Newsletter 177 – 6 August 2015


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• Grand success for SASNET 2015 Conference on Structural Transformation of South Asia

More than 70 researchers from Europe and South Asia turned up for a successful SASNET three-day international conference on the structural transformation of South Asia being held in Lund 20–22 May 2015. The conference was entitled ”South Asia in Transformation: World of Slums, Global Power Houses or Utopias? Migration, labour, and family changes in a dynamic region”, and consisted of seven panels, each one led by eminent researchers. The theme of the panels varied from ”Urbanization and Social Sustainability”, to ”Ethnicity, Religion and Changing Caste Relations”, ”Changes in Family and Household”, ”Migration, Environment and Social Sustainability”, ”Governance in South Asia”; ”Changing Labour Markets”and ”Structural Transformation and Social Conflicts”.
The networking was intense with a large continent of young, promising researchers from South Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan – presenting their papers along with Scandinavian colleagues. SASNET had given travel grants to no less than 30 young South Asian researchers.
The purpose of the conference was to explore the social consequences of the transformation of South Asian societies (and by implication, the world). Structural transformations produce new opportunities and risks as job possibilities and wealth are created and redistributed unevenly. This may lead to the marginalization of some groups as well as social conflicts. The aim of this conference is also to map the social impact of South Asia’s structural transformation so far, with specific reference to changes in labour migration patterns and in the composition of the care economy of families and households. The conference had managed to attract four eminent keynote speakers, namely Prof. Abram de Swaan from University of Amsterdam; Prof. Rajni Palriwala from University of Delhi; Prof. Gita Sen from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore; and Prof. Ruth Kattumuri from London School of Economics. Their presentations were video recorded and are now available. Read the full conference report with photos and links to presentations.

• Malmö symposium on Cardiometabolic Disease Risk for people from the Middle East and South Asia
Venkat Narayan, Louise Bennet and Naveed Sattar.

The Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Unit at the Department of Clinical Sciences (CRC), Lund University, organises a mini-Symposium on ”Cardiometabolic Disease Risk for people from the Middle-East and South Asia” on 3 September 2015, 12.00–15.00, in Malmö. The symposium is sponsored in part by SASNET. It aims to offer a comprehensive update on the cardiometabolic risk in South Asians and immigrants from the Middle East. Three distinguished national and international faculty will give lectures. Professor K.M. Venkat Narayan from Emory University Atlanta, Georgia, USA, will speak about ”Type 2 Diabetes risk and South Asians”. Narayanan is professor of epidemiology & medicine, at Emory, and currently Visiting professor in Global Diabetes at the University of Copenhagen. Associate Professor Louise Bennet from the Center for Primary Heath Care Research at Lund University will speak about ”Cardiometabolic risk profiles in immigrants from the Middle East”; and Professor Naveed Sattar from the Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK, will speak about ”Cardiovascular disease risk in South Asians”. Venue: Lecture Hall at CRC (CRC-aula), Jan Waldenströms gata 35, Skåne University Hospital in Malmö. More information.

• SASNET facilitates study tour for Bangladeshi delegations

SASNET is currently involved in planning for a study tour to Scandinavia for local government administrators and Zilla Parishad members from Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives has decided to send people working in local administration to Denmark, Norway and Sweden in August, September, October and November 2015 to study local government in these countries. The Embassy in Stockholm has chosen the city of Lund to be included in the schedule, and SASNET to act as facilitator in organising the programme.
The first group was supposed to come to Lund in mid-August 2015 but the visit has to be postponed. Besides meeting political and administrative representatives of the city, an academic seminar has been scheduled. Associate Professor Anders Sannerstedt from the Dept. of Political Science, Lund University, will give a lecture focusing on the Swedish Model of Local Democracy. Anders Sannerstedt is a leading Swedish expert on this issue. SASNET is providing logistical assistance to the programme.

• Reorganization of SASNET staff

Important changes have occurred regarding the staff situation at SASNET during the period March-June 2015. Anna Lindberg was on sick leave from late April, but  rejoined office as director in mid-June. During her absence, Lars Eklund was the acting SASNET director, and in order to handle all the work with the major SASNET conference in May, he was assisted by Andeas Johansson, Lubna Hawwa and Jacco Visser, besides former deputy director Olle Frödin (whose employment at SASNET however terminated on 31 May). 

Andreas Johansson was recruited on a 50 % basis to handle seminars and research coordination, tasks that Linda Hiltmann used to work with till she quit SASNET in March 2015.
 Jacco Visser will again be engaged with SASNET during the fall semester 2015 on a part-time basis as Assistant Communications Officers to work with news production and student activities, in close collaboration with Anna and Lars. Finally Andreas Mattsson from the Dept. of Media and Communications, Lund University, will join SASNET from August 2015 on a 50 % basis, to work with the SASNET South Asia Media Project, and also prepare for a move of SASNET’s web site from its present location in Denmark, due to our technical collaboration with the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS), to Lund University. More information on SASNET’ staff and board.

• More information about SASNET and its activities
See SASNET’s page,

Research Community News

• Karlstad University’s India collaboration documented

What began with a field trip by Karlstad University professors and teachers training students to India in 1987, today, over 25 years later, has developed into a comprehensive collaboration between the Swedish university and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, and a few other Indian universities. In Varanasi, Karlstad University has established a study centre in a riverside palace building at Assi ghat, and over the years, students of religious studies, history, cultural geography, the teaching training and social work, among others, have had the opportunity to travel to India. Usually to do field studies or training. Today, the collaboration also extends to Dharamsala in northern India. To highlight this impressive development, the university has published a book entitled ”Som Ringar på Vattnet. 25 år av internationellt samarbete”, full of impressions by people who have been part of the collaboration projects. It has been edited by Inga-Lill Fjällsby, Peter Olausson and Margareta Ullström. They hope that the book will give inspiration to broaden and develop the cooperation further. More information.
The Varanasi study centre, Ganga Mahal, is primarily meant for Karlstad University students, but in the case the number of KU students are less Ganga Mahal is also open for students and researchers from other Swedish universities. Such is the case right now, and therefore interested persons are free to approach Inga-Lill Fjällsby or Per-Olof Fjällsby at Karlstad University with a request for a stay at Ganga Mahal, preferrably for 2-3 months during the fall 2015. 

