A place is often determined as a subcontinent only it belongs to a continent, but is politically or geographically a separate entity or when it’s smaller compared to a continent. India is additionally referred to as a subcontinent due to its distinct landmass. Although it’d have all the features required to be a continent, it can’t be called together because it’s not that big because it should be, bit confusing but let clear this thing out. However, originally, India was a continent with a large landmass. Later after separations, it became Asia’s part, but the world is separated by the Himalayan region.
Let’s study ancient India before separation which is also known as Aryavarta.
The Aryavarta, or simply the Indian subcontinent now, maybe a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Aryavarta is claimed to the landmass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian Plate nearly 55 million years ago.
It can be seen in the maps of the age of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
According to anthropologist John R. Lukacs, “the Arayavarta (now Indian Subcontinent) occupies the most landmass of South Asia” while the politics professor Tatu Vanhanen states, “the seven countries of South Asia constitute geographically a compact region around the Indian Subcontinent”. According to Chris Brewster; India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan constitute the Indian subcontinent; with Afghanistan and Maldives included it’s more commonly mentioned as South Asia.
The ancient Aryavarta is one of Asia’s regions, which is found on the Indian tectonic plate. Both the terms – ‘South Asia’ and ‘Indian subcontinent’ are utilized in an interchangeable manner. South Asia’s religions suggest that South Asia and Indian Subcontinent (or Aryavarta) are one and therefore the same thing. It’s only due to political sensitivities that some call it ‘South Asian Subcontinent’ or ‘South Asia’, even some term it ‘Indo-Pak Subcontinent’ and a few ask it as ‘Indian subcontinent’. However, when someone uses the Indian subcontinent for South Asia, small island countries of Maldives and Sri Lanka won’t be included, and Nepal and Tibet could be or intermittently excluded, counting on what context they’re mentioned.
But history reveals the truth that these all were included in the region of ancient India. Even in ancient maps and books of Indian mythology, Nepal is referred to as Nepa, and China is termed as china.
Aryavarta was a term for northern parts of the Indian subcontinent in the ancient Hindu texts such as Dharmashastras and Sutras. The limits of Aryavarta extended over time, as reflected in the various sources, as the influence of the Brahmanical ideology spread eastwards in post-Vedic times.
As far because geography cares, Aryavarta is south-central Asia’s peninsular area. It’s mostly is placed on the Indian Plate, separated from Asia. The Indian Plate has most of South Asia, extending from the Himalayan region to the Indian Ocean, which also includes some areas of Eastern Indonesia, Southern China, Karakoram, and Kuen Lun ranges. However, this does not include Kohistan, Ladakh, Balochistan, or the range of Hindu Kush. The Aryavarta – with countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bhutan – covers a neighborhood of about 4.4 million kilometers. This area is Asia’s 10% or the world’s 2.4% of the land.