Newsletter 168 – 28 October 2014


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• Winnie Bothe and Johan Westman participates in SASA/SASNET Bhutan seminar

Winnie Bothe and Johan Westman

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) organises its seventh informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Thursday 30 October 2014, 17–19. Venue: Basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. See poster.
In this Fika Without Borders we explore Bhutan’s development model of ‘Gross National Happiness’ and the nation’s political order with the help of Dr. Winnie Bothe from the Dept. of Political Science, Lund University. She will provide insights in the Bhutanese development model by illustrating how local governance does not necessarily promote empowered citizens which Western donors imagine, rather the model may function as a channel for disciplining citizens to become bearers of an imagined civilizational culture.
In addition there will be a cultural programme. A live Skype connection will be established with Bhutan with Swedish ethnomusicologist Johan Westman, living permanently in Thimphu. He will introduce Bhutanese musicians who will give samples of their music. As always there will also be Bhutanese food or something that resembles the Bhutanese cuisine. Read more...
SASA holds these events once a month, and each time the focus is one of the eight South Asian countries, that are the member states of SAARC. The first six Fika Without Borders South Asia events were successfully held on April 16th, with Nepal being the country in focus, on May 21st with India in focus, on June 5th with Pakistan in focus, on August 26th, with Maldives in focus, on September 23rd, with Sri Lanka i focus, and on October 10th, with Afghanistan in focus. • More information about the Nepal event.  More information about the India event.
More information about the Pakistan event.   • More information about the Maldives event. • More information about the Sri Lanka event.  • More information about the Afghanistan event.

Only one country remains, and that is Bangladesh. This seminar will be held on Thursday 20 November.

• SASNET seminar on Child Labour and Child Protection in India

Mr. Vidyasagar Ramamurthy from the UNICEF Office for the Indian states of Tamil Nadu & Kerala in Chennai, holds a SASNET guest lecture on Frday 7 November 2014, 13.15–15.00. He will speak about ”Child protection in India – with a focus on Child Labour”. The seminar is co-organized by the School of Social Work and the Dept. of Sociology at Lund University. Venue: Room M 128, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14 (the Gender Studies building), Lund. See poster.
Vidyasagar has been working on the issues of child protection for the past 25 years with various organizations, including ILO, UNICEF, Ministry of Labour (V V Giri National Labour Institute), and the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, run by Government of India and the state Government of Tamil Nadu. He has worked with UNICEF for more than 15 years including service in the South Asia Regional Office, Bangladesh, and in different states of India. In addition to this he has also worked on agrarian issues in various Indian and Swedish research projects.

• Ursula Rao holds SASNET lecture on Urban Spaces in India

Professor Ursula Rao, Director of the Institute of Anthropology at University of Leipzig, Germany, will give a SASNET lecture entitled ”Local Bodies/Global Cities” on Thursday 13 November 2014, 13.15–15.00. The lecture, based on case studies in Delhi, will be held at the Department of Sociology, Lund University, Paradisgatan 5 G, lecture hall 1. All are most welcome.
The lecture is the second in a new international seminar series introduced by SASNET. The series is entitled Structural Transformation, Urbanisation and the Challenge of Sustainability. The seminar series focuses broadly on issues relating to contemporary transformations in South Asia with specific reference to urbanization. The seminar series also links to the coming SASNET conference in May 2015 entitled ”South Asia in transformation: World of Slums, Global Power houses of Utopias? Migration, labour and family changes in a dynamic region”.
In her SASNET presentation she uses data from case studies carried out in Indian metropolis of Delhi to discuss acute negotiations about the meaning and experience of urban citizenship in a post-2010 environment, when investment friendly politics meets a growing concern for social welfare and inclusive growth. She will focus specifically on the position of bodies in reconfigured urban spaces, and examine the ways in which “poor bodies” provoke and reshape the urban dream through their very material presence in the cities.” Read more about Prof. Rao and the SASNET lecture.

• Minutes from October 27th 2014 SASNET board meeting

The SASNET board met on Monday 27 October for its final 2014 meeting. The minutes, written in Swedish (as required by law) are already available. The meeting was attended by ordinary members Anna Lindberg, Fredrik Tufvesson, Anders Fänge and Olle Qvarnström, plus student representatives Lubna Hawwa and Jacco Visser. They discussed extensively SASNET’s current strategy to strenghten South Asia research and education at Lund University, and the strategy plan prepared by the staff to be presented for the evaluation team that will evaluate SASNET in 2015. Conferences, seminars and other activities, held during 2014 and planned for 2015, were also discussed, and the budget for 2015 was approved.
 August 1, 2014,  Lars Eklund works only 50 % for SASNET (focusing on web site and newsletters), just like colleagues Anna Lindberg and Olle Frödin, whereas Linda Hiltmann works on a 75 % position. Finally, Lubna Hawwa completed her SASNET part-time employment (mainly focusing on the successful SASA student activities) in early October. Read more in the verified Minutes (as a pdf-file).

