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South Asia or Southern Asia, is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land (clockwise, from west) by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

South Asia covers about 5.2 million km2 (2 million mi2), 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 most densely populated 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.

In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It also has the largest population of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists.


South Asia (excluding internal borders) (orthographic projection).svg
  Member states   Observer states
  Member states
  Observer states
Headquarters Kathmandu
Official languages English
Demonym South Asian
Member states
Leaders
Pakistan Amjad B. Hussain
Establishment 8 December 1985
Area
• Total
5,099,611 km2 (1,968,971 sq mi) (7th)
• Water (%)
6.8
Population
• 2015 estimate
1,713,870,000 (1st)
• Density
336.1/km2 (870.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
US$11.64 trillion (3rd)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
US$ 3.31 trillion (5th)
Currency
Time zone UTC+4:30 to +6
Calling code
Internet TLD .asia

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.


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The Language Movement (Bengali: ভাষা আন্দোলন Bhasha Andolôn) was a political movement in former East Bengal (currently Bangladesh) advocating the recognition of the Bengali language as an official language of the then-Dominion of Pakistan in order to allow its use in government affairs, the continuation of its use as a medium of education, its use in media, currency and stamps, and to maintain its writing in the Bengali script.

When the Dominion of Pakistan was formed by the partition of India in 1947, it was composed of various ethnic and linguistic groups, with the geographically non-contiguous East Bengal province (that was renamed in 1956 as East Pakistan) having a mainly Bengali population. In 1948, the Government of the Dominion of Pakistan ordained Urdu as the sole national language, sparking extensive protests among the Bengali-speaking majority of East Bengal. Facing rising sectarian tensions and mass discontent with the new law, the government outlawed public meetings and rallies. The students of the University of Dhaka and other political activists defied the law and organised a protest on 21 February 1952. The movement reached its climax when police killed student demonstrators on that day. The deaths provoked widespread civil unrest. After years of conflict, the central government relented and granted official status to the Bengali language in 1956. In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day, in tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.

The Language Movement catalysed the assertion of Bengali national identity in East Bengal and later East Pakistan, and became a forerunner to Bengali nationalist movements, including the 6-Point Movement and subsequently the Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. In Bangladesh, 21 February is observed as Language Movement Day, a national holiday. The Shaheed Minar monument was constructed near Dhaka Medical College in memory of the movement and its victims. (More...)

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Mahatma Gandhi

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King Faisal Masque
View from inside of King Faisal Mosque at night in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Photo credit: Abdul Baqi

South Asia News

24 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
A Taliban prisoner kills eight policemen after seizing their weapons. The condition of the Taliban gunman is unknown. (Voice of America)
22 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan
Eight children playing near a police station in the northern Faryab province are killed by a landmine explosion. Six other children are also wounded. (BBC)
19 September 2018 – Panama Papers case
Islamabad High Court suspends the NAB accountability court sentences and orders the release of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan. However, the convictions remain standing. (Al-Jazeera)
17 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan
The Taliban launches multiple attacks on security checkpoints in Afghanistan, killing at least 27 members of the security forces. Twenty-two Taliban members are also killed and 16 others are injured. (news.com.au)
16 September 2018 – British space programme
The first of a series of British satellites, known as NovaSAR, is launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India. The Surrey Satellite Technology satellite is designed to monitor suspicious shipping activity. (BBC)
12 September 2018 – War in Afghanistan
The death toll from yesterday's suicide attack on protesters in eastern Afghanistan rises to 68. (Al Jazeera)

Selected Member Country



Flag of Bhutan

Emblem of Bhutan
Location on the world map


Bhutan (/bˈtɑːn/ (About this sound listen); འབྲུག་ཡུལ་ Druk Yul), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan (འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, and the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center.

The independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and it has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory was composed of many fiefdoms and governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire. Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism and has a disputed border with the People's Republic of China. In 2008, it transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan. The National Assembly of Bhutan is part of the bicameral parliament of the Bhutanese democracy.

The country's landscape ranges from lush subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks in excess of 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The highest mountain in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum, which is also a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. There is also diverse wildlife in Bhutan.

In South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business, and peace; second in per capita income; and is the least corrupt country as of 2016. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country. Hydroelectricity accounts for the major share of its exports. The government is a parliamentary democracy; the head of state is the King of Bhutan, known as the "Dragon King". Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union, but does not have formal ties with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It is a member of the United Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC and the Non Aligned Movement. The Royal Bhutan Army maintains extensive military relations with the Indian Armed Forces.

Bhutan is also notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness. More about Bhutan

At a glance

Did you know

Somapura Mahavihara

  • ...that the king of Bhutan lifted a ban on television and the Internet in 1999, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television?

Selected Biography

Harbhajan Singh at a promotional event in January 2013.

Harbhajan Singh Plaha (About this sound pronunciation ; born 3 July 1980 in Jalandhar, Punjab, India), commonly known as Harbhajan Singh or simply Harbhajan, is an Indian international cricketer, who plays all forms of the game cricket. A specialist spin bowler, he has the second-highest number of Test wickets by an off spinner, behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan.

He is the former captain of IPL team Mumbai Indians and Punjab for the 2012–13 Ranji Trophy season.

Singh made his Test and One Day International (ODI) debuts in early 1998. His career was initially affected by investigations into the legality of his bowling action, as well as several disciplinary incidents. However, in 2001, with leading leg spinner Anil Kumble injured, Harbhajan's career was resuscitated after Indian captain Sourav Ganguly called for his inclusion in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy team. In that series victory over Australia, Harbhajan established himself as the team's leading spinner by taking 32 wickets, becoming the first Indian bowler to take a hat trick in Test cricket. He is also an Officer in the Punjab Police and has held the rank of a Superintendent of police (India), reporting to Punjab Police HQ at Barnala.

A finger injury in mid-2003 sidelined him for much of the following year, allowing Kumble to regain his position as the first choice spinner in Tests and ODI's. Harbhajan reclaimed a regular position in the team upon his return in late 2004, but often found himself watching from the sidelines in Test matches outside the Indian subcontinent with typically only one spinner, Kumble, being used. Throughout 2006 and into early 2007, Harbhajan's accumulation of wickets fell and his bowling average increased, and he was increasingly criticised for bowling defensively with less loop. Following India's first-round elimination from the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Harbhajan was replaced by other spinners in the national squad for both formats. He regained a regular position in the team in late 2007, but became the subject of more controversy. In early 2008, he was given a ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for racially vilifying Andrew Symonds. The ban was revoked upon appeal, but in April, Harbhajan was banned from the 2008 Indian Premier League and suspended from the ODI team by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for slapping Sreesanth after a match. He appeared in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's Indian promotion, Ring Ka King. He was in the World Cup-winning team of 2011 Cricket World Cup.

He was conferred the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 2009. (More...)

Wikipedia in South Asian Languages

عربى (Arabic) • অসমিয়া (Assamese) • भोजपुरी (Bhojpuri) • বাংলা (Bengali) • ইমার ঠার/বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী (Bishnupriya Manipuri) • މަހަލް (Dhivehi) • ગુજરાતી (Gujarati) • हिन्दी (Hindi) • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada) • کٲشُر (Kashmiri) • मैथिली (Maithili) • മലയാളം (Malayalam) • मराठी (Marathi) • नेपाली (Nepali) • ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Odia) • پښتو (Pashto) • فارسی (Persian) • ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi) • संस्कृत (Sanskrit) • سنڌي (Sindhi) • සිංහල (Sinhala) • தமிழ் (Tamil) • తెలుగు (Telugu) • پنجابی (Western Punjabi) • اردو (Urdu)

Selected Destination

A view of Gangtok from nearby Ganesh Tok point

Gangtok (About this sound /ˈɡæŋtɒk/ ) is a city, municipality, the capital and the largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. It also is the headquarters of the East Sikkim district. Gangtok is located in the eastern Himalayan range, at an elevation of 1,650 m (5,410 ft). The town's population of 100,000 are from different ethnicities such as Nepalis, Lepchas and Bhutia. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya and enjoying a year-round mild temperate climate, Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim's tourism industry.

Gangtok rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1894, the ruling Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal, transferred the capital to Gangtok. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India. After India won its independence from Britain in 1947, Sikkim chose to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975, after the integration with the union of India, Gangtok was made India's 22nd state capital.

The precise meaning of the name "Gangtok" is unclear, though the most popular meaning is "hill cut". Today, Gangtok is an emerging as urbanized city with literacy rate of 94% of total population. (More...)

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