HOME

TheInfoList




South Asia is the southern region of
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
, which is defined in both
geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...

geographical
and
ethno-cultural
ethno-cultural
terms. The region consists of the countries of
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
,
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, , ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in . It is the in the world, with a population exceeding 163 million people, in an area of , making it one of the in the world. Bangladesh shares land bor ...

Bangladesh
,
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
,
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located prima ...

Maldives
,
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, and
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
.;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
Topographically, it is dominated by the
Indian Plate The Indian Plate or India Plate is a minor tectonic plate straddling the Equator in the Eastern Hemisphere. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, India broke away from the other fragments of Gondwana and began moving north. ...
and defined largely by the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
on the south, and the
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Ind ...

Himalayas
,
Karakoram The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and ...

Karakoram
, and
Pamir
Pamir
mountains on the north. The
Amu Darya The Amu Darya, tk, Amyderýa/ uz, Amudaryo// tg, Амударё, Amudaryo ps, , tr, Ceyhun / Amu Derya grc, Ὦξος, Ôxos (also called the Amu, Amo River, or Jay-hoon, and historically known by its Latin language, Latin name or Greek ) is ...
, which rises north of the
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
, forms part of the northwestern border. On land (clockwise), South Asia is bounded by
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
,
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
,
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

East Asia
, and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
. The
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (ref ...
(SAARC) is an economic cooperation organisation in the region which was established in 1985 and includes all eight nations comprising South Asia. South Asia covers about , which is 11.71% of the Asian continent or 3.5% of the world's land surface area. The population of South Asia is about 1.891 billion or about one-fourth of the world's population, making it both the most populous and the geographical region in the world. Overall, it accounts for about 39.49% of Asia's population, over 24% of the world's population, and is home to a vast array of people. Overview">"Asia" > Overview
. ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2009: "The Indian subcontinent is home to a vast diversity of peoples, most of whom speak languages from the Indo-Aryan subgroup of the Indo-European family."
Indian Subcontinent
". ''Encyclopedia of Modern Asia''. Macmillan Reference USA (Gale Group), 2006: "The area is divided between five major nation-states, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and includes as well the two small nations of Bhutan and the Maldives Republic... The total area can be estimated at 4.4 million square kilometres or exactly 10 percent of the land surface of Asia... In 2000, the total population was about 22 percent of the world's population and 34 percent of the population of Asia."
In
2010 2010 was designated as: * * * *International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures Pronunciation There is a debate among experts and the general public on how to pronounce specific years of the 21st century in English. The year 2010 is pr ...

2010
, South Asia had the world's largest populations of
Hindus Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...
,
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pron ...
,
Sikhs Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ', ) are people who adhere to Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century '' by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, 1882: Muhammad XII surrenders to Ferdinand and Isabella The 15th ...
,
Jains Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jains
and Zoroastrians. South Asia alone accounts for 98.47% of Hindus, 90.5% of Sikhs, and 31% of Muslims worldwide, as well as 35 million
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jes ...

Christians
and 25 million
Buddhists Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on Orig ...
.


Definition

Modern definitions of South Asia are consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives as the constituent countries. Afghanistan is, however, considered by some to be a part of Central Asia, Western Asia, or the Middle East. After the
Second Anglo-Afghan War The Second Anglo-Afghan War (Dari (, , ) or Dari Persian (, ) is the political term used for the dialect of Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Irania ...
, it was a British protectorate until
1919 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is known as New Year's Day since the day m ...

1919
. On the other hand,
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
(formerly Burma), administered as part of the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in and ) was the rule by the on the from 1858 to 1947.''Oxford English Dictionary'', 3rd edition (June 2008), on-line edition (September 2011): "spec. In full ''British Raj''. Direct r ...

British Raj
between
1886 Events January–March * – is formally annexed to , following its conquest in the of . * – – 's novella ' is published in New York and London. * – A resolution is passed in the German Parliament to condemn th ...
and 1937 and now largely considered a part of Southeast Asia as a member state of
ASEAN ASEAN; ( , ) officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southe ...

ASEAN
, is also sometimes included. But the
Aden Colony Aden Colony ( ar, مستعمرة عدن '), also the Colony of Aden, was a British Crown colony from 1937 to 1963 located in the south of contemporary Yemen. It consisted of the port of Aden and its immediate surroundings (an area of ). Prior ...

Aden Colony
,
British Somaliland British Somaliland, officially the Somaliland Protectorate ( so, Dhulka Maxmiyada Soomaalida ee Biritishka), was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the c ...
and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
, though administered at various times under the British Raj, have never been proposed as any part of South Asia. The region may also include the disputed territory of
Aksai Chin Aksai Chin is a region administered by China as part of its Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet autonomous regions (mostly as part of Hotan County, Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang), and constituting the eastern portion of the larger Kash ...
, which was part of the British Indian princely state of
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
, now administered as part of the
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
autonomous region of
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
but also claimed by India. However, the total area of South Asia and its geographical extent is not clear cut as systemic and foreign policy orientations of its constituents are quite asymmetrical. Beyond the core territories of the British Raj or the British Indian Empire, there is a high degree of variation as to which other countries are included in South Asia., Quote: "To the east, Iran, as a Gulf state, offers a generally accepted limit to the Middle East. However, Afghanistan, also a Muslim state, is then left in isolation. It is not accepted as a part of Central Asia and it is clearly not part of the Indian subcontinent". The confusion existed also because of the lack of a clear boundary – geographically, geopolitical, socio-culturally, economically or historically – between South Asia and other parts of Asia, especially the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The common definition of South Asia is largely inherited from the administrative boundaries of the British Raj, with several exceptions. The current territories of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan which were the core territories of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
from 1857 to 1947 also form the core territories of South Asia. The mountain countries of Nepal and Bhutan, two independent countries that were not part of the British Raj, and the island countries of Sri Lanka and Maldives are generally included. By various definitions based on substantially different reasons, the
British Indian Ocean Territory The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is a British overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia. The territory comprises the seven atolls of the Chagos Archipelago with over ...