• Call for chapters to book on material culture in borderlands between the Mekong and the Indus

Assistant Professor Manjeet Baruah and Lipokmar Dzuvichu at the North East India Studies Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India, are preparing for an edited volume entitled “Objects and Frontiers: Between the Mekong and the Indus, 18th to 20th Century”. They are now inviting chapter proposals for this book that Orient BlackSwan in principle has agreed to publish in May 2016. It will focus on objects that play an important role in the shaping and practice of historical cultures. One of the dominant approaches to the study of objects has been that of material culture. The book brings objects to the centre of enquiry in the understanding of frontiers and borderlands. Given the significance of the 18th century as a moment of historical transition, the book would like to focus on the period between the 18th and the 20th century. This would enable in understanding the processes of frontier making during this period and the place of objects in it. In this regard, the areas between the Mekong and the Indus provide an exciting field to study the significance of objects and the making of frontiers. Covering major river systems such as the Mekong, the Chindwin, the Irrawaddy, the Brahmaputra and the Indus, the area between the Mekong and the Indus straddles various frontiers and borderlands. It also covers uplands such as the Patkai, the Himalayas, the Karakoram etc. For example, even during colonialism, frontiers such as the North West Frontier and North East Frontier got produced. Deadline for sending abstracts will be 2 October 2015. More information.

• Pondicherry academic guest scholar at University of Gothenburg

During four weeks of late spring 2015, Dr. Kalpana Rao Hulluru from Pondicherry University in India was a guest scholar at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion (LIR) at University of Gothenburg. At Pondicherry University, Dr. Hulluru is an associate professor at the Department of English, specialized in American and Canadian literature, women’s literature and feminist theories. She is also coordinator for the Study India programme involving students from Gothenburg doing field work in Pondicherry. During her stay in Gotheburg she held two public semunars, one on Tamil writer Perumal Murugan and his controversial novel ”One Part Woman” (published in English 2014). When it was translated into English the book was banned and angry crowds burned it. The writer was so troubled about this that he decided to give up writing completely. The second seminar dealt with ”Identity and Culture: Postcolonial Perspectives in Select South Asian Literature”.  More information about her Gothenburg stay.
An interview with Dr. Hulluru was recently published in Karavan issue 2/2015. The article writtten by Karin Edgardh focuses on the Murugan seminar – ”Tamilsk författare tystad till självcensur”.  More information.

• Parul Sharma publishes book on Human Rights in India

Parul Sharma

With a Master of Law degree from the Department of Law, Stockholm University, and doctoral studies at the National Law School of India University (NLS) in Bangalore, Parul Sharma has become an outspoken human rights lawyer specialised on the legal systems and cultures of South Asia. She has specialised on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Human Rights strategies for Swedish companies working in South Asia, most prominently Sandvik and Stora Enso. Over the years, she has published a large number of research papers in the fields of Human Rights and International Law, and for six years she worked as a human rights adviser to Delegation of the European Commission to India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. She is currently heading the Academy for Human Rights in Business (part of CSR Sweden).
Parul Sharma has now published a book on Human Rights in India – ”Mänskliga Rättigheter i Indien”, a book that will be officially launched by the publisher Gleerups on Tuesday 15 September 2015, 16.00–18.00. More information about the book.

• European award for doctoral dissertation on early Buddhist school of India

Jens Wilhelm Borgland from the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at University of Oslo, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”A Study of the Adhikaraṇavastu: Legal Settlement Procedures of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya” on Friday 24 October 2014. The Mūlasarvāstivāda was one of the early Buddhist schools of India. The origins of the Mūlasarvāstivāda and their relationship to the Sarvāstivāda sect still remain largely unknown, although various theories exist. The judging committee included Dr. Petra Kieffer-Pülz, Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mainz, Germany; Dr. Ulrich Pagel, SOAS, University of London, UK; Gregory Schopen, Professor University of Los Angeles, USA;y and Professor Mark Teeuwen, University of Oslo. Jens’ research interests includes languages and religions including Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Buddhism, Jainism, Vinaya, especially Mulasarvastivadavinaya and Tibetan. He completed his Bachelor in Religious Studies and Master in Sanskrit, both from University of Oslo. More information about the dissertation.
In July 2015, Borgland was awarded the first European Award for Outstanding Dissertations in Buddhist Studies by the Khyentse Foundation. The award is presented every two years to the best PhD dissertation in the field of Buddhist Studies written in Europe, including the UK, during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be written in English, based on original research in the relevant primary language, and it should significantly advance understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied. More information.

• Halfdan Siiger’s unique manuscript about the Bodo people published in new book

Dr. Peter B. Andersen from the Dept. of Cross- Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, and Santosh K. Soren, retired librarian from Roskilde University, have published a book entitled ”The Bodo of Assam. Revisiting a Classical Study from 1950”, highlighting  the eminent scholarly work carried out by Prof. Halfdan Siiger (1911–1999) at Aarhus University in the 1940s.
Siiger was briefly keeper of the ethnographic collection at the National Museum of Denmark and later professor of the history of religions at Aarhus University. Much of his research stemmed from his participation in the Third Danish Expedition to Central Asia during which he travelled from Kabul in Afghanistan to Assam in India in 1947–1950. In his 1950 manuscript about the Bodo (or Boro) people of Assam, he offers detailed descriptions of the social and ritual life of the Boros and new insights into the traditions and myths as they were told in the village he studied before the transformation of religious life in recent decades. Thanks to Siiger’s diligent translation and interpretation, the manuscript also preserves a number of ritual formulas and songs in the Boro language. Siiger’s manuscript is given even greater relevance by the inclusion of more recent material contributed by the editors and other contemporary scholars. In addition, his original photos are augmented by new photos from the village and by rare images from the collections of the National Museum of Denmark. More information about the book.
In connection with the publication by NIAS Press, the National Museum of Denmark made an exhibition about Halfdan Siiger and the Bodo people. It includes numerous photos and material objects collected in Assam in the 1940s. The exhibition was inaugurated on Tuesday 16 June 2015. Venue: Entrance to Ethnographic collection, 2nd floor. Peter Andersen and Santosh K Soren presented their book at the occasion.

• KTH report on how to provide arsenic-free drinking water in rural Bangladesh

In February 2015, the Division of Energy and Climate Studies at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm published a final project report on ”Biogas Based Poly-Generation for Rural Development in Bangladesh”. The report was developed within a research project led by KTH in collaboration with Scarab Development AB (Swedish company involved in developing water- purification technologies), and Grameen Shakti (a non-profit organization with long track record of work in energy and development in Bangladesh). The project was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The report, written by the project leader Professor Semida Silveira, has evaluated a small-scale biogas-based poly-generation technology for delivering electricity, cooking gas and arsenic-free drinking water in rural areas of Bangladesh. The project team also included Prof. Andrew Martin, Dr. Brijesh Mainali and Mr. Ershad Khan from KTH; Dr M.S. Islam from Grameen Shakti; and Mr Aapo Sääsk from Scarab. Valuable inputs have been provided by Mr Abser Kamal, Managing Director of Grameen Shakti, and his entire team. Finally, a number of KTH masters students – Hassan Ahmed, Nasrin Akter, Caroline Saul and Saad Been Emran – made important contributions to the project. Go for the report.

