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Northern India
उत्तर भारत
شمالی ھندوستان

North India Zonal Map 1.png

States in the North and North Central Zones of India, as defined by the Indian Government.
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area 1,624,160 km² 
States and territories Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh
Most populous cities (2008) New Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jaipur
Official languages Hindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Maithili, Santhali, English
Population 504,196,432

North India (Devanagari: उत्तर भारत, Uttar Bhārat; Urdu: شمالی ھندوستان, Shumālī Hindustān) is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage. The dominant geographical features of North India are the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas, which demarcate the region from Tibet and Central Asia. North India has been the historical center of the Maurya, Gupta, Maratha, Mughal and British Indian Empires. It has a diverse culture, and includes the Hindu pilgrimage centers of Char Dham, Haridwar and Varanasi, the Buddhist Mahabodhi Temple and the Muslim pilgrimage destination of Ajmer, as well as world heritage sites such as the Valley of flowers, Khajuraho, Bhimbetka Caves, Qutb Minar and the Taj Mahal. Under some definitions of the region, the eastern areas are part of the impoverished Red corridor region that faces significant development challenges.

Contents

Definitions

Different authorities and sources in literature define North India differently.

Government of India definition

The Government of India defines the North India Cultural Zone as including the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, as well as the Union Territory of Chandigarh.[1] There is a neighboring region, called the North Central India Cultural Zone, including the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, that is also defined by the Union Government of India.[2] The states of Bihar and Jharkhand are also included in the East India Cultural Zone,[3] and some publications of the Government of Bihar place that state in the eastern part of India as well.[4] Similarly, Rajasthan is also included in the West India Cultural Zone,[5] and the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are also included in the South Central India Cultural Zone.[2]

Linguistic definition

Indo-Aryan languages predominate in North India. The includes the so-called Hindi Heartland, where Hindi and related languages predominate. Prior to the Partition of India, this also included the Pakistani provinces of Sindh[6] and Punjab, and the eastern portion of the North West Frontier Province up to Peshawar valley where Punjabi dialects and Hindko are spoken.[7] This effectively excludes several of the seven North-East states (except for Assam and Sikkim).[8][9]

Vasudeva I (c. 200CE) was the last great Kushan king of North India and Bactria. One side of this coin shows him, and the other the Nandi bull with a trishul-holding divinity that combines aspects of the Hindu God Shiva and the Zoroastrian divinity Vayu-Vata. After him, the Indo-Sassanids displaced Kushan rule in North India.

"North of the Vindhyas"

One traditional demarcation between Northern and Southern India is the Vindhya mountain range, which has sometimes formed a border during periods of imperial expansion in India, such as the one ruled by the Gupta emperor Samudragupta.[10] The Vindhyas also find mention in the narrative of Rishi Agastya as a dividing feature between North and South India.[11] If extended employing the Narmada River and Mahanadi River, a dividing line across India can be formed.[citation needed]

Muslim, Central Asian and Persian impacts as defining influences

Several sources consider sizable Muslim populations and deep-seated Islamic, Central Asian and Persian influences to be defining characteristics of North Indian culture, both linguistically and culturally.[12][13] Some of these influences are pre-Islamic, such as the Bactrian-originated Kushan Empire that maintained twin capitals in Mathura (now in Uttar Pradesh) and Peshawar (in the North West Frontier Province), as well as the Hun confederacies that periodically asserted their rule over large parts of North India.[14]

Latitude-based definition

The Tropic of Cancer, which divides the temperate zone from the tropical zone in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet, runs through India, and could theoretically be regarded as a geographical diving line in the country.[15]

Anecdotal usage

The term "North Indian" is sometimes used to describe people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,often using the term bhaiya (which literally means 'elder brother') in a derogatory sense, though some press reports have contradicted this.[16] In Punjab, people from the same region (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) are often referred to as Purabias, or Easterners.[17] Within Uttar Pradesh itself, "the cultural divide between the east and the west is considerable, with the purabiyas (easterners) often being clubbed with Biharis in the perception of the westerners."[18][19] Punjab is sometimes considered a north-western state,[20] as are Gujarat,[21][22] Western parts of Uttar Pradesh[23], Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.[24]

Geography

Shilla (7026 m) above the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh
North India has extremely diverse climates.

