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CBSE Class 11th The Plant Kingdom

In the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tsar Nicholas II was forced by the revolutionaries to make a Parliament or Duma, however, the power to make the final judgement lay in his hands. Because of this, he had already dissolved the Parliament within 75 days and changed the voting patterns of the Parliament which was elected for the third time. He had packed the third parliament with conservative politicians only and no revolutionaries were made a part of it. 

Around the world, at this time, World War was also brewing and in 1914 it finally burst out. The war was divided into two European alliances: Germany, Austria and Turkey versus Russia. Each of these countries was extremely powerful causing the war to be fought outside Europe as well. Let us look at the conditions in Russian politics during and after the world war:

In Russia, people were already turning against the Tsar and against Germans. To show their protest they changed the name of St Petersburg to  Petrograd. Russia lost the war and in agitation and destroyed all harvest and houses which came in the way of the retreating army. The conditions after the war were pathetic and riots had become common.

By the winter of 1917, Russian cities were divided as workers and factory labourers residing on the right bank of River Neva and fashionable gentry, official buildings, etc on the left bank of River Neva. On 22 February, a lockout occurred which gained the sympathy of other workers as well. To show their support, on 23 February strikes in almost all factories were held with many of them being led by women. The day became famous as International Women’s Day.

Peaceful protests along the left bank (where the posh gentry lived) continued and when the Tsar tried to suppress it using the cavalry, they too joined hands with the protesters and formed a Soviet, called the Petrograd Soviet.

Soon, in March, the Soviet leaders and some members of the Duma formed a provisional government, hence, taking down the monarchy in February 1917. However, this stability was soon disturbed by the return of Vladimir Lenin in Russia who had always opposed war. 

He proposed April Theses  which were his demands to completely transfer legislative powers to the Soviet, to transfer land rights to the peasants and to nationalise banks. Apart from this, he wished to rename his Bolshevik Party to Communist Party. His own party members were a bit surprised as they preferred the stability in politics in Russia.

Sadly, the conditions worsened as the industries and factories reigned inhumane working conditions leading to protests again. With time, Lenin’s Theses seemed to make sense to people. In September, Socialist movements reached their peak with farmers and peasants taking control of the land where they worked.

On 16 October 1917, Lenin’s efforts joined the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik Party to form a Military Revolutionary Committee under Leon Trotskii. The uprising which began on October 24, made people believe in Lenin’s party. By December, the Moscow- Petrograd area fell under their power.

The Bolshevik Party, now called The Russian Communist Party, made the land, the banks, property in general under the government’s influence. They failed to gain a majority in the elections for the Constituent Assembly in January 1918. 

Lenin, too, felt that Russian Congress of Soviets had a more democratic approach and dismissed the Bolsheviks. Soon the Bolsheviks alone participated in the coming election (having no effective opposition) and the Parliament or Russia became a one-party state. The growing influence led to control of entire Russia during 1917-18, in the hands of:

Bolsheviks (the ‘reds’)

Tsarists (the ‘whites’)

Socialist Revolutionaries (the ‘greens’)

While the ‘whites’ became notorious for torturing peasants the growing popularity of the ‘reds’ wasn’t as famous with the non-Russian states. They failed to assert their agenda as the growth in industrialisation brought no betterment in the living conditions of the workers. The government tried to rebuild the economy through their five-year plan but the workers were not profited.

After Lenin, Stalin came to take his place and ensure emergency measures which were even more brutal. When the USSR faced grain shortage, he forced the peasants to sell their harvest to the government at a fixed price. Peasants were made to follow collective farming and in retaliation they would destroy their own harvest. The policies of Stalin only brought more unrest and confusion in the concept of Socialism in the USSR.


Alphonse Daudet –  A French Naturalist

Like Guy de Maupassant, Robert Frost, etc, Alphonse Daudet who was the son of a French silk trader wrote during the times of Franco-Prussian war. He represented scenes and experiences from his own life. This made his stories relatable to his readers. Let’s see how he depicts the environment of war and its effect on the education of children: 

Story at a glance

A little boy named Franz, in a small city of France, hurries to reach his school on time, all the while imagining about the homework assignments he hasn’t finished. He is frightened to be noticed coming in late with no homework to show. He thinks about the first class of French language where his strict teacher will ask him about the participles. 