• Bishnu Pathak report on Nepal’s Enforced Disappearance Commission

Nepal’s Enforced Disappearance Commission: Roles of International Community. Report by Professor Bishnu Pathak, former DANIDA Fellow at the Danish Centre for Human Rights, now Professor of Human Security, and Executive Director for the Peace and Conflict Studies Center in Kathmandu. Dr. Pathak has done a PhD on Conflict Management and Human Rights. Presently, he is working as a Commissioner in the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons in Nepal.
Enforced disappearance has been a long, but a neglected history in Nepal. It is derived from the laws of war where a person secretly arrest, detain, torture and disappear either by a State or armed force refusing to acknowledge whereabouts of his/her fate. The force tries hard to decompose the dead body in such a way not to be ever being found. Nepal is in a phase to conclude the peace process forming a Truth-finding Commission named Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP). The CIEDP is an independent, autonomous, professional, impartial and high-level statutory body. It investigates to discover and reveal past wrongdoings, to exhume the possible remains, to deliver the justice to the victims. Read more...

• Scholarly works by Göran Djurfeldt and Staffan Lindberg now on the Net
Lindberg and Djurfeldt.

In a very unusual way, Professor Emeritus Staffan Lindberg and Professor Göran Djurfeldt from the Dept. of Sociology, Lund University, have posted their great scholarly works from the 1970s to share with any researcher of today their research. Staffan and Göran carried out field research in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, in collaboration with Indian colleagues including Venkatesh Athreya, A Rajagopal and R. Vidyasagar, and their results were published in two interesting books, ”Barriers Broken” on Production Relations and Agrarian Change in Tamil Nadu; and ”Pills against Poverty” on the use of Western and indigenous medicine. Both books are now available to read and download from SASNET’s web site.
Go for Barriers Broken (as a pdf-fle).
Go for Pills against Poverty (as a pdf-file), 

• Yale University announces position as Professor of Hinduism

The Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University, USA, announces a  jointly-tenured position as Associate or Full Professor of Hinduism, effective from 1 July 2016. Candidates shold be outstanding scholars of Hinduism with substantive research and teaching interests in modern or contemporary Hinduism and its relation to other religious and cultural traditions. Applications from scholars in Religious Studies, Anthropology, Gender Studies, History of Art, Music, Performance Studies, Political Science, and other relevant disciplines are welcome. The review of applications will begin on 15 September 2015. Full information.

• Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies new peer-reviewed magazine

Submissions are invited for the first issue of the Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies (Vol. 1, No. 1, Jan-Jun 2016), a peer reviewed, biannual journal, to be published by Khaldunia Centre for Historical Research, Lahore. This special issue is on “Emotions and marginalized communities”. It aims to explore the role of emotions in defining political, social and cultural attitudes and traditions among marginalized communities. Historians, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists and literary scholars working on any geographical region and period are welcome to submit their papers. The editor Tahir Kamran and Associate Editor Hussain Ahmad Khan also publish methodological and review essays, book reviews and survey of literature. Deadline for submission is 15 November 2015. More information.

• Associate professorship in South Asian Studies at University of Copenhagen

The Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, invites applications for an Associate Professorship in South Asian Studies to be filled by 1 February 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful candidate should expect to teach on the cultures and societies of contemporary South Asia at the BA and MA levels, as well as supervise PhD-students. Research must include the use of source materials in at least one indigenous language. Moreover, it is anticipated that the position requires an active role in developing and implementing cross-disciplinary courses and research projects within the framework of the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies as well as the Asian Dynamics Initiative, which includes wider knowledge dissemination to peers and laypeople, domestically as well as internationally.Application deadline is 1 September 2015. Full information.

• More information about South Asia related research at Swedish and Nordic universities
See SASNET’s page,

Educational News

• Inme Learning strategy for European outward student mobility to India

Durgha Ramji is Project Manager for the The Global Leader Inme programme within the Indian company Inme (Infinite Me), working in the field of behavioural training and leadership development using adventure based learning. So far focusing on corporates (CEOs, managers, young professionals), and reputed schools in India (students aged 9–17 years), the Global Leader Inme programme is designed for students who are passionate about exploring a globally mobile career and want to deeply understand India, experience Indian culture and work with Indian organisations. The aim is to form leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets, global perspectives and who can thrive in multiple cultural contexts.
Inme runs several campuses in different parts of India, the largest being on the banks of the Tons river, in village Mora which is 36 kms from Purola in Uttarakhand. Other campuses are located in Uroli – also in Uttarakhand, near Ranikhet; in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu; Honey Valley estate in Coorg, Karnataka; and in Rishikesh along the banks of the river Ganga.
Inme is now in a phase of exploring engagement also with universities and higher education institutions in India and Europe, developing a student outward mobility strategy to enable students to gain valuable employment skills and life skills through an international work/internship placements as well as enjoy the culture of diversity of life in India. Swedish universities are welcome to contact Durgha Ramji. Recently, as a participant she shared a report to the 2015 Go International Conference in London with fellow participants. Although the report entitled ”Investing in Outward Student Mobility to India” is specific to UK universities, the content is relevant for all universities looking to explore outward student mobility to India. Read the report.

• No less than 14 universities teach Sanskrit in Germany

The demand for Sanskrit and Indology courses in Germany is great. In Germany, 14 of the top universities teach Sanskrit, classical and modern Indology compared to just four in the UK. Unable to cope with the flood of applications from around the world, the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, had to start a summer school in spoken Sanskrit in Switzerland, Italy and India too.
In an article by Aditya Ghosh in Mail Online India, Professor Dr. Axel Michaels, head of classical Indology at the university, informs about the growing interest for Sanskrit:
“When we started teaching spoken Sanskrit 15 years ago, we were almost ready to shut it after a couple of years. Instead, we had to increase strength and take the course to other European countries”. 
The summer school is attended by students from all over the world. So far, 254 students from 34 countries have participated in this course. Read the full article, entitled ”Sanskrit fever grips Germany”.