North India lies mainly on continental India, north of peninsular India. Towards its North are the Himalayas which define the boundary between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. To its west is the Thar desert, shared between North India and Pakistan and the Aravalli Range, beyond which lies the state of Gujarat. The Vindhya mountains are, in some interpretations, taken to be the southern boundary of North India.

The predominant geographical features of North India are the Indo-Gangetic plain which spans the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab, the Himalayas which lie in the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and the Thar desert which lies mainly in the state of Rajasthan. The state of Madhya Pradesh has large areas under forest cover, as do Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh.[25]

General climate

The Thar desert near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

North India lies mainly in the north Temperate zone of the earth. Though cool or cold winters, hot summers and moderate monsoons are the general pattern, North India is one of the most climatically diverse regions on Earth. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −45 °C (−49 °F) in Dras, Jammu and Kashmir[26] to 50.6 °C (123 °F) in Alwar, Rajasthan. Dras is the second coldest inhabited place on the planet.[27]

Precipitation

The region receives rain and snow precipitation through two primary weather patterns: the Indian Monsoon and the Western Disturbances. The Monsoon carries moisture northwards from the Indian Ocean, occurs in late summer and is important to the Kharif or autumn harvest.[28][29] Western Disturbances, on the other hand, are an extratropical weather phenomenon that carry moisture eastwards from the Mediterranean Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.[30][31][32][33] They primarily occur during the winter season and are critically important for the Rabi or spring harvest, which includes the main staple over much of North India, wheat.[31] The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand receive sustained snowfall in winter months.

Demographics

During the Scythian migrations around 100BC, a large part of North India was incorporated into the Scythian world.

The people of North India are predominantly Indo-Aryan, and include various ethnic groups such as Brahmins, Jats, Rajputs, Gujjars, Ahirs, Khatris, Kambojs, Banias and Dalits.[34][35][36] Over millennia, the region has experienced sustained incursions and immigration from the northwest, including the Indo-Scythians,[37] Indo-Sassanids,[38][39] Indo-Hephthalites,[40][41] Kushans[42][43] and Rohilla Pashtuns.

Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism are the dominant religions in North India. The states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are overwhelmingly Hindu. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a majority Muslim population, while Punjab is the only state with a majority Sikh population. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are predominantly Hindu with other minorities.

Languages

Distribution of Indo-Aryan languages.

Linguistically, North India is dominated by Indo-Aryan languages, although subregions of Northern Dravidian languages (such as Bihar's Kurukh language), Tibeto-Burman languages (such as Himachal's Lahauli language) and Austro-Asiatic languages (such as Munda) exist throughout the region. It is in this region, or its proximity, that Sanskrit and the various Prakrits are thought to have evolved. Indo-Aryan languages native to North India include the Hindustani lingua franca (including both its Hindi and Urdu registers),[44][45] a wide range of western and eastern Hindi dialects, Bihari languages (Bhojpuri, Magadhi and Maithili), Punjabi, Pahari languages, Kashmiri, and other languages. The subregion where Hindi languages are widely spoken (as either primary or secondary languages) is sometimes called the Hindi Heartland or the Hindi Belt, and is loosely defined.[46][47][48]

Small speaker populations of two language isolates (Nihali and Burushaski), which are not known to be rooted in any other language families, also exist in North India.[49][50]

Communalism and ethnic tensions

Atleast one source indicated prejudice against people from North Eastern India,[51][52][53][54][55][56] in this part of the country. These also include several incidences of local law enforcement authorities failing to provide security or themselves acting in a discriminatory manner, especially in Delhi.[52][57]

