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The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent and other terms, is a region of the Asian (and, in turn, the Eurasian) continent on the Indian tectonic plate south of the Himalayasmarker, forming a peninsula which extends southward into the Indian Oceanmarker. Historically forming the whole of greater India, the region now comprises the countries of Indiamarker, Pakistanmarker, and Bangladeshmarker; it often also includes Nepalmarker, Bhutanmarker, Afghanistanmarker as well as offshore Sri Lankamarker and may include the Maldivesmarker.

Physical geography

Geographically, the Indian subcontinent is a peninsular region in south-central Asia, rather resembling a diamond which is delineated by the Himalayas on the north, the Hindu Kushmarker in the west, and the Arakanesemarker in the east, and which extends southward into the Indian Ocean with the Arabian Seamarker to the southwest and the Bay of Bengalmarker to the southeast. The area covers about 4.4 million km² (1.7 million mi²), which is 10% of the Asian continent or 2.4% of the world's land surface area.

Most of this region rests on a distinct tectonic plate, the Indian Plate (the northerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate), and is isolated from the rest of Asia by mountain barriers. It was once a small continent before colliding with the Eurasian Plate about 50-55 million years ago and giving birth to the Himalayan rangemarker and the Tibetan plateaumarker. In addition, it is also home to a variety of geographical features, such as glaciers, rainforests, valleys, deserts, and grasslands.

Human geography

The Indian subcontinent generally comprises the countries of Indiamarker, Pakistanmarker, and Bangladeshmarker; it often also includes Nepalmarker, Bhutanmarker, Afghanistanmarker as well as offshore Sri Lankamarker and may include the Maldivesmarker. Overall, it accounts for about 34% of Asia's population (or over 16.5% of the world's population) and is home to a vast array of peoples.

Historically, the region comprised the whole of greater India or the territories of the British Raj. This would also include the disputed territory of Aksai Chinmarker, which was part of the British Indian princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, but is now administered as a part of the Chinesemarker autonomous region of Xinjiang. A booklet published by the United States Department of Statemarker in 1959 includes Afghanistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India, Nepal, and Pakistan as part of the "Subcontinent of South Asia". When the term Indian Subcontinent is used to mean South Asia, the islands countries of Sri Lanka and the Maldives are sometimes not included, while Tibet and Nepal are included and excluded intermittently, depending on the context.

Usage

Due to similar scope, the terms "Indian subcontinent" and "South Asia" are used by some academics interchangeably. Due to political sensitivities, some prefer to use the terms "South Asian Subcontinent", the "Indo-Pak Subcontinent", or simply "South Asia" or "the Subcontinent" over the term "Indian subcontinent". According to some academics, the term "South Asia" is in more common use in Europe and North America, rather than the terms "Subcontinent" or the "Indian Subcontinent". Indologist Ronald B. Inden argues that the usage of the term "South Asia" is getting more widespread since it clearly distinguishes the region from East Asia; however, opinion on this is divided.

See also



References

  1. "Indian subcontinent". New Oxford Dictionary of English (ISBN 0-19-860441-6) 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."
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/country_profiles/1154019.stm
  3. "Indian subcontinent" > Geology and Geography. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2003: "region, S central Asia, comprising the countries of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh and the Himalayan states of Nepal, and Bhutan. Sri Lanka, an island off the southeastern tip of the Indian peninsula, is often considered a part of the subcontinent."
  4. Chapman, Graham P. & Baker, Kathleen M., eds. The changing geography of Asia. (ISBN 0-203-03862-2) New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2002; p. 10: "This greater India is well defined in terms of topography; it is the Indian sub-continent, hemmed in by the Himalayas on the north, the Hindu Khush in the west and the Arakanese in the east."
  5. The history of India - By John McLeod
  6. Desai, Praful B. 2002. Cancer control efforts in the Indian subcontinent. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology. 32 (Supplement 1): S13-S16. "The Indian subcontinent in South Asia occupies 2.4% of the world land mass and is home to 16.5% of the world population...."
  7. "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."
  8. " Indian Subcontinent". Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Macmillan Reference USA (Gale Group), 2006: "The total area can be estimated at 4.4 million square kilometers, 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."
  9. "Asia" > Geology and Geography. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2003: "Asia can be divided into six regions, each possessing distinctive physical, cultural, economic, and political characteristics.... South Asia (Afghanistan and the nations of the Indian subcontinent) is isolated from the rest of Asia by great mountain barriers."
  10. "Asia" > Geologic history - Tectonic framework. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2009: "The paleotectonic evolution of Asia terminated some 50 million years ago as a result of the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Eurasia. Asia’s subsequent neotectonic development has largely disrupted the continent’s preexisting fabric. The first-order neotectonic units of Asia are Stable Asia, the Arabian and Indian cratons, the Alpide plate boundary zone (along which the Arabian and Indian platforms have collided with the Eurasian continental plate), and the island arcs and marginal basins."
  11. "Indian subcontinent". New Oxford Dictionary of English (ISBN 0-19-860441-6) 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."
  12. "Indian subcontinent" > Geology and Geography. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2003: "region, S central Asia, comprising the countries of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh and the Himalayan states of Nepal, and Bhutan. Sri Lanka, an island off the southeastern tip of the Indian peninsula, is often considered a part of the subcontinent."
  13. Stephen Adolphe Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler & Darrell T. Tryon, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas, pages 787, International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, Published by Walter de Gruyter, 1996, ISBN 3110134179
  14. Desai, Praful B. 2002. Cancer control efforts in the Indian subcontinent. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology. 32 (Supplement 1): S13-S16. "The Indian subcontinent in South Asia occupies 2.4% of the world land mass and is home to 16.5% of the world population...."
  15. "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."
  16. " Indian Subcontinent". Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Macmillan Reference USA (Gale Group), 2006: "The total area can be estimated at 4.4 million square kilometers, 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."
  17. After partition: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, BBC, 2007-08-08
  18. Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, The Subcontinent of South Asia: Afghanistan, Ceylon, India, Nepal and Pakistan, United States Department of State, Public Services Division, 1959
  19. John McLeod, The history of India, pages 1, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 0313314594
  20. James C. Harle, The art and architecture of the Indian subcontinent, pages 214, Yale University Press, 1994, ISBN 0300062176
  21. Joseph Hackin & Paul Louis Couchoud, The Mythologies of the East: Indian Subcontinent, Middle East, Nepal and Tibet, Indo-China and Java, pages 1, Aryan Books International, 1996, ISBN 817305018X
  22. Milton Walter Meyer, South Asia: A Short History of the Subcontinent, pages 1, Adams Littlefield, 1976, ISBN 082260034X
  23. Jim Norwine & Alfonso González, The Third World: states of mind and being,‎ pages 209, Taylor & Francis, 1988, ISBN 0049101218
  24. Lucian W. Pye & Mary W. Pye, Asian Power and Politics, pages 133, Harvard University Press, 1985, ISBN 0674049799
  25. http://www.iata.org/ps/intelligence_statistics/cargois/south_asian.htm South Asian Subcontinent.
  26. Lucian W. Pye & Mary W. Pye, Asian Power and Politics, pages 133, Harvard University Press, 1985, ISBN 0674049799
  27. Mark Juergensmeyer, The Oxford handbook of global religions, pages 465, Oxford University Press US, 2006, ISBN 0195137981
  28. Sugata Bose & Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia, pages 3, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0415307872
  29. Judith Schott & Alix Henley, Culture, Religion, and Childbearing in a Multiracial Society, pages 274, Elsevier Health Sciences, 1996, ISBN 0750620501
  30. Raj S. Bhopal, Ethnicity, race, and health in multicultural societies, pages 33, Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 0198568177
  31. Imagining India - By Ronald B. Inden
  32. Worldwide destinations - By Brian G. Boniface, Christopher P. Cooper



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