Newsletter 184 – 18 February 2016


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• SASA/SASNET film screening of Sara Singh’s film on Partition

On Friday 19 February 2016, from 17.00 – 20.00, the South Asian Students’ Association (SASA) in collaboration with SASNET has the privilege to show the award-winning film The Sky Below by Indo-American film director Sara Singh, specially invited to Sweden for this event. The film deals with the Partition of India, and will be screened at Edens Hörsal, House Eden, Paradisgatan 5 H in Lund. See the poster.
This courageous and moving film evokes painful memories and raises powerful issues that continue to trouble the South Asian subcontinent. Lyrically shot on both sides of the Indo-Pak border, the film should be watched by those who care about the legacy of Partition as well as those trying to understand the complexities of fighting wars in those lands. There will be a Q&A with director Sara Singh afterwards. View the film trailer
Sara was born in India into the Patiala royal familyin Punjab, now spending her time primarily between New York and South Asia. Her work has been exhibited all over the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London; the Asian Civilizations Museum; the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and at universiites such as Oxford and Stanford. This will be first screening in the Nordic countries. The event is free of charge, and all are welcome. More information about the movie and Sara Singh.

• SASNET/CMES seminar on Hindu/Perso-Arabic connection with Jainism
Olle  Qvarnström and Martin Gansten.

Professor Olle Qvarnström and Associate Professor Martin Gansten, researchers in History of Religion at the Centre of Theology and Religious Studies (CTR), Lund University, holds a SASNET/CMES lecture at Lund University on Thursday 25 February 2016, 15.00–17.00. The seminar, organised in collaboration with the Center of Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), is entitled ”Hindu Reception of Perso-Arabic Traditions of Knowledge and the Role of Jainism in Cultural Transmission”. Venue: CMES, seminar room 1, Finngatan 16, Lund.
The seminar is based on an ongoing research project carried out by Qvarnström and Gansten, in a field where, till now, almost no research has been done. They focus on Sanskrit-language reception of Islamic divination/astrology. The few studies which have been made generally relate to Jaina-Muslim relations in later periods in history. The Lund University project therefore constitutes vital foundational research. The research work, dealing chiefly with medieval textual sources and based on philology and historical criticism, is related to the areas of previous research and specialist competence of the applicants, with regard both to reception history and interreligious relations. Research results will be published as English-language articles and at least one monograph. Qvarnström and Gansten will also participate in international research networks focussing on Persian-Indian cultural exchanges, history of astral disciplines, and Jainology.  Read more about the research project.
The seminar is part of a joint SASNET/CMES seminar series during the spring 2016. View full program here.

• SASNET/CMES seminar on migration to the Gulf

Dr. Rakkee Timothy from the V V Giri National Labour Institute holds a SASNET/CMES lecture at Lund University on Thusday 15 March 2016, 15.00–17.00. The seminar, organised in collaboration with the Center of Middle Eastern Studies, at Lund University, is entitled ”Migration of Women Workers from South Asia to the Gulf”. Venue: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, seminarie room 1, Finngatan 16, Lund.
Rakkee Thimothy is an economist by training and a Ph D. from Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (CESP), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She had secured M.Phil in Applied Economics from Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. Her research interests include changing structure of employment generation, linkages between economic growth and employment, labour migration and skill development. This seminar is a part of a joint seminar series between SASNET/CMES. View full program here.

• SASA announces travel grants to Lund University students for fall semester 2016

The South Asian Students Association (SASA) at Lund University, in collaboration with SASNET, announces a maximum of three travel grants for students that are planning for fieldwork in South Asia during the fall semester of 2016. The grants will cover travel expenses for airline tickets for applicants to do fieldwork in a South Asian country for up to a maximum of 8000,- SEK. Students enrolled at Lund University who plan to do fieldwork in South Asia are eligible to apply.
In order to do so, fill in the application form, enclose your CV and an up-to-date copy of your LADOK results, and e-mail these to SASNET Deputy Director Lars Eklund at  no later than April 10, 2016 at noon. Applications will be ranked based on the quality of the project proposal, relevance of the research, grades of the applicant and the experiences as listed in the CV. SASA and SASNET expect to announce a new round of fieldwork grants for those doing fieldwork during the spring for the spring semester 2017. Like the SASA Facebook page to stay updated on grant announcements and activities. For questions and more information contact Jacco Visser at We look forward to receiving your application!

• SASNET 2016 Conference on Modernity in South Asia

Faisal Devji, Dipesh Chakrabarty and Sumi Madhok.

