Newsletter 129 – 24 November 2011


• SASNET seminar on Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society

SASNET holds a seminar on ”Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society 40 years after Liberation” on Thursday 15 December 2011, 15.15–18.00. The seminar is organised in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, Lund University. The keynote speaker will be Professor David Lewis from the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). He will speak about ”Repositioning Bangladesh in the global imagination”. Lewis is Professor of social policy and development at LSE, and has recently written a book on Bangladeshi society with a new perspective.
The Bangladeshi Ambassador to Sweden, H.E. Mr. Gousal Azam Sarker, will also participate in the seminar, giving an introductory presentation.
More information about the seminarSee the seminar poster.

• SASNET seminar on the 1947 Partition and Ethnic Cleansing of Punjab

Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, and Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, holds a SASNET lecture entitled ”The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First Person Accounts” about the 1947 Partition of Punjab, on Thursday 2 February 2012, 13.15–15.00.
The seminar is organised in collaboration with the Lund university Master in International Development and Management programme (LUMID). Venue: Lund University, Geocentrum, Hall ”Världen”, Sölvegatan 12.
The lecture is based on Ishtiaq Ahmed’s recent book on the tragic events during and after Partition in the two Punjabs. He will shed light on how and why the Punjab, a Muslim majority province of British India with large Hindu and Sikh minorities, was partitioned in 1947. Had India not been partitioned the Punjab would not be partitioned either. Once power was transferred to the provincial governments in the Indian and Pakistani Punjab, violence escalated dramatically. The end result was ethnic cleansing on both sides. More information about the seminar.

• SASNET co-organises European PhD workshop in South Asia Studies

The Fifth European PhD workshop in South Asia Studies was held in Paris at the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CEIAS) from 22 to 24 September 2011. The purpose of this yearly event is to encourage the construction of a European network of young social scientists working in the field of South Asia. Previous PhD workshops have been jointly organised by Heidelberg University, Germany; Ghent University, Belgium; University of Edinburgh; UK: and Le Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CEIAS), Paris, France, but from 2011, SASNET/Lund University has been accepted to be a co-organiser.
The 2011 workshop was successfully organized by CEIAS, with support from a European Association for South Asian Studies grant, and in collaboration with the Association des jeunes études indiennes (AJEI).
The 6th European PhD Workshop in South Asian Studies will be hosted by SASNET/Lund University in September 2012. Read a SASNET report from the Paris workshop.
Read the official workshop report, written by Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal and Ines G.Zupanov.

• Lars Eklund’s report from visit to Åbo Akademi University and the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies

On Wednesday 16 November 2011, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund lectured for students at the Department of Comparative Religion at Åbo Akademi University, the Swedish medium university in Turku, Finland.
Lars gave an engaged talk about ”Indiskt samhällsliv: Visioner och Verklighet” (Social life of India: Visions and reality) for a group of 20 second-year undergraduate students who will travel to India in January 2012 on a field tour led by Dr. Måns Broo, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Religion at Åbo Akademi University.
During his two-day visit to Turku, 15–16 November, Lars also had a chance to meet Dr. Outi Luova at the Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Turku. Outi is the coordinator for the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies, and the Graduate School of Contemporary Asian Studies at the University of Turku. Lars and Outi discussed forms for closer collaboration between SASNET and the Finnish network, that currently focuses more and more on South Asia, and not only on East and South-East Asia as it used to do.
Finally, Lars was lucky to find out that Turku (Åbo) happens to be the Cultural Capital of Europe for 2011 along with Tallinn in Estonia. It meant that the city flourished with cultural activities such as concerts and exhibitions even in the dark month of November.
Read Lars Eklund’s report from Turku (Åbo)

• Program for the spring 2012 SASNET Brown Bag seminars finalised
Magnus Larsson
Kristina Myrvold
Neelambar Hatti

After a successful first year of holding SASNET Brown Bag lunch seminars, the program for the spring term 2012 is now ready. Through the Brown Bag seminars, SASNET aims at presenting and disseminating eminent South Asia related research carried out in so many departments at Lund University.
The first seminar for 2012 will take place on 16 February when Neelambar Hatti from the Department of Economic History will speak on “Where have all the girls gone?” – a lecture on the gendercide in India.
The second seminar will be held on 15 March when Assistant Professor Kristina Myrvold from the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies will present her research holding a lecture with the title ”I’m a Punjabi-speaking Swedish Sikh”: Identity Constructions among Young Sikhs in Sweden”.
The final lunch seminar during the spring 2012 will take place on 19 April when Professor Magnus Larson from the Department of Water Resources Engineering will come and speak on Sri Lanka’s vanishing beaches”.
More information.

• SASNET seminar on Pakistani History, Politics and Society

Dr Henrik Chetan Aspengren, Department of History, Uppsala University, held a well-attended seminar at Lund University on ”Pakistan – History, Politics, Society” on Thursday 17 November 2011. More than 30 participants attended the seminar, many of them students from the Lund University Master in International Development and Management programme (LUMID) programme and from the Centre of East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE). The seminar was jointly organised by SASNET, LUMID and ABF Lund – a new collaboration partner for SASNET. More information.

• SASNET dinner for South Asian Erasmus Mundus scholarship holders

On Wednesday 9 November 2011, SASNET organised a social gathering for the South Asian Erasmus Mundus scholarship holders currently at Lund University.

They were invited for dinner in the residence of SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund and his wife Bubu Munshi Eklund.
Professor Gopal Karanth, ICCR Profesor at Lund University during the academic year 2011-12 was also invited as honorary guest to interact with the students and researchers coming from a large number of universities in South Asia.
Lund University coordinates one of the Indo-European Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programmes (lot 15/13), and one of the Asia Regional lots, the EMEA programme, involving universities in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Alltogether more than 30 South Asian scholarship holders, Masters students as well as PhD candidates and post-docs, are currently at Lund University. More information.

• Article by Julia Velkova published in Deccan Herald

On the World Day of Philosophy, 17 November 2011, one of the leading daily newspapers of Bangalore, Deccan Herald, published an article written by Julia Velkova, SASNET’s assistant webmaster. The article entitled ”Search for spiritualism in a land now steeped in materialism” is a personal reflection on the transformation of the philosophy for a daily life in India. The author argues that the economic growth of India has transformed the values of a traditionally spiritualistic society into a materialistic society that in the course of this transformation and urge to catch up with the West has forgotten its own intellectual potential and philosophy of life.
The article was written with the encouragement and guidance of the current Visiting ICCR Professor at Lund University, Prof. Gopal Karanth from the Institute for Social and Economic Change in Bangalore, who is currently hosted by Lund University’s Department of SociologyGo for the article.

