Newsletter 149 – 19 June 2013


• Minutes from SASNET board meeting, May 14th, 2013
After running for two and a half years without a board, SASNET had its first meeting with the new board on Tuesday 14 May 2013. The first board meeting was mainly devoted to information about SASNET’s current status and activities. Read the verified Minutes.
The next SASNET board meeting will be held on Tuesday 8th October 2013.
The members of the board, except three representatives for students, were appointed by Eva Wiberg, Pro Vice Chancellor, Lund University, in a decision made on Thursday 7th February 2013. The board is appointed for a period of three years up till 31 December 2015. Read more…
• SASNET takes farewell of assistant webmaster Jonathan Stoltz
Lars Eklund and Jonathan Stoltz at the farewell reception for Jonathan.

On Monday 17 June 2013, SASNET organised a farewell reception for Jonathan Stoltz, the assistant webmaster who now leaves SASNET after nine months to pursue further studies in Environmental Psychology at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp. Jonathan was thanked for his services to SASNET by his colleagues Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund at a restaurant in Lund.
They were also accompanied by a number of SASNET networking partners who happened to be in Lund on this day, among them Professor V K Varghese from the Centre for South and Central Asian Studies, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, India, and his wife Suma Varghese; Dr. Amit Kumar Mishra from University of Hyderabad; Dr. Anjali Gera Roy from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur; and Dr. Ravinder Kaur, University of Copenhagen. Read more.

• Lars Eklund visited Chalmers University of Technology

On Wednesday 5 June 2013, SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund visited Gothenburg and more specifically two important departments at Chalmers University of Technology involved in South Asia related research activities.
He first visited the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and met Professor Devdatt Dubhashi.
CSE is actually jointly organised by Chalmers and University of Gothenburg. Professor Devdatt Dubhashi and his colleague Associate Professor K. V. S. Prasad have both strong Indian connections since long time back, with an extensive network of contacts in major institutions, universities and industry research centres in India. Another researcher who recently joined the department is Dr. Chien-Chung Huang, who has a long-term collaboration relationship with India, especially with Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.
Since 2007, the department collaborates on a major project related to Linguistics and Computation with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai. The project involves several faculty members, PhD and Masters students at Chalmers as well as at IIT Bombay, and on 4 June 2013 – a day before Lars’ visit – a workshop was held to discuss the results of the joint research project. It coincided with the dissertation of Shafqat Mumtaz Virk, Pakistani PhD candidate who defended a thesis elucidating the development of computational grammars for six Indo-Iranian languages: Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Persian, Sindhi, and Nepali.

Lars proceeded to the Division of Physical Resource Theory, Department of Energy and Environment where he met Dr. Eskil Mattsson, who recently moved to Chalmers after defending his PhD on an India related thesis at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg. He also met Dr. Matilda Palm who also has done the same move. Both of them are partners in a major research programme entitled ”Land use and forests within international climate policy – global and local possibilities and risks, led by Associate Professor Madelene Ostwald. This project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (STEM) and is carried out as a collaboration between the Division of Physical Resource Theory and a number of other research units in Gothenburg, Linköping (CSPR), Ås in Norway, Bangalore (IISc) and Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka. As part of the major programme, Eskil Mattsson is involved in a post-doc research project investigating the locally accepted land use system of ‘homegardens’ in in southern part of Sri Lanka, and its potential to mitigate the effects of climate change, increase productivity of the lands, and provide food security. Read Lars Eklund’s June 2013 report from Chalmers University of Technology.

• Programme for Fall 2013 lunch seminar series at Lunds konsthall
  Winnie Bothe
Håkan Wallander
Helle Rydström

SASNET’s Thursday lunch time seminar series, aimed at presenting and disseminating the eminent South Asia related research carried out at Lund University, was launched in 2011. Since last year the seminar series is organised in collaboration with Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Lund, and Lunds Konsthall. The seminars, open for all interested, are held once a month on Thursdays at 12.30 inside the public art gallery (Lunds konsthall) at Mårtenstorget 3 in central Lund. The programme for the fall 2013 has now been finalised:
Thursday 26 September 2013:
Dr. Winnie Bothe, Department of Political Science
”Local Governance in Sikkim and Bhutan:
Two models of State Formation – Different Citizenship Roles?”
Thursday 17 October 2013:
Professor Håkan Wallander, Microbial Ecology, Department of Biology
”Soil – the basis of our existence.
Examples from Nepal, America and Amazonas”
Thursday 14 November 2013:
Professor Helle Rydström, Department of Gender Studies
”Jeopardizing the Security of Women and Children:
Gendered Violence in Public and Private Spaces in India and Beyond”
More information on the SASNET/ABF Thursday Lunch Seminars

• SASNET/Lund University seminar on Indian Cultures and Diasporas
Gurinder Singh Mann
Amit Kumar Mishra
Gibb Schreffler

An open seminar on ”Indian Cultures and Diasporas” was held at Lund University on Monday 17 June 2013, 15.00–19.30. It was jointly organized by SASNET, the Nordic Centre in India (NCI), and Lund University’s Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (CTR). Venue: CTR, Room 118, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 8, Lund. See the workshop programme.
Invited guest speakers were Professor Gurinder Singh Mann from the Center for Sikh and Punjab Studies at University of Californa, Santa Barbara, USA, who spoke about “The Sikh Panth: From Kartarpur to Anandpur (1500-1700)”; Dr. Amit Kumar Mishra from the Centre for the Study of Indian Diaspora at University of Hyderabad, India, who gave a lecture on ”Indians in Diaspora: A Social-Cultural Continuum?”; and Dr. Gibb Schreffler from Pomona College in Claremont, California, USA, who spoke about ”The Punjab Dhol (Drum) Tradition and its Modernization in Post-Indenpendence Indian Punjab”. The seminar also included a screening of the documentary film “The Sikhs of Kabul: A Forgotten Community” directed by Mr. Bobby Singh Bansal in 2012. The film is about Afghan Sikhs who have been a part of the culture and heritage of Afghanistan since the seventeenth century and how they have been caught in political crossfire since the rise of the Taliban regime to power in 1992.
The seminar is arranged in connection with the conference ”Young Sikhs in a Global World: Negotiating Identity, Tradition and Authority” held in Lund 18–19 June 2013 at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. Participation by invitation only. Full information about the conference.

• SASNET Networking partner 5: School of Social Work, Lund University

School of Social Work, Lund University. Contact person: Associate Professor Jan Magnusson. Closely connected to SASNET from the beginning (being its first webmaster in 2000, and later being a member of the board). Also Teres Hjärpe, International Coordinator.
The School of Social work has been training social workers since 1947. Several batches of students have been sent on field work trips to India. For many years up till 2007 this was done through the SWEDEN-INDIA Project, organised by Örebro University, but now Lund University organises its own fieldwork arrangements. 5–6 Social Work students go to India every year. They have gone to Bangalore where the School of Social Work has had a collaboration agreement with Christ University, and from 2011 to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai. The collaboration with TISS has become even stronger since a formal Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme application was granted by  the International Programme Office for Education and Training (Internationella Programkontoret) from 2012. It involves teacher and student exchanges in both directions with TISS.
Students also conduct studies in South Asia within the framework of Minor Field Study-programme. During 2013, three students have been awarded scholarships for data collection for bachelor theses in India. Kaisa Nylin went to Bangalore in April to interview Indian family therapists. Sara Häll and Katja Evasdotter are interested in feministic perspectives within the Lalitha project in Tiruchirapali in Tamil Nadu and will travel there in November 2013.
When it comes to research, Jan Magnusson has been invoved in a number of South Asia related projects during the past 10 years. Among them a project on ”The Baltistan Movement in the Northern Areas, Pakistan”, and another one  on ”Life strategies in long-term refugee settlements: The social dynamics of the Tibetan refugee settlement Lugsum Samdupling in Karnataka, India”.

SASNET tries to keep track of all South Asia related research at the Swedish universities, and in our database we have information about approximately 300 departments where some kind of South Asia related research and/or educational collaboration projects with institutions in the eight South Asian nations is going on. Among our networking partners , we will each month present one or two of these departments and the researchers working on South Asia related projects. Go for SASNET’s list of Swedish departments.

• Farewell function for Anthony D’Costa before leaving for Melbourne

On Friday 7 June SASNET deputy director Lars Ekund visited Copenhagen to attend a farewell party for Anthony D’Costa, Professor of Indian Studies, and Research Director for the Asia Research Centre at Copenhagen Business School(CBS) in Frederiksberg, Denmark.
Prof. D’Costa is leaving CBS after five years, and moves to Australia, where he has accepted a similar position at the University of Melbourne, to promote the study of contemporary India.
He came to CBS in April 2008, from an appointment as Professor at University of Washington, Tacoma-Seattle, USA where he was employed for 18 years. His position as Professor of Indian Studies at CBS has been financed by he A.P. Møller – Maersk Group, a global company employing about 120,000 people in around 130 countries. The purpose of establishing the Indian Studies professorship was to develop the study of Indian economics, organization and management at CBS and in Denmark.
The Asia Research Centre at CBS was the first Nordic institution to host an ICCR Visiting Indian Professor already in 2009, and the initiative came from Professor D’Costa. This inspired SASNET to make a similar initiative in Sweden, which led to the ongoing scheme of ICCR Visiting Professors also at Lund University from 2010, and recently at University of Gothenburg as well (soon also at Uppsala University).
SASNET has had a close relation to the Asia Research Centre and Prof. D’Costa, who has been frequently invited to lecture at Lund University.

• Helarius Beck visited SASNET’s office

On Thursday 23 May 2013, Professor Helarius Beck, Dean at the School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India, visited SASNET ’s office at Lund University and met its deputy director Lars Eklund. Prof. Beck had come to Lund as a TISS representative in planning for the new Linnaeus Palme exchange programme between his school at TISS and the School of Social Work at Lund University (more information).
During a week-long stay at Lund University, Prof. Beck participated in a one-day seminar day focused on Internatinal studies and international assignments for Social Work students, but he also took part in teaching activities.
In his research, Helarius Beck focuses on the still prevailing practice of manual scavenging in India. In 2005, he published an article entitled ”Socioeconomic status of scavengers engaged in the practice of manual scavenging in Maharashtra” together with TISS researcher colleague Shaileshkumar Darokar. They identified the numbers of scavengers, their socio-economic status, and assess training needs and alternative avenues of employment. A ‘manual scavenger’ is a person engaged in manually removing human excreta. In 1993 legislation was passed in India to ban manual scavenging, but has not been widely implemented. Since allocation of labour on the basis of caste is one of the fundamental tenets of the Hindu caste system, Dalits have been assigned to carry out this which is deemed ritually polluting by other caste communities.

• K R G and Ratnam Nair visited SASNET and Lund University

K.R.G. Nair, formerly Professor of Business Economics at University of Delhi, India, visited SASNET and Lund University 10-12 June 2013, along with his wife Ratnam, Sanskrit scholar from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi.
They came to Scandinavia mainly to attend the Asian Dynamics Initiative conference in Copenhagen on 13-14 June, but also took the chance to visit Joensuu University in Finland, and to fulllfill a personal desire to visit SASNET in Lund. This because of an admiration for the work done by SASNET. Prof. Nair informed that he, in the role of being Dean of the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Humanities at Delhi University, for many years had been fascinated by SASNET’s multi-disciplinary research efforts, and its newsletters. This conviction got further strengthened when Prof. Nair for over a decade functioned as the  founder Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Delhi University.
He is now retired, but is still active as Honorary Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, and recently he published the book ”Road Not Taken: Memoirs of a University Teacher in the Newly Emerging Second World” (more information).
During their stay in Lund, K.R.G. and Ratnam Nair had fruitful meetings with SASNET representatives Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund, and also with Prof. Neelambar Hatti from the Dept. of Economic History.

Research Community News

• SEK 93 million grant from MISTRA to Stockholm Resilience Centre

 MISTRA – the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research has decided to continue funding the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) with up to SEK 93 million in the period 2014–18. Stockholm Resilience Centre, established on 1 January 2007,  advances research on the governance of social-ecological systems with a special emphasis on resilience – the ability to deal with change and continue to develop. The centre is a joint initiative between Stockholm University, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Max Troell
Maria Tengö
Emily Boyd
Maria Schewenius
Johan Enqvis
Timos Karpouzoglou

A number of researchers at SRC are working on South Asia related projects, for example Associate Professor Max Troell, Dr. Maria Tengö, Dr. Emily Boyd, MSc Maria Schewenius, and PhD candidates Johan Enqvist and Timos Karpouzoglou. More information about the SRC staff.
‘The Centre has exceeded expectations, establishing itself as a world leader in resilience research,’ says Mistra’s Executive Director Lars-Erik Liljelund, about the decision to give renewed funding to SRC. During spring 2013, an international panel has been evaluating the Centre on Mistra’s behalf. In all essentials, this evaluation panel found the Centre praiseworthy. Its assessment is that the SRC has even exceeded the original expectations and established itself as world-leading in resilience and sustainability research. The scientific publications are impressive in terms of quality and quantity alike. In its research, the SRC has made vital contributions to international policy processes.
‘The intention throughout has been to support the SRC over a 12-year period,’ Lars-Erik Liljelund says. ‘The evaluation shows that the Centre is highly successful, so naturally we want to maintain our commitment.’
MISTRA supports strategic environmental research with a long-term perspective, aiming to solve major environmental problems. The main part of Mistra’s funding is focused on broad-based interdisciplinary programmes.
More information on SRC’s web page.

• SIWI launches the Stockholm Statement Digital Forum on Water issues

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) now launches an interactive Internet forum, the Stockholm Statement Digital Forum, to prepare for a paper advocating that water issues should be included as a Sustainable Development Goal in the post-2015 development agenda. The main purpose of the Stockholm Statement in 2013 is to inform and influence the General debate of the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 68) to be held in September 2013 and where the initial findings of the Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 consultative processes are presented.
SIWI has identified a set of themes which the institute believes are fundamental in guiding our route towards a water wise world. Through the digital forum, comments are now invited on which are the most important issues to be highlighted, such as Governance, Quality, Vulnerability, Sanitation & Drinking, and Water and Productivity.
For both the content and the legitimacy of this process, SIWI stresses the importance that the views of marginalized groups and individuals are also represented. The forum will be open for comments between 13 June – 14 July 2013. In July, all comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration whilst SIWI writes the first draft Stockholm Statement. This draft statement will then be published online in the Forum during the month of August for comments by forum users.  After editing and review of all comments by SIWI, the final Stockholm Statement will be presented online and for the participants at the World Water Week in Stockholm during 1-6 September. More information.

• Swedish Institute announces position as South Asian visiting programme administrator

The Swedish Institute (SI) is announcing a position as Administrator for its newly launched Young Leaders Visitors Programme (YLVP) for young leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
YLVP is an intercultural leadership program that aims to lay a foundation for dialogue, mutual understanding and knowledge sharing among young leaders from the selected countries and Sweden. The programme invites young leaders who are actively working for social change in their respective contexts. Intercultural leadership training is combined with theory and practice in the fields of transparency, democracy and human rights. The YLVP program for young leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh is under development and during the fall of 2013 a pilot batch is planned.
The successful applicant will become the hub of communication and administration for the programme and will be responsible for the documentation and information to participants and other stakeholders, travel planning, logistics etc. He or she will keep regular contact with the programme participants on practical issues and will also work with other tasks related to the programme. The work is varied and requires flexibility. Proven experience in communication and administration, relevant academic merits and fluency in both English and Swedish is required. The position is a fixed term for one year, starting September 1, 2013. The application deadline is 16th June 2013. More information (in Swedish only).

• The Nordic School of Public Health (NHV) in Gothenburg closes down

The Nordic School of Public Health (NHV) in Gothenburg will be closed down. On Tuesday 11 June 2013, the Nordic Social- and Health ministers at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ meeting in Stockholm decided that ”NHV will be closed in an orderly fashion and with consideration taken to the students’ needs to complete their studies”. NHV will give courses until the beginning of the autumn of 2014 and all activities will be terminated on 31 December 2014. The school is now working actively to map and handle problems that arise for students, doctoral students and staff due to the closing of NHV. Individual solutions are expected for each doctoral student during the coming year.
The Swedish government claims that the closure is a result of the fact that in recent years so many research institutions on Public Health have been established in the Nordic countries, and therefore the need for this pan-Nordic institution (established in 1953) is less than it was previously.
Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, NHV has offered higher education and research in the field of public health for persons working within health and medical services in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. In addition, NHV has had a large student body outside the Nordic Countries due to extensive distance learning opportunities. The activities at NHV has also included important research focusing on South Asia. More information on SASNET’s page on NHV.

• New INDIGO Partnership Programme Call for proposals in Energy Research

The New INDIGO Partnership Programme (NPP) calls for project proposals on the topics of Smart Grids and New Energy Materials. Projects are expected to start during spring 2014.
The aim of the NPP is to fund high quality research projects involving European and Indian researchers, and at the same time to lay the basis for continuous STI cooperation and enhanced joint funding programmes between Europe and India on a trans-national level. Applications may be submitted by academics, higher education institutions and/or non-university research establishments. SMEs and industries are also eligible depending on national regulations. Consortium that wish to apply for funding of a research project have to consist of at least three partners: two from different European countries, and one from India. Countries contributing to the call are France, Germany, India, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Portugal and Turkey. Partners from other countries than those participating in the NPP Call can join the consortium but have to secure their own funding.
Projects can have a maximum duration of 3 years and maximum funding is € 150.000 – € 350.000 per partner/country, depending on national regulations. Funding is possible for Mobility, Workshops, Research costs and Personnel costs, also depending on national regulations. The deadline for submission is 23 August 2013. More information with application form.

• Indo-Swedish research project to reduce infant mortality due to pneumonia

Since 2008, the Division of Clinical Paediatrics at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm is involved in research collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, India. The project, entitled ”Pneumonia in Children”, is led by Associate Professor Anna Nilsson at KI, and Professor Sunit Singhi at PGIMER. It is meant to shed light on the infections that cause pneumonia in Indian children. The goal is to reduce infant deaths from the disease.
The project is financed with money from the Paediatric Research Foundation, to which the IKEA Foundation in Holland has donated SEK 6 m. for the project.
To date, some 1,000 Indian children with pneumonia have participated in the study and have given blood samples, been x-rayed and undergone a thorough medical examination. The material is compiled and analysed continuously by the Indian research team, which will be presenting its results at the end of 2013. Professor Singhi and Dr Nilsson hope that this pneumonia project will lead to further collaboration between their institutes. They already plan for another joint research project, this time on children’s diseases of the central nervous system, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Read more…

• Umeå-Chennai joint research project on Heat Effects on Workers’ Health

Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, based at the Dept. of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, has established a research collaboration with the Dept. of Environmental Health Engineering at Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai, India. The project, led by Professor Tord Kjellström, deals with Workplace Heat Effects on Working Peoples’ Health and Productivity. It is an issue of particular importance in tropical low and middle income countries, and the negative effects affect poor people and women more than the average person. The issue has been overlooked in almost all global reports on climate and climate change impacts on the future socio-economic conditions in low and middle income countries. The projects further analysis of the problem and testing of preventive methods is therefore highly relevant. The results of the project, launched in the fall 2012, will focus on health protection, productivity enhancement and poverty reduction in India, but the outputs and outcomes will also be of great value in the global health research and practice program of the Swedish partners.
Prof. Kjellström is a specialist in environmental and occupational epidemiology focusing on health impacts of climate change, health equity and urban health. He is also affiliated to National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University in Canberra, and has published material on the issue also before. In 2011, an article entitled ”Workplace heat stress in the context of rising temperature in India” was published in Current Science. The article was co-written by S. K. Dash at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD). Go for the article.

• Doctoral thesis on Computational Linguistics Resources for Indo-Iranian Languages

Shafqat Mumtaz Virk at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg, defended his doctoral thesis entitled ”Computational Linguistics Resources for Indo-Iranian Languages” on Monday 3 June 2013. The faculty opponent was Dr. Pushpak Bhattacharyya, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai.
Shafqat has a background from University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, Pakistan. For his thesis work, he has been supervised by Professor Aarne Ranta, and Dr. K.V.S. Prasad, while working in the Grammatical Framework group at University of Gothenburg. The thesis deals with the question whether computers can process human languages. Virk elucidates the development of computational (”resource”) grammars for six Indo-Iranian languages: Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Persian, Sindhi, and Nepali.
He also provides computational evidence of the similarities/differences between Hindi and Urdu, and report a mechanical development of a Hindi resource grammar starting from an Urdu resource grammar. He uses a functor style implementation that makes it possible to share the commonalities between the two languages, finding that sharing is possible upto 94% at the syntax level, whereas at the lexical level Hindi and Urdu differed in 18% of the basic words, in 31% of tourist phrases, and in 92% of school mathematics terms. More information about the thesis.
Read the full-text PhD thesis.

• Doctoral thesis on Peace Building in Post-9/11 North-Western Pakistan

Kashif Saeed Khan from the Department of International Environment and Development Studies/Noragric at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) in Ås defended his PhD thesis entitled ”Conflict, Livelihoods and Local Perspectives of Peace Building in Post-9/11 North-Western Pakistan” on Thursday 6 June 2013. Venue: T 401 (Tower building), UMB, Ås. The evaluation committee consisted of Dr. Arne Strand, Research Director, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Bergen; Associate Professor Bahadar Nawab, Head, Department of Development, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) Abbottabad, Pakistan; and Professor Ruth Haug, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research UMB.
Kashif held his trial lecture on the same day, the title was ”To what degree can a liberal peacebuilding approach be applied in Pashtun society in the North Western Pakistan?”.
The thesis, consisiting of four research papers, advances knowledge on a particularly under-researched area: it focuses on conflict, livelihood and local perspectives of peace building in north-western Pakistan. In doing so, it examines mainstream perspectives on the region, liberal peace building in relation to humanitarian and development interventions, and understandings of livelihoods in postconflict and post-disaster contexts. The study comprises an introductory chapter and four individual research papers. The introductory chapter introduces the context of north-western Pakistan, and develops an understanding of the socio-economic and long-term development challenges of the area. It provides a conceptual and theoretical understanding of perspectives outlined for this study. More information.