SASNET organizes a conference entitled ”Modern Matters: Negotiating the Future in Everyday Life in South Asia” 20 – 22 September 2016 at Lund University, Sweden. The conference will explore what it means to consider oneself modern or outside the limits of modernity, in an extremely diverse region. It will also examine how the notion of modernity is experienced, contested, and negotiated in South Asia within the broader promise and hope of the 'Asian century'. We particularly seek to examine South Asian modernity in terms of regional, national, and global societies by pursuing the following larger questions: Can we discover regional understandings of modernity in South Asia? If so, how do they differ, and what do they have in common? What are the specific discourses related to global modernity in South Asian societies?How are class, caste, ethnicity, religion, and gender related in contemporary South Asian societies? What resistance to modernity can we find in South Asian contexts? What categories are involved, and which arguments are raised? How might violence relate to South Asian modernity?
The three keynote speakers will be Faisal Devji, University of Oxford, UK; Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA; and Sumi Madhok, London School of Economics (LSE), UK. The organizers are now in the process of selecting panels for the conference. The selected panels will be announced not later then March 5, 2016. After the selection of panels has been announced we the proceed with the call for papers.   Full information about the conference.

• SASNET Networking Day on Nordic South Asian Studies

Nearly 40 Nordic researchers and academics from 15 universities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have so far registered to participate in the Networking Day on South Asian Studies, that SASNET organizes in Lund on Monday 25 April 2016. They are all working on South Asia-related issues, and have been invited to discuss ways to expand collaboration on education and researchs. The meeting will address the question: How we can strengthen a South Asian perspective across all faculties at Nordic universities? The objectives could include a commitment to hold collaborative workshops and other joint events; circulate information about visiting scholars for the benefit of Nordic partner institutions who may wish to invite them; and creating a  common Nordic newsletter on South Asian Studies and a  joint website focusing on South Asia.
The Networking Day is organised in collaboration with researchers at University of Copenhagen, and it will open with an introductory address by David Ludden (photo), Professor of History at New York University and former President of the Association for Asian Studies. Professor Ludden is well-known for his extensive writings on South Asia. His talk will be followed by short presentations by representatives of Nordic universities on their current South Asian activities. The afternoon will then be devoted to formal and informal discussions.
The planning committee for this event consists of Lars Eklund and Anna Lindberg of SASNET at Lund University, and Ravinder Kaur and Peter B. Andersen at the University of Copenhagen. Full programme will soon be posted.

• Call for one month position to prepare research application at Lund University

For the second year, SASNET invites researchers at Lund University to apply for a one month position (”ansökningsmånad”) at SASNET in which to prepare a research application with a South Asian focus. The purpose is to promote more South Asia-related research at Lund University. Members of all faculties and disciplines at the University are invited. The salary will range to a maximum of SEK 35 000. Applications are especially encouraged from the faculties of Social Sciences, Humanities and Theology, Fine and Performing Arts, and Law. Applications, including CV, should be sent to by the closing date of  31 March 2016.
The previous call for applications in 2015 received a very positive response. One of the granted applications, by Ebbe Nordlander at the Division of Chemical Physics, Department of Chemistry, later resulted in a Swedish Research Links (SRL) grant from the Swedish Research Council for a three-year project entitled “Development of Bio-inspired Catalysts for Oxidative Degradation of Organic Pollutants in Wastewater”.

• Book launch seminar on Jallad: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia

On Friday 12 February 2016, from 15.00–17.00, SASNET organized a book launch of the 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. The book launch took place at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Finngatan 16, Lund. The event was recorded and can be watched on Youtube. Go for the recording.
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. 
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.
An excellent review of the book was published in Sydsvenskan, the daily paper in Malmö, on 12 February. It is written by journalist Axel Kronholm. Read the review, entitled ”Den sanktionerade terrorn. Sydasiens dödsskvadroner

• SASNET/SASA event with young connectors from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan

On Monday 15 February 2016 SASNET, along with its student organisation SASA, organised a Fika without borders event in Lund for the participants attending the Young Connectors of the Future (YCF) programme which is being arranged by the Swedish Institute (SI). 29 dynamic young individuals from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan  – 8 from India, 9 from Pakistan and six each from Bangladesh and Afghanistan – spent three weeks in Stockholm during September 2015. Most of them now come back for a follow-up week in Malmö during the period 15-19 February 2016. SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund has been involved in the planning of the 2015 programme, and had invited the group, led by Ulrika Rosvall from SI to the Lund event.
The gathering was held in the auditorium of Lund University’s External Relations building, Stora Algatan 4 in central Lund. The YCF programme participants presented themselves and the work they are involved in back home in South Asia, nice vegetarian food was served, and the Lund based International Tagore Choir performed, a much appreciated performance. See photos from the great pan-South Asian atmosphere at SASNET/YCF gathering in Lund.
Many Lund University students turned up for the event, mingled with the YCF participants and established new contacts. Lars Eklund presented SASNET and its activities, and Daniel Gunnarsson from Lund University’s External Relations division presented Lund University as a whole.
The documentary photographer Danial Shah from Pakistan showed his film ”A Daughter's Lament – Borders that Separate”, a very touching and excellent production screened in Kashmir. (Photo to the right). More information about Danial Shah.
YCF is an intercultural leadership programme that aims to lay a foundation for dialogue and knowledge sharing among young leaders from South Asia. The aim is to train young leaders, promising professionals, social workers and entrepreneurs aged between 22 and 32 from South Asia, and to provide the participants with new skills, broadened networks and innovative tools to strengthen their work to drive social change in their respective contexts. The participants represent different sectors of society and are visionaries in positions to make a difference. The participants are actively working for democracy and human rights within the spheres of society, culture, politics, entrepreneurship and media. Applications for the 2016 programme is now open – read more.

• Linneaus Palme exchange programme students good ambassadors for Lund University

Four enthusiastic Indian students recently came to visit SASNET, two of them from University of Delhi and the other two from University of Kerala. They were all beneficiaries of ongoing Linnaeus Palme collaboration programmes between Lund University and their respective home universities. Lars Eklund took an interview with them to hear about their experiences of staying in Lund and studying at Lund University. 
Shinjini Bhattacharjee and Rupsa Ghosh, Delhi University MPhil students in Geography, had become extremely fond of the Lund atmosphere after spending two months in the middle of winter at the Dept. of Gender Studies. Their expectations had been more than fullfilled. The two Kerala University students, Anju Jacob and Parvathy Vijayan, had just arrived in Lund through a collaboration programme between their Department of Journalism at University of Kerala and the Dept. of Communication and Media (KOM) at Lund University, and they were equally happy with what they had experienced so far. Better ambasssadors for the beneficial effects of this great Swedish mobility programme are hard to find. Read more...
SASNET has been instrumental in aplying for both these ongoing Linnaeus Palme programmes, as well two other India related programmes that Lund University has managed to get funding – between the School of Social Work and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India; and between the Law and Vulnerabilities research programme, Faculty of Law, Lund University and TISS.
Every year, SASNET keeps track of all South Asia related Linnaeus Palme collaboration programmes at Swedish universities given funding from Programkontoret through Sida. Go for the list of programmes for 2015/16.

• SASNET seminar on Social Media and Democratic Participation

Dr. M.S Harikumar from the Department of Communication and Journalism at University of Kerala, India, held a well-attended SASNET lecture at Lund University on Wednesday 3 February 2016, 13.15–15.00. The seminar, organised in collaboration with the Department of Communication and Media at Lund University, was entitled ”Social Media and Democratic Participation: An Indian Experience”. Venue: Centre for Languages and Literature (SOL), Helgonabacken, Lund. The seminar was recorded by Talat Bhat and is now available to watch on Youtube. Go for the seminar.
Dr. Harikumar is a media professional turned academician with close to two decades of experience in the Indian newspaper industry. He was earlier chief sub-editor and chief reporter working for the Mathrubhumi daily, which is one of the most circulated newspapers in India. His PhD thesis in Mass Communication was a seminal explorative study on the reader-editor gap with a special emphasis on the gate-keeping theories of Mass Communication. More information.

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

Research Community News

• Börje Ljunggren reflects on 50 years of Swedish-Bangladeshi relations

In 2015, Swedish development cooperation with Bangladesh, and what till 1971 was East Pakistan, has now been going on for more than 50 years. On the 50th year anniversary occasion on 18th November 2015, the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka organized a seminar on Swedish-Bangladeshi development cooperation. Dr. Börje Ljunggren, Head of the Development Cooperation office at the Swedish Embassy in Bangladesh (1973-75), former Deputy Director General of Sida and ambassador to China and Vietnam, was invited to deliver a speech about how it all began and what has been achieved. In his presentation, he assessed development at large in Bangladesh since independence and reflected on the Bangladeshi paradox: the country’s quite remarkable socio-economic development in a political culture characterized by patronage, corruption and a confrontational political stalemate. Based on his Dhaka presentation, Börje Ljunggren has now, exclusively for SASNET, written an article full of well-informed reflections on Bangladesh from its birth in 1971 till today. Go for the article.

