The most important event in the Indian year is the monsoons. India is an agricultural country, and the year’s crops depend on the character of rainy season. A good monsoon means prosperity, excess of monsoon indicates floods and failure of monsoon spells drought and famine.
The monsoon, or trade winds, reaches India about the month of June, firstly on the south – western coasts of Kerala. Coming, as they do over thousands of miles of sea, they are laden with moisture, and when they feel and meet the cool heights of Western Ghats and later the Himalayas, clouds form, which soon condense into heavy rains all over the country. In a good monsoon, the rainy season continues until the end of September.
Monsoons are looked up for by open arms. Before it breaks, the heat is high and intolerable. Day after day, the sun blazes down from an unclouded sky. The ground is baked and parched, the air is like the blast of furnace, in many places water is scarce and both men and animals gasp and pant in the heat. At least, a thunder storm rolls up from the southwest and with lightning, thunder and wind, the welcome rain pours down.
The change is almost magical. The air becomes delightfully cool and moist; the sun’s heat is day by day moderated by the clouds, the dry parched land is quickly covered with green vegetation and life becomes bearable and enjoyable except the fact that the heat now turns to be steamy and sticky. The farmers now begin to be busy plugging and soaking the rain – soaked land for the kharif or autumn crops.
The rainy season, though a pleasant relief from the fierce heat, has its disadvantages also. Swarms of insects, flying ants, flies, mosquitoes, etc. multiply in great proportions. The mosquitoes breed in standing pools and bring in malarial fever with them. More terrible diseases like cholera, typhoid etc. become havoc among the poor. But the peasants prefer to put up with these inconvenience than a failure of rains which means famines and a year full of sorrows.