• SASA Travel Grants awarded to four Lund University students

The South Asia Student Association at Lund University (SASA) has awarded travel grants to four Lund University students in order to make a field study in relation to a Bachelors or Masters thesis in any of the eight South Asian countries.
Masters students Jacco Visser and Sharmin Rashid get grants for planned field trips to Bangladesh and India respectively; whereas Bachelors students Sixten Lundquist and Anna Berggren get grants for planned field trips to Nepal and India respectively.
The application was open for students enrolled at Lund university at a fulltime study programme, preferrebly that includes a South Asian focus. The purpose of this travel grant is to give the students opportunity to visit South Asian countries to carry out their fieldwork and directly engage with the local actors to achieve more objective and thorough results. Furthermore, SASNET will provide assistance with connections and resources needed to complete student's fieldwork.

• SASNET event to promote Surinder Jodhka's new book on the Indian caste system

SASNET organized a book release function at Lund University on Wednesday 8 October 2014, launching the latest work by eminent Indian sociologist Surinder S. Jodhka from the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
The new book is entitled ”Caste in Contemporary India” and deals with contemporary realities of caste in rural and urban India. A large gathering of Lund University professors and students atended the function. Prof. Jodhka was introduced by Prof. Thomas Bergström (on photo), Dept. of Political Science, and Dr. Anna Lindberg, SASNET
In his book, based on rich empirical findings across north India, Professor Jodhka presents an original perspective on the reasons for the persistence of caste in India today, and offers a broader theoretical framework for comparative understandings of the entrenched social differences, discrimination, inequalities, stratification, and the modes and patterns of their reproduction. Surinder Jodhka was the third Visiting Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Professor at Lund University. Read more about Prof. Jodhka and the book release event.

• David Satterthwaite held SASNET lecture on Urbanisation and Environment

David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London, UK, held a SASNET lecture on ”Urbanisation and Environment” at Lund University on Thursday 16 October 2014. The first part of the seminar, a formal lecture, was held at Palaestra auditorium, but for the last half an hour the seminar was shifted over to the Dept. of Sociology building not far off for a more informal discussion. Around 50 people turned up for the seminar, students and professors from several Lund University departments. 
Satterthwaite is also a Visiting Professor at the Development Planning Unit, University College London, and a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third and the Fourth Assessments. In his Lund University presentation he discussed urbanisation problems worldwide, but with South Asian examples, not the least positive details from Dharavi slums in Mumbai.
The lecture was the first in a new international seminar series introduced by SASNET. The series is entitled Structural Transformation, Urbanisation and the Challenge of Sustainability. The seminar series focuses broadly on issues relating to contemporary transformations in South Asia with specific reference to urbanization. Read more about David Satterthwaite and his Lund University seminar.

• SASNET seeks opportunities to launch Indian media project

SASNET now seeks the opportunity to launch a media project in collaboration with Andreas Mattsson, lecturer in journalism at Department of Communication and Media at Lund University. A few days after the third Nordic conference on South Asian Studies, organised by SASNET and Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Falsterbo in June 2014 (more information), Andreas Mattsson invited the Indian journalist Hindol Sengupta to his department for a discussion about the Indian media landscape. Hindol Sengupta is the Senior Editor for the Indian edition of the Fortune magazine and is also a well-known author of several books. In the end of 2014 he will release his book Recasting India: How Entrepreneurship is changing the World's Largest Democracy in The United States.
The fruitful discussion between Andreas and Hindol resulted in a project idea with the working title The India Media Project. The aim of the project is to build up a network of Indian and Swedish journalists, as well as media researchers, to discuss and exchange ideas about work methods, trends within the media industry and business models. The project, which will be carried out by SASNET, will involve seminars and workshops. Furthermore, Andreas and Hindol also identified a great potential in building a joint online platform where Indian and Swedish journalists and media researchers contribute with reports in areas of mutual interest.
SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund, who has 35 years experience as a journalist focusing on South Asia, is also closely involved in the planning process. During November 2014, Andreas Mattsson will visit Delhi to continue the initiated discussions with Hindol Sengupta and strengthen the network with Indian journalists and media researchers. For more details, please contact Andreas Mattsson.

• Lars Eklund participates in EASAS Council meeting in Vienna

EASASOn 3 November 2014, SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund will participate in the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS) Council meeting to be held in Vienna, Austria. It will be first meeting for the new board that was elected during the 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies in Zurich, Switzerland, 23-26 July 2014.
The new EASAS council has been elected for the period 2014-2016. The President is Professor Martin Gaenszle from the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna, and the Vice-President is Professor Alessandra Consolaro from Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici at Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy. The third and final office bearer position, as Treasurer, is held by Lars Eklund.
The former office bearers – Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh, UK; Margret Frenz, Oxford University, UK; and Heinz Werner Wessler, Uppsala University, Sweden – remain as council members, along with Danuta Stasik, University of Warsaw, Poland; Samiksha Sehrawat, Newcastle University, UK; Kunal Sen, University of Manchester, UK; Nicolas Jaoul, CEIAS Paris, France; Martin Fuchs, Universität Erfurt, Germany; and Rosa Maria Perez, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE -IUL), Portugal. At the November 2014 meeting in Vienna, the main issue will be to dicuss the next biannual European ECSAS conference to be held in Warsaw in July 2016, hosted by the University of Warsaw, but it will also decide upon other issues, such as the 2015 PhD workshop that will actually be hosted by SASNET/Lund UniversityMore information on EASAS web page.
After the Vienna Council meeting, Lars will make a networking tour on a private basis to visit two other important South Asian studies institutions in Prague, Czech Republic, and Heidelberg, Germany, respectively before returning to Sweden. In Prague, he will meet 
Dr. Jaroslav Vacek and other researchers at the Seminar of Indian Studies, Charles University; and in Heidelberg Dr. Martin Gieselmann and Prof. Subrata Mitra has arranged for a programme to meet fellow researchers at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg.