British Indian Ocean Territory
and the
Tibet Autonomous Region The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region, called Tibet or Xizang for short, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' pr ...
are included as well. The 562
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a with the and after 1858 with the . Though the history of the pri ...
s that were protected by but not directly ruled by the British Raj became administrative parts of South Asia upon joining
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
or
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...
. The
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (ref ...
(SAARC), a contiguous block of countries, started in 1985 with seven countriesBangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lankaand admitted
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
as an eighth member in 2007.
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
and Myanmar have also applied for the status of full members of SAARC. The
South Asia Free Trade Agreement The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached on January 6, 2004, at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad Islamabad (; ur, , translit=Islāmābād) is the capital city of Pakistan, and is federally administered as part ...
admitted Afghanistan in 2011. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
and
United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children's Fund, is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly ...
(UNICEF) recognizes the eight SAARC countries as South Asia, The Hirschman–Herfindahl index of the
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to increase economic a ...
for the region excludes Afghanistan from South Asia. Population Information Network (POPIN) excludes Maldives which is included as a member Pacific POPIN subregional network. The United Nations Statistics Division's , for statistical purpose, includes
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
along with all eight members of the SAARC as part of Southern Asia. The boundaries of South Asia vary based on how the region is defined. South Asia's northern, eastern, and western boundaries vary based on definitions used, while the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
is the southern periphery. Most of this region rests on the
Indian Plate The Indian Plate or India Plate is a minor tectonic plate straddling the Equator in the Eastern Hemisphere. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, India broke away from the other fragments of Gondwana and began moving north. ...
and is isolated from the rest of Asia by mountain barriers. Much of the region consists of a
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
in south-central Asia, rather resembling a diamond which is delineated by the Himalayas on the north, the
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
in the west, and the Arakanese in the east, and which extends southward into the Indian Ocean with the
Arabian Sea The Arabian Sea ( ar, بحر العرب ''Bahr al-Arab'') is a region of the northern Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water Water is an Inorganic co ...
to the southwest and the
Bay of Bengal The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to th ...

Bay of Bengal
to the southeast. The terms " Indian subcontinent" and "South Asia" are sometimes used interchangeably."Indian subcontinent". ''
New Oxford Dictionary of English The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' (''ODE'') is a single-volume English dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabetical order, alphabetically (or by radica ...
'' () New York: Oxford University Press, 2001; p. 929: "the part of Asia south of the Himalayas which forms a peninsula extending into the Indian Ocean, between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Historically forming the whole territory of greater India, the region is now divided between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh."
The Indian subcontinent is largely a geological term referring to the land mass that drifted northeastwards from ancient
Gondwana Gondwana () or Gondwanaland was a supercontinent In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (ge ...

Gondwana
, colliding with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Palaeocene. This geological region largely includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Historians Catherine Asher and Cynthia Talbot state that the term "Indian subcontinent" describes a natural physical landmass in South Asia that has been relatively isolated from the rest of Eurasia. The use of the term Indian subcontinent began in the British Empire, and has been a term particularly common in its successors.John McLeod,
The history of India
'', page 1, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002,
Milton Walter Meyer, ''South Asia: A Short History of the Subcontinent'', pages 1, Adams Littlefield, 1976,
Jim Norwine & Alfonso González, ''The Third World: states of mind and being'', pages 209, Taylor & Francis, 1988,

Judith Schott & Alix Henley, ''Culture, Religion, and Childbearing in a Multiracial Society'', pages 274, Elsevier Health Sciences, 1996,
Raj S. Bhopal, ''Ethnicity, race, and health in multicultural societies'', pages 33, Oxford University Press, 2007,
Lucian W. Pye & Mary W. Pye, ''Asian Power and Politics'', pages 133, Harvard University Press, 1985,
Mark Juergensmeyer, ''The Oxford handbook of global religions'', pages 465, Oxford University Press US, 2006,
Sugata Bose & Ayesha Jalal, ''Modern South Asia'', pages 3, Routledge, 2004,
South Asia as the preferred term is particularly common when scholars or officials seek to differentiate this region from East Asia.Ronald B. Inden, ''Imagining India'', page 51, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, , Quote:"It is very common today in academic and official circles to speak of the Indian subcontinent as 'South Asia', thereby distinguishing it from an 'East Asia'." According to historians
Sugata Bose Sugata Bose (born 7 September 1956) is an Indian historian and politician who has taught and worked in the United States since the mid-1980s. His fields of study are South Asian and Indian Ocean history. Bose taught at Tufts University Tuft ...
and Ayesha Jalal, the Indian subcontinent has come to be known as South Asia "in more recent and neutral parlance."Sugata Bose & Ayesha Jalal, ''Modern South Asia'', pages 3, Routledge, 2004, , Quote:"Indian subcontinentor South Asiaas it has come to be known in more recent and neutral parlance" This "neutral" notion refers to the concerns of Pakistan and Bangladesh, particularly given the recurring conflicts between India and Pakistan, wherein the dominant placement of "India" as a prefix before the subcontinent might offend some political sentiments. However, in Pakistan, the term "South Asia" is considered too India-centric and was banned until 1989 after the death of
Zia ul Haq General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...
. This region has also been labelled as "India" (in its classical and
pre-modern Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeol ...
sense) and "Greater India".Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby, ''Religions of South Asia: An Introduction'', page 3, Routledge, 2006, Kathleen M. Baker and Graham P. Chapman, ''The Changing Geography of Asia'', page 10, Routledge, 2002, According to Robert M. Cutler – a scholar of Political Science at
Carleton University Carleton University is a in , , Canada. Founded in 1942 as Carleton College, the institution operated as a private, to serve returning veterans. Carleton was chartered as a university by the provincial government in 1952 through ''The Carl ...
, the terms South Asia, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia are distinct, but the confusion and disagreements have arisen due to the geopolitical movement to enlarge these regions into Greater South Asia, Greater Southwest Asia, and Greater Central Asia. The frontier of Greater South Asia, states Cutler, between 2001 and 2006 has been geopolitically extended to eastern Iran and western Afghanistan in the west, and in the north to northeastern Iran, northern Afghanistan, and southern
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
. The definitions are also varied across South Asian Study programmes. The Centre for South Asian Studies at the
University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , established = , other_name = The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of ...
was established, in 1964, it promoted the study of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, , ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in . It is the in the world, with a population exceeding 163 million people, in an area of , making it one of the in the world. Bangladesh shares land bor ...

Bangladesh
,
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
, the Himalayan Kingdoms (
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
,
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
, and Sikkim), and Burma (now Myanmar). It has since included
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
,
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
,
Laos , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Vientiane , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = Lao language, Lao , recognised_languages = , languages_type = Spoken langua ...

Laos
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
and
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...

Hong Kong
. The Centres for South Asian Studies at both the
University of Michigan The University of Michigan (Michigan, or UMich) is a public university, public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1817 by an act of the old Michigan Territory, as the History of the University of Michigan#The Catholepistemiad ( ...

University of Michigan
and the
University of Virginia The University of Virginia (U.Va. or UVA) is a Public university#United States, public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It is the flagship university of Virginia and home to the Academic ...

University of Virginia
include Tibet along with the eight members of SAARC in their research programs, but exclude the Maldives. The South Asian Studies Program of
Rutgers University Rutgers University (RU; ), officially known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an orga ...
and the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public university, public land-grant university, land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the University of California ...