• Doctoral dissertation on Tibetan Buddhist community in north-western Nepal

Astrid Hovden from the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo defends her doctoral dissertation entitled Between village and monastery: a historical ethnography of a Tibetan Buddhist community in north-western Nepal on 18 March 2016 at 10.15. The evaluation committee consists of Professor Peter Schwieger, University of Bonn, Associate Professor Ulrike Roesler, Oxford University and Professor Mark Teeuwen, University of Oslo. The venue is Helga Engs Hus, Sem Saelands vei 7, Oslo, Norway. The thesis analyses social organization, decision-making, recruitment, and monastic economy in a Himalayan community. While keeping the main focus on local agency, the thesis discusses how these domains have been negotiated in the context of broader socio-economic, religious, and political transformation processes. Hovden has also been involved in interdisciplinary research cooperation on local adaptation to climate change. This research cooperation has so far resulted in two publications. More information.

• 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.

• Legendary Norwegian Anthropologist Fredrik Barth passed away

Renowned Norwegian Social Anthropologist Fredrik Barth died on 24 January 2016 at the age of 87. Barth was one of the most cited Norwegian social scientists of all time. He received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 1957. He held professorships at the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, Emory University and Harvard University. His best known work, the anthropology classic Political leadership among  Swat Pathans – based on his PhD dissertation – is a transactional analysis of political processes in the Swat valley of northern Pakistan. Barth made further contributions to the study of ethnicity emphasizing the importance of on-going negotiations of boundaries between groups of people. Barth’s view was that such groups are not discontinues cultural isolates to which people naturally belong. Read more on Wikipedia.

• Ireland India Institute provides wide range of support for collaboration with India

The Ireland India Institute at Dublin City University is a new national centre that aims to support collaboration in education, research and knowledge exchange betweenIreland and India. It provides practical support for collaboration through initiatives such as the Ireland India Institute Research Fund, which supports research exchange visits, both from India to Ireland and vice versa, while also supporting the development of joint proposals for research funding. Another way in which the institute supports collaboration is through Ireland India Institute Scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Finally the institute has a seminar series, more information about these can be found here.

• Stockholm Water Prize Laureate Shri Rajendra Singh lectured in Stockholm

Shri Rajendra Singh, a well-known water conservationist from Rajasthan, India, lectured in Stockholm on 3 February 2016 at the Swedish Water House Institute. Singh won the Stockholm Water Prize, an award known as ‘the Nobel Prize for water’ in 2015. He also runs an NGO called ‘Tarun Bharat Sangh’ which has been instrumental in fighting slow bureaucracy, minig lobby and has helped villagers to take charge of water management in Rajasthan. The talk illustrates how in close cooperation with local residents Singh and his organization have revived several rivers and brought water back to a thousand villages. Furthermore he demonstrates how to encourage cooperation at the community level and link it to the international water collaboration. The lecture is part of the Water Dialogue series, co-hosted by the International Water Cooperation (ICWC) and SIWI Swedish Water House. The organization posted a webcast of the lecture which can be watched here.

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

Educational News

• Michael Palin Scholarship announced for MA in South Asia Studies at SOAS, University of London

SOAS, University of London has announced one Michael Palin scholarship for an UK-EU post-graduate student taking the two-year MA in Intensive South Asian Studies at the university on a full-time basis. The scholarship is valued at £47,625 and will cover the full cost of tuition fees for both years of the programme. The remaining amount will go towards living costs for both the duration of the programme in London and the six-month study abroad period in India, Pakistan or Nepal, including return flights and visa. The deadline for applications to the scholarship is 25 March 2016. Michael Palin was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from SOAS in July 2008. He established his reputation with Monty Python’s Flying Circus. More recently he has presented seven successful travel series for the BBC. His series have brought many cultures in remote parts of the world to public attention and interest in the UK and internationally. More information about the scholarship is published here.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Finnish University Network for Asian Studies celebrates 20th Anniversary Conference

On 18 and 19 February 2016 the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies organizes its 20th annual conference on Education, Science and Equality in Asia. Venue: Publicum 3, University of Turku, Finland. The conference addresses how recent developments and future prospects of closing the educational, research and knowledge divide within Asian countries and in the region. It will particularly focus on inequality across geography, gender, as well as levels of income and how ICT can contribute to more equal education possibilities and enhance scientific research even in less wealthy regions. Professor Vinayagum Chinapah, Head of the Institute of International Education at Stockholm University is the keynote speaker.  Full programme (as a pdf file)
A Doctoral seminar will be held in connection with the 20th Anniversary conference. PhD candidates who are writing their thesis on Asia are invited to present papers in the doctoral seminar of the Asia Network on February 19th. Priority is given to students from the member universities of the Network (Aalto, Jyväskylä, Lappeenranta, Oulu, University of Tampere, Turku, Vaasa and Åbo). However, PhD candidates from non-member universities are also welcomed to propose papers. The seminar starts at 9.30 am with an interactive lecture on ”International publishing in Asian Studies” by Prof Juha Vuori, who has wide experience in international publishing. 