• NCI chairperson Rupali Bhalerao visited SASNET to discuss collaboration

Dr. Rupali Bhalerao, analyst at Umeå University’s Planning Office, and chairperson of the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) university consortium, visited Lund University and SASNET on 8 October 2014. A meeting was organised with Lars Eklund, Anna Lindberg, Olle Frödin and Linda Hiltmann of SASNET, to discuss possible forms of strenghtening the already existing collaboration between NCI and SASNET. Joint conferences, and collaboration on educational programmes in South Asia were issues on the agenda. (Rupali on photo with Lars and Olle
Since 1 January 2014, Umeå University hosts the secretariat of the NCI, whereas the Director is based at Delhi. The Nordic Centre in India currently has 20 member universities. 
Rupali Bhalerao was previously a Research Engineer at Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC), a research centre of experimental plant biology run jointly by the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University.

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

Research Community News

• Riksbankens Jubileumsfond grants to three South Asia related projects

In October 2014, Swedish researchers were awarded grants from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), an independent foundation with the goal of promoting and supporting research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Three of the successful applications are related to South Asia: 
– Dr. Henrik Liljegren from the Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, receives SEK 2.1 m for a project entitled ”Language Contact and Relatedness in the Hindukush region”. Henrik has carried out research in the northern part of Pakistan for several years, and the goal of the new project is to produce a linguistic profile of the languages spoken in the Hindukush region, an area comprising the mountainous north-eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and the northern-most part of the disputed Kashmir territory.
– Senior Lecturer Camilla Orjuela from the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, receives SEK 1.7 m for a project entitled ”Seeking justice from afar: Diasporas and transitional justice”. This project will analyse how diasporas engage with, shape and respond to transitional justices processes in Rwanda and Sri Lanka. Although the ways in which migrants influence homeland conflicts have been relatively well investigated, the increasingly important role of diasporas in transitional justice has so far not been systematically studied, nor has the importance of transitional justice initiatives in shaping diaspora organization and identity. 
– Professor Olle Qvarnström, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, receives SEK 3.4 m for project on ”Hindu reception of Perso-Arabic traditions of knowledge and the role of Jainism in cultural transmission”. The purpose of the project is to investigate Hindu reception of divinatory knowledge systems influenced by Islam in northwestern India during the time of the Delhi sultanate (13th to 16th century) and the attitudes to Islam prevalent among the chief disseminators of these knowledge systems: the Jainas, an indigenous religious minority who by their role as the economically dominant community in the region were closely allied with the ruling Muslim class. The project also involves Associate Professor Martin Gansten.
Read more about the 2014 South Asia related RJ project grants.

• Siddharth Singh first ICCR visiting professor at Uppsala University
Professor Siddharth Singh (born 1972) in front of a painting of Jarl Charpentier (1884-1935), former professor of Indology and comparative Indo-European linguistics at Uppsala University.

Professor Siddharth Singh, Head of the Department for Pali and Buddhist Studies at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, has now arrived to take up position as the first Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) visiting professor in Uppsala. He will stay about six months in Sweden. He is affiliated to the Department for Linguistics and Philology during his stay.
Prof. Singh is the first in a planned row of four consecutive ICCR guest professors in Uppsala according to a contract the Government of India/ICCR and Uppsala University, signed by Banashri Harrison Bose, Indian Ambassador in Sweden and Latvia, and Eva Åkesson, Rektor of Uppsala University.
Siddharth Singh 
is planning for a public ICCR lecture on ”Indian Studies in India and abroad: Challenges and Prospects” to be held later this autumnal semester. The exact date and time will be announced separately.

• Sujata Patel visits the Department of Sociology at Umeå University

In mid-November 2014, Sujata Patel – Professor of Sociology at the University of Hyderabad, India – will spend a week as guest professor at the Department of Sociology in Umeå. Sujata Patel is an internationally renowned social scientist with a broad range of research interests, spanning social theory, urban studies, political social movements, gender studies and postcolonial theory. Her visit to Umeå forms part of the Sociology Department’s internationalization initiative, and is also supported by the UCGS Postcolonial Feminist Seminar, and Umeå University’s new India project.
Professor Patel is engaged in questions relating to teaching and learning practices, and has written on the challenges which current university structures pose for teaching and learning in the classroom. She is the author of ten books and more than sixty articles, and is currently the Series Editor of three book series published by SAGE, Routledge and Oxford University Press. She has also served as Vice-President of the International Sociological Association.
During her stay in Umeå, Sujata Patel will participate as guest lecturer in the transdisciplinary PhD course ”Social Science in Context”, organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences. On 19 November 2014, Professor Patel will also give an open lecture entitled ”Doing Global Social Science: Issues, Problems and Challenges”. She will meet colleagues and groups at the departmental, faculty and university levels, including the chairperson of the Nordic Centre in India, to discuss opportunities for future educational and research collaborations. More information.

• Doctoral dissertation on the Anti-Land Acquisition Politics in Singur

Kenneth Bo Nielsen from the Department of Social Anthropology, & the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at University of Oslo, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Saving the Farmland: The Making of Popular Anti-Land Acquisition Politics in Singur, West Bengal” on Tuesday 21 October 2014, 13.15–16.00. First opponent was Prof. Lucia Michelutti, University College London, UK; and seond opponent Dr. Sirpa Tenhunen, University of Helsinki, Finland. Venue: Domus odontologica, main auditorium, A1.1001, Sognsvannsveien 10, Gaustad, Oslo. More information about the dissertation.
The thesis deals with the fact that India over the past decade has been home to thousands of land struggles that have centred crucially on the often forcible transfer of agricultural land from small and marginal farmers or indigenous groups to industrial conglomerates or special economic zones. Yet in spite of the proliferation of such struggles, and the key role they have played in public debates over ‘development’ in India, few of them have been studied ethnographically ‘from within’ as they happened. Kenneth Bo Nielsen’s dissertation seeks to fill this ethnographic gap through a study of one of the most talked-about land struggles in Indian in recent years, namely that against the setting up of a Tata Motors car factory on fertile agricultural land in Singur in the state of West Bengal. Drawing on recent theories growing out of the Subaltern Studies tradition, and the works of Partha Chatterjee in particular, Nielsen explores how Singur’s anti-land acquisition movement, spearheaded by the so-called ‘unwilling farmers’, have sought to forge alliances with key actors in civil society and in the organised domain of regional party politics to prevent their farmland from being acquired and, when that proved futile, to have the land acquisition undone. Read more about the thesis.

• Doctoral dissertation on Maharishi Mahesh yogi’s teachings

Anders Lindh from the Department of Individual and Society, Malmö University defended his doctoral dissertation on 17th October 2014. The thesis is entitled ”Unity Pervades all Activity as Water every Wave – Principal Teachings and Philosophy of Maharishi Mahesh yogi”. It aims at studying the central teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from the viewpoint of metaphorical language in his commentary chapters I-VI of the Bhagavadgita. Faculty opponent was Professor Sue Brown from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Indiana, USA.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi became world famous when the Beatles were impressed by his Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. Today TM is supported by film maker David Lynch via the David Lynch Foundation. Read more about the thesis (in Swedish only)
Lindh was previously affiliated to the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, where he defended his Licentiate thesis already in 1990, on a work entitled ”The Gita Pattern – Development of Genre-Analytical Methods in Relation to Indian Religious Literature”.
The decision to appoint Prof. Brown as opponent for the PhD dissertation has been critizised by some people, see article in Sydsvenskan 22 October 2014.

• Doctoral dissertation on Antiretroviral HIV Treatment Support in India

Rashmi Rodrigues

Assistant Professor Rashmi Josephine Rodrigues from the St Johns Academy Of Medical Science in Bangalore, India, defended her doctoral dissertation entitled ”m-Health for antiretroviral treatment support: Evidence from India” at the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm on Tuesday 14 October 2014. The opponent was Professor Max Petzold, Dept. of Public Health and Community Medicine, Gothenburg University. Venue: Wretlindsalen, Tomtebodavägen 18 A, Stockholm/Solna. Rashmi has had Dr. Ayesha De Costa as her principal supervisor.
With antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV infection is now managed like a chronic disease rather than as a fatal disease. Adherence to ART is essential for treatment success. However the high levels of adherence that are necessary and the multifactorial nature of adherence, make adherence to ART a challenge. The aim behind the thesis has been to test an mHealth intervention to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy in HIV patients in South India. Complete case analysis in revealed that the proportion of participants with optimal adherence increased from 85% to 91% patients in the cohort during the intervention period, the effect persisted for six months after the intervention was discontinued (p=0.016). It means that despite the positive effect of the intervention on adherence in the cohort, the researchers were unable to detect an effect on time to viral failure and adherence to treatment in the trial. Read more...

• Nobel Peace Prize to South Asian Child Rights Defenders
Malala Yousifzai and Kailash Satyarthi.

Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014. The decision was taken by the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday 10 October. The Nobel committee praised the pair's "struggle against the suppression of children and young people". The committee also said it was important that a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian, had joined in what it called a common struggle for education and against extremism.
At the age of just 17, Malala Yousufzai is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. She was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK. Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, paid tribute to Malala's achievements.
"Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai, has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education and has shown by example that children and young people too can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls' rights to education."
60-year old Kailash Satyarthi is the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or the Save the Childhood Movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking. Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the committee said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo. Read more about the Nobel Peace Prize winners 2014.
The news is highly appreciated by leading Swedish academics. Heinz Werner Wessler, Professor of Indology at Uppsala University, and Ashok Swain, Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, also at Uppsala University, comments on the news through the FSAS (Forum for South Asian Studies) web page. Read their comments.