To his surprise, when he enters his unusually quiet class, he finds his teacher M. Hamel dressed in his fancy attire. He is wearing a green coat, frilled shirt and embroidered black hat. He politely asks Franz to take his seat, which is even more surprising. 

After some time, he gets to know that it was M. Hamel’s last lesson as the school was under the strict order to teach only German. This shocked Franz who gradually noticed his teacher’s sad face. That day the students learnt more than they had ever in the entire session. Even M. Hamel taught so patiently as if to pass over his knowledge. 

His last message to his students was to never leave their mother tongue- French. As long as they remembered and were respectful to French they could never truly be under the rule of the Germans. 

Franz reflected on this a while. He noticed the people from the village – former mayor, former postmaster, old Hauser (someone Franz recognised), several other people from the community. He knew they were present to pay tribute to their teacher. 

The students worked undistributed by the low cooing of pigeons, humming of beetles, etc just practising writing french on their new sheets. When the bell rang and the class was over, M. Halem only wrote “Viva la France” (Long live France!).

Linguistic chauvinism 

The mother tongue of any country represents a unifying factor, a common sentiment of the nation. Ridding someone of their native language is an attack on the identity of the person. 

The Germans intended to change the thinking process of the people of France and hold their thoughts in chains. This story reflects the present day need to preserve one’s own language. The extinction of one’s language leads to decay of the entire nation.


Derived from the Latin immunatis, the word immunity means exemption from liability. In biology, immunity is the body’s ability to fight the disease causing organisms and the system that enforces immunity in the human body is called the immune system. Let’s have an introduction to body’s defense mechanism:

Immunity can be categorised into two: 

  1. Innate Immunity
  2. Acquired Immunity

Innate Immunity

This is a nonspecific defense which is present at the time of birth. It is ensured in the following ways:

  1. Physical Barriers: This includes our skin which prevents the entry of microorganisms, the mucus linings present in our body in the respiratory, gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts. 
  2. Physiological Barriers: In case microbes do enter the body, they are stopped by the acid in our stomach, saliva in the mouth and tears from eyes which come under the category of physiological barriers.
  3. Cellular Barriers: Certain white blood cells in the blood or tissues engulf the microbes.
  4. Cytokine Barriers: When a cell gets infected, it prevents the spread of the microbes by secretion of a protein called interferon. These cells act as cytokine barriers. 

Acquired Immunity

This immunity is dependent on the type of microbe entering the body. The foreign particle that enters is termed as pathogen. As soon as it enters, the body gives a low intensity response to defend itself, called primary response. If the same pathogen again enters, the body’s immune system triggers a more powerful response, called the secondary or anamnestic response. This is only possible because cells have “memory”. The immune system remembers the pathogens that have already attacked and develops immunity against them. These responses are executed by two specific lymphocytes: B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes. 

B-lymphocytes are responsible for producing a horde of proteins, called antibodies, to combat pathogens in our bloodstream. T-lymphocytes help in the production of antibodies but do not produce it themselves. A single molecule of the antibodies has four peptides chains – two light chains and two heavy chains which is represented as H2L2.  

Various combinations of antibodies protect the human body and the immunity acquired due to them is termed as a humoral immune response because these antibodies are formed in haemoglobin or blood. T-lymphocytes cause cell-mediated immune response. This is significant when any organ transplant takes place. Due to this immunity, the body recognises its own and foreign organs. In order to avoid an immune response, a match closest to the initial organ’s genes is found.

Active Immunity and Passive Immunity

Active immunity is the one in which the microbes are either living or dead or in the form of proteins. It is a time taking process. Passive immunity is the one where ready-made antibodies are introduced in the body through vaccination. Another form of passive immunity is the consumption of colostrum  by a new-born through its mother. During pregnancy also, the mother passes on some antibodies to the foetus. 

Vaccination and Immunisation

We’ve discussed how the ability of the cells to have memory causes a secondary immune response. This property of cells is used as the basic principle of vaccination.  Inactive and weak pathogens are deliberately introduced in the body and the body recognises them from memory launching a full attack and produces massive antibodies against it. When the actual pathogen attacks, the body is fully prepared for it. The immunisation of this sort is termed as passive immunisation.

How to boost immunity?

With the introduction to the way our body defends itself we can learn to maintain our immune responses by having healthy eating habits and avoiding junk food. Antibodies are basically protein, hence, correct amount of protein intake will help our body be better prepared.


