chapter  5
42 Pages

South Asia: India, Pakistan

There are two areas of the world that can easily overwhelm someone wishing to explore their musics. The first is East Asia, where approximately one quarter of the world’s people live. The second is South Asia, an area with 1.5 billion people, again nearly a quarter of the world’s people. One nation-India-dominates South Asia demographically (population 1.1 billion) and in landmass, but the region also includes Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and even Afghanistan (in some groupings). India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh all have extensive coastlines stretching to the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, leaving the other countries landlocked-except for Sri Lanka, which is an island to the southeast of India. In addition, a few island groups, though having slight populations, are also considered part of South Asia, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Maldives, and the Seychelles. Parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan and most of Nepal and Bhutan are mountainous, but unlucky Bangladesh is not only flat but also only a little above sea level, leaving it vulnerable to numerous typhoons each year during which up to half of the country may flood.