SELECTION MADE BY LARS EKLUND, SASNET
Kannan and Breman writes about India’s National Social Security Initiatives
On 11th January 2013, the Institute for Human Development (IHD) in New Delhi, and Oxford University Press (OUP) releases “The Long Road To Social Security – Assessing The Implementation Of National Social Security Initiatives for the Working Poor in India”, a volume edited by Professor K.P. Kannan, Visiting Professor, IHD (and former Director, Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram) and Jan Breman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Amsterdam. The book focuses on the fact that the Indian economy is characterized by a vast informal sector dominated by self-employed as well as hired labour without any employment and/or social security. There is a lack of security for the labouring poor in India. It is a critical study of the workings of two flagship national social security schemes initiated by the Government of India—the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (the national health insurance scheme). Fresh contributions made by senior scholars and researchers in the field, the essays provide rich data and analysis on social security schemes at work in five Indian states—Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Odisha, and Punjab. More information on the book.
New book on Akhtar Hameed Khan – Pioneer of Microcredit
“Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan – Pioneer of Microcredit & Guru of Rural Development” is a collection of ten articles and two poems on Dr. A.H. Khan, Pakistani social scientist and pioneer in the field of rural development and of microfinance. Dr. Khan is also the founder of the Bangladesh (previously Pakistan) Academy for Rural Development (BARD) and the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) and was recognized by many academics, world leaders and global organizations, such as the World Bank, for his contributions to poverty alleviation. Dr. Khan passed away on October 9, 1999.
Author/Compiler Nasim Yousaf originally published this work in October 2012 (on Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader) as a tribute to Dr. A.H. Khan on his 13th death anniversary. The print version of the book has now been released. Go for the book on Amazon.com.
Volume IV of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism now published
In September 2012, the fourth volume of the five volume Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism was published. It has been edited by Prof. Knut A. Jacobsen, University of Bergen, Norway (Editor-in-Chief for the entire series of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism), assisted by Dr. Helene Basu, University of Münster, Germany, Dr. Angelika Malinar, University of Zürich, Switzerland, and Dr. Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida, USA.
Volume IV of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents a historical overview of Hinduism, covering significant periods from the Indus Civilization to contemporary India. In addition, the volume features more than 30 biographies dedicated to important figures of pre-19th century religious poets, teachers, and saints, alphabetically arranged. Special attention is given to the interchanges between Hinduism and other religions and traditions, and a separate section examines the connections between Hinduism and contemporary issues such as ethics, ecology, the Internet, tourism, and New Age spirituality. More information.
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan releases new report on women, peace and security
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) invites to the release of its report “Missing the target – a report on Sweden’s support for women, peace and security in Afghanistan” on November 9, 2012, 09.00 – 15.00 at Hilton Stockholm Slussen Hotel, Guldgränd 8, Stockholm. The report was written by Ann Wilkens on the initiative of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, Woman to Woman and Operation 1325.
Report background: Despite pledges and contributions from Sweden and the international community in order to protect and promote women’s rights and participation in Afghanistan, very little has changed for Afghan women. Recent years has seen a backlash regarding many previous improvements and it is women who most clearly shows their concern over the military withdrawal in 2014.
The report has been commissioned by a consortium of Swedish NGOs consisting of Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), the Woman to Woman Foundation and Operation 1325. The objective is to analyse Sweden’s role in Afghanistan, based on its National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of UNSCR 1325.
About the author: Ann Wilkens is former Swedish ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan (2003-07) and former chair of SCA (2007-09). She is also a member of the Advisory Panel of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) and has published a number of papers and reports on the Pakistan/Afghanistan region. More information.
ISDP publication on India’s Special Economic Zone policy
“India’s SEZ Policy” by researchers Ebba Mårtensson and Per Olsson at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) in Stockholm/Nacka is an interesting publication on India’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Policy. Over the last few decades India has emerged as an economic giant, and in 2000 the SEZ policy became part of a strategy to maintain high growth and promote India’s manufacturing sector. However, according to the authors, India’s current SEZ policy does little to strengthen India’s economy and they argue that India should consider modifying its SEZ policy or abandoning it in favor of broader economic reform. ISDP POLICY BRIEF No. 97 (3 July 2012). Go for the publication.
Pacific Affairs special issue on the impact of mobile phones in South Asia
In its September 2012 issue, the Pacific Affairs magazine has made a special theme on ”Celling South Asia: The Mobile Phone’s Impact on a Region”. Guest Editors Robin Jeffrey, Institute of South Asian Studies & Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; and Assa Doron, The Australian National University, introduces with an article entitled “The Mobile Phone in India and Nepal: Political Economy, Politics and Society”, followed by six other articles with a focus on the mobile phone’s impact on culture, politics, economics and society in India and Nepal. The researchers being published include Subhashish Gupta from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore; Sunil Mani from the, Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thuruvananthapuram; and Nimmi Rangaswamy from Microsoft Research in Bangalore. Go for Pacific Affairs special issue.
Swedish security report on China and India – Great Powers on a Collision Course
The 2012 edition of the Swedish Defence Research Agency’s (FOI) annual publication, Strategic Outlook, was recently released. Included in the report is a chapter on Sino-Indian relations co-authored by FOI researchers Jerker Hellström and Kaan Korkmaz. Go for the complete Strategic Outlook 2012 (pdf). The chapter on Sino-Indian relations, ”China and India – Great Powers on a Collision Course”, is on pp 76-84.
The authors conclude that there are few reasons to believe that Sino–Indian relations will develop in a positive direction in the short term. Looking at this from a broader perspective, the trends seem to indicate a downward spiral. There is a risk that increased tension between China and India may lead to conflict. Both within the existing areas of friction and in new emerging domains where their interests collide. As the economic, political and military power of China and India grows, the two countries also improve their capabilities to assert their increasingly incompatible national interests. The need to project power has, in turn, produced new potential areas of conflict, further complicating their relations.
With an unresolved border dispute, divergent national interests and mutual mistrust, China and India’s relations are likely to be defined by increased tension and rivalry, according to the report.
Jerker Hellström is an East Asia analyst on the FOI Asia Security Studies Programme. He mainly studies issues regarding China and the Korean peninsula. His previous research at FOI has involved topics including China’s engagement in UN peacekeeping efforts, the Chinese presence in Africa and the EU arms embargo on China.
Kaan Korkmaz has previously worked as a consultant at FOI and is currently on an internship within FOI’s Asia Security Studies Programme. His main research is concerned with East Asian security.
Gendered practices of development in forest communities in India and Sweden
”Gender, Development and Environmental Governance. Theorizing Connections” by Associate Professor Seema Arora-Jonsson, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala. Routledge, August 2012.
A major challenge in studies of environmental governance is dealing with the diversity of the people involved at multiple levels – villagers, development agents, policy-makers, private resource users and others – and taking seriously their aspirations, conflicts and collaborations. This book examines this challenge in two very disparate parts of our world, exploring what gender-equality, resource management and development mean in real terms for its inhabitants as well as for our environmental futures. Based on participatory research and in-depth fieldwork, Arora-Jonsson studies struggles for local forest management, the making of women’s groups within them and how the women’s groups became a threat to mainstream institutions. Insights from India, consistently ranked as one of the most gender-biased countries, are compared with similar situations in the ostensibly gender-equal Sweden. Arora-Jonsson also analyzes how dominant ideas about the environment, development and gender equality shape the spaces in which women and men take action through global discourses and grassroots activism. More information about the book.
SASNET members may buy the book at a discount price. Get this offer (as a pdf file).
A New India?: Critical Reflections in the Long Twentieth Century
A New India?: Critical Reflections in the Long Twentieth Century, volume edited by Anthony D’Costa, Professor in Indian Studies and Research Director at the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. A critical examination of the notion of a ‘new’ India by exposing the many economic, social, and political contradictions that are integral to contemporary India, aimed at scholars and advanced students of contemporary India, comparative politics, and development studies; the intelligent and curious reading public interested in the rise of India. Includes foreword by Deepak Nayyar and chapters by Anthony P. D’Costa on ”New Interpretations of India’s Economic Growth in the Twentieth Century”; Kunal Sen on ”Continuity and Change: Notes on Agriculture in ‘New India’”; and Nitya Rao on ”The ‘New’ Non Residents of India: A Short History of the NRI”. Anthem Press, London, December 2010.
A paperback edition of the book is released in August 2012. More details here.
The book will be officially launched in September 2012.
Ranjula Bali Swain writes about the Microfinance Impact
The Microfinance Impact, by Associate Professor Ranjula Bali Swain, Department of Economics, Uppsala University. Published by Routledge, London and New York, 2012.
Microfinance has enabled a positive change in the lives of the poor, by allowing them to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. In the recent years, however controversies, corruption, high interest rates, farmers’ suicides and political interference etc. have presented additional challenges. In a comprehensive scientific investigation of the Indian Self Help Group Bank Linkage (microfinance) Program (SBLP) that has covered more than 97 million poor households, Bali Swain discusses the emergence of SBLP in the context of the financial sector in India, its economic and social impact and the challenges that it encounters. Bali Swain argues that SBLP has positively impacted the lives of the members, leading to decline in vulnerability and greater asset creation. Empirical results demonstrate that on average, there is a significant increase in the empowerment of the women participants, revealing that economic factors, greater autonomy and changes in social attitudes have a significant role in empowering women. Contributing to the ‘minimalist’ and microfinance ‘plus’ debate, Bali Swain contends that training (especially business training) has a definite positive impact on assets. Effects of infrastructure and delivery mechanisms like linkage type are also explored.
Invisible India – important book on manual scavenging in India
An excellent and very important book entitled ”Adrishya Bharat” related to understanding of the caste system and practice of manual scavenging in India has been written by Bhasha Singh, Assistant Editor, Outlook Hindi. It is written in Hindi and has been published by Penguin Books, 2012. The book might be useful for students of South Asian Studies.
It is a narrative on the manual scavenging in India, an account of people, mostly women, carrying night soils on their heads. This book also talks about how these wretched of earth – who were never treated as human beings – are knocking at the closed doors of legislature, executive and judiciary.
The book is in two sections. First section deals with stories from visits to eleven states – Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is a collection of some experiences of Baltiwalis of Kanpur, Dabbuwalis of Bengal, Tinawalis of Bihar, Tottikar of Andhra Pradesh and Watals of Kashmir. This book is different as it just not talks about the practice but also about the pain, the agony and the lives of the scavenger communities. Second section is about the legal, social and political hypocrisies which contribute to this practice. It exposes layers of lies of our socio-political system which protected this heinous practice even after 65 years of our country’s Independence.
Besides in-depth analysis, this is a well-documented book with latest data, charts, maps and photographs. The book also contains details of the scavenging castes across the country in a historical perspective.
Philip Oldenburg solves the puzzle of Indian-Pakistani divide
India, Pakistan, and Democracy: Solving the Puzzle of Divergent Paths, by Philip Oldenburg, research scholar at Columbia University, USA. Routledge 2010 (Indian edition distributed by Manohar). The book’s arguments are excellently summarized by Christophe Jaffrelot in an review essay entitled ”The Indian-Pakistani Divide. Why India Is Democratic and Pakistan Is Not” in Foreign Affairs April-May 2011. Read Professor Jaffrelot’s review.
Oldenburg dispels some common misunderstandings about India and Pakistan, the first being that they had similar experiences during the colonial era. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the British began gradually devolving power to local authorities in several provinces across India. They did not pursue such reform very far in the North-West Frontier Province and Punjab, two provinces that would make up the bulk of Pakistan after the 1947 partition. Both territories were important military recruitment grounds for the Raj and were located along its restive western frontier, where devolution was considered a security threat. Whereas several of the provinces India inherited from the Raj had experience with some democracy, Pakistan inherited two highly militarized provinces with no such background, laying the groundwork for the country’s military-bureaucratic ethos. Even more, India was born with an intact bureaucratic apparatus in Delhi, whereas Pakistan had to build an entire government in 1947 under a state of emergency.