The Socialist movement in Europe had spread like wildfire. However, it didn’t create an impact as expected and the government was still composed mostly of radicals and liberals. In Russia, the situation was opposite. The Socialist had upturned the power of monarchy and overtook the government rule through October Revolution of 1917Let’s look at the events which led to such results in Russia: 

The Russian Empire in 1914

Except Moscow, Russia in 1914 under the rule of Tsar Nicholas II, included Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, parts of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus stretching its boundaries to some current-day Central Asian states. Russia was an agrarian country which soon became an industrial hub when the railway network strengthened and investment in the iron and steel industry doubled. The industries were under the government rule to maintain proper working hours and minimum wage. 

Socialism in Russia

Still some factories had workers working for 15 hours. The nobility was the landowner where the peasants worked but the latter preferred to keep control of the land and it was not uncommon news of peasants killing landowners around 1905. The nobility was at the favour of the Tsar while the peasants would pool resources for co-operative farming dividing the profit amongst them. 

This made them a central figure of socialism in Russia which happened in the late 19th century. Unlike other European countries, the factory workers too had strong unions and were outspoken about their demands when they wanted to. This was similar among women factory workers as well.  

A difference in ideals, however, could be observed in the Socialist Revolutionary Party formed in 1900. There were Social Revolutionaries who supported the peasant ownership of land and there were Socialist Democrats who believed otherwise. Again there was further division into the Bolshevik group headed by Vladimir Lenin who opined that the quality not the quantity of members in the party is significant and the Mensheviks wanted the party to be open to all.

The 1905 Revolution

The Tsar in Russia had the ultimate power even at the beginning of the twentieth century. His powers were neither checked by any legislature nor did he want them to be. In opposition to this and in favour of a constitution, all Socialists kept their personal agendas aside and protested in unison. 

In 1904, Russian industry and agriculture were hit alike. The factory workers’ wages declined by 20% while necessary goods had sky-rocketing prices. Many worker associations mushroomed as a result. This escalated the situation and 110, 000 workers went on strike at St Petersburg. Their demands were simple: to have defined working hours and an increase in wage to combat inflation. 

Father Gapon, a leader of this strike, was protesting with more than 100 workers at the Winter Palace where the police killed and injured many protesters. This event, similar to Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh, was termed as The Bloody Sunday or The Revolution of 1905. Many educated civil servants, lawyers, doctors, etc were shocked at this tyranny and began participating in the protest.

To pacify the protesters and appease the situation, the Tsar elected a consultative Parliament or Duma. This legislative body was a mere figure-head. The Tsar did as he pleased paying no heed to the advice of the Duma. He declared the many unions formed during 1905 illegal and dissolved the Duma within 75 days. The second Duma was re-elected within three months. Still it did not exercise any power on the Tsar and neither restrained him. 

Aftermath of the Revolution

Time and again, history repeats itself as we fail to learn from our past events. The leaders, drunk with power, think they cannot be suppressed. They are proved incorrect as soon as a nation realises its rights and duties. The Russian Revolution had only begun. It only settled post world-war. Although, in 1905, the stage for action had been set.


Master Story-Teller

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant simply named Guy de Maupassant has written over two hundred short-stories, six novels, verse books, travel books, etc. He is known for an apparent pessimism in his stories which are real and close to life. 

He wrote during the times of political unrest and portrayed the fickle attitude of human life. In the story, The Necklace, he is trying to reveal the hollowness of society and the pretentiousness of the middle class trying to fit in. 

The Story at a Glance

The Necklace begins with the protagonist,  Matilda who is a beautiful, middle-class girl, born into the family of a clerk. Owing to her beauty, she was always in a dilemma of marrying into a rich family and living a life full of roses. 

Due to her own inhibitions, however, she ends up marrying a clerk who earns a good salary but not enough to meet Matilda’s pretence of being rich, her needs and keep herself in the illusion of happiness which can only be derived from material possessions. 

She continues to live uncontended and daydreams about all the rich suitors she had who were ready to marry her but she settled for less. One day, her husband Mr. Loisel returns home with an invitation for an office ball dance. He was hoping for her wife to be exalted about it but seeing her weep over the news, he is taken aback. 

