South Asia

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South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian subcontinent and defined largely by the Indian Ocean on the south, and the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Pamir mountains on the north. The Amu Darya, which rises north of the Hindu Kush, forms part of the northwestern border. On land (clockwise), South Asia is bounded by Western Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

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  • As a minority, no sooner do you learn to polish and cherish one chip on your shoulder, it’s taken off you and swapped out for another. The jewellery of your struggles is forever on loan, like the Koh-i-Noor. You are intermittently handed this necklace of labels to hang around your neck.


  • The "South Asia scholars" wanted to systematically replace "ancient India" with "South Asia". Yet, the name "India" itself is ancient, and was used by the Greeks. Moreover, names are freely projected into the past elsewhere, e.g. "China" did not exist prior to 230 BCE, and even later was only used by foreigners, yet we call the Xia dynasty of ca. 1800 BCE "ancient Chinese"... So, this zeal to obliterate "India" (Bharat) clearly sprang from this special anti-Hindu animus.


  • Pakistani textbooks have a particular problem when defining geographical space. The terms "South Asia" and "Subcontinent" have partially helped to solve this problem of the geo-historical identity of the area formally known as British India. However, it is quite difficult for Pakistani textbook writers to ignore the land now known as India when they discuss Islamic heroes and Muslim monuments in the Subcontinent. This reticence to recognize anything of importance in India, which is almost always referred to as "Bharat" in both English and Urdu versions of the textbooks, creates a difficult dilemma for historians writing about the Mughal Dynasties.
    • Yvette Rosser, Islamization of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks, 2003
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