There is one important difference between the rivers of north India and the rivers of south India. The rivers of the north are perennial, that is, they flow throughout the year. They are fed not only by the monsoon rains but also by the snows of the Himalayas.
The rivers of the south have no snow to feed them. The major rivers are created and fed by the rains of two monsoons, the south-west and the north-east. Most of the southern rivers are full during and after the rainy season but as the dry season approaches, they dwindle to narrow streams. In the summer, children can be seen playing in the dry sandy beds of the smaller rivers of the south.
But, in all other respects, especially in the part they play in the everyday life of the people, there is no difference at all between the rivers of the north and those of the south. There are as many legends about them, they are worshipped, sung about and sung to in the same way; they serve as inland waterways for taking goods from one place to another; engineers have dammed them to store their waters for irrigation and to produce electricity.
Most of the people of India are employed in agriculture or in trades and industries connected with it. For agriculture we need plenty of water. The livelihood of millions of people, therefore. depends on rivers which supply water.
So, you see, up and down the country, whether it starts from the snowy Himalayas or from some hilltop in the south drenched by monsoon rain, the river is very precious to all of us. Why to us alone? From early times, all over the world, man has always depended on the river which has served him in many ways.
In olden days, the river protected people from invaders.
Even in modern times, it often serves as the boundary of a state or a region. The earliest civilisations-Aryan, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian-were established on the banks of rivers.
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