Portal:SAARC

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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 Mauritus are observers to SAARC. (more)

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Shaheed minar Roehl.jpg

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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Rabindranath Tagore
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View from inside of King Faisal Mosque at night in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Photo credit: Farazilu
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The Islamic Centre, housing the mosque Masjid-al-Sultan

  • ...that Maldives is the flattest country in the world, i.e. they have the lowest high-point (only 2.4 meter high) of any country in the world.
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Flag of Afghanistan

Emblem of Afghanistan
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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 Himalaya, modified after Le Fort (1988).

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

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Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (Hindi: इन्दिरा प्रियदर्शिनी गान्धी) (19 November 1917 - October 31, 1984) was an Indian politician who served as Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984.

Born in the politically influential Nehru dynasty, she grew up in an intensely political atmosphere. Her grandfather Motilal Nehru and father Jawaharlal Nehru were prominent Indian nationalist leaders. Returning to India from Oxford in 1941, she became involved in the Indian Independence movement.

In the 1950s, she served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as India's first Prime Minister. After her father's death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha by the President of India and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

Chosen to become Prime Minister by Congress Party insiders after Shastri's death, Gandhi soon showed an ability to win elections and outmanoeuvre opponents through populism. She introduced more left-wing economic policies and promoted agricultural productivity. A crusing victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan was followed by a period of instability that led her to impose a state of Emergency in 1975; she paid for the authoritarian excesses of the period with three years in opposition.

Returned to office in 1980, she became increasingly involved in an escalating conflict with separatists in Punjab that eventually led to her assassination by her own bodyguards in 1984. (more...)

Wikipedia in South Asian Languages

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

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Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, the seat of the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka
Bengalūru (formerly Bangalore) (Kannada: ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು; pronunciation: About this sound ['beŋgəɭuːru]  in Kannada and About this sound /ˈbæŋɡəlɔr/  in English) is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore has an estimated metropolitan population of 6.5 million (65 lakh), making it India's third-most populous city and fifth-largest metropolitan area. Though historical references to the city predate 900, a written history of continuous settlement exists only from 1537. In that year, Kempe Gowda I, whom many regard as the architect of modern Bangalore, built a mud fort in the city and established it as a province of the Vijayanagara Empire.

During the British Raj, Bangalore developed as a centre for colonial rule in South India. The establishment of the Bangalore Cantonment brought in large numbers of migrants from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and North India for developing and maintaining the infrastructure of the cantonment. After India gained independence in 1947, Bangalore evolved into a manufacturing hub for public sector heavy industries—particularly aerospace, telecommunications, machine tools, heavy equipment, and defence. The establishment and success of software service firms in Bangalore after the liberalisation of India's economy has led to the growth of India's information technology industry. Bangalore is referred to as the Silicon Valley of India and accounts for 35 percent of India's software exports. Home to prestigious colleges and research institutions, the city has the second-highest literacy rate among the metropolitan cities in the nation. However, as a large and growing metropolis in the developing world, Bangalore continues to struggle with problems such as air pollution, traffic congestion, and crime. (more)

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