University of California, Berkeley
Centre for South Asia Studies also include the Maldives. The South Asian Studies Program of
Brandeis University , mottoeng = Truth even unto its innermost parts , established = , type = Private university, Private research university , president = Ronald D. Liebowitz , provost = Carol Fierke , city = Waltham, Massachusetts, Waltham , state = Massach ...
defines the region as comprising "India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and in certain contexts Afghanistan, Burma, Maldives and Tibet". The similar program of
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a in . Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of in , Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in and ...

Columbia University
includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in their study and excludes Burma. In the past, a lack of a coherent definition for South Asia resulted in a lack of academic studies, along with a lack of interest for such studies. Identification with a South Asian identity was also found to be significantly low among respondents in an older two-year survey across Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.


History


Pre-history

The history of core South Asia begins with evidence of human activity of ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread of , characterized by and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced , , and . Humans are highly social and tend to live in complex s composed of many ...
,'' as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including ''
Homo erectus ''Homo erectus'' (meaning "upright Body relative directions (also known as egocentric coordinates) are geometrical orientations relative to a body such as a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread spec ...

Homo erectus
'' from about 500,000 years ago. The earliest prehistoric culture have roots in the mesolithic sites as evidenced by the rock paintings of
Bhimbetka rock shelters The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populo ...

Bhimbetka rock shelters
dating to a period of 30,000 BCE or older, as well as neolithic times.


Ancient era

The
Indus Valley Civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...

Indus Valley Civilization
, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of South Asia from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE in present-day
Northern India North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on ...
, Pakistan and
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
, was the first major civilization in South Asia. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the
Mature Harappan Mature is the adjectival form of maturity, as immature is the adjectival form of immaturity, which have several meanings. Mature or immature may also refer to: * Mature, a character from ''The King of Fighters'' series *"Mature 17+", a rating in ...
period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. According to anthropologist Possehl, the
Indus Valley Civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...

Indus Valley Civilization
provides a logical, if somewhat arbitrary, starting point for South Asian religions, but these links from the Indus religion to later-day South Asian traditions are subject to scholarly dispute. The Vedic period, named after the Vedic religion of the
Indo-Aryans Indo-Aryan peoples refers to both the pastoralist Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern I ...
, lasted from c. 1900 to 500 BCE. The Indo-Aryans were pastoralists who migrated into north-western India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization, Linguistic and archaeological data show a cultural change after 1500 BCE, with the linguistic and religious data clearly showing links with Indo-European languages and religion. By about 1200 BCE, the Vedic culture and agrarian lifestyle was established in the northwest and northern Gangetic plain of South Asia. Rudimentary state-forms appeared, of which the
Kuru Kuru may refer to: Anthropology and history * Kuru (disease) Kuru is a very rare, incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disorder Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons A neuron or nerve cell is an ...
-Pañcāla union was the most influential. The first recorded state-level society in South Asia existed around 1000 BCE. In this period, states Samuel, emerged the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of Vedic texts, which merged into the earliest Upanishads. These texts began to ask the meaning of a ritual, adding increasing levels of philosophical and metaphysical speculation, or "Hindu synthesis". Increasing urbanisation of India between 800 and 400 BCE, and possibly the spread of urban diseases, contributed to the rise of ascetic movements and of new ideas which challenged the orthodox
Brahmanism The historical Vedic religion (also known as Vedicism, Vedism or ancient Hinduism), and subsequently Brahmanism (also spelled as Brahminism), constituted the religious ideas and practices among some of the Indo-Aryan peoples Indo-Aryan ...
. These ideas led to Sramana movements, of which Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
, and
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle ...

Buddha
(c. 563–483), founder of
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
, were the most prominent icons. The Greek army led by
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
stayed in the
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
region of South Asia for several years and then later moved into the Indus valley region. Later, the
Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age list of ancient great powers, historical power in South Asia based in Magadha, founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, and existing in loose-knit fashion until 185 BCE. Quote: "Ma ...
extended over much of South Asia in the 3rd century BCE. Buddhism spread beyond south Asia, through northwest into Central Asia. The Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan and the edicts of Aśoka suggest that the Buddhist monks spread Buddhism (Dharma) in eastern provinces of the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
, and possibly even farther into Western Asia. The Theravada school spread south from India in the 3rd century BCE, to Sri Lanka, later to Southeast Asia. Buddhism, by the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE, was prominent in the Himalayan region, Gandhara, Hindu Kush region and Bactria.Deborah Klimburg-Salter (1989), The Kingdom of Bamiyan: Buddhist art and culture of the Hindu Kush, Naples – Rome: Istituto Universitario Orientale & Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, (Reprinted by Shambala) From about 500 BCE through about 300 CE, the Vedic-Brahmanic synthesis or "Hindu synthesis" continued. Classical Hindu and Sramanic (particularly Buddhist) ideas spread within South Asia, as well outside South Asia. The
Gupta Empire The Gupta Empire was an Outline of ancient India, ancient Indian empire which existed from the early 4th century CE to late 6th century CE. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 467 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period ...

Gupta Empire
ruled over a large part of the region between 4th and 7th centuries, a period that saw the construction of major temples, monasteries and universities such as the
Nalanda Nalanda (Sanskrit: नालंदा ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as C ...

Nalanda
. During this era, and through the 10th century, numerous cave monasteries and temples such as the
Ajanta Caves The Ajanta Caves are approximately 30 which date from the 2nd century to about 480 CE in of state of . The caves include paintings and rock-cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of , particularly expressive pain ...

Ajanta Caves
,
Badami cave temples The Badami cave temples are a complex of Hinduism, Hindu and Jainism, Jain cave temples located in Badami, a town in the Bagalkot district in northern part of Karnataka, India. The caves are important examples of Indian rock-cut architecture, e ...

Badami cave temples
and
Ellora Caves Ellora (\e-ˈlȯr-ə\, IAST: ) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Aurangabad District, Maharashtra, Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India. It is one of the largest rock-cut Hindu temple cave complexes in the world, featuring B ...

Ellora Caves
were built in South Asia.


Medieval era

Islam came as a political power in the fringe of South Asia in 8th century CE when the Arab general
Muhammad bin Qasim Muhammad bin Qasim al-Thaqafi ( ar, محمد بن القاسم الثقفي, ''Muḥammad bin al-Qāsim al-Thaqafī''; 715), also known by the '' laqab'' (honorific epithet) of Imad ad-Din ( ar, عماد الدين, ''ʿImād al-Dīn''), was an A ...
conquered
Sindh Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four of . Located in the of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of Pakistan by total area and the second-largest province by population after . It ...