Research Community News

• Swedish Research Council grant to Henrik Chetan Aspengren

On 20 October 2011, the Swedish Research Council awarded Dr. Henrik Chetan AspengrenDepartment of History, Uppsala University, SEK 2.067 m as a research grant for three years (2012-14) for a research project entitled ”Knowledge as colonial dissent: social science and political argument, Western India 1870–1940”.
Dr. Aspengren defended his doctoral dissertation at the Dept. of Politics and International Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in 2010 with a thesis entitled ”Social Imperialism – And how it was applied in the Bombay Presidency, 1895–1925” (more information).
In the new project he will explore in innovative ways how political argument of dissent towards British authorities in the Bombay Presidency, Western India, 1870-1940, shifted from being mainly inspired by religion or custom, to become infused with social science concepts and data. More information about the project.

• Research collaboration on diabetes research between Karolinska and Pravara

In February 2010, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences Deemed University (PIMS), Loni, Maharashtra, India signed an MoU on collaboration regarding rural diabetic research studies in India.
It was initiated after Dr. Carina Ursing, Senior Diabetologist at the Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset (KI SÖS), Karolinska Institutet, visited Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences at Loni in August 2009 on an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 scholarship programme. As part of her academic and research pursuit, she interacted with a number of faculty members of PIMS, rural doctors in the area and visited PIMS University Hospital, Rural Health Centres, Mobile Medical Units and “Out-reach” Diagnostic Camps to design some collaborative research studies.
The research will focus on the prevalence of diabetes mellitus among the rural population of Maharashtra.
More information.

• Call for Applications: Director of the Nordic Center in India

The Nordic Center in India (NCI) university consortium opens a call for the position of Director for the period of 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2013 with an option for continuation. The Nordic secretariat of the NCI is currently hosted by the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). Initially, the position will be on half time (50 %) basis, with the idea of increasing it to a full time position some time in near future. Currently the position is held by Dr. Mirja Juntunen, who has decided to step down at the end of 2011 to be able to fully focus on her other tasks and plans in the academic world.

The NCI is looking for a person who is both academically meritorious (PhD or equivalent) and possesses sufficient administrational and project management skills. The Director should be curious and flexible, socially competent, with fluency in English and most preferably in one of the Nordic languages. Knowledge of Hindi language (or other languages spoken in the subcontinent) is considered an advantage. Cultural competence regarding both the Indian and Nordic societies and cultural environments is necessary. The task requires certain amount of travelling to India, as well as within Nordic countries. Applications should be delivered between Monday 7 November and Wednesday 30 November 2011. More information in the formal announcement.

• Doctoral thesis on Community-Based Water Management in Gujarat

Socio-Cultural Implications of the Community-Based Water Management. A Case Study of Gujarat, India. Doctoral dissertation by Farhat Naz, a graduate from the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) at University of Bonn, Germany. Dr. Naz defended her PhD at University of Bonn on 20th July 2011.
This thesis takes up the analysis of socio-cultural aspects affecting actors’ participation and strategies in various water-related community groups in the formal and informal participatory arenas of managing water. The thesis examines the role of power relations in the linkages between the formal and informal institutions operating in rural India, as well as shaping the participation of the key actors in the formal participatory arenas in context of groundwater management.
The failure of the state-led development projects and the growing concerns for participation in the 1980s and 1990s gave rise to community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). This in turn led to a paradigm shift in natural resource management from centralised state control towards CBNRM, in which the local communities now play actively and have direct control over resource use and management. These community-based approaches are a departure from the statecentered government polices of natural resource management. But the mixed successes and failures of these approaches have led to a question in the Indian development policy context, namely why CBNRM projects fail to achieve their expected level of results and equity. Read the full-text doctoral thesis.

• South Asian nations fall down in Human Development Index 2011

The Human Development Report 2011 was launched on 2 November 2011. The report, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All argues that environmental sustainability can be most fairly and effectively achieved by addressing health, education, income, and gender disparities together with the need for global action on energy production and ecosystem protection. More information about HDR 2011.

As usual a comparative Human Development Index is included in the report. It gives statistical comparisions between 187 countries of the world. Just like in 2010, the current year’s figures are complimented by a trends analysis for the period back to 1980.
The overall trend curves for the South Asian region however show a steady improvement during the period 1980-2011. In the HDR 2011, all South Asian nations have fallen down, some of them dramatically, compared to 2010. Among them, Sri Lanka however still ranks highest as no. 97, even though down by 6 positions since last year. Maldives ranks second, as no. 109, further down by 2 positions since last year.
India has also stepped down, by no less than 15 positions, and is now ranked as no. 134, in the lower part of the Medium Human Development category of nations to which also Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan (position 141) belong.
Next comes Pakistan, that has fallen even more, by 20 positions down to 145, and is now belonging to the Low Human Development category of nations, along with Bangladesh (position 146, down by 17 since last year); Nepal (position 157, down by 17); and Afghanistan (position 172, down by 17).
Just like previous years Norway tops the worldwide HDI list, this year before Australia and the Netherlands. Sweden ranks as no. 10 (down by 1 position). Study the Human Development Index 2011.

• Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen question India’s development record

In the 14th November issue of the excellent Indian weekly magazine Outlook, Amartya Sen* and Jean Dreze** published an essay that examines the contrast between rapid economic growth in India and the slow social change taking place. The essay is entitled “Putting Growth In Its Place. It has to be but a means to development, not an end in itself.” The authors pose the question whether India is doing marvellously well, or is it failing terribly? Depending on whom you speak to, you could pick up either of those answers with some frequency. The essay presents and examines both answers arguing that impressive growth of India has failed to improve the living conditions of its population and change happens tremendously slow.
Go for the complete essay.

• Free access offer to all Routledge Area Studies journals

Between 1 November and 16 December 2011, the Taylor & Francis publishing group offers free access to all Routledge Area Studies peer reviewed journals and related content material. During this time, anyone can read all material in these journals without the need of subscription. The magazines include Contemporary South Asia, India Review, and  South Asian Popular Culture. Go for this offer and read all the 7 journals related to South Asia.