His wife was concerned about not having anything appropriate to wear- neither pretty dresses nor charming ornaments. Together, they come up with a solution for this problem by buying a ball gown for Matilda and borrowing the jewellery from one of her rich friends, Madame Forestier.  Mr. Loisel is a gentleman and a caring husband, although this is missed by Matilda who only understands money. Matilda decks herself in a gorgeous diamond necklace and a beautiful dress which accentuates her features. 

At the party, she is the center of attention and everyone is interested in a rendezvous with her. When the time to leave arrives, Matilda wants to be out of everyone’s sight so that nobody sees her wrapping an old shawl instead of furs like other affluent ladies were. In a hurry, the couple doesn’t wait for their host to hail a carriage for them and they leave on foot.

At home, to her horror, she finds the diamond necklace missing from her neck. The couple ransacks the house, trace their steps from the party till their home in the chilly winter night, in a futile effort. The next day, they visit a jewellery shop, buy a similar looking diamond necklace by paying 36,000 Francs (their life-savings and a loan). 

The life Matilda now realises had been full of comfort. To pay off their debts, Mr. Loisel worked overtime and part-time at several ventures while Matilda like common people dispels her maid and does all household chores from washing the linen, mopping the floor, carrying out the refuse, etc on her own. 

After a decade of hardships, Matilda notices Madame Forestier near the Champs-Elysees. She goes to her proudly, to confess her honesty. Due to her outer beauty now turned to a rustic appearance, Madame Forestier doesn’t recognise her. She is more shocked to hear the reason behind Matilda’s agony. 

In an ironic turn of events, Matilda is told by Madame Forestier that the necklace she borrowed from her was an artificial one, worth less than 5,000 Francs. Matilda, doomed to live a life she never dreamt of, is left with a pensive look and thinks of the years wasted away in unhappiness, all for nothing.

Why should we read this story?

The story unfurls as a scene taken from life itself. Anton Chekhov exposes the extremism and entrapment of one’s morals when it comes to acquiring riches. 

Matilda is away from her reality. She fails to see the bliss of her life where she lives comfortably and is married to a loving husband. Her husband on the other hand is unable to be honest with her about their humble living and succumbs to the thought of celebrating one night of luxury. 

The couple is disillusioned and juxtaposes happiness with luxury. Given the correct circumstance, they both are unable to resist the temptation and pay for it for a large part of their life. 

Even today, people are prone to pretension. Decorating and maintaining our house is necessary but doing it to impress the guests is a hollow gesture. We still seek validation from what we have in money, antiques, fashionable clothing, etc. 

This story is necessary so that we learn to appreciate what we have and differentiate between our wants and needs and not allowing the former to get the best of us. 


We discussed economic activities and its first type- the primary activities, earlier. The activity which generates revenue is an economic activity, if the activity involves human interaction with the elements of the environment (animal or plant), it falls under the category of primary activity. 

Secondary activity, on the other hand, adds value to the natural resources by turning raw materials into material goods. Let us now see what comes under secondary economic activities:


Manufacturing is the process of mass production of goods from raw materials in industries using heavy machinery. Emphasis is on the use of technology to increase production and improve quality. 

Characteristics of Modern Large Scale Manufacturing 

  1. Specialisation of Skills: The requirement of certain skills varies depending on the industry. There are certain industries which produce in “special order” while others manufacture for wholesale. The first one requires skills specific to the product, the machine and technology applied becomes a secondary factor. In the latter, however, an efficient team of workers is required to keep the manufacturing chain running.
  2. Mechanisation: For precision, consistency and increased efficiency automation of time-taking tasks in an industry is essential for its growth and popularity.
  3. Technological Innovation: The Research and Development department of manufacturing units work in collaboration to reduce the capital investment with increase in profit, in an ideal condition. Although, this is easier said and done. The main aim of technological innovation is to eliminate inefficient methods of working.
  4. Organisational Structure and Stratification: To get profits, any industry in all its stages of development requires proper management, distribution of tasks, good capital investment, executive bureaucracy, etc. This keeps in check the efficiency of an industry. 
  5. Uneven Geographic Distribution: On the basis of access to market, other industries, supply of manual and skilled labour, energy source, etc the manufacturing units are distributed unevenly globally. 

