Recommended South Asia articles to read

Some articles available on the internet which might be of interest to others in the field. Besides our own recommendations we also publish such given by other reliable sources, e g from the Norwegian NoFSA-net and the Brittish BASAS Bulletin. Personal comments marked by italics.

– Regional/ South Asia

– Afghanistan – Maldives
– Bangladesh – Nepal
– Bhutan – Pakistan
– India – Sri Lanka

Regional/South Asia:

Well initiated articles about South Asia appear in every issue of Himal Southasian Magazine, published from Kathmandu, Nepal. The recent issue can be read right away on the web, but Himal Southasian also offers a comprehensive 20-year archive to its readers for FREE. It takes not more than a minute to register and get hold of the wide range of articles, art, cartoons, etc. that have featured in Himal over the years. Go for Himal Southasian Magazine

• Refugees and Migrants in South Asia: Nature and implications. Extremely illuminating paper on the refugee situation in South Asia by Professor Partha S GhoshSenior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. Published as a Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Occasional Paper. Perspectives in Indian Development, New Series No. 10, 2013. 

 The East India Company – The Company that ruled the waves. In its 2011 Christmas special edition, the Economist publishes an extensive article analysing what can current state-backed firms learn from the greatest ever such firm that has existed, namely the British East India Company. The article argues that ever since the company's collapse, it has been treated as an historical curiosity – an “anomaly without a parallel in the history of the world”. But interestingly enough, the current crisis in the global economy has suddenly made the company from a historical curiosity into a highly relevant case study. Published on 17 December 2011, Christmas Specials, the Economist. 

Putting Growth In Its Place. It has to be but a means to development, not an end in itself. An essay written by Jean Dreze, Allahabad University and nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Lamont University professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Is India doing marvellously well, or is it failing terribly? Depending on whom you speak to, you could pick up either of those answers with some frequency. The essay presents and examines both answers arguing that impressive growth of India has failed to improve the living conditions of its population and change happens tremendously slow. Outlook India, 14 November 2011. 

Gandhi• Gandhi and the politics of religion. Prof. Ishtiaq AhmedDept. of Political Science, Stockholm University, on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his opposition towards the creation of Pakistan. Such opposition was based on his conviction that Hindus and Muslims and other communities could live together and make their particular contributions to building a multi-religious, multi-cultural nation with equal rights for all citizens. However, when partition did take place he took positions that have no parallels, historically or contemporaneously. Daily Times, Lahore, 16 November 2010. 

• Low Levels of Genetic Divergence across Geographically and Linguistically Diverse Populations from India. Noah A. RosenbergSaurabh Mahajan and other researchers at Human Genetics and Life Sciences departments in USA, on the fact that although India comprises more than one sixth of the world's human population, it has largely been omitted from genomic surveys that provide the backdrop for association studies of genetic disease. The researchers have genotyped India-born individuals sampled in the United States, and analyzed 1,200 genome-wide polymorphisms in 432 individuals from 15 Indian populations. They find that populations from India, and populations from South Asia more generally, constitute one of the major human subgroups with increased similarity of genetic ancestry. PLoS Genetics22 December 2006.

• Afghanistan: Why India’s Cooperation is a Problem for Pakistan. With the Taliban no longer in the Pakistani camp as they once were, Afghanistan could return to being even more hostile to Pakistan. There is significant anti-Pakistani sentiment in Afghanistan because of the perception of Pakistani interference in their country. In contrast, Afghan attitudes in general are far more positive toward India because of the increased assistance India has begun to provide. Thus, when it comes to Pakistan and its complicated relationship with neighbors Afghanistan and India, it appears what goes around comes around.Stratfor/Strategic Forecasting Inc 11 April 2008.

Salman Rushdie

• Salman Rushdie: His life, his work and his religion. In the 17 years since Ayatollah Khomeini passed a death sentence on Salman Rushdie, the writer's unflinching criticism of the religion into which he was born has never been stifled. Now, as the force of Islamist fury reverberates around the world, the acclaimed Anglo-Asian novelist tells Johann Hari why we're all living under a fatwa now. Independent News and Media 13 October 2006.

• AIDS in South Asia. Understanding and Responding to a Heterogeneous Epidemic. World Bank Report written by Stephen Moses, James F. Blanchard, Han Kang, Faran Emmanuel, Sushena Reza, Paul Marissa, L. Becker, David Wilson and Mariam Claeson. According to the report, more than 5.5 million people are infected with HIV in South Asia, with the epidemic increasingly driven by the region's flourishing sex industry and injecting drug use. South Asia's HIV and AIDS epidemic can be expected to grow rapidly unless the eight countries in the region, especially India, can saturate high-risk groups such as sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users, and men having sex with men with better HIV prevention measures. The report was launched at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada, 13–18 August 2006.

• The Uses and Abuses of Multiculturalism. Chili and Liberty. Essay by Prof. Amartya Sen, on the demand for multiculturalism in the contemporary world, the confusion surrounding the recent Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and the fury they generated. Also drawing similarities between the problems that Britain faces today and those that British India faced, and which Mahatma Gandhi thought were getting direct encouragement from the Raj. New Republic 18 February 2006.