• Doctoral dissertation at KI on HIV-1 Subtype C in India

Ujjwal Neogi from the Unit of Infectious Diseases and Dermatology, Department of Medicine Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Translational Genomics of HIV-1 Subtype C in India: Molecular Phylogeny and Drug Resistance” on Tuesday 11 June 2013. Faculty opponent was Dr. Hervy Fleury, Laboratoire de Virologie, Université de Bordeaux, France. Venue: Lecture room 3/B63, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge.
Professor Anders Sönnerborg has been his main supervisor. The co-supervisors have been Dr. Irene Bontell at the same department; Dr. Ayesha De Costa, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet; and Professor Udaykumar Ranga at the Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Jakkur, Bangalore, India.
The thesis describes the translational genomics of HIV-1subtype C in India from its origin to therapeutic response with the aim to improve our knowledge for better therapeutic and preventive strategies to combat HIV/AIDS. In a systemic approach, we identified the molecular phylogeny of HIV-1 subtypes circulating in India and the time to most recent common ancestors (tMRCA) of predominant HIV-1 subtype C strains. More information.

• University of Oslo doctoral dissertation on Bengali Science Fiction Literature

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Dept. of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Bangla Kalpabigyan: Science Fiction in a Transcultural Context” on Friday 7 June 2013. The thesis deals with Bangla (Bengali) science fiction as well as British science fiction of the late 19th to mid 20th century. Bodhisattva has been a research fellow in the university’s cross-disciplinary Kultrans programme (Cultural Transformations in the Age of Globalization – more information). His research combines specific textual analysis with theoretical analysis of the way in which scientific knowledges and disciplines are created during and circulate in the colonial period. He has studied the emergence of science fiction from within the matrix of colonisation and the relations between science fiction produced in a colonial context from the aspect of the colonizer as well as the colonized. More infornation about the research project.
More information about the dissertation.

• Doctoral dissertation on Temple Festival in Kanchipuram

Kerstin Schier, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, will defended her doctoral dissertation entitled ”The Goddess’s Embrace: Multifaceted relations at the Ekãmranãtha temple festival, Kanchipuram” on Friday 7 June 2013. The thesis deals with the issue how ancient traditions in South India can survive in a society in rapid transition through the enactment of a wedding between gods. The research is based on textual studies and anthropological field work in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. The evaluation committee consists of Professor Torkel Brekke, University of Oslo, Professor Heidrun Brueckner, Würzburg University, and Professor Jörg Gengnagel, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg. Venue: Arne Næss’ auditorium, Georg Morgenstiernes hus, University of Oslo, Blindern.
The day before, on Thursday 6 June, Kerstin Schier held her trial lecture at the same place. Its title was ”Wild and mild goddesses and their worship in India”. More information.

• Seminar on Indo-Swedish research collaboration projects at Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm held a seminar on its many ongoing Indo-Swedish collaborative research projects on Tuesday 28 May 2013, 13.00–17.00. During the seminar, entitled “Karolinska Institutet, Collaboration with India”, some very exciting results from these projects were presented. Venue: Widerströmska huset, Karolina, 2nd floor, Tomtebodavägen 18 A, Stockholm. It was planned for by Professor Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg, coordinator of the university’s collaboration with India.
Home to a sixth of the global population, India is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. While it is currently going through a period of rapid economic growth driven by the innovative power of various sectors, a great many people still live in a state of extreme poverty. This is an enormous challenge for India, not least its healthcare services.
While India has effectively every disease found on the planet, including ones that are rare in Sweden, such as malaria and tuberculosis, and those that are more common, such as diabetes. “The country represents a large part of the world and has many young, successful researchers, which makes scientific collaborations incredibly attractive,” says Professor Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg (photo to the left) at the Division of Global health (IHCAR).
Karolinska Institutet has a long tradition of research collaboration with India, and today, roughly half of Karolinska Institutet’s departments have projects with over 100 different academies and research institutes in the country. There is also an active teacher and student exchange programme in place between Sweden and India. Professor Stålsby Lundborg has herself been involved in different research projects in India focussing on the use of antibiotics, preserving their effects and preventing resistance.
Other participants at the seminar were Associate Professor Anna Nilsson from the Division of Clinical Pediatrics, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, who has spent the past five years on a joint project with India called ”Pneumonia in Children”, in which she and her colleagues have been trying to ascertain which types of virus and bacteria cause this disease, which annually claims 1.4 million young lives the world over; and Professor Anna Norrby-Teglund from the Center for Infectious Medicine (CIM), Department of Medicine, leading a research team on Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacterium that, in the worst of cases, can cause aggressive, often fatal tissue death in the lungs and other organs.
More information about the KI seminar.

• Environmentalist scientist and mahanth Veer Bhadra Mishra passed away

Noted environmentalist and TIME Magazine’s Hero of the Planet’ in 1999 for his work related to cleaning of the river Ganga, Professor Veer Bhadra Mishra passed away in early March 2013. Mishra was the mahanth of famous Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi established by the poet-saint Goswami Tulsidas. He was a former professor of Hydraulic engineering and former Head of the Civil Engineering Department at the Institute of Technology (now Indian Institute of Technology at Banaras Hindu University – BHU. Mishra was also one of the expert members of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).
Dedicated his life to Ganga Mishra founded Sankat Mochan Foundation(SMF) in 1982 as a non-profit, non-political organization with like minded people of Varanasi. The vision of the foundation is restoring the Ganga by alleviating its fast deteriorating environmental conditions, promoting education and health care programs for the less privileged, maintaining and encouraging the age-old cultural traditions of Varanasi in tune with the current environmental needs.
SASNET’s deputy director met Veer Bhadra Mishra as part of a series of meetings in Varanasi during a SASNET South Asia contact journey in 2002. Read Lars’ report from Varanasi.
Prof. Mishra invited several Swedish researchers to come to Varanasi as volunteers, and to use his lab facilities, and over the years he frequently collaborated with Professor Marc Katz from the Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Karlstad University. In 2007, Marc Katz was even awarded a prize from Sankat Mochat Foundation for his efforts to encouage the age-old cultural traditions of Varanasi in tune with current environmental needs (photo above). Prof. Mishra was also prominently featured in Marc Katz’ documentary film ”Holi Hey: A Festival of Love, Color, and Life” showing how the annual north-Indian Spring festival of Holi is celebrated in the city of Banaras. More information.

• Coordinator wanted for Indological web project at Heidelberg University

The project “SARIT: Enriching Digital Text Collections in Indology”, directed by Professors Sheldon Pollock at Columbia University in New York, USA; and Birgit Kellner at University of Heidelberg, Germany, announces a position as Project coordinator for its Heidelberg sub-project. Candidates should hold a MA or equivalent degree in Indology, Buddhist Studies or related field at the time of appointment. Knowledge of Sanskrit is required; proficiency in English is necessary. Deadline for applications is 31 July 2013.
SARIT aims to enhance its Indological web platform through high-quality TEI-conformant digital editions of key texts in the areas of Buddhist philosophy (especially epistemology and logic), Vedic hermeneutics, and literary theory.
The web platform SARIT will also be integrated with two bio-bibliographical databases within a new and collaborative platform for Indological research, and disseminate standards and best practice models for digital text projects in the field. Besides technical work, the successful applicant should act as main liaison with the partners in Columbia and with technical staff of the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA), Heidelberg’s digital humanities unit. More information.

