The European Union was set up in mid-20th century after the Second World War as a solution to end war in the continent and the frequent clashes that had cost so many lives and resources.
We don’t need a World War out of South Asia to wake up to the same conclusion: Every war comes with a heavy price for both victors and losers. It’s not worth it. Let us work pre-emptively to ward off war, and proactively towards unity and peace.
The SAARC nations together comprise just 3.5% of the world’s surface area but almost one-fourth of the world’s total population.
Not only is this the most densely populated region in the world with 1.8 billion souls living in close proximity, it is also one with the most diverse populations. Though Hindus (68%) and Muslims (31%) make up most of the South Asians, there are also millions of Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians who call this region their home.
The region is also one of the most linguistically diverse areas on the planet with more than 650 languages spoken here. One of the world’s oldest civilizations, it has a wealth of ancient knowledge and spiritual traditions to offer humanity. At the same time, it also has its share of challenges:
- Social (patriarchy and caste discrimination being the most endemic)
- Economic (the region has high levels of poverty, corruption and illiteracy)
- Political (inter-religious and cross-border conflict)
Though South Asians are remarkably capable of living in harmony despite diversity and such challenges, political and bigoted ideological interests in the past century have stoked animosity and hatred towards ‘the other’ for petty and short-term gains. Such negative sentiments combined with existing socio-cultural challenges and economic hardships are leading to a tinderbox situation.
But with two nuclear-armed nations in this densely populated region, can we really afford a war?
Here below is the vision of this nonprofit platform South Asia Union and the various initiatives it will undertake.
THE VISION: SOUTH ASIA UNION (SAU)
A unified South Asia of all the nations under SAARC (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) on the lines of the European Union.
- Unrestricted travel between nations, no visa required
- Unrestricted trade with no custom duties among member nations
- Nuclear disarmament
SouthAsiaUnion.com, the website, is a platform for diverse voices from across South Asia and the world who share this vision and can lend their expertise and suggestions for making it a reality.
We invite contributions and interviews of international law experts, travel experts, peacebuilders, diplomats, artists, writers, youth organisations and youth leaders, policymakers, bureaucrats, spiritual leaders, business owners, social scientists, educationists and many more.
We are seeking:
- Solutions for creating SAU
- Celebrations of South Asia’s shared heritage
- Highlights of problem areas and challenges
- Room for debate and discussion
All articles will be shared on social-media platforms and syndicated to news portals.
Starting off with the year 2025 as our first target, eShe magazine has undertaken to host two South Asia Union Summits Led by Women each year until then.
The goal is to:
- Generate ideas from the grassroot levels
- Create a platform for women’s leadership
- Channelize feminine energy and spirit of cooperation for a greater cause
- Create a community of doers
If you have a platform to help with this cause, we welcome you to join hands with us, pledge your support, and take this further in your own field or community.