Impressive volumes on India’s Environmental History
Volume 1 provides an antidote to the existing historiography, which barely takes notice of the era before 1800. The essays range from prehistoric India to the middle of the 19th century. They provide insights on forest and water disputes, contests over urban and rural space, struggles over water and land, and frictions over natural wealth which have led to a reinterpretation of source materials on early and medieval India.
Volume 2 shows how colonial rule resulted in ecological change on a new scale altogether. Forests covering over half a million sq km were taken over by 1904 and managed by foresters. Canal construction on a gigantic scale gave British India perhaps more acreage than any other political entity on earth. Similar new forces were at work in relation to the animal world, with species being reclassified as vermin to be hunted down or as game to be selectively shot.
Go for the India’s Environmental History volumes
SAARC perspective on Informatics For Peace & Development in South Asia
Dr. Biswajit Mohapatra from the Dept. of Political Science at North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong, India has published an interesting book entitled ”Informatics For Peace & Development in South Asia: Perspectives Of SAARC”. The book examines how access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help in improving the use of ICTs for poverty reduction with focus to the South Asian region. The author claims that it is a challenge to examine some of the main challenges in reducing the discrepancies in access to ICTs and use of ICTs between developing countries, particularly in South Asia. He also suggests that there is much work to be done on improving policy coherence and there is a need to engage more actively with partner countries. Making the most of ICTs requires that they are seen as part of innovation for development, rather than just another development tool. The book is published by LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co, Saarbrücken, Germany.
Go for the book (available through Scribd).
Excreta Matters: CSE Report on Indian Water Pollution
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in New Delhi has published a shocking report on the problems of water and environment in India. CSE is a prestigious Indian research institute with several Swedish connections, including receiving a substantial financial assistance from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Sida since 1989 and onwards. Its Director Sunita Narain was also previously a member of the board of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and she has been a regular key speaker at the Stockholm World Water Week, held in August every year.
The report, entitled ”Excreta Matters: How urban India is soaking up water, polluting rivers and drowning in its own waste” is the first and most comprehensive survey bringing light on the horrendous crisis of water scarcity and growing threat of water pollution in Indian cities. It presents a detailed city-by-city analysis of the situation on the ground. The findings are based on a nationwide survey, in which primary data on the state of water and waste provisioning was collected. The authors used this data for analysis and also put together an assessment of the challenges ahead. The book would be of immense value to professionals and decision makers in the Central and State Governments besides academicians, researchers, NGOs and all major Libraries. Go for the report.
Nepal Migration yearbook for 2010 published
The Nepal Institute of Development Studies (NIDS) recently published the Nepal Migration Year Book 2010. The book is a result of a research project funded by the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, and carried out in collaboration with NIDS, which is a non governmental research organization established in 1998. NIDS contributes to the development process by conducting research, implementing effective programs to create environment through initiation, facilitation and coordination of activities and networking/lobbying and advocating on equitable development strategies.
Nepal Migration Year Books have been published yearly since 2006. The 2010 issue responds to the lack of basic data on migration like different forms of migration, the numbers of migrants their actual remittances etc. which has systematically hampered the clear understanding of migration in Nepal. It is envisioned to be an important document to policy makers, political parties, government and non government personnel and students working on this issue. Go for the book.
Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics edited by Paul R Brass
The British publishing house Routledge has published a significant volume on South Asian Politics, edited by Professor Emeritus Paul R. Brass from the University of Washington. The book, entitled ”Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal” introduces the reader to the politics of South Asia by presenting the prevailing agreements and disagreements in the literature. In the first two sections, the book provides a comprehensive introduction to the modern political history of the states of the region and an overview of the independence movements in the former colonial states. The other sections focus on the political changes that have occurred in the postcolonial states since independence, as well as the successive political changes in Nepal during the same period, and the structure and functioning of the main governmental and non-governmental institutions, including the structure of the state itself (unitary or federal), political parties, the judiciary, and the military. Further, the contributors explore several aspects of the political process and political and economic change, especially issues of pluralism and national integration, political economy, corruption and criminalization of politics, radical and violent political movements, and the international politics of the region as a whole. Go for the book.
Uppsala University publishes book on Dalit identity in Kanpur
Neuer Buddhismus als gesellschaftlicher Entwurf. Zur Identitätskonstruktion der Dalits in Kanpur, Indien, written by late Dr. Maren Bellwinkel-Schempp, a sociologist and anthropologist connected to the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany. She carried out fieldwork in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India from 1972 onwards, first studying labour migration for her PhD, but gradually shifting her focus to Dalit issues. Dr. Bellwinkel-Schempp passed away in July 2011. More information on Maren.
The volume contains eight articles, four of them written in German, and four in English. They all deal with Dalits and their constructed identities in Kanpur. One chapter focus on ”Industry and Identity. Changing Identities under Urban Industrial Conditions”, another on ”Bhakti and Buddhism. Text, Context and Public Representation of Dalit Religiosity in Uttar Pradesh”. The book has been published by Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis (Uppsala University, Sweden), in its publication series Historia religionum. Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Peter Schalk; co-Editors: Gabriele Reifenrath and Heinz Werner Wessler. More information, with a link to full-text book.
Addressing regional inequality issues in Bangladesh public expenditure
In the end of 2008, the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh published a book on ”Addressing Regional Inequality Issues in Bangladesh Public Expenditure” written by C S Mahmoud, S N Wadood, and K S Ahmed.
The book examines the relation between government spending and citizen well-being in Bangladesh by looking at various districts of the country and comparing the urban areas with the rural. The main queston investigated by the authors is whether politically-motivated government policies have contributed to an increased inequality in Bangladesh in which some areas (mainly the capital, Dhaka) have a decrease in poverty among the citizens, while in other areas poverty has on the contrary increased.
The data used as a basis for the book are the Planning Commission’s Annual Development Plans (ADPs) from 1995/96 to 2005/06, supplemented by household and income data. The book looks at district-wise ADP allocations in Rural Development and Institutions (RDI), road transport, health, polulation and family welfare and education and religious affairs to find that on average, spending in all sectors tends to be concentrated in Dhaka and districts with relatively higher per capita incomes.
Read the complete book online here.
Power and Influence in India – Bosses, Lords and Captains, by P. Price and A. Ruud
In the midlde of 2010, Routledge published a book by Scandinavian researchers that explores how leadership is practiced in the Indian context across varied domains — from rural settings and urban neighbourhoods to political parties and state governments.
The volume is edited by Prof. Pamela Price and Prof. Arild Ruud from the University of Oslo, both of whom have long history of collaboration with SASNET.
Their book explores further the importance of individual leaders in the projection of politics in South Asia which is evident from how political parties, mobilisation of movements and the media, and all focus on carefully constructed personalities. Besides, the politically ambitious have considerable room for manoeuvre in the institutional setup of the Indian subcontinent. This book focuses on actors making their political career and/or aspiring for leadership roles, even as it also foregrounds the range of choices open to them in particular contexts. The articles in this volume explore the variety of strategies used by politically engaged actors in trying to acquire (or keep) power — symbolic action, rhetorical usage, moral conviction, building of alliances – illustrating, in the process, both the opportunities and constraints experienced by them. In taking a qualitative approach and tracking both political styles and transactions, this book provides insights into the nature of democracy and the functioning of electoral politics in the subcontinent.
PhD thesis on enculturing innovation in India
In Pankaj Sakhsaria’s thesis titled “Enculturing innovation: Indian engagements with nanotechnology” he tries to understand – as the title indicates- how the nano techno-scientific knowledge and practices are implicated within and influenced by the cultural, social and political systems and logics in which the laboratories and the scientists are located. Pankaj examines the interesting but complex relationship between society and technology and the thesis shows the importance of understanding this relationship in order to achieve innovation. The thesis is available here.
Florian Krampe writes on state legitimacy in Nepal’s peace-building process
The peer reviewed Routledge journal Conflict, Security and Development publishes an interesting article by Uppsala University researcher Florian Krampe in its Volume NO. 16. The article is entitled “Empowering peace: service provision and state legitimacy in Nepal’s peace-building process”. In his presentation, Krampe has studied the relationship between service provision and state legitimacy to assess whether the provision of services like electricity to rural communities of war-torn countries through state actors contributes to the consolidation of the post-war political system. Florian Krampe is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research and is also the Director for the university’s Forum for South Asia Studies. Read the full article.
Joint South Asian/Scandinavian book project on silk and sericulture
South Asian Ways of Silk. A Patchwork of Biology, Manufacture, Culture and History is a new book written by 12 researchers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Denmark, published by BOOKBELL, Guwahati, Assam, India.
The book was presented at a conference at the Agriculture & Forestry University, Chitwan, Nepal, 15th –16th November 2015. The authors have compiled the existing scattered information on sericulture and silk in region, thus trying to fill up the gaps of the knowledge of what has happened and is happening in each of the South Asian countries. One main purpose of the book is to make it easier for silk loving people to collaborate with each other across borders of the region. The contributors are Rie Koustrup, Aminuzzaman Md. Saleh Reza, Dilip K. Subba, Dilip Barooah, Neera Barooah, Moe Moe Win, Sundar Tiwari, Yubak Dhoj, Ghulam Ali Bajwa, Rizwana Ali Bajwa, Daya Ahangama and Ole Zethner.
This book stands out in the huge literature on silk and sericulture due to its comprehensive popular descriptions. It is not only centered on biological and technical aspects, which is usually the case, but covers many aspects of the subject. It also targets a broader audience, such as students and laypersons. The book will give politicians and administrators a better background for deciding whether and how to support a new silk venture and should also open the eyes for producing other silks than mulberry silks. Read more.
Early Buddhist texts translated from Sanskrit and Pali into Swedish
Så har jag hört – buddhistiska texter från de första femhundra åren(”Buddhist texts from the first 500 years”), translated directly from Sanskrit and Pali originals by Swedish Indologist and Linguist Rolf Jonsson. h: ström – Text & Kultur. book publishers, 2015. It is the first time in over a hundred years Buddhist source texts are published in Sweden. Last time was in 1908, Nathan Söderblom devoted one part of his book series “Främmande religionsurkunder i urval och översättning” to Indian religious texts. Later, in 1967 and 1976, Rune E Johansson translated some of the most important Buddhist scriptures, but that is all.
Rolf Jonsson’s selection is aimed not only to researchers and specialists, but the lyrics also have a common interest. They include mythological texts, texts of what the Buddha taught and what he did not teach, a treatise on statecraft, a philosophical hymn, Buddha’s assertion that nirvana is something real, and testimony from monks and nuns of the difficulties they encountered along the way of doctrine and how they overcame them. The final texts focus on the realization that the tradition will once again disappear from our world but that in future it will be revived by a new Buddha.
Previously, Rolf Jonsson has translated three texts from Tibetan language into Swedish, and in 2013 he published an excerpt from Mahabharata directly from Sanskrit into Swedish (read more about this).
New book about sexual violence and the Bangladesh War of 1971
The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971 is a new book by Nayanika Mookherjee, Reader of Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Durham University. The book makes a novel contribution to making visible the gendered violence in the Bangladesh Liberation War. It examines in detail how following the 1971 Bangladesh War, the Bangladesh government publicly designated the thousands of women raped by the Pakistani military and their local collaborators as bringonas (brave women). Mookherjee demonstrates that while this celebration of birangonas as heroes keeps them in the public memory, they exist in the public consciousness as a spectral wound. She does so by looking at the issue through the lenses of class, culture and politics, illustrating how dominant representations of birangonas as dehumanized victims with dishevelled hair, a vacant look, and rejected by their communities create this wound. In critically examining the pervasiveness of the birangona construction, Mookherjee opens the possibility for a more politico-economic, ethical, and nuanced inquiry into the sexuality of war. The book includes a foreword by Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at John Hopkins University. Nayanika Mookherjee has published extensively on the anthropology of violence, gendered violence during wars and ethics and aesthetics. She has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The book can be ordered through the Duke University Press website here.
