India is often referred to as a subcontinent while most of us wonder why. Well, there is a whole lot of Geophysics and politics which goes into why India is called a subcontinent. Joining the Eurasian plate eons ago, the Indian subcontinent holds remarkably diverse cultures and ethnicities.
Here is an insight into what is a subcontinent along with the reasons why India is considered a subcontinent.
A subcontinent is a landmass which is a part of a continent ,but is considered to be a separate geographical entity and is has an independent political ruling. Being slightly different from a continent, a subcontinent is smaller in terms of area than a continent. The Oxford Dictionary goes on to label a subcontinent as a land which has a clearly distinguishable cultural, political, and geographical identity. All in all, in order to be categorized as a subcontinent, a landmass shall have two distinctive attributes, which are:-
#1. A separate geographical entity that is smaller than a continent
#2. Independent political governance and a distinctive cultural identity
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A Historical Perspective
India, a dominant subcontinent, has a history of falling into the category. Well, eons ago, the Indian landmass, like various other lands, was a part of the supercontinent Gondwana which drifted away to form Greater India. However, it was with a further continental drift that the piece of land shifted to merge with the Eurasian plate and became a part of the Asian continent. Interestingly, the Indian Subcontinent also includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Pakistan.
The term Indian Subcontinent is also commonly referred to as South Asia or the South Asian Subcontinent. However, there has been no well-defined and internationally acknowledged definition of the countries which fall into the Indian Subcontinent, and it is debatable topic instead. Some historians even go on to consider certain parts of Afghanistan to fall under the category of Indian Subcontinent.
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Going by the aforementioned criteria for a landmass to be termed as a subcontinent, India has both a separate geographical and political identity. While the peninsular landmass is surrounded by water bodies from three sides, it is distinctively outlined by the Himalayas. The landmass also contains numerous deserts, rainforests, plateaus, and mountains, thereby making it a unique and distinguishable geographical entity.
When it comes to a separate cultural and political identity, Indian Subcontinent houses people from innumerable races, cultures, and ethnicities, who make the landmass culturally diverse. The Subcontinent also has a one of its kind political system which is free from any kind of intrusions from other nations.
Looking into the aforementioned factors, India certainly fits into the category of a subcontinent. Moreover, the landmass is not large enough to be considered as a continent, thereby making it quite appropriate for a subcontinent.
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