• Oslo seminar on Family and Gender in Globalizing India

On 18 February 2016 from 14:15- 15:45 the Centre for Development and the Environment at Oslo University organizes a seminar exploring the transformation of family and gender relations in contemporary India. Venue: Sognsveien 68, seminarroom 4th floor, Oslo. The seminar presents four different case studies that analyze family and gender relations in India. The first presentation is given by Ida Roland Birkvad from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and is titled Incarcerated Freedoms: Narratives of Visibility in (Neo)-Colonial India. The other presentations are given by Kristin Engh Førde, Karina Standal and Harold White, all from the University of Oslo, and will address a range of issues including motherhood and neoliberalism, solar electricity and women’s empowerment and consumption and the transformation of family in India. More information.

• Lund University seminar on Women’s economic rights from a south feminist perspective

Priti Darooka, human rights defender from the South with expertise in women’s ESCR, holds a public lunch seminar at Lund University on Tuesday 23 February 2016, at 12.00. Her presentation is entitled ”Women’s economic rights from a south feminist perspective”. The seminar is organised by the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE).
Priti Darooka is the founder and executive director of PWESCR (Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), an international advocacy organisation based in New Delhi, India and in the Netherlands. Registration is not necessary but If you want to have a sandwich please send a mail to before 12.00 on Monday 22 February, please also then inform her if you have any dietary restrictions. Venue: ACE, conference room, Scheelevägen 15 D, second floor.

• India Business Talks at Copenhagen Business School

On Thursday 25 February 2016, from 10.00-12.00 the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) and the Asia Research Centre at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) organize the first lecture in a series initiated by the NCI with speakers from business schools and the private sector. Venue: CBS, Dalgas Have, Room DSO 046, Copenhagen. These first open lectures in the series will be provided by invited guest speakers Kathiravan Palaniappan, director of infrastructure services for the Nordic Region at Tata Consultancy Services Organisations and Prateek Pashine, president of Enterprise India at Tata Teleservices. The main topics are Indian global organizations and opportunities in India for global organizations. On the same day at 09.00 the core group of the Business Cell, a unit with representatives from the Nordic member universities and Indian partners who are working in the area of business and marketing. Full programme as a pdf-file.

• PhD course on Global Food Governance at Oslo University

On 15–17 August 2016, the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at Oslo University organizes a PhD course entitled ”Global Food Governance: The Role of Non-State Actors”. The objective of the interdisciplinary course is to critically analyse the changing nature of global food governance: the norms, rules and institutions that govern international political and economic interactions in the globalised food system. The course is intended for doctoral students from the social sciences – Political Science, International Relations, Geography, Political Ecology, Sociology, Law, Development Studies and Anthropology – as well as those studying Nutrition and Health Policy.  Deadline for applications is 15 April 2016. Full information.

• Uppsala University workshop on typological profiles of language families of South Asia

On 15-16 September 2016, the Department of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University hosts a workshop to discuss issues concerning the typological profiles of the major language families of South Asia. The workshop convener is Professor Anju Saxena, and confirmed speakers include Gregory Andersson from the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages; Sonal Kulkarni-Joshi from Deccan College; Henrik Liljegren, Stockholm University; and Claus Peter Zoller, Oslo University. 
South Asia is home to 743 languages belonging to four major language families. However the typological profiles of even the major language families are not well covered in the literature. The workshop aims to start a more insightful discussion of the typological profiles of at least the major South Asian language families which will help to relate to studies in language typology, language contact and language change. Full information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• South Asian University conference on the economic development in the region

For the second consecutive year, the Faculty of Economics at South Asian University (SAU) in New Delhi, India, organizes a conference devoted to South Asian Economic Development on February 18-19, 2016.  South Asia, despite growing at impressive rates over the last decade and a half, is still home to the largest concentration of world’s poor with abysmal levels of access to basic economic en social infrastructure. In addition, the region remains one of the least integrated in the world. The conference strives to provide a platform for research containing methodological advances, both in economic theory and empirical methods, which would contribute to understandings of South Asian economic development. To this end the organizers invite theoretical and empirical contributions in all areas of relevance to South Asian economies. Full information about the conference.
South Asian University is an international university established by the eight member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It started its operations from the academic year 2010. The university now offers post-graduate and doctoral programmes in various disciplines that include Development Economics, Computer Science, Biotechnology, Mathematics, Sociology, International Relations and Law.