Swedish Pioneer Volunteers tell their stories
Pionjärvolontärerna. En internationell generation i en föränderlig tid. By Dr. Cecilia Jonsson, Dept. of Social Work, Linnaeus University in Växjö. Makadam förlag 2015. In the post 2nd world war period, Sweden became known throughout he world for its idealistic international committments with names such as Raoul Wallenberg, Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Olof Palme. But alongside these people and the middle of the action also worked pioneer volunteers, mainly young women who worked directly with the local population in Third World countries. In this book, we get to hear volunteers’ stories – who they were, why they were doing voluntary work and how the work was done. We are also told how they, from the horizon of today, believe that the trip has affected their lives, personal and professional. They were young when they went out, and is now in retirement. What have they to say about world development and international relief work since their time in the field? The book is intended for all who want to know more about how the secular aid work in Africa, Asia and Latin America took its first steps. Thus reproduced a part of Swedish history of the international relief effort that has never been told.
Before launching this book project, Cecilia Jansson wrote her doctoral dissertation on a similar topic. More information.
South Asian death squads exposed in Tasneem Khalil’s book
JALLAD: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia, by Tasneem Khalil, Sweden based editor and publisher of Independent World Report, a journal of human rights and global politics. Pluto Press, December 2015. Extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearance and torture – these are the tools used by death squads across South Asia. The Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh, the ‘encounter specialists’ of India, army units of Nepal, the Frontier Corps of Pakistan and ‘the men in white vans’ of Sri Lanka are specialists on violence deployed by the state in campaigns of state terror. They are shielded by black laws and emergency acts. Their targets are the political opponents of the state and socioeconomic troublemakers. Khalil argues that Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are national security states, connected to an international system of state terror patronised by sponsors like the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Israel. In this system, human rights abuses are perpetrated behind the closed doors of secret detention facilities while death squads roam the streets with impunity. Jallad sets out to close a gap in the literature on human rights in South Asia, in which sociopolitical analysis of state terror is hard to come by. Khalil unveils the bloody logic of domination and repression that lies at the very core of statecraft in South Asia.
The book is also available as an e-book through JSTOR. Link to JSTOR.
Tasneem Khalil was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 2007, following his detention by the Bangladeshi military intelligence agency. In 2008, Swedish PEN conferred him with an honorary membership for his journalism. The new book by Khalil is an excellent work.
New book by J J Robinson on the Maldives, Islam and Autocracy
J.J. Robinson, former editor of the Maldives’ only independent English news service, Minivan News, and an appreciated guest lecturer at a SASNET seminar on the Maldives in 2014 (more information), has recently published a new book entitled The Maldives – Islamic Republic, Tropical Autocracy.
The book pays attention to the Maldives as a country rather than as a luxury resort for tourists illustrating how the island nation has been a bellwether of change, good and bad, across much of the Islamic world. It does so by exploring how in 2008, Asia then longest-serving dictator, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was brought down by Mohamed Nasheed, environmental activist, journalist, and politician, to hold the first democratic elections in the country. Nasheed thrust the Maldives into the spotlight as a symbol of the fight against climate change and the struggle for democracy and human rights in one of the world’s strictest Islamic societies. However democracy brought turmoil, protests, violence and intense political polarization resulting in the ousted dictatorship to overthrow Nasheed’s government in 2012, supported by Islamic radicals and mutinying security forces.
Robinson, who is also a Fulbright scholar and graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, thus illustrates the shameless use of Islam for political ends and a politically manipulated judiciary. More information about the book.
Oxford University Press publishes book on inter-Asian encounters
Asian Encounters: Exploring Connected Histories, published by Oxford University press in 2014, is edited by Upinder Singh and Parul Pandya Dhar and examines centuries-old interactions between different regions of Asia. It covers a range of topics, including the migration of people and trade and the exchange of religious, literary, and aesthetic ideas and forms. It does so by taking connections between India and other parts of Asia, particularly China and Southeast Asia, as a point of departure. This way the book provides insights in the study of cultural identities and symbolic representation and interpretational forms in a cross-cultural and global perspective, particularly by looking at problems related to processes where cultural identities and representations interact and are exchanged. The essays in the volume range from issues of war and diplomacy and trade to the circulation of carpets and the exchange of cultural ideas and forms. In doing so the book contributes to understandings of inter-Asian cultural encounters and opens up new ways of looking in the context of Asian dialogue, making the book interesting for both students and scholars of South Asian history. Full information about the book.
Important work on Communication and Colonialism in Eastern India
Communication and Colonialism in Eastern India: Bihar 1760s-1880s, published in 2012, is part of a series on Modern South Asian History by the Anthem publishing house that explores the multiple themes and methodological standpoints within South Asian History. The volume, written by Nitin Sinha, research fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (Centre for Modern Oriental Studies) in Berlin, Germany, focuses on the Indian state of Bihar between 1760s and 1880s and reveals the contradictory nature of the colonial state’s policies and discourses on communication.
The book particularly examines the relationship between trade, transport and mobility in India, illustrating the ways in which knowledge about roads and routes was collected through travels, tours, and surveys which allowed the state to regulate ‘undesirable’ forms of mobility. However the book reveals that the history of colonial communication is not just a story of displacement but also one of realignment. This way the book provides a nuanced account and important work for scholars of colonial South Asia and particularly for those in interested in Communication and Colonialism. Full information about the book.
Routledge publishes Handbook of Contemporary India
Routledge Handbook of Contemporary India, edited by Knut A. Jacobsen, Professor in History of Religions at Bergen University, Norway. Routledge 2015. The book consists of chapters by the foremost scholars dealing with India’s current cultural and social transformation, particularly concentrating on the ways in which India emerged after the economic reforms and the new economic policies introduced in the 1980s and 1990s and its development in the early twenty-first century. The handbook is divided in five parts, including chapters on India’s foundation, to sections on society, class, caste and gender as well as chapters on religion and society and cultural change. This all against the backdrop of India as one of the most diverse and pluralistic nations in the world in terms of languages, cultures, religions and social identities. Indians have for centuries exchanged ideas with other cultures globally and some traditions have been transformed in those transnational and trancultural encounters and become succesful innovations with extraordinary global popularity. India is an emerging global power in terms of economy but in spite of the country’s economic growth over the previous decades some of the most serious problems of Indian society such as poverty, repression of women, inequality do not seem to go away. The work provides and extensive introductory account on this broad set of issues. For more information about the book and to order a copy see the Routledge website.
Excellent fresh political history of Pakistan by Christophe Jaffrelot
The Pakistan Paradox. Instability and Resilience. By Dr Christophe Jaffrelot, Research Director at CNRS and teaching South Asian politics and history at Sciences Po (Paris). Random House, June 2015. An excellent fresh political history of Pakistan that explains the resilience of the state and its people and how both persevere against the odds. Pakistan was born as the creation of elite Urdu-speaking Muslims who sought to govern a state that would maintain their dominance. After rallying non-Urdu speaking leaders around him, Jinnah imposed a unitary definition of the new nation state that obliterated linguistic diversity. This centralisation — ‘justified’ by the Indian threat — fostered centrifugal forces that resulted in Bengali secessionism in 1971 and Baloch, as well as Mohajir, separatisms today. Concentration of power in the hands of the establishment remained the norm, and while authoritarianism peaked under military rule, democracy failed to usher in reform, and the rule of law remained fragile at best under Zulfikar Bhutto and later Nawaz Sharif. While Jinnah and Ayub Khan regarded religion as a cultural marker, since their time theIslamists have gradually prevailed. They benefited from the support of General Zia, while others, including sectarian groups, cashed in on their struggle against the establishment to woo the disenfranchised. Today, Pakistan faces existential challenges ranging from ethnic strife to Islamism, two sources of instability which hark back to elite domination.
Edited volume on Young Sikhs in Europe
Young Sikhs in a Global World: Negotiating Traditions, Identities and Authorities edited by Prof. Knut A. Jacobsen, University of Bergen, and Dr. Kristina Myrvold, Linnaeus University, Växjö. Ashgate, 2015. In attempting to carve out a place for themselves in local and global contexts, young Sikhs mobilize efforts to construct, choose, and emphasize different aspects of religious and cultural identification depending on their social setting and context. Young Sikhs in a Global World presents current research on young Sikhs with multicultural and transnational life-styles and considers how they interpret, shape and negotiate religious identities, traditions, and authority on an individual and collective level.
With a particular focus on the experiences of second generation Sikhs as they interact with various people in different social fields and cultural contexts, the book is constructed around three parts: ‘family and home’, ‘public display and gender’, and ‘reflexivity and translations’. New scholarly voices and established academics present qualitative research and ethnographic fieldwork and analyse how young Sikhs try to solve social, intellectual and psychological tensions between the family and the expectations of the majority society, between Punjabi culture and religious values.
Includes articles by Jasjit Singh on Family and Home: Family values: the impact of family background on the religious lives of young British Sikhs; Meenakshi Thapan on Punjabi youth in northern Italy; Nicola Mooney on The impossible hybridity of hair: Kesh, gender and the third space; and Doris R Jacobs on Marking the female Sikh body: reformulating and legitimating Sikh women’s turbaned identity on the World Wide Web.
Edited volume on the global reception of RabindranathTagore
Rabindranath Tagore: One Hundred Years of Global Reception. Edited volume by Martin Kämpchen, Imre Bangha and Uma Das Gupta. Orient Black Swan 2014. When Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his own English translation of Gitanjali (Song Offerings), he became the first non-European to do so, achieving immediate fame.Translations in other languages of this and other works followed. Reams were written on his writings, and his personality. As a world citizen, Tagore aimed at bringing the ‘East’ and the ‘West’ together for an inclusive humanism. His was assumed to be the Voice of India – indeed of Asia and the colonised world. The Nobel Prize gave him the authority to speak, and the intellectual elite of many countries listened. The editors of this excellent book asked Tagore experts worldwide to narrate how the Bengali author was received from 1913 until our time. Their thirty-five essays arranged by region or language group inform us about translations, the impact of Tagore’s visits, and his subsequent standing in the world of letters. The well-informed chapter on the response in Scandinavia is written by Dr. Mirja Juntunen (Miriya Malik), previously connected to the universities of Stockholm, Uppsala and Aarhus. More information.
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).
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 Teltscher. More information.
Read an article about this fascinating anglo-indian dictionary by Rahul Vermaon 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.
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…
Pioneer work on the Media Landscape in BRICS countries
Mapping BRICS Media. Routledge 2015. Edited by Kaarle Nordenstreng, Professor Emeritus of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Tampere, Finland, and Daya Kishan Thussu, Professor of International Communication at the University of Westminster in London. This is the first comprehensive and comparative study of the emerging media landscape in the world’s most dynamic markets. This pioneering collection focuses on one of the key topics in contemporary international relations – the emergence of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The volume brings together distinguished scholars from the BRICS nations to assess the effects of the exponential growth in media in some of the world’s fastest growing major economies and examine how the emergence will impact on global media and communication. Transnational in scope, the book focuses on significant and yet hitherto largely ignored developments in the globalization of media. By interrogating the relationship between the inter-BRICS media and media practices and perceptions, this volume provides an accessible and critical guide to the complex debates about the impact of the ‘rise of the rest’ on the media globe. Read more.
PIPS study on Development of a Jihadi character in Pakistan
The Militant: Development of a Jihadi character in Pakistan, by Muhammad Amir Rana, Director, Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in Islamabad. This book mainly focuses on the development of the militant’s character in recent years. The phases of militant discourse have completely changed his personality. The militant of the 1990s and the militants in the making today have huge differences. The first generation of militants was adventurous, but the new militant has clarity of ideology and objectives. A lot of work has been done to understand militancy and terrorism, but very few attempts have been made to comprehend the characteristics of militants. This can provide better understanding of the phenomenon as a militant experiences all the challenges and consequences of transformation. More information.
