Definitions

India proper

North India

North India
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North Indian states (geographical sphere) shown in red, cultural sphere shown in pink Time zone style="border-top: 2px dotted #DCDCDC;" IST ()> Area1,624,160 km² > States and territories style="border-top: 2px dotted #DCDCDC;" Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh > Most populous cities (2008) New Delhi, Kanpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Indore, Ludhiana> Official languagesHindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Urdu, English> Population style="border-top: 2px dotted #DCDCDC;" 504,196,432 >
North India refers to a set of states in the non-peninsular region of the Republic of India including the area to the north of the Vindhya mountains, Narmada River and Mahanadi River, but excluding the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west, West Bengal and Orissa in the east as well as the seven North-East states . New Delhi, the capital of India lies in North India. The dominant geographical features of northern India are the Indo-Gangetic Plain whose fertile soils and perennial rivers have sustained large populations and the Himalayas which cut the region off from the rest of Asia. North India has been the historical center of the Maurya, Gupta, Mughal and British Indian Empires. It has a rich and diverse culture, having the Hindu holy cities of Varanasi and Allahabad along with world heritage sites representing Islam and Buddhism within its boundaries . The eastern parts of this region continues to face problems of overpopulation, poverty, illiteracy despite significant economic growth and the Green Revolution.

Geography

Northern India lies mainly on continental India and a very small part of it lies on the Indian peninsula. Towards its North are the Himalayas which largely define the boundary between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. To its west is the Thar desert, which separates most of North India from Pakistan, while in the southwest lie the Aravalli hills, beyond which lies the state of Gujarat. The Vindhya mountains are generally taken to be the southern boundary of northern India.

The predominant geographical features of northern India are the Indo-Gangetic plain which spans the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab, the Himalayas which lie in the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and the Thar desert which lies mainly in the state of Rajasthan. The state of Madhya Pradesh has large areas under forest cover as do Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh. The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand receive sustained snowfall in winter months.

Although predominantly subtropical, with cool winters, hot summers and moderate monsoons, overall North India is one of the most climatically diverse regions on Earth. Extreme temperatures have ranged from in Dras, Jammu and Kashmir to 50.6 °C (123 °F) in Alwar, Rajasthan.

Demographics

The people and languages of Northern India are predominantly Indo-Aryan, and it is in this region that Sanskrit and the various Prakrits are thought to have evolved in India. Hindi has the largest number of speakers in the region, with the Hindi heartland of India lying within North India. Punjabi, Kashmiri and other languages are also spoken by large populations and are official languages in their respective states.

Hinduism and Islam predominate in North India, although Sikhism is predominant in Punjab. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a majority Muslim population. The states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are predominantly Hindu, while Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have religiously diverse populations.

Languages

Linguistically, North India is dominated by Indo-Aryan languages. By definition, the Indo-Aryan dialects native to North India proper are the Hindi dialects (forming the "Hindi belt"). These are divided into Western Hindi and Eastern Hindi, besides the Pahari dialects in the north, the Rajasthani dialects in the west and the Bihari dialects in the east. Other Indo-Aryan dialects (Eastern zone, Southern zone, Northwestern zone) are spoken in the wider sphere of north Indian influence.

The Hindi belt covers the following Indian states:

The Union Territory of Chandigarh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi also lie in this belt. The states of Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have considerable number of Hindi-speaking people, but are not regarded as a part of the Hindi belt. In the Vindhya range, the southern delimiter of North India, pockets of Dravidian (Gondi, Kurukh) and Austro-Asiatic (Munda) speakers are found within the Hindi speaking area.

Social conditions

Crimes against women such as female-infanticide, honor-killings, bride-burning and human rights abuses against Dalits, North Eastern Indians and Nepalis are rampant , often endorsed by the local population and frequently ignored by the police, especially in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. The unchecked population growth, wastage of natural resources and human rights abuses are leading to great strain on the resources of the entire country, its political stability and democratic ethos.

Flora & Fauna

North Indian original vegetation is predominantly deciduous forest because of its tropical location, of the deciduous trees Sal and Teak are the most important. The Western Himalayan region is abound in Chirpine and other conifers deodar, blue pine, spruce, silver fir, and junipers. The Eastern Himalayan region consists of oaks, laurels, maples, rhododendrons, alder, and birch and dwarf willows. The floral wealth ranges from the Alpine to the temperate thorn, from the coniferous to the evergreen, from scrubs to deciduous forests, from thick tropical jungles to cool temperate woods.

