Madhya Pradesh

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Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh (mädˈyə präˈdĭsh), state (2001 provisional pop. 60,385,118), 119,010 sq mi (308,240 sq km), central India, between the Deccan and the Ganges plain. The capital is Bhopal. One of the largest states in India, Madhya Pradesh consists, from north to south, of upland zones separated by plains. Adequate rainfall and plentiful good soil permit a prosperous, predominantly agricultural economy. Grains, especially wheat, are the main crops of the north. The abundant cotton of the southwest (especially Berar) makes this state second only to Gujarat in cotton production. Spinning and weaving are the chief industries; there is a huge steel mill at Bhilainagar and chemical and electrical industries at Bhopal. The state is rich in minerals; manganese, bauxite, iron ore, and coal are exploited.

The majority of the inhabitants are Hindi-speaking Hindus, but Urdu and other languages are also spoken. A large aboriginal population (c.5 million), principally Gonds, inhabits the forested regions. There are four major universities and numerous colleges in the state. Madhya Pradesh is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to a bicameral legislature with one elected house and by a governor appointed by the president of India.

Nominally within the Mughal empire, the area was ruled during the 16th and 17th cent. by the Gonds and in the 18th cent. by the Marathas. The British occupied it in 1820. Berar, originally belonging to the domain of the Nizam of Hyderabad, was incorporated in 1903; from then until 1950 the state was called Central Provinces and Berar. In 1956 it greatly increased its area with the addition of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal. That area was decreased significantly in 2000 when Madhya Pradesh's southeastern portion, the subject of separatist movements since the 1920s, became the new state of Chhattisgarh.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Madhya Pradesh


a state in central India, with an area of 444,000 sq km and a population of 41.6 million (1971). It was formed in 1956 from Madhya Bharat, Bhopal, Vindhya Pradesh, and most of the former state of Madhya Pradesh. About four-fifths of the people speak Hindi and related dialects; the remainder speak Marathi, Rajasthani, and various tribal languages, such as Gondi, Korku, and Bhil. The administrative center is Bhopal.

Natural features. The state occupies the northern part of the Deccan Plateau, the Narbada Valley, the Vindhya Mountains, and the greater part of the Malwa lava plateau. In the north it extends into the Indo-Ganges Plain. Its relief consists chiefly of rolling plateau country and low mountains, composed of basalt and crystalline rock. The climate is tropical, monsoonal, and arid in the northwest but more humid in the south and southeast. Precipitation totals 700-1,600 mm per year, with the rainy season extending from June through October. The natural vegetation is dominated by deciduous forests, covering about one-third of the state and yielding such valuable timber as teak and sal. Red and black soils occur widely.

Economy. Madhya Pradesh is an agricultural state with rapidly growing industry. More than three-fourths of the population is engaged in agriculture, and 16.5 million hectares (ha) are under cultivation, including 14.9 million ha under food crops; 6 percent of the arable land is irrigated. The principal food crops are rice, raised in the east and southeast; millet, grown in the west, northwest, and south; and wheat, produced mainly in the central regions. Cotton and oilseeds are the major industrial crops, and sericulture is important. Cattle are used chiefly as draft animals.

The state is one of India’s leading producers of minerals, including manganese ore (Chhindwara and Balaghat districts), iron ore (Dalli-Rajara and Beladila districts), bauxite (Katni and Amarkantak districts), coal, and fire clay. Madhya Pradesh is essentially the country’s only diamond-mining region (Panna district). The largest thermal electric power stations are at Korba, Satpura, and Amarkantak.

The production of cotton textiles, centered in Indore, Ujjain, and Gwalior, is the oldest and most highly developed branch of manufacturing. During the years of independence heavy industry was introduced. With the USSR’s assistance a large state steel plant was built in Bhilai. Metal working and machine-building enterprises include the state heavy electrical equipment plant in Bhopal, the textile machinery plant in Gwalior, and the cable plant in Satna. The building-materials industry is represented by cement plants in Barmore, Jamule, Kymore, and Satna; an asbestos-concrete plant in Katni; and glass-ceramic enterprises in Jabalpur and Gwalior. Other important enterprises include sugar refineries, the jute factory at Raigarh, the country’s largest state factory for the manufacture of newsprint at Nepanagar, the factory producing synthetic fabrics at Nagda, and the chemicals plant at Korba.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Madhya Pradesh

a state of central India, situated on the Deccan Plateau: rich in mineral resources, with several industrial cities: formerly the largest Indian state, it lost much of the SE to the new state of Chhattisgarh in 2000. Capital: Bhopal. Pop.: 60 385 118 (2001). Area: 308 332 sq. km (119 016 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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