Essays on Joseph Needham and the history of science in India
Needham’s Indian Network: The Search for a Home for the History of Science in India. Yoda Press 2015. By Dhruv Raina, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. The essays appearing in this book attempt to create a space for the disciplinary history of science in India in the first few decades following the achievement of independence from colonial rule. The 1950s were marked by a number of efforts in nation building, in a variety of spheres, and in the present volume, Dhruv Raina looks at the role envisaged for the history of science, as it was ensconced within the science academies that played a fundamental role in the institutionalisation of science in independent India. In doing so, he effectively analyses the conditions of production of the disciplinary history of science in India. More information.
Dhruv Raina defended his PhD at the Dept. of Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, in 1999. The thesis was entitled ”Nationalism, Institutional Science and the Politics of Knowledge: Ancient Indian Astronomy and Mathematics in the Landscape of French Enlightenment Historiography” (more information).
Economic Cooperation and Infrastructural Linkages between Two Punjabs: Way Ahead
In September 2010, an edited colume entitled ”Economic Cooperation and Infrastructural Linkages between Two Punjabs: Way Ahead” was published by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development in Chandigarh, India. The book seeks to explore the possibility and benefits of resumption of natural and historical development processes between two Punjabs (East which is part of India, and West that is part of Pakistan) looking closer at the possibility of infrastructure linkages between the two regions. It presents a study that claims that closer cooperation between the two regions around infrastructure would bring benefits on account of low prices of directly imported goods and economy in transport via live rail links reducing shipping charges, transshipment costs, storage cost, etc. The book focuses on six areas, within which infrastructure linkages between the two Punjabs can be explored, namely energy; extension services and marketing in agriculture; transport, communication and logistics; credit and banking infrastructure; health sector; and education.
The authors contributing with articles are Sucha Singh Gill (on photo), Ranjit Singh Ghuman, Inderjeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, and Jaswinder Singh Brar. Professor Sucha Singh Gill is one of the foremost social scientists in India when it comes to the analysis of agricultural transformation and rural change with a specialization on Punjab and Northwest Indian agriculture. He was a guest scholar at the Dept. of Sociology at Lund University in 2006.
More information about the book.
Read more about Prof Sucha Gill.
New book on Women Empowerment in India
Women Empowerment in India, edited by Shamim Asmat and Chanda Devi. Mittal Publications 2012.
This publication, which comes in two volumes, looks at women in India and the issue about women empowerment. Women in India now participate in all activities, such as education, politics, media, art and culture, service sector, science, technology and sports, etc. The status of women in India has been subject to many a great change over the past few millennia. From equal status with men in ancient times, through the low points of the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been quite eventful. The Constitution of India guarantees to women, equality, no discrimination by the State, equality of opportunity equal pay for equal work, etc. In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women. The feminist activism in India picked up momentum, during late 1970s. Female activists are united over various issues. Indian woman plays a vital role. Her image has changed from that of a housewife to a useful person in almost all spheres. A woman’s physical weakness is no longer a barrier in getting herself established in the modern world. This book, in its comprehensive and compact form is an asset for scholars, researchers, social activists and general readers, alike.
Go for the book.
Thirty Years of Conflict: Drivers of Anti-Government Mobilisation in Afghanistan 1978-2011, by Dr Antonio Giustozzi, traces structural factors driving anti-government mobilisation in Afghanistan in each successive phase of the country’s thirty years of conflicts. Drawing on extensive literature from both international and Afghan sources, it analyses the social and political forces behind the ideological war of the 1980s, the factional conflict of the 1990s, and the current insurgency. In doing so, it explores how such an extended period of warfare has fundamentally reshaped Afghan society, spurring changes which have in their turn altered why the conflict is fought.
The study also devotes specific focus to examining the Taliban as an example of a political organisation enabling and driving conflict. Starting with the origins of the Taliban insurgency, it goes on to explore what is known about its ability to mobilise communities and the kind of non-military, tacit support it receives from them. It also looks at the role played by different groups of individuals such as mullahs, madrassa students and young people, and the economic and funding dimensions of the movement.
Published by Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in Kabul, January 2012. The book is now available for download at www.areu.org.af.
Interesting articles on the East India Company
The current economic crisis have brought attention to look closer at the case of the East India Company – the largest at its time trully international state-backed company. SASNET recommends two excellent articles that explore this topic and analyse the company’s successes and failure in a contemporary context. The first article is published in the 2011 Christmas special edition of the Economist and is entitled ”The East India Company – The Company that ruled the waves”. Read the article.
The second article, entitled ”Loot: in search of the East India Company”, was written by Nick Robins and published by OPendemocracy.net already in 2003. Read the article.
More articles recommended for reading can be found in SASNET’s special page here.
New book on Yoga Powers, edited by Knut A. Jacobsen
The book, entitled “Yoga Powers – Extraordinary Capacities Attained Through Meditation and Concentration” is published by BRILL, and was released in the end of 2011. It is edited by Professor Knut A. Jacobsen, Dept. of History of Religion, University of Bergen. His present book focuses on the extraordinary capacities called yoga powers that are at the core of the religious imagination in the history of religions in South Asia – a topic neglected in the research on yoga and meditation traditions. Yoga powers explained the divine, the highest gods were thought of as great yogins, and since major religious traditions considered their attainment as an inevitable part of the salvific process the textual traditions had to provide rational analyses of the powers. The essays of the book provide a number of new insights in the yoga powers and their history, position and function in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions, in classical Yoga, Haṭha Yoga, Tantra and Śaiva textual traditions, in South Asian medieval and modern hagographies, and in some contemporary yoga traditions. Brill.
Go for the book.
Swedish book on Learning Diversity in India
Learning Diversity in India: Do Priorities in Primary Education Enable Capabilities, Enhance Equal Opportunities and Encourage Cultural Diversity?. Written by Martin Eksath, MSc from the Dept. of Sociology, Lund University, currently working with the Swedish School Inspectorate with quality assessement, project management and social outcomes.
The author is an educationalist with a strong belief in diversity as a necissitate for a vivid democracy. He has a strong interest in the priorities of education in India.
India is sometimes described as a democracy forged together with a strong sense of unity in its diversity. Simultaneously, the possibility of real democracy in a country marked with social inequality, depths of poverty and low rates of literacy could be questioned. This book relates to the focal point where education, democracy, development and politics team up in educational policies and reforms. India has subscribed to the goals of education for all by 2015 and has embarked on immense priorities in education to reach the goals. However, goals are often measured in rather narrow terms of outcomes of literacy or school attendance. But what is the relevance of education and the meaning of school attendance if it does not furnish for essential capabilities to cope with life? Without doubt, primary education of good quality is necessitous to development, democracy and social inclusion. By the use of a mixed methods design, this book explores and reflects upon the initiatives taken in primary education and discusses whether they have the potential to enable capabilities, enhance equal opportunities and encourage cultural diversity among the children in India.
Lawrence Saez writes on SAARC’s effectiveness as an organisation
In his new book, which will be of interest to Asian security studies and institutions in general, Dr. Lawrence Saez from the Centre for South Asian Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London examines the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) institutional structure, objectives and effectiveness in it’s role as South Asia’s leading regional institution. The book focuses also on providing a comprehensive introduction to the SAARC, describing the historical developments that lead to its formation and examining issues such as: the inner workings of Regional Centres and, their success in implementing the decisions reached at SAARC summits. The work of SAARC to address critical new security challenges, such as health pandemics, terrorism, energy security South Asia’s economic cooperation and the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) Challenges that expansion pose to the organization, particularly China’s suggestion to expand beyond the traditional borders of South Asia are also examined. Routledge.
Go for the book.
Dr. Saez soon publishes yet another book, entitled ”New Dimensions of Politics in India”. In the book, Saez critically examines the performance of the current Indian United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ruling government. The book offers new insights into the structure of Indian politics, and is a useful contribution to studies in South Asian Politics, Governance and Political Parties. Routledge.
Go for this book.
Making peace with the Taliban, at what cost? – new report on Afghanistan
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has published a research report entitled ”Making peace with the Taliban, at what cost? Seven keys to a just peace for the people of Afghanistan”, that examines the current challenges to ensuring a just peace process in the country.
The report, inspired by the approaching Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, to be held on 5 December 2011, stresses that the security situation for the common people is steadily deteriorating, and the current peacemaking policy is not efficient in guaranteeing peace. FIDH makes seven proposals for change to occur and the process to move in a positive direction. Among these are strengthening the human rights, especially with regards to women’s rights, as well as social, cultural and economic ones. Read the full report.
Power, Knowledge, Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals in India
“Power, Knowledge, Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals in India” by Dr Madhurlika Banerjee, University of Delhi
The book explores the transformation of the understanding of modern Ayurveda. It draws insights from a number of disciplines that have analysed various aspects of Ayurveda making sense of some of the big changes that have marked its transformation in the twentieth century. The author argues that this transformation cannot be seen as purely cognitive, technological or economic change, for it involves an irreducible political play between regimes of knowledge and exercise of state power. It also argues that processes of commercialisation and standardisation have resulted in pharmaceuticalisation of this ancient medical system accounting for both the resilience and shrinkage of Ayurveda as a medical system. The book might be of interest for any social scientist interested in technological choice, knowledge and power or alternative modernity. Orient Blackswan, Hyderabad
Unruly Hills: Nature and Nation in India’s Northeast, by Beppe Karlsson
Unruly Hills: Nature and Nation in India’s Northeast, by Beppe Karlsson, Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. This book summarises the 10 year old research project on the politics of indigenousness and nature in India. More particularly, it related to the struggle over forests and natural resources in Meghalaya, a small hill state of about two million people situated in the north-eastern region, where the majority of the population (about 85 %) are indigenous peoples or so-called ”scheduled tribes”; the main ones being the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people. The focus of the project was to investigate discourses or regimes of nature and how a number of actors perceive, engage with and claim nature. Social Science Press/Orient Black Swan, January 2011.
Religion, Caste & Politics in India by Christophe Jaffrelot
Religion, Caste & Politics in India by Christophe Jaffrelot, Centre d’ Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS) in Paris. After Independence the Nehruvian approach to socialism in India rested upon three pillars: secularism and democracy in the political domain; state intervention in the economy; and diplomatic Non-Alignment mitigated by pro-Soviet leanings after the 1960s. These features defined the ‘Indian model’, and even the country’s political identity. From this starting point Christophe Jaffrelot explores the manner in which some of these dimensions have been transformed over the course of time, more especially since the 1980-90s. The world’s largest democracy has sustained itself by making more room, not only for the vernacular politicians of the linguistic states, but also for Dalits and OBCs, at least after the Mandal Commission report. But the simultaneous-and related-rise of Hindu nationalism has put the minorities-and secularism-on the defensive, and in many ways the rule of law is on trial too. The liberalisaton of the economy has resulted in growth but not necessarily in development: while the new middle class is changing the face of urban India, the rural areas lag behind and inequalities have become more acute. India has also acquired a new global status, that of an emerging power seeking new political and economic partnerships in Asia and in the West, where the United States remains the first choice of the Indian middle class. The traditional Nehruvian system is giving way to a less cohesive but a more active India, a country that has already become what it is against all the odds. Christophe Jaffrelot tracks India’s tumultuous journey of recent decades, exploring the role of religion, caste and politics in weaving the fabric of a modern democratic state. Hurst, 2010.
Trysts with Democracy. Political Practice in South Asia.