Flora & Fauna

North Indian vegetation is predominantly deciduous and coniferous. Of the deciduous trees, sal, teak, walnut, sheesham (Indian rosewood) and poplar are some which are important commercially.[58] The Western Himalayan region abounds in chir, pine, deodar (Himalayan cedar), blue pine, spruce, various firs, birch and junipers.[59][60][61][62] The birch, especially, has historical significance in Indian culture due to the extensive use of birch paper (Sanskrit: bhurja patra) as parchment for many ancient Indian texts.[63][64] The Eastern Himalayan region consists of oaks, laurels, maples, rhododendrons, alder, birch and dwarf willows. Reflecting the diverse climatic zones and terrain contained in the region, the floral variety is extensive and ranges from Alpine to temperate thorn, coniferous to evergreen, and thick tropical jungles to cool temperate woods.[59][65][66]

There are around 500 varieties of mammals, 2000 species of birds, 30,000 types of insects and a wide variety of fish, amphibians and reptiles in the country. Animal species in North India include Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Sambar (Asiatic stag), Chital (Spotted deer), Hangul (Red deer), Hog Deer, Chinkara (Indian Gazelle), Blackbuck, Nilgai (blue bull antelope), Porcupine, Wild Boar, Indian Fox, Tibetan Sand Fox, Rhesus Monkey, Langur, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Sloth Bear, and the highly endangered Caracal.

A large number of snake species, lizards, ghariyal and crocodiles account for the reptile count.[67] Snakes include the deadly King cobras to the equally poisonous Kraits. Various scorpion, spider and insects species, include the commercially useful honeybees, silkworms and Lac insects.

The birds of North India includes the peacock to the parrots, and thousands of immigrant birds, such as the Siberian Crane. Common Indian birds are Pheasants, Geese Ducks, Mynahs, Parakeets, Pigeons, Cranes, and Hornbills. Great pied hornbill, Pallas's fishing eagle, Grey-headed fishing eagle, Red-thighed Falconet are some of the endangered birds found in Himalyan region. Other birds found in this region are Tawny Fish Owl, Great Hornbill, Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Red-breasted Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Himalayan Rubythroat.[68] [69]

Wildlife parks and reserves

Important National Parks and Tiger reserves of North India include -

Jim Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park: It was established in 1936 along the banks of the Ramganga River. It is India's first National Park, and was designated a Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1973. Cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas, it comprises a total area of 500 km² out of which 350 km² is core reserve. This park is known not only for its rich and varied wildlife but also for its scenic beauty.

Dachigam National Park: Dachigam is a higher altitude national reserve in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that ranges from 5,500 to 14,000 feet above sea level. It is home to the Hangul (a Red Deer species, also called the Kashmir Stag).

Great Himalayan National Park: This park is located in Himachal Pradesh state and ranges in altitude from 5,000 to 17,500 feet. Wildlife resident here includes the Snow Leopard, the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Musk deer.

Desert National Park: Located in Rajasthan, this national reserve features extensive sand dunes and dry salt lakes. Wildlife unique to the region includes the Desert Fox and the Great Indian Bustard.

Kanha National Park: The sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha were the setting for Rudyard Kipling's collection of stories, "The Jungle Book". The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger.

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary: Located in the state of Bihar, it is the only protected zone for the endangered Ganges and Indus River dolphin.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: It is one of the finest bird parks in the world, it is a reserve that offers protection to faunal species as well. Nesting indigenous water birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar.

Dudhwa National Park: It covers an area of 500 km² along the Indo-Nepal border in Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, is best known for the Barasingha or Swamp Deer. The grasslands and woodlands of this park, consist mainly of sal forests. The barasingha is found in the southwest and southeast regions of the park. Among the big cats, tigers abound at Dudhwa. There are also a few leopards. The other animals found in large numbers, are the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and the wild elephant, jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats, jackals, civets, sloth bears, sambar, otters, crocodiles and chital.

Ranthambhore National Park: It spans an area of 400 km² with an estimated head count of thirty two tigers is perhaps India’s finest example of Project Tiger, a conservation effort started by the government in an attempt to save the dwindling number of tigers in India. Situated near the small town of Sawai Madhopur it boasts of variety of plant and animal species of North India.

Kalesar National Park: Kalesar is a sal forest in the Shivalik Hills of eastern Haryana state. Primarily known for birds, it also contains a small number of tigers and panthers.