• Post-doctoral Fellowship in Indian History at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen

The Centre for Modern Indian Studies at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, is looking to fill the position of a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Modern Indian History. This position should be filled by 1 October 2013. Applications from scholars representing all subfields of modern and contemporary Indian social and economic history (18th to 21st centuries) are welcome; preference will be given to candidates whose research and writing addresses one or more of the following topics with a regionalfocus on South Asia: labour history, history of capital(ism), history of economic and social policy, histories of (urban or rural) social space, social history of infrastructure. Applicants must have a PhD in
History or a neighbouring discipline. Applicants from all countries are encouraged to apply. Applications should be submitted by 9 July 2013. More information.

Educational News

• ICCR scholarships available for students of Ayurveda and Yoga

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Government of India, has offered 20 slots under the International Cooperation Scheme of the Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India, for the 2013-14 Academic Session to the students of non-BIMSTEC countries (including Sweden) interested in pursuing undergraduate/post-graduate/Ph.D. in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy & Yoga. The last date for receipt of applications in ICCR, India, was 31 May 2013. Nominations are sought from the prospective students for the above-mentioned courses of study. The candidates should carefully go through the admission criteria laid down by the various Universities for each subject, and submit all relevant documentation, as required by the Universities in addition to the basic certificate mentioned in the application form. The duly filled in applications should have reached Embassy of India, Sweden latest by 28 May 2013.

• Vienna Summer School on Newari language and culture

The Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna, holds the second Newari Summer School in Vienna during September 9-21, 2013.
Use this unique chance to explore the rich culture and language of the Newar, a most fascinating ethnic group from the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Get to know the world of spoken Newari by the experienced language teacher and native speaker Lakshmi Nath Shreshta in a pleasurable way. Practice every day conversation, learn to sing Newari folk songs and enjoy the great atmosphere of Vienna in late summer. Deadline for application is 30 June 2013. More information.

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Stockholm University seminar on Politics of Development

Professor Amit Prakash from the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India (and currently a guest professor at the Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University) held a lecture on ”Politics of Development and the Identity Leitmotif” on Thursday 30 May 2013. The seminar was organised by the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University. Venue: F702, House F, Stockholm University, Frescati, Universitetsvägen 10 F.
Amit Prakash holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He studied for his MA and MPhil degrees in Political Science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and for his graduate degree at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara.
His areas of research include “Politics of Development”, “Dynamics of Socio-political and Ethnic Identity Mobilisation”, “Indian Politics”, “Governance and Development”, “Conflict Governance and the State”, and “Global Governance”.Previously he has been a guest professor at University of Copenhagen and Foundation de la Maison des Sciences de L’homme in Paris.

• Uppsala seminar on contemporary Indian literature and film

The Forum for South Asia Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University (FSAS) organised an Indological Colloquium entitled ”Trends and Tendencies in Contemporary Indian Literature and Film” on Monday 17 June 2013. The invited speaker was Professor H.S. Shivaprakash from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Venue: Universitetshuset hall X.
Shivaprakash is a leading poet and playwright writing in Kannada, besides serving as the dean of School of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU. He has seven anthologies of poems, twelve plays, and several other books to his credit. His works have been widely translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Polish Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. His plays have been performed in Kannada, Hindi, Manipuri, Rabha,Assamese, Bodo, Tamil and Malayalam. Shivaprakash is also a well-known authority on vachana literature, Bhakti movements of India, and Sufi and other mystic traditions.

• Oslo seminar on Buddhist Monks in Ancient India

Dr. Ulrich Pagel from SOAS, University of London, UK, lectured on ”The Status of Buddhist Monks in Ancient India: A Brahminical Perspective” at University of Oslo on Tuesday 18 June 2013, 16.15 – 18.00. It was the final spring lecture in the Oslo Buddhist Studies Forum lecture series. Venue: Room 10, P.A. Munchs hus, Niels Henrik Abels vei 36, Oslo.
Dr. Pagel is a specialist on Mahāyāna Sūtra literature, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and Ancient India. More information.

• Gender in focus at Lund University Development Research Day 2013

Lund University Development Research Day 2013 will be held on Thursday 19 September 2013. The title for the one-day conference is ”Gendered Developments – Imaginings, Politics and Practices”. The Development Research Day is an annual event intended to bring together those interested in development issues from a wide variety of disciplines. This year it is hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Confirmed keynote speakers are Wendy Harcourt, Naila Kabeer and Margot Wallström. Al Lund University students and researchers interested in gender and development are invited to participate and share their research findings and ideas. The deadline for submitting an abstract of 200-250 words is 19 August and they should be sent to A detailed programme will be available at due course. See the poster.

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• ICAS 8 conference is held next week in Macao

The International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) holds its eigth biannual conference, ICAS 8, in Macao, China, on 24–27 June 2013. ICAS 8 is hosted by the University of Macau (UM) and will be held in the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. Some 1,500 to 2,500 Asia specialists are expected to attend. Participants are expected to fund their own travel and accommodation.
ICAS is the premier international gathering in the field of Asian Studies. It attracts participants from over 60 countries to engage in global dialogues on Asia that transcend boundaries between academic disciplines and geographic areas. Since 1998, ICAS has brought more than 15,000 academics together at seven conventions.
The ICAS Book Prize (IBP) will also be awarded for outstanding English-language works in the field of Asia Studies. The five awards are: – Best study in the Humanities; – Best study in the Social Sciences; – Best dissertation in the Humanities; – – Best dissertation in the Social Sciences; and – The Colleagues’ Choice Award.
More information on ICAS 8.

• Peshawar conference on Dynamics of Change in Pakhtun Society

In order to gain a more holistic view of the dynamics of change in a society which faces on-going conflict, the Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar, Pakistan hosts an international conference on “Dynamics of Change in Conflict Societies: Pakhtun Region in Perspective”, 25–26 June 2013.  It is organised in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Islamabad, and will be held at the Bara Gali Summer Campus of the University of Peshawar.
This is the second in a series of conferences by the same organisers – the first one was held in November 2011. The aim is to investigate the dynamism which is associated with the Pakhtun region and society. In order to explore more deeply the critical factors and impacts of change, this second conference will cover new thematic areas relating to the recent dynamics within Pakhtun society.
The Pakhtun region has witnessed a long history of perpetual war, violence, insecurity and displacements, which profoundly affect the socio-psychological, political and economic conditions of its people. For decades, life within Pakhtun society in the Pakistani provinces of Baluchistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has been viewed through the spectrum of social and political upheavals and conflict in Afghanistan. Since 2001, the US and NATO engagement in Afghanistan has added to growing unrest in Pakhtun society. The situation in the Pakhtun region cannot be studied thoroughly when treated in isolation from the broader context of Pakistan. Therefore, scholars are also invited to submit proposals for comparative studies of conflict dimensions in other areas of Pakistan and their connections to the Pakhtun region and society. More information.

• New Jersey Conference on the Study of Religions of India

The Conference on the Study of Religions of India (CSRI) holds its Annual Meeting at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, USA, 27 – 30 June 2013. The conference theme is “Not Quite Divine: Co-stars and Supporting Casts in South Asian Religions”.
CSRI is a forum of exchange for scholars engaged in the academic study of the religious traditions of India in both native and diasporic contexts. It provides scholars a leisurely, collegial environment in which to present their work. Emphasis will be placed on informality among peers. Committed to critical and creative inquiry, the conference is not an advocacy forum for the religions of India and does not endorse or proscribe a particular point of view. More information.