Sindh
, and
Multan Multan (; ) is a city and capital of Multan Division located in Punjab, Pakistan, Punjab, Pakistan. Situated on the bank of the Chenab River, Multan is Pakistan's List of largest cities in Pakistan, 7th largest city and is the major cultural and ...

Multan
in Southern Punjab, in modern-day Pakistan. By 962 CE, Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in South Asia were under a wave of raids from Muslim armies from Central Asia.See: * M. Reza Pirbha, Reconsidering Islam in a South Asian Context, , Brill * The Islamic frontier in the east: Expansion into South Asia, Journal of South Asian Studies, 4(1), pp. 91–109 * Sookoohy M., Bhadreswar – Oldest Islamic Monuments in India, , Brill Academic; see discussion of earliest raids in Gujarat Among them was
Mahmud of Ghazni Yamīn-ud-Dawla Abul-Qāṣim Maḥmūd ibn Sebüktegīn ( fa, یمین‌الدوله ابوالقاسم محمود بن سبکتگین; 2 November 971 – 30 April 1030), usually known as Mahmud of Ghazni ( fa, ) or Mahmud Ghaznavi was the fo ...

Mahmud of Ghazni
, who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030. Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab. The wave of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni, plundering and looting these kingdoms. The raids did not establish or extend permanent boundaries of their Islamic kingdoms. The Ghurid Sultan
Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori ( fa, معز الدین محمد غوری), born Shihab ad-Din (1149 – March 15, 1206), also known as Muhammad of Ghor, was the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire along with his brother Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad from 117 ...
began a systematic war of expansion into North India in 1173. He sought to carve out a principality for himself by expanding the Islamic world. Mu'izz sought a
Sunni Islam Sunni Islam () is by far the largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word ''Sunnah'', referring to the behaviour of Muhammad. The differences between Sunni ...
ic kingdom of his own extending east of the Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for the Muslim kingdom that became the
Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic empire based in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526).
.Peter Jackson (2003), The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, Cambridge University Press, , pp 3–30 Some historians chronicle the Delhi Sultanate from 1192 due to the presence and geographical claims of Mu'izz al-Din in South Asia by that time. The Delhi Sultanate covered varying parts of South Asia and was ruled by a series of dynasties, called Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodi dynasties.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq Muhammad bin Tughluq (also Prince Fakhr Malik Jauna Khan, Ulugh Khan; c. 1290 – 20 March 1351) was the Delhi Sultanate, Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was the eldest son of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, Ghiyas -ud -Din -Tughlaq, the founder ...
came to power in 1325, launched a war of expansion and the Delhi Sultanate reached it largest geographical reach over the South Asian region during his 26-year rule.Muḥammad ibn Tughluq
Encyclopædia Britannica
A Sunni Sultan, Muhammad bin Tughlaq persecuted non-Muslims such as Hindus, as well as non-Sunni Muslims such as Shia and Mahdi sects.Vincent A Smith, , Chapter 2, pp. 249–251, Oxford University Press Revolts against the Delhi Sultanate sprang up in many parts of South Asia during the 14th century. After the death of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Bengal Sultanate came to power in 1352 CE, as the Delhi Sultanate began disintegrating. The Bengal Sultanate remained in power through the early 16th century. It was reconquered by the armies of the Mughal Empire. The state religion of the Bengal Sultanate was Islam, and the region under its rule, a region that ultimately emerged as the modern nation of Bangladesh, saw a growth of a syncretic form of Islam. In the Deccan region, the Hindu kingdom
Vijayanagara Empire The Vijayanagara Empire, also called Karnata Kingdom, was based in the Deccan Plateau region in South India South India is a region located in the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ...

Vijayanagara Empire
came to power in 1336 and remained in power through the 16th century, after which it too was reconquered and absorbed into the Mughal Empire. About 1526, the Punjab governor Dawlat Khan Lodī reached out to the Mughal
Babur Babur ( fa, , lit= tiger, translit= Bābur; 14 February 148326 December 1530), born Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, was the founder of the Mughal Empire The Mughal Empire, Mogul or Moghul Empire, was an Early modern period, early modern e ...

Babur
and invited him to attack Delhi Sultanate.
Babur Babur ( fa, , lit= tiger, translit= Bābur; 14 February 148326 December 1530), born Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, was the founder of the Mughal Empire The Mughal Empire, Mogul or Moghul Empire, was an Early modern period, early modern e ...

Babur
defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi in the Battle of Panipat in 1526. The death of Ibrahim Lodi ended the Delhi Sultanate, and the
Mughal Empire The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, ge ...
replaced it.Lodi Dynasty
''Encyclopædia Britannica'' (2009)


Modern era

The
modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. Humanity's written history was preceded by its , beginning with the ("Old Stone Age"), followed by the ("New ...
period of South Asia, that is 16th-century onwards, witnessed the start of the Central Asian dynasty named the Mughals, with Turkish-Mongol roots and Sunni Islam theology. The first ruler was Babur, whose empire extended the northwest and
Indo-Gangetic Plain#REDIRECT Indo-Gangetic Plain Image:India-Pakistan Borderlands at Night.JPG, 250px, Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this astronaut photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan, ...

Indo-Gangetic Plain
regions of South Asia. The Deccan and northeastern region of South Asia was largely under Hindu kings such as those of Vijayanagara Empire and , with some regions such as parts of modern
Telangana Telangana (, , ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Telangana
and
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (English: Telugu: ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Andhra Pradesh
under local Sultanates such as the Shia Islamic rulers of
Golconda Sultanate The Qutb Shahi dynasty ruled the Golconda Sultanate in south India from 1518 AD to 1687 AD. The Qutb Shahis were descendants of Qara Yusuf from Qara Qoyunlu, a Turkoman Muslim tribe. After the collapse of Bahmani Sultanate, the "Qutb Shahi" ...
. The Mughal Empire continued its wars of expansion after Babur's death. With the fall of the Rajput kingdoms and Vijayanagara, its boundaries encompassed almost the entirety of the Indian subcontinent. The Mughal Empire was marked by a period of artistic exchanges and a Central Asian and South Asian architecture synthesis, with remarkable buildings such as the
Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal (; , ), is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Empire, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan () to house the tomb of his favourite wi ...

Taj Mahal
. At its height, the empire was the world's largest economy, worth almost 25% of global GDP, more than the entirety of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
. Maddison, Angus (2003):
Development Centre Studies The World Economy Historical Statistics: Historical Statistics
',
OECD Publishing The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to sti ...
, , pages 259–261
However, this time also marked an extended period of
religious persecution Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or a group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or their lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within societies to alienate or r ...
. Two of the religious leaders of
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the root ' me ...
,
Guru Arjan Guru Arjan (Gurmukhi Gurmukhī ( pa, ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ, , Shahmukhi: ) is an abugida . ''May Śiva protect those who take delight in the language of the gods.'' ( Kalidasa) An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), ...

