Newsletter 139 – 31 August 2012


• Sixth European PhD workshop in South Asia Studies hosted by SASNET

SASNET and Lund University are hosting the Sixth European PhD workshop in South Asia Studies that will take place at Falsterbo Kursgård (photo), Höllviken from 17 to 19 September 2012. The workshop is jointly co-organised by the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS); Heidelberg University, Germany; Ghent University, Belgium; University of Edinburgh, UK; Le Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CEIAS), Paris, France; and SASNET/Lund University, Sweden. The previous PhD workshop was held in September 2011 in Paris where two invited PhD students from each participating university (including Lund University) presented papers. See report from the Paris workshop.
The workshop’s format gives each PhD candidate the responsibility of introducing the paper of another participant and raising some initial questions. A senior scholar then acts as discussant and provides feedback on the paper, prompting further debate. This format broadens perspectives on research methods, concepts, and theory by helping students consider questions from a variety of disciplines.
This year the two PhD students that will represent Lund University will be Arun Rana from the Division of Water Resources Engineering, and Ive Brissman from the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies.

• SASNET Brown Bag seminar on Colonial Changes of Nature in Sri Lanka

On Thursday 20 September 2012, the first SASNET Brown Bag lunch seminar for the fall semester 2012 will be held in collaboration with Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Lund, and Lunds konsthall. Venue: Konsthallen, Mårtenstorget 3, Lund.
Dr. Mats Mogren from Lund University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient History will speak on ”Inbetween Rain Forest and Plantation. Understanding Colonial Changes of Nature in Sri Lanka”, focusing on ecological footprints of cultural contacts during the colonial period (16th–20th centuries) in Sri Lanka. The changes in the landscape often came as a result of the establishment of new world systems. The presentation is based on a project that aims at a better understanding of the development of the cultural landscape of the Wet Zone of Sri Lanka (the southwestern quarter of the island that receives the rain from two monsoons). More information.

SASNET organises Brown Bag lunch seminars in collaboration with ABF, Sweden’s  largest adult liberal education association, and the municipal art gallery of Lund (Lunds konsthall). As usual, lectures are given by eminent Lund University researchers working on South Asia related projects, and are held once a month on Thursdays. The remaining 2012 seminars will be held held on 11 October (Dr. Anna Lindberg, SASNET), 15 November (Dr. Jan Magnusson, School of Social Work), and 6 December (Dr. Emily Baird, Department of Biology). Programme for the spring 2012 (as a pdf-file)

• Venkatesh Athreya lectures on Rural Transformation in India

Professor Venkatesh Athreya from the Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India holds a SASNET lecture at Lund University on Friday 21 September, 10.15–12.00. During the seminar, organised in collaboration with the Dept. of Sociology, he will talk about ”Rural Transformation in India – Spill Over or Real Change?”. While India is now projected as an fast emerging global giant in terms of economic, industrial, scientific and cultural development, there is another side of the coin of mostly slow and stunted development in the rural economy. This is not just a matter of an agricultural impasse but also that of a small scale industrial economy engaging more than half of rural households in labour intensive but highly exploitative working conditions.
Professor Athreya has been co-operating for many years with Prof. Göran Djurfeldt and Prof. Emeritus Staffan Lindberg at Lund University. Among his most well-known publications are“Literacy and Empowerment” (Sage 1996) and “Barriers Broken” (with Djurfeldt and Lindberg, Sage 1990). Currently he is co-operating with Djurfeldt and Lindberg at Lund University in a restudy after 25 years of 213 agricultural households in the Cauvery delta in Tamilnadu. Venue for the seminar: Conference room 3, Dept. of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5, Lund.

• Anindita Datta holds SASNET lecture on Genderscapes

Assistant Professor Anindita Datta from the Dept. of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India, holds a SASNET lecture at Lund University on ”Genderscapes and their link to Natural Landscapes in India” on Friday 21 September 2012, 13.15–15.00. The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Centre for East and South East Asian Studies (ACE). Venue: ACE, Scheelevägen 15 D.
Anindita Datta spends the month of September 2012 at Lund University as an Erasmus Mundus scholarship holder (through the EMEA Asia Regional programme). At Lund University she is hosted by the Centre for Gender Studies. In her presentation, Dr. Datta theorises the influence of natural landscape or terrain on the initial construction of feminine gender roles and eventually of the dominant ‘genderscapes’ in India.
Abstract: All along the discussion, an attempt is made to understand the regional nuances in the construction of feminine gender roles within particular genderscapes with reference to the role of terrain or natural landscape. It is argued that such landscapes, primarily by virtue of their terrain conditions, lay the foundations for a specific set of cultural conditions to emerge. These cultural layers, that include a specific kinship regime, work in tandem in creating and sustaining regional gender constructs. Thus, the basis of regional differences in the construction of feminity and feminine gender roles, may be traced in part to specific types of natural landscapes or terrain and the consequent demand for women’s labour that they evoke. The latter is itself contingent upon, among other factors, the productivity of agricultural land. Despite significant changes in society, the relevance of these initial natural landscape inspired constructs of gender remain.

