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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.

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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Kashmir region 2004.jpg

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. The conflict began following Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. The seventeen-day war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and witnessed the largest engagement of armored vehicles and the largest tank battle since World War II. Hostilities between the two countries ended after a United Nations-mandated ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and the United States, and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. Much of the war was fought by the countries' land forces in Kashmir and along the border between India and Pakistan. This war saw the largest amassing of troops in Kashmir since the Partition of British India in 1947, a number that was overshadowed only during the 2001–2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan. Most of the battles were fought by opposing infantry and armoured units, with substantial backing from air forces, and naval operations. Many details of this war, like those of other Indo-Pakistani Wars, remain unclear.

India had the upper hand over Pakistan when the ceasefire was declared. Although the two countries fought to a standoff, the conflict is seen as a strategic and political defeat for Pakistan, as it had neither succeeded in fomenting insurrection in Kashmir nor had it been able to gain meaningful support at an international level.

Internationally, the war was viewed in the context of the greater Cold War, and resulted in a significant geopolitical shift in the subcontinent. Before the war, the United States and the United Kingdom had been major material allies of both India and Pakistan, as their primary suppliers of military hardware and foreign developmental aid. During and after the conflict, both India and Pakistan felt betrayed by the perceived lack of support by the western powers for their respective positions; those feelings of betrayal were increased with the imposition of an American and British embargo on military aid to the opposing sides. As a consequence, India and Pakistan openly developed closer relationships with the Soviet Union and China, respectively. The perceived negative stance of the western powers during the conflict, and during the 1971 war, has continued to affect relations between the West and the subcontinent. In spite of improved relations with the U.S. and Britain since the end of the Cold War, the conflict generated a deep distrust of both countries within the subcontinent which to an extent lingers to this day. (More...)

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Mahatma Gandhi

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Malé, capital city of the Republic of Maldives, located in the Kaafu Atoll.
Photo credit: Shahee

South Asia News

17 August 2018 – Pakistani general election, 2018
Imran Khan, the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, is elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. (Al Jazeera)
16 August 2018 – 2018 Kerala floods
Authorities in India say that 324 people are confirmed dead in the heavy floods in Kerala. (Times of India)
15 August 2018 – War in Afghanistan
At least 48 people, mostly students, are killed and a further 67 are injured in a suicide bomb attack at an education centre in Kabul. The Taliban denies any involvement. (BBC)
The Taliban attacks two units of Afghan security forces in the Baghlan-e-Markazi district of Baghlan Province, killing at least 39 soldiers and police officers. (SFGate)
15 August 2018 – Indian Space Research Organisation
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says India will launch its first manned space mission by 2022, which would make it the fourth nation to do so after Russia, the United States, and China. (Reuters)
13 August 2018 – War in Afghanistan
More than 100 Afghan soldiers and police, 13 civilians and hundreds of Taliban are killed during the ongoing offensive in Ghazni. (BBC)

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Nepal (/nəˈpɔːl/ (About this sound listen); Nepali: नेपाल About this sound Nepāl [neˈpal]), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (Nepali: सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल Sanghiya Loktāntrik Ganatantra Nepāl), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south, east, and west while Bangladesh is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.

The name "Nepal" is first recorded in texts from the Vedic Age, the era in which Hinduism was founded, the predominant religion of the country. In the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The centrally located Kathmandu Valley was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala. The Himalayan branch of the ancient Silk Road was dominated by the valley's traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture. By the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, under its Rana dynasty of premiers. The country was never colonised but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and colonial India. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs, in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the proclamation of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world's last Hindu monarchy.

The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, establishes Nepal as a federal secular parliamentary republic divided into seven provinces. Nepal was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and friendship treaties were signed with India in 1950 and the People's Republic of China in 1960. Nepal hosts the permanent secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a founding member. Nepal is also a member of the Non Aligned Movement and the Bay of Bengal Initiative. The military of Nepal is the fifth largest in South Asia; it is notable for its Gurkha history, particularly during the world wars, and has been a significant contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. More about Nepal

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Did you know

Somapura Mahavihara

  • ...that the state of Punjab ( meaning land of five rivers) gets its name from the fact that five tributaries of the river Indus - Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej - run through the state?
  • ...that Nepal receives US$50 million a year through the Gurkha soldiers who serve in the Indian and British armies and are highly esteemed for their skill and bravery?