Guru Arjan
and
Guru Tegh Bahadur Guru Tegh Bahadur ( Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ, pronunciation: (; 1 April 1621 – 11 November 1675) was the ninth of ten Gurus who founded the Sikh religion and he was head of the followers of Sikhism from 1665 unti ...
were arrested under orders of the Mughal emperors and were asked to convert to Islam, and were executed when they refused. Religious taxes on non-Muslims called ''jizya'' were imposed. Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples were desecrated. However, not all Muslim rulers persecuted non-Muslims. Akbar, a Mughal ruler for example, sought religious tolerance and abolished jizya. In Aurangzeb's time, almost all of South Asia was claimed by the Mughal Empire. Under Aurangzeb's rule, South Asia reached its zenith, becoming the world's largest economy and biggest manufacturing power, estimated over 25% of world GDP, a value higher than China's and entire Western Europe's one. The economic developments on South Asia waved the period of proto-industrialization. After the death of Aurangzeb and the collapse of the Mughal Empire, which marks the beginning of modern India, in the early 18th century, it provided opportunities for the Maratha Empire, Marathas, Sikh Empire, Sikhs, Mysore Kingdom, Mysoreans and Nawabs of Bengal to exercise control over large regions of the Indian subcontinent. Maritime trading between South Asia and European merchants began after the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama returned to Europe. British, French, Portuguese colonial interests struck treaties with these rulers and established their trading ports. In northwest South Asia, a large region was consolidated into the Sikh Empire by Ranjit Singh. After the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal and Tipu Sultan and his French allies, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
expanded their interests till the Hindu Kush region.


Contemporary era

In 1905, the British Raj, Government of India initiated the Partition of Bengal (1905), partition of Bengal Presidency, Bengal, a decision which was eventually reversed after Indian opposition. However, during the partition of India, Bengal was partitioned into East Bengal (Pakistan) and West Bengal (India). East Bengal became the Bangladesh, People's Republic of Bangladesh after the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.


Geography

According to Saul Cohen, early colonial era strategists treated South Asia with East Asia, but in reality, the South Asia region excluding Afghanistan is a distinct Geopolitics, geopolitical region separated from other nearby geostrategic realms, one that is geographically diverse. The region is home to a variety of geographical features, such as glaciers, rainforests, valleys, deserts, and grasslands that are typical of much larger continents. It is surrounded by three water bodiesthe
Bay of Bengal The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to th ...

Bay of Bengal
, the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
and the
Arabian Sea The Arabian Sea ( ar, بحر العرب ''Bahr al-Arab'') is a region of the northern Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water Water is an Inorganic co ...
and has acutely varied climate zones. The tip of the Indian Peninsula had the highest quality pearls.


Indian Plate

Most of this region is resting on the
Indian Plate The Indian Plate or India Plate is a minor tectonic plate straddling the Equator in the Eastern Hemisphere. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, India broke away from the other fragments of Gondwana and began moving north. ...
, the northerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, separated from the rest of the Eurasian Plate. The Indian Plate includes most of South Asia, forming a land mass which extends from the
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Ind ...

Himalayas
into a portion of the basin under the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
, including parts of Southwest China, South China and Eastern
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
, as well as Kunlun Mountains, Kunlun and
Karakoram The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and ...

Karakoram
ranges, and extending up to but not including Ladakh, Kohistan District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Kohistan, the
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
range and Balochistan. It may be noted that Geophysics, geophysically the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet is situated at the outside of the border of the regional structure, while the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan are situated inside that border. The Indian subcontinent formerly formed part of the supercontinent
Gondwana Gondwana () or Gondwanaland was a supercontinent In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (ge ...

Gondwana
, before rifting away during the Cretaceous period and colliding with the Eurasian Plate about 50–55 million years ago and giving birth to the Himalayan range and the Tibetan plateau. It is the
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
r region south of the Himalayas and Kuen Lun mountain ranges and east of the Indus River and the Iranian Plateau, extending southward into the Indian Ocean between the
Arabian Sea The Arabian Sea ( ar, بحر العرب ''Bahr al-Arab'') is a region of the northern Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water Water is an Inorganic co ...
(to the southwest) and the
Bay of Bengal The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to th ...

Bay of Bengal
(to the southeast).


Climate

The climate of this vast region varies considerably from area to area from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north. The variety is influenced by not only the altitude but also by factors such as proximity to the seacoast and the seasonal impact of the monsoons. Southern parts are mostly hot in summers and receive rain during monsoon periods. The northern belt of Indo-Gangetic plains also is hot in summer, but cooler in winter. The mountainous north is colder and receives snowfall at higher altitudes of Himalayan ranges. As the
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Ind ...

Himalayas
block the north-Asian bitter cold winds, the temperatures are considerably moderate in the plains down below. For the most part, the climate of the region is called the Monsoon climate, which keeps the region humid during summer and dry during winter, and favours the cultivation of jute, tea, rice, and various vegetables in this region. South Asia is largely divided into four broad climate zones:John E. Olive, ''The Encyclopedia of World Climatology'', page 115-117, Springer, 2005, * The northern Indian edge and northern Pakistani uplands have a dry subtropical continental climate * The far south of India and southwest Sri Lanka have an equatorial climate * Most of the peninsula has a tropical climate with variations: ** Hot Subtropics, subtropical climate in northwest India ** Cool winter hot tropical climate in Bangladesh ** Tropical semi-arid climate in the center * The Himalayas and most of the
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
have an Alpine climate Maximum relative humidity of over 80% has been recorded in Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Sri Lanka, while the area adjustment to Pakistan and western India records lower than 20%–30%. Climate of South Asia is largely characterized by monsoons. South Asia depends critically on monsoon rainfall. Two monsoon systems exist in the region: * The summer monsoon: Wind blows from the southwest to most parts of the region. It accounts for 70%–90% of the annual precipitation. * The winter monsoon: Wind blows from the northeast. Dominant in Sri Lanka and Maldives. The warmest period of the year precedes the monsoon season (March to mid June). In the summer the low pressures are centered over the Indus-Gangetic Plain and high wind from the Indian Ocean blows towards the center. The monsoons are the second coolest season of the year because of high humidity and cloud covering. But, at the beginning of June, the jetstreams vanish above the Tibetan Plateau, low pressure over the Indus Valley deepens and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moves in. The change is violent. Moderately vigorous monsoon depressions form in the Bay of Bengal and make landfall from June to September. Climate change in South Asia is causing a range of challenges including sea level rise, cyclonic activity, and changes in ambient temperature and precipitation patterns.