• George Yeo new Chancellor for revived Nalanda University

Mr George Yeo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Singapore government, has been appointed to be the next Chancellor of Nalanda Open University near Rajgir in the Indian state of Bihar. His tenure will begin mid-July, 2015, replacing Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen who was appointed the Chancellor in 2012. Sen will however remain a member of the university’s Governing Board.
The original ancient Nalanda University existed from the 6th century AD till it was destroyed in 1193 AD, attracting students from across the world. An idea to revive Nalanda University came with a proposal by then President of India A. P. J.Abdul Kalam in 2006, and in 2007, the Government of India constituted a Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) under the Chairmanship of Professor Amartya Sen to examine the framework of international regional co-operation under the aegis of the East Asia Summit (EAS), in order to turn the university into an international centre of education. China contributed one million dollars, Singapore five million dollars, Thailand of one lakh dollars and Australia one million Australian dollars for the construction work. It was formally inaugurated in its modern 'avatar' in September 2014 (more information).
Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabharwal now expresses her happiness for the selection of George Yeo as new Chancellor: “I have worked very closely with him on many issues over the last few years. His appointment will give the university much needed continuity at this stage of the project. We are sure that under his leadership, it will continue to fulfil the vision of the EAS participating countries that resulted in the establishment of Nalanda University.” Read more.

• Other educational news connected to South Asian studies all over the World

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• 2015 World Water Week focuses on Water for Development

The 2015 World Water Week in Stockholm will be held 23 – 28 August 2015. World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). This year is the jubilee year for both the Week and the Stockholm Water Prize. The theme for the 25th World Water Week is Water for Development. It will again, after a few years otherwise, be held in the heart of Stockholm at the City Conference Centre. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. Every year around 200 delegates from South Asia participate (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka).
The programme of 2015 World Water Week consist of over 160 events and 8 workshops. During the 90-minute events, the most relevant topics relating to “Water for Development” will be discussed – i.e. Financing, Gender issues, Climate Change, Energy, Sanitation, Food, Conflict Resolution, Water Management… Plenary speakers include Mr. Rajendra Singh – the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate (more information); Professor Hans Rosling, Chair, Gapminder Foundation (and Professor at Karolinska Institutet); and Mr. Adnan Z Amin, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Registration to World Water Week is required for all participants, including speakers and invited participants. Registration is open from 15 April. Full information about the 2015 World Water Week.
In 2014, over 3,000 individuals and 270 convening organizations from 143 countries participated in the Week. The 2014 World Water Week report ”Energy and Water for Development” is available. The report provides input into the discussions at the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm. Go for the 2014 Summary Report.

• Örebro conference on Virtual Learning Sites as Languaging Spaces

The School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (HumEs) at Örebro University hosts an international conference entitled ”Virtual Learning Sites as Languaging Spaces” (ViLS-2) on 22–24 September 2015. The conference is being organized by the research group CCD, (Communication, Culture & Diversity) at HumES, within the framework of project CINLE (Communication and Identity processes in Netbased Learning Environments). It is being chaired by Professor Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta.
The main objective of the ViLS-2 international conference is to establish a forum for dialogue on the study of interaction, learning and identity formation in virtual environments. The themes and issues raised two years ago will be re-focused again, this time with special attention on the languaging and construction of time and space in virtual sites. The 2015 ViLS-2 conference will include presentations by invited plenary speakers as well as provide opportunities for panel discussions led by internationally acclaimed researchers in the conference areas of interest. Confirmed international featured speakers include three Indian professors, Biswajit Das (photo) from Jamia Milla Islamia University in New Delhi, who will speak about ”Virtual Learning sites in a cross-cultural context Experiences from global South”; Mathew Martin from AYJ National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped in Mumbai, who will speak about ”Social Media Networks Among Persons with Disabilities and Demographic Outcomes in the Virtual Learning Spaces”; and Panchanan Mohanty from University of Hyderabad, who will speak about ”Home and school, language issues and the virtual: language learning spaces in multiligual India”. Full information about the conference.

• Oslo PhD course on Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in China and India

Oslo Academy of Global Governance, and SUM Research School, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, invite applicants for a PhD course entitled 'Governing the Asian Giants: Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in China and India' to be held 21 – ­ 23 October 2015. Venue: SUM, University of Oslo, Sognsveien 68, Oslo. The course will enable doctoral students to better understand key concepts, debates and perspectives. Lecturers include Dan Banik, Professor of Political Science at SUM; Erik Jensen, Professor of the Practice of Law, Stanford Law School, USA; Amit Prakash, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; and Robert Wade, Professor of Political Economy and Development, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Applications are accepted until 21 August 2015. More information.

• 7th SASNET-Fermented Foods international seminar in Gangtok

The Swedish South Asian Network on Fermented Foods (SASNET-FF) organises its seventh international seminar on Fermented Foods Health Status and Social Wellbeing on 20–21 November 2015. The seminar will be hosted by the Department of Microbiology at the School of Life Sciences, Sikkim University in Gangtok, India. The theme for the 2015 seminar will be “Ethnic Fermented Foods and Beverages: Microbiology and Health Benefits”.
SASNET-Fermented Foods was established in November 2003 and is now officially registered as a scientific society in India. It was launched in 2003 by Professor Baboo Nair, Division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, and has has helped to strengthen relation among academicians, researchers and food industry professionals. The network is coordinated by Professor J. B. Prajapati, Head of Department of Dairy Microbiology, SMC College of Dairy Science at Anand Agricultural University.
It is basically an association of researchers, professionals, academicians, food industry personnel and all those who are interested in research, development and promotion of fermented foods especially for public health and social well-being. At the present the network has more than 200 members and growing to gather like minded people. The main objectives of the network are to develop a forum for scientists for exchanging information in the field of food fermentation; to promote collaborative research programmes among scientists of Europe and Asian countries and to collaborate with food industries in product development and marketing of fermented foods. More information about the Gangtok seminar.

• Stockholm conference on Political Participation in Asia

A conference entitled ”Political participation in Asia: Defining and deploying political space” will be held at Stockholm University 22–24 November 2015. It is jointly organised by Dr. Eva Hansson from the Dept. of Political Science; and Dr. Meredith Weiss, University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. This conference aims to deconstruct and disentangle political space across interactive subnational, national and transnational scales; across categories of individuals and groups, including those with greater or lesser access to decision-making power; and across modes and media, from street protests and rallies, to documentary film and graffiti, to petitions and press conferences. Papers from across disciplines, focused on these and related questions in the context of East, Southeast, and South Asia, will be presented. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Eighth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum in New Delhi

The Eighth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum in partnership with Common Ground Publishing, the USA, and the International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, Australia/Denmark, is hosted by the National Science Centre, New Delhi, India, on 7–9 August 2015. The theme of the conference is "Museums as Civic Spaces". Museum experts and professionals from all over the world are going to participate and make presentations. Case studies, demonstration projects and multiple voices will inform the sessions with papers from all kinds of museums – social history, anthropology, archaeology, art museums to science museums, ecomuseums and heritage parks. Confirmed plenary speakers include Indian President Pranab Mukherjee; Professor Romila Thapar; and Professor Sudharshan Seneviratne. More information.

