About Michael Schied

Scholar in South Asian Studies, Ph.D. Humboldt University Berlin

1.6 billion people, i.e. 22 % of humanity, live in South Asia.

Also, her history is remarkable. 5,000 years ago, one of the world’s earliest civilizations flourishes along the Indus River. Other religions and philosophies develop besides Gautama Buddha and Mahavira Jina. Europe receives many impulses from South Asia. After all, Europe is also after India’s wealth. Magnificent buildings such as the Taj Mahal in Agra are built. Tirupati is one of the world’s largest and important religious place. The biggest gathering of humans take place in Allahabad (India) on the occasion of the Kumbh Mela every twelve years.

All religions of the world are also at home in South Asia. 1 billion people worldwide are considered as Hindus. About 98% of them live in South Asia, especially India. Most of the pilgrimage centres of Hinduism are situated here. South Asia is also the home of Islam: over 350 million people are Muslims. Thus, it is the region with the largest number of Muslims, too.

In 1885, the Indian National Congress Party is founded. She belongs to one of the world’s first political parties. The independence movement ends colonial rule by mass action. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru are important personalities. This movement is also a signal to other peoples in Asia and Africa.

But, murders and destructive wars are also not unknown to South Asia. The freedom movement quarrels. Today, India and Pakistan are two nuclear powers.

The countries of South Asia experience exciting times. Questions of identities are important. History, economy, culture and shared experiences play a role. This results in new developments. To understand these developments is a constant challenge.