chapter  1
8 Pages

South Asian history

An introduction
WithSugata Bose, Ayesha Jalal

The peoples of South Asia speak at least twenty major languages, and if one includes the more important dialects, the count rises to over two hundred. Panoply of very diverse languages and language families, South Asia has made enormous contributions to world literature from ancient to modern times. Caught as always in the vortex of global opportunities and conflicts, South Asia finds itself seven decades after independence at one of the more significant milestones in its history. It is a commonplace in any introduction to South Asian history to expound on the cliché about the region's unity in diversity. Genuine prospects of peace, democracy and cooperative development vie with disputes such as Kashmir to place South Asia at a decisive crossroads in its history. South Asian historiography has achieved a remarkable level of depth and sophistication in the past quarter of a century.