Political parties from North India

If Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states are considered to be in North India, the region plays an important role in the formation of the central government in India due to the large number of seats associated with the region in the lower house of parliament. The major political parties are Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Janata Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal. The Nehru-Gandhi family which has governed India for last few decades after Independence from British rule hails from Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Many Indian Prime Ministers have been North Indians including the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Gulzarilal Nanda, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V P Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chandra Shekhar, I K Gujral and Dr Manmohan Singh. [70]

Universities in North India

North India has several universities and centres of excellence such as the University of Rajasthan,University of Lucknow, University of Kashmir, Haryana Agricultural University, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology, Agra University, Aligarh Muslim University, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Allahabad University, Benaras Hindu University, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Delhi University, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Kanpur University, Kurukshetra University, and Punjab University. The world renowned Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management, have campuses in several cities of North India such as Delhi, Kanpur,Varanasi Lucknow, Indore, and Ahmadabad. One of the first great universities in recorded history, the Nalanda University, is located in the state of Bihar. There has been various plans for revival of this ancient university, including an effort by a multinational consortium led by Singapore, China, India and Japan.

Economy

The economy of North India, is predominantly agrarian like other parts of the country; culturally, socially and historically the country has always been defined by its village societies. But with the rapid growth of more than 8% GDP per annum, the economic landscape is changing fast. Several parts of North India have prospered as a consequence of the Green Revolution, including Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh, and experienced both economic and social development.[71][72][73] The eastern areas of East Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, however, have lagged[74][75] and the resulting disparity has, in the case of Uttar Pradesh, contributed to a demand for separate statehood in West Uttar Pradesh (the Harit Pradesh movement).[76][77] Bihar has the lowest per-capita SDP.

The highest per capita income states in North India include Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand and union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh.[78] Reflecting the prosperity of the western part of North India, Chandigarh has the highest per-capita State Domestic Product (SDP) of any Indian state or union territory, while Delhi and Haryana rank second and third (after Goa) among the states (see main article: States of India by size of economy).[79]