• Call for papers for Contemporary South Asia Innovation special issue

The peer-reviewed magazine Contemporary South Asia plans for a special issue focusing on gendered and social consequences of innovations in South Asia to be published in 2014. Contributions are now invited.
The issue wants to critically explore the idea of that innovation entails a taken-for-granted positive and useful goal – improving wellbeing by adopting something new or doing something differently than before. The issue will focus on the question of whether innovation transforms social structures and gender relations in South Asia, as well as whether these transformations reinforce existing inequalities or not.
Papers that look at innovations as socio-cultural projects with gender-specific and cultural frames and consequences, and not only as technological or economic ventures are of interest to the special issue.
500 words abstracts should be submitted before 31 January 2012 to Dr. Minna Säävälä or Dr. Sirpa Tenhunen, both at the Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Finland.

• MA, Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowships announced at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

MA, Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowships around the themes of the Indian Ocean and Histories of the Global South are announced by the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa and the Mellon Chair in Indian Studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. The centre encourages interdisciplinary and comparative transnational work. It focuses on themes such as colonialism, capital, labour, religion as well as post-colonial ideologies and formations in Africa, Asia and South East Asia. Applications should be submitted before 21 November 2011. More information.

• Encyclopedia of the Middle East and South Asia to be published

A new Encyclopedia of the Middle East and South Asia will be published by M.E. Sharpe publishers in Armonk, New York, USA, in the end of November 2011. The five-volume encyclopedia has been edited by Professor Gordon D. Newby, Emory University, with Professor Patit Paban Mishra, Sambalpur University, India (but currenly Visiting Professor at Universiti Utara Malaysia, UUM, in Kedah, Malaysia) being the co-editor. Scholars of varied disciplines have contributed with their knowledge and expertise, but it is important to note that the intended audience of the encyclopedia is not primarily or exclusively the academic professional. It will also be accessible to high school students and other interested readers outside of the academic community.
The scope of the Encyclopedia of the Middle East and South Asia is the geographic region from the East Mediterranean, including North Africa to and including the sub-continent of South Asia.  It  spans the time periods from our earliest historical knowledge to the present, and include information on the art, culture, history, politics,social structure, and religions of the area.  It combines specific terms referring to events and peoples with broader, conceptual terms aimed at providing an overview of important issues and concepts. More information.

• Professorship in Classical Indian Studies / Seoul National University

Seoul National University will launch a new Department of Asian Languages and Civilization (ALC) in March 2012 and currently invites applications for a professorship in classical South Asian or Indian studies.
The successful candidate should have expertise in any field related to South Asian or Indian studies, and should be able to do teaching or reading in Sanskrit or Hindi at intermediate or advanced level. Deadline to apply is 30 November 2011. More information.

• Power, Knowledge, Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals in India

“Power, Knowledge, Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals in India” by Dr Madhurlika Banerjee, University of Delhi
The book explores the transformation of the understanding of modern Ayurveda. It draws insights from a number of disciplines that have analysed various aspects of Ayurveda making sense of some of the big changes that have marked its transformation in the twentieth century. The author argues that this transformation cannot be seen as purely cognitive, technological or economic change, for it involves an irreducible political play between regimes of knowledge and exercise of state power. It also argues that processes of commercialisation and standardisation have resulted in pharmaceuticalisation of this ancient medical system accounting for both the resilience and shrinkage of Ayurveda as a medical system. The book might be of interest for any social scientist interested in technological choice, knowledge and power or alternative modernity. Orient Blackswan, Hyderabad.

• Making peace with the Taliban, at what cost? – new report on Afghanistan

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has published a research report entitled ”Making peace with the Taliban, at what cost? Seven keys to a just peace for the people of Afghanistan”, that examines the current challenges to ensuring a just peace process in the country.
The report, inspired by the approaching Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, to be held on 5 December 2011, stresses that the security situation for the common people is steadily deteriorating, and the current peacemaking policy is not efficient in guaranteeing peace. FIDH makes seven proposals for change to occur and the process to move in a positive direction. Among these are strengthening the human rights, especially with regards to women’s rights, as well as social, cultural and economic ones. Read the full report.

• Lawrence Saez writes on SAARC’s effectiveness as an organisation

In his new book, which will be of interest to Asian security studies and institutions in general, Dr. Lawrence Saez from the Centre for South Asian Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London examines the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) institutional structure, objectives and effectiveness in it’s role as South Asia’s leading regional institution. The book focuses also on providing a comprehensive introduction to the SAARC, describing the historical developments that lead to its formation and examining issues such as: the inner workings of Regional Centres and, their success in implementing the decisions reached at SAARC summits. The work of SAARC to address critical new security challenges, such as health pandemics, terrorism, energy security South Asia’s economic cooperation and the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) Challenges that expansion pose to the organization, particularly China’s suggestion to expand beyond the traditional borders of South Asia are also examined. Routledge. Go for the book.

Dr. Saez soon publishes yet another book, entitled ”New Dimensions of Politics in India”. In the book, Saez critically examines the performance of the current Indian United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ruling government. The book offers new insights into the structure of Indian politics, and is a useful contribution to studies in South Asian Politics, Governance and Political Parties. Routledge. Go for this book.

• More information about South Asia related research at Swedish and Nordic universities

Educational News

• Large number of South Asian students at Swedish universities 2001–2010

During the period 2001-2010, no less than 23 662 South Asian students studied at Swedish universities. The number is based on official statistical data regarding all foreign students studying at Swedish universities provided by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket). SASNET has made an excerpt presenting the number of students from the South Asian nations. Pakistan tops our list with more than 11 000 students – 47% of all South Asian students in Sweden during the 10 year period 2001-10, whereas India contributed with 33% and Bangladesh with 18%. Smaller number of students came from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. More information.

• India-EU Study Centres Programme (IESCP) final conference in Delhi

On 22 November 2011, the India-EU Study Centres Programme (IESCP) will have a final conference in New Delhi, where outcomes and achievements gained during its 43 months of existence will be presented. IESCP was set up by the European Commission in 2008 as an integral part of the India-EU Joint Action Plan adopted in 2005. Its aim was to promote a better understanding of the EU in India and vice versa through academic and other forms of collaboration, and its chief objective both to strengthen existing study centres and establish new ones focusing on EU studies in India as well as on contemporary Indian studies in Europe. More information about IESCP. At the New Delhi conference will also be discussed how networking could be continued among the universities involved once the IESCP programme is over. See the tentative conference programme.

• Eleven South Asian students to graduate from World Maritime University

The World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden operates under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. WMU thus enjoys the status, privileges and immunities of a UN institution in Sweden.
Among the faculty, several are South Asian professors, and among the students that pass through the WMU MSc programme every year, a good number also come from South Asia.
In the class of 2011, consisting of 168 students from 46 countries, four come from India, three from Bangladesh, two from Maldives, and one each from Pakistan and Sri Lanka. On Sunday 4 December 2011, they will celebrate their Graduation ceremony at the Concert Hall in Malmö. SASNET will be represented at this festive ceremony by deputy director Lars Eklund. More information about the World Maritime University.

