When contrasting one part of a region to another an adjective is necessary. This usually takes the form of a compass adjective such as Western Europe versus Eastern Europe. But in some cases those adjectives do not suffice, and a region-specific adjective is necessary; as in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, I cannot think of an acceptable adjective to differentiate the present-day geographic extent of India to the Indian subcontinent as a whole. The intended use is in the context of talking about British India when Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar were part of "India".

An example sentence:

The outcome was much the same in Burma as it was in ______ India.

My initial thoughts were "mainland India" or "peninsular India". But I find both to be unsatisfactory and insufficiently self-explanatory.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • In your example sentence, you wanna talk about the the India that included the other three countries? – vickyace Apr 5 '17 at 10:47
  • 2
    Let us be clear. When one says India, it means the the present day India alone. You use Indian subcontinent for the other. – vickyace Apr 5 '17 at 10:49
  • Do you want to say the situation in Myanmar was the same as in what we now call India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, or do you want to say that the situation in Myanmar was the same as in what we now call India, but not (necessarily) the same as in Pakistan or Bangladesh. – davidlol Apr 5 '17 at 11:04
  • @davidlol, as in what we now call India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, i.e. the whole rest of colonial India, – Matthew Webb Apr 5 '17 at 11:22
  • In the US we use 'contiguous' to designate the 'core' part of the country excluding Alaska and Hawaii; but it's used in the form the contiguous (48) states, not the contiguous US. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 5 '17 at 12:02

If your reference is to the geographical extent of India during the British rule, which then included modern-day Pakistan and Myanmar, perhaps you could use Colonial India which represents these countries unified under the British.

  • Many thanks for your suggestion, the issue I see is that Burma was also part of "Colonial India" I would still need a modifier like "the same in Burma as it was in the rest of Colonial India" which ideally I'd like to avoid. – Matthew Webb Apr 5 '17 at 12:15

Why do you need an adjective at all? If you're comparing modern-day Myanmar with modern-day India, why not simply write:

The outcome was much the same in Myanmar as it was in India.

In general, "India" already means "the present-day geographic extent of India." You only need an adjective or some other construction - "British India," "Indian Subcontinent" - if you want to modify it to mean something else.

  • But when talking in that historical context India meant Myanmar as much as it meant Tamil Nadu. Such that "The outcome was much the same in Myanmar as it was in India." doesn't really makes sense. A potential solution would be a more verbose construction like "The outcome was much the same in Myanmar as it was in the rest of British India." – Matthew Webb Apr 5 '17 at 11:04
  • I'm confused. Your question says "An adjective for referring to the present-day geographic extent of India". Now you're asking for something that means "the rest of British India." Which one do you want? – Chris Hunt Apr 5 '17 at 12:34
  • Apologies, I think the question title was a little unclear, I've updated the title to clarify. – Matthew Webb Apr 5 '17 at 12:57

Based on use in the Wikipedia entry for "Greater India", it seems that the terms mainland India and India proper are acceptable.

I'm not wholly satisfied by those, but it seems that contrary to my belief, mainland does not necessarily imply islands. But just a superior-inferior relationship.

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