• Göttingen conference on rural-urban dynamics in India and China

On 22-23 February 2016, the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) and Centre for Modern East Asian Studies (CeMEAS) at the University of Göttingen, Germany, organize a conference entitled Rural-Urban Dynamics and Emergent Forms of Labor in India and China. The conference will explore the ways in which, in recent decades, economic reforms in India and China have changed the adaptability, speed, and direction through which capital flows in the global market economy. This development reveals the fluidity and dynamism of the division between rural and urban, creating ambiguous interstitial spaces and networks through which new forms of labor arise. Full information.

• Leiden conference on Language, Power and Identity in Asia

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden hosts an international conference to explore the interrelations between language, power and identity in Asia. The conference entitled ”Language, Power and Identity in Asia: Creating and Crossing Language Boundaries” wll be held 14–16 March 2016. Venue: National Museum of Antiquities, Rapenburg 28, Leiden, the Netherlands. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 May 2015. Participants are invited to submit a paper to address aspects of this topic, with a particular emphasis on Asia, but papers that illustrate the subject from other parts of the world are also welcome. The conference explores how linguistic differences, practices, texts and performances are of critical importance to political, social and intellectual power structures among communities in the past and in the present, especially through processes of identity formation. How do (and how did) languages shape borders - social, ethnic, religious, or “national”? Likewise, how do languages and linguistic communities move across these limits? In what ways do processes of hybridisation and multilingualism affect the formation of transnational or translocal identities, and how have they done so in the past? How have policies of language standardisation impacted on the political and intellectual spheres? What is the power of orality and performance vis-à-vis a variety of textual productions, through manuscript culture, epigraphical practices, print media, and the Internet?
Participants in this interdisciplinary conference are invited to address these and other subjects pertaining to the interrelations between language, power, and identity in pre-modern and contemporary Western, Central, South, Southeast and East Asia. Academics working from a wide range of disciplines, including philology and literary studies, linguistics, cultural and media studies, history, anthropology, archaeology, epigraphy, and sociology are encouraged to submit abstracts. The organising team includes Prof. Mark Turin, now based at the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program, University of British Columbia, Canada. More information about the conference.

• US South Asian Studies Association conference to be held at TERI in Delhi

On March 18-20 2016 the American South Asian Studies Association organizes its tenth anniversary conference titled ‘India at the Crossroads’ at Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi. The conference will deal with how, from it murky beginnings two millennia ago, until the present, Indic societies have proven to be innovative in all fields of human endeavor- theology, mathematics, philosophy, literature, economics and others. To this end the organizers welcome research in honor of Professor Rajni Kothari’s work on Indian politics and how his works brought the inner workings of Indian society to life and changed Western perspectives of India’s political landscape. Furthermore contributions on contemporary public policy issues, particularly but not exclusively related to the environment, education and infrastructure development are encouraged. Finally, contributions that examine the dynamic and accelerating rate of change and economic growth in India and its impact of other countries in the region are welcomed. Full information.

• 30th BASAS Annual Conference to be held in Cambridge

The British Association of South Asian Studies (BASAS) will hold its 30th annual conference on 6–8 April 2016 at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, UK. No specific theme has been set for the conference this year, panels and independent papers from all humanities, arts, and social science disciplines, covering research on South Asia and its diaspora are welcomed. The deadline for registration is set for 29 February 2016. Finally also organizes a paper prize competition for graduate students consisting of an award of £250 for the best student paper and a possible consideration for publication in one of BASAS’ associated journals, Contemporary South Asia or South Asian Studies. More information about the conference and call for papers.

• Sri Lanka conference on Socio-cultural Dimensions of Reconciliation

On 6–7 May 2016, the Association of Sri Lankan Sociologists organizes an International Conference on ”The Socio-cultural Dimensions of Reconciliation in Sri Lanka” to be held in Colombo. The conference seeks to provide a platform to discuss reconciliation in Sri Lanka under the subthemes of education, language issues, religion, employment policies, youth identity, regional development, state structure and national reconciliation, and national policy reconciliation. The deadline for the submission of abstracts was 16 February 2016. Full call for papers (as a pdf-file).

• EASAS workshop in Poznan on Women Writing and Autobiography in India

The first European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) Workshop for 2016 will be held at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, from 19 – 20 May 2016. The theme for the workshop is ”Opening Up Intimate Spaces: Women Writing and Autobiography in India”. It  will focus on Indian women’s writings in India. Most studies of India have tended to focus on the public and the political spheres, seeing them entirely in masculine terms. The fact of women’s much lower literacy levels, their containment within ideologies of femininity and domesticity, compounded by the deafening silence of the imperial archive on women’s experiences have led to the relegation of women’s writings to the margins of mainstream Indian history. This workshop follows an important shift in studies of Indian history towards a reappraisal of women’s roles in the making of pre-modern and modern India by focusing on their writings about their lives. More information will follow, go to EASAS web page.