Land and water area

This list includes dependent territories within their List of sovereign states, sovereign states (including uninhabited territories), but does not include claims on Antarctica. EEZ+TIA is exclusive economic zone (EEZ) plus List of countries and outlying territories by total area, total internal area (TIA) which includes land and internal waters.


Society


Population

The population of South Asia is about 1.749 billion which makes it the List of continents by population#Regional and continental (sub)totals in 2013, most populated region in the world. It is socially very mixed, consisting of many language groups and religions, and social practices in one region that are vastly different from those in another.


Languages

There are numerous languages in South Asia. The spoken languages of the region are largely based on geography and shared across religious boundaries, but the written script is sharply divided by religious boundaries. In particular, Muslims of South Asia such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan use the Arabic alphabet and Persian Nastaʿlīq script, Nastaliq. Till 1952, Muslim-majority Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan) also mandated only the Nastaliq script, but after that adopted regional scripts and particularly Bengali, after the Bengali language movement, Language Movement for the adoption of Bengali as the official language of the then East Pakistan. Non-Muslims of South Asia, and some Muslims in India, on the other hand, use their traditional ancient heritage scripts such as those derived from Brahmi script for Indo-European languages and non-Brahmi scripts for Dravidian languages and others. The Nagari script has been the ''primus inter pares'' of the traditional South Asian scripts. The Devanagari script is used for over 120 South Asian languages,Devanagari (Nagari)
, Script Features and Description, SIL International (2013), United States
including Hindi, Marathi language, Marathi, Nepali language, Nepali, Pali, Konkani language, Konkani, Bodo language, Bodo, Sindhi language, Sindhi and Maithili language, Maithili among other languages and dialects, making it one of the most used and List of writing systems by adoption, adopted writing systems in the world. The Devanagari script is also used for classical Sanskrit texts. The largest spoken language in this region is Hindustani language, followed by Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, and Punjabi. In the modern era, new syncretic languages developed in the region such as Urdu that are used by the Muslim community of northern South Asia (particularly Pakistan and northern states of India). The Punjabi language spans three religions: Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism. The spoken language is similar, but it is written in three scripts. The Sikhs, Sikh use Gurmukhi alphabet, Muslim Punjabis in
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
use the Nastaliq script, while Hindu Punjabis in India use the Gurmukhi or Nāgarī script. The Gurmukhi and Nagari scripts are distinct but close in their structure, but the Persian Nastaliq script is very different. English, with British spelling, is commonly used in urban areas and is a major economic lingua franca of South Asia.


Religions

In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of
Hindus Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...
, about 510 million
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pron ...
, as well as over 25 million
Buddhists Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on Orig ...
and 35 million
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jes ...

Christians
. Hindus make up about 68 percent or about 900 million and Muslims at 31 percent or 510 million of the overall South Asia population, while Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Sikhs constitute most of the rest. The Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Christians are concentrated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, while the Muslims are concentrated in Afghanistan (99%), Bangladesh (90%), Pakistan (96%) and Maldives (100%). Indian religions are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism,
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
and
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the root ' me ...
. Adams, C. J.
Classification of religions: Geographical
, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007. Accessed: 15 July 2010; Quote: "Indian religions, including early Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and sometimes also Theravāda Buddhism and the Hindu- and Buddhist-inspired religions of South and Southeast Asia".
The Indian religions are distinct yet share terminology, concepts, goals and ideas, and from South Asia spread into East Asia and southeast Asia. Early Christianity and Islam were introduced into coastal regions of South Asia by merchants who settled among the local populations. Later
Sindh Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four of . Located in the of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of Pakistan by total area and the second-largest province by population after . It ...

Sindh
, Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan, and parts of the Punjab region saw conquest by the Ummayad, Arab caliphates along with an influx of Muslims from Persia and Central Asia, which resulted in spread of both Shia and Sunni Islam in parts of northwestern region of South Asia. Subsequently, under the influence of Muslim rulers of the Islamic sultanates and the Mughal Empire, Islam spread in South Asia. About Islam in South Asia, one-third of the world's Muslims are from South Asia.


Largest urban areas

South Asia is home to some of the most populated urban areas in the world. According to the 2020 edition of ''Demographia World Urban Areas'', the region contains 8 of the world's 35 megacities (urban areas over 10 million population):


Sports

Cricket is the most popular sport in South Asia, with 90% of the sport's fans in the Indian subcontinent.


Economy

India is the largest economy in the region (US$3.049 trillion) and makes up almost 80% of the South Asian economy; it is the List of countries by GDP (nominal), world's 6th largest in nominal terms and List of countries by GDP (PPP), 3rd largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates (US$10.385 trillion). Outlook Database, October 2018 India is the member of G-20 major economies and BRICS from the region. It is the fastest-growing major economy in the world and one of the world's fastest registering a growth of 7.3% in FY 2014–15. India is followed by Bangladesh, which has a GDP of ($378.656 billion) and a GDP per capita of $1,969, which is 4th in the region. It has the fastest GDP growth rate in Asia. It is one of the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, and is also listed among the Jim O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of Gatley#Next Eleven, Next Eleven countries. It is also one of the fastest-growing middle-income countries. It has the List of countries by GDP (nominal), world's 33rd largest GDP in nominal terms and is the List of countries by GDP (PPP), 27th largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates ($1.015 trillion). Bangladesh's economic growth crossed 7% in fiscal 2015–2016 after almost a decade in holding a growth rate of 6%, and is expected to grow by 8.13% in 2019–2020. Pakistan has an economy of ($314 billion) and ranks 5th in GDP per capita in the region. Next is
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
, which has the 2nd highest GDP per capita and the 4th largest economy in the region. According to a
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
report in 2015, driven by a strong expansion in India, coupled with favorable oil prices, from the last quarter of 2014 South Asia became the fastest-growing region in the world According to the World Bank's 2011 report, based on 2005 ICP PPP, about 24.6% of the South Asian population falls below the international poverty line of $1.25/day. Afghanistan and Bangladesh rank the highest, with 30.6% and 43.3% of their respective populations below the poverty line. Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka have the lowest number of people below the poverty line, with 2.4%, 1.5% and 4.1% respectively. India has lifted the most people in the region above the poverty line between 2008 and 2011, with around 140 million being raised from the poverty line. As of 2011, 21.9% of India's population lives below the poverty line, compared to 41.6% in 2005. The major stock exchanges in the region are Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) with market Capitalization of $2.298 trillion (List of stock exchanges, 11th largest in the world), National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) with market capitalization of $2.273 trillion (List of stock exchanges, 12th largest in the world), Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), and Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) with market capitalization of $72 billion. Economic data is sourced from the International Monetary Fund, current as of April 2017, and is given in US dollars.