Trysts with Democracy. Political Practice in South Asia. Edited by Scandinavian researchers Stig Toft Madsen, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Uwe Skoda. A cross-disciplinary approach to the diverse and entangled political and democratic practices of South Asia. This volume addresses the current configuration of democratic politics in South Asia from a cross-disciplinary perspective. The essays seek to examine the larger questions of how democratic values are embedded in social and political institutions, and how localised and everyday political values inform the multiple ways in which democracy is understood and practised. One of the strengths of this collection is the fact that it does not seek to provide answers to these questions from within one academic discipline only, but rather brings together scholars with backgrounds in a variety of social science disciplines and the humanities. Anthem Press March 2011.
The Politics of Religion in South and Southeast Asia.
The Politics of Religion in South and Southeast Asia. Edited by Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus at the Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University. The notion of a ‘politics of religion’ refers to the increasing role that religion plays in the politics of the contemporary world. This book presents comparative country case studies on the politics of religion in South and South Asia, including India, Pakistan and Indonesia. The politics of religion calls into question the relevance of modernist notions of secularism and democracy, with the emphasis instead on going back to indigenous roots in search of authentic ideologies and models of state and nation building. Within the context of the individual countries, chapters focus on the consequences that politics of religion has on inclusive nation-building, democracy and the rights of individuals, minorities and women. Routledge May 2011.
Himalayan Languages and Linguistics. Studies in Phonology, Semantics, Morphology and Syntax
Himalayan Languages and Linguistics. Studies in Phonology, Semantics, Morphology and Syntax, by Mark Turin, University of Cambridge where he directs the Digital Himalaya and World Oral Literature Projects, and Bettina Zeisler, Free University Berlin. The book gathers together nine outstanding and original contributions on the Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan languages of this important and culturally diverse mountainous area. Filling a marked gap in our understanding of the languages of this underdocumented region, the collection offers a snapshot of the state of the field of Himalayan language research and linguistic comparison. Draws on primary fieldwork in China, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library 2011.
Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’
Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’, a collection of articles by Pakistani scholars offering an “insiders’ perspective” on Pakistan, edited by Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistani Ambassador in Washington from 1999 to 2002 and then in London from 2003 to 2008. According to Ms Lodhi, it is intended to challenge the “doomsday scenarios” about Pakistan painted by “outsiders”. Hurst & Company, May 2011.
The Politics of Belonging in India. Becoming Adivasi.
The Politics of Belonging in India. Becoming Adivasi. Edited by Daniel J. Rycroft and Sangeeta Dasgupta. Since the 1990s, the Indigenous movement worldwide has become increasingly relevant to research in India, re-shaping the terms of engagement with Adivasi (Indigenous/tribal) peoples and their pasts. This book responds to the growing need for an inter-disciplinary re-assessment of Tribal studies in postcolonial India and defines a new agenda for Adivasi studies. It considers the existing conceptual and historical parameters of Tribal studies, as a means of addressing new approaches to histories of de-colonization and patterns of identity-formation that have become visible since national independence. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, March 2011.
Pakistan – Upprorens land by Dr. Henrik Chetan Aspengren
Pakistan – Upprorens land by Dr. Henrik Chetan Aspengren, Dept. of History, Uppsala University, who has lived for a long period in Pakistan. In his Swedish language book, the author mixes writings on South Asian history with travel writing. Through detailed descriptions on life in, for example, a Sufi-shrine in Sindh, or a village of land less peasants in Malakand close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Aspengren discusses a wide range of topics: the Pakistani military’s role in politics; struggles for women’s rights, democracy, or land rights; religious tolerance and extremism. As such, the book provides social and historic context to events reported in the news. Norstedts, April 2011.
Older books recommended for reading
Post-War Reconstruction in Sri Lanka: Prospects and Challenges, edited by Dr Dhammika Herath, Dr. Kristine Höglund, Dr. Michael Schulz, and Prof. K.T Silva. Launched in December 2010 by the International Center for Ethnic Studies, it consists of a collection of papers from the first ever conference on “Peace and Development in Sri Lanka” which took place in Kandy, 23-25 August 2009. The purpose of the conference was to bring together and initiate a process of dialogue among local and international researchers and doctoral students, who study peace and development issues in Sri Lanka, and practitioners seeking to address the same issues. The practitioner side was represented by professionals engaged in peace and development through their work in International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and government institutions. The papers in this book reflect the participants’ practical experience and research findings stemming from ongoing research projects.
Struggle Against the State. Social Network and Protest Mobilization in India. By Ashok Swain, Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University (and Director, Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development), demonstrates how displaced people mobilize to protest with the help of their social networks. Studying protests against large industrial and development projects, Swain compares the mobilization process between a traditionally protest rich and a protest poor region in India to explain how social network structures are a key component to understand this variation. He reveals how improved mobilization capability coincides with their evolving social network structure thanks to recent exposure to external actors like religious missionaries and radical left activists.
The in-depth examination of the existing literature on social mobilization and extensive fieldwork conducted in India make this book a well-organized and useful resource to analyze protest mobilization in developing regions. Ashgate, Abingdon, UK, August 2010.
Power and politics in the shadow of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict. Report edited by Dr.CamillaOrjuela, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, with chapters written by Dr.SunilBastian, Dr. Sepali Kottegoda and Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda. It discusses the development in the country after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, that brought Sri Lanka’s 26 year long civil war to an e
nd. It also led to a dramatic change in power relations in the island, where politics and everyday life had for decades been dominated by the conflict between the government forces and the Tamil rebels. Throughout Sri Lanka’s modern history, the nationalist projects of the two main conflict parties have dominated the struggles for – and the analysis of – power. This publication highlights other important aspects of power, while also relating them to the armed conflict. The report is published by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), as Sida Studies No. 25.
Curfewed Night: A Frontline Memoir of Life, Love and War in Kashmir, by Basharat Peer. Gives a unique insight into life in a conflict zone, the writer’s own upbringing and life as a child and youngster. It is also the beautifully written report of a journalist who returns to the valley and tries to understand how the conflict has influenced people. This he does by traveling around and meeting people – people who have been affected by the war in some particular way, including his own familiy members.Harper Collins, Australia, 2010.
The Partition of India. By Ian Talbot, and Gurharpal Singh. This volume – which comes with an arresting cover illustration showing Indian Border Security Force personnel and Pakistani Rangers at the daily flag-lowering ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border at Wagah – is an important contribution to our understanding of the multiple meanings of the Partition of India in August 1947. That momentous upheaval not only tore through the social fabric of northern India, uprooting millions amid horrific violence, but left behind important legacies such as the emergence of highly centralized – yet very different – state systems in India and Pakistan and the creation of an “enduring rivalry” between the two nuclear-armed nations. Drawing upon their own major works on pre-Partition Punjab and post-independence India and Pakistan as well as the new Partition historiography that has emerged in recent years, Talbot and Singh set out to explore not just the causes and immediate and long-term consequences of that fateful event but also the kaleidoscopic historical interpretations that 1947 is open to: as the authors note, the Partition is so rich as an ideological resource that in both India and Pakistan “its possibilities are continuously reconstructed at both state and community level” to shore up state legitimacy and community self-identity. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009
1857: War of Independence or a Clash of Civilizations? British Public Reactions. Salahuddin Malik examines the complicated and divergent reactions of British public opinion (as expressed through the printed word) to the Indian rebellion in 1857. Extensive use of pamphlets, religious tracts, newspapers, periodicals, and sermons (many of which had been previously undiscovered) mak
es Malik’s work essential to understanding not only the 1857 rebellion, but also British attitudes towards India and imperialism generally. Scholars or students who still generalize about nineteenth-century British thinking on empire will be given pause by the wide range of responses and arguments about the causes of the revolt and what it meant for British India. Oxford University Press, 2008
India and Central Asia: The Mythmaking and International Relations of a Rising Power. Emilian Kavalski, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, School of Humanities, University of Western Sydney, Australia, writing on India’s role in global politics, and how it draws increasing attention from the international community. Unprecedented economic growth in the recent past, rising fundamentalism in national politics, and the knife-edge of nuclear-fuelled tension with an unstable Islamic government in Pakistan, are all bound up in Indian claims to geopolitical ascendance. At the same time, Central Asia has re-emerged as a site of international contestation or a ‘new Great Game’, with Russia, China and the US vying over security and energy interests in a politically unstable region. I.B. Tauris, 2010.
The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness. Ghosts from Elsewhere. Tabish Khair, Dept. of Literature, Aarhus University, Denmark, re-examines the role of the colonial/racial Other in mainstream Gothic (colonial) fiction. He goes on to engage with the problem of narrating the ‘subaltern’ in the post-colonial context. It engages with the problems of representing ‘difference’ in lucid conceptual terms, with much attention to primary texts, and highlights the strengths and weaknesses of colonial discourses as well as postcolonialist attempts to ‘write back.’ Palgrave Macmillan 2009
Violence and Belonging. Land, Love and Lethal Conflict in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Are Knudsen, Research Director at the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, examines the meanings of lethal conflict in a little-studied tribal society in Pakistan’s unruly North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and offers a new perspective on its causes. Based on an in-depth study of local conflicts, the book challenges stereotyped images of a region and people miscast as extremist and militant. The book is the first ethnographic study of this region since renowned anthropologist Fredrik Barth’s pioneering study in 1954. NIAS Press 2009.
• People of the Jangal. Reformulating Identities and Adaptations in Crisis. Edited by Marine Carrin andHarald Tambs Lyche, including articles by Peter B. Andersen, University of Copenhagen and Gunnel Cederlöf, Uppsala University. Focuses on globalization processes linking centres of power and culture all over the world, surrounded by peripheries, whose integration in the global paradigm is neither an inevitable nor an automatic process. In South Asia, such peripheries seem a long way from the cosmopolitanism of Bombay or Bangalore and the crisis is hardly the same to the ecologist statesman and the herdsman looking for pasture. Societies in the South Asian wilderness – Jangal – are closely tied to the environment but peripheral to the system of power. The peripheral groups studied in this volume are the Santals, the Rona, the Bondo, the Pengs of Orissa, the Jadopatias of Bengal, the Kulava of Kerala and the Todas of Nilgiri among others. Manohar Books 2008.
Important new books by Scandinavian scholars on South Asia, December 2007–April 2008:
Gunnel Cederlöf, Dept. of History, Uppsala University: Landscapes and the Law: Environmental Politics, Regional Histories, and Contests over Nature (Permanent Black, Delhi).
Sten Widmalm, Dept. of Government, Uppsala University: Decentralisation, Corruption and Social Capital. From India to the West (SAGE Publications).
Peter Schalk, Dept. of History of Religions, Faculty of Theology; Uppsala University: Die Lehre der Befreiungstiger Tamililams von der Selbstvernichtung durch göttliche Askese: Vorlage der Quelle ÜBERLEGUNGEN DES ANFÜHRERS.
Antoon Geels, Dept. of Psychology of Religion, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University: Religiös besinning och besinningslös religion. Tankar om terror i Guds namn, Buddhism och global andlighet.
Knut Jacobsen, Dept. of History of Religions, Bergen University: South Asian Religions on Display: Religious Processions in South Asia and in the Diaspora (Ed., Routledge).
• Globalization, Development and The State. The Performance of India and Brazil since 1990. Associate Professor Jørgen Dige Pedersen, Dept. of Political Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark presents the story of how India and Brazil have managed the challenges of economic globalization since 1990. Using an innovative combination of theories of developmental states with theories on the changing nature of global capitalism, the analysis presented here explains how India and Brazil have successfully managed those challenges that the opening of their economies has introduced, and their different degrees of success.Palgrave Macmillan 2008.
• In the Presence of Sai Baba. Body, City, and Memory in a Global Religious Movement. Smriti Srinivas, Associate Professor of Anthropolo
gy, University of California, Davis, on the Sai Baba movement. It is centered on the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba (b. 1926), today attracting a global following from Japan to South Africa. Regarded as a divine incarnation, Sathya Sai Baba traces his genealogy to Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918), a mendicant in colonial India identified with various Sufi and devotional genealogies. The movement, thus, has “roots” in Shirdi Sai Baba but as it globalizes, it has developed conjunctions with other religious traditions, New Religious movements, and New Age ideas. Orient Longman, Hyderabad 2008.