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

Educational News

• High time to apply for Sri Lanka Presidential Scholarships for Foreign Students

The Government of Sri Lanka is now inviting applications from eligible students for the award of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships offered by the Ministry of Higher Education, Sri Lanka under the Government of Sri Lanka Presidential Scholarships for Foreign Students programme for the academic year 2014/15. More information about the programme.
This programme has been in operation for three years and provides 100 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships annually to foreign students from identified countries. These countries include all South Asian nations. Among the Nordic countries Sweden, Norway and Iceland are included. The ambition is that this scholarship scheme would bring about stronger educational and cultural ties with friendly nations. Students are given a chance to enroll themselves in either undergraduate or postgraduate programs conducted by some selected state universities in Sri Lanka. The vision behind the programme is to turn Sri Lanka into an International Hub of Excellence for Higher Education by 2020. Courses are to commence in December 2014. Since this is a government to government scholarship programme, candidates should apply for this scholarship with the recommendation of the government scholarship nominating agency (Ministry / Institution) of the respective country. The scholarship will include tuition fees, Visa charges, Flight fares and an monthly living allowance. Last official date for submitting applications was on the 15 October 2014. Read the full broschure about the progamme.

• Revived Nalanda University now formally inaugurated

On 19 September 2014, Nalanda University, located near Rajgir in the Indian state of Bihar, was formally inaugurated in its modern 'avatar' by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (photo). The original ancent Nalanda University existed from the 6th century AD till it was destroyed in 1193 AD, and attracted students from across the world. 
The first academic session began a few weeks before, on 1st September with 15 students in the School of Historical Sciences and the School of Environment and Ecology.  On its scheduled completion in 2020, the revived university will have seven schools for postgraduate and doctorate students, in Economics and Management; Information Sciences and Technology; Linguistics and Literature; International Relations; Peace Studies; and Buddhist studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religion; besides Historical studies; and Ecology and Environment.
The idea to revive Nalanda University came with a proposal by then President of India A. P. J.Abdul Kalam (photo) in 2006, and in 2007, the Government of India constituted a Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) under the Chairmanship of Professor Amartya Sen to examine the framework of international regional co-operation under the aegis of the East Asia Summit (EAS), in order to turn the university into an international centre of education. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen was appointed the Chancellor in 2012. 
China has contributed one million dollars, Singapore five million dollars, Thailand of one lakh dollars and Australia one million Australian dollars for the construction work, so not surprisingly many foreign dignatories, including diplomats from Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, Germany, Japan and Laos, were present at the inauguration. Read more...

• Social Sciences Winter School at Pondicherry University

The Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry, India, has been designed as a programme of intensive and multidisciplinary training workshops addressing theoretical and methodological issues in social science research. The training will take place at Pondicherry University (School of Social Sciences and International Studies, Silver Jubilee Campus) from the 7th to the 13th December 2014. The Winter School is open to Doctoral and Master Students of all fields of social sciences. Participants will be selected on the basis of their qualifications, while taking into account the value of the training with regards to their research or professional projects.
For the 2014 Edition, the following theme has been chosen: “Health and Societal challenges: Methodological Approaches in Social Sciences.” Four parallel workshops will be coordinated by four international teams of academics: Universalisation of health care in India: questions, methods and assessments (W1); Impact evaluation of public health and development programs and policies (W2); Analysis of health controversies (W3); Outside the archive! Repositioning histories of science, technology and medicine (W4). More information.
Registration form.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Lund University research seminar on the Shahbag movement

Sanchari De, PhD candidate from the Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, India, currently Erasmus Mundus  scholarship holder staying for year at Lund University’s Dept. of Communication and Media, will present her ongoing research work on Wednesday 29 October 2014, at 13.15. The project is entitled ”Blog Back in Anger: An Attempt to Study Shahbag Movement (2013) in Bangladesh, the Agency of New Media and The Network of Nostalgia”. Venue for the research seminar: Faculty Club, ground floor (next to cafeteria), Centre for Languages and Literature (SOL-Centrum), Helgonabacken, Lund.
Sanchari’s research interest is related to digital media, political mobilization and information aesthetics, and during her mobility period in Sweden she gives guest lectures related to Indian media and film, digital media and political engagement, and write two chapters of her thesis focusing on the Shahbagh movement in Bangladesh, in particular on how the activists make use of new digital media.

• Oslo seminar on Emerging Social Movements in Kathmandu

Associate Professor Heather Hindman from University of Texas in Austin, USA, holds an open guest lecture in Oslo on Wednesday 29 October 2014, 14.15–16.00. Her presentation is entitled ”Gari Khana Deu – Let us Live! How transnational youth navigate a provisional Nepal”, focusing on the recently emergent social movements in Katmandu. The seminar is organised by the Dept. of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo. Venue: P.A. Munchs house, Auditorium 11, Blindern.
The lecture will explore how these social movements draw most of their membership from an elite group of internationally experienced young people. “Bipals” or Bideshi Nepalis (Foreign Nepalis) return from study or work abroad with high expectations, both their own and their communities’, of success and contributions to building a better country. Whereas overseas experience once guaranteed a high-paying and secure job, this is no longer the case in contemporary Kathmandu, and many returnees must forge a new narrative of success. For some, this has taken the form of involvement in entrepreneurship organizations that encourage the creation of independent businesses and advocate for a more productive climate for entrepreneurship. Others seek to disrupt the status quo through music and radical activism. More information.

• KI seminar in honour of professors Diwan and Tomson
Vinod Diwan and Göran Tomson.

The Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm, invites to a seminar and mingle in the honour of Professor Vinod Diwan and Professor Göran Tomson, two senior professors at the department with outstanding careers, on Tuesday 18 November 014, 13.00–15.30. Venue: Karolinasalen, Widerströmska huset, Tomtebodavägen 18 A, floor 2, Stockholm/Solna. See the poster.
They will be presented be their colleagues 
Hans Rosling, Mats Brommels and Lucie Laflamme, and by the members of their research groups. Please register your participation for the seminar and/or the mingle at the latest on November 7th to Gun-Britt ErikssonIndicate if you come to the seminar only, the mingle only or both.

• CROP workshop on Child poverty, youth (un)employment and social inclusion

The Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP), based at University of Bergen, Norway, organises a workshop on ”Child poverty, youth (un)employment and social inclusion” on 19–21 November 2014 in Athens, Greece. It is co-organised by the Institute of Labour, and Democritus University of Thrace. This workshop will focus on the crucial issue of child and youth poverty and critically raise the question of what policy strategies can break the vicious cycle of inter-generational poverty transmission. The lack of protection against child poverty not only constitutes a violation of basic human rights but it also entails high social and economic costs. Living in poverty has a negative impact on their current family and social life as well as on the long-term. Full information about the workshop.

• Lund University symposium on Social Resistance in Non-Democracies

The Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University will be organizing an international symposium on “Social Resistance in Non-Democracies” from 24 to 26 November 2014. This symposium aims to understand different types of social resistance in non-democracies, and to what extent they have yielded significant political claims. How and why are some social resistance movements successful in eliciting reactions and compromises from the state, while others do not? Through analyzing case studies from Asia, this symposium also compares the active and dynamic power relationships between social resistance actors and the regimes, as well as reactions of the regimes towards these resistances. The symposium features invited lectures and peer-reviewed paper presentations. The scope of the symposium includes case studies of social resistance from Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South Asia. All sessions of Focus Asia are open to the public and admission is free of charge. Those interested in attending this symposium should register for the symposium no later than 15 November 2014. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Gujarat conference on Village Social Accounting Matrix

Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR) in Ahmedabad, India, organises an international workshop on ”Village Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) and Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Modelling: Application in Agricultural Research and Development Studies” on 3–10 November 2014. More information.

• 2nd International Workshop on Micronutrient and Child Health in Delhi

The 2nd International Workshop on Micronutrient and Child Health (MCHWS-2014) will be held 3 – 7 November 2014 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, India. It is being organized to update the participants about the recent advances in the field of Micronutrients and Child Health, and feature presentations and discussions on Magnitude of the Iron, Iodine, Vitamin A and Zinc deficiencies; their Health Consequences, Methodology of their Assessments, Strategies for Prevention & Control; Micronutrients Supplementation to improve child morbidity & mortality and related issues. The 1st International Congress on Micronutrient and Child Health (MCH-2009) was organized in November 2009, in which more than 1000 delegates participated.
A large pool of scientific evidence is being generated globally on issues related to Role of Micronutrients in reduction of morbidity and mortality and Promoting Child Health. There are many important issues like Interaction between Micronutrients Supplementations when given simultaneously; Prevention of IDD amongst Pregnant Mothers; Iron Supplementation in Malaria Endemic Area; Micronutrient Supplementation for Prevention of Diarrhea and Respiratory Infections; Micronutrient Fortification of Foods-Rationale, Application and Impact; Micronutrient Fortification of Complementary Foods; Iron Supplementation in Early Childhood: Health Benefits and Risks; Effect of Iron Supplementation on Mental and Motor Development in Children; Vitamin A Supplementation and child survival etc. All  Research Abstracts presented will be published in Indian Journal of Community Health. More information about the MCHWS-2014.

• Kolkata Conference on Gender, Empowerment and Conflict in South Asia

Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (MCRG) and the Norwegian Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) are jointly organizing an international conference on ”Gender, Empowerment and Conflict in South Asia” on 7–8 November 2014. This is the final conference for a collaborative project entitled Making Women Count for Peace: Gender, Empowerment and Conflict in South Asia. Funded by the Research Council of Norway's INDNOR and NORGLOBAL programmes, the project aims to generate new knowledge and debate on women's empowerment and the challenges facing implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Nepal and India. With a focus on Northeast Indian experiences and a comparative look at Nepal, the project addresses the role of women in local governance and politics, particularly within the context of peace and security processes.
The best papers presented at the conference will be included in an edited volume with the aim of contributing new insights to the debate on gender and political change in conflict-ridden societies. The volume would endeavor to generate awareness about the empowerment of women in peacebuilding efforts and their roles as political activists, members of social movements, politicians or writers. More information.

• Thrissur students conference on Restructuring Indian States

The Center for Economy, Development and Law (CED&L) at Govt. Law College, Thrissur, Kerala, invites papers for presentation at the 1st Annual All India Students Conference on Restructuring Indian States, Society and Economy. The theme for this conference is ‘Restructuring Indian States, Society and Economy: An Inquiry into Today and Tomorrow’. This conference open to interested student scholars irrespective of their disciplines of studies will be held on 8–9 November 2014. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 20 September. Venue: Kerala Institute of Local Administration, Thrissur, Kerala. More information.

