They do not allow a life of ease and plenty. Indian civilization has flourished in the lowlands surrounding the Deccan, in the Indo-Gangetic plain, in the deltas of the rivers flowing into the Bay of Bengal or the Gulf of Cambay and in the Malabar and Coromandal coasts.
From these hives of culture, people have penetrated into the highlands of Deccan and brought part of them within their orbits of special culture. They drove the adivasi inhabitants to more inaccessible forest and mountain vastnesses where they dwell even today.
Such as the Bhils, Gonds, Korkus, Baigas, Santhals, Birbors, Oraons, Kurumbas, Irulas, Toddas, Malaisars, and Chenchus—found in the Chotta Nagpur, Irravati valley, south-eastern Rajasthan, Baster district of Chhatisgarh and the southern reaches of the Western Ghats.
(a) Geological Richness:
The plateau is a region of great geological stability and has remarkably been immune from the seismic disturbance of any intensity (except that of the Kutch and Koyna in recent years).
There is, therefore, found a great variety of mineral resources associated with the terrain of Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and the south-eastern Rajasthan. These contain concentration of ore deposits, viz., manganese, iron and copper ore, bauxite, chromium, mica, rock phosphate and over three-fourths of India’s bituminous coal reserves. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh produce gold, iron, chromium and porcelain clay.
Manganese, diamond, coal, slates, shale, sandstone, marbles limestones, and phyllites are found in the lower Gondwana sedimentary rocks of Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan produces lead, zinc, mica, copper, rock phosphate, etc. Thus, the peninsular India contains almost all the mineralised areas of the country wherein now industries have developed.
(b) Agricultural and Forest Resources:
A greater part of the north-west plateau is covered with basaltic lava which being rich in iron is conducive to production of cotton; while laterite soils are favourable for tea, rubber, coffee and millets. Coffee plantations of Wynaad, and the eastern slopes of the Nilgiris, tea estates, rubber plantation of Kerala and Karnataka; and cinchona and plantations of broom thistle, Australian wattle and eucalyptus around Ooty are noteworthy.
Tobacco, groundnuts and oilseeds are also abundantly grown. The low-lying plains area of the peninsula is important for growing rice, coconut; areca palms, sago and a variety of tropical fruits (mangoes, pineapples and bananas) are also grown.
Deccan plateau, specially the slopes of Western Ghats and other highland are covered with teak and softwoods. More valuable forests of the Ghats are the varied mixed deciduous forests rich in evergreens (like ebony, mahogany, gum-kino, cedar, rose wood, cane, bamboos, sal, sandalwood, sissoo), tall grasses, shrubs and herbs—which provide commercial timber and fodder respectively.
(c) Rich Fauna:
Because of the steep, high scarps on the crest and undulant eastern slopes and typical swampy clearings between the hills, offering a much varied terrain with cover, fodder and water to suit climatic vagaries, the Western Ghats are among the finest faunal tracts of India.
Three mammals are exclusive to the southern reaches of these Ghats; the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiri Ibex of hunters) favours the more precipitous hill tops of the range in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the black monkeys (Nilgiri Langur) are found in the forest of Tamii Nadu and Kerala; and the lion tailed macaque in the Nilgiris.
These forests have also been the ancient homes of wild elephants, gaur, sambhar, chital, barking deer, mouse deer, wild pig, leopards and tiger; and the diurnal giant squirrel (Malabar squirrel) and the large brown flying squirrel. Bird life, phython, pond tortoises, mugga, are also found.
(d) Resource of Irrigation and Hydro-electricity:
The rivers which flow eastward of the Western Ghats, have impetuous waterfalls in their reaches—such as the Jog or Gersapa falls on Sharavati. Periyar fall on Periyar, Siwasamudram fall on Cauvery have been harnessed for the production of hydro-electricity.
Waters of the Ghat have also been impounded at several places for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The more notable of these are Kalinadi and Kabini projects of Karnataka, the Moyar and Kundah projects of Tamil Nadu, the Parambikulam project on the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the ambitious Idduki project of Kerala and the Tata-hydro complex near Lonavala and the Koyna hydel installation.
(e) Historical and Religious Significance:
Historically, the Ghats routes and the Maratha Forts (of Pratapgad, and Singhgad) are important. The Saptashring Hills, the Tryambak, Bhimshanker and Mahabaleshwar are important shrines. Nasik signifies the religious significance of the Sahyadris.
(f) Cultural Influence:
The Vindhyas and the Satpuras together constitute a main dividing line between the north and south India. They have acted as a cultural barrier against the spread of Aryans from the north and the Dravidians from the South.