References and bibliography

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  2. ^ a b "North Central Zone Cultural Centre". North Central Zone Cultural Center, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. http://www.nczccindia.org/index1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  3. ^ "East Zone Cultural Centre". East Zone Cultural Center, Kolkata, West Bengal. http://ezccindia.org/aboutus.html/index1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  4. ^ "Government of Bihar Official Web Portal". Government of Bihar. http://gov.bih.nic.in/Profile/default.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
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  9. ^ Om Gupta (2006), Encyclopaedia of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Gyan Publishing House, ISBN 8182053897, http://books.google.com/books?id=VY1nTMBQ9vQC, "... Nepali (Khaskura) is an Indo-Aryan language ... It is the official language of Nepal and Sikkim ..." 
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  13. ^ Christopher Alan Bayly, "Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770-1870", CUP Archive, 1983, ISBN 0521310547.
  14. ^ Romila Thapar, "Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300", University of California Press, 2003, ISBN 0520242254.
  15. ^ Ram Nath Dubey, "Economic Geography of India", Kitab Mahal, 1961. ... The Tropic of Cancer divides India roughly into two equal parts: the Warm Temperate and Tropical ...
  16. ^ A clash of cultures, NDTV, 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-10-22. "... no one in North India, and here I am talking of the states of Punjab, Himachal, Uttrakhand, Haryana and Rajasthan, considers people from eastern UP and Bihar as North Indians ..."
  17. ^ "Politicians to blame for low turnout". The Tribune, Chandigarh. 2001-12-11. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011211/cth1.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  18. ^ "Unorganised Workers of Delhi and the Seven Day Strike of 1988". Indrani Mazumdar, Archives of Indian Labour. http://www.indialabourarchives.org/publications/Indrani%20Mazumdar.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  19. ^ Susheela Raghavan, "Handbook of Spices, Seasonings, and Flavorings", CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 084932842X. ... Maharashtra, in North India, has kala masala in many versions ...
  20. ^ Some Facts about Punjab
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  22. ^ "Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation makes giant Indian gas find". BBC. 2005-06-26. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4624407.stm. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  23. ^ David Levinson and Karen Christensen, "Encyclopedia of Modern Asia", Charles Scribner Sons, 2002, ISBN 0684312425. ... Agra, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northwest India, is renowned ...
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  25. ^ "Forest Survey of India - State of Forest Report 2003". Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India. http://www.fsi.nic.in/sfr_2003.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
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  44. ^ Prabodh Bechardas Pandit, "Language in a Plural Society", Dev Raj Chanana Memorial Committee, 1977.
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  47. ^ Stuart Allan, Barbie Zelizer (2004), Reporting war: journalism in wartime, Routledge, ISBN 0415339987, http://books.google.com/books?id=skdoYDs1e8AC, "... located in what is called the "Hindi heartland" or the "Hindi belt" of north and central India ..." 
  48. ^ B.S. Kesavan (1997), Origins of printing and publishing in the Hindi heartland (Volume 3 of History of printing and publishing in India : a story of cultural re-awakening), National Book Trust, ISBN 812372120X, http://books.google.com/books?id=8JDgAAAAMAAJ 
  49. ^ David Lockhart Robertson Lorimer (1938), The Burushaski language, Part I, H. Aschehoug, http://books.google.com/books?id=rVweAAAAIAAJ, "... Burushaski has ... small numbers are to be found in Srinagar and down country, even in Bombay ..." 
  50. ^ Braj B. Kachru, Yamuna Kachru, S. N. Sridhar (2008), Language in South Asia, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521781418, http://books.google.com/books?id=O2n4sFGDEMYC, "... Nihali, which has some 2000 speakers in the Indian state of Maharashtra is generally also regarded as an isolate ..." 
  51. ^ NDTV (2008-06-25). "Naga girl alleges discrimination at Delhi lounge bar". NDTV. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080054462&ch=6/25/2008%2011:13:00%20PM. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  52. ^ a b NE Helpline. "Discrimination to North East People – On Record". www.nehelpline.net. http://www.nehelpline.net/Report%20Abuses/Discrimination%20to%20North%20East%20People%20%96%20On%20Record.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  53. ^ Vir Sanghvi, The Bhaiyya Effect, Hindustan Times, 27 Sep 2008 "The roots of Raj Thackeray's attack on the Bhaiyyas lie in India's economic transformation. Through a combination of poor planning and worse politics, Bihar and UP have been left out of the economic revolution. When people from those states travel outside to find work, those who have benefited from the recent prosperity treat them with the kind of snobbery and disdain with which the British treated Indians when we went to England to find employment in the 1950s. Then, we were seen as losers from a place that would never manage to prosper. But, of course, Indians ignored the racism and rose to the top of the economic pyramid."
  54. ^ CNN-IBN, State of neglect: Deluged Bihar falls off Govt map,Aug 28, 2008, "Does it hurt when Goa minister Ravi Naik said that people of Bihar are coming across and bringing poverty, when Raj Thackeray said that the people of Bihar must get out of Maharashtra? When racism and prejudice is directed against the people of Bihar, does it hurt and one feel that there is something that one must do for the state?"
  55. ^ AM, Calcutta Diary, Economic and Political Weekly, July 21, 2001 "..How come Bihar has such a negative image in the rest of the country? Fingers will be pointed at the obscurantism characterizing the state, but are things any better in Rajasthan? Bihar is supposed to be riven by caste dissensions; can it however hold a candle in this regard to Tamil Nadu? Feudalism and social oppression are hallmarks of Bihar’s daily existence; what about Madhya Pradesh , Orissa and Chhattisgarh though? According to some snooty people Biharis are by and large crude. Some others would prefer to say that the people of Bihar are rooted to the soil and hate to hide their natural instincts behind pretensions; they cannot be any cruder than those populating the backwaters of Punjab."
  56. ^ Biharis are an affliction, says Bal Thackeray" Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, in an attempt to overtake his estranged nephew Raj Thackeray's campaign against people from north India, termed Biharis as an affliction, and said they were unwanted in all other parts of the country. The ageing leader warned that the so-called Bihari leaders, by accusing people of Mumbai of harbouring "anti-national sentiments, were attempting to again breathe fire into the anti-north Indian feelings in Maharashtra." They must realize this would only put their brethren here at the receiving end, he added."
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External links

See also


Redirecting to North India


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