• Ahmedabad conference on Climate Justice focusing on Farmers

An International Conference on Strengthening Climate Justice Initiatives: Livelihood Challenges at Local Level with a focus on Farmers” will be held in  Ahmedabad, India, on 8–9 November 2014. It is organised by the Institute of Law at Nirma University in Ahmedabad (ILNU), in collaboration with the National Indian Council for Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Public Leadership (NCCSD). Students, research scholars, academicians, policy makers, practitioners, NGOs, regulatory bodies, farmers and various other stakeholders are invited to initiate a dialogue on the conference theme and to critically analyse the contribution of government policies, legal framework, technology and local initiatives to bring Climate Justice against the challenges faced by farmers at local level.  More information

• Ethiopia conference on Affordable and Profitable Housing

The Ethiopian Institute of Technology at Mekelle University (EIT-M– in the northern Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia – hosts an international conference on affordable housing entitled The Affordable and the Profitable” on 10–12 November 2014. The conference aims to be more than just an academic exercise instead it is supposed to be a dialogue and a debate among the academia, the state and the private sector on the crucial issue of affordable housing. The focus is on Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular, but the theme may have bearings also for South Asia.

Lawrence Vale, Nabeel Hamdi and Pradip Jyoti Agrawal.

The keynote speakers are Prof. Lawrence Vale, School of Architecture & Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA; Prof. Nabeel Hamdi, School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University, UK; and Pradip Jyoti Agrawal, Advisor/Director, Ambuja Neotia Real Estate Company, Kolkata, India. This is one of the most prominent and respected corporate houses headquartered in Kolkata with its forte in real estate and recent forays into hospitality, healthcare and education. The company has been responsible for landmark projects in and around Kolkata such as Udayan, Kolkata’s first Condoville created around the Public Private Partnership model, City Centre, the mall that went on to re-write several retail rules, Fort Raichak, Kolkata’s first luxury weekend getaway and the pastoral hamlet by the Ganges, Ganga Kutir amongst many others.
The conference is organised by the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at EIT-M. Among the conveners are Assistant Professor Antarin Chakrabarty, with a background from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, where he defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Communicative Planning and Democratic Decentralisation in India – Case of Kolkata City” in 2008. Full information.

• International Symposium on Megacities to be held in Kolkata

An International Symposium on MEGACITIES will be held in Kolkata, India, 11 – 14 November 2014. According to United Nations statistics, a megacity is defined to have a population of 10 million or more (see a list of the current 32 megacites in the world). During four days, world leading experts in architecture and city planning participate and give presentations. A Concluding Lecture entitled ”Need for research on Megacity” will be given by Professor Shin Muramatsu from the Research Institute of Humanity and Nature, Kyoto and Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, Japan.  
The symposium is being organised by the Centre for Built Environment (CBE), an umbrella organisation of professionals from the government, university, private organisations and institutions. The symposium intends to discuss the megacity concept in a comprehensive way, and almost all megacities in the world will be presented for the first time – about the transformation and about its challenges and problems, prospects and future visions. How grandeur and splendour are seen with squalor and decay, with poverty and plenty. How utopian ideas come and how magacities take the challenges. Where and how future megacitie will come? The symposium also includes special features and account of megacities in art, cinema and music. The organizers hope that the symposium should lead up to a resolution, that is called the Charter of Kolkata. Full information about the symposium.

• Delhi conference on Geographies of Resistance, Agency, Violence and Desire in Asia

An International Seminar on ”Re Orienting Gender: Geographies of Resistance, Agency, Violence and Desire in Asia” will be held in Delhi, India, 19–21 November 2014. It is organised by the Department of Geography at University of Delhi, with support from the International Geographical Union (IGU) Commission on Gender and GeographyDespite more inclusive geographies today, epistemic violence continues to construct non white, non western subjects mostly as poor, powerless and unempowered. In much the same way, within conventional theory, spaces come to be constructed through discourses that ultimately flatten and homogenize them. In this situation, difference, diversity, local feminisms, local knowledges and local understandings of space and place risk being lost unless seen contextually, using situated knowledges. This seminar seeks to re-orient the geographies of gender through a focus on understandings of gender and space in a specifically Asian context. More information.

• Pune conference to celebrate 900th anniversary of Indian Mathematician

The Indian Society for History of Mathematics (ISHM) will be organizing an International conference at Pune in India 27 – 30 November 2014. The conference is hosted jointly by three institutions, the Departments of Mathematics of the University of Pune, the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, and the Bhaskaracharya Institute of Mathematics, Pune. The event will commemorate the 900th anniversary of great ancient Indian mathematician Bhaskaracharya (1114 – 1185 AD). The theme will be broad-based, covering a broad range of topics in history of mathematics of various cultures from the world. There will also be a session dedicated to the works of Bhaskaracharya. The organisers are accepting paper for conference. More information.

• Olomouc conference on Migration, Religion and Asia

A Conference on Migration, Religion and Asia will be held 27–29 November 2014 at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. It is being organised by the Department of Sociology, Andragogy and Cultural Anthropology, and the  Department of Asian Studies. The issues concerning both religiosity and migration have been discussed by scholars across different academic disciplines for a long time. Various theoretical and methodological tools are utilized to approach both of these social phenomena. In this symposium the focus lies on religion and migration in the global age, while drawing attention to Asia and the role it plays in related processes. The intention is to provide a space for a highly elaborated academic discussion on these processes. More information.

