We are a group of individuals with an interest in South Asia. We wish to explore the past to explain the present and to speculate about the futures that are possible. Only one future will become the past and it will depend on what we do in the present.

South Asian

South Asian is the quintessential South Asian.

In the words of Bulleh Shah (1680-1758):

Na mein Arbi, na Lahori
Na mein Hindi shehar Nagauri
Na Hindua, na Turk Pishauri
Na mein rehnda vich Nadaun
Bullehya, ki jaanan mein kaun

The South Asian Idea


Objective : Understand, Explain, Predict & Connect South Asia


Audience :  College Students in South Asia


Method:     Conversations on Topics of Interest


Style:         Learning through Questioning


Themes: Development, Governance, Modernity, Religion, Education



The South Asian Idea is an interactive learning resource for self-motivated college students who wish to improve their understanding of the world we live in. It is also a resource for social science or liberal arts college teachers who are looking for additional teaching material.


The premise of The South Asian Idea is that critical thinking is vital for the full development of the human intellect. Critical thinking is learnt in schools and colleges through exposure to the social sciences and the liberal arts where questions do not have a single correct answer. Rather, there are often many plausible answers none of which are entirely right or wrong. However, some answers are more robust than others and arriving at them requires open-minded debate, tolerance for divergent perspectives, and the art of persuasive argumentation.


Unfortunately, in the competitive market for jobs characterizing the information age, students are ignoring the social sciences and the liberal arts considering them a waste of time. At the same time, the spirit of open inquiry has been dampened in educational institutions. Students in South Asia also advance at a relatively early age into professional colleges where there are few rigorous non-technical core course requirements.


As a result, critical thinking and open-mindedness have suffered steep erosion in South Asia. This has been a major contributing factor to the rise of social and religious intolerance in the region. This intolerance is the cancer that has the potential to destroy our society.


The South Asian Idea has been designed to address this issue. It is impossible to reverse the decline in the vast majority of educational institutions using traditional approaches. A web-based, interactive medium has the potential of very wide reach. The use of well-researched but student-friendly contextual material facilitates the inquiry-based learning process through moderated conversations across national borders.


The South Asian Idea is still an experiment  seeking the right mix of content, format, and complexity. The next steps involve transferring the contents to local language websites, identifying a set of teachers in South Asia as partners, equipping them to fully realize the benefits of the technology, and facilitating their interaction to learn from each other.


We would welcome your participation and guidance in this initiative. Your comments would be welcome at


Note: The South Asian Idea is a resource for learning, not a source of expert opinion. The posts on the blog are intended as starting points for classroom discussions and the position at the end of the discussion could be completely at odds with the starting point. Thus the blog simulates a learning process and does not offer a final product. The reader is invited to join the process to help improve our understanding of important contemporary issues.