• 21st International Association for the History of Religions World Congress in Erfurt

The International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) holds its XXI Quinquennial World Congress on 23–29 August 2015 in Erfurt, Germany. The conference is organised by the Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (DVRW) in collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies, the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, and the Research School “Religion” at Erfurt University. The 2015 Congress theme is ”Dynamics of Religion: Past and Present”. The local organizing committee include Prof. Martin Fuchs. Four specific research fields willl be highlighted, namely ”Religious communities in society: Adaptation and transformation”; ”Practices and discourses: Innovation and tradition”, ”The individual: Religiosity, spiritualities and individualization”; and ”Methodology: Representations and interpretations”. More information.

• 15th International Conference on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions

The 15th International Conference on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions (ICTer2015) will be held 24 – 26 August at the  Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo, Sri Lanka. ICTer2015 is technically co-sponsored by IEEE Sri Lanka Section and is the successor to the seminal International Information Technology Conference (IITC) held in Sri Lanka since 1998. It provides an ideal platform to the researchers and practitioners alike to showcase research and development activities carried out in Computer Science and Information Communication Technology domains. Proceedings of ICTer2015 will be published in both book form and on IEEE Explore. Selected papers will be invited for publication in the special issue of ICTer Journal ( The main conference will take place on 24th Monday and 25th Tuesday August 2015 at BMICH, Colombo in conjunction with the 8th International Conference on Ubi-Media Computing (UMEDIA2015). In addition to the presentation of the selected papers, several keynote addresses by leading personalities in the IT world will be made. The conference will also include post-conference high quality tutorials/workshops on 26th Wednesday August 2015 in areas of current interest in Information and Communication Technology. ICTer2015 conference will focus on important problems and potential solutions in areas of ICT. More information

• Wellington conference on India as a Global Power in the 21st Century

The New Zealand India Research Institute is organizing a conference in Wellington on 25 – 26 August 2015, titled “India as a global power in the twenty-first century”. The conference aims to address the issues related to India’s foreign policy as well as domestic politics to understand what kind of power a rising India will evolve into. This conference aims to bring together scholars from New Zealand, India, Australia, and beyond to discuss issues such as Indian Foreign Policy, Security Policy, Economic Policy, Domestic Policy, and India’s ‘Soft Power’ – related to Bollywood and Buddhism. More information.

• International Visual Methods Seminar at University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp in Belgium will organise the second round of International Visual Methods Seminar (IVMS) to be held from 26 August to 4 September, 2015 at the university. It is a 10-day program of study in using visual methods for research and teaching in the social and cultural sciences.
The 2015 IVMS will emphasize visual studies of urban cultures and the application of visual methods in general to research and teaching. Seminar activities are designed and led by experienced scholars whose research, leadership and teaching have contributed substantially to the development of a ‘more visual’ social science. Visual methods present distinctive challenges and opportunities for studying and teaching about urban cultures. Some of these appear as ethical and theoretical implications of making, collecting and analyzing photographs and video recordings as evidence about the worlds in which people live. Others emerge in trying to use visual evidence to develop engaging, well-informed presentations and reports for diverse audiences.
This seminar is designed to explore these challenges and opportunities with participants interested in evidence-based visual inquiry. Participants will work closely with tutors and peers to examine visual materials as research data and analytical tools, and as teaching and reporting resources. The seminar will also provide hands-on workshops for participants in developing evidence-based visual presentations and reports for specific audiences, such as disciplinary scholars, students, community and advocacy groups, political constituencies, consumers, or for research subjects themselves. More information. 

• International Student Conference on Asia-Africa Studies to be held in Bandung

An International Student Conference on Asia-Africa Studies (ISCAAS) will be held in Bandung, Indonesia, 16–18 October 2015. The grand theme for this first undergraduate conference for universities in Asia and Africa is “Eradicating Poverty Through Equal Development”. It is organised by the Student Organization of Economics and Development Studies, Padjadjaran University. The aim of this event is to facilitate discussion and encourage participants to deliver ideas and propose solution in responding to the issues in economic development. Eradicating poverty is one of the most important challenges faced by developing countries in their attempts to achieve sustainable development. The milestones on eradicating poverty have not yet been met in many of Africa and South Asia. More than a billion people worldwide still live in extreme poverty, and many more experience hunger and are vulnerable to environmental or price shocks . Without eradicating poverty, it will be difficult to sustain development. Given this condition, International Student Conference on Asia-Africa Studies (ISCAAS) invites all undergraduate students from Asia and Africa universities to express their ideas in this conference. Abstracts should be submitted before 31 August 2015.  Full information

• Tenth Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference at Madison

The Nepal Study Center is pleased to announce the Tenth Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference.  It will be held on 22 October 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin, at the pre-conference venue of the University of Wisconsin's 44th Annual Conference on South Asia (22–24 October). Papers are invited encompassing socio-economic growth (macro or sectoral), violent conflict and political processes, institutional development, governance and administrative reform, poverty and income distribution, education and health, regional development, gender and ethnicity, trade and remittances, aid and foreign direct investment, resource and environmental management, climate change, bio-diversity, sustainable community development,  public-private partnership in technology and investment, child labor, and many other issues. More information.

• Islamabad conference on Post-Conflict Rehabilitation

The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad, Pakistan hosts an International Conference on Post-Conflict Rehabilitation on 10–11 November 2015, at NUST Center for International Peace and Stability (CIPS). It is organised in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF). The conference will provide an opportunity for policy makers and senior researchers to share their research on the theme. Although the conference keynote presentations will mostly focus on post-conflict situation in Pakistan’s regional context, CIPS invites international and national researchers from the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities to present papers that will also include international best practices related to post-conflict rehabilitation strategies, policies and practices.
The one and a half day conference spread over three sessions will separately look at post-conflict rehabilitation and de-radicalization in Pakistan and other regions of the world. Scholars will address the following questions and themes: • The Processes associated with Efficient Post-conflict Rehabilitation Programmes; • Counter-radicalization programmes as a means to promote national security and stability; and • Challenges of Reintegrating communities in the post-conflict areas. Deadline for submitting paper abstracts is 15 August 2015. More information.