• A Unique Crime: Understanding Rape in India. In this volume, edited by the Kolkata based journalist Swati Bhattacharjee, articles are put together from various lawyers, doctors, activists, journalists and researchers. The contributors include Parul Sharma, Dept. of Law, Stockholm University. The book aims to develop a discourse on rape that will move on from pre-fabricated ideological frameworks to a multi-dimentional, many-layered dialogue. Gangchil/Kolkata Book Fair 2008.
• The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays. Utsa Patnaik, Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, comments on the state of economics as a discipline today, as on the economic policies that are ruining the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the Third World. The unifying theme of her essays is the impact on the Third World of the new imperialism in the present era, which takes the form of deflationary neo-liberal ‘economic reforms’, a thrust towards free trade and subservient agriculture. She shows how these policies are causing unprecedented rural distress and universal hunger in the developing countries including India. Hers is a voice of sanity, conscience and true scholarship. Three Essays Collective 2007.
• The Horse, the Wheel, and Language. How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. David W. Anthony, professor of anthropology at Hartwick College, UK, solves a puzzle that has vexed scholars for two centuries – the source of the Indo-European languages and English – and recovers a magnificent and influential civilization from the past. Princeton University Press 2007.
• Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China. New work by Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot, Center for International Studies and Research, Paris; and Peter van der Veer, University of Utrecht, Netherlands. It is a book about the emerging patterns of consumption among the middle classes of India and China, comparing cultural shifts as a result of liberalization and globalization in these two emerging Asian powers. This volume does not compare India and China to the West, as books on similar subjects have done in the past. Instead they are compared with each other. SAGE Publications2008
• Consumption and the Transformation of Everyday Life A View from South India. Associate Professor Harold Wilhite, Centre for Development and Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, contributes to the interpretation of changing consumption in India and to other rapidly developing countries in the South. The author uses an ethnographic approach centred in the Indian state of Kerala to interrogate why and how consumption of household durables, beauty and cleanliness products are growing rapidly. The analysis examines the importance of India’s ‘opening’ to global capitalism after 1991, but also explores the contribution of family, gender, work migration and advertising to changing patterns of consumption. It also shows how changes in the built environment and new technologies regimes associated with energy and water have contributed to changing consumption practices. Palgrave Macmillan August 2008.
• The City in South Asia, by Prof. James Heitzman, about the macro-region of South Asia – including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – that today supports one of the world’s greatest concentrations of cities, but as Heitzman argues in the first comprehensive treatment of urban South Asia, this has been the case for at least 5,000 years. Routledge 2008. This is a new volume in a Routledge publication series titled ”Asia’s Transformations/Asia’s Great Cities”. Prof. Heizman has earlier, in 2004, also written a book titled ”Network City. Planning the Information Society in Bangalore”. Another volume in the same series was ”Representing Calcutta. Modernity, Nationalism and the Colonial Uncanny” by Dr. Swati Chattopadhyay, published in 2005.
• Red Sun: Travels In Naxalite Country. In this brilliant and disturbing examination of the ‘Other India’, Sudeep Chakravarti combines political history, extensive interviews and individual case histories as he travels to the heart of Maoist zones in the country: Chhattisgarh (home to the controversial state-sponsored Salwa Judum programme to contain Naxalism), Jharkhand, West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (where a serving chief minister was nearly killed in a landmine explosion triggered by the Naxalites). He meets Maoist leaders and sympathizers, policemen, bureaucrats, politicians, security analysts, development workers, farmers and tribals—people, big and small, who comprise the actors and the audience in this war being fought in jungles and impoverished villages across India. What emerges is a sobering picture of a deeply divided society, and the dangers that lie ahead for India. Penguin/Viking 2007.
• The Sardar Sarovar Dam Project. Selected Documents. Dr Philippe Cullet, Senior Lecturer in Law at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, provides an easily accessible source for all the main documents relating to this landmark project,one of the most debated development projects of the past several decades at both an international level and within India itself. This compilation will be a valuable resource for researchers and policy-makers working in the areas of International Environmental Law and International Development Law. Ashgate, Aldershot 2007.
• Promoting Democracy in Fragile States under Conditions of State Fragility, Issue 1: Afghanistan. Publication including chapters on ”The Dilemma of Reconstruction in Afghanistan: International Intervention between the State, Civil Society and Traditional Elites” by Conrad Schetter; on ”Gender in Afghanistan” by Sippi Azerbaijani Moghaddam; and ”Integration of Traditional Structures into the State-building Process: Lessons from the Tribal Liaison Office in Loya Paktia” by Masood Karokhail and Susanne Schmeidl. Volume edited by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin 2006.
• To Make the Deaf Hear: Ideology and Programme of Bhagat Singh and His Comrades, by the historian S. Irfan Habib, working at the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), New Delhi. The book highlights many hitherto neglected aspects of the evolution of Bhagat Singh as a national hero, and describes the momentous decades of the 1920s and early 30s when the left-radical agenda came to occupy a huge space on the Indian Subcontinent. Three Essays Collective, 2007.
• The New Silk Roads. Transport and Trade in Greater Central Asia. Volume published in 2007, by the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, the joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center run by Johns Hopkins University and Uppsala University; edited by S. Frederick Starr. The book includes contributions by eminent scholars from sixteen countries (including Afghanistan, Pakistan and India), reviewing the state of the links of transport and trade that are bringing about this fundamental change on the world’s largest continent. It explores the potential of such interchange for fifteen of the countries most directly affected by it. It identifies some of the many impediments to the full realization of this epochal project. And it suggests a few steps that might be taken to ameliorate or remove these impediments. All articles available as pdf-files.
• Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. A detailed exposition by Ayesha Siddiqa, well-known strategic affairs analyst, of the business and commercial empire run by the armed forces in Pakistan. Pluto Press, London, 2007.
• The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future, by Martha C. Nussbaum, professor in the philosophy department, law school, divinity school, and the college at the University of Chicago. The author examines the Hindu extremism appearing in late February and March 2002 in the prosperous western Indian state of Gujarat. In a region internationally famous for its business communities, Hindu mobs lynched over two thousand Muslims and left more than two hundred thousand homeless. Nussbaum wishes to introduce her Western readers to “a complex and chilling case of religious violence that does not fit some common stereotypes about the sources o religious violence in today’s world. Read a review by Pankaj Mishra in New York Review of Books, titled ”Impasse in India”.Belknap Press/Harvard University Press 2007.
• The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays, by Utsa Patnaik, Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. As much a comment on the state of economics as a discipline today, as on the economic policies that are ruining the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the Third World. The unifying theme of her essays is the impact on the Third World of the new imperialism in the present era, which takes the form of deflationary neo-liberal ‘economic reforms’, a thrust towards free trade and subservient agriculture. She shows how these policies are causing unprecedented rural distress and universal hunger in the developing countries including India. Three Essays Collective 2007.
• India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy, by Ramachandra Guha. So long as the Constitution is not amended beyond recognition, so long as elections are held regularly and fairly and the ethos of secularism broadly prevails, so long as citizens can speak and write in the language of their choosing, so long as there is an integrated market and a moderately efficient civil service and army, and so long as Hindi films are watched and their songs sung, India will survive, Guha concludes his book. Picador India, 2007.
• Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military by Husain Haqqani, leading Pakistani journalist and former diplomat, who served as a former adviser to three Pakistani prime ministers. Presently a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C, USA. This book analyzes the origins of the relationships between Islamist groups and Pakistan’s military, and explores Pakistan’s quest for identity and security. Tracing how the military has sought U.S. support by making itself useful for concerns-of-the-moment—while continuing to strengthen the mosque-military alliance within Pakistan—the book offers an alternative view of political developments in Pakistan since independence in 1947. Published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005.
• Untouchability in Rural India. Authored by Ghanshyam Shah, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences; Wassenaar Harsh Mander, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi; Sukhadeo Thorat, University Grants Commission, Delhi; Satish Deshpande, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi; and Amita Baviskar, Institute for Economic Growth, Delhi. The book presents systematic evidence of the incidence and extent of the practice of untouchability in contemporary India. It is based on the results of a very large survey covering 560 villages in 11 states, which found that untouchability continues to be widely prevalent and is practiced in one form or another in almost 80 percent of the villages. Sage Publications 2006. The results from this book were highlighhted in the resolution on the human rights situation of Dalits in India, adopted by the European Parliament on 1 February 2007.
• Locked Homes, Empty Schools: The Impact of Distress Seasonal Migration on the Rural Poor, by Smita, who used to work for the Sida supported Lok Jumbish project in Rajasthan. Photographs by Prashant Panjiar, and a foreward by Amartya Sen. Every year millions of impoverished families living in the rainfed parts of India leave their homes in search of work. Forced to migrate due to a livelihoods collapse in the villages, these distress seasonal migrants shut up their spartan homes, take a few meager belongings and move, often across long distances. This study, commissioned by the American India Foundation, draws on the work of four NGOs in different parts of India, and in different sectors: sugarcane harvesting in Maharashtra, salt pan, roof tile and charcoal making in Gujarat, and brick kiln migrations from Orissa to Andhra Pradesh. Book brought out by the American India Foundation (AIF) and publishing house Zubaan 2006.
• Lesser-Known Languages of South Asia Status and Policies, Case Studies and Applications of Information Technology, efited by Anju Saxena and Lars Borin. The volume brings together areas of research on a large number of smaller languages in South Asia. It provides basic knowledge about the problems involved and some directions from which solutions could be forthcoming, for helping to shape the linguistic future of South Asia. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin 2006.
• Unseen Faces and Unheard Voices, Women in the Indian Nationalist Movement, 1930-1942 by Suruchi Thapar-Björkert, University of Bristol, UK. It focuses on the nationalist participation of ordinary middle-class women in India’s freedom movement, especially in the United Provinces (modern Uttar Pradesh). In particular, it looks at a specific development during this period, the politicisation of the domestic sphere. Those purdah bound women who led restricted lives within the domestic sphere also contributed to the movement, thus making confining social practices enabling ones. Sage Publications 2006.
• Welfare State, Right to Life and Capital Punishment in India. Parul Sharmaanalyses the socio-legal framework in India, where a welfare state, right to life and the capital punishment operate side by side. The inter linkages and contradictions dealt with are relevant to societies with complicated and vast social structures such as India’s. Sampark Publications, Kolkata/New Delhi, 2005
• Representing India: Ethnic Diversity and the Governance of Public Institutions by Niraja Gopal Jayal, Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Deals with India’s complex ethnic cleavages, that seem to defy classification as a single ethnic structure. The country is home to more than 1,600 language groups and six major religions. Followers of the Hindu religion are further divided by a hierarchical caste system. In addition, about 10 per cent of the population has been characterized as tribal. Despite this complexity, India is an established democracy and has registered high growth rates in recent years. These outcomes question notions that link ethnic diversity with authoritarian rule and low growth. Palgrave Macmillan Publishers 2006.
• Opium Poppy Eradication: How to raise risk when there is nothing to lose? David Mansfield and Adam Pain on the fact that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is likely to rise during 2006. The increase will not be uniform across the country, however, but specific to certain areas. In particular, if predictions are correct, Helmand province in the southern region is likely to see significant expansion in the amount of land allocated to opium poppy, possibly exceeding the previous peak of 45,000 hectares (ha) in 1999. This increase is likely to more than compensate for any reductions in cultivation in other provinces. Briefing paper from Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit(AREU), August 2006
• State of the World’s Cities Report 2006/7, and Water and Sanitation in the World´s Cities 2006: Meeting Developing Goals in Small Urban Centres. Two new volumes from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the world’s leading authority on urban development, unpicks the issues and proposes practical policy reforms. Guided in focus by the UN Millennium Development Goals, the report considers the wide range of issues that affect the lives of (mainly poor) urban dwellers: water and sanitation, shelter, overcrowding, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, education, employment, and more. It claims that during the next 12 months, the world will reach a tipping point and for the first time in history the world’s population will be more urban than rural. Also discussing epidemic disease, overcrowding, malnutrition, crime – how can the growth of these and other problems be avoided in an urbanized world?
