers of India is another colour of the cultural significance of the season. The charisma of monsoon served as inspiration for the cultural renaissance of India.
Geography of the mighty monsoon– It all starts when the continental interiors of Asia and Africa heat up during the summers. This rise in temperature causes change in the location of the zone of convergence of winds coming from North and South. This region is called Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The heat leads to northward shifting of the convergence zone. Hence the winds coming from the southern hemisphere travels its way through the southern Indian Ocean and when it crosses the equator it turns slightly towards the east. This wind carries the moisture from the ocean and brings precipitation to India. This is an oversimplification of the complex process there a lot of other factors that influences it like, La Nina and El Nino.
Ecological significance– According to the Koppen classification of climatic zones, India has a monsoon type of climate. The green cover or vegetation of India is influenced by the monsoon. The rich species diversity of India, both flora and fauna, is due to the climate and the seasons. This country is a holy abode for nature enthusiasts. Apart from the already exists aesthetic beauty, the rich collection of plants and animals, we hear almost regularly about the new species being discovered. Monsoon should be acknowledged for this diversity.
Economics of the monsoon– India is an agricultural country and it is no secret that this agro-economy is dependent on monsoon. A good monsoon equates with a good harvest and good economic indicators. On the other hand a bad monsoon directly implicates India’s gross domestic product (GDP). The food security and self-sufficiency provided by nature’s bounty also helps in feeding the country and hence reducing the need to import it from other countries. The amount of money that would have been used in the import of food can be utilised to fulfil other needs.
Clearly, Monsoon has many stories. India and its romance with monsoon is an amusing tale that continues to date.