• Mysore conference on Global Economic Growth and Sustainability: Challenges and Prospects

Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute for Management Development (SDMIMD) in Mysore, India, organises an international conference on “Global Economic Growth and Sustainability: Challenges and Prospects” on 20–21 November 2015. The organisers invite members from the academia and corporate fraternity to participate in the deliberations by submitting research papers and case studies. Unprecedented growth has been experienced in most part of the globe during last few decades. However, unfortunately, the fruit of such growth has not improved the quality of life for all. While the poverty has been reduced in some of the emerging economies like India, China and Vietnam, half of the world’s population owns less than 1 percent of the wealth. Fifty percent of the world population lives on less than $2.50 a day. Recent statistics also show that the ratio of people at poverty to wealthy level is 88 to 1, while it increased from 44 to 1 in 1973. More than half of total workforce of 2.6 billion in the developing economies is employed in the “unorganised sector” with unfavourable working conditions. Unemployment, especially of youths, is in the range of 40 to 70 percent. With close to 1 billion people suffering from malnourishment and 820 million chronically hungry, 2.7 billion people living without proper sanitation and clean water, around 125 million children not going to school and around 30 million children dying of preventable diseases in last 10 years before reaching the age of five; do clearly indicate that a large part of the population have been deprived of the opportunities in sharing the fruits of the growth. Abstracts shouldbe submitted before 31 August 2015. More information.

• New Zeeland conference on Asian Intersections

The 21st New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA) International Conference will be held in Christchurch 29 November – 1 December 2015. It is being hosted by the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. The theme for the conference will be ”Asian Intersections: Identities and Linkages”, focusing on the fact that Asia has long been a crossroads, where civilizations, large and small, and their arts, and cultures, have intersected, interacted and evolved. This has led to complex patterns of social, artistic, political and economic interactions, which have shaped and reshaped identities over the years, in some places peacefully and syncretically, in some places resulting in long lasting conflict or disorder. Panel and paper proposals on any topic related to Asia, broadly defined are invited, from all disciplines. Abstracts should be submitted before 31 August 2015. More information.

• Kolkata conference on Capitalist Remolding of the Indian State

The 2nd Interdisciplinary Conference on Contemporary India will be held 10–12 December 2015 at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK). The theme for the conference is ”Instruments of Intervention: Capitalist Development and the Remolding of the Indian State”. It is jointly organised by Anthony P. D’Costa, Chair and Professor in Contemporary Indian Studies at Australia India Institute, the School of Social and Political Science, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Achin Chakraborty, Professor and Director, IDSK.
The conference highlights the Indian government’s various policies, strategies, and legal measures over the years. raising a number of questions about the continuing role of the Indian state in development and transformation even at a juncture when it is ideologically unacceptable and instrumentally difficult, although it is financially practical. Deadline for submitting abstracts was 20 July 2015. More information.

• Jadavpur conference on Contemporary Issues in Development Economics

The Department of Economics at Jadavpur University in Kolkata organises its 25th Annual General Conference on 22–23 December 2015. The thenme for the 2015 conference is ”Contemporary Issues in Development Economics”. The organizers invite submissions of both theoretical and empirical papers related to this theme. Deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 September 2015. More information.

• TISS seminar on the digital and growing access to the Internet in India

The  School of Media and Cultural Studies at Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) in Mumbai, India, organises an International seminar entitled ”DIGINAKA – Where the Local Meets the Digital” on 7–9 January 2016. Naka is a Marathi word meaning crossroads or junction. The seminar will focus on the advent of the digital and growing access to the Internet in India. Along with the availability of cheap devices such as mobile phones this has brought about an explosion of user-mediated creativity across various platforms, allowing for sharing, tweaking, co-creating and repurposing of digital media content in the public sphere. While the digital divide reproduces and intensifies various social hierarchies of gender, caste, class and region, one sees a simultaneous deployment of the digital by sections of society that previously were denied access. Papers are invited, from scholars across disciplines on the following themes falling within the rubric of local appropriations of digital technologies in the Indian context, such as Subaltern Image-making Practices; Regional Cinemas; Internet Censorship and Regimes of Control; Social Movements and Online Spaces; and Hate Speech and the Internet. Abstracts shoud be submitted before 1 September 2015. Please clearly mention in your abstract if you are currently enrolled as a post-graduate student/research scholar in any university. Student/research scholar paper presenters will be provided with free accommodation and hospitality for a maximum period of 4 nights. The seminar will include invited plenary speakers. An edited volume and a journal issue of SubVersions are envisaged, based on the seminar papers. Full information.

• Kokata conference on Contemporary Debates in Public Policy and Management

The 2nd International Conference on Contemporary Debates in Public Policy and Management will be held in Kolkata, India on 15–17 January 2016. It is organised by the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), and focuses on emerging policy challenges like public health and education policies, labor market reforms, social insurance and informal sector, management of rapid urbanization and domestic macro policies in the post-recession international economic order. Scholarly works on public policy and management from all disciplines are invited—including theoretical papers, case studies, historical studies, econometric work, ethnography, survey-based studies, experimental work and others. More information.

• Goa conference on Regional Cooperation, Conflicts and Constructiveness in South Asia

Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts & Science in Margao, Goa, India, organises an international conference entitled ”Regional Cooperation, Conflicts and Constructiveness in South Asia: Strengthening SAARC” on 21–23 January 2016. The conference aims at enabling researchers, planners, academicians and social workers to put forth their views on South Asia’s promotion and growth as a region of global importance. South Asia, a composite of eight countries, is knitted historically, socio-culturally and economically. It represents diversity in human development, resource enhancement and socio-economic welfare. The region with 3.8 per cent of the world’s geographical area, supports nearly one fourth of the world’s populace. But in the context of Human Development Index, in South Asia, Maldives and Bangladesh show dismal figures which are as low as 77 and 132 ranks respectively. Even the Human Poverty Index of Nepal and Afghanistan show discouraging figures. In fact, one billion of the world’s 2.5 billion poor reside in South Asia. The Global Employment Trend 2013, states that youth employment rate in South Asia is 9.8 per cent, which is significantly higher than global figure of 3.8 per cent.
However, South Asia shows promises for the future. The current labor pool which is 1.8 billion, is expected to increase to 3.1 billion by 2025. Its “demographic dividend” will increase enormously as 60 per cent of its population is below 30 years. Further, 14 per cent of the world’s urban population resides in this region and three-fourths of South Asia’s economic growth is led by cities. From the present level of 31 per cent urbanization, it is expected that 50 per cent of South Asia’s population will reside in cities, especially, megacities in the next 20 years.
The region also has bountiful human and natural resources. But, there are several barriers within the region which restrict their optimum utility and promotion of growth at different scales. The removal of these barriers, optimum and judicious use of all resources will surely help the region in a big way. Further, various issues like bilateral trade, sharing of river water, border disputes and border lands encroachment, cross border mobility of human resources, terrorism, illegal trade, political grievances amongst neighbors, power polarization and third party intervention that affects regional power balance, have put the regions on an edge of high Indo-centric discontent amongst neighbors.
Deadline for abstracts/proposals is 15 September 2015, More information.

