While editing 'India-Regional Studies' for the 21st International Geographical Congress
(New Delhi, 1968), it was felt that a comprehensive volume on the regional geography of India could
be brought out in the near future to fulfil a long-felt gap in Indian geography, Meanwhile, the
decision of the National Geographical Society of India and the Department of Geography, B. H. U.
to celebrate their Silver Jubilee in 1971 prompted us to associate the preparation and publication
of the volume with this auspicious occasion.
A detailed plan of work was formulated with a great deal of deliberations amongst the colleagues and research workers, and cooperation of almost all institutions concerned with geographic
teaching and research in the country was sought. The regional scheme from macro-to-micro
level was circulated by October, 1969. The Kharagpur venue of the Indian Science Congress
(1970) was utilized to explain the objective and scope of the' work. By March, 1970 it was expected to complete at least a quarter of the preparation work. To our surprise, the response was
rather poor and for completion of the work a major reshuffle had to be made. With the cooperation of the research assistants and colleagues (mostly local), however, it could be possible to complete
the work within the target period.
In a country like India with its complex physical and cultural characteristics and powerful
traditional impact where regional personality is yet to emerge in most regions in the context of
modern developments, it was indeed a stupendous task to distinguish and designate regions on the
hierarchical basis. The various attempts and considerations involved in regional delineations have
been reviewed in the introductory chapter which also presents general geographic background of
the country in the light of which the regional characteristics could be correctly visualized. It was
also baffling to integrate the scale of treatment with the diverse size of the regions within their
historico-physical framework. Under the circumstances, it could be possible to outline 28 meso
level, 67 first order, 192 second order and as many as 485 third order regions, with indications for
further lower order regions at places. There are different kinds of regions at all levels. Chotanagpur in the Peninsular Uplands, the Assam Valley in the Great Plains, the Kashmir Region in the
Himalaya and Gujarat Region in the Indian Coasts and Islands arc examples of the traditional types,
while Dandakaranya, Tamilnadu and South Sahyadri, Purvanchal, etc. are physico-culturally integrated regions; whereas the Vindhyanchal-Baghelkhand, though considerably disintegrated, would
emerge as. a distinct region around a 'growth pole' involving harnessing of power-potential of the
region to !he advantage of even the contiguous areas; regions like Chhattisgarh and Himachal or
Eastern Himataya are distinct by physical impact of the basins or the mountains.
Attempt has been made to set a pattern of treatment and coverage with a view to projecting
the regional personality vividly. The historico-cultural factors influencing the regional patterning
have been evaluated as much as the physical' factors of relief, structure and climate etc., while the processes and patterns of resource utilization have also been analyzed, highlighting their role in regional
differentiation at different levels. The stage of economic development and the growth potentials
have been evaluated as much as possible within our limited resources. However, from the regional
analyses the picture to emerge in future is visualized. The overall objective has been to draw the
attention of all concerned to the inherent strength and weakness of the regions in the totality of
their geographic perspective. Particular attention has been paid to make the legions of various
orders as much precise as possible by going down to the block or thana level administrative units
with a view to making them serviceable as well as feasible for planning and development purposes.
While elaborating the meso-level and first order regional characteristics it could not be possible to deal, in any considerable detail, with the micro-regional characteristics, particularly due to limitations of time as also of resources. However, with the help of research and field assistants.
village-level data could be processed and incorporated wherever possible, and rural as well. as urban
landscapes as sample studies have been delineated for most regions.
Owing to very limited response from various quarters entrusted with the work, over 60%
of the work had to be penned by the editors themselves (rather a new task) in order to attain the
completion within the target period, The editors are fully conscious of the failings and limitations
arising there from in the work. Moreover, over 600 cartographic illustrations had to be designed
and processed for reproduction within the scheduled time, which was a stupendous task indeed,
and the editors could not help incorporating some of the illustrations even though not being up
to the mark. The editors take full responsibility for some of the errors and discrepancies which
might have crept in.
It is intended to bring out a Hindi Edition of the present work within the Silver Jubilee
Year (1971), while another volume, 'India Through Maps' might also see light with the materials
in hand. . In course of working on this volume it was felt that Regional Monographs on each of the
meso level regions could also be brought out in the sequel though it would involve further detailed field
work by trained geographers. It goes without saying that each of the 485 micro-regions delineated
would offer necessary regional frame for detailed work on varied aspects of Indian geography.
We are sure, inspite of the aforesaid limitations, the present volume would be able to serve
the students, researchers, and regional planners in particular and administrators and the public in
general, by providing integrated picture of the regional personality of Bharat fliom Kashmir to Kanya-
kumari and from Dwarka to Kamrup.
In the preparation of the book, help and materials, both published and unpublished, have
been drawn from diverse sources, organizations and individual workers, and to acknowledge them
all individually is not possible though it would have been a pleasant task. However, the temptation to express gratitude to several of them cannot be resisted such as to the National Atlas Organization, Survey of India, Geological Survey of India, Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Central
Water and Power Commission, Registrar General and Census Superintendents, National Council of Applied Economic Research, Directorates of Town and Country Planning, of Information and Statistics,
etc., Planning Organizations up to Block level, the Publication Divisions and several such government, semi-government and specialized institutions including _ university centres of research, etc.
We are particularly grateful to a large number of researchers for providing access to their un-
published Ph. D. and M.A./M.Sc. dissertations and Village and Town Survey Reports, especially
from such centres as B. H. U., Gauhati, Patna, Calcutta, Poona, Rajasthan, Udaipur, Meerut, Aligarh, Jodhpur, Sagar, Punjab, etc. We will be failing in our duty if we do not express our gratitude
to Dr. K. L. Srimali, the Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, for providing generous financial assistance towards the preparation as well as publication of the work. Special mention
need be made of the assistance received by our research assistants in the field from the district and
block-level officers, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Dandakaranya and Tamilnadu. Acknowledgement is also due to the P. R. 0 Rajasthan State Government, for supplying required photographs.
Thanks arc also due to a huge body of our cartographic staff and research scholars, without whose
help processing of the illustrations could not have been possible. To mention some of them will
be quite pertinent such as S. Prasad, O. P. Srivastava, A. K. Karanjai, Om Prakash, Umesh Kumar
Singh, Tara Devi Singh, Kumkum Majumdar, Shea Ram Rai, B. P. Gupta, P. R. Sharma and the
research assistants. General acknowledgement of the help rendered by the colleagues will not be out of
place. We are particularly grateful to R. N. Mathur, N. Prasad, B. Dube, K. K. Dube, Onkar Singh
and R. P .. Singh for doing the painstaking work of proof-reading; to V. R. Singh for arranging the
photographic illustrations; to Dina Nath Singh, K. K. Lal and Bajrang Bahadur Singh for preparing
index and glossary; to the entire office staff, Bali Ram Singh, Bachchan Singh, Uma Nath Singh,
Narendra Singh, Ram Nagina Singh, Banwari Ram Yadava, Had Barish Singh, Chhabi Nath and
to Nathu Ram for typing etc., and to the Annapurna and Saraswati Block Works, Varanasi
for prompt work in the reproduction of illustrations. Last but not the least important are the
services rendered by the Bhargava Bhushan Press, and we are particularly grateful to Surendra
Bhargava, the proprietor, for his extra-keen interest in bringing out this publication in the shor-
test possible time.
All constructive criticisms and suggestions will be gratefully acknowledged and looked into
and attempt would be made to incorporate the materials in the next edition to follow soon.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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