Classification of manufacturing industries is done on the basis of their size, inputs, ownership, etc:

Household Industries or Cottage Manufacturing

These are small manufacturing units run by local residents or small businessmen. Products are made for local consumption and production is for small-scale consumption. Capital investment and transportation costs do not influence the business much. Fabrics, pottery, bricks, clay, stones, food stuffs, furniture, etc come under the production.

Industries based on Inputs/ Raw Materials

  1. Agro-Based: Spices, oils, rubber, silk, canning, cream production or any product whose manufacture is directly dependent on the crop cultivation and harvest is part of the agro-industry. Food processing is a major part of this industry.
  2. Mineral Based: These industries make finished goods from raw mineral ores of metals like iron, copper, aluminium, etc. Cement making and pottery also come under mineral-based industries.
  3. Chemical Bases: Petroleum products, cosmetics, detergents, soaps, laboratory products, synthetic fibers, polymers, paints, etc are a product of chemical industries.
  4. Forest based Industries: These industries usually manufacture furniture, bamboo, paper, etc. These are dependent on forest for their raw material, hence are called forest-based industries.
  5. Animal based Industries: These industries produce leather products, textiles made of wool or products of ivory. 

Industries Based on Output/ Product: 

Iron and steel industry is termed as basic industry. This is because any kind of tools or machines used by any other industry requires them to be made out of metals such as iron, aluminium, copper, etc. This is in itself an industry forming the basis of other industries apart from the raw material required. Non-basic industries are those whose output depends on availability of raw material, availability of tools and machinery – most of which comes from products of the basic industries.

Industries Based on Ownership

On the basis of owner rights, an industry can be Public Sector (owned and managed by the government), Private Sector(owned by individual investors, private organisations) or Joint Sector (owned partially by the government and private organisation).

Basically, secondary activities are based on manual labor, skill and depend heavily on raw material which differ from one industry to another. The main aim is to derive profit and they are not carried out to only cover the bare minimum needs of food, cloth and shelter. They provide the employee and the employer to improve his/ her financial, social status by improving his/ her standard of living.


When you look at the sky, we see a lot of mystery. The stars at night, clouds in the morning and astronomical features like the comets, the falling stars, etc. The Earth in itself is a wonder. Let’s see how the universe in which we live came into existence.

Early Theories of Origin of the Earth

In the beginning, a lot of theories were formulated by gathering evidence from various researches. The first theory, called The Nebular Hypothesis, was put by Immanuel Kant which was revised by Mathematician Laplace in 1796. They thought that the planets were rotating around a fairly young sun and had formed out of a cloud. 

Chamberlain and Moulton in 1900 theorised that a wandering star had collided with the sun which spread debris in the shape of a cigar, which cooled down and formed the solar system. This theory, called the Binary Theory, was supported by Sir James Jeans and Sir Harold Jeffrey. However this was all considered false and full of loopholes. The Big Bang Theory was finally accepted. 

The Big Bang Theory

This theory was formulated by Edwin Hubble, in 1920. He called it the Expanding Universe Hypothesis. This theory had certain hypothesis. Initially, the universe existed as a singularity. This means that a single atom with infinite density and volume comprised the entire universe. Around 13.7 Billion years ago, the ball must have exploded and has since been expanding.

Since energy can only be converted neither created nor destroyed, therefore, the energy released from this explosion must have been converted into matter. Hoyle, however, presented the exact opposite views to this theory and called it the steady state. This means the universe has always been like it is at present. Big Bang Theory is supported because of the continuing research which provides evidence in support of it. After the big bang, the next step was the formation of the stars.

Star Formation 

Stars are believed to be formed due to the uneven distribution of energy and matter when the universe was in its initial stage of its formation. This must have happened 5 to 6 billion years ago, when stars were part of a hot burning mass or nebula of high density and high gravitational force. This nebula then developed localized clumps of gases slowly separating away to form stars. From these stars formed the planets.

Formation of Planets

The stars are extremely hot, unstable, local gaseous clumps that had to either stabilise their energy or further explode. In order to stablise, the body of stars began to condense into solid matter at or near the core. This formed planetesimals.

These were nothing but small, rounded condensed parts of a star formed by cohesion. These stuck together until a larger body or the planets came into existence. These planets although thrown away from the stars didn’t float free. Instead due to the strong gravitational attraction of a star began to orbit around them. This gave rise to solar systems.