• Noida workshop on Chronologies of 'Labour'

The Association of Indian Labour Historians (AILH) convenes an International Workshop entitled ”Chronologies of 'Labour': a Global Perspective” in New Delhi 22–23 January 2016. It is organised in collaboration with the Research Module 'Labour as a Political Category' on behalf of the newly established and New-Delhi-based M.S. Merian International Centre of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The Research Module is coordinated by Ravi Ahuja (Göttingen), Rana Behal (Delhi), Sharit Bhowmik (Mumbai), Andreas Eckert (Berlin), Chitra Joshi (Delhi), Nicole Mayer-Ahuja (Göttingen), Prabhu Mohapatra (Delhi), Christoph Scherrer (Kassel), Aditya Sarkar (Warwick), Marcel van der Linden (Amsterdam) and Willem van Schendel (Amsterdam). Venue for the workshop: V.V. Giri National Labour Institute in Noida. 
The workshop seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary group of younger as well as experienced scholars from both the social and historical sciences in order to compare notes with regard to the temporal dynamics of 'labour' as a political category in the course of the long twentieth century. Such transregional comparisons, it is hoped, will permit to rehistoricize 'labour' by tracing convergences and divergences in its chronologies. Contributions based on original research that examine crucial transformations of 'labour' as a political category in one specific context ae invited, the appropriation or adaptation of certain transnational political discourses to specific labour regimes or compare such processes in more than one context. Proposals for papers (including an abstract of maximum 1,000 words) should be submitted before 1 September 2015. More information.

• Kerala seminar on Rising India and the World Order in the 21st Century

A two Day International Seminar on ”Rising India and the World Order in the 21st Century” will be held at St. John’s College in Anchal, Kerala state, India, on 24–25 January 2016. It is organised by the the Association of Political Scientists-Kerala in association with the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, St. John’s College. The emergence of India as a major power is a remarkable feature of the 21st century world politics. The impressive economic growth registered by India in the last two decades has placed it in the league of potential great powers. The new political leadership in Delhi has also given a fresh drive to the aspirations of rising India with ambitious foreign policy initiatives. The rise of India along with other developing countries has the potential to reshuffle the existing international order. Global economy and polity is governed by the institutions and mechanisms that  were instituted  at the end of the second  world war by the developed countries led by the US. Most of the institutions are undemocratic and unrepresentative. India demands that it should be provided greater representation in global governing bodies. The seminar is conceived as a platform to discuss the changing international setup. Abstracts should be submitted by 15 November 2015. More information.

• Sri Lanka hosts 16th Conference of the Science Council of Asia

The 16th Conference of the Science Council of Asia will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka 25–27 May 2016. The theme of the Conference is ”Science for the People: Mobilizing New Technologies for the Sustainable Development in Asia”. Sub-Themes are ”Opportunities in mobilizing Information technology”; ”Biotechnology and Nanotechnology for National Development”; and ”Social Dimensions: Challenges faced by Asia, Risks from technologies”. The conference will focus on all areas of emerging technologies, successes in their exploitation for national development and for social welfare and the challenges faced in Asia and by developing countries in utilizing this strategy and how they have been overcome. Risks involved in the strategies, their identification and mitigation and social issues involved including social accountability in research will also form part of the theme. Papers are invited in all topics within these broad areas. Abstracts should be submitted before 10 January 2016. Venue: Hotel Galadari, Colombo. Full information.

• Other conferences connected to South Asian studies all over the World
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Business and Politics

• Information about South Asia related business and politics in Sweden
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South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• First International Day of Yoga celebrated in Stockholm and Gothenburg

Following a suggestion by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi in his September 27, 2014 address at the UN General Assembly, the United Nations in December 2014 passed a resolution by consensus with a record 177 co-sponsoring countries including Sweden to adopt 21st June as the "International Day of Yoga". The General Assembly resolution recognised that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing Yoga could improve the health of the world population. The first International day of Yoga (IDY) on 21st June 2015 was celebrated by the Indian Embassy in Sweden, mainly in Stockholm and Gothenburg, but also in Örebro, Malmö, Motala and Helsingborg. Photo from the Gothenburg celebration. Read more...

• International Tagore Choir performed at Nordic-Baltic choir festival in Latvia

In late June 2015, the Lund based International Tagore Choir participated in the seventh Nordic Baltic Choir Festival held in Latvia. The choir took part in the magnificent main public concerts in Tukums on Saturday 27 June, and at Mezapark arena in Riga on Sunday 28 June, along with 6,000 other choir singers, singing songs from all Nordic and Baltic countries. The choir also gave a separate concert with Tagore songs in the countryside church of Irlava, 20 km south of Tukums, on 27th June. The programme of Rabindrasangheet – songs by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, sung by Swedes in Bengali language, was most appreciated by the audience. Photo to the right.
The choir was also prominently displayed by Latvian media – TV and newspapers – when taking part in the grand festival parade through old Riga to the Freedom Monument on Friday 26 June. Even though being part of the Swedish contingent of choirs, the International Tagore Choir naturally waved with Indian flags showing where its cultural roots are (photo above), and this was enthusiastically noted by media as well as by Indian nationals watching the parade.  

• Iqbal Academy Scandinavia 2015 yearly seminar in Copenhagen

The Iqbal Academy Scandinavia (IAS) organized its yearly Iqbal Seminar on 25 April 2015 in Taastrup outside Copenhagen. It was one day seminar of which the theme was “the message of Iqbal to the youth of society”. Speakers included Safdar Ali Hamadani, Bashy Quraishy, Khalid Butt and Ghulam Sabir – the founder of Iqbal Academy Scandinavia. Mr. Sabir (photo) recited an Urdu poem of Iqbal titled “Khitaab Ba Nau Jawan-e Islam” (An address to the Muslim youth). The poem captured the mind and heart of audience as the idea behind each and every verse of it was being explained in short and appropriate words. H.E. the Ambassador of Pakistan Mr. Masoor Ahmad Jonajo graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The Guest of Honour was H.E. the Ambassador of Iran Mr. Hamid Bayat. Read more...