• Pakistan Replays the 'Great Game'Husain Haqqani, Director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, on how Pakistan's concern about the lack of depth in land defenses led to the Pakistani generals' strategic belief about the fusion of the defense of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan's complicated role in Afghanistan began well before the Soviet invasion of 1979 and the rise and fall of the Taliban can best be understood in light of this desire. Far Eastern Economic Review, October 2005

• India Bids to Rule the Waves: From the Bay of Bengal to the Malacca StraitRamtanu Maitra on the evidence that the Indian government believes that the new strategic command will remain vulnerable unless the entire Andaman Sea is brought under the full control of the Indian Navy. Asia Times 19 October 2005.

• Behind the Veil of a Public Health Crisis. HIV/AIDS in the Muslim World. Report by Nicholas Eberstadtand Laura M. Kelley, National Bureau of Asian Research in Seattle, Washington, USA, on the unfolding of the contagion across the great Islamic expanse. In the years immediately ahead, the HIV/AIDS pandemic threatens to wash through the Muslim world. The report however praises Bangladesh for implementing effective HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. Report published 8 June 2005.

• South Asian Seesaw: A New U.S. Policy on the SubcontinentAshley J. Tellis on the widely noted decision to resume F-16 sales to Pakistan and, even more, the largely ignored commitment to assist India’s growth in power represent a new U.S. strategy toward South Asia. Policy Brief 38, May 2005, published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Water is the new divide in Kashmir. Cut in the aftermath of partition, the Himalayan state of Kashmir continues to bleed, though more slowly than when war between India and Pakistan appeared close. Randeep Ramesh writes on a recent study by the Mumbai-based Strategic Foresight Group on Kashmiri water resources, entitled ”The Final Settlement”. Guardian Weekly 25-31 March 2005.

Information on the tsunami disaster in South and South-East Asia, see SASNET’s Tsunami Newsletter, giving links to news sources and selected articles (including Amitav Ghosh’s reports in the Hindu 11–13 January 2005 from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

• India looks east; Hits the road. A trilateral highway linking India with Thailand and Myanmar, and eventually, with Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam is on the cards to facilitate land-based merchandise trading in the region. The 1400-km highway network, blueprinted by the three countries in 2002, will extend from Moreh on India’s northeastern edge and pass through Myanmar before crossing over to Thailand. The route, which will be popularized through the 1st India-ASEAN Car Rally that starts on 22 November 2004, is currently little more than a single lane track. Once upgraded, however, the road will have dual-lanes and parts of the route will be widened to seven meters. India has already completed upgradation of the Myanmar section. The new highway is key to India’s strategy to partner the ASEAN nations as a strong economic ally. India’s northeastern states that include Assam, Sikkim, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, currently share a 1600 kms of border with Myanmar. Yet land routes connecting India and South East Asia, used in ancient times to trade medicines and merchandise, and to connect British India with the rest of Asia during the Second World War, have been lying in disuse since several years. Hence, Indian companies shipping cargo for trade to ASEAN countries, do so through the port of Singapore. India Brand Equity Foundation Newsletter India Now 22 November 2004.

• Passage to China. Essay by Amartya Sen on the intellectual links between China and India, stretching over two thousand years, that have had far-reaching effects on the history of both countries, yet hardly remembered today. What little notice they get tends to come from writers interested in religious history, particularly the history of Buddhism, which began its spread from India to China in the first century. In China Buddhism became a powerful force until it was largely displaced by Confucianism and Taoism approximately a thousand years later. But religion is only one part of the much bigger story of Sino-Indian connections during the first millennium. New York Review of Books Volume 51, Number 19 (2 December 2004)

• Gendered Violence in South Asia: Nation and Community in the Postcolonial Present. Special issue of the Sage Publications magazine Cultural Dynamics, Volume 16, Issue 2 & 3, July 2004. The guest editorsAngana P. Chatterji (from the California Institute of Integral Studies, USA) and Lubna Nazir Chaudhry(from the State University of New York at Binghamton, USA) have complied a volume addressing how borders violently mark women’s bodies in wars of direct and indirect conquest, and how women’s agency is constituted in these times. Chatterji has also written an article on ”The Biopolitics of Hindu Nationalism: Mournings”, and Chaudhry an article on ”Mohajir Women Survivors and Structural Violence in Karachi”. Besides the volume includes articles (available as pdf-files) by Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, Social Scientists' Association, Sri Lanka, on ”Women's Agency in War and Post-Conflict Sri Lanka”; Lamia Karim, University of Oregon at Eugene, United States, on ”Democratizing Bangladesh: State, NGOs and Militant Islam”; and Rita Manchanda, South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Nepal, on ”the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Radicalizing Gendered Narratives”.

• India’s bid for the Security Council. Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, Dept of Political Science, Stockholm University, arguing for the Indian bid for permanent member of the UN Security Council. Daily Times 6 October 2004.

• Loot: in search of the East India Company. Concerns about corporate power and responsibility are as old as the corporation itself. In this account of the East India Company, the world's first transnational corporation, Nick Robins argues that an unholy alliance between British government, military and commerce held India in slavery, reversed the flow of trade and cultural influence forever between the East and West and then sunk almost without trace under the weight of colonial guilt. openDemocracy, 22 January 2003. 