There are around 500 varieties of mammals, 2000 species of birds and 30,000 types of insects and a wide variety of fish, amphibians and reptiles are found in the country. The animal species in North India includes Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Chital, Hog Deer, Porcupine, Wild Pig, Fox and Rhesus Monkeys, highly endangered Caracal, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Langur, Spotted Deer, Indian Gazelle, Sambar (Asiatic stag) and Nilgai (blue bull).

A huge number of snake varieties, lizards, ghariyal and crocodiles account for the reptile count. Snakes include the deadly King cobras to the equally poisonous Kraits. Scorpions and insects are found in plenty in this region. Useful insects include the bees, silkworms and the Lac insect. A huge number of snake varieties, lizards, ghariyal and crocodiles account for the reptile count. Snakes include the deadly King cobras to the equally poisonous Kraits. Scorpions and insects are found in plenty in this region. Useful insects include the bees, silkworms and the Lac insect.

The birds of North India includes the beautiful peacock to the parrots, and thousands of immigrant birds. Common Indian birds are Pheasants, Geese Ducks, Mynahs, Parakeets, Pigeons, Cranes, and Hornbills. Great pied hornbill, Pallas's fishing eagle, Grey-headed fishing eagle, Red-thighed Falconet are some of the endangered birds found in Himalyan region. Other birds found in this region are Tawny Fish Owl, Great Hornbill, Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Red-breasted Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Himalayan Rubythroat.

The most important National Parks and Tiger reserves of North India includes:-

Corbett National Park: It was established in 1936 along the banks of the Ramganga River. It is India's first National Park, and was designated a Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1973. Cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas, it comprises a total area of 500 km² out of which 350 km² is core reserve. This park is known not only for its rich and varied wildlife but also for its scenic beauty.

Kanha National Park: The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel "Jungle Book". The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: It is one of the finest bird parks in the world, it is a reserve that offers protection to faunal species as well. Nesting indigenous water birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar.

Dudhwa National Park: It covers an area of 500 km² along the Indo-Nepal border in Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, is best known for the Barasingha or Swamp Deer. The grasslands and woodlands of this park, consist mainly of sal forests. The barasingha is found in the southwest and southeast regions of the park. Among the big cats, tigers abound at Dudhwa. There are also a few leopards. The other animals found in large numbers, are the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and the wild elephant, jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats, jackals, civets, sloth bears, sambar, otters, crocodiles and chital.

Ranthambhore National Park: It spans an area of 400 km² with an estimated head count of thirty two tigers is perhaps India’s finest example of Project Tiger, a conservation effort started by the government in an attempt to save the dwindling number of tigers in India. Situated near the small town of Sawai Madhopur it boasts of variety of plant and animal species of Northern India.

Political parties from North India

North India had played a very vital role in the formation of Government in India with large number of seats in the lower house of parliament. The major political parties are Indian National Congress, BJP, Janata Dal, Bhujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal. The Nehru-Gandhi family which has governed India for last few decades after Independence from British rule hails from Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Many Indian Prime Ministers were North Indians including the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Gulzarilal Nanda, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V P Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chandra Shekhar, I K Gujral and the present PM Dr Manmohan Singh.

Universities in North India

North India has some universities, colleges and centre of excellence namely, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Allahabad University, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahahad Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University, Benaras Hindu University, Punjab University, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Punjab Agricultural University and Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology. The world renowned Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management, have campuses in several cities of North India such as Kanpur, Delhi, Roorkee, Lucknow, Indore, Ahmadabad, and Kolkata. One of the first great universities in recorded history, the Nalanda University, is located in the state of Bihar. There has been various plans for revival of this ancient University including a consortium led by Singapore along with China, India and Japan.

Economy

The economy of northern India, is predominantly agrarian like other parts of the country; culturally, socially and historically the country has always been defined by its village societies. But with the rapid growth of more than 8% GDP per annum, the economic landscape is changing fast. The highest per capita income states in northern India include Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the union territory of Chandigarh.

References and bibliography

External links

See also

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