• The Global Deserts Outlook. The first thematic assessment report in the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and a UNEP contribution to the International Year of Deserts and Desertification in 2006. The report presents a panorama of the environmental status of the world’s deserts: their location and extent, uniqueness and vulnerability, biodiversity and natural resources. The report provides a balanced picture of deserts as ecosystems which form a special part of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, and not simply as land that is the end result of the process of desertification. Few places on earth contain a richer collection of natural adaptations to the environment.
• Untouchability in Rural India authored by Ghanshyam Shah, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar; Harsh Mander, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi; Sukhadeo Thorat, University Grants Commission, Delhi; Satish Deshpande, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, and Amita Baviskar, Associate Professor, Institute for Economic Growth, Delhi. A presention of systematic evidence of the incidence and extent of the practice of untouchability in contemporary India. It is based on the results of a very large survey covering 560 villages in 11 states, which found that untouchability continues to be widely prevalent and is practiced in one form or another in almost 80 percent of the villages. Sage Publications, July 2006.
• Role of Minorities in Nation Building with Focus on Karachi. Ahmed Salim highlights the important role played by minorities in nation building in Pakistan in the wake of Partition, covering the period from the early 18th century to present times. Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan 2006. Excerpt from the Dawn 13 August 2006.
• Being a Hindu in Oslo: Youth, Change, and Continuity, by Ram Gupta. Based on fieldwork interviews, the book discusses how the Norwegian majority culture influences thinking about Hinduism and religion in general among among second-generation Indian Hindus in Oslo. It offers a great deal of factual information on Hindus in Norway, which incidentally, has a larger population of South Asian immigrants than all of the Nordic countries combined. The book is a revised version of the author’s Cand. Philol. thesis in History of Religion, submitted at the University of Oslo in 2002. Novus forlag, Oslo 2006.
• Mobilizing India. Women in Trinidad Music. Comparative research study on women, music and migration between India and the Caribbean, by Tejaswini Niranjana, Director of the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. She investigates the subtle changes occurring in the composition of “Indianness” in transnational spaces. Books Fulfillment, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, USA, 2006.
• Erotic Literature of Ancient India: Kama Sutra, Koka Shastra, Gita Govindam, Ananga Ranga, by Indian author and journalist Sandhya Mulchandani, translator of medieval Kama Shastra Sanskrit manuscripts into English, and working on a dissertation on ancient concepts of ethics and governance and their relevance and application in modern societies. Roli Books, New Delhi 2006.
• Opium City. The Making of Early Victorian Bombay. Amar Farooqui on the fundamentals of how and why India was colonised by the East India Company, in a time when it sometimes appears, from the nature of current historical debates, as if the British empire in India was purely an orientalising mission whose discourses generated a politics of identity. Farooqui connects back to the earliest nationalists who decried the drain of wealth from India, who lamented India’s deindustrialisation and the economic exploitation of our people by foreign occupiers. Three Essays Collective , New Delhi, 2005.
• The Bhopal Saga: Causes and Consequences of the World’s Largest Industrial Disaster. By Ingrid Eckerman, on how after 20 years, victims, health care workers, and governments are still trying to comprehend what has been called the world’s worst industrial accident. The Bhopal Saga is an attempt to bring order from the chaos of events before, during, and after the methyl isocyanate (MIC) release. Not a scientific analysis, the book summarizes events leading up to the accident of December 1984 and the relief work in the ensuing two decades. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India, 2005.
• Ecological Nationalisms. Nature, Livelihoods, and Identities in South Asia. Edited byGunnel Cederlöf, associate professor of history, Uppsala University, and K. Sivaramakrishnan, professor of anthropology and international studies and director of the South Asia Center, Jackson School of International Studies, at the University of Washington. Volume exploring how questions of national identity become entangled with environmental concerns in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and India. The essays provide insight into the motivations of colonial and national governments in controlling or managing nature, and bring into fresh perspective the different kinds of regional political conflicts that invoke nationalist sentiment through claims on nature. Permanent Black, Delhi, 2005 & University of Washington Press, Seattle, USA, 2006.
• Rethinking Indian Political Institutions, volume edited by Crispin Bates, Director of studies in the Department of History at the University of Edinburgh, and Subho Basu, Teaching Fellow in the Department of History as SOAS, University of London. A book of interest to undergraduates enrolled on contemporary Asian History and politics courses, as well as to those interested in more general theories of the state and civil society. The work will address questions arising from globalization, liberalization, and decentralization that concern political scientists and sociologists as well as contemporary historians. Includes an article on ”Ideological Integration in Post-Colonial (South) India: Aspects of a Political Language” by Pamela Price, University of Oslo. Anthem Press 2005.
• Schooled for the Future? Educational Policy and Everyday Life among Urban Squatters in Nepal. By Karen Valentin, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Educational Anthropology, Danish University of Education, Copenhagen. It offers an ethnographically rich account about squatter families in Kathmandu and their struggles to improve their living conditions and create a better future through education. Examining how people – children and adults – experience and respond to policy initiatives aimed at improving their life the book discusses the paradoxes inherent in modern schooling. Information Age Publishing Inc., Greenwich, CT, USA.
• Indigeneity in India, edited by Bengt G. Karlsson, Dept. of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University, and Tanka B. Subba, Professor of Social Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University, India. A volume dealing with the issue of who and what are ‘indigenous peoples’? The question has become highly contentious in India today, where eighty million peoples belonging to the state category of ‘scheduled tribes’ are attempting to gain international recognition as indigenous people, as part of their struggle for recognition and rights in land and resources. Dr. Pernille Gooch, Dept. of Human Ecology, Lund University, is also represented in the book, with an article on the Van Gujjars. Keganpaul, London, 2005.
• Violent Belonging: Land, Love and Lethal Conflict in a Kohistani Community, Pakistan, by Norwegian anthropologist Are Knudsen. Based on research in a tribal Muslim community in Northern Pakistan, the book argues that lethal conflict and frequent homicide cannot be understood simply as expressions of personal and group honour, but must be framed within local notions of attachment to the locality and kin-group. NIAS Press 2005.
• Dispatches from the People’s War in Nepal, by Li Onesto, the first foreign journalist to travel deep into the guerrilla zones, depicting the Maoist revolution has been raging in Nepal since 1996. The book provides an invaluable analysis of the social and economic conditions that have fuelled the revolution and profiles some of the key people involved. Pluto Press & Insight Press 2004.
• Dalits in Dravidian Land. Frontline reports on anti-dalit violence in Tamil Nadu (1995-2004). S. Viswanathan reports on the spurt in violence against dalits since the 1990s, perpetrated largely by the ‘backward’ castes, who claim victimhood under brahmins but also turn oppressors of dalits. Tamil Nadu, home to the nonbrahmin movement, has been projected by the political class, social scientists and policy-makers as fertile soil for social justice. However, the Dravidian movement’s empowerment agenda left the dalits – 19 percent of the population – almost untouched. Navayana Publishing 2005.
• Tribal peoples, nationalism and the human rights challenge. The Adivasis of Bangladesh, by Tone Bleie, Chr. Michelsen Institute, CMI, Bergen, Norway. The book unravels how the Adivasis have not been given their due recognition inspite of their history as Bengal’s earliest inhabitants and their prominent role in mass rebellions leading up to the nationalist movement. University Press Limited, Dhaka, 2005.
• Climate Change and Water Resources in South Asia. Edited by M. Monirul Qader Mirza, Adaptation and Impacts Research Group (AIRG), Environment Canada, and Dr. Q.K. Ahmad, Chairman, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad. A book addressing the most pressing water resources issues in South Asia, particularly in relation to climate change and variability. This is a region with abundant water during the monsoon when floods occur, often very devastating and with droughts and scarcity of water during the dry period. Inevitably there are wide seasonal and spatial variations. Taylor & Francis, U.K, 2005.
• Blended Boundaries. Caste, Class and Shifting Faces of Hinduness in a North Indian City. Dr. Kathinka Frøystad, Dept. of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, Norway, provides an ethnographic account of the shifts in political preferences of upper caste Hindus in a North Indian city, exploring how a community consisting predominantly of Hindu nationalists relates to the Muslim an Dalit communities and seeks to explain their ever shifitng social and political perceptions. Oxford University Press 2005.
• Modern Afghanistan. A History of Struggle and Survival. Amin Saikal, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies, and Professor of Political Science at Australian National University, provides a new approach to understanding a region that has been pushed to the forefront of world politics by the Soviet invasion of 1979, followed by murderous civil war in the 1980s, and then the establishment of the Taliban regime that resulted in American intervention following the catastrophe of 9/11. Saikal seeks to answer why Afghanistan’s course of development has been so turbulent and why it remains so vulnerable to domestic instability, foreign intervention and ideological extremism. He argues that this was largely due to rivalries stemming from a series of dynastic alliances within the successive royal families from the end of the eighteenth century to the pro-Communist coup of April 1978. I.B. Tauris November 2004.
• Politics of Identity. Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan, by Adeel Khan, University of New England, Armidale, Australia. The book explores the relationship between ethnicity, nationalism and the modern state, examining the pre-colonial state system in India; the colonial state system and the changes that it effected until partition and the independence of India. The author takes four ethnic movements – Pakhtun, Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajr – as case studies and finally sums us the contemporary scenario of ethnic conflicts in Pakistan. Sage Publications 2004.
• The Idea of Pakistan. Stephen Philip Cohen, senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution, USA, on how Pakistan in recent years has emerged as a strategic player on the world stage—both as a potential rogue state armed with nuclear weapons and as an American ally in the war against terrorism. He offers a panoramic portrait of the complex country – from its origins as a homeland for Indian Muslims to a military-dominated state that has experienced uneven economic growth, political chaos, sectarian violence, and several nuclear crises with its much larger neighbor, India.Brookings Institution Press 2004.
• Himalayan ‘People’s War’. Nepal’s Maoist Rebellion, edited by Michael Hutt, Reader in Nepali at School of Oriental and Asian Studies, London. The eruption of a violent Maoist insurgency in Nepal in the late 1990s was met with bewilderment even among many of those who claimed to know the country well. Such a development possesses its own historical depth and socio-cultural background. This book provides much of that background and description of the ongoing struggle. Hurst & Co 2004. Read a review article called ”Statskupp i paradiset” by Rolf Jonsson, researcher at Stockholm University, in Dagens Nyheter 11 February 2005 (in Swedish)
• The African Food Crisis: Lessons from the Asian Green Revolution. Edited by Göran Djurfeldt and Rolf Larsson, both from Dept. of Sociology, Lund University; Magnus Jirström, Dept. of Social and Economic Geography, Lund University; and Hans Holmén, Dept. of Geography, Linköping University. A result of a 3-year project coordinated by a group of Swedish researchers and with collaborating scholars from all over the World. In India they were inspired by interviews with M.S. Swaminathan and G.S. Bhalla, and in Bangladesh by Mahabub Hossain and his network. CAB Publishing, London, 2005.
• Small Hands in South Asia: Child Labour in Perspective, edited by G.K. Lieten, Ravi Srivastava andSukhadeo Thorat. The book is an outcome of the International conference on Child Labour in South Asia, funded by the Indo-Dutch Programme for Alternatives in Development (IDPAD) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), held in Delhi in 2001. Consists of 13 essays by academicians, policy makers and activists. Manohar Publishers2004.
