Northern South Asia
Population~500,000,000 (2022)
DemonymNorthern South Asian
 India (North India and Northeast India)
LanguagesMost common first languages:
Time zonesUTC+5:30; UTC+5:45; UTC+06:00
Internet, .bd, .np, .bt
Calling codeZone 8 & 9
ReligionsHinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Irreligion, Tribal, Jainism, Sikhism, Judaism Zoroastrianism
Ethnic groupsIndo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Kolarian, Khasi
Historical namesHindustan, Aryavarta

Northern South Asia is a geographical area in South Asia, and includes the northern region of the Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it is the region in and around the Indo-Gangetic Plain, including the Himalayas. Depending on definition, it covers some or all of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (specifically North India and Northeast India), and Pakistan.[1] Ethnolinguistically, northern South Asia is predominantly Indo-Aryan,[2][3] though there are diverse linguistic communities near the Himalayas.[4][5] Until the Partition of India in 1947, northern South Asia had a significant degree of cultural and political unity;[6] the 1947 partition, along with the 1971 secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan, resulted in significant inter-migration in the region.[7] Since the end of colonial rule in the region, some of its borders have been heavily contested (primarily between India and its neighbours Pakistan and China, as well as separatist movements in Northeast India), resulting in a significant military presence in the region and negative consequences for local peoples.[8][1][9] This tension in the region has also contributed to difficulties in sharing river waters among Northern South Asian countries;[10] climate change is projected to contribute significantly to this and other problems.[11][12]

Dominated by the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the region is home to about half a billion people and is the poorest region of the subcontinent.[1]


Ancient era

The sixteen "mahajanapada" dynasties flourished in Northern South Asia starting in the sixth century BC, and the region was known as Aryavarta. They were conquered by the Maurya Empire starting in the late fourth century BC. This was then replaced by a number of competing polities that fought over territory until the development of robust states starting in the fourth century AD. Throughout the first millennium AD, regional political dynasties emerged that formed alliances and controlled vast swathes of the region.[13]

From the tenth century CE until about the eighteenth, it was invaded and ruled by Muslims from Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia. Persian became the language of the courts, and influenced vernacular languages; this is when Hindi and Urdu, two prominent modern-day standards in South Asia, first started to emerge from the Hindustani language.[14][15]

Modern era

After the 1947 partition, religious nationalism led to a starker divide between Hindi and Urdu, which were respectively modified to have a greater share of their vocabularies come from Sanskrit and Perso-Arabic sources.[16]

Social issues

It has more gender inequality and constrictions on women's rights than other parts of South Asia.[17][18][19][20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "In the North of South Asia, an arc of peace". Hindustan Times. 25 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  2. ^ Ivani, Jessica K.; Paudyal, Netra; Peterson, John (30 August 2021). "Indo-Aryan – a house divided? Evidence for the east–west Indo-Aryan divide and its significance for the study of northern South Asia". Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics. 7 (2): 287–326. doi:10.1515/jsall-2021-2029. ISSN 2196-078X. S2CID 237343508.
  3. ^ Ishii, Hiroshi; Gellner, David N.; Nawa, Katsuo (2007). Social Dynamics in Northern South Asia. Manohar.
  4. ^ Daurio, Maya; Turin, Mark (2020). ""Langscapes" and language borders: Linguistic boundary-making in northern South Asia". Eurasia Border Review. 10 (1): 21. doi:10.14943/ebr.10.1.21.
  5. ^ Mohanty, David Bradley, Panchanan (2023), "Sociolinguistics of South Asia: Tibeto-Burman, Austroasiatic and other languages", The Routledge Handbook of Sociolinguistics Around the World (2 ed.), Routledge, pp. 184–196, doi:10.4324/9781003198345-17, ISBN 978-1-003-19834-5, retrieved 4 October 2023((citation)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Pillalamarri, Akhilesh. "The Geopolitics of South Asian Political Stability". Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  7. ^ "CFP: ECSAS panel, "Imagining the city: Literary and religious practices of urbanity in early modern and modern South Asia," proposals due Jan 22 | H-Net". Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  8. ^ Gellner, David, ed. (3 March 2014). Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia. Duke University Press. doi:10.26530/oapen_625238. ISBN 9780822355427.
  9. ^ Chowdhory, Nasreen; Mohanty, Biswajit (4 July 2023). "Dispossession, Border and Exception in South Asia: An Introduction". Journal of Borderlands Studies. 38 (4): 537–547. doi:10.1080/08865655.2023.2226404. ISSN 0886-5655. S2CID 259697352.
  10. ^ Hill, Doug. "Alternative Institutional Arrangements: Managing Transboundary Water Resources in South Asia". Academia.
  11. ^ Crow, B.; Singh, Nirvikar (2008). "The management of inter-state rivers as demands grow and supplies tighten: India, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh". S2CID 129209899. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ "Putting policy into practice to clean up South Asia's dirty air (commentary)". Mongabay Environmental News. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  13. ^ Smith, Monica L. "Caste as a Cooperative Economic Entitlement Strategy in Complex Societies of the Indian Subcontinent and Sub-Saharan Africa". Academia.
  14. ^ ""Hit It With a Stick and It Won't Die": Urdu Language, Muslim Identity and Poetry in Varanasi, India". Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  15. ^ Farooqui, Salma Ahmed (2011). A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: Twelfth to the Mid-eighteenth Century. Pearson Education India. ISBN 978-81-317-3202-1.
  16. ^ Arac, Jonathan (October 2010). "From north Indian vernaculars to a new world philology Introduction: From north Indian vernaculars to a new world philology". Critical Quarterly. 52 (3): 60–62. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8705.2010.01957.x.
  17. ^ Sheikh, Saba M.; Loney, Tom (13 July 2018). "Is Educating Girls the Best Investment for South Asia? Association Between Female Education and Fertility Choices in South Asia: A Systematic Review of the Literature". Frontiers in Public Health. 6: 172. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00172. ISSN 2296-2565. PMC 6054002. PMID 30057895.
  18. ^ "Women's Seclusion and Men's Honor". UAPress. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  19. ^ Food Crises and Gender Inequality Bina Agarwal
  20. ^ Jejeebhoy, Shireen J.; Sathar, Zeba A. (2001). "Women's Autonomy in India and Pakistan: The Influence of Religion and Region". Population and Development Review. 27 (4): 687–712. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2001.00687.x. ISSN 0098-7921. JSTOR 2695183.