• Nils Finn Munch Petersen holds SASNET/UPF lecture on the Maldives Tragedy

Nils Finn Munch-Petersen, Senior expert at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, Denmark, holds a SASNET/UPF lecture entitled ”The Maldives Tragedy – A Small Nation losing is Culture and History” on Wednesday 26 September 2012, 19.00 – 20.45.

The seminar is jointly organised by SASNET and the Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University (UPF). Venue: Athén, AF-Borgen, Sandgatan 2, Lund. The focus is on the February 7th, 2012, events when the first democratically elected government of the Maldives was brought down by a coup d’état, engineered by groups linked to the former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom; the primary actors being the National Security Forces and hired street gangs along with major investors within the tourism industry – backed by a corrupt judiciary. The main argument for the coup was that the elected president Mohamed Nasheed was not truly Islamic and accordingly posed a threat to Islam. On the day of the coup all Buddhist and Hindu sculptures stemming from the Maldivian past were destroyed by supposedly Maldivian Muslim fanatics. Read more.

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

Research Community News

• Indo-Swedish collaboration in the field of Mathematics Education

The National Center for Mathematics Education (NCM), based at University of Gothenburg, is involved in an interesting collaboration with researchers in the field of Mathematics Education in India. This collaboration was initiated by former Indian Ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Balkrishna Shetty (photo) – himself a trained mathematician – and the NCM Director from 1999 till 2012, Professor Bengt Johansson. It has resulted in two conferences organised by NCM so far, the first being held in Gothenburg in June 2010 – The First Meeting of the Indo-Swedish Working Group on Mathematics Education. During the conference, discussions were held on issues such as ”Indian and Swedish education systems and the main challenges”; and ”Assessment culture and competitive exams”.  A second conference was then held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India in February 2011 (more information), and a third conference is planned for March 2013. Read more about NCM and its India collaboration.

• Danish initiative to preserve the colonial heritage in Serampore

The National Museum of Denmark aims at ensuring the preservation of the physical remains of yet another Indian city that once was controlled by Denmark as a trading port. That is the city of Serampore (Srirampur) located in the state of West Bengal, 25 km north of Kolkata along the Hoogly River.
Since several years, the National Museum of Denmark has coordinated the Tranquebar Initiative, a major project to document and restore the colonial heritage of Denmark in Tranquebar, on the Tamil Nadu coast in southern India. Tranquebar was under Danish control between 1620 and 1845. A large number of research projects have been produced, and some are still underway, on various aspects of Tranquebar (more information on the Tranquebar Inititive).
The Serampore Initiative was established in 2008 with the aim of identifying and describing the physical remains of the Indo-Danish history in Serampore, and by partaking in preservation collaborations, the Initiative also wishes to explore and promote knowledge of the joint cultural heritage related to Serampore.
In 1755 the Danish Asiatic Company was granted the right to establish a trading post at Serampore (the official Danish name being Frederiksnagore). The place remained on Danish hands until 1845, when the territory was ceded to the British, together with the other Danish trading post in India, Tranquebar. Apart from its role as a commercial settlement, Serampore became an important centre of education. The Baptist mission produced and disseminated printed translations of the Bible in many Asian languages. Subsequently Serampore College, which was built under the protection of the Danish King Frederik 6, ranges among the oldest institutions in Asia with the right to confer academic degrees. Serampore College still operates today, with some of its faculties being affiliated to the University of Calcutta.
In 2010, Danish conservation architect Flemming Aalund and historian Simon Rastén (the two researchers who along with the ethnographer Bente Wolf make up the team behind the Serampore Initiative) published a report on Serampore’s heritage, entitled ‘Indo-Danish Heritage Buildings of Serampore‘.
More information, including link to the detailed Serampore report.

• Two-day Copenhagen workshop on Spectacle of Globality in India

The Centre of Global South Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen organised a two day international workshop in collaboration with the National Museum, Copenhagen, focusing on ”Spectacle of Globality”, 29–30 August 2012. The two day workshop brought together a range of cutting edge research on post reform India. The workshop was part of a research programme ‘Nation in Motion’ (2010-2014) funded by the Danish Council of Independent Research (FSE), being the first in a series of four international workshops. The line-up of participating speakers and session convenors was impressing:
– Thomas Blom Hansen, Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies at Stanford University;

David Ludden

– David Ludden (photo), Professor of Political Economy and Globalization in the Department of History at New York University;
– Esther Fihl, Head of Centre for Comparative Cultural Studies at Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen;
– Uwe Skoda, Chairperson, Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA) at the Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University;
– Anthony D’Costa, A.P. Möller-Mærsk Foundation Professor in Indian Studies and Research Director at the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School;
– Bengt Karlsson, Head of the Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University;
– Arild Ruud, Professor of Anthropology, Oslo University;
– William Mazzarella, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago;
– Gopal Guru, Professor of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi;
– Saloni Mathur, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles;
– Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of the Humanities, School of English, University of Leeds;
– Dilip Menon, Mellon Chair of Indian Studies and the Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa;
– Srirupa Roy (photo), Professor and Chair of State and Democracy at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen;
– Frida Hastrup, Postdoc Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen;
– Kajri Jain, Associate Professor of Indian Visual Culture and Contemporary Art in the Department of Visual Studies and the Graduate Departments of Art History and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada;
– Manuela Ciotti, Assistant Professor in Global Studies at Aarhus University;
– Aniket Alam, Senior Assistant Editor of the Economic and Political Weekly;
– Ravinder Kaur, Director of Centre for Global South Asian Studies, Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen; and
– Nicolas Jaoul, CNRS, Paris.  Full information about the Spectacle of Globality workshop.