Education

One of the key challenges in assessing the quality of education in South Asia is the vast range of contextual difference across the region, complicating any attempt to compare between countries.Suzana Brinkmann
Improving Education Quality in South Asia
(I), page 13, United Nations Children's Fund, Regional Office for South Asia, Nepal, 2018
In 2018, 11.3 million children at the primary level and 20.6 million children at the lower secondary level were out-of-school in South Asia, while millions of children completed primary education without mastering the foundational skills of basic numeracy and literacy.Education: South Asia
UNICEF
According to UNESCO, 241 million children between six and fourteen years or 81 percent of the total were not learning in Southern and Central Asia in 2017. Only sub-Saharan Africa had a higher rate of children not learning. Two-thirds of these children were in school, sitting in classrooms. Only 19 percent of children attending primary and lower secondary schools attaining a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics.''More than One-Half of Children and Adolescents are not learning worldwide''
Fact Sheet No.46, UNESCO Institute for Statistics September 2017
Suzana Brinkmann
Improving Education Quality in South Asia
(I), page 3, United Nations Children's Fund, Regional Office for South Asia, Nepal, 2018
According to a citizen-led assessment, only 48% in Indian public schools and 46% of children in Pakistan public schools could read a class two level text by the time they reached class five. This poor quality of education in turn has contributed to the some of the highest drop-out rates in the world. While over half of the students complete secondary school with acquiring requisite skills. In South Asia, classrooms are teacher-centred and rote-based, while children are often subjected to corporal punishment and discrimination. Different South Asian countries have different education structures. While by 2018 India and Pakistan has two of the most developed and increasingly decentralised education systems, Bangladesh still had a highly centralised system, and Nepal is in a state of transition from a centralized to a decentralized system. In most South Asian countries children's education is theoretically free; the exceptions being the Maldives, where there is no constitutionally guaranteed free education, as well as Bhutan and Nepal where fees are charged by primary schools. But parents are still faced with unmanageable secondary financial demands, including private tuition to make up for the inadequacies of the education system.Girls’ Education in South Asia
page 4, Education and Gender Equality Series, Programme Insights, Oxfam GB. February 2006
The larger and poorer countries in the region, like India and Bangladesh, struggle financially to get sufficient resources to sustain an education system required for their vast populations, with an added challenge of getting large numbers of out-of-school children enrolled into schools. Their capacity to deliver inclusive and equitable quality education is limited by low levels of public finance for education, while the smaller emerging middle-income countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan have been able to achieve universal primary school completion, and are in a better position to focus on quality of education. Children's education in the region is also adversely affected by natural and human-made crises including natural hazards, political instability, rising extremism and civil strife that makes it difficult to deliver educational services. Afghanistan and India are among the top ten countries with the highest number of reported disasters due to natural hazards and conflict. The precarious security situation in Afghanistan is a big barrier in rolling out education programmes on a national scale. According to UNICEF, girls face incredible hurdles to pursue their education in the region, while UNESCO estimated in 2005 that 24 million girls of primary-school age in the region were not receiving any formal education. Between 1900 and 2005, most of the countries in the region had shown progress in girls' education with Sri Lanka and the Maldives significantly ahead of the others, while the gender gap in education has widened in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Bangladesh made the greatest progress in the region in the period increasing girls’ secondary school enrolment from 13 percent to 56 percent in ten years.E. Unterhalter, R. Rajagopalan, and C. Challender
A scorecard on girls’ education in Asia
1990 –2000. UNESCO, Bangkok. 2004.
Girls’ Education in South Asia
page 2, Education and Gender Equality Series, Programme Insights, Oxfam GB. February 2006
With about 21 million students in 700 universities and 40 thousand colleges India had the one of the largest higher education systems in the world in 2011, accounting for 86 percent of all higher-level students in South Asia. Bangladesh (two million) and Pakistan (1.8 million) stood at distant second and third positions in the region. In Nepal (390 thousand) and Sri Lanka (230 thousand) the numbers were much smaller. Bhutan with only one university and Maldives with none hardly had between them about 7000 students in higher education in 2011. The gross enrolment ratio in 2011 ranged from about 10 percent in Pakistan and Afghanistan to above 20 percent in India, much below the global average of 31 percent.Jandhyala B.G. Tilak
Higher Education in South Asia: Crisis and Challenges
page 5, Social Scientist, Vol. 43, No. 1/2 (January–February 2015)


Health and nutrition

According to World Health Organization (WHO), South Asia is home to two out of the three countries in the world still affected by polio, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with 306 & 28 polio cases registered in 2014 respectively. Attempts to eradicate polio have been badly hit by opposition from militants in both countries, who say the program is cover to spy on their operations. Their attacks on immunization teams have claimed 78 lives since December 2012. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
estimates that
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world and is nearly double that of Sub Saharan Africa with dire consequences for mobility, mortality, productivity, and economic growth. According to the World Bank, 70% of the South Asian population and about 75% of South Asia's poor live in rural areas and most rely on agriculture for their livelihood according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation. In 2015, approximately 281 million people in the region were malnourished. The report says that Nepal reached both the WFS target as well as MDG and is moving towards bringing down the number of undernourished people to less than 5% of the population. Bangladesh reached the MDG target with the National Food Policy frameworkwith only 16.5% of the population undernourished. In India, the malnourished comprise just over 15 percent of the population. While the number of malnourished people in the neighborhood has shown a decline over the last 25 years, the number of under-nourished in Pakistan displays an upward trend. There were 28.7 million hungry in Pakistan in the 1990sa number that has steadily increased to 41.3 million in 2015 with 22% of the population malnourished. Approximately 194.6 million people are undernourished in India, which accounts for the highest number of people suffering from hunger in any single country. The 2006 report stated, "the low status of women in South Asian countries and their lack of nutritional knowledge are important determinants of high prevalence of underweight children in the region". Corruption and the lack of initiative on the part of the government has been one of the major problems associated with nutrition in India. Illiteracy in villages has been found to be one of the major issues that need more government attention. The report mentioned that although there has been a reduction in malnutrition due to the Green Revolution in South Asia, there is concern that South Asia has "inadequate feeding and caring practices for young children".