• Uppsala cultural stipend given to Anisur Rahman

Anisur Rahman, Bangladeshi poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, journalist, literary critic and translator, now living in Sweden, has been awarded one of Uppsala city’s 2015 Cultural Stipends (more information). He has previously, 2009-2011, been a writer in residency in Uppsala, and he has authored a number of books in both prose and poetry. He also contributes prose and poetry to different journals in various countries for instance Bangladesh, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and has initiated several literary festivals, for instance, the Mother Language International Poetry Festival, Fristad festival, Spring Literary Festival, Winter Literary Festival, Poetry on Train and Poetry on Bus. Besides, he has translated works by Tomas Tranströmer into Bengali.

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia
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New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Fascinating narrative about the walled Indo-Bangladeshi border

Borderlands. India’s Great Wall is a facinating story by New Delhi based journalist Kai Friese. Online publication, 24 March 2015.  India’s longest border is the 2,545 mile line that encircles Bangladesh. This one is being drawn right now, with steel and electric light. 
Travel along the border districts of the east and you will see it unfurling slowly through the simmering green farmlands of Bengal, turning the territory into a map at last. It is an improbable structure: a double fence, eight feet high, consisting of two parallel rows of black columns made of sturdy angle iron and topped with overhanging beams. The two rows of columns are draped in a tapestry of barbed wire, with spools of concertina wire sandwiched between them. This imposing national installation is still a work in progress. It has been under construction since 1989; 1700 miles have now been erected, at a cost of approximately $600 million. There have been many delays and cost overruns, but when it is complete it will render precisely 2042 miles of the invisible border an impenetrable barrier, a gigantic machine for processing bodies—designed, in the words of the DBM, to prevent “illegal immigration and other anti-national activities from across the border.” Read more...

• Edited version of Hobson-Jobson Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words

Hobson-Jobson: The Definitive Glossary of British India. Oxford World's Classics paperback edition 2015, updated edited version of Henry Yule’s and A.C. Burnell’s 1886 original ”Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive”. Edited by Kate TeltscherMore information.
Read an article about this fascinating anglo-indian dictionary by Rahul Verma on Words' Worth Language website. The article, posted 22 June 2015, is entitled ”How India changed the English language”, and is a story about how many Indian words have become part of everyday English (for example loot, nirvana, pyjamas, shampoo and shawl; bungalow, jungle, pundit and thug), and how this happened.
”Long before the British Raj – before the East India Company acquired its first territory in the Indian subcontinent in 1615 – South Asian words from languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam and Tamil had crept onto foreign tongues. The editor of its contemporary edition explains how many of the words pre-date British rule. “Ginger, pepper and indigo entered English via ancient routes: they reflect the early Greek and Roman trade with India and come through Greek and Latin into English,” says Kate Teltscher.
“Ginger comes from Malayalam in Kerala, travels through Greek and Latin into Old French and Old English, and then the word and plant become a global commodity. In the 15th Century, it’s introduced into the Caribbean and Africa and it grows, so the word, the plant and the spice spread across the world. As global trade expanded through European conquests of the East Indies, the flow of Indian words into English gathered momentum. Many came via Portuguese. “The Portuguese conquest of Goa dates back to the 16th Century, and mango, and curry, both come to us via Portuguese – mango began as ‘mangai’ in Malayalam and Tamil, entered Portuguese as ‘manga’ and then English with an ‘o’ ending.”
The Hobson-Jobson glossary describes an unusual journey for the word ‘chilli’, recorded as “the popular Anglo-Indian name of the pod of red pepper”. According to Yule and Burnell: “There is little doubt that the name was taken from Chile in South America, whence the plant was carried to the Indian archipelago and thence to India.” Read more in Rahul Verma’s article.

• Subhas Chandra Bose’s little known visit to Poland in 1933

Visit of Subhas Chandra Bose to Poland in July 1933. New documents. New conclusions. By Marek Moron, Lecturer at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Published by Institute of Foreign Policy Studies (IFPS), Calcutta University, April 2015.  
The visit of Indian freedom fighter Subash Chandra Bose to Poland in 1933 has not been much known – yet the documents found in the archives show that he had defined ideas on how to shape the relations with Poland. These ideas were far  from sentimental rethorics on freedom fighting, common ideals  etc. But Poland of the 1930s was not ready to see independent India as its future partner. Based on the documents of the Embassy of Poland in Vienna, Consulate of Poland in Bombay as well as original letters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland and other central state institutions in Poland, all from the years 1933-1936, Moron has come to the conclusion that the purpose of Bose's visit to Poland was well defined but the ideas he had in mind about Indo-Polish relations could materialise only after almost four decades.
The IFPS is an autonomous research centre inaugurated in 2010, devised for the study of international relations, funded by the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India. The institute purports to create a pool of foreign policy specialists capable of offering advice on matters pertaining to India’s international relations. Marek Moron was Polish Consular General in Kolkata for four years in the 1990s. Read the full text document on Bose’s visit to Poland (as a pdf-file).

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

Constantly added to the list of research environments at Swedish universities, presented by SASNET. The full list now includes more than 300 departments, with detailed descriptions of the South Asia related research and education taking place! See the full list of departments here:

• Useful travelling information

Look at our Travel Advice page. Updated travel advises from the The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office about safety aspects on travelling to the countries of South Asia. Also updated information on how to find embassies of all nations.

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy Director
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network

SASNET is a national network for research, education, and information about South Asia and is based at Lund University. Its aim is to promote a dynamic networking process in which Swedish researchers cooperate with their counterparts in South Asia and around the globe.
The SASNET network is open to all branches of the natural and social sciences. Priority is given to interdisciplinary cooperation across faculties, and more particularly to institutions in the Nordic countries and South Asia. SASNET believes that South Asian studies will be most fruitfully pursued as a cooperative endeavour among researchers in different institutions who have a solid base in their mother disciplines.
The network is financed by Lund University.

Postal address: SASNET – Swedish South Asian Studies Network, Box 114, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden 
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5 G (first floor, room no. 201), in the premises of the Department of Sociology, Lund University.
Phone: + 46 46 222 73 40 
Web site:

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