• Swedish book on Learning Diversity in India

Learning Diversity in India: Do Priorities in Primary Education Enable Capabilities, Enhance Equal Opportunities and Encourage Cultural Diversity?. Written by Martin Eksath, MSc from the Dept. of Sociology, Lund University, currently working with the Swedish School Inspectorate with quality assessement, project management and social outcomes.
The author is an educationalist with a strong belief in diversity as a necissitate for a vivid democracy. He has a strong  interest in the priorities of education in India.
India is sometimes described as a democracy forged together with a strong sense of unity in its diversity. Simultaneously, the possibility of real democracy in a country marked with social inequality, depths of poverty and low rates of literacy could be questioned. This book relates to the focal point where education, democracy, development and politics team up in educational policies and reforms. India has subscribed to the goals of education for all by 2015 and has embarked on immense priorities in education to reach the goals. However, goals are often measured in rather narrow terms of outcomes of literacy or school attendance. But what is the relevance of education and the meaning of school attendance if it does not furnish for essential capabilities to cope with life? Without doubt, primary education of good quality is necessitous to development, democracy and social inclusion. By the use of a mixed methods design, this book explores and reflects upon the initiatives taken in primary education and discusses whether they have the potential to enable capabilities, enhance equal opportunities and encourage cultural diversity among the children in India.

• Uppsala University partner in Euroculture Erasmus Mundus programme

Since 2006, Uppsala University is a Swedish partner in the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme ”Euroculture – Europe in the wider world”, a unique, interdisciplinary and inter-universitary Master of Arts programme of 120 ECTS (four semesters).
It is recognised by the European Commission as an Erasmus Mundus Master of Excellence. The MA Programme aims to prepare graduates from all over the world for professions and research areas in which knowledge of present Europe and the European Union institutions are of relevance. The focus of the programme is on cultural and social developments, the political process of European integration, values, citizenship and cultural identity. The four semester MA programme is offered by a consortium of eight European universities. These universities are also partnered with four non-European universities – one of them being University of Pune, India. The consortium coordinating university is the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and other European universities include Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany, and Jagellonian University, Krakow, Poland. Go for the Euroculture official web pageUppsala University’s web page on the programme.
In July 2011 the programme was again selected for funding by the European commission for a period of five years (2012-2017). This means that for the Euroculture Master programme that starts in the next five years, beginning in September/October 2012, Erasmus Mundus scholarships will be offered to a number of students. The online application tool for the 2012-2014 intake is already open. First deadline is 10 December 2011. More information.

• More information about South Asia related education at Swedish and Nordic universities

See SASNET’s page,

Conferences and workshops

• Islamabad Colloquium on ”Public Action in Pakistan: Vacillating between Apathy and Anger”

The Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) in Islamabad, Pakistan invites papers for the first annual Colloquium on ”Public Action in Pakistan: Vacillating between Apathy and Anger” to be held 27–28 November 2011. The Colloquium is first in the series of annual multi-disciplinary colloquia which will allow different social sciences perspectives leverage and enrich each other. Beyond its scholarly goals, the organisers hope that the Colloquium would inform the debates on public policy and development agenda in Pakistan. I-SAPS is inviting scholars in local as well as international academia to discuss the difficulties in dealing with social change especially in developing and Muslim societies like Pakistan from multi-disciplinary aspects, with special reference to individual’s personal behavior and its relation to societal changes. More information.

• Taipei conference on Nonstate Actors in the Transition Period in Monsoon Asia, 1760-1840

An international conference entitled ”Nonstate Actors in the Transition Period in Monsoon Asia, 1760-1840” will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, 28–30 November 2011. It is organised by the Center for Asia Pacific Area Studies (CAPAS) at Academia Sinica, Taipei, in collaboration with National Tsing Hua University, Beijing, China; Leiden University, the Netherlands;  and Seinan Gakuin University, Fukuoka, Japan.
The conference focuses on the non-state actors and their relationship with states in Monsoon Asia in the period of 1760-1840, in an attempt to overcome the previous studies, which have tended either to write the histories of British, Dutch, or Spanish imperialism, or to construct a national history of each present-day independent state separately. An examination of the roles of non-state actors will show the cross-bordering dynamism of history.
Some of the papers to be presented focus on South Asia, among them a paper on ”Class conflict in the eve of the early colonial encounter: A study into the continuities and discontinuities of the class relations in the sixteenth to early nineteenth centuries in Sri Lanka” by Nirmal Dewasiri, Colombo University; a paper on ”Piracy and State-Formation on the South-West Coast of India in the Eighteenth Century” by Binu John Mailaparambil, Bielefeld University, Germany; and a paper on ”Indigenous Response to Western Science: Knowledge and Learning in Northern India (1750-1850)” by Anjana Singh, London School of Economics, UK. More information.

• Third annual Indo-Global Education Summit

The Indus Foundation, a non-profit making educational organization dedicated to the promotion of higher education in India, organises the third annual Indo-Global Education Summit in New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai, India, 4–12 December 2011. The Summit 2011 will have sessions on collaborative research programs, joint undergraduate and graduate programs, twinning & transfer programs, distance education programs, faculty & student exchange programs, study abroad in India programs, and other academic partnerships. The major fields covered would be Engineering & IT, Business & Management, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Natural Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences. There will be one-on-one meetings between representatives of Indian institutions and those of foreign universities. for forging academic collaborations. The Summit 2011 is specifically designed for university vice-chancellors, presidents, provosts, deans, enrollment / recruitment officers, and their executive-level team members. Early registration is strongly suggested. More information about the Indo-Global Education Summit 2011.

• Protecting Minority Rights in South Asia conference at EU Parliament in Brussels

The Hague based Global Human Rights Defence organisation (GHRD) holds a Protecting Minority Rights in South Asia conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels on Thursday 8 December 2011. It is organised in collaboration with Cecilia Wikström, Member of Parliament representing the Swedish Liberal Party, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Committee of the European Parliament.
Key speakers are Taslima Nasreen (photo), Bangladeshi writer in exile, and winner of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize; and Anuradha Koirala, awarded CNN hero 2010 for her work against human trafficking in Nepal.
The event, in celebration of International Human Rights Day, brings together representatives of human rights defenve organisations from Pakistan (Human Rights Focus Pakistan – HRFP, and Women Assists Women Pakistan); India (Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry); Bangladesh (Bangladesh Minority Watch); and Bhutan (Bhutanese Advocacy Forum), to address European representatives, MEPs, policymakers and NGOs.
SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund will participate in the conference.