• Spectacular agenda for 2012 India Today – Copenhagen Tomorrow festival

India Today/Copenhagen Tomorrow is a major Danish/Indian project in the fields of culture and research initiated by the Danish Holck-Larsen Foundation, going on from 18th August 2012 till 13 January 2013. The purpose of India Today/Copenhagen Tomorrow is to link the people of India and Denmark by promoting exchange of culture, science and trade between the two countries. The India Today/Copenhagen Tomorrow project and related activities are supported by more than USD 22 m.
The activities commenced on 18 August 2012 with the opening of a spectacular exhibition of contemporary Indian art at the art museum ARKEN south of Copenhagen. The exhibition is showing 13 of the best artists and artist groups from India.
Copenhagen University is strongly involved in organising an international workshop entitled ”Spectacle of Globality” on 29 – 30 August 2012, where leading experts on India – anthropologists, political scientists and historians – throw a light on the socio-political processes that contribute to making India a global power. On 5–7 December, another conference focusing on migration and identity, ”Migration, Memory and Place” will be arranged by the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University in cooperation with ARKEN.
Other strong elements of the India Today/Copenhagen Tomorrow festival consist of film shows at the film festivals CPH PIX and CPH:DOX; music and dance performances; and literary events with Indian authors Mridula Garg, Githa Hariharan and Manu Joseph.
Finally, the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF) will be spending up to DKK 50 million over a number of years on a large-scale collaboration between elite research communities in Denmark and India, through the Danish-Indian Research Collaboration Programme. Indian institutions will provide an equal amount, so that a total of DKK 100 million will be spent on joint Danish-Indian elite research projects. The programme is part of the DNRF’s strategy of focusing on few funding mechanisms and strengthening the internationalization of Danish research. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Danish-Indian Collaboration Program is November 23, 2012.
Read more about the impressive India Today/Copenhagen Tomorrow festival.

Educational News

• Indo-Swedish MoU on Youth Masters Program on Sustainable Development

In connection with the Stockholm +40 – International Conference on Sustainable Living and Innovative Solutions, held in April 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Environmental Education was signed between Swedish and Indian institutions. The agreement concerns the successful Youth Masters Programme on Sustainable Development, developed and run for several years by the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University. The programme offers global, free of charge online education for upper-secondary students and their teachers. More information about the Masters programme.
The Indian collaboration partner is the Centre of Environmental Education (CEE). It was established in 1984 as a Centre of Excellence supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Being a national institution with its headquarters in Ahmedabad, CEE has a mandate to promote environmental awareness nationwide.The MoU was signed by Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director and Founder of CEE, and Mr. Anders Wijkman who is the Chairman of the Board, Internationella Stiftelsen Young Masters Programme (YMP). Indian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar attended the signing ceremony (see photo above).The specific aim of the Indo-Swedish cooperation is to reach high-school students, aged about 16-18 years, with distance education on sustainable development in order to enhance the understanding of sustainability issues and approaches to support social development and sustainable solutions nationally and globally. The scope of the activity covered by this MoU is the facilitation of YMP in India between 2012-2016.

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Aarhus University inaugurates research programme with an India seminar

On Monday 3 September 2012, 14–17, Aarhus University (AU) in Denmark inaugurates its new International Research Networking Programme ”Transnational Modernities”, led by Dr. Manuela Ciotti with a seminar focusing on India. Presentations will be given by Dr. Saloni Mathur from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, talking about ”Museology and the Colony: Towards a Critical Re-thinking”, and Dr. Ravinder Kaur, University of Copenhagen, who will speak about ”A Two Nation Theory with a Difference – India after the Reforms”. The presentations are followed by a reception to mark the inauguration of the activities of Transnational Modernties. All are welcome. Venue: Aarhus University, Building 1461, room 516. More information.

• Peer Molinga lectures on Indian Irrigation Bureaucracy at University of Oslo

Professor Peter P. Mollinga from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, holds a Morgenstierne lecture at University of Oslo on Monday 3 September, 15.15–17.00. The seminar is entitled ”Dedicated to Dams. A Cultural Political Economy Perspective on the Indian Irrigation Bureaucracy”. In his presentation, he explores how the ‘resilience’ of the Indian irrigation/water bureaucracy in terms of effectively resisting efforts at  introducing different forms of ‘reflexive modernization’ can be understood  using a cultural political economy perspective.
Peter P. Mollinga was trained as an irrigation engineer at Wageningen University, the Netherlands; his PhD is on the political economy of irrigation water management in South India. He is presently a Professor of Development Studies at SOAS. He is one of the three founding editors of Water Alternatives. An interdisciplinary journal on water, politics and development. His geographical focus is Asia, particularly South Asia and Central Asia.
Venue: group room 7, Humsam Library, Sophus Bugges hus, Niels Henrik Abels vei 36, Oslo. The lecture is part of Oslo University’s Georg Morgenstierne Series of lectures on South Asia, funded by the departments of Archaeology, Conservation and History (IAKH) and Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the University of Oslo.

