Rural South Asia
South Asia more than being a physiographic entity is largely understood by the social scientists as a region with common history, heritage and cultural affinity. Both South Asia and India are in origin geographical expressions. South Asia is a more recent expression-only about five decades old which encompasses seven very diverse sovereign states of very different sizes: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. Some would also include, Myanmar, which was a province of British India until 1935. In respect to its population South Asia comprises one of the largest rural population concentrations in the world. Moreover, some common trends which infiltrate the rural societies of the region are based on caste and religious-cultural coherence which more or less prevails in entire South Asia. The emphasis of our organisation is laid on the fastest growing and developing region of the world i.e. South Asia. Since pre-historic, to historic and now in the contemporary societies of South Asia has achieved several milestones in rural history and progress. Rural South Asia has many historical facets to share with the world in forms of archaeological, architectural, archival and oral traditions and knowledge systems.
In the post-colonial South Asia, because of political, social and economic upheaval agriculture and rural societies are being squeezed by non-agricultural pursuits, aspirations are increasingly informed by a wish to avoid farming and the household is being restructured as the genders and generations contest and renegotiate their respective roles. With these tremendously fleeting changes the necessity to work on the rural history and its knowledge systems in forms of archaeological, archival and oral traditions becomes exigency in South Asia, especially when there is so less work is done in conserving the exclusivity of rural history (village-level) and heritage in South Asia. In the South Asian culture every village as a unit has potential to impart to society its exquisite cultural history and knowledge systems. We as historians and social scientists have the cognition to document and restore this knowledge which is available among rural populations.