• CISCA workshops in Aarhus and New Delhi

The Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA), and the Dept. of History and Area Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark host a set of two workshops on Visual Cultures in Contemporary India, in collaboration with Sri Venkateswara College at Delhi University in India. The first workshop will be held at Aarhus University on 8–9 December 2011, while the second one will be located at Sri Venkateswara College a month later, 8–9 January 2012.

The first workshop is reserved for a broader mapping of this multi-facetted and dynamic field with its diverse traditions and innovative potential in India and South Asia. Thus, the workshop focuses on the development of various media, but also on the motives, strategies and approaches of the producers as well as consumers – exploring visual cultures in relation to themes such as nationalism; gender, family and kin; urban and rural images, religion or diaspora and transnational flows. See the full program.

SASNET Deputy Director, Lars Eklund, and assistant webmaster Julia Velkova will attend the workshops. Full information about the CISCA workshops.

• 11th Asian Urbanization International Conference

The 11th Asian Urbanization International Conference will be held in Hyderabad, India, 10 – 13 December 2011. It is being hosted by the Dept. of Geography at Osmania University, in association with The Asian Urban Research Association (AURA). AURA was established in January 1986 and is housed in the University of Akron, Ohio, USA. It is a non profit and private research organization whose primary purpose is to promote the study of urbanization, urban growth and to organize Asian Urbanization Conferences. The first Asian Urbanization Conference was held at the University of Akron in 1985. The conferences are biennial (held every other/alternate year) and have resulted in many publications. More information.

• Sixth NORASIA conference in Oslo focuses on 21st Century Asia Research

The Norwegian Network for Asian Studies invites for its 6th NORASIA conference, to be held at the University of Oslo 12–14 December 2011. The theme for the conference will be “Asiasårhundre: Hvor går Asia-forskningen?” (Asia’s Century: Where is Asia Research heading for?). It focuses on which trends that are dominant in current Norwegian Asia research, and which priorities that will be set during coming years. Issues of high relevance for students and prospective researchers but also to representatives of business and civil society. Participants should register before 1 November 2011.
Venue for the conference: University of Oslo, Helga Engs hus, Blindern. More information.
One of the workshops at the NORASIA VI conference in Oslo focuses on ”Asian Migration to Scandinavia”. It is being organised by Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, and Karina Dalgas, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. In this workshop the aim is to explore the vast field of Asian migration to Scandinavia by engaging in an exploratory and ambitious comparative exercise. What can we learn by comparing vastly different patterns of migration originating in Asia, and passing through or terminating in Scandinavia? Which cultural, national and regional differences make a difference, and how do changing legislative frameworks enable or constrain migrant practices? MA and PhD students with recent field experience are particularly invited to present their work. Abstract should be delivered to the organisers no later than 15 November. Full information.

• Colombo conference on Climate Change & Social Issues

An International Conference on Climate Change & Social Issues (CCSI2011) will be held 14-15 December 2011 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is organized by the Institute of Human Development and Training Sri Lanka (IHDT) in collaboration with Toulouse Business School, France, and hosted by the Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND) in Colombo.
The keynote speaker is Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, who shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace, as Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Currently, he is Chairman of MIND; Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Manchester, UK; Distinguished Guest Professor at Peking University, China; and Honorary Senior Advisor to the Sri Lanka Government. More information.

• 5th International Seminar and Workshop on Fermented Foods Health Status

The fifth International Seminar and Workshop on Fermented Foods Health Status and Social Wellbeing will be organised by SASNET – Fermented Foods at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysore, India on 15th and 16th of December 2011. SASNET Fermented Foods is a forum for scientists of the south Asian countries, Sweden and other countries for exchanging information in the field of food fermentation and its practical application. It was launched in 2003 by Prof. Baboo Nair, Division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University. The organising secretary is Dr. G. Vijayalekshmi, Deputy Director, Food Microbiology Department, CFTRI. More information about SASNET Fermented FoodsFull information about the 2011 workshop.

• Dhaka conference on Cultural Transformations

An interdisciplinary conference on “Cultural Transformations: Development Initiatives and Social Movements” will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 17 – 18 December 2011. The conference is organised by the Dept. of English and Humanities and BRAC Development Institute at BRAC University and will aim at gathering local and international academics and practitioners to problematise the idea of Asia. The organisers will provide for the accommodation of the conferencec participants. More information. 

• 14th International Forum on Contemporary Theory to be held in Jaipur

The 14th International Forum on Contemporary Theory will be held in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India 18-21 December 2011. The main topic this year is ”Transcending Disciplinary Decadence” and will aim at exploring challenges in front of the social sciences, humanities and scholarship in these fields today, from the perspectives of globalisation, market considerations and neoliberal university policies, as well as the so called ”colonialisation” of knowledge. Keynote speaker opening the conference will be the renowned Prof. Arjun Appadurai from New York University. The traditional special plenary session on a regional text will this year be dedicated to the famous modern Hindi-Urdu modernist Munshi Premchand’s and his novel Godan (1936), known in English as ”The Gift of a Cow”. More information.

• 24th Kerala Science Congress to be held in Kottayam

The 24th Kerala Science Congress is scheduled from 29th to 31st January 2012 at the Rubber Research Institute in  Kottayam. It will be jointly organisd by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) – the umbrella organization of the research establishments in the State – and the Rubber Board.

Realising the critical role of Science and Technology in socio-economic development, Kerala has made substantial efforts to strengthen its science base through a number of research and development initiatives. In almost every key sector, whether it is agriculture, forestry, fisheries, industry, transport, environment, energy, material sciences, there are top class institutions undertaking research relevant to the needs of the State. Every sphere of science as well as the different phases of research – basic, strategic, applied and adaptive – are being addressed by the Universities and the R&D institutions in the State. Being a state with high population density and limited natural resources, wise use of the resources and building up human skills are essential. The 24th Kerala Science Congress will have a number of sessions for providing an opportunity for intense interaction and knowledge sharing. Particular thrust will be given to encourage young researchers through Young Scientist Awards and Children’s Science Congress. More information about the 24th Kerala Science Congress.

• Australia symposium on India and the Age of Crisis

The University of Western Australia in Crawley organises a symposium on the local politics of global economic and ecological fragility on 2–3 February 2012. The symposium is entitled ”India And The Age Of Crisis”. The purpose of this symposium is to consider how politics in India are likely to be shaped by global economic and ecological crises.

Confirmed presenters are:
– Palagummi Sainath (photo), popularly known is India’s most highly-awarded journalist with over 40 international and national awards for his investigative and social sector reporting in a career spanning three decades. He is currently the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu – a 133-year-old daily with a circulation of over 1.6 million.
– Swapna Banerjee-Guha, Professor of Development Studies in the School of Social Sciences, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. From 1981 to 2006 she was the Professor of Human Geography at the University of Mumbai. – Anjal Prakash, Senior Fellow and Director – Peri Urban Water Security Project at South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies – SaciWATERs, Hyderabad, India.
Deadline for submission of abstract is 1 December 2011. The organisers seek contributions that address one or more of the following sub-themes on the intersections between global crisis and the specificity of politics and society in India: – Historical perspectives on crisis; – Crisis and Governance; – Economy and Crisis; – Labour and crisis; – Crisis and society; and – Business and Crisis.
A selection of papers from the symposium will be published in a special issue of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies in 2013. More information (as a pdf-file)

• Guwahati seminar on Contemporary Sri Lankan Fiction in English
An International Seminar on Contemporary Sri Lankan Fiction in English will be held in Guwahati, India, 23 – 25 February 2012. It is organised by the Dept. of English at  Gauhati University, in collaboration with the university’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning. They are organizing a series of International Seminars on Contemporary South Asian Fiction, considering the fact that this is an emerging area in English Studies today. In the first of the series the focus will be on Sri Lanka, while subsequent seminars will focus on Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and so on.
The seminar seeks to define a more nuanced and sensitive critical framework that actively reclaims marginalized voices and draws upon recent studies in migration and the diaspora to reconfigure the Sri Lankan critical terrain.
Some of the leading Sri Lankan writers  Nihal de Silva, Michael Ondaatje (photo), Romesh Gunasekera, Shyam Selvadurai, A. Sivanandan, Jean Arasanayagam, Carl Muller, James Goonewardene and Punyakante Wijenaike  rigorously challenge the theoretical, cultural and political assumptions that pit insider against outsider, resident against migrant and the authentic against the alien.
Abstracts should be submitted before 31 December 2011. More information.
• Delhi conference on India and the European Union in a Changing World

A conference on ”India and the European Union in a Changing World: Perceptions and Perspectives” is being organised by  the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)’s Jean Monnet Chair and Centre for European Studies and will be held at JNU, Delhi on 1-2 March 2012.
The conference is multidisciplinary and open for students, academics, and practitioners, who will debate the relevance and impact of relations between the EU and India since the first summit in 2000 at the bilateral, regional and global levels. The main themes are: – The European Union and South Asia; – India-EU Strategic Partnership; – Economic and Trade Relations; – Indian FDI in Europe/European FDI in India; – India-EU Free Trade Agreement; – India, EU and Global Governance, Multilateralism; – Multiculturalism and Identity in India and Europe; – Environment, Climate Change and Energy Security; – EU and Conflict Resolution in South Asia; – India and the EU: Perceptions and Misperceptions.
Abstracts should be submitted by 23 December 2011. More information.

• Syracuse conference on Health, Nutrition, and Agriculture in South Asia

The South Asia Center at Syracuse University (SU) has issued a call for papers for its annual SU-Cornell South Asia Consortium Conference 2012. The conference will be held at Syracuse 29–30 March 2012 and the theme of the conference is ”Health, Nutrition, and Agriculture in South Asia: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions”.

The purpose of this conference is to create an open, creative environment for academic researchers andapplied practitioners (in the social and biological sciences) working on topics related to health, food studies and agriculture in South Asia to share insights and experiences across disciplines to stimulate new collaborative ideas for research and practice. The conference incorporates traditional elements (didactic sharing) with innovative experiences involving South Asian food and creative networking strategies to stimulate new thinking. Deadline for abstract submission is January 15, 2012. Full information.

• Commonwealth anthropologists 2012 conference in Delhi

The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) will hold its 2012 conference in New Delhi on 3-6 April 2012. The theme for the conference will be ”Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world”. Every five years or so, ASA tries to hold its annual conference outside the UK, in a Commonwealth country. The aim is to widen the possiblities for participation by Commonwealth colleagues, and so the 2012 conference will be hosted for the first time in India – at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Art and aesthetics will be explored from various angles and perspectives, among which the impact of globalisation on the creation and movement of contemporary artworks, changing skills of artists, art and new religions, and more. Ecological conservation and narratives are also among the topics of exploration.
Among interesting panels at the ASA 2012 conference, one will be convened by Tereza Kuldova, PhD Fellow at the Department of Ethnography, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo, Norway. The panel is entitled ”Exploring the Aesthetics and Meanings of Contemporary Indian Fashion: From Craft to Catwalk”. More information.
 Associate Professor Paolo Favero (photo) from the Lisbon University Institute, but previously at the Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, co-organises another panel on the role of contemporary digital practices in offering new forms of representation of/in India. The panel is named ”Screening India through digital image-making”. More information about this panel. Eswarappa Kasi from the National Institute of Rural Development in Hyderabad, India, and Smita Yadav, University of Sussex, UK, co-convene a panel entitled ”Narratives of coping with marginalization: impact of state policies on natural resources and tribal lives”. More information.

• 10th International Conference on South Asian Languages and Literatures in Moscow

The 10th International Conference on South Asian Languages and Literatures (ICOSAL 10) will be held in Moscow, Russia, on 5–6 July 2012. It is organised by the Department of Indian Philology, Institute of Asian and African Studies (IAAS), Moscow State University, and the International Centre for South Asian Studies, Russian State University for the Humanities.
Out of the nine previous ICOSALs, three were organized in Moscow by the Department of Indian Philology, IAAS, (July 1997, July 2003, June 2006). The other six ICOSALs were organized by various Indian Universities (in Hyderabad, Aligarh, Patiala and other Indian cities).
Deadline for submission of abstracts is 1 February 2012.  More information.

• 22nd European Conference on South Asian Studies in Lisbon

The 22nd European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) will be held 25-28 July 2012 at the University Institute of Lisbon (also known as ISCTE-IUL) in Portugal. A full list of the 51 accepted panels is now available –go for the list.  Some panels are still accepting online paper proposals, and it states if this is the case, underneath the panel abstracts.

The biannual ECSAS conference is the largest gathering of South Asia oriented researchers in Europe, covering all fields from the humanities and social sciences to technology, natural sciences and medicine. The conference is held biannually under the aegis of the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS), a professional, non-profit organisation of scholars engaged in research and teaching concerning South Asia with regard to all periods and fields of study. (SASNET organised the 18th ECMSAS conference in Lund in 2004.)