• Indo-Aryan Controversy. Evidence and Inference in Indian History, edited by Laurie L. Patton and Edwin Bryant. The major questions considered in this book are whether the Indo-Aryans were outsiders or insiders? Did they migrate into India from Central Asia, and if not, where did they originate? Even more crucially, what is at stake in these accounts of ancient history? RoutledgeCurzon 2004
• Unfamiliar Relations. Family and History in South Asia, by Indrani Chatterjee, associate professor of history at Rutgers University, USA. Contributions also made by William Dalrymple, Pamela G. Price, and others. ”Unfamiliar Relations” restores the family and its many forms and meanings to a central place in the history of South Asia between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Topics include a British colonial officer who married a Mughal noblewoman and converted to Islam around the turn of the nineteenth century, the role gossip and taboo play in the formation of Indian family history, and an analysis of social relations in the penal colony on the Andaman Islands. Rutgers University Press 2004.
• Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan, by Mary Anne Weaver. A book comprising seven chapters covering the entire gamut of contemporary issues including the rising trends of ‘Jihad’ and extremism, based on the author’s extensive personal interviews with important military, tribal, religious and political leaders in Pakistan. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 2003
• Conflictual Peacebuilding: Afghanistan two years after Bonn. Report by Astrid Suhrke, Kristian Berg Harpviken and Arne Strand. Prepared for The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the International Peace Research Institute, PRIO, Oslo, and Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway, 2004. Development Studies and Human RightsCMI, 2004.
• ‘Between Heaven and Hell’. Travels Through South Asia. Soon after the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998, the celebrated explorer, author and filmmaker Akhil Bakshi led an 18,000 km motoring expedition – Hands Across The Borders – to promote peace and development in South Asia. The journey, with activists from the region, was envisaged as a massive contact programme through the interiors of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan. Between Heaven and Hell is an eminently readable account of that momentous journey. Odyssey Books, New Delhi, India
• Sustainable Management of Wetlands: Biodiversity and beyond. A comprehensive and multidisciplinary study of wetlands in India, by Jyoti Parikh, and Hemant Datye, uniting the natural science perspective with strong social concerns and economic and other approaches in order to design a practical national wetlands conservation strategy and action plan. Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), New Delhi, India, 2003.
• Political Islam in South Asia. Report by social anthropologist Are John Knudsen, senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway, analysing the growth of political Islam in South Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan and India’s Jammu and Kashmir Province). CMI Report R 2002:14
• Conflict, Human Rights & Peace: Challenges Before Nepal. Edited by Dr Bipin Adhikari, the book includes a compilation of articles and papers presented in a lecture series organized by the National Human Rights Commission in the year 2003. It includes 13 scholarly papers dealing with the present situation of conflict between the Government and the Maoists from a human rights perspective, prominent contributors to the book include the Assistant Secretary General to the United Nations Kul Chandra Gautam, famous international peacemaker and scholar Johan Galtung, and Henning Karcher, the former Resident Representative of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nepal.
• South Asians in the Diaspora. Histories and Religious Traditions. Edited by Knut A. Jacobsen and P. Pratap Kumar. The diversity of religious life in South Asia is remarkable and much of this diversity is replicated in the diaspora communities around the world. The case studies in this book explore and analyse the social, religious and cultural reality of people in the diaspora belonging to Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism and originating from four of the South Asian nation states (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). Numen Book Series2003.
• Aligarh’s First Generation – Muslim Solidarity in British India. David Lelyveld explores the nature of Muslim cultural identity in India in the nineteenth century, and the changes it underwent, in the context of colonial rule. The author examines the history of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (Aligarh Muslim University) during the first twenty-five years of its existence, the period when the first generation of Muslims educated in English graduated from the college. Oxford University Press 2003.
• Modernization and Effeminization in India. Kerala Cashew Workers Since 1930. Anna Lindberg’s praised doctoral thesis (see http://www.sasnet.lu.se/histlund.html) now available as a monograph published by NIAS Press 2003.
• Calcutta: A cultural and literary companion. Krishna Dutta explores the multiple paradoxes of Kolkata, giving personal insight into the city’s unique history and modern identity as reflected in its architecture, literature, cinema and music. Foreword by Anita Desai. Dutta effectively counters the vulgar image on the ”hellish city” put forward by Claude Levi-Strauss, Loiuse Malle and Günter Grass. Interlink Books 2003.
• Fruits of Worship: Practical Religion in Bengal. Essays by Ralph W Nicholas (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago) on the religious life of ordinary people in rural Bengal, including the Bengali attachment to Goddesses. Chronicle Books, New Delhi (imprint of DC Publishers) 2003.
• The Yogasastra of Hemacandra. A Twelfth Century Handbook on Svetambara Jainism. Edited and translated by Olle Qvarnström, Asst. Professor, Dept of History of Religions, with emphasis on Indic Religions; Lund University. (Harvard University Press 2002). Written in the twelfth century A.D. by the polymath Hemacandra, it was instrumental in the survival and growth of Jainism in India as well as in the spreading of Sanskrit culture within Jaina circles. The present translation is the first of its kind in a Western language.
• Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500. New volume in the Series:Studies in the History of Christian Missions, edited by Robert Eric Frykenberg. The book challenges the long-held assumption that Christianity in India is nothing but a colonial or Western imposition. Leading experts, including Scandinavian researchers Gunnel Cederlöf and Peter B Andersen, here chronicle the histories and cultures of India’s many Christian communities and show that local Indian leaders were the real agents of religious change in the subcontinent. Eerdmans/Curzon Press 2003.
• India’s Silent Revolution – The Rise of the Lower Castes. Christophe Jaffrelot, deputy director of Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, CERI, Paris. Since the 1960s a new assertiveness has characterized India’s formerly silent majority, the lower castes that comprise more than two-thirds of the population. Today India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, is controlled by lower-caste politicians, as is Bihar, and lower-caste representation in national politics is growing inexorably. Jaffrelot argues that this trend constitutes a genuine ”democratization” of India and that the social and economic effects of this ”silent revolution” are bound to multiply in the years to come.Hurst & Co 2003.
• Poetics of Village Politics. The Making of West Bengal’s Rural Communism, by Arild Engelsen Ruud, Center for Development and the Environment (SUM), Oslo, Norway. This study deals with local-level politics in two villages in Burdwan district of West Bengal, India. It deals with the emergence of left politics in West Bengal in the late 60s and analyzes its electoral success for nearly three decades in the state. Oxford University Press 2003.
• Fruits of Worship: Practical Religion in Bengal, by Ralph W. Nicholas, Professor Em. of Anthropology, University of Chicago, and President of the American Institute of Indian Studies. Chronicle Books, New Delhi, 2003
• Unhinging Hinglish: The Languages and Politics of Fiction in English from the Indian Subcontinent. Papers presented at a conference on ”Fiction in English from the Indian Subcontinent and South Asian Diaspora”, arranged by the Universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark. Edited by Nanette Hale & Tabish Khair. Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen 2001.
• Stigma, status och strategier. Genusperspektiv i religionsvetenskap. Anthology (in Swedish) on Gender perspectives within Science of Religion, edited by Catharina Raudvere, with articles on Hinduism by Sidsel Hanssonand Lisbeth Andersson, History of Religions, Dept of Theology, Lund University. Studentlitteratur 2003.
• Jihad – The Trail of Political Islam, by Prof. Gilles Kepel, Institute for Political Studies, Paris, France, on the growth of Islamist political movements during the the last part of the 20th Century. I B Tauris 2003.
• ”Can you stop the birds singing?” – The censorship of music in Afghanistan, by Dr. John Baily, reader in Ethnomusicology, Goldsmiths College, London, on the music under Taliban regime. Published by Freemuse, World Forum on Music & Censorship.
• India, Development and Participation, by Jean Dreze, Honorary Professor, Delhi School of Economics, andAmartya Sen, Master, Trinity College, Cambridge University. Oxford University Press 2002.
• Sri Lankan Ethnic Crisis: Towards a Resolution, by R B Herath, Director, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Canada. Own publication 2002
• Bringing the Food Economy Home – Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness. Helena Norberg-Hodge(founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture, ISEC), Todd Merrifield & Steven Gorelick.Zed Books 2002
• Gender and Slum Culture in Urban Asia, by Susanne Thorbek, Senior Lecturer, Institute for Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark. Danish PhD network on Development and International Relations, Occasional Paper Series 2002. Compares the social and cultural life prevailing in two Asian slums – one on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, the other in Bangkok, Thailand.
• Gujarat. The Making of a Tragedy. Edited by Siddharth Varadaraja. Penguin Books India 2002.This book is intended to be a permanent public archive of the tragedy that is Gujarat. Drawing upon eyewitness reports from the English, Hindi and regional media, citizens’ and official fact-finding commissions – and articles by leading public figures and intellectuals – it provides a chilling account of how and why the state was allowed to burn (Press release). More information on recent books from Penguin Books India.
• Women’s Employment in the Textile Manufacturing Sectors of Bangladesh and Morocco. Edited volume by Carol Miller and Jessica Vivian, published in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on Technical Co-operation and Women’s Lives: Integrating Gender into Development Policy. UNRISD Publications, October 2002.
• Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future. Volume edited by Sunita B Mehta, engaged in Women for Afghan Women, a grassroots organization in New York City, U.S. Palgrave/St. Martin’s Pree, October 2002. More info on the book from Palgrave Macmillan.
• Christians, Cultural Interactions, and India’s Religious Traditions. Volume edited by Judith M Brown andRobert Eric Frykenberg. RoutledgeCurzon 2001. One chapter is entitled ”Entering into the Christian Dharma: Contemporary ‘Tribal’ Conversions in India”, written by Beppe Karlsson, Uppsala University. (Examines the diverse cultural interactions which have occurred between Indian and foreign missionary Christians with India’s other religious traditions, showing how Christianity has played a significant role in the development of Indian culture).
• Pakistan: Nationalism without a Nation. Volume published by Zed Books, authored by Pakistani and Western scholars, and edited by Christophe Jaffrelot.
• In the Name of the Poor. Contesting Political Space for Poverty Reduction, published by ZED Books, and edited by Neil Webster and Lars Engberg-Pedersen. The book shifts the debate around poverty reduction away from the role of the state and the market. Instead the authors argue for the importance of exploring and understanding action taken by the poor themselves (Pamela Price).
• The Future of Pakistan. Report made by The Strategic Foresight Group, International Centre for Peace Initiatives(ICPI), Mumbai, India. ICPI has a collaborative arrangement with the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, and gets some financial support from the Norwegian government.
• Anders Bjørn Hansen, at Copenhagen University, has published ”Partition and Genocide: Manifestation of Violence in Punjab 1937-47”, India Research Press, 2002.
Nordic scholars whose books on South Asia related research have been reviewed in International magazines:
Arild Engelsen Ruud: Poetics of Village Politics: The Making of West Bengal’s Rural Communism (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003) is reviewed in Economic and Political Weekly, 4 December 2004, by Manabi Mahumdar. Go to the review, called ”An Ethnographer’s View of Bengal’s Radicalism”.
Eivind Kahrs: Indian Semantic Analysis: The ”Nirvacana” tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1998), is reviewed in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 64, Pt. 1, 2001; and the Journal of the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 121, No. 1, 2001.
Kahrs’s book is based on his disseration in Indology from the University of Oslo. He is now teaching Sanskrit at Cambridge University.
Beppe Karlsson: Contested Belonging: An indigenous people´s struggle for Forest and Identity in Sub-Himalayan Bengal (Curzon, 2000), is reviewed in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 64, Pt. 3, 2001.
Karlsson’s book is based on his disseration in anthropology from Uppsala University.
Asko Parpola and Sirpa Tenhunen, eds: Changing Patterns of Family and Kinship in South Asia (Finnish Oriental Society, 1998), is reviewed in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 121, No. 1, 2001.
The book is a collection of essays from a conference on the same theme which was held in Finland several years ago.