• Third International Sikh Research Conference to be held at Warwick University

The third International Sikh Research Conference (ISRC) will be held on Saturday 11 June 2016 at Warwick University in United Kingdom.
ISRC conferences takes place in the UK every year with the goal to bring together leading researchers in the field of Sikh Studies, and associated scholars in other fields. Photo from the 2015 conference.
The submission of papers is encouraged for research papers dealing with any of the following themes: Musicology, History, Philosophy, Scripture, Diaspora, Identity and Politics. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 25 March 2016. Full information.

• 23rd Conference of the European Association for South Asia Archaeology and Art announced

On 4–8 July 2016, the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art will take place in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Conference contributions should draw on current and unpublished research relating to the archaeology and art history of South Asia from all periods. Topics from neighboring regions will also be considered if they throw light on South Asian archaeology or art history. More information.

• Craig Jeffrey keynote speaker at ASAA conference in Canberra

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) holds its next Biennial Conference at the Australian National University in Canberra on 5 – 7 July 2016. The conference organisers invite submission of proposals for panels and individual papers from scholars, students and others conducting research on Asia across the full range of academic disciplines. Participation by researchers from beyond Australia is strongly encouraged.
The South Asian Studies Association of Australia (SASAA) – the organisation behind the excellent South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies – actively participates in the Canberra conference with special panels; and Professor Craig Jeffrey (photo), Director for the Australia India Institute, has accepted to present the SASAA keynote lecture at the ASAA conference. Prof. Jeffrey, former Professor of Development Geography at the University of Oxford, UK, is a leading authority on South Asian youth and also writes on Indian democracy, educational transformation, globalization, and the 'social revolution' that he sees occuring across India in the Twenty-First Century. 
Panel and individual paper proposals for the ASAA conference should be submitted by 8 April 2016. SASAA members should also list their submission as a SASAA Panel or Paper in the title and copy their submission to Dr. Meera Ashar. She is working closely with the ASAA organisers Robert Cribb and Edward Espinall to ensure a strong and lively South Asia presence at the ASAA. Full information on the conference website.

• 24th European Conference on South Asian Studies to be held in Warsaw

The 24th European Conference on South Asian Studies – ECSAS 2016 will take place at the University of Warsaw, Poland from 27 to 30 July 2016. The biannual conference, organised by the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) is this time hosted by the Faculty of Oriental Studies at University of Warsaw. The chief convener is Prof. Danuta Stasik. A total number of 49 panels have been accepted, including interesting panels on Mediating South Asian religious traditionsPoliticizing Hunger: Famine, Food security and Political Legitimacy in South Asia (19th & 20th century)Print journalism in modern South AsiaSecurity challenges in contemporary India-Pakistan relations; and Policing the city – how public order and security are conceptualised and delivered in contemporary South Asia (see the full list).
Please note that panel convenors and paper presenters are obliged to join EASAS for 2015 and 2016 in order to attend. Deadline for registration is 5 May 2016. Full information on thhe conference web site.
The ECSAS has met regularly since 1968, and has provided an important opportunity to discuss current research and scholarship on topics relating to South Asia within the humanities and social sciences. The 2004 conference was organised by SASNET in Lund, see the 2004 conference page.
The most recent ECSAS conference was held in Zurich, Switzerland, in July 2014. SASNET was represented at this conference by Lars Eklund and Hawwa Lubna. Read their reports.

• Bangalore Research Network- NAGARA Second Annual Workshop Announced

On Saturday 30 July 2016, the Bangalore Research Network – NAGARA invites scholars and ethnographers for its second annual workshop. The aim is to share recently-completed or advanced stage Ethnographic research on the city of Bangalore in a one-day workshop. The main goal is to take stock of the field of ‘Bangalore Studies’ over the last few decades and to consider future directions. The workshop organisers particularly encourage contributions based on ethnographic research grounded in the traditions of anthropological, cultural, sociological, historical, feminist, and performance studies frameworks. Deadline for paper abstracts is 1 April 2016. Full information.

