chapter  Chapter 20
26 Pages

South Asia

Independence, Political Division, and Development
ByRhoads Murphey, Kristin Stapleton

The Indian subcontinent, known since 1947 as South Asia, is composed of the separate states of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka and contains over 1.7 billion people, one-fourth of the world's population. The Partition of British India in 1947 into two countries, India and Pakistan, cost the lives of more than one million people and left the Himalayan state of Kashmir as a source of chronic tension. Like China and Japan, South Asia traditionally accorded women a relatively low status, especially during the centuries of Muslim domination in the north. In South Asia as a whole, the rural sector has continued to lag despite the major gains of the green revolution for many. South Asian agriculture’s greatest single problem has long been moisture deficiencies. For the South Asian farmer, economic security will have to be assured, as it still is not for most, before smaller families become the norm.