Dr. Karin Kapadia, Contemporary South Asian Studies, Oxford university, UK, holds an open seminar on ”The necessity of faith: Dalit women, neoliberalism and India’s disjunctures” on Wednesday 5 September 2012, 14.15–16.00. The seminar is organised by the Department of Social Anthropology (SAI), University of Oslo. Venue: Room 648, Eilert Sundt, Blindern, Oslo.
Karin Kapadia has been researching in Tamilnadu, South India since 1986. Her several publications include the monograph, ”Siva and Her Sisters: Gender, Caste and Class in Rural South India” (1995) and the edited volume, ”The Violence of Development: The Politics of Identity, Gender and Social Inequalities in India” (2002). In her lecture, she focuses on the effects of neoliberalism in India, increasing the gap between rich and poor. The ‘new economy’ allows some mobility to better-off Dalits, but does not prevent discrimination against Dalits. Neoliberal capitalism is assisted by patriarchal ideologies that subordinate most women. With worsening options, how do lower-income Hindu Dalit women in Chennai slums find meaning in their lives? One possibility, for some women, has been conversion to Pentecostal Christianity. The meanings of Tamil Pentecostalism for Dalit women, and what ‘females-only’ conversion can tell us about the state of the nation, will be explored.
More information about the Oslo seminar.

• Environment in focus at Oslo University’s 4th annual India seminar

The University of Oslo holds its 4th Annual Contemporary India Seminar on Thursday 6 September 2012, 09.30–17.00. The theme for the 2012 seminar is ”The Politics of Environmental Challenges in India”. It seeks to explore how various environmental challenges are politicised in India. The organisers wish to examine how environmental issues have entered the realm of political discussions as a result of intentional actions by individuals or groups, who have sought to mobilise people around environmental agendas.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Beppe Karlsson, Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, who will give a lecture on ”Into the Grid: Hydropower and Subaltern Politics in Northeast India”.
The seminar is organised by the Nordic Forum for South Asia (NoFSA) and the Dept. of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), in collaboration with theNordic Network for the Study of Environmental Challenges in South Asia (NECSA). Venue: 12th floor canteen, Niels Treschow’s House, University of Oslo, Blindern. Please register your participation in the seminar by 3 September to:uiocis@gmail.comMore information.

• Uppsala lecture on Political Tolerance in India

The Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University invites to a public lecture by Professor Sten Widmalm, Department of Government, on ”Political Tolerance in India – Results from the Heartland” on Thursday 13 September 2012, 15.15–16.45. Venue: Brusewitzsalen, Department of Government, Gamla Torget 2, ground floor, Uppsala.
In his presentation, Professor Widmalm will present some of the first research results from the TOLEDO project. The project is intended to shed light on what determines levels of tolerance and intolerance among citizens who live in areas that differ in measures of economic prosperity or in degree of ethnic pluralism, or in states in differing positions on the continuum from authoritarian rule to democracy. He will focus on survey results from India. Standard assumptions about tolerance have been tested, such as those relating to the influence of literacy, class, gender, membership in civic organizations, levels of social capital, interpersonal trust, and religious and political affiliation. Widmalm will also discuss the influence of party membership (BJP and Congress (I)) and contextual variables such as the character of state institutions, their level of democratic performance, and varying degrees of cultural or ethnic pluralism.

• Uppsala University commemorates Indian National Day for Hindi

In connection with the Indian Cultural Festival that is organised in Uppsala 8–18 September 2012 – see the full programme, the Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University co-organizes a workshop in Indology entitled ”Hindi Diwas – the Indian National Day for Hindi”. The programme will be held on Friday 14th September at the main university building (Universitetshuset, hall V) between 9.00 and 12.00.
Three lectures will be given, by Professor Heinz Werner Wessler on ”Regionala språk, engelska, modern standard hindi och dess dialekter” (Regional Languages, English, Modern Standard Hindi and its Dialects); by Dr. Claus Peter Zoller, University of Oslo, on ”Garhwali och historia av indo-arier: några iakttagelser” (Garhwali and the History of Ido-Aryans); and by Dr. Ram Prasad Bhatt, University of Hamburg on ”Oral Literature from the Central Himalayan Region”. See the full programme for Hindi Diwas in Uppsala.

• Indian panel at Malmö University’s Danish-Swedish media conference

Reclaiming the Public Sphere: Communication, Power and Social Change” is the overarching theme for the second Ørecomm Festival, 14–17 September 2012, a four-day event that brings an inspiring mix of seminars, lectures and conferences to Malmö, Copenhagen and Roskilde. It is jointly organised by Roskilde University and the School of Arts and Communication, Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University. This year the festival will also feature an Indian panel, as a result of the collaboration project ”Memories of Modernity II” between Malmö University and the Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore. The Indian panel will take place on the second day of the conference, 15 September 2012 between 09:45 and 11.00, at the Black Box, Malmö University. The title of the panel is: ”Design Pedagogy & Artistic Practice in the Public Sphere” with Jyothsna Belliappa, Ravindranath Gutta, Geetanjali Sachdev, and Deepak Srinivasan. The panel will be chaired by Oscar Hemer and Kathrine Winkelhorn. All are welcome, and much of the proceedings will be freely available on the net. More information.

