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
- 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)
The Bengali Language Movement (Bengali: ভাষা আন্দোলন; Bhasha Andolon), also known as the Language Movement, was a political effort in Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan), advocating the recognition of the Bengali language as an official language of Pakistan. Such recognition would allow Bengali to be taught in schools and used in government affairs.
When the state of Pakistan was formed in 1947, its two regions, East Pakistan (also called East Bengal) and West Pakistan, were split over cultural, geographical, and linguistic lines. In 1948, the Government of Pakistan ordained Urdu as the sole national language, sparking extensive protests among the Bengali-speaking majority of East Pakistan. Facing rising sectarian tensions and mass discontent with the new law, the government outlawed public meetings and rallies. The students of the University of Dhaka and other political activists defied the law and organised a protest on 21 February 1952. The movement reached its climax when police killed student demonstrators on that day. The deaths provoked widespread civil unrest. After years of conflict, the central government relented and granted official status to the Bengali language in 1956. In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February International Mother Language Day, in tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.
The Language Movement catalysed the assertion of Bengali national identity in Pakistan, and became a forerunner to Bengali nationalist movements, including the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. In Bangladesh, 21 February is observed as Language Movement Day, a national holiday. (more...)
|Namche Bazaar in the Khumbu region of Nepal close to Mount Everest. The town is built on terraces in what resembles a giant Greek amphitheatre.
|Photo credit: Kogo
Did you know
- ...that the king of Bhutan lifted a ban on television and the Internet in 1999, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television?
Selected Member Country
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 independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
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.
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
: கொழும்பு) is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka
. Located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial ruins. The name Colombo
, first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505, was derived from the classical Sinhalese
name Kolon thota
, meaning "port on the river Kelani
". It has also been suggested that the name may be derived from the Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota
which means "harbor with leafy mango trees".
Due to its large natural harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders since more than 2,000 years ago. However it was only made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation received independence in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Like many cities, Colombo's urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority, encompassing other Municipal and Urban Councils. The main city is home to a majority of the Sri Lanka's corporate offices, restaurants and entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include The Galle Face Green, the Viharamahadevi Park as well as the National Museum. (more)
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:45:00 -0700
KARACHI: Saarc states should work together to develop an insurance sector like that of the European Union as the region continues to suffer from underinsurance, suggested Federal Minister for Interprovincial Coordination Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on ...
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:48:45 -0700
Arjun Bahadur Thapa, secretary general of Saarc, and Rebecca Tavares, the representative of UN Women Multi Country Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, signed a fresh memorandum of understanding in this regard on Tuesday. The signing ...
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:45:00 -0700
Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary-General of SAARC and Dr. Rebecca Tavares representative, UN Women Multi Country Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka signed a fresh MoU between SAARC and UN Women for continued partnership for the ...
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:11:15 -0700
The grand event of the International Conference of the insurance regulators of the SAARC countries closed with note of appreciation to all the esteemed participants and to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan whose untiring efforts and ...
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:34:13 -0700
KARACHI: Pakistan has been awarded a chairmanship of SAARC Insurance Regulator Forum by member countries as Mohammed Asif Arif, the Commissioner Insurance SECP has been appointed as the Chairman of the SAARC Insurance Regulators Forum, ...
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:21:57 -0700
(iv) Health: Healthcare reform is underway across the region to support the development of an efficient universal healthcare regime to which many South Asia Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) countries are committed, and insurers can provide ...
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:15:39 -0700
KATHMANDU, APR 11 - Newly appointed Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa on Wednesday called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. During the meeting, Indian Prime Minister Singh congratulated Thapa for being appointed the ...
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 10:37:30 -0700
A meeting of the core committee of the SAARC Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs was held at the residence of the body's chairperson, Shaista Pervaiz Malik on Monday. The meeting discussed proposals for empowerment of women entrepreneurs and future ...
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