Governance and politics


Systems of government

India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
is a Secular state, secular Federation, federative Parliamentary system, parliamentary republic with Prime Minister of India, premier as head of government. With most populous functional democracy in world and world's longest written constitution, India has been stably sustaining the political system it adopted in 1950 with no regime change except that by a democratic election. India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer establishments. Since the Republic Day (India), formation of its republic abolishing Government of India Act 1935, British law, it has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an active Supreme Court, and a largely independent press. India leads region in Democracy Index, democracy index. It has a multi-party system in its internal regional politics whereas alternative transfer of powers to alliances of Indian United Progressive Alliance, left-wing and National Democratic Alliance, right-wing political parties in national government provide it with characteristics of a Two-party system, two-party state. India has been facing notable internal religious conflicts and separatism however List of countries by Fragile States Index, consistently becoming more and more stable with time. Foundation of Pakistan lies in Pakistan movement started in British Raj, colonial India based on Muslim nationalism in South Asia, Islamic nationalism. Pakistan is a Federal republic, federal Parliamentary system, parliamentary Islamic republic and was the world's first country to adopt Islamic republic system to modify its republican status under its otherwise secular constitution in 1956. Pakistan's governance is one of the most conflicted in the world. The Military coups in Pakistan, military rule and the unstable government in Pakistan has become a concern for the South Asian region. Out of 22 appointed List of Prime Ministers of Pakistan, Pakistani Prime ministers, none has been able to complete a full term in office. The nature of Politics of Pakistan, Pakistani politics can be characterized as a multi-party system. Pakistan's governance is one of the most conflicted in the region. The military rule and the unstable government in Pakistan have become a concern for the South Asian region. In
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
, the government has struggled to come in the side of democracy, and it only showed signs in the recent past, basically in the 21st century, to support the democratic system.
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, , ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in . It is the in the world, with a population exceeding 163 million people, in an area of , making it one of the in the world. Bangladesh shares land bor ...

Bangladesh
is a Unitary state, unitary Parliamentary system, parliamentary republic. Law of Bangladesh defines it as both Islamic as well as secular. The nature of Politics of Bangladesh, Bangladeshi politics can be characterized as a multi-party system. Bangladesh is a unitary state and parliamentary democracy. Bangladesh also stands out as one of the few Muslim-majority democracies. "It is a moderate and generally secular and tolerant — though sometimes this is getting stretched at the moment — alternative to violent extremism in a very troubled part of the world", said Dan Mozena, the U.S. ambassador to
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, , ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in . It is the in the world, with a population exceeding 163 million people, in an area of , making it one of the in the world. Bangladesh shares land bor ...

Bangladesh
. Although Bangladesh's legal code is secular, more citizens are embracing a conservative version of Islam, with some pushing for sharia law, analysts say. Experts say that the rise in conservatism reflects the influence of foreign-financed Islamic charities and the more austere version of Islam brought home by migrant workers in Persian Gulf countries.
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
has been a Unitary state, unitary Presidential system, presidential Islamic republic since 2004. Afghanistan has been suffering from one of the most unstable regimes on earth as a result of War in Afghanistan, multiple foreign invasions, civil wars, revolutions and terrorist groups. Persisting instability for decades have left country's economy stagnated and torn and Afghanistan remains one of the most poor and Least developed country, least developed countries on the planet, leading to the influx of Afghan refugees to neighboring countries like
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. The Unitary state, unitary semi-presidential system, semi-presidential constitutional republic of
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
is oldest sustained democracy in Asia. Tensions between Sinhalese people, Sinhalese and Tamil people, Tamils led to Sri Lankan civil war that undermined the country's stability for more than two and a half decades. Sri Lanka however, has been leading region in Human Development Index, HDI with per capita GDP well ahead of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The political situation in
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
has been dominated by an increasingly assertive Sinhalese people, Sinhalese nationalism, and the emergence of a Sri Lankan Tamil people, Tamil separatist movement under LTTE, which was suppressed in May 2009.
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
was the last Hindu state in world before Republic Day (Nepal), becoming a secular democratic republic in 2008. The country has been ranked among world's poorest in terms of GDP per capita but has made considerable progress in development indicators outpacing many other South Asian states.
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
is a Buddhist state with a constitutional monarchy. The country has been ranked as the least corrupt and peaceful with most economic freedom in the region in 2016.
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
's politics is dominated by a military Military junta, Junta, which has sidelined the democratic forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located prima ...

Maldives
is a unitary presidential republic with
Sunni Islam Sunni Islam () is by far the largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word ''Sunnah'', referring to the behaviour of Muhammad. The differences between Sunni ...
strictly as the state religion.


Regional politics

India has been Regional power, dominant geopolitical power in the region and alone accounts for most part of the landmass, population, economy and military expenditure in the region. India is a G20, major economy, member of G4 nations, G4, has world's List of countries by military expenditures, third highest military budget and exerts strong Greater India, cultural and Regional hegemony, political influence over the region. Sometimes referred as a great power or emerging superpower primarily attributed to its large and expanding economic and military abilities, India acts as fulcrum of South Asia.
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, , ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in . It is the in the world, with a population exceeding 163 million people, in an area of , making it one of the in the world. Bangladesh shares land bor ...

Bangladesh
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
and
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
are middle powers with sizeable populations and economies with significant impact on regional politics. Partition of India in 1947, subsequent violence and territorial disputes left relations between India and Pakistan sour and very hostile and Indo-Pakistani wars and conflicts, various confrontations and wars which largely shaped the politics of the region and led to the Bangladesh liberation war, creation of Bangladesh. With Yugoslavia, India found Non-Aligned Movement but later entered an Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, agreement with former Soviet Union following western support for Pakistan. Amid the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971, US sent its USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS ''Enterprise'' to the Indian Ocean what was perceived as a nuclear threat by India. India's Smiling Buddha, nuclear test in 1974 pushed Pakistan's nuclear program who conducted nuclear tests in Chagai-I in 1998, just 18 days after India's Pokhran-II, series of nuclear tests for thermonuclear weapons. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 accelerated efforts to form a union to restrengthen deteriorating regional security. After agreements, the union was finally established in Dhaka in December 1985. However, deterioration of India-Pakistan relations, India-Pakistan ties have led India to emphasize more on sub-regional groups South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation, SASEC and BBIN. South Asia continues to remain least integrated region in the world. Meanwhile, in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

East Asia
, regional trade accounts for 50% of total trade, it accounts for only a little more than 5% in South Asia. Populism is a general characteristic of internal politics of India.


Regional groups of countries


See also

* Genetics and archaeogenetics of South Asia * South Asian cuisine * South Asian Games * South Asia Olympic Council * South Asian Football Federation * List of tallest buildings and structures in South Asia * Indian subcontinent


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* *


External links


South Asia
The World Bank
Digital South Asia Library
University of Chicago
South Asian and Himalayan Arts
Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian
South Asia
Brookings Institution
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation
Asia Development Bank {{Authority control South Asia, Regions of Asia Asia-Pacific