• Papers invited for 4th Annual Copenhagen South Asia Workshop
Thomas Blom Hansen
Faisal Devji

The 4th Annual Copenhagen South Asia Workshop (CSAW) will be held at the University of Copenhagen on Monday 17 September 2012, 09.30–17.30. The theme for the 2012 CSAW workshop will be ”Worlds of South Asia”. Papers are now invited. The aim is to showcase the wide variety of worlds – social, political, cultural, financial, developmental, historical, mythical, regional and/or global assemblages – that make the idea of South Asia. The workshop welcomes ongoing scholarly projects on any South Asian locality – both within the region as well as in transnational sites – and themes pertaining to the region’s history, culture, society and politics.
The workshop will have two main speakers – Thomas Blom Hansen, Stanford University and Faisal Devji, University of Oxford who will lecture on their most recent works. The workshop is jointly organised by the Centre of Global South Asian Studies, the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, and the Asian Dynamics Initiative, University of Copenhagen. The workshop does not offer any travel grants. Deadline for paper proposals was 5 June 2012.
For more information contact Emilijia Zabliute.

• Uppsala seminar on the political future of Afghanistan post-2014

The Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University invites to an open lecture by Assistant Professor Anna K. Jarstad, Coordinator for the Conflict and Democracy Program in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. on Wednesday 26 September 2012, 15.15–16.45. She will talk about ”Paving the Way for Taliban Rule, Civil War or a New Start for Afghanistan?”, focusing on the probable consequences of different forms of governance that could emerge in Afghanistan post-2014? This lecture analyzes the impact of international strategies for a political settlement with the different local Afghan parties. It discusses who are seen as future political powerholders, and what the prospect for peacebuilding in Afghanistan isVenue: Dept. of Peace and Conflict Research, Gamla Torget 3, 1:st floor, Uppsala.
Abstract: After a decade of international operations in Afghanistan it is clear than the Taliban cannot be defeated by military force. Instead, a strategy of winning the hearts and minds of the people in order to turn them from the Taliban is seen as a more fruitful way to limiting the recruitment of new Taliban and thereby seek to erode their power base from below. However, in anticipation of the 2014 full transition of security to the Afghan security sector, a sanctuary liable to harbor jihadist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and al-Qaeda fighters, is emerging, especially in the border provinces of Pakistan. Everywhere former warlords are regrouping and mobilizing to prepare for a new power struggle should the Karzai government fall.
Consequently, as the exit of international troops is approaching, the efforts to negotiate a political settlement with the Taliban are intensifying. A common form of peace agreement, globally, is to guarantee potential spoilers political positions in a transitional government. The paper discusses the implication of the Taliban becoming part of such a power-sharing agreement. A difficult choice for internationals is whether to approach the moderates, or the hard-liners. While the Taliban that are believed to be more susceptible to international norms might be more accommodating of a power-sharing solution, the hard-line Taliban can have a higher potential to incorporate and discipline their power basis. However, the legitimacy of the different local leaders needs be analyzed in relation to the complexity of local dynamics. Who is seen as representing the Taliban in international talks thus has implications for the planned parliamentary and presidential elections, and any continued peacebuilding effort.

• Copenhagen student workshop series on Indian Transition

The Asia Research Centre at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) organises a Post-graduate student workshop-series on ”The Political Economy of Transition in India” in November 2012. It will take place over the course of five Thursdays, from 1–29 November, and is arranged by Asia Research Centre, in co-operation with the Centre of Development Studies, Cambridge University and South Asian Studies, Oxford University. All Workshops are free but registration is required. First preference will be given to CBS students and total enrollment will be limited to 15 students. Proof of post-graduate (master’s or PhD) student status may be required. Students are expected to be somewhat familiar with Indian society, economy, and politics and must have taken some India-related courses.
The five workshops will be led by leading scholars of contemporary India from Oxford, Cambridge, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Copenhagen Business School, including Dr. Shailaja Fennell, Cambridge University; Professor Anthony D’Costa, CBS; and Professor Barbara Harriss-White, Oxford University.
More information about the Copenhagen student workshop series.

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Kolkata symposium on South Asian Cities under Siege

The Centre for Built Environment (CBE) in Kolkata, India, organises an International Symposium on ”Cities under Change” on 17–19 October 2012. The focus will be on South Asian Cities and/or a comparative presentation of European Cities. Separate sessions will also be held on Global Cities Forum, Urban Research Forum and Youth Urban Forum. The symposium is convened by Mr. Partha Ranjan Das, CBE Vice President, and coordinated by Ms. Sonia Gupta, CBE Secretary General. More information about CBE in a 2005 SASNET report. Full information about the October 2012 symposium.

• Development Studies Association conference in London

The British Development Studies Association (DSA) annual conference 2012 will take place in London on Saturday 3 November 2012. Venue: Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London.
The 2012 conference intends to build on the last three DSA conferences (2009: Current Crises and New Opportunities; 2010: Values and Ethics; 2011: Rethinking Development in an Age of Scarcity & Uncertainty) plus the New Ideas Initiative launched in January 2012. The Keynote Speaker is Ha-Joon Chang from the University of Cambridge.
The panels are varied, some of the most interesting focus on ”The Millennium Development Goals: Social Engineering and Resistant Practices”; ”Poverty dynamics and social mobility: new insights and understandings”; ”Global poverty and middle-income countries: Is global poverty becoming a matter of national inequality?”; and ”How Change Happens – reflections from theory and Oxfam practice”. More information.

• Thirteenth International Seminar on Tibetan Studies to be held in Mongolia

The Thirteenth Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies will take place in Ulaan Baataar, Mongolia, 21-27 July 2013. Altogether twelve seminars have been held before in a total of nine different countries. The last of these being Canada, where the Twelfth Seminar was hosted by the University of British Columbia in 2010. The other countries are the UK, Germany, Japan, Austria, the USA, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
Behind the seminars stands the organisation International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS). The IATS was formally created in 1979 on the occasion of a conference of Tibetan Studies that was organised at the University of Oxford by the late Dr. Michael Aris. The purpose of the Association, as stated in the statutes that were drawn up at this meeting, is primarily to promote Tibetan studies from all disciplinary perspectives such as history, religion, linguistics and art, to cite just four prominent examples, by providing a forum at which both established and aspiring scholars can present original academic research. More information about the Ulaan Baataar seminar 

• International Conference on Law and Justice in Colombo

 International Center for Research & Development (ICRD), based in Sri Lanka, organises a two day conference on Law & Justice. The conference will be held in Colombo on 25–26 June 2013. The aim of ICRD is to promote international scientific conferences in Sri Lanka and in Asian region, linking South Asian researchers with the researchers in developed countries to bridge the gap between the researchers in South Asian region and developed countries.
The Colombo conference offers an opportunity for academics, practitioners and PhD students to come together, exchange ideas, and discuss emerging issues in public & private law. Papers presented will be peer reviewed by members of the scientific committee and other independent reviewers and published in the edited conference proceedings. All papers will also be published in leading international journals. Case studies, abstracts of research in progress, as well as full research papers will be considered for the conference program for presentation purposes. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 December 2012. More information about the conference.

• The fourth Inter-Asian Connections conference to be held in Istanbul

The fourth Inter-Asian Connections conference will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, 2–5 October 2013. It follows three earlier conferences in a series, the one held in Dubai in February 2008 (more information), in Singapore in December 2010 (more information), and Hong Kong in June 2012 (more information). As with the preceding events, this four-day conference aims to effect a paradigm shift in the study of the Asian expanse, re-conceptualized as a dynamic and interconnected historical, geographical, and cultural formation stretching from the Middle East through Eurasia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, to East Asia. Workshops will have the dual aim of showcasing innovative research from across the social sciences and related disciplines as well as exploring themes that transform conventional understandings of Asia.
The Inter-Asian Connections Conference Organizing Committee is composed of representatives from the Social Science Research Council, Yale University, the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS) at the University of Hong Kong, Göttingen University and Koç University.
Proposals are invited from faculty interested in organizing and directing a workshop that addresses one of the following broadly conceived fourteen themes:
1. The Social Life of Capital in Asian Cities; 2. Green and Brown in Asia; 3. Hubs and Hinterlands; 4. Connected Empires; 5. Food and Foodways; 6. Universities and New Transregional Classes; 7. Politics of Racialization; 8. Land Speculation; across Asia; 9. Media and the Politics of Accountability; 10. Aging Societies : public policies, intimate dynamics, and biotechnologies: 11. Inter-Asian Tourism; 12. The Post Neo-Liberal State; 13. Refugees in the Making of Asia; and 14. Picturing and Fictionalizing Asia.
Deadline for proposing workshops is 2 October 2012. More information.

• Third International Colloquium on Politics and religions in the Himalayas and Central Asia

The Paris based European Society For Studies Of Central Asia and Himalayan Regions (SEECHAC) organises its third international Colloquium on Politics and religions in the Himalayas and Central Asia in in Vienna at the Austrian Academy of Sciences from 25 to 27 November 2013. The full title of the colloquium is: ”Interaction in the Himalayas and Central Asia: processes of transfer, translation and transformation in art, archaeology, religion and polity from antiquity to the present day”. The aim of this colloquium will be to focus on various forms of interaction and related processes of transfer, translation and transformation in the Himalayas and Central Asia, including Northern India, Northern Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, from the perspective of a variety of disciplines and fields of study (in particular archaeology, art history, numismatics, philology, social anthropology, study of religion). Every SEECHAC member may attend the sessions. The papers may be delivered and written in any European language, preferably in English, Italian or French. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 27 January 2013. More information.

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

Business and Politics

• Banashri Bose Harrison new Indian Ambassador to Sweden

On 9 August 2012, Ms Banashri Bose Harrison, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1981 batch with a Bengali origin, assumed the post as new Indian Ambassador of India to Sweden. She succeeds Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar who completed his term as Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia, and retired from the Indian Foreign Service, on 31st July 2012.
Ms. Bose Harrison obtained a postgraduate degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. She taught public finance and microeconomics to graduate and postgraduate students in Delhi University in her alma mater Miranda House for four years before moving to diplomacy.
As a career diplomat, she has dealt with a wide range of responsibilities. In New Delhi, from 1986-88, she dealt with countries in East Europe. She has also  worked in the personnel & administration wing and dealt with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and with neighbouring countries as Director from 2000-2002. On her most recent assignment in the Ministry, she headed the Central Europe Division from June, 2010 and till August 2012. Abroad, she has served in France – dealing with India’s interaction with UNESCO; in Hungary – as Commercial Counsellor and in Reunion Island – as Consul General of India. From January 2003 to October 2006, she was Deputy High Commissioner of India to South Africa. From January 2007 to May 2010, she was the head of the Commercial Wing in the Embassy of India, Washington DC.  More information about Banashri Bose Harrison.

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Contemporary Sri Lankan art exhibited in Oslo

Until 18th November, 2012, an art exhibition containing contemporary politically engaged art from Sri Lanka, produced by both Sinhalese and Tamil artists such as Jagath Weerasinghe, Prasanna Ranabahu, and Sarath Kumarasiri is on display in Oslo, Norway. The curators are Sylvia S. Kasprycki and Doris I. Stambau. The works of the exhibition were first shown at the Ethnografic Museum in Vienna, Austria in 2009, and later on at Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. In Oslo, the exhibition is shown at the Historical Museum, Frederiksgate 2. More information

• Prominent Sitar Maestro performs at World music Festival in Uppsala

On Sunday 2 September 2012, 16.00–21.00, an Indian concert is held in Uppsala with prominent sitar player Sanjay Guha and other Indian and Swedish artists. It is part of the yearly Folk- and Worldmusic Festival in Uppsala organised by Hijazz from 28 August.
Sanjay Guha is the leader of London Sitar Ensemble and a disciple of Sitar masters Ravi Shankar and Deepak Choudhary. It will be the first time he performs in Sweden. He is known för reviving traditional compositions and belongs to the tradition of Senia Maihar Gharana. Venue: Hijazz, Gamla Stationshuset, Uppsala. At the Uppsala concert, Guha will be accompanied by Tabla player Suranjana Ghosh. She belongs to the tradition of Lucknow Gharana, and an interesting musical meeting is promised. Other artists who perform in the concert include Sarod player Soumen Roy Chowdhury and the Tabla duo of Johan Börgesson and Jonas Landahl. The raga ensemble ”Palace Of Wheels” will also participate.
The concert will be preceded by a workshop with Sanjay Guha. It will be held between 10.00 – 13.00, and interested instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome to attend. More information.

• Ten days of Indian Cultural programmes during Uppsala festival

The ”Incredible India” cultural festival is held in Uppsala for the second year in a row, 8–18 September 2012. Last year it hosted 40 different events all over the city and attracted about 10 000 visitors. The 2012 festival is again organised by  Kulturum with support from many public and private organisations. The programme includes art and photo exhibitions, concerts and dance performances, lectures, screening of Indian films, Indian cooking and much more.
During three days (13–15 September) a special Bollywood film theme will be hosted at several locations, among them Uppsala university and Fyrisbiografen. A mix of modern and classic films is promised, the oldest film is from 1913. In connection with the screenings, lectures and presentations will be given by two speakers – Ajit Rai, culture journalist, and Anuj Garg, film- and TV producer, both from Delhi.
As part of the festival, Uppsala University is involved in organising a seminar entitled Hindi Diwas focusing on the Hindi language on Friday 14th September. More information about Hindi Diwas.
On Sunday 16 September, professional Kathak dancer Veronika Tjerned will give a performance, and Indian musicians will perform at Kulturoasen in Håga. Among the artists are Bamboo Flute player Shashank Subramanyam (photo to the right) accompanied by percussionist Satish Kumar, Tabla player Debasish Mukherjee  and the modern Indian fusion band ”Orient Squeezers”. Two of the band members, Håkan Almkvist (Sitar) and Debasish Mukherjee also give a Raga concert on the final day of the festival on Tuesday 18 September, a concert arranged by Hijazz.
Full information about the 2012 Incredible India festival in Uppsala

• Initiative Asia invites South Asians in Stockholm to celebrate Eid Mushaira

The Stockholm based organisation Initiative Asia (iA), dedicated to friendship and cooperation among Swedes, particularly Swedes with an origin in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, was founded in 2011. iA is a network, working for cultural, intellectual and social interaction between peoples and countries.
In a joint initiative with the organisations Förenade Pakistanier, and the Asian Urdu Society, iA now invites to a Eid Mushaira celebration on Saturday 1 September 2012, at 17.00. Venue: Folkets Hus, Borgvägen 1, Hallunda. The Ambassador of Pakistan to Sweden, H.E. Mr. Nadeem Riyaz, will introduce the event, and Professor Emeritus Ishtiaq Ahmed, Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University, will give a speech entitled ”Why seek Knowledge”. The cultural part of the programme also includes recitations by poets Soran Singh Parwana from India, Mohammed Iqbal Akhtar from Pakistan, and Liakat Hossain from Bangladesh. For more information, see the poster.