• Indo-New Zeeland joint conference on Everyday Life in Contemporary India

University of Madras in Chennai, India will hold a conference entitled “Everyday Life in Contemporary India“ on 17 – 18 December 2014. The event is organised in collaboration by the university's Department of Journalism & Communication, in collaboration with the Department of Media, Film & Communication, University of Otago, New Zealand, & New Zealand India Research Institute. 
This conference explores the everyday lives and experiences of people in contemporary India. It seeks to critically interrogate and debate the varied ways in which everyday life in India is played out, acted upon, and conceived. The Indian everyday is diverse, heterogeneous, and changing rapidly. Multiple complimentary and contradictory forces circulate and compete, and new social divisions, solidarities, and struggles for recognition and legitimacy animate the contemporary Indian everyday.
At a time when India is at a critical juncture in its globalization story, Everyday L
ife in Contemporary India seeks to examine the ways that people negotiate, traverse and engage various aspects of their everyday life. The aim of the conference is to examine the complexities of the everyday and provide a platform to foster a deeper understanding of socio-cultural life in contemporary India. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplines — cultural studies, social and cultural geography, media studies, communication studies, sociology, anthropology, history, literature, visual culture, and politics — that theoretically and critically engage with selected aspects of everyday life in contemporary India. Abstract Submission is open until 10 November 2014. More information. 

• Colombo Conference on Advances in Women’s Studies

The Second International Conference on Advances in Women’s Studies will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 25–27 February 2015. It is jointly organised by Unique Conference, Canada and the International Center for Research & Development (ICRD). This conference will be held in parallel with the Second International Conference on Interdisciplinary Legal Studies 2015 and registered participants of the AWS 2015 will be allowed to participate the technical sessions. Abstract should be submitted before 30 November 2014. More information.

• Ahmedabad Conference on Law and Economics

A two day International Conference on Law and Economics (ICLE 2015) will be held 14–15 March 2015 at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) in Ahmedabad, India. The conference is organised in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur), and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmadabad (IIMA). Themes for the conference include Behavioural approaches to Law an Economics; Rethinking Regulation (Anti-trust laws, infrastructure, power, telecom etc) and the Corporate world; and Labour (physical & intellectual) mixed with Natural Resources: In the context of Property Rights. Abstracts shoukd be submitted before 15 November 2014. Full information.

• International Visual Methods Seminar at University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp in Belgium will organise the second round of International Visual Methods Seminar (IVMS) to be held from 26 August to 4 September, 2015 at the university. It is a 10-day program of study in using visual methods for research and teaching in the social and cultural sciences.
The 2015 IVMS will emphasize visual studies of urban cultures and the application of visual methods in general to research and teaching. Seminar activities are designed and led by experienced scholars whose research, leadership and teaching have contributed substantially to the development of a ‘more visual’ social science. 
Visual methods present distinctive challenges and opportunities for studying and teaching about urban cultures. Some of these appear as ethical and theoretical implications of making, collecting and analyzing photographs and video recordings as evidence about the worlds in which people live. Others emerge in trying to use visual evidence to develop engaging, well-informed presentations and reports for diverse audiences.
This seminar 
is designed to explore these challenges and opportunities with participants interested in evidence-based visual inquiry. Participants will work closely with tutors and peers to examine visual materials as research data and analytical tools, and as teaching and reporting resources. The seminar will also provide hands-on workshops for participants in developing evidence-based visual presentations and reports for specific audiences, such as disciplinary scholars, students, community and advocacy groups, political constituencies, consumers, or for research subjects themselves. Applications will be open from 1 January 2015 until 31 May 2015. More information. 

• Other conferences connected to South Asian studies all over the World
See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

• Information about South Asia related business and politics in Sweden
See SASNET's page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia
See SASNET’s page,

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Gael Turine documented the India-Bangladesh Wall of shame

Eminent Belgian photographer Gaël Turine has produced an excellent photo reportage turned into a book entitled ”The Wall and the Fear. India–Bangladesh”. This reportage was awarded the AFD Prize for the best photo reportage (French Development Agency), and the book is being published with the backing of Amnesty International. It was supposed to be published in August 2014. A man with plenty of experience of in-depth, long haul reportages, here opens our eyes to a little-known reality. His subject is a wall some 3200 km long, separating India and Bangladesh, which makes it the longest geopolitical barrier in the world.
Erection of this wall of shame was begun in 1993 by the Indian authorities, to restrict illegal immigration and infiltration from terrorists. It has shattered the already precarious balance in the region, ruining a traditional system of commercial trade, destabilizing Indian and Bangladeshi enclaves on opposite sides of the border and bringing bloody repression to the inhabitants. Arrests and cases of torture have become commonplace in the vicinity of the wall, as the Indian troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) and, to a lesser extent, their Bangladeshi counterparts, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), conduct such activities with total impunity.
For almost two years and with great force of will, Gaël Turine immersed himself in the daily lives of the people living along the border. In perilous conditions, he managed, with help from local journalists and activists, to get around official restrictions in spite of constant surveillance. He remains true to his fundamentally human approach, and through individual stories he delivers an essential account of one of the most horrific human constructions of the past 20 years. Full information.

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were 2 new departments added to SASNET's list: 
         ‡ Department of Individual and Society, Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University
         ‡ Centre for Societal Resilience, Lund University

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

• Useful travelling information

Look at our Travel Advice page. Updated travel advises from the The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office about safety aspects on travelling to the countries of South Asia.

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy Director in charge of Communication
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network

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

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

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