Solar System

Here, we consider the solar system we currently occupy where the eight planets revolve around the Sun. The four planets near to the Sun- Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are called as the Terrestrial Planets or Inner Planets. Terrestrial means ‘earth-like’ so these planets have higher densities as they are mostly made up of rocks or metals. The other four- are called Jovian Planets or Gas Giants or Outer Planets. Jovian means ‘Jupiter-like’. These are mostly made up of helium and hydrogen gases.

Our solar system was made after a long process of explosion, cooling and solidifying of extra-terrestrial material. After reading about the process of formation we can only guess how insignificant our species is in comparison to the vastness of the universe and yet we are however small carry a part of this universe within us.


The French Revolution ushered an era of major changes in the structure of the society. People thought about the condition they were currently living in and the opportunities denied to them as they belonged to a certain social class. The idea of “individual human rights” emerged which divided the society of Europe into Liberals, Radicals and Conservatives. Let’s look closely at the Socialist activities after the Revolution in France:

Liberals advocated the freedom to exercise all religions and stood against the tradition of monarchy. They believed a country should be controlled by a government and a judicial body should see the law and order. They believed in voting rights extended to only males who owned property.

Radicals stood in opposition to centralisation of private property in the hands of wealthy landowners. Their idea of rights was similar to how present day society works where all adults have the right to vote irrespective of gender, wealth or class and the people do own private property but it isn’t a privilege of the rich.

Conservatives opposed both the radicals and the liberals. They stood in favour of the previous system of class distinction but the French Revolution had prepared them for an inevitable change. 

Repercussions of Industrialisation

Industries owned by the rich employed a large workforce. This led to the migration or conversion of rural areas into small towns. The radicals and liberals wanted the people to realise the profits of a business and wanted them to open their own industries on a small scale, thus, increasing their chances at financial stability

Till the mid 19th century the European ideals had spread worldwide and in Europe itself people were against private property. Socialists like Robert Owen found a cooperative named ‘New Harmony’. Cooperatives worked on the idea that all the workers will get a share in the profit according to the effort they had put in manufacturing a particular good. This would stop the concentration of profits in the hands of the owner. The cooperatives were meant to eradicate capitalism from the society, although the majority of industrialists seeing no profit in them wanted the government to take the initiative. 

Support for Socialism

An extension of this idea was modified by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, etc who believed that not only profit but also the private property should be socially controlled. Apart from the teachings of the thinkers, real change could be seen among the citizens of England and Germany. 

Socialists parties like Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Germany, Labour Party in Britain and the Socialist Party in France were formed. These had powerful, political representatives and were capable of bringing a legislative change. The main aim of all these parties, irrespective of place, was the same. They sought equality, freedom of expression, upliftment of the labour class and decentralisation of monarchy’s power into the legislation of a government. 

Socialism – Necessity and Significance

From a cursory reading, one can see that unlike the Indian freedom movement, these Socialist movements were happening against the tyranny of a native monarch only. The people were being oppressed by no foreign power. This shows that in any era, a human being must first be treated like a human being. Until that happens, the country cannot be labelled “free”.

Socialism seeks to bring reform for the subaltern not by any overnight revolution but by serious legislative and long-lasting changes. In modern Indian context, anonymous people live and die without enjoying their freedom.

The plight is that even children are forced under inhuman conditions to labour due to the poverty which remains constant through generation. How then can we act and help? By being aware and spreading awareness of the same. By realising our duties before enforcing rights. 

“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” –

John F. Kennedy

The saying is apt and makes us think about the kind of future we want for our posterity.


To live in a society, human beings, apart from basic necessities of cloth, food and shelter also need to generate income. This enables the humans to live in a civilized manner instead of having to hunt and scavenge for food everyday like the other species. Certain activities which ensure income generation are termed as Economic Activities. Let’s have an overview of types of economic activities which bring structure to human life:

Primary Activities

Hunting and Gathering, Pastoralism, Agriculture, Mining

Primary economic activities are those in which the generation of income depends on the natural environment. They depend on the flora and fauna of a place and the kind of animals also. These activities include:

#1. Hunting and Gathering

It may sound obsolete but in many tribes, usually nomads, the custom of hunting animals using primitive tools and selling the hide or meat (or both) for money is carried out. Similarly, many countries have large plantations. To cut expenses, gatherers are employed. These people just harvest the grown crops like cacao seeds, berries, tea leaves, tannin extracts, rubber extracts, plant fiber, medicinal herbs, etc.