• Vienna conference on Ethnicity and Cultural Identities of Northeast India

The Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria, invites papers for an International Conference on ”Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identities in Northeast India” to be held 4–6 July 2013. The conference aims at examining changes of collective identities and ethnicity in various parts of Northeast India, as well as look at practices related to ethnicity and cultural identities. Northeast India is the political unit defined by the Indian Government as the ”North Eastern Council”, which includes the eight states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. Proposals from scholars working in a variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, history, sociology, economics, anthropology and cultural studies are welcome to submit research paper proposals. The organisers expect around 40 participants half of whom from India. The organisers cover travel fares and lodging for all speakers and discussants. Full information.

• Heidelberg conference on the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh

The South Asia Institute (SAI) at Heidelberg University, Germany, organises a conference on ”The Genocide in Bangladesh in 1971” on 4–5 July 2013.  It is co-organised by the South Asia Democratic Forum and the Liberation War Museum Bangladesh. Venue: Heinrich-Zimmer-Lesesaal, SAI Library, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, Heidelberg.
The conference consists of four panels, on ”The Issue of Genocide in Armed Conflicts and Criminal Justice Prosecution”; on ”Justice and the Memories of War in Bangladesh”; on ”Accountability for Sexual Violence and Remedies for the Survivors; and a plenary session on ”The Issue of Genocide in Armed Conflicts and Criminal Justice Prosecution”. Invited speakers include Wolfgang-Peter Zingel (Heidelberg) who will talk about ”From Regional Economic Disparities to Mass Violence”; Arild Engelsen Ruud (Oslo) who will talk about ”The Contemporary Political Relevance of the War of Independence in Bangladesh; Tariq Rahman (Islamabad) who will talk about ” West Pakistani Perceptions of the Bengali Language Movement”; and Mizanur Rahman (Dhaka) who will talk about ”Right to Justice: How to Reconcile with Right to Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation”. Full information.

• Canberra workshop on South Asian Childhoods

The South Asia Research Institute, at the Research School of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra hosts a workshop on “South Asian Childhoods: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives”, 18–19 July 2013. Venue: Hedley Bull Theatres 1 & 2, ANU, crossing of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, Canberra.
The workshop aims to provide an interdisciplinary platform for scholars studying diverse childhoods in South Asia, and also to enrich the understanding of contemporary children’s lives through historical perspectives. Convergences, conflicts, and aspects that may have been overlooked by one discipline, but explored in another eill be identified and developed. The inclusion of historical and contemporary scholarly perspectives aims to contextualise and historicise issues. A significant objective of the conference will be to highlight the methodological implications of research into the perspectives and experiences of children. More information.

• Tenth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy in Puducherry

The tenth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy will be held 16 – 27 September 2013. Please note that the workshop will be held in Pondicherry and in Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. It is coordinated by Dr. Appasamy Murugaiyan from the research group Iranian and Indian Worlds at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle); Dr. K. Rajan, Pondicherry University; and V Selvakumar from Tamil University, Thanjavur. No registration fees are required, but each participant has to bear the cost of practical works and travelling to different sites. The workshop will be held from Monday till Friday, morning 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. (lunch break) afternoon 2.00 to 4.00 p.m. The participants have to arrange themselves their travel. This special program, part of the regular seminar, is organised as requested by many researchers on humanities working on Tamil in different countries. More information.

• Preconferences in conjunction with 42nd Annual Madison Conference on South Asia

In conjunction with the 42nd Annual Conference on South Asia, to be held 17–20 October 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, a number of interesting preconferences will as usual be arranged.
– The Partition Narratives and South Asian Diasporas preconference deals with the issue on how the memory and trauma of Partition get passed on from generation to generation within India, Pakistan, or elsewhere, then from those at home to the diaspora, and to what effect? How do partition narratives circulate in diasporic communities? How do they shape the narratives of home, community, nation, alienhood, and citizenship? What role do cultural texts (literature, film, television, theatre, digital media, etc.) play in circulating and/ or distorting partition narratives?
– The Kashmir Studies Pre-Conference foregrounds exciting new scholarship from the humanities and social sciences that challenges conventional models of writing and thinking about Kashmir. This shift marks a transformative period in Kashmir Valley, calling out for fresh engagement. The turbulent cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency conflict, prevalent throughout the 1990s, has transformed, and new phases of the longstanding struggle for azaadi, or freedom, have emerged. For Kashmiri communities on both sides of the LoC, these dynamics are opening some spaces for the emergence of new forms of identity and imagination, memory and aspiration, homeland and belonging, and protest and resistance.
– In the Feminist Scholarship: Genealogies and New Directions preconference participants are asked to present their current research to reflect the latest scholarship in “Feminist Studies” (broadly conceived) and, at the same time, examine the intellectual threads that have influenced it. What scholarly trajectories does this new work advance and which ones does it challenge, reject, or re-imagine?
– In the Forty Two Years of Bangladesh: Identity, Culture, Economy and Politics preconference, the processes of social transformation occurring in Bangladesh over and beyond the timeline and landscape of Shahbagh 2013 will be studied. The presentations will focus on identity of Bangladesh in the world map; its history, language and motion; and the socio-political and economic issues the country is trying to reconfigure.
There are also a number of other preconferences. More information on all 2013 Madison preconferences.

• The Ghadar Centennial Conference 1913-2013 to be held in Canada

The “Ghadar Centennial Conference 1913 – Interpreting Ghadar: Echoes of Voices Past”, will be held at the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2013.
Research papers are welcome that explore the area of literature created and dedicated to the nationalist revolutionary movement of the Ghadar in Canada and the US at the turn of the last century. Papers that analyze both the propaganda machine of the colonial powers specific to Ghadar, and/or the revolutionary voices of the Ghadarite aspirations of a free India are welcome. Studies of pro-Indian independence materials include newspapers, pamphlets, correspondence, photographs, and transcripts of interviews, posters, letters, handbills, magazine articles, lectures, theses, bibliographies, court documents and revolutionary poems are welcome. Papers are also welcome that explore the support given to the Ghadar revolutionary movement in the west (e.g. by the Irish and Germans) and in the east (e.g., in Japan, China, Singapore, etc.) and the impact of this support on the British raj in India, as well as papers on the historiographies of transnational movements related to the Ghadar outside India and North America (e.g., Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Berlin, Panama, etc.). Many local and global sites of resistance against the colonists (e.g. in Abbotsford, Astoria, San Francisco, Punjab, Hong Kong, Vancouver, etc.) informed the development of this transnational movement’s genesis in exile, yet it impacted India until partition. Deadline for paper proposals is 15 June 2013. More information.

• Chandigarh conference on the making of modern Punjab

A Seminar on ”The Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab c. 1850- c. 2000” will be held at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India, 24 – 26 October 2013. The Seminar is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Ruchi Ram Sahni (1863 – 1948), born barely 14 years after the annexation of the Punjab Kingdom by the British and lived to see India become independent. His life thus covers an important part of Punjab’s and India’s history. The social and religious ferment caused by the British rule and the political responses to it that emerged in Punjab were not autonomous but influenced by developments elsewhere.
The Seminar comprising invited lectures and contributed papers (oral and poster) will focus on all aspects that are related to or an extension of Ruchi Ram’s life and times.  All including University and College teachers, research scholars and independent researchers are cordially invited to present their original research at the Seminar. Scholars from and of  the Indian sub-continent working abroad are particularly encouraged to participate. All paper proposals will be reviewed by the Programme Committee and the proceedings published.
On-line pre-registration is necessary so that the event can be organized in an economical and efficient manner. Those desirous of attending as audience or as authors of papers should send the following information bye-mail. More information.

• Mysore conference on Translation, Comparatism and the Global South

The XVI International Conference of Forum on Contemporary Theory, “Translation, Comparatism and the Global South”, is being jointly organised by the Forum on Contemporary Theory in Baroda, and the Department of Studies in English, University of Mysore on 15 – 18 December 2013 at Hotel Regaalis in Mysore, India.
The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars from a variety of intellectual and disciplinary backgrounds to reflect on the uses and abuses of translation and comparative methods in the context of the history, cultures and politics of the Global South. In the context of the pasts, presents and futures of the Global South, the conference invites approaches to translation from the point of view of theory (as the subject of metadiscursive rumination), of trope (as a rich metaphor for a variety of processes and experiences of transformation), and of practice (as the painstaking transference of a text from one language to another or, more generally, from one semiotic system to another). The conference envisages presentations and panels approaching comparatism historically as well as theoretically. Translation and comparatism are intimately linked topics. An act of translation is an act of comparison; and comparatism all too often depends on translation. The conference endeavors to direct sustained attention to translation, comparatism and crosscultural dialogue through social analyses, historical accounts, readings of texts, presentation of fieldwork, philosophical inquiries, and other such disciplinary and transdisciplinary sharing of work. Deadline for submission of abstracts is August 30, 2013. More information.

• Karachi seminar on Sindh Through the Centuries

Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) in Karachi, Pakistan is organizing the Second International Seminar on “Sindh Through the Centuries” 16–18 December 2013. The seminar will focus on history, culture, language, archeology, anthropology, cuisine, arts and crafts of the province of Sindh, which has the distinction of being the seat of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. The seminar is convened by eminent historian Dr Hamida Khuhro.
Here it may be noted that the first International Seminar on “Sindh through the Centuries” was held at Karachi in March 1975 wherein scholars from all over the world had shared their research on various aspects of Sindh. Sindh Madressatul Islam is one of the oldest modern Muslim educational institutions in South Asia. More information about the seminar.

• Wardha conference on Evidence Based Practice in Nursing

An International conference on ”Evidence Based Practice in Nursing” will be held at Wardha in Maharashtra state, India, 6–7 Februay 2014. It is jointly organised by Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed University) – DMIMS; Smt. Radhikabai Meghe Memorial College of Nursing, Sawangi (Meghe); and the Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Science, and Technology, Karlstad University, Sweden. The purpose of this conference, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is to share research findings and experiences of evidence based practice in nursing, and heed to nurse researchers, nurse teachers, clinical nurses, and nursing leaders and administrators all around the globe. It marks the end of a three year long Partner driven Swedish-Asian collaboration project on evidence-based practice in India and Sweden. Call for abstract submission for oral and posters for presentation, and further information, will come soon. It will be posted on the websites of DMIMS, Karlstad University and Swedish Nurse Association.

• Varanasi seminar on Culture, Tourism and Development in the sacred city

The Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India organises an International seminar on “Banaras, the Heritage City of India: Culture, Tourism and Development”, 7–9 February 2014.
Varanasi, also known as Kashi and Banaras and one of the oldest living cities in the world, is located on the left bank of the holy river Ganga. Besides being a heritage, cultural and religious centre of India, it has remained from ancient times a great seat of learning. In Varanasi there are over 3,600 Hindu shrines and temples, 1,388 Muslim shrines and mosques, 42 Sikh temples (Gurudvaras), 12 churches, 3 Jain temples, 9 Buddhist temples, and several other sacred sites and places. But there is also another city beyond this sacredscape, a sprawling city with an increasing population and housing shortage, looming water crisis, traffic congestion, sanitation issues, environmental hazards and extreme economic polarizations; an urbanscape of temples, mosques, markets, malls, universities, slums, suburban dreams, Master Plans and Floor Space Index (FSI) regulations.
This seminar will be the 6th one in a chain of seminars on Banaras/Varanasi and is intended to offer an opportunity to discuss, debate and analyse the problems plaguing the emerging issues of the heritage city of Banaras and to work out potentiality for the more rational, applicable and acceptable future prospect. It is open to scholars of any discipline who can contribute on the related themes/sub-themes: 1) Images, cultural history and representation; 2) Land uses and Land use Planning; 3) Urban Ecology and Landscapes; 4)  Environmental Health and Diseases; 5) Environmental status and Scenarios; 6) Social Oppression, and role of NGOs; 7) Water bodies, kunds, water supply; 8) HR Development and Quality of Life; 9) Religious Landscapes and festivities; 10) Socio-economics and Population dynamics; 11) Pilgrimages: Routes, emergence, planning; 12) The Riverfront (Ghats) developments; 13) Tangible and Intangible Heritagescapes; 14) Tourism: cultural and eco-tourism; 15) Heritage sites and Urban Development; 16) Transport Network & Express ways; 17) Surrounding Rural landscapes; 18) Master Plan and Future Development. 
The deadline for registration of interest is 15 July 2013, and the deadline for abstract submission is 15 August. More information.

• Brussels conference on Indo-European cultural differences

An interdisciplinary conference on cultural differences entitled ”Mind the Gap – Europe and India” will be held in Brussels, Belgium, 7–8 February 2014. It is jointly organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussel; the University of Louvain; and the India Platform at Ghent University, and aims at exploring what role is played by cultural
differences in the relations between Europe and India. Contributions from researchers in any relevant domain of the humanities and social sciences are invited. These should address the themes and problems stated in the concept note.
Scholars interested in participating in this conference should send a brief CV and a 1000 word abstract to the organisers explaining the main hypotheses, aims and arguments of the paper to be presented. The deadline for submitting the abstract is 31 July 2013. Selected participants will be notified by 31 August 2013. Only twelve papers will be selected for presentation. At the conference, a typical session will look as follows: first, the hypotheses, ideas and arguments of a paper will be briefly presented by one of the organisers. Next, a discussant appointed for each paper will closely analyse and assess its hypotheses, ideas and arguments. Then the author will have the opportunity to respond to the comments of the discussant. Finally, the floor will be opened to the other speakers present and to the audience. Full information about the conference.

• Third Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies conference at Yale

The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) holds its 3rd annual conference at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, 14 – 16 March 2014. The conference is hosted by the Yale Himalaya Initiative and convened by Dr Mark Turin. As a central theme, the 3rd Himalayan Studies Conference will address the idea of Communities, broadly conceived. This includes issues relating to communities within and across the Himalaya; ongoing partnerships between scholars, governments and citizens in the region; as well as communities of practice that support Himalayan Studies as an emerging field of interdisciplinary scholarship and practice.
Participation in the conference is restricted to members of the ANHS. The Organizing Committee invites proposals for panels, roundtables and individual papers. Panels may have as few as three and as many as six presenters (in addition to one or two discussants). Deadline for submitting panel abstracts is 30 September 2013. More information.

Business and Politics

• Ashok Sajjanhar in charge of organisation promoting communal harmony

Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, former Ambassador of India to Sweden, has been appointed Secretary for the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) – an autonomous Delhi based organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. NFCH was set up in 1992 with the main objective of providing assistance for the physical and psychological  rehabilitation of the child victims of communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence, with special reference to their care, education and training besides promoting communal harmony, fraternity and national integration. The Home Minister is ex-officio chairman of the Governing Council of the Foundation. More information on the NFCH web page.

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Sheila Gowda art exhibition at Lunds konsthall during summer 2013

Lunds konsthall again goes Indian. During the period 14 June – 25 August 2013, the municipal art gallery at Mårtenstorget presents a solo exhibition by Sheela Gowda from Karnataka. It is entitled ‘Open Eye Policy’ and gives a comprehensive overview to date of the work of this acclaimed Indian artist, bringing together sculpture, large installations, painting and photography from the past twenty years. A first impression of these works suggests a pre-occupation with abstraction, form and material, but on closer inspection they reveal a constant engagement with politics, environment and society.
The title of the exhibition speaks of the artists’ attentive approach to her contemporary surroundings as she works with materials taken from the everyday following what she calls on ‘an open eye policy’. In the exhibition visitors will find, next short wall texts and title cards,  a number of screens with movies in which Sheela Gowda explains her work.
The exhibition has also been on display at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The opening ceremony at Lunds konsthall took place on Friday 14 June , 18-20. The Indian Choir and the children’s choir Saregama, both led by Bubu Munshi Eklund, performed with a number of Rabindranath Tagore songs. More information.

• Basil Wright Prize 2013 to documentary by Monteiro/Jayasankar

Professors Anjali Monteiro and Kizhavana Jayasankar, researchers cum film makers from the Centre of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Studies (TISS) in Mumbai, India, were awarded the Basil Wright Prize 2013 at the 13th Royal Anthropological International Festival of Ethnographic Film, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, 13–16 June 2013. They receive the prize for their film So Heddan So Hoddan (Like Here Like There), a fascinating film focusing on communities in Kachchh, Gujarat, India and across the border in Sindh (now in Pakistan). Many of their poems draw on the eternal love stories of /Umar-Marui/ and /Sasui-Punhu/, among others. These songs speak of the pain of parting, of the inevitability of loss and of deep grief that takes one to unknown and mysterious terrains. More information about the film.
The Basil Wright Prize has been offered biennially since 1986. Funds have been provided by Robert Gardner, the American filmmaker. It is awarded for ”a film in the ethnographic tradition, in the interest of furthering a concern for humanity in order to acknowledge the evocative faculty of film as a way of communicating their concern to others”. Particular value is always attached to innovative styles or forms of film-making.

• 13th River to River Film Festival held in both Florence and Rome

The 13th edition of River to River Florence Indian Film Festival is held 22 –28 November 2013 in Florence, Italy, and 29 November – 1 December in Rome. The festival focuses on 2012 and 2013 features, shorts and documentaries from and about India. The River to River festival, under the Patronage of the Embassy of India in Rome, is the first festival in the world entirely devoted to films from and about India. Deadline for entries is 15 September 2013. The film chosen by the Festival audience will win the River to River Bitebay Audience Award. The prize – one for each category within the feature films, the shorts, and the documentaries – consists in the free online distribution of the film. Full information on the festival website.

• Goan urban architecture highlighted in Stockholm exhibition

The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm invites to an exhibition entitled ”GROUNDS: Commoning the City – Commons in Cape Town – Goa: Found and Imagined”. This exhibition is the result of three ongoing investigations within the framework of Resources.Lab. courses run by the Department of Art and Architecture 2010-12. Commoning the City is an investigation of the urban commons, as they are currently being performed and produced in a crises ridden Europe, as an alternative to the state- and private property driven development. Commons in Cape Town has investigated Cape Town and alternative concepts for a just spatial development, with the commons in focus. Goa: Found and Imagined is a future paper on the potentials of Goa’s networked urbanity. Venue for the exhibition: Gallery Mejan, Exercisplan 1, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm. More information.

• Börje Almqvist again exhibits his Afghanistan photos in Stockhom

The Swedish journalist Börje Almqvist, working for many years for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan inside Afghanistan from the 1980s and onwards, again shows his vast collection of photos from Afghanistan at an exhibition in Stockholm during the summer 2013. The exhibition, entitled ”Afghanistan i Vinterviken”, is shown in the Orangerie at Vintervikens Trädgård in Aspudden, in southwestern Stockholm (metro station Aspudden). Opening hours in May-June: 11.00–17.00, July–August: 11.00–21.00. September: 11.00–17.00.
The photos are taken during the period 2002–2012. More photos by Börje are found at

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Academic study of military intervention in Pakistani politics

Military Agency, Politics and the State: The Case of Pakistan” by Dr. Ejaz Hussain, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Forman Christian College in Lahore, and at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Islamabad, is a book seeking to explain why the military intervenes in Pakistan’s politics. The author argues that it intervenes in Pakistan’s politics for its own political interests. The military instrumentalizes its political power to maximize its economic interests as an independent actor. Moreover, the present study has, quite contrary to the existing structuralist, legitimist, path-dependent, generalist, instrumentalist and conspiracy works on Pakistan’s politics and the state, posited that it is the military agency, not structure/culture, which causes a coup/intervention. The work is based on Dr. Hussain’s doctoral dissertation with the same title, defended at the Department of Political Science at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University in 2010 (read the full-text thesis). Previous to his PhD from Heidelberg, Ejaz Hussain he obtained his M.Sc in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad M.A. in Asian Studies from the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden (2006).
The new book is published by Heidelberg University in its Series in South Asian and Comparative Studies. More information about the book.

• Edited volume on Peace Building Process in Nepal

Building Peace for Building Democracy. Edited volume by Associate Professor Pancha N. Maharjan, Coordinator for the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.
This is an important June 2013 book on the political process in Nepal some years after the end of civil war. The book includes articles by Keshav Man Shakya on ”The Role of Small Parties in Constituent Assembly on Peacebuilding Process in Nepal”; Upendra Yadav on ”Role of Madheshi Political Parties on Peacebuilding Process”; Dhruba Kumar on ”Building peace in Nepal: The External Dimension”; Ramesh Lekhak on ”The Role of Nepali Congress Party in the Peace Process of Nepal”; and Rajan Bhattari on ”Peace Process in Nepal and the Role of CPN (UML)”.
Besides, the book also features a few comparative papers on conflicts and democracy problems in other Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines. More information about the book.
The Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) is a statutory research centre under TU for conducting independent research and deliberation on issues and studies in social sciences. The main substantive activity at the Centre is carried out by the research wings called Faculty while the administrative and documentation centre provide support services. SASNET’s Lars Eklund visited CNAS in November 2012, read his report.

• Scandinavian researchers write on Social Exclusion in Contemporary India

Navigating Social Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary India and Beyond. Structures, Agents, Practices. Edited volume by Scandinavian scholars Uwe Skoda, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger. Anthem Press June 2013.
This is a collection of lucid, empirically grounded articles that explore and analyse the structures, agents and practices of social inclusion and exclusion in contemporary India and beyond. By applying the concept of social exclusion to concrete empirical case studies, the contributors expand conceptual horizons by keeping in mind that neither exclusion nor inclusion can be considered without its ‘alter ego’. The volume also challenges narrow conceptualisations of social inclusion and exclusion in terms of singular factors such as caste, policy or the economy. This collaborative endeavour and cross-disciplinary approach, which brings together younger and more established scholars, facilitates a deeper understanding of complex social and political processes in contemporary India. More information about the book.
A book launch function is held in Oslo, Norway, on Wednesday 19th June 2013, at 16.00. Venue: Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, 2nd floor, Sognsveien 68. The event is open for all. If you plan to attend, please register in advance.
More information about the book launch.

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were 5 new departments added to SASNET’s list:
Division of Physical Resource Theory, Department of Energy and Environment,
Chalmers University of Technology
‡  Department of Social Sciences, Ersta Sköndal University College
‡  Unit of Infectious Diseases and Dermatology, Department of Medicine
Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet
Division of Clinical Paediatrics, Department of Woman and Child Health,
Karolinska Institutet
Media and Communication Studies, School of Culture and Learning,
Södertörn University College

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

• Useful travelling information

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

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy director/webmaster
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network