• Lund India Choir combines rehearsal with lecture on Sanskrit’s role in modern India

The India Choir of Lund (Indiska Kören i Lund) now heads for new events, that are not only musical. Beginning on Wednesday 22 August 2012, the choir also invites interested people to its rehearsal evenings that are combined with lectures by invited speakers on Indian culture.
First out was Dr. Martin Gansten (photo), Sanskritist and researcher in Classical Hindu Religion, who defended his PhD thesis entitled ”Patterns of Destiny: Hindu Nadi Astrology” at Lund University in 2003. He talked about the Role of Sanskrit in modern India.
The India Choir was formed in March 2012, and made its first performance at the Indian cultural programme/Mela that was held at Lunds konsthall on Saturday 14th April 2012. It also appeared at the India evening jointly organised by SASNET and ABF on 16th May. It is led by Bubu Munshi Eklund and Thomas Wiehe, and the repertoire so far consists of a mix of songs by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, sung in Bengali language, and a number of devotional bhajans sung in Sanskrit. The formation of the choir was an initiative of the Lund based Association for Indo-Swedish Cultural Exchange, chaired by SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund.
The next public performance of the India Choir of Lund will take place on Lund Cultural Night, Saturday 15th September 2012, at 21.30. Venue: Sensus premises, Krafts torg 14 A, Lund (just behind the Cathedral). See a poster for the event.

• Festive 65th Indian Independence day celebration in Copenhagen

India’s 65th Independence Day was celebrated on a large scale in Copenhagen on Saturday 18 August 2012. The festivities were organised by the Indians in Denmark Assocation (IID) at Vibenshus Skole in north Copenhagen. Hundreds of Indians and also a substantial number of Danes turned up for the event that included both classical music and dance performances, for example an excellent Bharata Natyam performance by Anna Kav, but also of course Bollywood music, Bhangra etc. SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund was invited to the event as a chief guest along with Mr. Steen Lassen, Chairman of the Holck-Larsen Foundation, who has initated the ongoing cultural mega-project ”India Today – Copenhagen Tomorrow”. More information.

• Intensive summer activities for Asian Dance Academy in Stockholm

On Saturday 25th August 2012, the Asian Dance Academy (Den Asiatiska Dansakademin, DADA) in Stockholm organised Indian dance performances both at the Husby Festival and at the Vällingby Dancing Days. This marked the end of a very intensive summer season that has consisted of dance courses organised and led by professional Kathak dancer Veronica Tjerned, the founder of DADA.
Courses have been held teaching Kathak dance, but also folk dances such as Ghoomar, Tippani, Dandiya Raas, and Garba. In August two workshops focusing on Rhytm, Tabla and Kathak have also been organised by Tabla master Debashish Mukherjee from Kolkata.
DADA promotes Asian dance, music and culture in Sweden, by regularly organising dance and music courses, and intensive ones in the summer. More information on DADA’s web page.

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

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Swedish security report on China and India – Great Powers on a Collision Course

Jerker HellströmThe 2012 edition of the Swedish Defence Research Agency’s (FOI) annual publication, Strategic Outlook, was recently released. Included in the report is a chapter on Sino-Indian relations co-authored by FOI researchers Jerker Hellström and Kaan Korkmaz.  Go for the complete Strategic Outlook 2012 (pdf). The chapter on Sino-Indian relations, ”China and India – Great Powers on a Collision Course”, is on pp 76-84.
The authors conclude that there are few reasons to believe that Sino–Indian relations will develop in a positive direction in the short term. Looking at this from a broader perspective, the trends seem to indicate a downward spiral. There is a risk that increased tension between China and India may lead to conflict. Both within the existing areas of friction and in new emerging domains where their interests collide. As the economic, political and military power of China and India grows, the two countries also improve their capabilities to assert their increasingly incompatible national interests. The need to project power has, in turn, produced new potential areas of conflict, further complicating their relations.
With an unresolved border dispute, divergent national interests and mutual mistrust, China and India’s relations are likely to be defined by increased tension and rivalry, according to the report.
Jerker Hellström is an East Asia analyst on the FOI Asia Security Studies Programme. He mainly studies issues regarding China and the Korean peninsula. His previous research at FOI has involved topics including China’s engagement in UN peacekeeping efforts, the Chinese presence in Africa and the EU arms embargo on China.
Kaan Korkmaz has previously worked as a consultant at FOI and is currently on an internship within FOI’s Asia Security Studies Programme. His main research is concerned with East Asian security.

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were 3 new departments added to SASNET’s list:
‡ National Center for Mathematics Education (NCM), University of Gothenburg
‡ Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies , University of Gothenburg
‡ School of Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde

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! See the full list of departments here:

• Useful travelling information

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

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy director/webmaster
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network