#2. Pastoralism

This activity arose when the humans realized the uncertainty in hunting. Pastoralism includes rearing of commercial or domestic animals for obtaining benefits. Pastoralism is of following types: 

  1. Nomadic Herding:  Animals like, sheep, goats, camel, yaks, reindeer, llamas, etc are reared for their fur, food, animal hide, transportation, etc. The nomad communities take their livestock with them and usually they look to live in pastures or grasslands with good amounts of water available.
  2. Commercial Livestock Rearing: This is a capital intensive organised rearing of animals. Usually only one animal species is kept in ranches where the land is divided into proper grazing units called parcels.. With proper fencing the animals are allowed to graze on a particular parcel while grass in other parcels of the ranch is grown for future grazing. Scientific mating methods are used to ensure disease-free progeny.

#3. Agriculture

We know what the agricultural activity comprises. We will, hence, focus on the various types of agricultural activities:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Divided into Primitive Subsistence and Intensive Subsistence Agriculture it employs very traditional methods of farming which involves manual labor. In Primitive Subsistence, the farmers slash a piece of land of unwanted vegetation, burn it down and then cultivate the land. This technique is used until the land becomes barren and a new patch of land is then used. In Intensive Subsistence, regular crops in middle to large fields are grown for consumption of the local people or for a certain region. Crops cultivated include rice, soybean, wheat, barley, sorghum, coconut and sugarcane. 
  2. Plantation Agriculture: The trend of plantation agriculture was introduced by the colonies of the British, Dutch, Portuguese, etc in the countries they ruled in to grow a particular crop not suitable for their own country. Like cacao cannot grow in the climate of the UK but in the African continent. The crops grown are tea, cacao, rubber, coffee, bananas, pineapples and sugarcane. 
  3. Extensive Commercial Grain Agriculture: When a country is labelled as the largest producer of basic and necessary grains like, wheat, barley, corn, oats, rye etc. This farming is carried out in mid-latitudes where the climate is semi-arid. The large fields use extensive machinery to produce grains on a large-scale. All farming activities are mechanized. The cultivation is done for commercial purposes. 
  4. Mixed Farming: Developed countries have large farms where crop cultivation, livestock rearing and other agricultural activities are carried out in the same farm only. There is no distinction of crop cultivation and livestock rearing, both are done together with proper use of technology. 
  5. Dairy Farming: Small-scale dairy farming is conducted in various parts of Indian cities and villages. When carried out on a large-scale, like Amul, Namaste India, etc it takes the name of dairy farming. The milch cattle (milk producing cows, buffaloes) is bred with artificial insemination to ensure healthy progeny. The cattle are looked after by proper veterinary doctors to maintain the quality of milk. Milk produced is pasteurized (frozen, if required) transported to factories for packaging and then to markets for sale. 
  6. Mediterranean Agriculture: This is a region-specific, specialized farming activity. Only certain crops on either side of the Mediterranean Sea are grown. The crops grown include grapes, citrus fruits, olives, figs, etc.
  7. Market Gardening and Horticulture: In this type of farming, the crops grown are of high value. These include vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. The demand is completed for the urban markets, hence, the spending capacity being high, the farming is done for profit. To increase profit, small farms located near to the city are cultivated using high quality seeds, scientific methods of cultivation and irrigation are adopted. 
  8. Co-operative Farming: This includes social ownership of all fields, the costs of cultivation and harvest. All farmers in a particular area pool their resources and divide the various responsibilities of farming. At the end, the profits are equally distributed. 
  9. Collective Farming: Inspired by the Kolkhoz model for principles of farming, collective farming is very similar to Co-operative farming. The method of collective ownership and collective distribution of responsibilities and profits is the same. The only point of difference is that, to meet their daily crop requirement, each farmer is allotted a piece of land where they can grow their vegetables and fruits for daily use.

#4. Mining

The activity of mining involves the procurement of minerals from within the Earth’s surface. These minerals have commercial value. Although, it requires high labor, transportation and handling costs along with proper technology. This is the reason many countries are abstaining from mining and researching methods to make synthetic minerals.  

These activities are all deriving economic profit from the resources of nature, a primary source, hence called primary activity.

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