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SAARC portal

edit The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. In 1980, Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The Bangladeshi proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation during a summit which was held in New Delhi. The seven South Asian countries, which also included Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan, agreed on five areas of cooperation:

  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Meteorology
  • Health and Population Activities
  • Transport*
  • Human Resource Development

Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping at the behest of India on November 13, 2005, With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). The People's Republic of China, the European Union, the United States of America, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia, and Mauritius are observers to SAARC. (more)

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Shaheed Minar in Dhaka, a symbol of the struggle for the Bengali language

Bengali, also Bangla (Bengali: বাংলা [ˈbaŋla]) is an Indo-Aryan language of East South Asia, evolved from Prakrit, Pali and Sanskrit. With nearly 200 million native speakers, Bengali is one of the most widely spoken languages of the world (it is ranked between four and seven based on the number of speakers). Bengali is the main language spoken in Bangladesh, and the second most commonly spoken language in India (after Hindi-Urdu). Along with Assamese, it is geographically the most eastern of the Indo-European languages. Owing to the Bengal renaissance in the 19th and 20th centuries, Bengali literature emerged among the richest in South Asia, and includes luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Like most other modern Indic languages, Bengali arose from the Apabhramsha melting pot of Middle Indic languages, around the turn of the first millennium CE. Some argue for much earlier points of divergence - going back to even 500 BCE, but the language was not static, and different varieties co-existed concurrently, and authors often wrote in multiple dialects. In particular, the eastern region language known as Abahatta (with considerable overlap with Purvi and Magadhi Apabhrangsha), had begun to emerge by the seventh century AD. Hiuen Tsang has noted that the same language was spoken in most of Eastern India. (more...)

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Mahatma Gandhi
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The Old Parliament Building of Sri Lanka near the Galle Face Green is now the Presidential Secretariat of the country.
Photo credit: Mystìc
Did you know


  • ...that Ram Shastri, a celebrated 18th-century judge in the Maratha Empire, created judicial history in India by sentencing the incumbent Peshwa (de facto ruler) to death on a charge of murder?
  • ...that Neolithic tools found in the Kathmandu Valley indicate that people have been living in the Himalayan region for at least nine thousand years?
Selected Member Country


Flag of Afghanistan

Emblem of Afghanistan
Location on the world map

Afġānistān, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Pashto: د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت, Persian: جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان), is a landlocked country that is located in the heart of Asia. It is variously designated within Central or South Asia, as well as the Middle East. It has religious, ethno-linguistic, and geographic links with most of its neighbours. It is largely bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast. The name Afghanistan means the "Land of Afghans".

Afghanistan is a culturally mixed nation, a crossroads between the East and the West, and has been ancient focal point of trade and migration. It has an important geostrategical location, connecting South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East together. During its long history, the land has seen various invaders and conquerors, while on the other hand, local entities invaded the surrounding vast regions to form empires to themselves. Ahmad Shah Durrani created a large empire in the middle of the eighteenth century, with its capital at Kandahar. Subsequently, most of its territories were ceded to former neighboring countries. In the 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" played between the British Empire and Russian Empire. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained full control over its international relations from the United Kingdom.

Since the late 1970s, Afghanistan has suffered continuous and brutal civil war, which included foreign interventions in the form of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan in which the ruling Taliban government was toppled. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). This force, composed of NATO troops, has been involved in assisting the government of President Hamid Karzai in establishing authority across the nation. In 2005, the United States and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement committing both nations to a long-term relationship. In the meantime, about 40 billion US dollars have also been provided by the international community for the reconstruction of the country.

At a glance
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Topography of Sri Lanka

This map shows the Geologic–Tectonic map of the Himalayas, modified after Le Fort (1988).

Map credit: Pierre Dèzes 1999, "Tectonic and metamorphic Evolution of the Central Himalayan Domain in Southeast Zanskar (Kashmir, India)".

Selected Biography


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી, IAST: mohandās karamcand gāndhī, Gujarati pronunciation: [mohən̪d̪as kərəmtʃən̪d̪ ɡan̪d̪ʱi]) (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of Satyagraha — the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence — which was one of the strongest driving philosophies of the Indian independence movement and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is commonly known in India and across the world as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā — "Great Soul") and as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu — "Father"). In India, he is officially accorded the honour of Father of the Nation and October 2nd, his birthday, is commemorated each year as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday. On 15 June 2007, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring October 2 to be the "International Day of Non-Violence."

Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to non-violence and truth even in the most extreme situations. A student of Hindu philosophy, he lived simply, organizing an ashram that was self-sufficient in its needs. Making his own clothes — the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl woven with a charkha, he lived on a simple vegetarian diet. He used rigorous fasts, for long periods, for both self-purification and protest. (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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Downtown Karachi
About this sound Karachi  (Urdu: كراچى‎, Sindhi: ڪراچي‎) is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the largest city in Pakistan. Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, north-west of the Indus River Delta, the megacity is the largest city, original capital and cultural, economical, philanthropic, educational, and political hub, as well as the largest port, of the country. The metropolitan area along with its suburbs comprises the world's second most populated city, spread over 3,530 square kilometres. The city credits its growth to the mixed populations of economic and political migrants and refugees from different national, provincial, linguistic and religious origins who have largely come to settle here permanently. It is locally termed as the City of Lights (روشنیوں کا شہر) for its liveliness and the City of The Quaid (شہرِ قائد), for not only being both the birth and death place of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan but also his home after 1947. Residents and those born in the city are called "Karachiites". (more)
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