The third Nordic Conference on South Asian Studies for Young Scholars takes place 16–18 August2011 at Falsterbo kursgård in Höllviken, 20 km south of Malmö. It is organised by SASNET in collaboration with the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS). Julia Velkova from SASNET is the main coordinator.
The conference will be a gathering of graduate students and postdocs, along with other junior scholars affiliated with universities in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, who are focusing on South Asia in their work. This year a few students from other European countries have also been invited.
Besides altogether 27 young scholars, the conference also includes 15 senior scholars working with South Asia related research in different fields, giving lectures and acting as respondents in the four panel sessions. The keynote speaker, Professor Patricia Jeffery (photo) from the Dept. of Sociology, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK, is one of them. Her presentation is entitled ”Daughter Aversion, Dowry and Demographic Change”. Prof. Jeffery will also take part as champion in a challengers-champions session on Gender, as well as will be a group leader in the thematic group on Gender.
The conference is interdisciplinary and has separate panels on – Gender Issues; – Climate Change/Water Issues; – Mapping the Mental Landscape of Eurasia; and – Alternative Career Paths beyond the Academia. Invited speakers include Professor Ummu Salma Bava, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; Professor Jussi Kauhanen, Director for Nordic Centre in India(NCI); Professor Abul Mandal, Skövde University; Mr. Kyrre Lind, President, Doctors Wihout Borders Norway; and Ms. Christina Nilsson, ? International Workgroup for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Copenhagen.
The conference also includes a cultural programme, consisitng of a poetic reading by Pireeni Sundaralingam (photo). She will read out excerpts from the recently published volume “Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry”, co-edited by Pireeni. Born in Sri Lanka and raised both there and in the UK, Sundaralingam currently lives in San Francisco, California, USA. She was performing at a SASNET event at Lund University alreday in 2006.
For more information, visit the conference website.
From 1 July 2011, Ms. Julia Velkova (photo) works full-time for SASNET as assisting webmaster, in charge of SASNET’s web development. This work is carried out in close collaboration with the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen. Julia is also in charge of the final preparations for the SASNET/NIAS joint conference for young Nordic scholars to be held in Falsterbo 16–18 August 2011, and involved in planning for a number of conferences/dance performances in commemoration of Rabindranath Tagore to be held in the Nordic countries during September.
Julia has already worked with the previous Falsterbo conferences in 2009 and 2010, and she was Acting Deputy Director for SASNET for a period during Lars’ absence earlier this year. She has a background from Bulgaria, where she has obtained an MA degree in Eastern Philosophy and Culture with focus on India. A few weeks ago, she completed her second masters degree in Communication for Development at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University.
Julia has a keen interest in developing the relations between South Asia and Europe, as well as working with projects for social change through art and technology. Besides, she has experiences from project assignments with the Gothenburg Dance & Theatre Festival, and the free theatre group Aktör & Vänner where she was responsible for the coordination of international collaborations, fundraising and website maintenance. Finally and not the least important, she has 10 years of experience of working with IT for development in the Balkans, former Soviet states and Europe, as well as with overall project coordination.
On 4 August 2011, Dr. Y. S. Alone, Assistant Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India, visited SASNET’s office at Lund University. Dr. Alone who is basically an art historian and studies Buddhism in western India, had come to Sweden to participate in the 2011 Nordic Summer University (NSU) symposium on ”Narrativity and Political Imaginaries” held at Falsterbo, south of Malmö, 31 July – 6 August 2011, and more specifically the NSU symposium’s study circle focusing on ”Psychoanalysis and Politics”. He presented an opening address entited ”Confronting Political Representation: Politics of Visuality”, focusing on the relation between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar in the Indian freedom struggle. More information about the 2011 NSU symposium at Falsterbo.
At SASNET, Dr. Alone had a fruitful interaction with deputy director Lars Eklund and assistant webmaster Julia Velkova (seen on the photo along with Dr. Alone). He also met Dr. Jan Magnusson from the School of Social Work, Lund University.
On 21 June 2011, Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund from SASNET had a fruitful meeting in Lund with Vice Chancellor Professor K R Shevgaonkar (photo) and Dr. Prasad Kulkarni from the University of Pune, India. They have come to Sweden in order to visit two of their partner universities, namely Lund University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Lund University, both of which are involved in Indo-European Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programmes with University of Pune. Prof. Shevgaonkar recently took over as the Vice Chancellor of University of Pune. Before that he was attached to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay for many years.
More information about Prof. Shevgaonkars’s visit to Sweden.
On 15 June 2011, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund visited the Division of Global health (IHCAR) at Karolinska Institutet Medical University in Stockholm. The main purpose was to attend the PhD dissertation by Mr. Mohsin Saeed Khan, who successfully defended his thesis entitled ”Poverty of Opportunity for Women Selling Sex in Lahore, Pakistan: Knowledge, Experiences and Magnitude of HIV and STIs”. Mohsin has been a member of SASNET’s South Asian Reference Group. More information.
While at IHCAR, Lars also interacted with a large number of other researchers – professors, post-docs and PhD candidates in Global Health, including Dr. Fauzia Rabbani, now back at Aga Khan University in Karachi (on photo together with Mohsin Saeed Khan).
A separate meeting was held with Professor Vinod Diwan and Professor Emeritus Bo Lindblad (photo), discussing IHCAR’s long-standing collaboration with universities in India and Pakistan, the large number of sandwich PhDs attained in recent years, and the impressing number of large EU grants for research projects, partly focusing on South Asia, that IHCAR administers.
SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg has now completed the report she has prepared for Lund University’s common and long-term strategies on South Asia collaboration during the coming five years. The report has been written in close consultation with representatives of all faculties at Lund University and the university’s External Relations division. It was handed over to the Vice Chancellor in the end of June 2011.
Till 2009, SASNET received most its funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, but since then the network is financed only by Lund University. This means a certain shift of focus regarding activities, and that the popular planning grants had to be cancelled. Still SASNET has remained faithful to its national character, posting newsletters and constantly updating its Internet gateway and data bases built up over a period of more than 10 years. This daily work is mainly carried out by SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund.
After attending the Go:India kickoff conference at Gothenburg University (more information below), and holding a lecture for Hindi students at Stockholm University, Prof. Dipak Malik from Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi came to Lund, and visited SASNET’s office on Monday 13 June 2011.
Prof. Malik has been a member of SASNET’s South Asian reference group and has a strong attachment to Lund and Lund University. During his stay in Lund he met colleagues from the departments of Sociology and Social Work, besides having discussions with Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund from SASNET.
Associate Professor Sudipta De from the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, visited SASNET’s office in Lund on Tuesday 14 June 2011. Dr. De has been involved in collaborative research for many years with Prof. Mohsen Assadi at the Dept. of Energy Sciences, Lund University. He has also spent time at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, as a scholarship holder under the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programme India4EU (coordinated by Politecnico di Torino, Italy). During his visit to SASNET he met deputy director Lars Eklund.
On Tuesday 7 June 2011, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund and assistant webmaster Julia Velkova visited University of Gothenburg, to attend the first day of the kick-of conference for its Go:India project, launched in November 2010. This is a three year project (2011 – 2013), intended to build a platform for co-operation within the areas of research, teaching and education between researchers at University of Gothenburg’s Faculties of Arts; Fine, Applied and Performing Arts; Sahlgrenska Academy; and the Faculty of Social Sciences, and their collaboration partner institutions in India. More information.
Lars and Julia interacted with the Gothenburg researchers and project coordinators, but also with the representatives from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi; Sarai/Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi; Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi; Jadavpur University in Kolkata; Punjabi University in Patiala; Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan; Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai; Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore; and Union Biblical Seminary in Pune.
Second and third day of the conference, SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg came from Lund to participate in the meetings dealing with planned activities for the coming three years, including, among other things, joint conferences, writing of joint research projects, teacher and student exchange.
See the programme for the Gothenburg meeting.
See Lars Eklund’s photos from the first day.
On Monday 16 May 2011, SASNET’s deputy director, Lars Eklund visited Skövde University to attend a seminar meeting organised by Professor Abul Mandal, School of Life Sciences. The aim was to discuss Skövde University’s ongoing partnership programmes with both University of Rajshahi University, Bangladesh (a Linnaeus Palme exchange collaboration programme), and two universities in Pune, India, involved in a Sida funded Partner driven collaboration project on Urban Indian Development. Professor Mandal, who coordinates both programmes, organised the joint meeting to discuss how to proceed with them.
The meetings were attended by the Vice Chancellor at Skövde University, Professor Sigbritt Karlsson, and Ms. Sofia Henningsson, International Coordinator at the university. Ms. Sadia Sharmin from the Embassy of Bangladesh in Stockholm also participated. Read Lars’ report from the meeting.
On Friday 27 May 2011, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund visited Gothenburg, in order to learn about two interesting projects with strong relevance to South Asian studies at the University of Gothenburg.
In the morning, a meeting was organised at the School of Business, Economics and Law by Professor Ramnath Narayanswamy (photo), one out of three Indian researchers currently based there as part of the Visiting Professors programme. Another Indian visiting professor also attended the meeting, Associate Professor Ashok Thampy, as well as the program coordinator, Dr. Robin Biddulph, the Head of the International Visiting Professors Programme at the School, Dr. Sara Stendahl, and Ingela Palmgren, Director, Corporate Relations, School of Business, Economics and Law. From the School of Business, Economics and Law, Lars Eklund proceeded to the Nordic School of Public Health (NHV), this time accompanied by Julia Velkova, currently working on a project basis for SASNET. They went to NHV in order to meet Dr. Alexandra Krettek, Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Prevention at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg; and Professor Göran Bondjers, former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy.
A meeting was organised to present University of Gothenburg’s new collaboration project with three partner universities in Nepal – Kathmandu University, Tribhuvan University, and Patan Academy of Health Sciences. The interdisciplinary project, headed by Dr. Krettek (photo), involves researchers from several departments and is entitled ”Collaboration between GU and Nepali Institutions: Strengthening Health Education, Supporting Research, Monitoring Health”. It is based on previous Linnaeus Palme exchange programme experiences with Tribhuvan University, but seeks to include additional Nepali institutions and programmes for both education and research. It is one out of a number of new international projects initiated by University of Gothenburg as part of a long-term ambition to create a profile as ‘The Global University’.
Read Lars’ report from the Gothenburg meetings.
Partha N. Mukherjee, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, came to Lund University in the first week of May 2011, to be a member of an international team to evaluate the university. The week-long evaluation was part of the EQ 11 project initiated at Lund University in 2009 in order to improve education quality. More information on EQ11.
Partha Mukherji has been the holder of a Ford Professorship at the Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), New Delhi. He was formerly Vice Chancellor of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and President of the Indian Sociological Society.
While in Lund, Prof. Mukherjee held a SASNET Guest Lecture, organised in collaboration with the Departments of Sociology and Political Science, Lund University, on ”Land Acquisition for Industrialisation in West Bengal: the Case of Nano and Tata Motors” on Wednesday 11 May 2011, 10.15–12.00.
More information about the lecture.
In January 2011, SASNET launched an Interdisciplinary South Asia Seminar series at Lund University, in the form of Brown bag lunch seminars. The aim is to present and disseminate the eminent South Asia related research that is carried out in so many departments at Lund University.
– The first seminar was held on Tuesday 18 January 2011, 12–13, with Associate Professor Catarina Kinnwall, Department of Political Science, who talked about ”Religion, Nationalism and Discourses on Terror in South Asia”.
– On Thursday 19 May 2011, 12–13, Professor Rajni Hatti-Kaul, Department of Biotechnology, talked about ”Biotechnology and sustainable development”. More information about the seminar.
The seminars are open to the public, and they are held at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (CTR), conference room 438, 4th floor, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 8, Lund.
See the poster for the seminar series.
Professor Mizanur Rahman from the Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems, Dhaka University, Bangladesh (and also the Treasurer of Dhaka University), held a SASNET lecture at Lund University on Thursday 26 May 2011. He spoke about ”Social Marketing: Lessons from Bangladesh”. The seminar was organized in collaboration with the Dept. of Sociology. Prof. Rahman has a research interest in Global payment imbalance and the current global economic crisis; and Infrastructure, trade and economic growth in Asia, Venue: Dept. of Sociology, conference room 1, Paradisgatan 5, Lund. More information.
SASNET is now also present on Facebook. Please join the network through our Facebook group as well, and be updated about new events.
Go to the SASNET Facebook group.
SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund participated in the 150 years birth anniversary celebration of Indian/Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore that was held in Uppsala on Sunday 8 May 2011.
The event was organized by the Uppsala University Seminar for South Asian Studies, and drew an audience of more than 100 people. The programme consisted of academic lectures by Dr. Heinz Werner wessler and Dr. Ferdinando Sardella, and cultural performances by Bubu Munshi Eklund from Lund, who sang a range of beautiful Tagore songs (Rabindrasangheet) accompanied on Harmonium; and by Uppsala based Trio Creation, with Jonas Landahl and Suranjana Ghosh on Tablas and Iti Malo on Sitar. The celebration event was also attended by the Ambassadors from Bangladesh and India, Mr. Gousal Azam Sarker and Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar respectively, who both gave inspired presentations. More information.
In connection with his visit to the Tagore celebration event in Uppsala, Lars Eklund also met with researchers involved in Uppsala University’s Seminar for South Asian Studies.
On Monday 9 May 2011, a meeting was organised at the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology. Heinz Werner Wessler, Christiane Schaefer, and Anju Saxena, all from the Linguistics department, along with Gunnel Cederlöf from the Dept. of History, presented among other things their current plans to form a more formalised Forum for South Asian Studies at the university.
They also informed about discussions being held with the Embassy of India and ICCR to establish an ICCR professorship at Uppsala University along the same lines that Lund University has since 2010.
Lars Eklund stressed SASNET’s continued commitment to support such South Asia oriented intiatives at all Swedish universities, in spite of the fact that SASNET since 2010 is only funded by Lund University. Collaborative efforts in the field of establishing masters programmes in South Asian Studies is one specific field where SASNET could play a key role.
The Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University; Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS); and The Swallows India Bangladesh jointly organised a seminar on ”Forest Rights in India” on Wednesday 4 may 2011, 13.00–17.00. The seminar, that drew an audience of about 30 people, was organised because 2011 has been selected to be the United Nation's International Year of Forests. Issues related to forests and deforestation in India were discussed, as well as the problems that the tribal people who live there face.
The speakers were Dr. Beppe Karlsson, Dept. of Social Antropology, Stockholm University; Dr. Pernille Gooch, Human Ecology Division, Lund University; PhD candidate Nabikanta Jha, from the same department; and Mr. Praveen Kaushal Manto from SOPHIA organisation in India.
All presentations are now available on the NetMore information.
SASNET successfully organised a full-day seminar on "Managing Diversity: The Indian Experience", in collaboration with the Embassy of India in Stockholm on Thursday 14 April 2011, 09.30–17.00 and with a concluding cultural programme from 17.30–19.30.
The events gathered an audience of more than 100 people, in the Pictura hall, inside the main Lund University Building for the dat session, and then in The Old Bishop’s Palace.
The seminar was attended by Lund University Vice Chancellor Per Eriksson, the Governor of Skåne County, Göran Tunhammar ,and Ashok Sajjanhar, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia, who introduced the theme for the day, Managing Diversity: The Indian Experience. See Lars Eklund’s photos from the day.
The invited speakers included Professor Sushil Khanna, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kolkata; Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen; Dr. Christina Nygren, Visiting Research Fellow, Dept. of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University; Professor Staffan Lindberg, Dept. of Sociology, Lund University; and Mr. Ulf Pehrsson, Vice President, Government and Industry Relations at Ericsson.
The reception at the Old Bishop’s Palace was hosted by the Embassy of India in Sweden. A mixed crowd consisting both by Lund University academicians and students, and members of the Indian/South Asian community in Malmö/Lund, enjoyed a marvellous performance by Anette Pooja (photo to the right), eminent classical Odissi dancer from Gothenburg.
More information on the 14th April 2011 Managing Diversity seminar in Lund.
A high-level multi-disciplinary delegation from Lund University, led by Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Eva Åkesson visited India on 21-25 March 2011. The reasons for the visit, partially planned for by the Swedish Embassy in New Delhi, are the already substantial collaborations with India and expectations of further increased cooperation in the coming years. The delegation consisted of deans and outstanding scientists, representing several of Lund University's faculties. SASNET’s Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg was part of the delegation. Read her report from the March 2011 India tour.
SASNET organised a Rabindranath Tagore 150th birth anniversary celebration week in Lund 20–24 March 2011. In collaboration with other local institutions and organisations, the week includes popular lectures by by Dr. Olavi Hemmilä and P-O Henricson, Swedish experts on Rabindranath’s life and literature, as well as exhibitions, film shows, concerts and poetry reading.
On Tuesday 22 March, SASNET and Lund University organised an academic seminar, featuring Prof. Wiliam Radice (photo to the right) from SOAS, University of London. Prof. Radice, who has made new inspiring translations of Tagore’s poetry and prose from Bengali into English – a new volume of Gitanjali translated into English by him will be published in May 2011, spoke extensively and passionately about the relevance still present in his literature. More information on Prof. Radice’s lecture.
The seminar programme, prepared by SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund, also included lectures by Dr. Claes-Göran Holmberg (photo to the right), Comparative Literature, Centre for Languages and Literature, who talked about ”Tagore in Sweden and the Nobel Prize of 1913”, and Mag. Art Annemette Karpen from Copenhagen who talked about ”Tagore’s Drama Production, and Satyajit Ray’s films based on Tagore works”.
Free-lance journalist Gabrielle Gunneberg talked about Tagore’s Nobel prize medal that were stolen from Santiniketan in 2004. Prof. Lipi Ghosh from Calcutta University, and currently ICCR guest professor at Lund University, recited poems by Rabindranath Tagore, and Bubu Munshi Eklund (photo) sang some of his songs. Ms. Madhumita Bhagat, First Secretary, Embassy of India, was the chief guest-of -honour.
Full information about the March 2011 Tagore Week in Lund.
See Lars Eklund’s photos from the Tagore Week.
Listen (on Youtube) to the Swedish choir Svart på Vitt singing Tagore’s song Ontoro Momo Bikoshito Koro as part of the Tagore Week. Please note a well-known male singer in the choir.
Other Tagore seminars in Sweden and Denmark will take place in September 2011 in collaboration with the Indian embassies in Scandinavia, and with support from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Leading South Asian Tagore scholars have already been invited for these occasions. More information will follow in due time.
On 1 April 2011, SASNET’s director Dr. Anna Lindberg participated in the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS) Council meeting. The meeting was held at L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHSS) in Paris. The following members were present: Professor Roger Jeffrey (University of Edinburgh, President EASAS); Dr. Margret Frenz (University of Leister, Vice President EASAS); Professor Ulrike Müller-Böker (University of Zürich, Treasurer EASAS); Dr. Heinz-Werner Wessler (University of Uppsala; Professor Danuta Stasik (University of Warzaw); Dr. Nicolas Jaoul (EHESS; and Dr. Anna Lindberg (SASNET/Lund University.
Discussion were held regarding the upcoming 22nd EASAS conference to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in July 2012 (more information), and also future conferences in 2014 and 2016. The Council also discussed EASAS’ updated web page, www.easas.org, and all agreed that it has improved greatly, thanks to design work carried out by Ms. Julia Velkova from SASNET.
Finally, the Council members welcomed the coming collaboration between EASAS and SAMAJ – a peer reviewed on-line academic journal run by researchers from the Centre for South Asian Studies at EHESS. Dr. Loraine Kennedy and Dr. Stephanie Tawa Lama-Rewal, both from Centre for South Asian Studies at EHESS, were also present at this part of the meeting.
Professor Lipi Ghosh from the Dept. of South and South East Asian Studies, Calcutta University in Kolkata, India served as the first Visiting ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) Chair Professor at Lund University. She stayed in Sweden from November 2010 till 5 April 2011. During this period she was hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences, and had a workplace at the university’s Centre for Gender Studies. As a visiting professor at Lund University, Prof. Ghosh was primarily engaged in research, but also took an active role in teaching.
The ICCR professorship at Lund University is an outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Lund University, that was signed on 22 June 2010 by Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, former Indian Ambassador to Sweden, and Prof. Per Eriksson, Vice-Chancellor, Lund University. In a first phase, the agreement is valid for four years, with a new Indian Professor to be selected each year.
SASNET was actively involved in finalizing the ICCR professorship at Lund University, with strong support from the Embassy of India in Stockholm. In April 2010, SASNET’s director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, participated in an official Lund University delegation to Delhi (more information), where final negotiations were held with representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, regarding the proposed Indian visiting guest professorship at Lund University.
A new ICCR Visiting Professor will come to Lund University in September 2011. More information will follow.
Associate Professor Maria Lantz from the Dept. of Art & Architecture at Royal Institute of Art (KKH), Stockholm, held a SASNET/Lund University seminar on Thursday 31 March 2011, 09.15–12.00. Her lecture was entitled ”Informal Cities” and was based on a 2008 book about the Dharavi slums in Mumbai, India, produced by Dr. Lantz and colleagues at KKH in collaboration with local organisations. The name of the book was ”Dharavi: Documenting Informalities” (more information).
The seminar was hosted by the Division of Housing Development and Management, Dept. of Architecture and Built Environment, Lund University. Venue for the seminar: Design Lilla Hörsalen (DC:Lhö), Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre, Sölvegatan 26, Lund.
On the 27 January 2011, SASNET's acting webmaster/ deputy director, Julia Velkova, attended a reception organised by the Embassy of India in Stockholm on the occasion of the 62nd Republic Day of India. The reception was inaugurated with an Indian dance performance. It was followed by a speech by H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, Ambassador of India in Sweden (photo, right). After him, the word was taken by Mr. Frank Belfrage, secretary of the state of Sweden (photo, left) who emphasized the active collaboration and positive relations between the two countries. The reception was accompanied by an exhibition of paintings by prominent Indian artists.
In the second week of December 2010, a delegation from DM Foundation, a private business corporation based in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India, visited Lund University. Led by the eminent Indian nuclear scientist Dr. Anil Kakodkar (photo), they are involved in a dialogue with Lund University Commissioned Education and the Department of Biology, Lund University regarding plans to establish a new university campus in India and staff it with teachers from Lund University. SASNET has been involved as a consultant to Lund University. More information on the visit.
• Prof Swaran Singh from the Center for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, gave a SASNET lecture at Lund University on Friday 17 December 2010, 10.15-12.00. The seminar was co-organised by the university’s Department of Political Science. The presentation was entitled ”India's Disarmament Policy: Past, Present, Future”, and included discussions on India's nuclear policy and India's foreign policy in general. Prof. Singh teaches in Diplomacy & Disarmament Studies, and has written extensively on Asian Affairs, China’s foreign and security policy issues with special focus on China-India confidence building measures as also on Arms Control and Disarmament, Peace and Conflict Resolution, India’s foreign and security policy issues. Besides, he is President of the Association of Asia Scholars (an Asia-Wide Network with Secretariat in Delhi), General Secretary of Indian Association of Asian & Pacific Studies (Varanasi) and Member, Bangkok-based Asian Scholarship Foundation’s Regional Review Committee for South Asia. Venue for the seminar: Lilla konferensrummet, 2nd floor, Dept. of Political Science (Eden), Paradisgatan 5 H, Lund. More information, including abstract.
SASNET was partly involved when two Indian researchers cum film makers from the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, Professor K.P. Jayasankar and Professor Anjali Monteiro, visited Lund University from 7–10 December 2010. They were invited to to participate in the second Focus Asia Documentary Film Festival, organised by Dr. Marina Svensson at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE).
During their stay in Lund, Jayasankar and Monteiro were introduced to SASNET, meeting the director, Dr. Anna Lindberg and deputy director, Mr. Lars Eklund. They also met other Lund University researchers and a number of Indian PhD students currently studying in Lund as being scholarship holders through the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 Indo-European mobility programme. More information.
Dr. Heinz Werner Wessler, Guest Professor at the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, held a SASNET lecture at Lund University on ”The Liberating Force of Hindi and ‘Goddess English‘. Language Policies and Identity Politics in India”, on Monday 6 December 2010. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Dept. of Political Science. Dr. Wessler took his starting point in the early anti-colonial classical “Hind Swaraj”, published a hundred years ago (1910), in which Mahatma Gandhi stressed the importance of a shift away from English to the Hindi/Hindustani language as a basic tool of cultural decolonization. More information, including abstract.
During his two-days stay in Lund, Dr. Wessler interacted with SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund, discussing ongoing joint plans to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in Sweden and Denmark in March 2011. Academic seminars are planned to be held in both Lund and Uppsala, besides Stockholm, Copenhagen and Aarhus.
Heinz Werner also participated in in a seminar with Peter Leifland, Executive Vice President, Alfa Laval Group, that was organised in Lund on Tuesday 7 December by the Sweden India Business Council (SIBC). More information on this seminar.
A SASNET/UPF seminar on ”Sri Lanka after the War was held in Lund on Wednesday 24 November 2010.
The first speaker was Dr. Camilla Orjuela, Peace and Development Studies, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, who talked about ”Sri Lanka after the War: Sustainable Peace or new Conflicts?”, focusing on the fact that the 26 year long and brutal war came to an end in May 2009 as the Sri Lankan government defeated the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). However, an end to the war does not mean that the underlying conflicts that led to and sustained it have been dealt with. Camilla presented the challenges for post-war Sri Lanka: what are the underlying conflicts that caused and were caused by the war and that have to be dealt with to reach sustainable peace?
Then followed Professor Peter Schalk, Chair in the History of Religions (in particular in Hinduism and Buddhism) at the Faculty of Theology, Uppsala university. He held a presentation entitled ”Defeated but Defiant. The Ilamtamil Resistance Movement after May 2009”, largely focusing on the resistance movements still exisiting among the Tamil speaking Diaspora in London, Sidney, Oslo, Paris, Berlin and Toronto demonstrating defiance by keeping theur loyalty towards the Vattukottai resolution from 1976 that demanded the recognition of the right of self-determination of the Tamil speaking people in Ilam/Lanka.
The seminar was co-organised by SASNET and the Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University (UPF). Venue for the seminar: Café Athen, Sandgatan 2, Lund.
See the poster for the seminar, including abstracts.
The entire seminar was recorded on video by the Association of Foreign Affairs, and can be seen on the web.
Go for the seminar video recording, part 1.
Go for the seminar video recording, part 2.
Professor Roger Jeffery and Dr. Margret Frenz, President and Vice-President respectively for the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS) visited SASNET and Lund University 8–10 November 2010. They came to discuss closer collaboration between EASAS and SASNET, as well as strenghtening links between Lund University and University of Edinburgh, UK in the field of South Asian studies. Prof. Jeffery is the Director for the Centre for South Asian Studies in Edinburgh, and Dr. Frenz is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (but otherwise connected to the University of Leicester).
During their stay in Lund, they had long and fruitful discussions with Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund from SASNET, but they also given an opportunity to meet representatives of the university’s Division of International Relations; the succcessful International Masters programme on Applied Management in Development (LUMID); and Lund University’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS).
See some photos.
SASNET and LUCSUS jointly organised a seminar with Roger Jeffery on Tuesday 9 November. The theme for the lecture was ”Trust and the Regulation of Pharmaceuticals: South Asia in a Globalised World”, based on material from a recently-concluded research project comparing the trajectories of pharmaceuticals from producer to patient in South Asia. In his presentation, Prof. Jeffery focused on ongoing disputes over quality standards in Indian generic drug manufacturering, including allegations that they are responsible for a plague of counterfeit and spurious medicines, within India and globally. Venue: Java Hall, Scheelevägen 15 B, Lund.
More information about the seminar.
Later the same day, on Tuesday 9 November, Margret Frenz held another SASNET lecture, this time in collaboration with the Dept. of Sociology. She spoke about ”Making the World One’s Home. Goan Migration across the Indian Ocean and Beyond”, focusing on the migration of Goans (from the present day Indian state of Goa) from South Asia to East Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries, and their second migration from East Africa to countries such as the UK and Canada. By analysing their migration patterns, their economic, social and political engagement in East Africa and in this process, their ability to recreate material and social practices, Dr. Frenz highlights how one community has made the world its home. Venue for the seminar: Conference room 3, Lund University, Dept. of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5, Lund.
More information about the seminar.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations is actively working to set up more visiting professorships and chairs in Indian studies in foreign universities. Currently there are about 60 visiting ICCR professorships worldwide, but within a few years the ambition is that there should be 30 more such chairs around the world. In the Nordic countries ICCR professorships exist at Lund University and Copenhagen Business School. See the complete list of ICCR professorships.
The council is working to make the chairs “virtual hubs of Indian studies”. Programmes for youth audiences and lecture tours are being linked to institutions that have received ICCR endowments. This is all part of India’s efforts to project the country’s soft power. Currently, ICCR has 24 centres around the world, but it plans to add 15 new centres in the coming year. Related to the university focus has been ICCR’s move to sponsor academic seminars, an introduction of 30 ICCR fellowships to bring foreign scholars to India and 3,500 scholarships for overseas students, 1600 of which go to Afghans. The once iconic “festivals of India”, characteristic of the 1980s, have also been resurrected. In 2010, two long festivals are organised in China and France and half-a-dozen shorter ones in seven other countries. More information in a June 19, 2010 Hindustan Times article.
On Monday 8 November 2010, Dr. Sujit Kumar Paul, Senior Lecturer and Vice Principal for the Institute of Rural Reconstruction at Visva-Bharati University in Sriniketan, West Bengal, India, visited SASNET/Lund University. He met with SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund (seen on photo together), and also Dr. Olle Frödin from the School of Social Work, Lund University.
Dr. Paul has spent four weeks in Denmark on invitation by the Association for World Education (AWE). He has been associated with this Denmark based organisation since 2001, and at its general meeting held at the International People's College (IPC) in Helsingør on 21-23 October 2010, Dr. Paul was elected as new Vice President. AWE, started in 1995, has a consultative status of the United Nations. It has chapters and individual members all over the world. More information about AWE.
During his stay in Denmark, Dr. Paul has also met researchers working on India related projects at the The Danish School of Education (DPU) in Copenhagen, and on 11-13 November he participates in the Asian Dynamics Initiative conference at Copenhagen University. During a panel on Indigenous Peoples in the 21st Century, he gives a presentation on ”Socio-Economic Development of the Tribals. The Changing Scenario Through Self Help Groups” (more information on the panel, convened by Dr. Peter B Andersen).
The two successful conferences for young Nordic scholars involved in South Asia related studies and research that SASNET organised 2009 and 2010 (more information about the 2010 conference), will get a follow-up in 2011. This time the conference, aimed at masters students, PhD candidates and young post-docs, will be jointly organised by SASNET and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS). A decision regarding collaboration was taken at a meeting in Copenhagen on Tuesday 28 September 2010, between Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund from SASNET, and NIAS Director Dr. Geir Helgesen, and other representatives of the institute. More information on the 2011 conference, that again will be held at Höllviken, south of Malmö, will be posted soon.
On Monday 1 November 2010, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund participated in a half-day seminar at Stockholm University on Mahatma Gandhi, organised by the Embassy of India in Sweden. The seminar, entitled ”Is the Mahatma still relevant?”, was hosted by Prof. Vinayagum Chinapah and the Institute of International Education at Stockholm University and featured presentations by the Ambassador H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar and Prof. Chinapah (seen on the photo above).
Two other prominent speakers with a deep knowledge of Mahatma Gandhi were invited to elaborate on the subject, namely Prof. Björn Wittrock from Uppsala University, Principal of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS); and Prof. Emeritus Ishtiaq Ahmed, Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University.
A SASNET seminar on ”Emancipation or Dependency: Microcredits in South Asia” was held in Lund on Wednesday 20 October 2010. The seminar was co-organised by The Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University (UPF), and The Swallows India Bangladesh, an NGO based at Lund, and drew an audience of more than 100 people. The seminar featured Markus Pauli, Doctoral Candidate, University of Heidelberg, Germany who talked about ”Microfinance in India – assessing its impact with the capability approach”; and Ms. Khushi Kabir, Coordinator for Nijera Kori, a non governmental development organization in Bangladesh. Ms. Kabir gave a presentation entitled ”Setting Development Priorities: Economic Well Being or Empowerment for the Poorest”. The following discussion was moderated by Dr. Anna Lindberg, SASNET.
More information about the seminar.
The entire seminar was recorded on video by the Association of Foreign Affairs, and can be seen on the web.
Go for the seminar video recording, part 1.
Go for the seminar video recording, part 2.
SASNET’s director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, held an informal public lecture at Lund University on Tuesday 2 November 2010, 15.15-17.00. She talked about ”Gender, Dowry, and the Marriage of Children in South India”. The seminar was organized by the University’s Global Gender Matters Network, hosted by the Department of Gender Studies.
The Global Gender Matters Network examines the transnational ways in which gender is configured socio-culturally, economically, and politically in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The Network encourages scholars with a particular interest in global gender matters to meet and discuss how sexualized and racialized roles, relationships, powers, and conflicts inform gender ideas and practices in particular non-Western contexts. More information.
On 30 September 2010, SASNET’s national board was dissolved. This is an adaptation to the fact that SASNET is now entirely funded by Lund University. The board had its last meeting at Uppsala University on 11 May 2010. The main issue for the meeting was to discuss the changed situation for SASNET since the funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) ended on December 31, 2009.
The extensive work report for 2009 (go for it) was presented to the board by Anna and Lars, and the accounts were approved. The most important point was however the decision by the board, hitherto representing several Swedish universities (and also with representation for NGOs and other Nordic universities, see the organisation) to dissolve itself when the current term of office ended, by 30 September 2010. The decision was unanimous, and at the same time the board thanked Lund University for its decision to give extra funding for SASNET to survive through 2010 (more information). Since SASNET has evolved a strong position among Swedish researchers nationwide, the board members hope to continue collaborative work even with a new organisation of SASNET.
Read the Minutes from the last board meeting.
• On Monday 11 October 2010, the new Indian Ambassador to Sweden, H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar made a first visit to Lund University. The programme was planned for by SASNET, and included a lunch meeting with Ingalill Rahm Hallberg, Lund University Assistant Vice Chancellor (and Professor in Health Care Science); Ann-Katrin Bäcklund, Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences; and Gunilla Carlecrantz, Acting Head, Division of International Relations. Representatives of Division of International Relations informed te Ambassador about the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 mobility programmes that Lund university currently coordinates with Indian partner universities (more information). Per Malmberg, Sales Manager, Lund University Commissioned Education, discussed possible new India projects. The Ambassador also met a number of university professors, working on India related projects.
A separate meting was held with SASNET’s director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, and deputy director, Mr. Lars Eklund, on details regarding the new ICCR professorship at Lund University, a position that will be taken up by Prof. Lipi Ghosh, Calcutta University from November 1st, 2010 (more information).
In the morning, the Ambassador also visited the university's Faculty of Engineering (LTH) where he was introduced by its Vice-Dean for International Relations, Prof. Per Warfvinge. He then got an opportunity to visit the Department of Electrical and Information Technology, where Prof. Ove Edfors presented its Masters programmes in System-on-Chip (SoC) and Wireless Communication. There, the Ambassador was introduced to Indian students/PhD candidates.
The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Sweden, H.E. Mr. R.P. Jayasooriya also visited Lund University on Monday 11 October 2010. SASNET was involved in organising a meeting for the Ambassador, who came with a mission from the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka to inform about the Srilankan government’s keen interest to promote strenghtened academic collaboration between universities in Sri Lanka and Sweden, and not the least with Lund University. A recent changed legislation that also opens up Sri Lanka for private university initiatives facilitates such efforts, according to Mr. Jayasooriya.
Srilankan universities are already involved in several collaboration projects with Swedish universities, especially with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Uppsala University and Gävle University. A few joint projects are also running with Lund University researchers. Besides, Lund University Commissioned Education is involved in a number of ongoing professional training courses with Srilankan participants.
The meeting with Mr. Jayasooriya was hosted by Ms. Gunilla Carlecrantz, Acting Head of Lund University’s International Relations division (seen on photo with the Ambassador above). The other participants were Ms. Emma Alfredsson, Project Manager, Lund University Commissioned Education; Mr. Henrik Hofvendahl, Programme Officer in charge of Asia activities, International Relations Office; plus Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund from SASNET.
In mid-August 2010, H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar took over as new Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia, based at Stockholm. Mr. Sajjanhar presented his Credentials to His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, on Thursday 30 September 2010. In the evening a reception for invited guests was held at the Ambassador’s residence. SASNET was represented by Lars and Bubu Eklund. More information.
SASNET has been closely involved in the planning for a new Asia Regional Erasmus Mundus Action 2 mobility programme that was decided upon by the European Commission in July 2010 (more information). The project is led by Lund University that already since 2008 successfully coordinates an existing Indo-European Erasmus Mundus mobility programme. Now the university will also administer a new Asia Regional project that includes seven South Asian universities, four in India (Delhi University; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK); and Tata Instititute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), and one each in Pakistan (Karachi University), Nepal (Tribhuvan University), and Bangladesh (Jahangirnagar University).
The project has been named EMEA – Erasmus Mundus Europe Asia – and will be open for applications from November 1, 2010 and remain open until December 15. The project coordinators are Ms. Elisabeth Axell and Ms. Katarina Wingkvist, International Relations, Lund University (photo).
Go for the EMEA project web site.
A first consortium meeting was held in Lund 23–24 September 2010, when Vice Chancellors and international coordinators from the consortium member universities came to Lund for a hectic meeting to decide upon the principles for the selection process, discuss the implementation of the project, and to elect a steering committeee. During the kick-off meeting, it was also decided to set up four thematic groups – on quality assurance, on development of joint projects, on events/conferences, and finally on a visibility strategy for the project. SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund is a member of this visibility strategy group.
More information about the Lund kick-off meeting.
Professor Shahana Urooj Kazmi, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Karachi, Pakistan gave an engaged presentation entitled ”Devastating Floods in Pakistan: A story of Pain, Grief and Suffering – Can We Help?” at Lund University on Wednesday 22 September 2010. Prof. Kazmi, on a short visit to Lund to participate in the consortium meeting of the Erasmus Mundus Asia Regional mobility programme, mentioned above, gave an overview regarding the flood relief activities carried out by teachers and students at her university in the Northern part of Sindh province, through the Karachi University Disaster Management Volunteer Corps, a work carried out under the patronage of Chancellor Dr. Ishrat-ul Ibaad, Vice Chancellor Dr. Przada Qasim R. Siddiqui and Pro VC Dr. Shahana Urooj Kazmi. She was introduced by SASNET’s deputy director, Lars Eklund.
A large audience of students and faculty from Lund University, some of them actually coming from University of Karachi, attended the seminar and afterwards a group was formed to discuss immediate relief efforts. The seminar was jointly organised by SASNET and Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). Venue: Lecture Hall Världen, Geocentrum 1, Sölvegatan 10, Lund.
More information about the seminar.
The daily newspaper Sydsvenskan published an interview with Prof. Kazmi, on the new Erasmus Mundus mobility programme, on Thursday 23 September. Read the article entitled ”Utbytet med Asien ökar”.
Associate Professor Jagannath Prasad Panda from the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (ISDA) in New Delhi, India, held a SASNET lecture on ”The Pattern of Sino-Indian Relations: Evaluating the Strategic Discourse” at Lund University on Wednesday 29 September 2010. The seminar was organised in collaboration with Associate Professor Catarina Kinnvall at the Department of Political Science, Lund University. Dr. Panda works as a Research Fellow at IDSA, a premier think-tank body in India, since August 2010. He is also the Managing Editor for the Peace and Development Digest, published by Foundation for Peace and Sustainable Development in New Delhi. He defended his doctoral dissertation in 2007 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His research interests focuses on Sino-Indian relations. He has come to Sweden in connection with collaborative research work at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) in Nacka/Stockholm. He is preparing a paper on ”China, India and BRIC: Realist Interpretation of a Multi-polar World Order”. Venue for the seminar: Main conference hall (room 366), 2nd floor, Dept. of Political Science, Paradisgatan 5, Lund. More information about the seminar.
During his stay in Lund, Dr. Panda also visited SASNET’s office and discussed with its deputy director Lars Eklund on possible future collaboration projects between the Indian Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, and SASNET. Photo from the meeting.
During September 2010, SASNET’s Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, spent one month at the Centre for Gender Studies, Kerala University, India. Anna was selected for a scholarship by the Erasmus Mundus Indo-European mobility program administered by Lund University (more information). At Kerala University, Anna collected research material for a forthcoming book on gender issues in South India. She also gave a guest lectures at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram. She talked about 'The Marriage of Children in Late Travencore: Gender Discourses, Dowry, and the Commercialization of Marriage'. See the poster for her September 20th seminar at CDS.
While in Kerala, Anna was interviewed on her research work by the journalist Bhawani Cheerath. Read the article ”An ‘insider' in Kerala” that was published in The Hindu on 18 September 2010.
On Wednesday 1 September 2010, a delegation of Indian government officials from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, researchers and business people working in the field of Biogas production and utilization in India visited Lund University in order to meet Indian students, and representatives of the International Relations department in charge of the university’s ongoing and coming Indo-European and South Asian regional-European Erasmus Mundus mobility programmes. The delegation was headed by Dr. Atma Ram Shukla from the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and accompanied by Mr. Mikael Kullman, Counsellor and Special Attaché for Environment, Climate Control and Energy at the Swedish Embassy in New Delhi.
SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund also got time to present the Lund University based SASNET network. More information.
• Prof. Venkatesh B. Athreya, R.S.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, held a well-attended lecture on ”Food Security Challenge in India” at Lund University on Friday 17 September 2010, 10.15–12.00. The seminar was jointly organised by SASNET and the Research group Society, Development, Environment (Samhälle, utveckling och miljö) at the Department of Sociology.
Prof. 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, just like Dr. Rajagopal mentioned above, 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.
The lecture at Lund University was based on the 2009 World Food programme report ”State of Food Insecurity in Rural India”, to which he contributed (more information). Venue for the seminar: Dept. of Sociology, Conference room no. 1 (335), Paradisgatan 5, Lund.
See the poster for the lecture.
• Dr. A. Rajagopal, R.S.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, lectured on ”Water Management and Agrarian change in India” at Lund University on Monday 13 September 2010, 13.15–15.00. The seminar was jointly organised by SASNET and the Research group Society, Development, Environment (Samhälle, utveckling och miljö) at the Department of Sociology. Dr. Rajagopal received his PhD on Water Management in 1991. After that, he worked for many years as a researcher with the South Asia Consortium for Inter Disciplinary Water Resources Studies at Hyderabad, India. Currently he is co-operating with Prof. Göran Djurfeldt and Prof. Emeritus Staffan Lindberg at Lund University in a restudy after 25 years of 213 agricultural households in the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu. Dr. Rajagopal’s lecture is based on a paper presented at the 2010 World Water Week at Stockholm (more information). Venue for the seminar: Dept. of Sociology, Conference room no. 2 (405), Paradisgatan 5, Lund.
The 21st European Conference on (Modern) South Asian Studies, ECMSAS, was successfully organised by the University of Bonn on 26–29 July 2010. More then 300 scholars involved in research related to the South Asian region participated in the conference, featuring a total number of 41 panels, covering a broad range of research subjects. SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund participated in the conference. He has posted on SASNET’s web site a personal report full with photos. Go for Lars’ report from Bonn.
The conference convener was Dr. Heinz Werner Wessler, scientific collaborator at the Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn, but also since last year connected to the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, Sweden as a guest Professor in Hindi.
Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman for the Indian University Grants Commission had been invited to hold the Ambedkar Lecture. His engaged presentation was entitled ”Identity, Social Exclusion and Deprived Groups. Search for Inclusive Society in Contemporary International Context”.
The ECMSAS conferences are held biannually under the aegis of the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS), a professional, non-profit organisation of scholars engaged in research and teaching concerning South Asia with regard to all periods and fields of study. The council of the EASAS consists of a president (Prof. Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh, UK), vice-president and treasurer, and in addition, of six other European members reflecting the various academic disciplines represented by the Association. At EASAS’ General Meeting, held on 27 July 2010, SASNET’s Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, was elected to become one of the new members to the council for the two-year period 2010-12. More information about EASAS.
On Tuesday 8 June 2010, SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg and deputy director Lars Eklund participated in the farewell party for the outgoing Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia, Mr. Balkrishna Shetty. The reception was held at the Embassy of India in Stockholm (photo from the event). Mr. Shetty, with whom SASNET has had much positive interaction during the past two years, now retires from diplomatic service and returns to Delhi.
During their stay in Stockholm, Anna and Lars also met with Dr. Maria Lantz, Department of Art & Architecture, Royal University College of Fine Arts (KKH), to discuss a coming one-year KKH course on ”Textilism”, focusing on Sri Lanka. To some extent, the course has been planned in collaboration with the artist Jesper Nordahl who has spent long time in the country, and recently produced the “Katunayake FTZ/Kotmale Project”, including a series of videos investigating the political context and impact of the neoliberal restructuring policies initiated in the late seventies by IMF and the World Bank. Information about the course (in Swedish only).
On Wednesday 2 June 2010, PhD candidate Naonori Kusakabe from the Center for South Asian Studies at Gifu Women's University in Japan visited SASNET’ office in Lund, where he met with its deputy director Lars Eklund. From the spring 2010, Mr. Kusakabe is connected to the Stockholm School of Economics, and its European Institute of Japanese Studies as a Visiting researcher, first in Stockholm and then from July 2010 based at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. He is currently working on a comparative study of Swedish and Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) towards Bangladesh both now and in the past. He has spent more than four years in Bangladesh, and in 2006 he wrote his Masters thesis on ”NGOs and Local People: A Case Study of Hatiya Island in Bangladesh”. More information.
SASNET’s director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, participated in an official Lund University (LU) delegation travelling to India in the last week of April 2010. The group was led by Eva Åkesson, Lund University Pro Vice-Chancellor, who participated in the Universitas 21 Symposium held at Delhi University. Universitas 21 is an international network of 21 leading research-intensive universities in thirteen countries, among them Lund and Delhi (more information).
During the visit, negotiations were held with representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), regarding details of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning a proposed Indian visiting guest professorship at Lund University that was later realized already from the academic year 2010/11.
Anna also participated in the Lund University delegation’s official visits to Jawaharlal Nehru University, the India-EU Study Centres Programme (IESCP), and Delhi University, where another MoU was signed.
Read Anna’s report from the delegation visit to Delhi.
• A successful seminar on Arsenic in Drinking Water was held at Lund University on Wednesday 5 May 2010. The well-attended seminar drew a mixed audience of researchers, students and other interested people. The seminar was organized by SASNET in collaboration with Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS); the Division of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University; KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group at the Dept. of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm; and The Swallows India-Bangladesh section. H.E. Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Sweden was the guest of honour during the day.
Read a full report from the seminar.
SASNET again co-organised a similar seminar on Toxic Metal Pollution in Stockholm on the World Environmental Day 2010, that is Monday 7 June 2010. The seminar, entitled ”Environmental and Ecological Risks of Toxic Metal Polution from Natural and Anthropogenic Sources. Problems, Challenges and Remedies”, was held at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and was organised in collaboration with the KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group (based at the Dept. of Land and Water Resources Engineering); Uppsala University; Swedish Maritime Environmental Markets (SMEM) in Uppsala, representing a group of Swedish companies with expertise in safety, health and environmental technology; and the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE) at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), India. The key persons behind the workshop were Prof. Shyam R. Asolekar from CESE, Prof. Prosun Bhattacharya from KTH, and Mr. Alexander Kinigalakis, SMEM Coordinator.
Whereas Prof. Bhattacharya focused on the Arsenic problem in his seminar presentation – the same as in Lund, Prof. Asolekar spoke about ”The Environmental and Ecological Implications of Trace Metal Pollution caused by Ship Dismantling and Recycling”. He also moderated the concluding panel debate.
Read the conference report.
In early November 2010, SASNET had planned to organise a one and a half day conference at Lund University, on the constitution-making process in Nepal. The conference would be jointly organised by SASNET and the Institute for Security& Development Policy (ISDP) in Stockholm. As a preparation, SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg, and SASNET intern Nihat Ulusoy, visited ISDP on 30 November 2009. They met with the ISDP’s director Niklas Swanström, and its deputy director Robert Nilsson. The 2010 conference is supposed not only to discuss the constitution-making process in Nepal, but also support the Nepalese in their task by exchanging new ideas and brain storming. The background is the fact that the Constituent Assembly was endowed with drafting a new permanent constitution after the 10 April 2008 elections in Nepal. The deadline for this work is now approaching. Participants for the forum are supposed to be invited from four Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Another 4-5 researchers from Nepal will be invited, as well as the Nepalese Ambassador to Scandinavia. However, enough funding has so far not been procured, so the prospects for actually holding the conference are uncertain.
Professor Sudipta Bhattacharya from the Dept. of Economics and Politics, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, India, and currently Visiting Professor at the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), held a SASNET lecture on ”Neo-liberalism, Weaking State and Peasant Differentiation in Indian Agriculture” at Lund University on Wednesday 26 May 2010. The seminar was organized in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, Lund University, and is based on Prof. Bhattacharya’s Survey Findings from Panel Data in West Bengal during the periods 1993-94, and 2004-05. He analyses the changing structure of investment and production over a period of neo-liberal policy regime in India that the Left Front government in West Bengal had to accept as a constitutional compulsion. The interventionist legacy of empowerment of rural poor through land reform and rural transformation through decentralized participatory governance in the state had been disturbed since 1991 when the Indian government adopted neo-liberal policies of cutting fertilizer, food and credit subsidies in agriculture, conversion of 8 millions hectares of land from food to export oriented crops, making PDS and nationalized/co-operative banks less effective for the poor. Venue: Department of Sociology, room 335, Paradisgatan 5, Lund. More information.
• Professor Gitiara Nasreen, Professor & Chair, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Dhaka University, Bangladesh, held a SASNET lecture on ”Images of Gender on Media in Bangladesh” at Lund University on Monday 24 May 2010. The seminar was organized in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, Lund University. More information about the seminar.
Prof. Nasreen had come to Sweden on invitation by The Global School Sweden (Globala Skolan), a programme run by the International Programme Office for Education and Training and supported by Sida, in order to participate in a Sida-funded seminar on the responsibility of the rich world – twenty-four hours for global learning, held in Stockholm 20–21 May (more information), but then travelled to Lund to visit researchers and students at relevant departments at Lund University – a visit planned for by SASNET’s Lars Eklund.
Accompanied by Mr. Bo Kramsjö, representative for Globala Skolan, she visited Lund University’s Dept. of Media and Communication Studies, where Prof. Peter Dahlgren (photo) had organised a programme including meeting with students and researchers. Before the afternoon seminar at the Dept. of Sociology, Prof. Nasreen was also given an opportunity to visit SASNET’s office at Scheelevägen.
• Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, federal minister of Science and Technology from Pakistan, participated in a seminar on ”The Role of Overseas Pakistani Students in Nation Building” at Lund University on Saturday 22 May 2010. As a minister, Mr. Khan Swati has among other things played a pivotal role in establishing the Hazara University in District Mansehra. It is the only institution of higher learning in the area with special emphasis on universal values. The seminar was organised by Pakistani students of Asian Studies at Lund University, and Mr. Muhammad Athar Javed, South Asia expert in Copenhagen, Denmark (who also spoke at the seminar), with support from SASNET. The seminar was introduced by Dr. Anna Lindberg, Director of SASNET. After the Minister’s lecture, time was provided for an interactive debate/question-answer session. Refreshments along with Pakistani food were served. Venue: Hörsalen, Kårhuset, Faculty of Engineering (LTH), John Ericssons väg 3, Lund. More information.
Nils Finn Munch-Petersen, Senior expert at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, Denmark, held an open SASNET lecture at Lund University on Tuesday 27 April 2010. Nils Finn Munch-Petersen talked about ”The Maldives – Paradise Lost?”, focusing on the current developments in the Indian Ocean republic, claimed to be threatened by a rise in sea level due to expected global warming. However, more immediate threats are issues such as a break-down of society caused by a growing economic and demographic imbalance precipitated by uncontrolled tourism growth and the influx of lowly-paid foreign workers. This leads to social inequality, a growing number of unemployed youth, narcotics related criminality and a growing Islamic fundamentalism.
Nils Finn Munch-Petersen is a social anthropologist who first visited the Maldives in the 1970s, and has since travelled extensively in the Northern and Southern Atolls for research and work for international organizations such as UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank. He is considered to be one of the leading, non-Maldivian, world specialists on the Maldives.
Another leading Nordic Maldives expert, Professor Emeritus Nils-Axel Mörner, previously connected to the Unit of Palegeophysics and Geodynamics, Stockholm University, was one among the audience, and his presence ensured a vital debate on the real problems that the Indian Ocean republic currently faces.
Venue for the seminar: Conference room, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE), Lund University. More information.
A group of folk highschool students from Geijerskolan in Ransäter, and their teacher MS. Lina Bernäng, visited SASNET’s root node office in Lund on Monday 26 April 2010. The students participate in a one-year course entitled ”Filosofi och Världsbild”, where they study both Western Philosophy and Indian Religions and History, partly in collaboration with Karlstad University. The course includes a tour to India. More information about the course.
They now came to Lund in order to meet SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund, and from him get a presentation of India related research at the Swedish universities.
Anthony P. D'Costa, Professor of Indian Studies at the Asia Research Centre (ARC), Copenhagen Business School, held an open SASNET lecture at Lund University on Monday 19 April 2010, 11.15–13.00. He talked about ”India's Changing Role in the Global Political Economy”.
The seminar was inaugurated by the Indian Ambassador to Sweden, H.E. Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, who also gave some some opening remarks.
Prior he came to ARC in 2008, Prof. Anthony D’Costa was with the University of Washington for eighteen years. He has written extensively on the global steel, Indian automobile and IT industries, globalization, development, innovations, and industrial restructuring. He is currently working on globalization and the international mobility of IT workers examining migration pattern, immigration policies, national innovation systems, and tertiary education in India, China, Japan, and the US, co-authoring a photographic essay on Indian modernity and industrialization, and editing volumes on economic nationalism and the development experiences of India and China. More information about Anthony D’Costa.
The seminar was co-organised by the Sweden India Business Council (SIBC), and held with kind support from the Embassy of India in Sweden.
Venue for the seminar: Museum of Cultural History/Auditorium (Kulturens hörsal), Tegnérplatsen, Lund.
More information about the seminar.
After the seminar, Lund University Vice Chancellor Prof. Per Eriksson invited the Indian Ambassador, the First Secretary Mrs. Madhumita Bhagat and Prof. D’Costa for an official lunch at the Old Bishop’s House.
The lunch was also attended by the University Director Dr. Marianne Granfelt, Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund from SASNET, SIBC Senior Advisor Mr. Stig Victorin, and a few invited guests from Lund University.
On Wednesday 31 March 2010, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund visited the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at Kräftriket in Stockholm. The aim of the visit was, like so many previous visits to other Swedish universities, to meet some of the researchers involved in South Asia related activities. SEI is an eminent independent, international research institute specializing in sustainable development and environment issues. It works at local, national, regional and global policy levels from seven research centres all over the world. The SEI research programmes aim to clarify the requirements, strategies and policies for a transition to sustainability. SEI is also a leading partner in The Stockholm Resilience Centre, a Swedish Centre of Excellence established in 2007 (more information).
A fruitful meeting was held where Lars met with Mats Lannerstad, Elisabeth Kvarnström, and Göran Nilsson Axberg, Research Fellows at SEI that partly works with South Asia related projects. They presented the projects of interest that are carried out by them and their SEI colleagues in Stockholm, York, Bangkok and other places, e g programmes on sustainable sanitation in India and Nepal, Agroecosystems in India, Pollution monitoring programmes in South Asia, etc. More information about South Asia related research at SEI.
Prof. Yogendra Yadav, Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, India, held a SASNET lecture on ”Democracy and Poverty in India”, on Thursday 18 March 2010. The well-attended seminar was organised in collaboration with the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE). Yadav is a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at Berlin, Germany, during the academic year 2009–2010. His areas of interests include democratic theory, election studies, survey research, political theory, modern Indian political thought and Indian socialism. He has co-authored State of Democracy in South Asia (OUP, 2008) and co-edited (with Sandeep Shastri and K C Suri) Electoral Politics in Indian States (OUP, 2009). He has also been involved in designing and coordinating the National Election Studies, the most comprehensive series of academic surveys of the Indian electorate, from 1996 to 2009. In his presentation, he focused on the co-existence of democracy and poverty, specifically the continued existence of electoral democracy with popular participation along with mass poverty. The paradox is not trivial: we have good reasons to be surprised about it. Making sense of this paradox takes us to the explanatory framework that may shed light on the mechanism that makes this paradoxical co-existence possible. The framework may also enable us to do a little more: understand the changes over time and differences across the various states in the relationship of democracy with poverty. More information.
On Thursday 4 March 2010, Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund visited the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), and the Asia Research Centre (ARC) at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen. At NIAS, fruitful discussions were held with the Director, Dr. Geir Helgesen, and at ARC a meeting was organised with the Research Director Anthony D’Costa, Professor of Indian Studies, Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Director for Asia Research Centre, Ms. Bente Faurby, ARC Administrator, and Dr. Sudipta Bhattacharyya, holding the first visiting ICCR Chair in Indian Economics at ARC during the academic year 2009-2010. More information about the Copenhagen visit.
The SASNET visit to Copenhagen was part of an ongoing strategic work to strenghten collaboration with Nordic institutions engaged in South Asia related research and other activities. Earlier Lars and Anna have also visited researchers at the University of Copenhagen, and representatives for the university’s Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI).
On Wednesday 9 December 2009, SASNET held an extra board meeting. The main reason was the urgent need to discuss the future prospects for SASNET after December 31, 2009, when the Sida funding ended.
Anna Lindberg reported from the meeting at the Ministry of Education in Stockholm on November 30, 2009, her discussions with the Swedish Research Council regarding possible infrastructural support, and from the meeting with Lund University’s Assistant Vice Chancellor Sven Strömqvist on December 7th.
The meeting in Stockholm did not lead to any positive results – see below. Discussions with Lund University, on the other hand, were more positive. Lund has promised to keep its funding on the same level as before, and may even be willing to provide extra funding for the network in 2010.
The board was much engaged in discussing options for the future, and several members suggested that SASNET should actively try to find solutions that may get the Swedish funding agencies and authorities interested to support the network and its activities. It was also suggested that SASNET should explore Nordic and European collaboration. It was pointed out that in the current globalizing world, a network like SASNET is more relevant than ever, and that this gives us a great potential for the future if we just can survive through the current crisis.
Board members also stressed the importance of qualified research on Afghanistan and Islam, and that SASNET may play a positive role in this.
Besides this main discussion, the board also approved a decision by the Lund University Vice Chancellor to reappoint Anna Lindberg as SASNET’s Director, for the period January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2012, and a decision to prolong the period for the current SASNET board with 9 months until September 30, 2010.
Finally, the board also decided to redistribute one SASNET guest lecture programme grant, since Prof. Margareta Petersson, Växjö University, had decided to withdraw her already accepted grant application. Instead the grant was distributed to Dr. Ann-Kristin Boström, Jönköping University.
Read the verified Minutes from the board meeting.
SASNET’s next board meeting will be held at Uppsala University on Tuesday 11 May 2010.
On Thursday 11 February 2010, a delegation from the University of Kerala visited SASNET’s office in Lund. The group consisted of Dr. J. Prabhash, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Kerala in Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram; Dr. Achuthsankar S. Nair, Director, Centre for Bioinformatics, and a member of the Kerala State Higher Education Council; and Mr. R. Dilip, Administrative Officer, Centre for Bioinformatics. They had come to Lund to participate in the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW) India lot 13 consortium meeting. Kerala University is a member of this Indo-European university consortium coordinated by Lund University. The Kerala University delegation was accompanied to SASNET’s office by Dr. Maya Raman from the School of Industrial Fisheries, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, India, but currently working as a post-doc EMECW scholarship holder at the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University.
In February 2010, SASNET’s Director Anna Lindberg made a short tour to Kerala. She visited the Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST) in Kozhikode, the Centre for Bioinformatics at Kerala University, the Centre for Women’s Studies, also at Kerala University, and the Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram. She also met Kerala’s finance minister Thomas Isaac in order to discuss the development in Kerala over the past ten years. Read her Kerala report.
On Tuesday 9 February 2010, deputy director Lars Eklund presented SASNET, and its current activities as a Lund University run South Asian Studies network, for visiting Indian and European university representatives to the ongoing consortium meeting in Lund for the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW) India lot 13, a meeting held in Lund.
The first application for this India lot, coordinated by Lund University and now running for the second year (more information), was prepared by SASNET. It was almost entirely based on contacts established by Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund during their SASNET contact journey to India in late 2007 (visiting five of the current eight Indian consortium member universities – Delhi, Pune, Pravara, Kerala, and Tata Institute of Social Science).
More information about the contact journey 2007.
The contacts with another Indian consortium member university, Jadavpur in Kolkata, was based on a previous SASNET contact journey by Lars Eklund and Staffan Lindberg in 2005.
More information about the contact journey 2005.
2009 was a turbulent year for SASNET, with many wonderful events, but also some problems. The network grew tremendously. Our web site developed in a large scale, and our newsletters reached 2,000 recipients.
The conference for young Nordic scholars working on South Asia related projects held at Falsterbo in August became a success, and we (Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund, with assistance from Stig Toft Madsen during the spring, and Nihat Ulusoiy during the fall), have also organised a large number of other conferences and seminars on important issues.
SASNET’s networking activities within Sweden consisted of visits to the universities of Jönköping, Växjö, Skövde, Västerås, and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. We have also been strongly involved in networking with the South Asian diplomatic representatives in Scandinavia.
Our networking/planning grants were distributed to five new research projects, and financial support was also given to three guest lecture programmes and two South Asia-related interdisciplinary research workshops.
In addition to these activities, we have had to spend a great deal of time seeking new funding to replace the subsidy that Sida/SAREC has generously provided for the ten-year period that ended December 31, 2009. But all efforts to resolve this problem have failed.
However, Lund University has finally promised to continue their underwriting, which till now has comprised about one-third of our budget, and we are in the process of negotiating with the University for additional funds. Their support will make it possible for us to keep our doors through 2010. Furthermore, Lund University has expressed its firm commitment to maintain SASNET’s extensive web site, its databases and its newsletters, whatever other changes in directions that may come.
Nevertheless, due to the precarious current situation, with SASNET no longer receiving Swedish government funding and other Swedish universities unwilling to co-fund SASNET with membership fees (we had proposed that each university contribute SEK 50,000 a year – equivalent to EUR 5,000), the situation for SASNET as such is very unclear.
Read a full report on the 2009 activities, and our efforts to secure continued funding in our Christmas letter 2009.
On Saturday 19 December 2009, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, visited Lund University to hold a public lecture on ”Climate Change in Bangladesh – Facing the Challenges”. Sheikh Hasina was invited to visit Lund by SASNET and the Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University (UPF), and was hosted by Lund University Vice Chancellor Per Eriksson. A large delegation of ministers and around 20 members of the Bangladeshi parliament (who have attended the COP 15 climate conference in Copenhagen) accompanied the Prime Minister from Copenhagen during this high-security visit to Lund. The interest from Lund University students and researchers, as well as from the local Bangladeshi community was overwhelming. The lecture hall was crowded, and the event was documented by a couple of Bangladeshi TV company crews. More information.
See Lars Eklund’s photos from Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Lund.
• Dr. Martha Garrett from International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, visited SASNET’s root node office in Lund on Thursday 28 January 2010. INFORM (International Network for Online Resources & Materials) is a Swedish-based networking programme that provides onsite information training in low-income countries (more information). Since INFORM’s next major activity will be a regional programme in Asia, Dr. Garrett extended an invitation to SASNET to become a partner in this programme. Health professionals working on reproductive health and maternal-and-child health in 10-12 Asian countries, mostly in south Asia, will receive intensive training about where to find free, high-quality materials for teaching, clinical practice and policy formulation. After the training, they will carry out their own information projects and also exchange information through an online forum.
On Monday 30 November 2009, SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg held a crucial meeting to discuss chances of securing future funding for SASNET with officials at the Swedish Ministry of Education in Stockholm. Anna was accompanied by Dr. Ann-Katrin Bäcklund, Dean of the Faculty for Social Sciences, Lund University, and Dr. Camilla Orjuela (PADRIGU), School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg (and a member of SASNET’s board). They met with Katarina Bjelke and Mattias Jennerholm from the Division of Research Policy (forskningspolitiska enheten) within the Ministry of Education.
The background is that SASNET after 10 years in existence loses its main funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, from 1 January 2010. Sida has so far contributed with two thirds of SASNET’s yearly budget of SEK 2.4 m, whereas the rest has come from Lund University. Lund University will continue with its part-funding in 2010, but is not willing to take over the full responsibility to pay for SASNET’s national networking activities. Other Swedish universities have been approached to find out their willingness to contribute financially to SASNET on a membership basis, but the response has been negative. We have also during the past year explored possibilities to secure alternate forms of grants from Sida and other funding agencies, but without any success. To a large extent, this is due to the truly multidisciplinary character of SASNET, that makes the network fall out of the framework for most funding agency programmes.
The meeting at the Ministry of Education was organised with an intent to discuss whether the Swedish government would be willing to set aside some basic funding for SASNET, in order to continue the networking activities on a national basis. However, no such promises were given. The argument given is that the users of the network, i e the Swedish universities, should pay for it themselves, and besides the Ministry could not earmark funding for national activities at one specific Swedish university.
The consequences were that SASNET faced an acute risk to close down its national activities from 1 January 2010.
Kumudu Wijewardena and Mohsin Saeed Khan, two members of SASNET’s South Asian Reference Group visited Lund on Tuesday 24 November 2009. The purpose was to have informal discussions with Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund about the future direction of SASNET from 2010.
Both Kumudu and Mohsin have spent the recent months in Sweden. Professor Wijewardena from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka, has been involved in a long-standing collaborative research programme on ”Health and Social Care for the Socially Marginalized People” with the Division of International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) at the Dept. of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University. This programme is now near its completion. More information.
Mohsin Saeed Khan is a Health Specialist from Islamabad, Pakistan, but also PhD Candidate in a sandwich programme with the Division of Global health (IHCAR) at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. His doctoral thesis project deals with ”HIV and STI infections among Female Sex Workers in Lahore, Pakistan”, and is in its final stage. More information.
From its inception in January 2001, SASNET’s web site has grown enormously. On the 26th November 2009, the web site consisted of a little more than 1,600 pages, and with 2,773 photos and images. Furthermore, the statistics continuosly provided to us by the web tracking company StatCounter show that the number of visitors to SASNET is steadily growing. In 2007 the number was 31,581 unique visitors, in 2008 it grew to 37,763, and for 2009 the number will most probably touch 40,000.
Interestingly, currently most visitors come from India, Sweden and United States in this specific order, and the most popular page to visit is the one where we present South Asia related conferences all over the world. The general Research News and Nordic Researcher pages are also very popular, as well as the page where we present 250 Swedish university departments, and the one providing links to 500 South Asian research institutions worldwide, and finally the Newsletters produced by SASNET’s webmaster, Mr. Lars Eklund.
See some statistics from November 26th (as a pdf-file).
On Thursday 22 October 2009, SASNET invited Lund University Masters students, Ph.D. candidates and senior researchers interested in studies and research related to South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives) to an open meeting. Nearly 50 people turned up for the meeting that was intended to increase the interest in pursuing South Asia related education and research at Lund University. Eminent researchers involved in South Asia related projects, including Prof. Baboo Nair, Dept. of Applied Nutrition, Prof. Staffan Lindberg, Dept. of Sociology, Prof. Rajni Hatti Kaul, Dept. of Biotechnology, and Dr. Catarina Kinnvall, Dept. of Political Science, gave presentations on their work. Dr. Vipin Negi, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, and Dr. Gupinath Bhandari, Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM), also told about their experiences being scholarship holders through the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window Programme. After the meeting, the participants stayed on for snacks and refreshments. Venue for the meeting: Kårhuset, Hörsalen, John Ericssons väg 3, Lund. Read a report from the meeting (with photos).
SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund has written an article about the achievements that SASNET has been able to contribute with during its nine years of existence, in the 2009 edition of the glossy magazine India-Sweden in Focus, published in mid-August. This magazine has been produced by Krest Publications in New Delhi, India, on behalf of the Embassy of India in Sweden. Besides Lars’ article entitled ”SASNET builds up Indo-Swedish collaborations”, the magazine also features articles on other important Indo-Swedish collaboration initiatives in business, research and culture. Robin Sukhia writes about the Sweden India Business Council (SIBC); Göran Baurne writes about INSTEC – the Indo-Swedish Network for Cooperation on Technical Research and Education; and Anita Nair writes about the Indo-Swedish translation project Indiska Biblioteket (Indian Library). Read the article on SASNET in India-Sweden in Focus.
The Doctoral Student Union at Lund University has decided to appoint PhD candidate Elenor Lissel as member of SASNET's board, as a representative for students, especially PhD candidates. Ms. Lissel is working on her doctoral thesis within the field of Accounting and Tax Law at the Faculty of Law, Lund University. The title of the dissertation project is ”Developing Countries and Emergency Safeguard Measures in World Trade Law”. In 2007, she wrote a Masters thesis entitled ”Conflicts between WTO Law and EC Law – A study on antidumping legislation and direct effect” (more information on this thesis).
30 applications were received for the 2009 round of SASNET Planning Grants. On Tuesday 22 September 2009 the SASNET board approved the decisions made earlier by an independent Reference group (consisting of three eminent Nordic South Asia scholars). Networking/planning grants are now given to five new research projects. The Reference Group has also decided to give financial support to three guest lecture programmes (for inviting a guest lecturer from South Asia to visit more than one Swedish university), and two South Asia related interdisciplinary research workshops (to be held in Sweden or in South Asia). The total amount distributed was SEK 525 000.
The following researchers were awarded SASNET planning grants in order to network for new research projects:
• Pernille Gooch, Dept. of Human Ecology, Lund University (photo): ”Water, Climate Change and Rural Livelihoods: Assessing Socio-economic Vulnerability and Potential Adaptive Strategies in Sikkim, India.” SEK 75 000.
• Andreas Mårtensson, Malaria Research Unit, Dept. of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Medical University, Stockholm: ”Molecular characterization of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Madhya Pradesh, India – implications for rational use of anti-malarial drugs”. SEK 50 000.
• Adam Pain, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala: ”Development of a Rural Development Network between the College of Natural Resources (CNR), Royal University of Bhutan, and the Division of Rural Development, SLU, Uppsala”. SEK 70 000.
• Leslie Paul and Sadhna Alström (photo), Dept. of Forest Mycology and Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala: ”Development of a collaborative research project between Indian and Swedish researchers towards sustainable production of Cocos nucifera”. SEK 70 000.
• Joyanto Routh, Dept. of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University: ”High-resolution Holocene paleoclimate records in glacial lakes from the northeastern Himalayas in Bhutan”. SEK 75 000.
The following researchers were awarded SASNET planning grants in order to organise an interdisciplinary workshop:
• Willmar Sauter, Dept. of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University: ”Interdisciplinary Approaches to Marginalised Performance Practices in India”. SEK 75 000
• Wimal Ubhayasekera, MAX-Lab, Lund University: ”Introduction to protein structures and homology modeling.” SEK 50 000
The following researchers were awarded SASNET Guest Lecture Programme grants:
• Sara Eriksén, School of Computing, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Ronneby: ”Invitation of Aarti Kawlra, Principal Project Officer, Indo-UK Consortium on Advanced Communication Technology, IC&SR Project, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Channai, India.” SEK 20 000
• Anders Hydén, Dept. of Caring Sciences and Social Work, Gävle University: ”Invitation of Prabhavati N Tirmare (photo), College of Social Work, Mumbai University, India.” SEK 20 000
• Margareta Petersson, School of Humanities, Växjö University: ”Invitation of Somdatta Mandal, Viswa Bharati University, Santiniketan, India.” SEK 20 000
Since SASNET was established in 2001, a total number of 119 networking grants have been distributed to Swedish researchers working on South Asia related projects within all fields – from technology and natural sciences to humanities, social sciences and educational sciences. The researchers who have benefited from the grants belong to 20 different Swedish universities and university colleges. Out of the 119 grants awarded so far, 72 refer to networking grants to plan for new research projects/programmes; 20 to grants in order to develop new educational projects/programmes; 10 to organise interdisciplinary workshops; and 17 to the guest lecture programme.
In the evaluation of SASNET that was carried out in 2005 (go for the evaluation report), it was shown that 70 p.c. of the projects that had been given SASNET planning grants till 2004 had later been given substantial funding from other sources, such as Sida/SAREC, Swedish Research Council, Bank of Sweden Tercentennary Fund, and the European Commission. Also thereafter, SASNET’s networking grants have continued to play an important role setting new South Asia related projects/programmes in motion. Go for the complete list of SASNET planning grants distributed 2001–2009.
No planning grants will be distributed in 2010.
On Monday 21 September 2009, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund participated in the first consortium meeting for the new Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW) mobility programme entitled ”EURINDIA”, one of the four programme 13 lots devoted to mobility interaction between universities in Europe and India selected in 2009. This programme is administered by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and involves another 9 universities in Europe and 8 universities in India, plus 3 associated partners. More information about EURINDIA.
The meeting was held at KTH in Stockholm, and Lars met with the programme coordinator, Ms. Alphonsa Lourdudoss, based at KTH, as well as representatives from the Indian partner universities. They include Anna University, Chennai; Anurag Narayan College, Gaya (affiliated to Patna University); Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati; Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee; National Law School of India University, Bangalore; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore; University of Kalyani, West Bengal; and University of Pune.
The much larger Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW) mobility programme lot 15, devoted to interaction between universities in Europe and India, that was selected by the European Commission in 2008, is now fully running. This India lot consortium was formed by 12 universities in Europe, and 8 universities in India, and came into being after a hectic groundwork by SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg and deputy director Lars Eklund. The network is entirely based upon previous SASNET contacts in India as well as in Europe. The mobility lot is now coordinated by the Division of International Relations at Lund University, and has two other Nordic partner universities: Karolinska Institutet Medical University in Stockholm; and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. More information.
An impressive number of 53 Indian students, PhD candidates, post-docs and academic staff have arrived only to Lund University (to a large number of departments, including the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Division of Chemical Physics, Dept. of Biotechnology, and Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM). Two students, Muditkumar Gupta and Vidyasagar Jaiswal are seen on the photo along with Vasudha Garde, Pune University; Ashok Patil, Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences; and Sidsel Hansson, Lund University. Read an article in Lund University magazine LUM No 7/09 on the successful implementation of the EMECW lot 15.
Another 20 Indian students, researchers and academic staff have come as scholarship holders to Karolinska Institutet.
A second Call for Mobility applications has been issued for this Indo-European mobility scheme coordinated by Lund University. However, it is no longer called Lot 15, but has changed name into Lot 13, and please note that this lot 13 is divided into four different programmes from 2009. 183 scholarships will be awarded for mobility starting in 2010 (with start dates between April 1 and September 1, 2010). The Call opened on 1 September 2009, and will close on 1 November. More information on the consortium web site.
The Mahatma Gandhi Book Collection (part of the Karl Reinhold Haellquist Memorial Collection) was formally inaugurated by the Indian Ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, on Thursday 10 September 2009. On behalf of the Indian government, the Ambassador also took the opportunity to donate to Lund University and SASNET another 120 volumes of Mahatma Gandhi literature, either works written by Gandhi himself or books focusing on him.
The function, including a puja ceremony by Ms. Bubu Munshi-Eklund, took place at Lund University’s Asia Library at Scheelevägen 15. A large number of Lund University professors and researchers, and also Indian students and guest researchers who have come to Lund University through the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window India lot 15, participated. Lund University was officially represented by the Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sven Strömqvist. The daily newspaper Sydsvenskan carried a report from the inauguration, and also Lund University magazine LUM in its issue No. 8/2009. See the newspaper reports. (as a pdf-file).
Ms. Inger Sondén Haellquist (photo) was the guest of honour since she is the person who in 2004 donated the extensive private book collection of her late husband, Karl Reinhold Haellquist, to Lund University. This collection, consisting of nearly 7 000 volumes of South Asia related literature, was selected by Lund University researchers Neelambar Hatti and Jan Magnusson, and has since been catalogued by SASNET. A small part of the collection, primarily the Mahatma Gandhi collection, is exhibited in the Asia Library. More information about the Karl Reinhold Haellquist Memorial Collection.
After the inauguration ceremony, and the presentation of the new book donation by the Indian Ambassador, a 45 minutes documentary on the life of Mahatma Gandhi was shown. The film, entitled ”Mahatma – A Great Soul of the 20th Century”, has been jointly produced by the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; and the Gandhi Films Foundation.
Not only the book collection was inaugurated. Also SASNET’s web site on the Mahatma Gandhi collection (www.sasnet.lu.se/gandhi) was officially launched. The web site has been prepared for SASNET by the librarian Erik Svanström.
SASNET’s seminar on the Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Today’s Society became a major success. More than 120 people, Lund University professors, researchers and students but also many interested persons from outside the academic world, gathered for the seminar featuring David Arnold, Professor of Asian and Global History at the University of Warwick, UK, and the Indian Ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Balkrishna Shetty. The two-hour seminar was held on Thursday 10 September 2009, 19–21, at Lund University’s Centre for Languages and Literature (SOL-Centrum) and was moderated by SASNET’s Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg.
The Ambassador, Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, was the first speaker, and he gave a personal narrative on Mahatma Gandhi’s life, the important role he has played in history, and the basic values that he stands for, values that should still play an important role.
Prof. David Arnold came next. His presentation, entitled ”Gandhi: The Mahatma and the Machine”, differed in its specific focus on Mahatma Gandhi’s complicated relation to machines. Whereas Gandhi was well-known for his resentment against modern industrial inventions that robbed people of their employment, he was still very much dependent on the radio, microphones, and trains, in order to reach out to the masses with his message.
Full information about SASNET’s Gandhi seminar.
• A joint SASNET/UPF (Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University) seminar on ”Political Transitions affecting the Peace Process in Nepal” was held in Lund on Wednesday 23 September 2009, 19.30–21.00. Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya, Professor of Political Science and Director, Centre for the Study of Nepal at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, participated in the seminar along with Mr. Vijaykant Lal Karna, Nepalese ambassador to Scandinavia (based in Denmark) who is also a political scientist by profession, having worked at Tribhuvan University for 20 years.
The audience consisted of more than 70 people, mostly Lund University students, but also visiting Nepalese students (see photo with the Ambassador and a gathering of these).
In her 35 years of teaching career at Banaras Hindu University, Prof. Anjoo Sharan Upadhyayay (photo) has been the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences; and served twice as the Head, Department of Political Science and also as the Director of Center for Rural Development. Outside of India, she has worked for example as Research Director at UNU/Ulster University INCORE (Institute of Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity), UK; as Fellow at London School of Economics & Politics (LSE), and as Scholar-in Residence at the Woodrow Wilson Centre for International Scholars, Washington DC, USA. Professor Upadhyaya has published extensively both nationally and internationally on themes related to issues of self-determination, ethnicity, conflict, federalism, gender, development and peace. She has undertaken post-doctoral studies at LSE, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Brown University, USA. Currently she is engaged in a collaboration project with Karlstad University.
Dr. Leif Bjellin from the the Dept. of Cell and Organism Biology, Lund University, was the moderator for the seminar.
Venue: Café Athen, Akademiska Föreningen (AF), Sandgatan 2, Lund. More information.
• Professor Priyankar Upadhyaya from Benaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India, held a lecture at Lund University on ”Religious Peace Building in India” on Thursday 24 September, 10.15–12.00. The seminar was jointly organised by the Dept.of History of Religions, Lund University, and SASNET. Prof. Upadhyaya is Director at the Malaviya Centre for Peace Research at BHU. He holds a PhD of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Advance International Diploma(s) in Conflict Resolution from Uppsala University, Sweden. In Sweden, he has also served as a Visiting Professor at Karlstad University. During September 2009 he has been based at the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Oslo. Venue: Room 438, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (CTR), Allhelgona Kyrkogata 8, Lund. More information.
• The joint SASNET/UPF (Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University) seminar on ”Contemporary Pakistan: Islamism, Human Rights and Terrorism”, held in Lund on Wednesday 16 September 2009, drew an audience of more than 100 people. The speakers were Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed, working as Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore; and Dr. Rubya Mehdi, University of Copenhagen.
Prof. Ahmed is currently on leave from the Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University. At ISAS, he is working on a research project ebtitled ”Is Pakistan a Garrison State?” The aim of the study is to generate a comprehensive analysis of the reasons why the military came to play the dominant role in Pakistani politics. He is also in the process of completing a major study based on first-hand accounts of the partition of the Punjab in 1947. Ishtiaq has taught and carried out research on issues of human rights, women's rights and minorities extensively in South Asian contexts in general and in Pakistan in particular. He has also written extensively on the politics of South Asia, especially Pakistan. He wrote a weekly column in the Pakistan English-language newspapers, The Daily Times and The News International during May 2002 and June 2007. Besides, he is on the editorial advisory board of Asian Ethnicity, Journal of Punjab Studies, IPRI Journal and PIPS Journal of Conflict and Peace Studies.
Rubya Mehdi (photo to the right) has a PhD in Law, and is a senior researcher at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. She is one of Denmark’s leading experts in Islamic law, and has conducted research in Denmark for 20 years. She is also a visiting professor with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, and she was involved in the Protection of Women Act 2006, which was passed to improve the situation of women in Pakistan. It also tried to make some changes in the Hudood ordinance which was very much discriminating against women in rape cases. Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, SASNET, was the moderator for the discussion. Venue: Café Athen, Akademiska Föreningen (AF), Sandgatan 2, Lund. More information.
Dr. Ruby Sain from the Dept. of Sociology, Jadavpur University, India, held an open lecture at Lund University on Wednesday 16 September 2009. The seminar was jointly organised by the School of Social Work at Lund university, Vårdalinstitutet and SASNET. Dr. Sain, who mostly works on health, illness, ageing, religion and research methodology issues, talked about “Depression – a social problem of the elderly population in India”. She is the founding editor of the Jadavpur University Journal of Sociology, and her forthcoming books are titled ”Contemporary Social Problems in India-Vol I” (ed.) and ”Folk Religion in Bengal”. Besides, Dr Sain is secretary of the International Forum for the Study of Society and Religion (IFFSR), a forum that links researchers and scholars from Jadavpur University, University of Gothenburg and the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies. She came to Sweden on a SASNET guest lecture programme grant, invited by the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, Gothenburg University. More information.
A joint SASNET/UPF (Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University) seminar on ”Contemporary Pakistan: Islamism, Human Rights and Terrorism” was held in Lund on Wednesday 16 September 2009. The speakers were Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed, working as Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore; and Dr. Rubya Mehdi, University of Copenhagen.
Ishtiaq Ahmed (photo to the left) is currently on leave from the Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University. At ISAS, he is working on a research project entitled ”Is Pakistan a Garrison State?” The aim of the study is to generate a comprehensive analysis of the reasons why the military came to play the dominant role in Pakistani politics. He is also in the process of completing a major study based on first-hand accounts of the partition of the Punjab in 1947. Ishtiaq has taught and carried out research on issues of human rights, women's rights and minorities extensively in South Asian contexts in general and in Pakistan in particular. He has also written extensively on the politics of South Asia, especially Pakistan. He wrote a weekly column in the Pakistan English-language newspapers, The Daily Times and The News International during May 2002 and June 2007. Besides, he is on the editorial advisory board of Asian Ethnicity, Journal of Punjab Studies, IPRI Journal and PIPS Journal of Conflict and Peace Studies.
Rubya Mehdi (photo to the left) has a PhD in Law, and is a senior researcher at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. She is one of Denmark’s leading experts in Islamic law, and has conducted research in Denmark for 20 years. She is also a visiting professor with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, and she was involved in the Protection of women Act 2006, which was passed to improve the situation of women in Pakistan. It also tried to make some changes in the Hudood ordinance which was very much discriminating against women in rape cases.
Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, SASNET, will be the moderator for the discussion. Venue: Café Athen, Akademiska Föreningen (AF), Sandgatan 2, Lund. More information.
On 3–4 August 2009, SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg and deputy director Lars Eklund went to Stockholm to meet the Ambassadors of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as part of ongoing discussions about the future of SASNET and possibilities of cooperation between South Asian institutions.
At the Embassy of India they were received by the Ambassador Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, and the First Secretary Mrs. Madhumita Bhagat; at the Embassy of Pakistan they were received by the new Ambassador Mr. Nadeem Riyaz; and at the Embassy of Bangladesh they were received by outgoing Ambassador Mr. Muhammad Azizul Haque. Fruitful discussions were held at all the three embassies.
On Monday 31 August 2009, Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund went to Hellerup north of Copenhagen, to meet the Ambassador of Nepal to Scandinavia, Mr, Vijaykant Lal Karna.
Visits are also planned to soon meet both the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Sweden in Stockholm, and the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Scandinavia in Oslo.
An internal evaluation of SASNET’s activities during the period 2005–2009 has been carried out. SASNET was founded in 2001 and has since its inception been funded jointly by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, and Lund University. The latter contributes roughly one-third of its annual budget of approximately SEK 2.6 million. This funding remains in effect until the end of 2009.
Unfortunately, Sida will most probably not be able to fund SASNET after that date for reasons that are reportedly bureaucratic or political, and not in any way related to the quality of SASNET’s work. An external evaluation conducted in 2005 by Sida concluded that SASNET has been highly successful (see this evaluation report written by Carla Risseeuw, Ghanshyam Shah and Lennart Wohlgemuth). Recently, a brief internal evaluation of SASNET was conducted by Dr. Stig Toft-Madsen, who worked as assistant director of SASNET during the period December 2008 to June 2009. At present, staff at SASNET are actively seeking underwriting to keep the organisation viable for the foreseeable future. Read the 2009 internal evaluation review report of SASNET activities.
Do not miss out on Lars Eklund’s new blog sasnettoday.blogspot.com. This is a blog that may focus on the day-to-day activities of Lars, working as deputy director/webmaster with the Swedish South Asian Studies Network since 2001. However, it may just as well deal with Lars’ many extramural South Asia/India related activities in Sweden and elsewhere. He used to be editor for the SYDASIEN magazine for a period of 25 years, has travelled extensively in all the South Asian countries from 1972 and onwards, and lives with his Indian wife Bubu. Besides he is well acquainted with South Asian history and religion, culture and music. Go for Lars Eklund’s SASNETTODAY blog.
SASNET engaged Mr. Geoffrey Gardella on a short-term assignment during the summer 2009 to assist the webmaster, Lars Eklund, to improve the graphic design on important SASNET web pages. Geoffrey is both a geographic and academic wanderer. With a master's degree in German from University of California Berkeley, he has also studied Hindi in Mussoorie and Saami at Umeå University. In between academic careers, he has worked in Silicon Valley. He is now a Master's degree student within the South Asia track at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University. His area of focus is the intersection of food, culture and identity in India. He participated in the June 2009 Asian Dynamics Initiative conference at the University of Copenhagen, where he presented a paper entitled ”Udupi Hotels: Entrepreneurship, Reform and Revival”, written together with Stig Toft-Madsen from SASNET.
SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund visited the University of Skövde on 28 May 2009. He was invited to participate in the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the universities of Skövde and Rajshahi, Bangladesh. The MoU focuses on student exchange and research collaboration within Biomedicine, Bioinformatics, Ecology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, and Systematic Biology. The initiative comes from Dr. Abul Mandal and his colleagues at the School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde. SASNET has been instrumental in promoting the Skövde–Rajshahi collaboration by providing a planning grant for a project on ”Development of new varieties of crops for avoiding loss of harvest caused by climatic instability in Bangladesh” in 2008 (more information). To further celebrate the visit to Skövde by a delegation from the University of Rajshahi, a “Bengali Evening” was held at 20.15 with a cultural programme that included a Bharata Natyam performance by Ms. Shivapriya Bagchi from Kolkata, India. More information.
On Thursday 14 May 2009, SASNET organised a visit to Lund and Malmö by the new Ambassador of India to Sweden, H.E. Mr. Balkrishna Shetty. During his stay in Lund he had discussions with SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg and deputy director Lars Eklund. He also met with the University Director Dr. Marianne Granfelt and participated in a seminar with researchers, teachers, students, and international coordinators involved in India related projects at Lund University. Mr. Shetty was accompanied by Mrs. Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, First Secretary (Commercial, Consular, Culture), Embassy of India. The Ambassador listened to a few selected presentations: Dr. Sidsel Hansson presented the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window lot 15 programme, coordinated by Lund University; Prof. Baboo Nair, Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, informed about the SASNET Fermented Foods project; and Prof. Olle Qvarnström presented the Division of Indic Religions at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. More information about the seminar.
SASNET also co-hosted an India seminar in co-operation with SIBC (Sweden-India Business Council) and Ideon Research park, where the Ambassador was the key speaker. With his wide experiences he gave an interesting presentation. In recent years he has been posted at the Embassy of India in Paris, as Minister (Economic), dealing with all bilateral economic matters and relations with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He has also been associated with the establishment of TEAM–9 (Techno-Economic Cooperation for Africa–India Movement), a regional economic cooperation mechanism between India and eight West African countries. From September 2005 to January 2009, he was Ambassador of India to Bahrain. Besides the speech by the Ambassador, the seminar also included a presentation by Prof. Baboo Nair, who talked about ”Doing Business in India”. SASNET’s Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, was the moderator. More information (as a pdf-file).
During his stay in Lund and Malmö, the Ambassador also visited the Mayor of Lund, Ms Annica Annerby Jansson, visited Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering, and especially its Department of Electrical and Information Technology. In the evening Mr. Shetty went to Malmö, first to visit the Bollywood cinema hall in Limhamn, and then to host a reception at Hipp for 100 invited guests, mostly from the Indian community in Malmö/Lund, but also a delegation from Malmö University, and people working on India related projects within art, music, and theatre (photo from reception).
Read the full programme for the Ambassador’s visit to Lund on May 14, 2009, and see photos.
The Tabla player Subrata Manna, the classical singer Sudokshina Chatterjee Manna, and the Kathak dancer Sohini Debnath (photo), all from Kolkata, India, participated in an well-attended academic seminar on intercultural education research in Malmö on Tuesday 26 May 2009, 13.30–16.00. They gave a presentation titled ”Application of Classical Indian Music in World Music of today”. The artists visited Scandinavia as part of a European tour (with concerts in Copenhagen on May 26th and in Lund on May 27th). The Malmö seminar was jointly organised by Lund University Intercultural Education Research Forum (since November 2008 coordinated by the International Art and Cultural Education Competency Centre, KIKK, at Lund University’s Academy of Music in Malmö), and SASNET. Besides the three Indian artists, who discussed Indian forms of music and dance and show their skills, two presentations of ongoing research projects at Lund University were given. Dr. Bosse Bergstedt, Dept. of Education talked about ”The Genuine Voice – on a Prelinguistic Fellowship”; and Senior Lecturer Eva Sæther, Dept. of Music Education Research talked about ”To play oneself Persian or Swedish – or?”. Venue: Musikhögskolan i Malmö, Ystadvägen 25. More information (as a pdf-file).
SASNET has sponsored a photographic project set up by second-year students from Lund University’s Masters programme in Development and Management (LUMID) 2007–09 batch. During the period 25 May – 4 June 2009, they exhibit photos from their fieldworks in Asian and African countries. The exhibition is part of the LFA (LUMID Fotographic Art) Project, as it is called. Opening hours: Monday–Saturday 14.00 – 19.00, with a festive vernissage that was held on Friday 29 May 2009. Anna Lindberg, Lars Eklund and Stig Toft Madsen from SASNET participated in the event. Venue: Wickmanska gården, Bredgatan 2 in central Lund (close to the City Library). More information.
Professor G.N. Tiwari from the Centre for Energy Studies at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi visited SASNET’s root node office in Lund on Tuesday 19 May 2009. He was accompanied by Professor Krister Håkansson, Dept. of Psychology, Växjö University, with whom Prof. Tiwari is involved in a collaboration project to organise research and a conference on hybrid photovoltaic-thermal technology (H-PV/T), to be held in New Delhi. The conference, entitled ”Implementation strategies for the transfer of hybrid photovoltaic-thermal technology (H-PV/T) from research to lab to field” should have been held already in March 2009, but due to the Indian elections it was postponed, and new dates will be in the end of August. Prof. Tiwari is a leading expert in the research on how solar energy can be introduced in Indian villages without electricity. In 2007 he organised the 3rd International Conference on Solar Radiation and Day Lighting, ”SOLARIS 2007” at IIT Delhi. Then he established contact with Dr. Om Prakash at the School of Technology and Design, Växjö University, and originally they were supposed to plan for the new conference. But due to illness, Dr. Prakash had to give up the project, and he gave it over to Christer Håkansson. Being a psychologist, Håkansson is interested to launch a broader interdisciplinary research project on issues widely connected to village development and the introduction of solar energy in India. More information.
PhD candidate Malin Jordahl, Division of International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University, visited SASNET’s root node office in Lund on Friday 22 May 2009, and had a meeting with the Director Anna Lindberg. It was a follow-up meeting of a discussion that took place in February 2009 at the SASNET conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka (more information). Malin and Anna now discussed the possibility of creating a sub-network within SASNET on the topic for the Colombo workshop, viz., Migration, Gender, and Health. PhD candidate Malin Gregersen, Dept. of History, Lund University, and Dr. Kristina Myrvold, Dept. of History of Religions, Lund University, participated in the meeting as well. Malin Gregersen is monitoring the SASNET Student Forum and Kristina Myrvold is a leading member of the committee organising SASNET’s coming conference for Young Scholars to be held in Falsterbo in August 2009 (more information).
Dr. Tabish Khair from the Dept. of English, University of Aarhus, Denmark, held a SASNET lecture in Lund on ”The Gothic and Postcolonialism: Alterity, Difference and Narration” on Monday 18 May 2009, 13.15–15.00. The seminar was co-organised by the Dept. of Comparative Literature, Lund University. Born and educated mostly in Gaya, India, Tabish Khair is the author of various books. His honours and prizes include the All India Poetry Prize (awarded by the Poetry Society and the British Council). Academic papers, reviews, essays, fiction and poems by Khair have appeared in Indian, British, Danish, American, German, Italian, South African, Chinese and other publications. Khair has just finished a study, entitled ”The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness”, which will be published in USA and UK by Palgrave (Macmillan) in August 2009. Venue for the Lund seminar: Room L 201, Lund University’s Centre for Languages and Literature (SOL-Centrum), Helgonabacken 14, Lund. More information.
Prof. Dipak Malik, Director of the Gandhian Institute in Varanasi, India, held an open SASNET lecture at Lund University on ”Riots and Elections in India” on Monday 11 May 2009. Prof. Malik, also working at the Dept. of Commerce, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, discussed the factors deciding the ongoing elections for the Indian parliament, Lok Sabha (results to be announced on May 16th), and the profile of Indian communal riots, now and in the past. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Research group on Development and Environment at the Dept. of Sociology, Lund University, being part of a Swedish guest lecture tour that also brings him to the universities of Gothenburg and Karlstad (funded by a SASNET grant). Venue: Conference room 1 (335), Dept.of Sociology, Lund University, Paradisgatan 5 (house G). More information.
All Administrative reports regarding SASNET’s work and activities from the first planning process in 1999 till today are available at SASNET’s web site, see below. The latest report to be added is the Administrative report no. 9, for the period 1 January – 31 december 2008. Go for the Work Report.
The Vice Chancellor from Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh, Prof. Shariff Enamur Kabir, visited SASNET’s root node office in Lund on Wednesday 25 March 2009. He was accompanied by Professor Pradeep Mathur from the Dept. of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai, and Dr. Ebbe Nordlander, Dept. of Chemical Physics, Lund University. The three researchers are involved in a joint reserach project on ”Modelling of hydrodesulfurization reactions and development of new molecular hydrodesulfurization catalyst” that received a SASNET planning grant in 2008, the planning of which was carried out during the stay in Lund. They also met with Lund University’s Pro vice-chancellor Eva Åkesson to discuss a possible Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Lund University and Jahangirnagar University.
Dr. Daya Kishan Thussu from the University of Westminster, UK, was invited by SASNET to lecture at a Focus Asia conference on ”Media Cultures and Politics in Asia and Beyond” that was held at Lund University 26–27 February 2009. