Newsletter 132 – 9 February 2012


• Second meeting to plan for joint Swedish masters programme in South Asian Studies

After a kick-off meeting in Lund that took place on 18 October 2011 (more information about this meeting), a second meeting was organised to discuss the creation of a Swedish masters program on South Asian studies. This time, the meeting took place at the Faculty of Arts in the University of Gothenburg in which Åke Sander, Clemens Cavallin and Sigridur Beck from the University of Gothenburg hosted the meeting. SASNET, who initiated the discussion about developing such a program in Sweden, was represented by its director, Anna Lindberg and its assistant webmaster, Julia Velkova. Kristina Miolin from the Division of External Relations, Lund University was also specially invited to share her expertise on the practical and administrative issues related to setting up a Masters program between several Swedish universities.
Other participants in the meeting were Per-Olof Fjällsby from the Department of History at Karlstad University, and Ferdinando Sardella, coordinator of the Forum for South Asian studies at Uppsala University.
After an intensive discussion there was made a preliminary draft of courses to be offered as part of the program. Important part of the discussion was also the structure and formal implementation of such a Masters program. The discussions will now continue online and it will be worked on developing a joint description and argumentation of the program.

• SASNET Spring 2012 lunch seminars to be held at Konsthallen

Neelambar Hatti

On 16 February, the first seminar from the spring SASNET lunch seminar series will take place at Konsthallen, 12.30 – 13.30. The topic of the seminar will be ”Where have all the girls gone?” – a lecture on the ongoing gendercide in India by Professor Emeritus Neelambar Hatti from the Department of Economic History, Lund University.
Abstract: Particularly during the past three decades, a new form of gender discrimination has become a frightening reality in India. In an overwhelmingly patriarchal society, girls are considered expensive and not desirable. Desire for smaller family and a strong preference for boys coupled with easily available and affordable prenatal sex determination techniques the incidence of sex selective abortion of female fetuses has reached alarming a proportion. India’s 2011 census shows a serious decline in the number of girls below the age of six. It is feared that as many as eight million female fetuses may have been aborted in the past decade alone. As a result India has a biologically unnatural excess of males with serious consequences, not only for women but for the society as a whole.
SASNET organises Brown Bag lunch seminars since 2011, but from this year they are done in collaboration with Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Lund, and Lunds Konsthall. As usual, lectures will be given by eminent Lund University researchers as a lectures series, and be held once a month on Thursdays at 12.30. The new venue for the seminars is Konsthallen, the public art gallery at Mårtenstorget 3 in central Lund.
Coming Brown Bag seminars are on 15 March, 19 April and 10 May.
More about previous and coming SASNET Brown Bag seminars.
Programme for the spring 2012 (as a pdf-file)

• SASNET visit to the University of Sofia in Bulgaria

On Friday 9 February 2012, Lars Eklund and Julia Velkova from SASNET will make an official visit to the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. They will primarily visit the Centre for Eastern Languages and Cultures, which is part of the university’s Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology. It has a number of programmes at bachelors and masters level related to Indian studies, and also some research in the areas of Indian Philosophy and Literature.
A meeting will be organised by Associate Professor Milena Bratoeva, Head of the Department of Classical East, whose areas of research and specialization is vedic literature, epic and classical Hindu literature, as well as the Sanskrit culture in texts, myth, folklore and literature. Lars Eklund and Julia Velkova will meet also Professor Ivan Kamburov from the Department of History of Philosophy, whose area of research is Indian philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, comparative studies, and philosophy of religion.
Finally, they will also meet two scholars from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences: Associate Professor Vania Vlaeva who works with research on the music of South Asia, and Associate Professor Andronika Martonova whose research is in the area of South Asian film. Doctoral students and other South Asia interested scholars are also invited to the meeting.

• Unique collection of Nordic South Asia related doctoral theses at SASNET

At its root node office in Lund, SASNET has an impressive library collection of South Asia related doctoral theses from universities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, in most cases from 1996 and onwards, but with some older dissertation theses as well. Right now, the collection consists of 162 theses, covering most disciplines, from technology and medicine to humanities and social sciences.
Go for SASNET’s catalogue of its theses collection.
More detailed information on Nordic South Asia doctoral dissertations during the past 15 years is also available through SASNET.
Go for the dissertations presentation page.

• Successful SASNET seminar on the 1947 Partition 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, held an interesting and highly appreciated 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. Professor Catarina Kinnvall, Dept of Political Science, Lund University, acted as a brilliant discussant at the seminar.
The lecture was based on Ishtiaq Ahmed’s recent book on the tragic events during and after Partition in the two Punjabs, a book that will get worldwide publication in February 2012 by Oxford University Press. In his lecture, Prof. Ahmed shedded light on how and why the Punjab, a Muslim majority province of British India with large Hindu and Sikh minorities, was partitioned in 1947. Read more about the seminar.

• SASNET seminar with Mohsin Saeed Khan on Pakistan’s HIV Epidemic

Dr. Mohsin Saeed Khan from Lahore, Pakistan, held a SASNET lecture on ”Selling sex without HIV – Pakistan’s HIV Epidemic” on Monday 6 February 2012, 13.15–15.00. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University in Malmö. Venue: Auditorium, Clinical Research Centre (CRC), Skåne University Hospital in Malmö (SUS Malmö). On photo along with Lars Eklund, SASNET, and Professor P-O Östergren, Head of Division of Social Medicine and Global Health.
Dr. Khan defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Poverty of Opportunity for Women Selling Sex in Lahore, Pakistan: Knowledge, Experiences and Magnitude of HIV and STIs” in 2011 at the Division of Global health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm. More information.
In the seminar, Dr. Khan pointed out that the national prevalence of HIV in Pakistan is less than 1%. The HIV epidemic is concentrated among Injecting Drug Users (37%), and Hijras (Transvestities – 7.3%), meaning that the epidemic is concentrated among males. Has Pakistan been able to avert a heterosexual HIV epidemic? Is it a game of demand and supply or typologies of most at risk populations? The government of Pakistan has not financed the HIV programme since 2010. The contributions by global financing institutions have also decreased. Only 10% of the health care providers know how to correctly diagnose and treat STIs including Gonorrhoea and Syphilis. The hidden face of risky behaviours, denial, financial instability, global politics and security – have they contributed to the HIV epidemic in Pakistan. See the conference poster.
The audience consisted to a large extent of students and teachers from the Master’s Programme in Public Health (MPH), run at the Division of Social Medicine and Global Health. This programme partly focuses on South Asia, and many of the students are from that area (Pakistani second-year students, Muhammad Ahsin, and Hafiz M Tayyab on photo to the left).
During his visit to Lund University, Dr. Khan also visited SASNET’s office in Lund, since he has had a special relation to SASNET. Till 2010, he was associated with SASNET as a member of its advisory South Asian Reference Group (more information).

• Indian Republic Day 2012 function in Stockholm

The Embassy of India at Stockholm hosted a reception at the Elite Palace Hotel, Stockholm on 27 January 2012 to celebrate the 63rd Republic Day of India (which is actually the 26th of January). A large crowd consisting of people from politics, business, diplomacy and academics gathered to hear speeches by the Ambassador, Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, and also by the chief guest, Ms Hanna Hellquist, Secretary of State in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She spoke warmly and enthusiastically about the positive developments in relations between India and Sweden in the last few years and the huge potential for their growth in the coming years. A Jugalbandi in Kathak by Sunita Singh and in Odissi by Annette Pooja was also presented which was highly enjoyed and appreciated by the audience.
Lars Eklund represented SASNET at the event, which offered a good opportunity to meet network colleagues from Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and others. See Lars’ photos from the Republic Day event.

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

Research Community News

• Kristina Myrvold new Director for Nordic Centre in India

The Nordic Centre in India (NCI) university consortium has appointed Dr. Kristina Myrvold at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, as its new Director to work on a 50% basis from 1 March 2012. As Director she is responsible for the daily activities at the NCI. Besides, Dr. Myrvold will continue with her research work, being a leading Scandinavian expert on Sikh and Punjab Studies. She succeeds Dr. Mirja Juntunen, who has been the NCI Director since 2006, but now has decided to fully focus on her other tasks and plans in the academic world, mainly as a researcher/lecturer at the Division of South and Central Asian Studies, Department of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University.
NCI was established in 2001 as a consortium of Nordic universities and research institutions. The consortium consists of 22 member universities in the Nordic countries (5 in Sweden, 3 in Norway, 4 in Denmark, 8 in Finland, 1 in Iceland, plus NIAS in Copenhagen). Since 2010, the NCI secretariat is based at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition/Unit of Public Health, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio campus.
The objective is to facilitate cooperation in research and higher education between the Nordic countries and India. Through academic exchange NCI seeks to strengthen Indo-Nordic ties and understanding. In November 2004, NCI got final clearance from the Indian Government to operate in India. NCI runs educational courses for Nordic students in India at different universities in India, and has a flat with rooms available to rent in Delhi. More information

• ICCR Chair Professorship established at the University of Gothenburg

On 20 December 2011, the University of Gothenburg signed an agreement for the Establishment of a Short-Term Chair in Indian Studies (ICCR Chair professorship) at the university. From the Indian side the agreement was signed by H.E. Ashok Sajjanhar, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia, who was present at the official ceremony inaugurated by Prof. Pam Fredman, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg. During the official ceremony, presentations were delivered also by Professor Claes Alvstam who is an advisor to the Vice-Chancellor on International Affairs; Professor Åke Sander, as well as Dr. Clemens Cavallin from the Department of Literature from the History of Ideas and Religion at the University of Gothenburg. They stressed the importance of the Gothenburg India Academic Network – GAIN for further develepment of collaboration in the areas of education and research.
More information about the new ICCR professorship (in Swedish only).
Uppsala University and Stockholm University are also in the process of signing similar agreements for visiting ICCR Chair professorships. Lund University was the first Swedish university to finalize such an agreement, with the active support by SASNET, already in 2010. LU is currently hosting the second visiting professor within the scope of this collaboration – Professor Gopal Karanth from the Indian Institute for Economic and Social Change in Bangalore. Read more.

• Doctoral dissertation on Kolkata Intellectuals and Bengali Modernity

Kerstin Andersson, Division of Social Anthropology, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg,  defended her PhD thesis in Social Anthropology entitled ”The Kolkata Intellectuals and Bengali Modernity” at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, on Thursday 2 February 2012. The aim with the thesis is to explore and enhance the understanding of methodological questions in anthropological analysis. Kerstin focuses her main argument on topics taken up in antiorientalist and postcolonial approaches. Analysis is closely related to political issues and an analysis include a critical reflection and deconstruction. The discussion is elaborated through the Kolkata intellectuals and Bengali Modernity. The Kolkata intellectuals are vehicles of change, transmitters of ideas and they have had a key function in social, political, cultural and intellectual movements in Bengal during the last centuries. The faculty opponent was Professor Jonathan Friedman, EHESS – École des hautes études en sciences sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences), Paris, France. More information.

• Karlstad University’s Teacher Education Master Programme in Kabul inaugurated

The Teacher Education Master Programme (TEMP), initiated by the Dept. of Educational Work, Organisation and Society, Karlstad University,  was inaugurated in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 15th January 2012 in the presence of Sweden’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr. Torbjörn Pettersson; prominent representatives of the Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Women’s Affairs; Kabul University; Karlstad University; and the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan. Six TV channels, the national radio as well as several newspapers reported from the event.
TEMP is financed by Sida and is implemented by Karlstad University in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and SCA. During 2012 – 2014 up to 90 teacher educators, presently working at the country’s Teacher Training Colleges, will be trained in general and subject didactics, learning theories, education and development, and other topics. More information.

• Honorary doctorate for CSR work in Indian garment industry

The Faculty of Engineering (LTH) at Lund University has decided to confer Ms. Renée Andersson, Director of Ethics and Environment at the Swedish fashion and decorating firm Indiska, an honorary doctorate at Lund University. In the motivation, it is stated that she has drawn attention to the importance of combining ethics, environmental concerns and economics within the garment industry. The official ceremony when Renée Andersson will be conferred her honorary doctorate will take place on Friday 25 May 2012.
Through her commitment and knowledge she has enabled research and technological development in the field of water purification in South Asia”, says Professor Bo Mattiasson, Dept. of Biotechnology, Lund University, with whom Ms. Andersson has been involved in a research project dealing with treatment of textile dyes using biological and physiochemical techniques in the South Indian city of Tirupur. More information on the project.
In 2008, Renée Andersson participated in a successful SASNET/SIBC business seminar focusing on Business and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India. At that time, she said that her company has worked to develop their CSR code for a long time, even incorporated Indian laws in its CSR code, with an effect that their suppliers must follow Indian law with regard to health insurances, pension plans, and employment contracts. The outcomes of this process has generated a new interest in Indiska magasinet’s products among more quality conscious customers. More information about the 2008 seminar.

• Honorary Doctorate to Indo-Swedish artist PK Mahanandia

On 4 January 2012, India-born Swedish artist PK Mahanandia was awarded an honorary doctorate degree (Degree of Honoris Causa) from Utkal University of Culture (UUC) in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha state, India. He was praised for his long-standing work to promote Odisha culture in Sweden, where he has been staying ever since 1975 (after travelling on bicycle all the way from India in order to unite with his Swedish wife Lotta). PK was born 1949 in an untouchable weaver family in a village of district Kandhapada, Odisha. Several years ago he was designated as the Oriya Cultural ambassador to Sweden by the Government of Odisha, and he has set up a Cultural Center in his Swedish home town Borås.
More information about PK Mahanandia.
Newspaper article on the honorary doctorate.

• Major Gothenburg University research programme on Globalization of Resistance

Dr. Stellan Vinthagen at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, coordinates a major research programme entitled ”Globalization of Resistance: Influences on Democracy Advocators in Civil Society in the South”. The project is funded by a SEK 10 m grant from the Swedish Research Council, and runs during a period of 6 years, 2011-2015. It is carried out in collaboration with Associate Professor Mikael Baaz, Dr. Mona Lilja, and Associate Professor Michael Schulz, and consists of studies in Cambodia, India and Palestine. Stellan Vinthagen is in charge of the India related studies. The idea with the programme is to develop and build a profound research environment at the School of Global studies, in which researchers dealing with civil society and resistance are brought together. The specific aim is to understand how various civil societies and their resistance transform under the impact of an increasing globalization, and what that means for democratization. In this, a historical and comparative framework will be used to analyze the civil societies in three selected countries. Read more about Dr. Vinthagen and his research.

• Free online scholarly database with economic, political, and demographic data on South Asia

The US National Bureau of Asian Research maintains a big research database that acts as an online portal for scholars, professional researchers, students, and those interested in strategically relevant data on Asia. The database is part of a major ongoing research initiative that draws together leading Asia studies specialists and international relations experts to assess the strategic environment in the region of Asia-Pacific.
The database has, among others, a vast collection of scholarly publications on South Asia on a wide number of areas and topics – among others energy, economy, development and international policy. Users of the database can freely access and download all publications. Special features of the database include generation of comparative graphs and charts that allow for a multi-level analysis or identification of strategic trends. The research behind the database and the data presented tries to incorporate economic, political, and demographic data, as well as focus on the strategies and perceptions that shape international policy in the region. Go for the database.

• SASNET/Ashgate discount price for Sikhs in Europe edited volume

Are you interested to get a discount copy of the newly published book by Professor Knut A. Jacobson, University of Bergen, Norway, and and Dr. Kristina Myrvold, Lund University, Sweden, an edited volume entitled ”Sikhs in Europe”? The book was published in 2011 by Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, Surrey, UK. More information about the book.
For a limited period (till 30th April 2012), Ashgate Publishing is now offering a 20 % discount on the book price for members of the SASNET network. (The offer is however not valid in the US and Canada).
Your price will be UK Pounds 48.00. Orders to be made by post, use the enclosed form, or order by e-mail ( Please specify the promotion code: C12GCM20

• PhD position in Indology at Uppsala University

Due to lack of satisfactory applications for the previously announced PhD position in Indology at Uppsala University, the position is currently re-announced again.
The succesful applicant will be based at the Department of Linguistics and Philology and will start from 1 May 2012. The department especially encourages applicants with project descriptions relating to modern South Asia. Application is done through a webform. Deadline for applications is Monday 1 March 2012. More information.

• Soros’ Global Supplementary Grant Program open for Nepalese and Afghani PhD candidates

The Open Society Foundations, established in 1984 by investor and philanthropist George Soros (photo), offer supplementary grants to students from select countries of Southeastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, the Middle East, and South Asia. The purpose of the Global Supplementary Grant Program (GSGP) is to enable qualified students to pursue doctoral studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at accredited universities in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
In South Asia, citizens from Afghanistan and Nepal are eligible to apply for the GSGP programme, which is open for students pursuing doctorate degrees only. Students pursuing doctorates in the Medical Sciences, Hard and Natural Sciences, Engineering, Business Administration, and Computer Science, are however not eligible for this grant. Besides, it should be noted that this is a supplementary program not intended for full funding. Applicants must therefore be able to demonstrate additional support from other sources. The deadline for students pursuing a PhD in Asia, Australia, North America, or the Middle East is April 15, 2012, whereas the deadline for students pursuing a PhD in Europe is May 21, 2012. More information on the Global Supplementary Grant Program.

• Fellowships for outstanding university teachers at Graduate Institute

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, is a leading institution of research and higher education dedicated to the study of world affairs, with a particular emphasis on the cross-cutting fields of international relations and development issues. More information about the Institute.
The Institute offers Global South Scholars-In-Residence Fellowships, an opportunity for outstandning young university teachers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America working in the disciplines related to international and development studies, such as anthropology, history, law, politics and political science, and economics. Selected scholars are invited to come to the Institute in Geneva for a semester to further their research projects, update their teaching curricula, and interact with colleagues and students working in their field of specialisation. Scholars’ travel and monthly allowances are fully funded. The selection will be based on the quality of research. Quality being equal, selection may be guided by an interest in promoting gender and regional diversity. Candidates should demonstrate how their research stay will contribute to their academic career and their home institution.
Deadline for applications is 1 March 2012 for residence in the Fall 2012, and 1 October 2012 for Residence in the Spring 2013. More information.

• 35 PhD positions in Humanities and Theology announced at Lund University

Lund University announces a total of 35 doctoral studentships in the areas of Humanities and Theology. The positions are in various subjects and part of the following faculties: – Centre for Theology and Religious Studies; – Centre for Languages and Literature; – Department of Philosophy; – Department of Archaeology and Ancient History; – Department of Cultural Sciences; – Department of History; and – Department of Educational Sciences. The selection process will focus on the applicants’ ability to benefit from research studies. Before submitting an application, all candidates should discuss a potential research project with the subject representative or equivalent in the relevant subject. Applications should reach the administration by 1 March 2012. For more information and details about each position please check the official announcement.

• Jaffna in focus at Sri Lanka conference in Zurich

In November 2011 an international conference on Sri Lanka was held in Zurich. The conference was jointly organized by the universities of Zurich, Switzerland, and Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and presented some contributions of the recent Sri Lanka related research. Among other things, was the city of Jaffna in focus.
The city of Jaffna is the capital of the Northern Province and was for a long time controlled by the Tamil rebels LTTE. Demographically, Jaffna used to be Sri Lanka’s second largest city, but because of the civil war, many people fled, and the city’s population declined. Delon Madavan, doctoral student at the University of Paris, presented an interesting study that dealt with a new religious segregation in Jaffna. Read the whole article here.
The current research on Sri Lanka is very much about post-war period and how it developed, and perhaps research on Jaffna is a good reflection of what is happening in Sri Lanka in general. Participants at the conference, about 50, are only a small part of all researchers doing research on Sri Lanka in the world, yet it is still very few in Sweden who writes about the country.

• Leiden University seeks Assistant Professor in Modern South Asian Culture

The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University invites applications for a full time Assistant Professorship in Modern South Asian Culture. The Assistant Professor will combine Humanities and Social Science perspectives on culture, to engage popular and ‘high’-cultural production in film, literature, theater, art, music, and (new) media, with reference to cultural identities (ethnicity, gender, language, social organization), and to social, political, economic, and religious contexts. The appointment is for a fixed period of three years starting from September 2012 and ending in August 2015, with the possibility of extensions of up to three years, and of tenure thereafter. Requirements include a PhD degree. Applications by candidates near completion of the PhD will also be considered. Review of applications will start on 1 March 2012 and continue until the position is filled. Interviews are scheduled for April and May 2012. Full information.

• Two Phd and two Masters positions available at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, South Africa

The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa and the Mellon Chair in Indian Studies part of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa announces two PhD fellowships and two Masters, alongside with one position for an associate professor and one lecturer/researcher. The announcements are in connection to a major grant received by the centre from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, for the period 2012-2015 for a project on Indian Capital, Labour Migration and Global Responsibility in Africa. The project will study issues of FDI as well as entrepreneurial capital, labour migration, labour regimes and legal cultures; the changing profile of Indian communities in Africa; and the emerging themes of the environment, food security and resource race in Africa.
Closing date for all positions announced is 29 February 2012.
Read more.

• Final report on Securing the Future of Elephants in India published

In August 2010, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests released its final report on ”Securing the Future of Elephants in India”, a result of the work of the so called Elephant Task Force. The major problem identified by the group is not the extinction of the species, but the disappearance of the habitat and terrestrial areas inhabited by elephants, which needed further protection. To tackle this problem, the task force proposes the creation of a new National Elephant Conservation Authority (NECA) on the lines of the structure for tiger conservation.
There will also be appointed a new Consortium of Elephant Research and Estimation (CERE) that will develop and apply scientific methods for enumeration of the elephant populations. A new terrestrial division will also be made at state level, defining the so called Elephant Landscapes which will cover the existing plus 32 Elephant reserves. While new reserves will not be created, existing territories with elephant habitats will be combined into such. Among the other measures that will be taken is to declare the elephant as a National Heritage Animal with the hope to highlight its ecological sensitivity, along with recognizing officially its central role in the Indian tradition and culture. Read the full report. 

Educational News

• International Summer School 2012 at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen

The Centre for Modern Indian Studies at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen organises a one-week International Summer School course between 16 – 21 July 2012 for PhD students that work on modern South Asian societies. The topic of the course is ”The city and the village: separations, linkages and conflicts over social space in modern India” and the perspectives investigated can be history, anthropology, sociology, politics, development studies, cultural studies or related. The format of the course includes lectures, reading sessions and discussions based on research papers by the participating PhD students. Among the senior South Asia scholars that will take part of the course are Ravi Ahuja, Henrike Donner, Chitra Joshi, Arvind Rajagopal, Anupama Rao, Srirupa Roy, Palagummi Sainath and Rupa Viswanath. Deadline to apply is 24 February 2012, and a limited number of travel bursaries are available for students from India and Germany. Full information (as pdf-file).

• Summer course at Heidelberg’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”

The Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” part of Heidelberg University has opened the application round for its Summer School on “Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality” to take place at the Karl Jaspers Centre from 29 July to 4 August 2012. The course aims at exploring the role of visual and material culture in the context of transcultural exchange processes between Asia and Europe. Among the questions addressed by the Summer School will be – How can we move “beyond representation,” to take on images in all their tangibility and material presence?; – Is “thing theory” a site for us to analyze the confluence of materiality and visuality?; – How can we look at images and objects differently when we approach them from transdisciplinary and transcultural perspectives?; In what ways do such perspectives challenge concepts and methods of our own disciplines?. The aim of the course is to ultimately provide stimulating discussions and new inspiration for graduate and junior research work, to exchange ideas and test methods from individual research projects and to actively engage with an international group of peers and senior scholars who share an interest in transcultural visuality and materiality.
Application deadline is 15 April 2012. Full information about the course.

• Summer course at Harvard University on Interpreting South Asian Women’s Lives
Harvard University Summer School introduces a new summer course entitled ”Interpreting South Asian Women’s Lives”. This 4 credits summer course is offered by the Department Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University and is scheduled for 25 June to 10 August 2012. The course is given as evening classes on campus at Harvard University, with seminars twice a week, Monday and Wednesday from 18.30 to 21.30. The course contextualizes four ethnographies written by and about women and set in South Asia. Specifically, it will be structured around the following three themes: – the researchers’ interpretations of women’s assertions of identity and agency in everyday interactions and expressive genres; – questions that these interpretations raise and dialogues in which they engage subjects and researchers; – the studies’ contributions to understanding social life, and to developing disciplines on which the research draws.
The ethnographies selected exemplify a perspective that views culture as emergent, rather than essentialized, and that locates aspects of identity and agency in shifting, multiply voiced practices. Together, the ethnographies span nearly two decades of work by scholars who have made rich and significant contributions to ethnography by researching among others songs, personal narratives, love letters, therapeutic performances in an urban healing room, multi-sited poetics, politics, and more. Students from all disciplines are welcome, application is currently open at Prospective students are welcome to email the instructor Maggie Ronkin.

• Sanskrit summer course at Harvard

One more South Asia related summer course offered by Harvard University this summer is the course in Sanskrit. The course is  given 25 June to 10 August 2012 and is equivalent to two semesters of coursework. It is given at beginners level, enabling students to acquire basic reading skills in Sanskrit. Stress is placed on learning the Devanagari script, basic grammar, and essential vocabulary. Emphasis is also given to correct translation of passages ranging from simple narrative literature to the epics. The course is read by the famous Prof. Michael Witzel (on photo)who has hundreds of publications, articles, books and anthologies on Sanskrit and the vedas. Knowledge of Latin, Greek, or Hindi is useful but not required. The amount of places is limited, and enrollment is currently open. More information.

• Summer course at Harvard on Social Development in Pakistan

Finally, Harvard University organises a 4 credits summer course on ”Social Development in Pakistan”. The course will take place on campus between 25 June and 10 August 2012 with lectures and seminars twice a week . The course is given as evening classes on campus at Harvard University, with seminars twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8.30 to 11.30. The course aims at enabling the participants to re-frame and re-think acrimonious rhetoric in a bilocational setting, which is created by connecting the main campus classroom with an Islamabad studio. Pakistani academics, advocates, and change-makers will share their strategies for countering inequality and injustice in an engaging series of real-time video conferences. Through conversations with these guest experts, participants will gain grounded insights on culturally attuned and sustainable practices of poverty alleviation and, more broadly, on a dynamic human-centered development story. Three-hour modules will address social mobilization, capacity building, and human rights claims, focusing on such topics as education, health care, rural and urban development, microfinance and rehabilitation, socio-political and religious expression, and the arts as social critique. Students from all disciplines are welcome, application is currently open at Prospective students are welcome to email the instructor Maggie Ronkin.
Read more about the course.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Important lectures and seminars in Scandinavia

• Copenhagen lecture on Begging in Mumbai

Sheba Saeed, PhD candidate from the University of Birmingham, UK, holds a lunch talk at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen on Thursday 9 February 2012, at 12.30. Ms. Saeed, who is a guest researcher at NIAS during February 2012, will talk about ”Begging in Mumbai: a critique of the etiology of begging in the city using criminological theory and an exploration of notions of power”. Venue: NIAS, Leifsgade 33, 3rd floor.
In her presentation, she will explore the causes of the begging phenomenon ranging from religion, socio-economic, and crime. It questions why the begging phenomenon is criminalised and in turn questions politico-legal structures which form such laws closing with an analysis of power notions. In doing so, the thesis highlights the complexity of the begging phenomenon and investigates inequalities emerging within Indian society resulting in conflict as a criminological phenomenon, by establishing the causes for begging through an analysis of a combination of the Chicago school and Merton’s strain theories. A wider critique of begging and power notions of the Foucauldian and Marxist schools of thought are also used leading to a final engagement of an analysis in a humanist perspective of the begging phenomenon in Mumbai.
More information.

• Mirja Juntunen lectures on Cultural Belonging

During the spring semester 2012, the Department of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University, organizes a lectures series on Mondays. The theme is ”Space as a theoretical starting point, and lectures focus on different regions of Asia. On Monday 26 March 2012, 15–17, Dr. Mirja Juntunen will lecture on ”Strategies of Cultural Belonging: Creating a Hegemonic Space from ‘In-Between'”. Venue: Main hall, Dept. of Oriental Languages, Kräftriket 4 A, Stockholm.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

See SASNET’s page,

Conferences and workshops

• Yale University conference on India in Global Contexts

Yale University Center for British Art organises a conference on ”Art, Agency, Empire: India in Global Contexts” is held on 11 February 2012 in Connecticut, United States. The conference aims to gather graduate students and to work with asserting the existence of multiple forms of agency in India (artistic, cultural, political) from about 1600 to Independence and beyond. It will also focus on visual and cultural exchanges between India and the rest of the world, with a reference to the colonial period.
See here the full call for papers

• Conference on “The Gujarati Community: Globalisation, Mobility and Belonging”

The Gujarat Studies Association (GSA) organises its 4th Biennial Conference is held 15–16 February 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The theme for the conference is ”The Gujarati Community: Globalisation, Mobility and Belonging”. Keynote speakers are Dr. Farouk Topan from Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London; and Prof. Helene Basu, University of Münster. More information.

• 40th World Congress of International Institute of Sociology

The 40th World Congress of International Institute of Sociology (IIS) is held at New Delhi, India 16–19 February 2012. The theme of the conference is ”After Western Hegemony: Social Science and its Publics”. It is jointly sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) in Uppsala. The main organisers are Rajeev Bhargava, Director of CSDS and Björn Wittrock, Principal of the SCAS and President of the IIS. More information about the Delhi conference.
Among the many panels to be convened at the 40th World Congress, could be mentioned a panel on ”Social Change as the Story of Contemporary Indian Society and Social Scientists as the Story Tellers”, convened by Sailaja Nandigama and Eswarappa Kasi from Wageningen University, Netherlands, and University of Hyderabad, India. More information.

• Hyderabad conference on the transformations in Indian diaspora

The Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora at the University of Hyderabad, India organises an international conference on “Empire, Nation and Diaspora: Mapping the Trajectories of Transformations in Indian Diaspora“. The conference will take place 20 – 23 February 2012 and will aim to explore from a comparative perspective the Indian diaspora as a dynamic construct which has undergone and is still undergoing through several processes of transformations. The conference main topics are: – Social and Cultural Transformations, – Economic Mobility, – Political Positioning, – Twice (or Multiple) displacement and its course of transformation, – Changing Meanings and relations with homeland, – Gendered Perspectives, and – Reflective Representation of Transformations in Text and Visual Medium.
Venue: Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad (a Central University), Hyderabad (India)
Full information.

• Bangalore conference on Identities and Resistance: Heritage

The Aesthetics and Critical Studies Program at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India, and the Go:India Project, and the Critical Heritage Studies seminar at University of Gothenburg in Sweden organise a conference on ”Identities and Resistance: Heritage” to take place in Bangalore between 22 – 25 February 2012.
The conference aims at working with the national museums as a part of public space, public life, places of memory and identity building. In today’s processes of globalization, regionalization and de-modernisation, the state loses its former role of representing a nation and a territory. The traditional places of memory take on new roles and their messages are often contested. New kinds of memory making are constantly invented by those groups who’s past and memories had been denied and silenced by states and colonizers. The conference will focus on exploring these issues with focus on Karnataka and West Sweden. Venue: Srishti school of art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India
More information.

• 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.
More information.
• Allahabad conference on Civil Society in the Era of Globalization

A two-day Indian National Seminar on ”Civil Society in the Era of Globalization” will be held at Allahabad, India, 24–25 February 2012. It is organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Chair in Contemporary Studies at University of Allahabad (the Chair being established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The seminar will focus on the following areas: • Theoretical Concept of Civil Society; • Historiography of the Institutional Evolution of Civil Society; • Civil Society in the era of Globalization; • Rise and Growth of Civil Society in India; • Evaluation of Different Civil Society movements in India; • Challenges of Civil Society; • Civil Society, Democracy and Public Policy; • State and Civil Society; and • Market and Civil Society
The list of areas mentioned above may be treated as illustrative rather than exhaustive. Paper-presenters are free to choose an area of their interest which broadly falls within the theme of the seminar i.e. Civil Society in the Era of Globalization. Papers will be reviewed by a committee formed for this purpose. Needless to mention that besides hospitality the Rajiv Gandhi Chair will bear travel expenses by Indian participants as per university rules.
Full information.

• Phnom Penh conference on Mathematics Education in Developing Countries

The 5th International Conference on Science and Mathematics Education in Developing Countries will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 1–3 March 2012. It is hosted by Zaman University, Phnom Penh. Science and mathematics play vital roles in developing the economy, interacting with the environment wisely and providing for public health and services. These subjects are also essential to making informed personal, social and political decisions. When taken together science and mathematics can be used ethically to improve the human condition in a sustainable manner.
The International programme committee behind the conference include Dr. Peter Sundin, International Science Programme (IPS), Uppsala University; and Dr. Om Prakash Niraula from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
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.
More information.

• Uppsala symposium on Emergent cities and Conflicting claims

The Swedish Development Research Network on Nature, Poverty and Power (DevNet), and the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University, organise a symposium entitled ”Emergent cities. Conflicting claims and the politics of informality” on 9th March 2012, 10.30 – 16.30. The symposium will address the various processes through which people are creating space in the city; sometimes manifesting an emergent insurgence that challenges existing hierarchies and whereby people claim new forms for urban and national membership. This symposium is also co-organised by the Nordic Africa Institute, the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, and it will be preceeded by a series of public lectures given on 7 March and focuses primarily on African urban development.
Keynote lecturers include Professor Ananya Roy from the Department of City and Regional Planning Education, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Prof. Roy will speak about ”Making Postcolonial Futures: The ‘Slum-Free’ Cities of the Asian Century”. Prof. Roy is the author of the book “City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty”, and an eminent researcher and teacher of urban studies for which she has received numerous awards.
Venue: Geijersalen, Engelska Parken (House 6-1023), Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala. Read more.

• Sylhet conference on Construction Engineering for Sustainable Development

The 2nd International Conference on Environmental Technology and Construction Engineering for Sustainable Development (ICETCESD 2012) will be held in Sylhet, Bangladesh, 10–12 March 2012. The conference is organized by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). It has been preceded by a successful first conference on the same issue (ICETCESD 2011) that was held in March 2011. More than 100 papers were presented and more than 120 paper were published in the conference proceedings of which more than 50 papers were authorized by the scientists, engineers and specialists coming not only from Bangladesh, but also from USA, Canada, UK, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, India, Nepal, and Afghanistan (see the proceedings from ICETCESD 2011).
More information.

• Annual meeting of the American Association for Asian Studies in Toronto

AASThe 2012 AAS (American Association for Asian Studies) Annual Meeting will be held 15–18 March 2012 in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 1941, AAS is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia. It seeks through publications, meetings, and seminars to facilitate contact and an exchange of information among scholars to increase their understanding of East, South, and Southeast Asia. It counts among its members scholars, business people, diplomats, journalists, and interested lay persons. Full information.

• Haryana conference on Humanism, Democracy and Culture

The Department of English at RKSD College, Kaithal – affiliated to Kurukshetra University in the state of Haryana, India – organises an interdisciplinary, international conference to explore humanism, postcolonialism and democracy discourses from in India from both western and Indian perspectives on 20–21 March 2012. It will focus on the following topic(s): – Postcolonialism and Indigenous Representation; – Postcolonialism and Indian humanism; – Postcolonialism and Western Aspirations; – Postcolonialism and Marxism; – Postcolonialism and Nativism, and Cultural Fundamentalism in East and West; – Postcolonialism and Indian languages. Keynote and plenary speakers include Dr. Rajender Dudrah, Head of Drama & Senior Lecturer in Screen studies, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK;  Dr. María do Mar Castro Varela,  Professor for Gender and Queer Studies at Alice Salomon University, Berlin, Germany; Dr. Nikita Dhawan, Junior Professor for Gender and Postcolonial Studies, Cluster of Excellence ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’ at Goethe-University, Germany; Dr Bhaskar Mukhopadhya, Convenor MA Postcolonial Studies, Goldsmith, University of London, UK; and Dr. Pavan Malreddy, Chemnitz University of Technology (CUT), Germany.
More information.

• Oxford Symposium on Indian Religions

The 37th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions will be held at Merton College, the University of Oxford, UK, on 23–25 March 2012. The Spalding Symposium is an annual conference bringing together scholars from many disciplines who are working in the general areas of Indic Studies. This year the organisers encourage papers relating to ecology and related matters, such as animals; however, they will also consider papers on other themes. The symposia are funded by the Spalding Trust. It is expected that a selection of papers from the Symposium will be published in our peer-reviewed journal, Religions of South Asia (RoSA). More information about the Symposium.

• Aligarh conference on Population Dynamics and Sustainable Resource Development

An International Conference on ”Population Dynamics and Sustainable Resource Development” will be held in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, 25–27 March 2012. It is being organized by Dept. of Geography at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and aims to form a platform to discuss and debate about population dynamism and sustainable resource development. Sub-themes include – Population Dynamics. Fertility, mortality, migration; – Modern Innovation in agriculture and Changing Land Use Pattern; – Human Resources, Health and Hygiene; and – Remote Sensing and GIS Application in Resource Development, Management and Planning. Abstracts should be submitted before 28 February.
Моre information about the Aligarh conference.

• 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. Full information.

• Varanasi seminar on Reflections & Revival of Buddhism in Modern Times

The Department of Hisotry of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapit University in Varanasi organises an international seminar on ”Reflections & Revival of Buddhism in South and South-East Asia in Modern Times”. The seminar will take place between 31 March and 2 April 2012 and aims at exploring the trends of Buddhism in South and South-East Asia nowadays, as well as discuss the question of happiness for the humanity in the light of Buddhist ideals and its relevance today. To facilitate the discussions during the seminar, the following topics are going to be discussed: – Role of States/Governments; – Contribution of Buddhism in moral and spiritual development; – Areas of Buddhist Studies, Intellectual exercises; – Buddhist temples and monasteries and their missionary activities; – Buddhist Educational and Cultural centers; – Funding for promotion of Buddhist centers and its impact; – Contribution of Buddhism in material uplift of communities and places; – Neo-Buddhist movements: Dalit movement; – Relevance of Buddhism in addressing socio-political challenges in India; – Tibetan Buddhist: Movement and Dilemma; – Reform movements within Buddhist denominations and new Buddhist sects. More information.

• Gothenburg conference on Theorisation of Heritage Studies

The Heritage Seminar at the University of Gothenburg hosts a conference entitled ”The Re/theorisation of Heritage Studies” 5–8 June 2012. It is organised in collaboration with Association of Critical Heritage Studies, a newly formed international network of scholars and researchers working in the broad and interdisciplinary field of heritage and museum studies. Its primary aim is to promote heritage as an area of critical enquiry. To this end, the Association works to promote dialogue and networking between researchers from different fields and disciplinary backgrounds and between researchers, practitioners and activists. The Association’s web pages are currently hosted by the Australian National University.
The Gothenburg conference will be the official launch of the Association. Bosse Lagerqvist at the Dept. of Conservation, University of Gothenburg, is the main contact person for the conference. Deadline for submitting abstracts was 31 January 2012. More information.

• Kolkata conference on Tagore’s contribution to a Multi-Cultural Society

The International Forum for Studies in Society and Religion (IFFSR) organizes its Third International Conference on ”Universalistic Religion & Multi-Cultural Society: Tagore’s Contribution (A Tribute to Rabindranath Tagore on completion of his 150th Birth Anniversary)” at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, 6–8 July 2012. Abstracts are now invited.
IFSSR aims at bringing together scholars from various parts of the world to participate in this multicultural phenomenon with its universal approach. The conference convenors are Professor Piyali Palit and Professor Asoke Bhattacharya. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 29 February 2012. More information.

• Singapore workshop on South Asian Diaspora Engagement in South Asia

An international workshop on ”Diaspora and development – South Asian Diaspora Engagement in South Asia” will be held in Singapore 25–26 September 2012. It is being organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), part of the National University of Singapore. The workshop will explore the various forms and fields of diaspora engagement that include entrepreneurship, philanthropy, international relations, portfolio investment, remittances, advocacy, peacebuilding, trade such as in ethnic goods, political engagement, socio-cultural linkages and religious or spiritual movements, amongst many other categories  that all have potential for advancing growth in South Asia. Some of the specific questions that the workshop will adress are – what is the relationship between diaspora engagement and development; what is the structure of diaspora engagement in South Asia?; – What are the existing diaspora engagement policies in South Asian countries individually and how could they be regionally integrated?, and more. The workshop targets empirically based papers involving South Asian countries (i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and South Asian diaspora members/communities/groups living and working across the globe. Deadline to submit abstracts is 15 February 2012, while full papers should be submitted by 1 August 2012. Full information.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

• New Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan

In late 2011, Lars-Hjalmar Wide took up his post as new Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan. Mr Wide has been Marshal of the Court and Head of the Office of the Marshal of the Court at the Swedish Royal Palace. At the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he has previously worked as Chief of Cabinet in the Office of the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, and head of the Americas Department and the Protocol Department – he has served at the embassies in Havana, Madrid, Tel Aviv and the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN in New York. During the period 2001-2005, Mr Wide was Director-General and Head of the Swedish Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP).

• Visa on arrival to be introduced for Swedish tourists to India

According to a 22 January 2012 Times of India news story, the number of nations whose citizens are eligible for visas on arrival (VoA) in India is likely to be expanded to include another 13 countries, including Sweden. This decision will come after a review convened by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) felt security conditions need not be a hurdle to promote tourism. Other countries that could be offered VoA include Malaysia, Thailand, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, Brazil and South Africa. The Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been asked to work on details of the proposed visa regime in a manner that factors in security concerns by utilizing information-sharing agreements with Asean and the European Union while ensuring that travel to India becomes less hassle-free.
Till now, 13 countries are already covered by the VoA programme, among them Finland.
Besides increasing VoA facility to four additional airports, including Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Bengaluru, the PMO has asked the civil aviation ministry to improve the facilities in the existing airports of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai so that tourists do not have to stand for hours for emigration and other clearances. The ministries of home and civil aviation have also been asked to increase counters and accept immigration fees in both Indian currency and dollars.
On tourism, the PMO has also asked the MHA and the Ministry of External Affairs to resolve the confusion around current restrictions on re-entry of tourists within a 60-day period. The visa rule is likely to be relaxed and a solution reached in the next one month. More information in the Times of India article.

• New visa rules for visit to Sri Lanka

From 1 January 2012 Sri Lanka has introduced new visa rules for all foreign nationals visiting the country. According to the new rules, all visitors should obtain an electronic travel authorization (ETA) prior to their entry in the country. Only citizens of The Republic of Singapore and The Republic of Maldives are excempt from this new rule on the basis of reciprocity. The electronic travel authorization is valid initially for 30 days, but can be extended with up to 6 months. The ETA costs 10 USD for citizens of the SAARC countries, and 20 USD for all other nationals. For those who have not managed to secure the ETA in advance, there is an option to do that upon arrival upon 25 USD, but the service is limited (according to the official website).
Read more on the official website.

• SIBC reception for departing Swedish Ambassador to India

The Sweden India Business Council (SIBC) organises a reception in honour of Sweden’s departing Ambassador to India, Mr. Lars-Olof Lindgren, in Stockholm on Monday 13 February 2012, 17.00. The function is co-organized by Svensk Handel and the Swedish Trade Council. Venue: Svensk Handel, Regeringsgatan 60. Registration should be made in advance to
Ambassador Lindgren has been Ambassador to India for 5 years. During his tenure, he has taken part in creating a number of MoU’s in fields such as Health Care, Environment, Defence Equioment and more. He was also involved in the EU-India negotiations when Sweden held the EU Presidency, and been strongly engagae in promoting an increase in trade between India and Sweden. Ambassador Lindgren also started the hugely successful Nobel Memorial Week which takes place in New Delhi in October every year. During a week the Swedish Business Community is being presented in various cities all over India and more than a thousand Indian and Swedish guests take part in the mingle at the end of the week.

See SASNET’s page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Alva Myrdal among pioneer Swedish women ambassadors presented in new book

From Myrdal to Lindh” is an interesting book about Swedish women Ambassadors and Ministers for Foreign Affairs, pioneers in a field earlier completely dominated by men, published in 2010. As late as 2001 a similar book was published with the title ”Swedish Diplomatic Profiles during the 20th Century”, all of them being men.
Gabriele Winai Ström who worked as a diplomat in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Sweden then reacted, and decided to write an alternative book presenting a selection of prominent women who have influenced the Swedish foreign policy, among them Alva Myrdal (photo) – in 1955 the first woman appointed to be Sweden’s Ambassador to India. A very successful appointment indeed, since she had already worked as a high UN official in New York and Paris, and was acquainted to the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. During her period in Delhi from 1955 till 1960 she became engaged on behalf of Sweden in crucial policies like disarmament, decolonization and the organisation of non-aligned nations.
The book deals with the conditions of the 15 women, heading embassies and the ministry of foreign affairs, including Anna Lindh, popular Minister of Foreign Affairs, but tragically assasinated in 2003. Already translated into other Nordic languages, the interest has been expressed to translate the book also into French and English to reach a wider audience.
On Monday 6 February 2012, the Swedish Embassy in New Delhi organised a literary function, where the book was presented by Gabriele Winai Ström, and Kaj Fölster, daughter of Alva Myrdal.

• Jan Myrdal’s Red Star over India book to be released at Kolkata book fair

In 2010, the Swedish writer Jan Myrdal (son of Nobel laureates Alva and Gunnar Myrdal) travelled in the tribal heartland of Bastar at an age of 83, and personally interacted with the tribal people and the leadership of CPI (Maoist). The visit resulted in a book, the English version of which will be released with the title ”Red Star Over India”, at the Kolkata Book Fair on 28 February 2012. Myrdal was a central figure in the European protest movement against the Vietnam War, has penned more than 80 books, among which are ”Report from a Chinese Village”, ”The Silk Road” and ”India Waits”. He has written fiction, plays and books on literature, art, politics, besides being a prominent supporter of the civil liberties movements in various countries. He has also made a number of feature films and TV documentaries.
While in India, Jan Myrdal was invited to be the main speaker at a meeting held in Delhi on 6 February, giving a talk on ”The War on People in India”. The meeting was organised by the Forum Against War on People.
More information.

• Controversial Kashmir documentary available on the net

Documentary Indian filmmaker Ashvin Kumar has released his latest film ”Inshallah Kashmir: Living Terror” on the video portals youtube and vimeo in order to avoid Indian censorship. Part of the film is available on youtube – go for it! The film is a compilation of live interviews. The statements of the interviewee are completely their own. A warning has been added that the explicit nature of the content may affect the viewer’s sensibility and therefore viewer discretion is advised. The comments are very polarized on the content.

• A Dream for Kabul film screened in Gothenburg

On Monday, 6 February 2012, the Society of International Affairs in Gothenburg (Utrikespolitiska föreningen) and its new branch of activity called Cinema Politica Gothenburg organised a cultural evening with focus on Afghanistan. During this evening it was screened ”A Dream for Kabul”, a film by Canadian director Philippe Baylaucq. The film is about Haruhiro Shiratori who lost his only son in the World Trade Center attacks. But instead of isolating himself in grief, he decides to visit Afghanistan – to make contact with ordinary people in an attempt to end the cycle of violence. Over four years and across three continents, filmmaker Philippe Baylaucq accompanies this Japanese Don Quixote, documenting his quest to build a cultural centre for the children of Kabul. The film charts his parallel efforts – to advance a humanist project that is beset with problems while seeking reconciliation with his dead son. Read more and see the trailer at Cinema Politica’s website.

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Uppsala University publishes book on Dalit identity in Kanpur

”Neuer Buddhismus als gesellschaftlicher Entwurf. Zur Identitätskonstruktion der Dalits in Kanpur, Indien”, written by late Dr. Maren Bellwinkel-Schempp, a sociologist and anthropologist connected to the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany. She carried out fieldwork in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India from 1972 onwards, first studying labour migration for her PhD, but gradually shifting her focus to Dalit issues. Dr. Bellwinkel-Schempp passed away in July 2011. More information on Maren.
The volume contains eight articles, four of them written in German, and four in English. They all deal with Dalits and their constructed identities in Kanpur. One chapter focus on ”Industry and Identity. Changing Identities under Urban Industrial Conditions”, another on ”Bhakti and Buddhism. Text, Context and Public Representation of Dalit Religiosity in Uttar Pradesh”. The book has been published by Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis (Uppsala University, Sweden), in its publication series Historia religionum. Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Peter Schalk; co-Editors: Gabriele Reifenrath and Heinz Werner Wessler. More information, with a link to full-text book.

• Sharp-sighted analysis of the Afghanistan conflict

Thirty Years of Conflict: Drivers of Anti-Government Mobilisation in Afghanistan 1978-2011, by Dr Antonio Giustozzi, traces structural factors driving anti-government mobilisation in Afghanistan in each successive phase of the country’s thirty years of conflicts. Drawing on extensive literature from both international and Afghan sources, it analyses the social and political forces behind the ideological war of the 1980s, the factional conflict of the 1990s, and the current insurgency. In doing so, it explores how such an extended period of warfare has fundamentally reshaped Afghan society, spurring changes which have in their turn altered why the conflict is fought.
The study also devotes specific focus to examining the Taliban as an example of a political organisation enabling and driving conflict. Starting with the origins of the Taliban insurgency, it goes on to explore what is known about its ability to mobilise communities and the kind of non-military, tacit support it receives from them. It also looks at the role played by different groups of individuals such as mullahs, madrassa students and young people, and the economic and funding dimensions of the movement.
The book was published by Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in Kabul, January 2012 and is now available for download at

• Economic Cooperation and Infrastructural Linkages between Two Punjabs: Way Ahead

In September 2010, an edited colume entitled ”Economic Cooperation and Infrastructural Linkages between Two Punjabs: Way Ahead” was published by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development in Chandigarh, India. The book seeks to  explore the possibility and benefits of resumption of natural and historical development processes between two Punjabs (East which is part of India, and West that is part of Pakistan) looking closer at the possibility of infrastructure linkages between the two regions. It presents a study that claims that closer cooperation between the two regions around infrastructure would bring benefits on account of low prices of directly imported goods and economy in transport via live rail links reducing shipping charges, transshipment costs, storage cost, etc. The book focuses on six areas, within which infrastructure linkages between the two Punjabs can be explored, namely energy; extension services and marketing in agriculture; transport, communication and logistics; credit and banking infrastructure; health sector; and education.
The authors contributing with articles are Sucha Singh Gill (on photo), Ranjit Singh Ghuman, Inderjeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, and Jaswinder Singh Brar. Professor Sucha Singh Gill is one of the foremost social scientists in India when it comes to the analysis of agricultural transformation and rural change with a specialization on Punjab and Northwest Indian agriculture. He  was a guest scholar at the Dept. of Sociology at Lund University in 2006.
More information about the book.
Read more about Prof Sucha Gill. 

• Power and Influence in India – Bosses, Lords and Captains, by P. Price and A. Ruud

In the midlde of 2010, Routledge published a book by Scandinavian researchers that explores how leadership is practiced in the Indian context across varied domains — from rural settings and urban neighbourhoods to political parties and state governments.
The volume is edited by Prof. Pamela Price and Prof. Arild Ruud from the University of Oslo, both of whom have long history of collaboration with SASNET.
Their book explores further the importance of individual leaders in the projection of politics in South Asia which is evident from how political parties, mobilisation of movements and the media, and all focus on carefully constructed personalities. Besides, the politically ambitious have considerable room for manoeuvre in the institutional setup of the Indian subcontinent. This book focuses on actors making their political career and/or aspiring for leadership roles, even as it also foregrounds the range of choices open to them in particular contexts. The articles in this volume explore the variety of strategies used by politically engaged actors in trying to acquire (or keep) power — symbolic action, rhetorical usage, moral conviction, building of alliances – illustrating, in the process, both the opportunities and constraints experienced by them. In taking a qualitative approach and tracking both political styles and transactions, this book provides insights into the nature of democracy and the functioning of electoral politics in the subcontinent. Read more. 

• Addressing regional inequality issues in Bangladesh public expenditure

In the end of 2008, the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh published a book on ”Addressing Regional Inequality Issues in Bangladesh Public Expenditure” written by C S Mahmoud, S N Wadood, and K S Ahmed. The book examines the relation between government spending and citizen well-being in Bangladesh by looking at various districts of the country and comparing the urban areas with the rural. The main queston investigated by the authors is whether politically-motivated government policies have contributed to an increased inequality in Bangladesh in which some areas (mainly the capital, Dhaka) have a decrease in poverty among the citizens, while in other areas poverty has on the contrary increased.
The data used as a basis for the book are the Planning Commission’s Annual Development Plans (ADPs) from 1995/96 to 2005/06, supplemented by household and income data. The book looks at district-wise ADP allocations in Rural Development and Institutions (RDI), road transport, health, polulation and family welfare and education and religious affairs to find that on average, spending in all sectors tends to be concentrated in Dhaka and districts with relatively higher per capita incomes.
Read the complete book online here.

• New book on Women Empowerment in India

Women Empowerment in India”, edited by Shamim Asmat and Chanda Devi. Mittal Publications 2012. This publication, which comes in two volumes, looks at women in India and the issue about women empowerment. Women in India now participate in all activities, such as education, politics, media, art and culture, service sector, science, technology and sports, etc. The status of women in India has been subject to many a great change over the past few millennia. From equal status with men in ancient times, through the low points of the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been quite eventful. The Constitution of India guarantees to women, equality, no discrimination by the State, equality of opportunity equal pay for equal work, etc. In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women. The feminist activism in India picked up momentum, during late 1970s. Female activists are united over various issues. Indian woman plays a vital role. Her image has changed from that of a housewife to a useful person in almost all spheres. A woman’s physical weakness is no longer a barrier in getting herself established in the modern world. This book, in its comprehensive and compact form is an asset for scholars, researchers, social activists and general readers, alike. Go for the book.

• 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 nearly 300 departments, with detailed descriptions of the South Asia related research and education taking place! Newly added departments this month are:

‡ Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Health and Environment,
Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Karlstad University
‡ Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University
‡ Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University
‡ Department of History, Stockholm University
‡ Department of Computing Science, Umeå University
‡ Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University

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. Read for example about warning advises for the Maldives after the step-down of President Nasheed on February 6th, 2012.

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy director/webmaster
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network