The 2012 conference convener is Professor Rosa Maria Perez, anthropologist, Department of Anthropology, ISCTE-IUL and researcher of CRIA-IUL. The co-convener is Professor Diogo Ramada Curto, Historian, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Registration will be by online form only, and this will not be posted until early in 2012. Please note: You must join the European Association of South Asian Studies in order to be able to attend the conference.
The venue will be ISCTE-IUL:s campus at Avenida das Forças Armadas in Lisbon.
Full information on the conference page.

• IIAS Summer Programme on World Wide Asia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) organizes its second Summer Programme at Leiden 27 August – 1 September 2012. The theme will be ”World Wide Asia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts”. IIAS runs the programme in partnership with the Leiden Global Interactions Group (LGIG) at Leiden University.

It starts with a four-day master class followed by a two-day international conference. The aim is to critically explore Asian migrations as a globalizing force. The flows of people, goods, capital and ideas within and from the Asian continents have been transforming the global landscape for centuries. Arguably, this influence has become more recognizable and acute in the present day. The study of Asian mobilities can provide important insights into the conditions, processes and effects of globalization and historical global forms. 
The programme will be run by three leading scholars in the fields of global migration history, the history of globalization, and modern Asian history. They include Prof. Radhika Singha from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.

PhD candidates and advanced research masters students worldwide whose work deals with some aspect of Asian migration are invited to participate. Deadline for applications is Wednesday 16 November 2011.

The programme will close with a two-day conference on the same theme of Asian migrations, featuring international scholars. Students who participate in the Summer Programme will be given opportunities to meet and interact with the conference panellists and a select number of students may be invited to present their research in one of the conference sessions. All students will be invited to attend the conference and participate in the discussions. Full information about the 2012 IIAS Summer Programme.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Important lectures and seminars in Scandinavia

• Uppsala seminar on Uday Prakash’s short stories

Anne Schnellen from the University of Bonn gave a guest lecture at Uppsala University on Wednesday 23 November 2011. She talked about ”Identity construction in the mirror of literary texts: A narrative analysis of Uday Prakash”, focusing on the construction of identity in contemporary Indian society based on one of Uday Prakash’s short stories. Uday Prakash (photo) is among the most discussed authors in India nowadays and in his texts he describes the ongoing transformations of the contemporary Indian society.
The seminar was organised by the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology atUppsala university.  Venue: Room 9-3042, Engelska Parken, Thunbergsväg, Uppsala.

• CISCA seminar on Modernisation and Medicine in India

The Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA) organises a seminar on Indian history, entitled ”Modernisationand Medicine – (Post)Colonial History and Science” at the University of Copenhagen on Wednesday 7 December 2011, 11.00–15.30.
The programme includes lectures by Professor Christopher Alan Bayly (Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge) who will speak on ”Ideologies of the new republic: Nehru and his circle, 1947–1960”; by Niels Brimnes (Lecturer in History at University of Aarhus) on ”Medicine, Modernity and Nationalism – opposition to BCG vaccination in India 1948–1958”; and by Niklas Thode Jensen (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute, Florence) on ”Making it in Tranquebar: Science, Medicine and the Circulation of Knowledge in the Danish-Halle Mission, ca. 1732–1743”. Venue: University of Copenhagen, room 9.2.113, Njalsgade 76-80. More information.

• Saul Mullard lectures om Sikkimese history at Oslo University

Dr. Saul Mullard, Research Associate at the University of Oxford, UK, and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, holds a guest lecture at University of Oslo on Thursday 8 December 2011, 14.15–16.00. He will talk about ”Sikkimese State Formation and the Construction of History”, dealing with the history of Sikkim, the Himalayan kingdom that was incorporated into India in 1975. The lecture is organised by the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) in cooperation with Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.

Venue: Seminar room 2, P.A. Munchs hus, Blindern, Oslo. The lecture is open for everybody interested in the research field. More information.

• Knut Jacobsen lectures at Lund University on December 9th

Professor Knut A. Jacobsen, University of Bergen, will give a public lecture on “Doctrines of Salvific Space: Some Unique Characteristics of Hindu Pilgrimage Mythology” at Lund University on Friday 9 December 2011, 10.15-12.00. The lecture is based on his forthcoming book titled “Pilgrimage in the Hindu Tradition: Salvific Space” (Routledge, 2012). More information about the book. Venue: Room 438, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 8, Lund. See the lecture poster.

• Copenhagen seminar on Sufi Paradoxes

The Danish Forum for Islamforskning (FIFO) and the Research project ’Sufism and Transnational Spirituality’ at University of Aarhus jointly organise a seminar on Paradoxes of Sufism (Sufismens paradokser) in Aarhus on Monday 12 December 2011. Seminar language will be Danish (or Norwegian/Swedish). The contact person is Dr. Mikkel Rytter, Aarhus University. Venue: Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus. Full information about the seminar.

FIFO is an interdisciplinary network for research on Islam esablished in 2005, and it publishes the scientific journal Tidsskrift for Islamforskning. This is an online peer-reviewed journal available on the homepage: A number of articles are written in English. The purpose of the journal is to encourage knowledge sharing among researchers and master’s programme students who work with Islam in Denmark and in the Western world. The journal is also targeted a wider public by providing insights into the newest research on Islam.
The main purpose with FIFO is to connect researchers and students wrking on projects focusing on Islam and muslims in Denmark, to coordinate their work, and contribute to a strenghtening of new and existing research networks.

• CISCA Copenhagen seminar on South Asian mobility

The Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA) organises a seminar entitled ”Movement and Mobility across and beyond South Asia” in Copenhagen on Monday 12 December 2011.
The seminar includes a presentation by Dr. Sondra Hausner, Research Fellow at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, UK, who will talk about ”On the Way to India: Nepali Rituals of Border Crossing”. Associate Professor Karen Valentin, Department of Education, Aarhus University, will talk about ”Temporalities of transnational migration: Nepalese student migration to Denmark”, and Professor David Gellner, David Gellner, Head of Department, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Oxford University, UK, will talk about ”Social and Religious Transformations In the UK Nepali Diaspora”.
The seminar will be introduced by Dr. Jens Seeberg, Department of Culture and Society, Section for Anthropology and Ethnography, Aarhus University.
Registration is necessary – no later than December 7th to
Venue: Department of Education, Room D 219, Aarhus University (Campus Emdrup) in Copenhagen. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

• Swedish government opens honorary consulate in Bhutan

On 1 June 2011 the Swedish government approved a decision to open an Honorary Consulate of Sweden in Thimphu, Bhutan. The new consul is Ms. Phub Zam, leading Bhutanese business woman in the building sector. She is managing director for the Yarkay Group, engaged in water power projects and many other business fields.
The honorary was handed over to Phub Zam by a counsellor with the Swedish embassy in New Delhi, Lena Weden – see photo – on 18th August 2011 (more information). The establishment is to promote the already existing friendship between Sweden and Bhutan from the 80s, Lena Weden said.
– It would facilitate Sweden officials coming in and Bhutanese wishing to visit Sweden, she said. It is aimed at promoting trade relations as well.
Contact information for the new consulate.