Selected Biography

Nazrul in Chittagong, 1926

Kazi Nazrul Islam (Bengali: কাজী নজরুল ইসলাম, pronounced [kazi nozrul islam]; 24 May 1899 – 29 August 1976) was a Bengali poet, writer, musician, and revolutionary. He is the national poet of Bangladesh. Popularly known as Nazrul, he produced a large body of poetry and music with themes that included religious devotion and spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. Nazrul's activism for political and social justice earned him the title of "Rebel Poet" (Bengali: বিদ্রোহী কবি; Bidrohi Kobi). His compositions form the avant-garde genre of Nazrul Sangeet (Music of Nazrul). Nazrul and his works are equally commemorated and celebrated in Bangladesh and India, particularly in India's Bengali-speaking states such as West Bengal, parts of Assam, and Tripura.

Born in a Bengali Muslim Kazi family, Nazrul Islam received religious education and as a young man worked as a muezzin at a local mosque. He learned about poetry, drama, and literature while working with the rural theatrical group Letor Dal. He joined the British Indian Army in 1917. After serving in the British Indian Army in the Middle East (Mesopotamian campaign) during World War I, Nazrul established himself as a journalist in Calcutta. He criticised the British Raj and called for revolution through his poetic works, such as "Bidrohi" ("বিদ্রোহী", 'The Rebel') and "Bhangar Gaan" ("ভাঙার গান", 'The Song of Destruction'), as well as in his publication Dhumketu ('The Comet'). His nationalist activism in Indian independence movement led to his frequent imprisonment by the colonial British authorities. While in prison, Nazrul wrote the "Rajbandir Jabanbandi" ("রাজবন্দীর জবানবন্দী", 'Deposition of a Political Prisoner'). His writings greatly inspired Bengalis of East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Nazrul's writings explored themes such as love, freedom, humanity, and revolution. He opposed all forms of bigotry and fundamentalism, including religious, caste-based and gender-based. Nazrul wrote short stories, novels, and essays but is best known for his songs and poems. He created the first Bengali language ghazals. He is also known to have experimented with Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit words in his works to produce rhythmic effects.

Nazrul wrote and composed music for nearly 4,000 songs (many recorded on HMV and gramophone records), collectively known as Nazrul Geeti. In 1942 at the age of 43, he began to suffer from an unknown disease, losing his voice and memory. A medical team in Vienna diagnosed the disease as Morbus Pick, a rare incurable neurodegenerative disease. It caused Nazrul's health to decline steadily and forced him to live in isolation in India. He was also admitted in Ranchi (Jharkhand) psychiatric hospital for many years. At the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh, Nazrul and his family moved to Dhaka in 1972. He died four years later on 29 August 1976 in Bangladesh. (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)

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The Walled City of Lahore (Urdu: اندرون شہر‎, "Inner City"), also known as Old City, forms the historic core of Lahore, Pakistan. The city was established around 1000 CE in the western half of the Walled City, which was fortified by a mud wall during the medieval era.

The Walled City rose in prominence after being selected as the Mughal capital, which resulted in construction of the Lahore Fort - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the city's new reinforced walls. The Walled City was bestowed with numerous monuments during the Mughal era, with some of Lahore's most iconic structures being located in the Walled City, such as the lavishly decorated Wazir Khan Mosque, the massive Badshahi Mosque, and the Shahi Hammam. Under Sikh rule, the city was again selected as capital, and the Walled City again rose in prominence with numerous religious buildings built in the Walled City at the time, including the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, and the Gurdwara Janam Asthan Guru Ram Das.

The Walled City today remains the cultural heart of Lahore, and is home to many of its tourist attractions. In 2012, the Pilot Urban Conservation and Infrastructure Improvement Project—the Shahi Guzargah Project was launched in order to restores a section of Shahi Guzargah ("Royal Passage") between the Wazir Khan Mosque and Delhi Gate under the management of the Walled City of Lahore Authority. The first phase of the project was completed in 2015 with support from the governments of Norway and the United States of America. (More...)

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