• Towards Understanding ‘Other’ Cultures: From Multiple to Multicultural Built-Environment? Volume 3, Issue 2/2003 of the free refereed e-journal GBER (Global Built Environment Review), dedicated to South Asian issues. Edited by Dr Tasleem Shakur, International Centre for Development & Environmental Studies (ICDES), Edge Hill, Lancashire, UK.

• Lessons of Empire: Britain and IndiaMaria Misra, Oxford University, on the legacy of the Brittish colonialism in India, which created a set of fragmented and competitive group identities that seriously impeded the achievement of an integrated state, full liberal democracy, and a successful economy, arguing that imperialism is not an appropriate model for even the best-intentioned contemporary state-builder. SAIS Review 23.2 (The Johns Hopkins University Press 2003).

• The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum – Lessons for the Struggle against ‘Globalisation’. Critical article on the WSF and recent session at Mumbai in Jnuary 2004, arguing that in all the talk on 'alternatives', the spotlight remains on alternative policies within the existing system, rather than a change of the very system itself. Aspects of India's Economy, September 2003.

• The Asian Journey Home. Special issue of Time Asia Magazine 18 August 2003. Introduction by Pico Iyer, and photos by Jon Stanmeyer. Essays by South Asian journalists, writers and photographers.

– A House DividedVed Mehta returns to his family home in Lahore, lost during the violent partitioning of India and Pakistan, and discovers that the past is history.

– The Pathos of ExileMoshin Hamid on coming back to Lahore, to attend cousin Omer’s wedding, finding both tradition and change, wondering why he ever left + An Exile returns – photo essay by Janet Jarman.

– Basic Instinct. Indian journalist Pankaj Mishra finds peace in a simple and remote Himalayan hamlet that succeeds in ignoring the rest of the world. + Outside History – photo essay from Mashobra village byRaghu Rai/Magnum

– Coming Out. The writer Shyam Selvadurai set up house with his boyfriend in his native Sri Lanka – a land where homosexuality is officially outlawed

– Home Free. The president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai dreamed for years of his eventual homecoming. But for both him and his newly reborn nation, the journey has only begun.

• A South Asian union of independent states. Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, Dept of Political Science, Stockholm University, on the need to open a new chapter in India-Pakistan relations. Daily Times 1 June 2003.

• Our forgotten commitmentHamida Khuhro, daughter of Ayub Khuro who was a leading Muslim League politician and played a central role in getting Sindh to support the partition in 1947, on the ”indissoluble bond between the peoples of India and Pakistan. Despite the continued efforts of the policy-makers of the two countries to create different identities, for instance, by separating the languages (by Sanscritization and Persianization of what used to be known as Urdu or Hindustani), and by erecting an information barrier between the two peoples, the memories of a common culture and a common past have not been erased altogether”. Dawn 2 June 2003.

• The Kashmir Dispute – a cause or a symptom? Article by Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, Dept of Political Science, Stockholm University, in Politologen, journal published by the Swedish Political Science Association, Fall 2002.

• In the Arms of AllahTime Magazine special report, 10 March, 2003, on the many faces of Islam in Asia. Includes articles and pictures especially in South East Asia, but including a report from Jafnna, Sri Lanka (”Stuck in the Middle”, by Andrew Perrin); and Kabul, Afghanistan (”The Guest of Allah”, by Phil Zabriskie).

• The Asian Social Forum: A new public spaceKamal Mitra Chenoy on the first Asian Social Forum, held in Hyderabad, India, in January 2003, just before the World Social Forum at Porto Alegre, Brazil. openDemocracy 26 February 2003

• The 1947 Partition of India: A Paradigm for Pathological Politics in India and Pakistan. Ishtiaq Ahmed in Asian Ethnicity 1/2002. (Available as a Word document)

• Läget i Sydasien efter den 11 september: Sprickor i regionen hindrar gemensam terroristbekämpning. Professor Björn Hettne on South Asia one year after September, 11. SYDASIEN 3/2002 (in Swedish only).

• Come SeptemberArundhati RoyFrontline 11 October, 2002. A writer's reflections on ”the U.S.-decreed `War Against Terror', the conflict between power and powerlessness, and a better world on its way”.

• Indo-Pakistani Crises and Wars. Article (in Danish) published exclusively through the SASNET web site, by PhD Stig Toft Madsen, Roskilde University, Denmark. Available as a pdf-file. A similar text in English, ”Indo-Pakistani Wars and War Scares”, appeared in NIAS Nytt 3/2002

• A Better World is Possible: Alternatives to Economic Globalization. A summary of an upcoming report by the Alternatives Committee of the International Forum on Globalization. Available as a pdf-file.

• Med döden som vapen. Professor Jan Hjärpe writes (in Swedish) on the International phenomenon of suicide killers, of relevance also to South Asia. Sydsvenska Dagbladet 2 July, 2002. A second article appeared in the same paper on 4 July, 2002, named ”Kriget, helvetet och paradiset”.