• Sweden world leading in supporting developing countries in 2011
Source: Center for Global Development

In its yearly Commitment to Development Index, the Center for Global Development, a US think tank based in Washington D.C., ranks Sweden as number one in terms of support policy that helps poor countries in 2011. The chart compares the world’s 22 wealthiest nations and measures their support in seven fields: Aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. This year Sweden is leading in all areas except security and technology. After Sweden follow Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.
In the motivation, it is stated that the Swedish foreign aid program is one of the best in the world in terms of quantity, weighted for country size, as well as its quality. Sweden also bears a large burden of refugees in humanitarian emergencies, provides little protection to domestic producers of agricultural products, and has the lowest greenhouse gas emission rates per capita of the CDI countries, excluding carbon absorption by forests.
Sweden is penalized for high arms exports to poor and undemocratic governments, and weak support for the creation and dissemination of technological advances.
Read more. Go for the full report on Sweden.

See SASNET’s page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures exhibition at Etnografiska Museet in Stockholm

The impressive ”Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From the National Museum, Kabul” exhibition, on tour over the world since 2008, will be on display at Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm between 12 November 2011 and 25 March 2012.  It is a collection of some of the most remarkable archaeological finds in all of Central Asia, pieces that are not only artistically splendid but also reveal a diverse and thriving ancient culture. The exhibition includes four separate collections. One is from the ancient city of Fullol and includes a Bronze Age set of gold bowls that hint of the native wealth of Afghanistan. Another contains artifacts from Aï Khanum, a Greek city in northern Afghanistan. A third features untouched treasures from what is thought to be a merchant’s storeroom in Begram, sealed up 2,000 years ago. And the fourth is the Bactrian gold, a collection of the precious items discovered in the graves of six nomads in Tillya Tepe.
Previously the exhibition has been on display at several important museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and most recently at the British Museum in London.
More information about the Hidden Treasures exhibition.
More information about the exhibition in Stockholm (only in Swedish).

• Advent concert with tabla-sarod-fusion-jazz in Uppsala

On the 29th November 2011 the renowned female tabla player Suranjana Ghosh will perform at an Advent concert at Hijazz in Uppsala. The concert starts at 19:00 and will feature Indian classical music, jazz, tabla duet, fusion and Indian food. Accompanying musicians will be Soumen Roy Chowdhury on sarode, Coste Apetrea on guitar and Kristin H Andresen.

Suranjana Ghosh is well known in Sweden where she has had many concerts. She has been touring also in Greece, Spain, England and Denmark. Suranjana has previously collaborated among others with the band Mynta, the musicians Roland Keijser, Gösta Rundqvist, Bengt Berger, Ale Möller, Jonas Knutson and Ulf Johansson Verre. See the poster of the performance in Uppsala. More information. 

• Indian dance performances in Stockholm

The Swedish dance group Nritya Darpan will present Bollywood and Indian dance performances on Saturday 3 December 2011 at the The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska museet) at Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. The dance shows will take place at 13.00 and 15.00 and will feature a variety of Indian dances, from classical to modern ones.
Tickets cost 80 kr. and should be booked in advance by phone or email.
More information (in Swedish).

• Initiative Asia organized cultural programme in Stockholm

Initiative Asia (iA) is a Stockholm based organization dedicated to friendship and cooperation among Swedes, particularly Swedes with South Asian origins. iA is a network, working for cultural, intellectual and social interaction between peoples and countries. In ideological, religious, political and economic matters iA shall be neutral and unbound. The work is coordinated through a Coordinating group and an iA-Council, consisting of committed citizens, coordinators and contact persons from different cooperating organizations. More information.
iA invited to its South Asia Friendship Event 2011, that was held on Sunday 20 November at Åsö Gymnasium, Skanstull, Stockholm. The programme included Bengali songs, Kathak and Bollywood dance, Ghazals, and Dandia stick dance. The Ambassadors of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh all participated. See the poster for the South Asia Friendship Event 2011.

• BootsnAll offers useful information on Indian train journeys

BootsnAll is an independent travel company based in Eugene, Oregon (in the Pacific Northwest of the United States). The purpose of BootsnAll, founded in 1998, is to cultivate an organic community that encourages independent travel. As of 2011 it is totally virtual with staff based in several cities around the globe.
Its website is full of useful information, also on South Asia.
Read a most informative article about train journeys in India. It is entitled ”Train Travel in India: Important Tips and Advice From a Local” and written by Amrith Sudhakaran, who gives lots of useful advise on how to use the trains in India. Go for the article.

• Web based SYDASIEN gives in-depth stories about South Asian development

Is your field of interest within South Asia? The online journal is the only swedish journal featuring South Asia related articles focusing on cultural issues and political debates. You will also find various articles on recent news and events, in-depth research accounts, stories from NGO-organizations work in the region, Human Rights issues, Womens & Childrens Rights issues, Enviromental issues and Poverty issues.

For 34 years the Swedish-language print magazine SYDASIEN (photo) played an important role to disseminate news and information on South Asia. With popularly written articles on politics, history, literature and culture in the eight countries that consist South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) SYDASIEN was a unique feature in Scandinavia till the magazine closed down in late 2010. Lars Eklund, now SASNET deputy director, was the editor in chief for 25 years, during the period 1982–2007.

However, SYDASIEN has resurfaced in a brand new shape, as a high-quality Internet based web magazine. was officially launched on 1 March 2011 by the new editor of the magazine, Ms. Johanna Sommansson (photo), holding an MA in Social Anthropology and a BA in Indology from Stockholm University. Johanna is currently living in India along with her husband Niklas Sommansson, a web designer who has actually created the new web site.
Go for the
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• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia 

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 280 departments, with detailed descriptions of the South Asia related research and education taking place! This month the World Maritime University (WMU), Malmö was added. 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