• 2016 Annual meeting of South Asian Anthropologists’ Group to be held in London

On 12–13 September 2016, the South Asian Anthropologists’ Group (SAAG) holds its annual meeting at the Department of Anthropology at University College London. This year’s meeting will have an open theme. The organizers particularly encourage submissions from PhD students and/or those who have recently returned from fieldwork and wish to present ‘work in progress’ papers. Papers should be submitted by 15 August 2016, the deadline for a brief abstract is the 1st of May 2016. For enquiries contact Lucia Michelutti.

• Fourth Conference on Bengal Related Studies for Students and Young Scholars in Halle, Germany

On 28-30 October 2016 the South Asia Seminar of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg will host the Fourth Conference on Bengali Related Studies for Students and Young Scholars. The aim of the conference is to provide an interdisciplinary venue for students and young scholars who focus on the Bengal regions in their research. Any topic from the humanities and social sciences is welcome as long as the region of study is either Bangladesh or Bengali speaking India. The deadline for abstracts is 30 April 2016. Full call for papers (as a pdf file).

• 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

• Tomas Löfström passed away

Tomas Löfström, well-known Swedish travel writer, author and cultural journalist, and a personal friend, has passed away. Tomas, born in 1948, wrote several fascinating books based on his travels not the least in South Asia, and contributed with articles for Vagabond, SYDASIEN and other magazines and newspapers. Among his books could be mentioed Vägen till Kathmandu (The road to Kathmandu, 1975); Landet mitt i världen (The Country in the midst of the world – on Afghnaistan, 1976); Mellan Haväng och Himalaya (Between Haväng and the Himalayas, 1978); Dalen där Buddha dör (The valley where Buddha dies – on Ladakh, 1979); Den långa resan till Lhasa (The long journey to Lhasa, 1983); and Den siste resenären – en biografi om Torgny Sommelius (The last passenger – a biography of Torgny Sommelius, 2012).
Tomas Löfström was also instrumental in launching the Indo-Swedish Translation Project. This was started as a result of visits by Swedish writers to India in 1996 and Indian writers to Sweden 1997. Under the name Indienbiblioteket, the project was officially inaugurated by the Indian ambassador to Sweden, Ms. Chitra Narayanan, at Göteborg Book Fair in September 2001. It developed with a number of new publications almost every year. The project was economically supported by Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Authority) and the Swedish Institute (maintaining cultural relations with foreign countries). The project also had close contacts and cooperation with Sahitya Akademi, the Indian literary academy, as well as other Indian organisations and publishing houses like Katha and Tulika.
The aim of the project was to spread knowledge and understanding of Indian culture in Sweden by generating translations and publishing of modern Indian fiction and other books – and vice versa. In Sweden the books were published by different publishers, e g Ordfront förlag and Tranan, as a series: Indiska Biblioteket (Indian Library). More information about the project.
Tomas and I knew each other from our childhood in Lund, then studied Social Anthropology at Lund University together, and made some exciting travelling together in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan in 1975 (photo of Tomas on transport from Chitral to Ayun on way to Bumboret Valley). Later, being the editor in chief of SYDASIEN from 1982 till 2007, I also published many excellent articles by Tomas over the years.
In recent years our contact has mainly consisted of visiting him at his country house (Grönalund south of Kivik in Skåne) turned into being a literary café. I will miss his gentle personality much. Tomas funeral will take place in neighbouring village of Rörum in first week of March.
Lars Eklund

• Translation assistance needed to disclose Shlomit Flaum’s works on Tagore

Professor Asha Mukherjee at the Department of Philosophy & Religion at Vidya Bhavana (Institute of Humanities & Social Sciences), Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, India has launched an interesting translation project on Indo-Jewish interactions. Asha who previously was the Director for the university’s Women's Studies Centre, has worked extensively on the History of Women's contributions to the Ashram life of Santiniketan established by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, and its well-known impact on Israel. Researcher Schlomit Flaum (1893–1963) had spent some time in the Shantiniketan ashram and she was so influenced by Tagore’s ideas and work that she dedicated her whole life in spreading his ideas, writing mostly in Hebrew. There are many letters and Schlomit's writings in the archives at Shantiniketan and Tagore himself wanted that their ”mysteries to be disclosed” by some Hebrew speaking person who could provide translations into English.
Prof. Mukherjee now wants to fullfil this intention and therefore seeks assistance. She has herself already with the help of one PhD student from University of Tel Aviv university been able to translate three chapters from Shlomit Flaum’s 1946 book on Rabindranath Tagore, a book that to a great extent deals with the status of women in India. It would be extremely interesting to see her descriptions and characterization about Indian women and India at large. Anyone fluent in Hebrew who likes to contribute with translation work may contact Prof. Muhkherjee (go for her web page).

• 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).

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

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

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

• Useful travelling information

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

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy Director
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network

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

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

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