chapter  5
8 Pages

: The Colonial Legacy in the Archaeology of South Asia

ByDilip K. Chakrabarti

Of the eight sovereign countries of South Asia, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Nepal were never colonies. However, four others were colonies, with India and Pakistan gaining independence in 1947 and Sri Lanka in 1948; Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan in 1971.The Maldives, a chain of small islands in the Indian Ocean, was a British “protectorate” until 1965. North of the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan belongs to Central Asia, as there is no geographical barrier between the windswept Central Asian steppe and northern Afghanistan. South of the mountain range, Afghanistan geographically borders Pakistan and is, in this sense, South Asian, but the story of its archaeological research (Allchin and Hammond 1978) takes in both Iran and Central Asia and falls outside the South Asian orbit. Bhutan is the only South Asian country where archaeo-

logical research has not yet taken off, but elsewhere the tradition, either in the form of systematic studies or sporadic discoveries, dates from the 19th century and earlier.