South Asia’s Nationalist Time Zones

The Acorn has a mind-boggling post about the time-zone politics of South Asian nations.

Officially it was to save daylight. But the standardisation of time is just another way in which the countries of the subcontinent seek to assert their distinct national identity. Start with India, which in a style befitting the character of its polity, centralises its reference meridien by splitting the differences, ending up five and a half-hours ahead of UTC….

But it is Nepal that wins the prize for asserting a distinct national identity. It is five hours and forty-five minutes ahead of UTC, or 15 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time.

A Sri Lankan commenter adds background on Sri Lanka’s latest fidgeting with time:

The President’s office informed the public today that the clocks in Sri Lanka would revert back to the old time i.e. Indian standard time from April 14, 2006 onwards. April 14 is the traditional Tamil/Sinhalese New Year (known in India as Baisakhi), a major public holiday in the island.

The shift back to old time is intended to accommodate the political powerful Buddhist monks and astrologers who never accepted day light savings time in 1996. Parents had also complained that school children had to leave for school when it was still dark. The decision in Colombo also puts the clocks in the island in line with the LTTE which never adopted the original time change in its territory.

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Filed under India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

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