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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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Tamil distribution.png

Tamil (தமிழ் tamiḻ; IPA /t̪ɐmɨɻ/) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, with smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. It is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and also has official status in Sri Lanka and Singapore. With more than 77 million speakers, Tamil is one of the more widely spoken languages in the world.

Tamil has a literary tradition of over two thousand years. The earliest epigraphic records found date to around 300 BCE and the Tolkappiyam, oldest known literary work in Tamil, has been dated variously between second century BCE and fifth century CE. Tamil was declared a classical language of India by the Government of India in 2004 and was the first Indian language to have been accorded the status.

Tamil employs agglutinative grammar, where suffixes are used to mark noun class, number, and case, verb tense and other grammatical categories. Unlike other Dravidian languages, the metalanguage of Tamil, the language used to describe the technical linguistic terms of the language and its structure, is also Tamil (rather than Sanskrit). According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies. (more...)

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If you shut the door to all errors, truth will be shut out.
Rabindranath Tagore
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Cox's Bazar boats.jpg
Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh is the world's longest natural beach (120 km). It is located 152 km south of Chittagong.
Photo credit: ed g2s
Did you know

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  • ...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 Maldives

Location on the world map


The Maldives (or Maldive Islands), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located south of India's Lakshadweep islands, and about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka. The Maldives' twenty-six atolls encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, roughly two hundred of which are inhabited by local communities.

The name "Maldives" derives from Maale Dhivehi Raajje ("The Island Kingdom [under the authority of] Malé")". Some scholars believe that the name "Maldives" derives from the Sanskrit maladvipa, meaning "garland of islands", or from mahila dvipa, meaning "island of women", but these names are not found in ancient Sanskrit literature. Instead, classical Sanskrit texts mention the "Hundred Thousand Islands" (Lakshadweep); a generic name which would include not only the Maldives, but also the Laccadives and the Chagos island groups. Some medieval Arab travellers such as Ibn Batuta called the islands "Mahal Dibiyat" from the Arabic word Mahal ("palace")". This is the name presently inscribed in the scroll of the Maldive state emblem.

Originally the inhabitants were Buddhist, but Islam was introduced in 1153. It later became a Portuguese (1558), Dutch (1654), and British (1887) colonial possession. In 1965, the Maldives obtained independence from Britain (originally under the name "Maldive Islands"), and in 1968 the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic. However, in thirty-eight years, the Maldives have seen only two Presidents, though political restrictions have loosened somewhat recently.

The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of population. It is also the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world.

At a glance

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Member Country Capital
Afghanistan Kabul
Bangladesh Dhaka
Bhutan Thimpu
India New Delhi
Maldives Malé
Nepal Kathmandu
Pakistan Islamabad
Sri Lanka Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
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Kashmir map

Map of Kashmir highlighting the disputed territory : Shown in green is Kashmiri region under Pakistani control. The orange-brown region represents Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir while the Aksai Chin is under Chinese occupation.

Map credit: CIA

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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી, IAST: mohandās karamcand gāndhī, IPA: [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

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

Selected Destination

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View over Kathmandu
Kathmandu (Nepali: काठमाडौं, काठमान्डु, Nepal Bhasa: यें) is the capital city of Nepal and it is also the largest city in Nepal. The original inhabitants of Kathmandu are called Newars, who speak Nepal Bhasa, which is the language of communication between Newars, and is spoken by other ethnic communities residing in Kathmandu. It stands at an elevation of approximately 1,300m (4,265 ft). It is an urban and suburban area of about 1.5 million inhabitants in the tri-city area in the Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal, along the Bagmati River. The two other cities are Patan) and Bhaktapur. Kathmandu is located at 27°43′N 85°22′E / 27.717°N 85.367°E / 27.717; 85.367.

The Kathmandu Valley may have been inhabited as early as 900 BC, but the oldest known objects in the valley date to a few hundred years BC. The earliest known inscription is dated 185 AD. The oldest firmly dated building in the earthquake-prone valley is almost 1,000 years old. The Kirats are the first documented rulers of the Kathmandu Valley, the remains of their palace are said to be in Patan near Hiranyavarna Mahavihara (called "Patukodon"). The Licchavi Dynasty whose earliest inscriptions date back to 464 AD were the next rulers of the valley and had close ties with the Gupta Dynasty of India. The Malla Dynasty consisted of Newar rulers, who ruled Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding area from the 12th century till the 17th century when the Shah Dynasty under Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the valley as he created present-day Nepal. Most of ancient Nepalese architecture present in Nepal today is from the Malla/Newar era. (more)

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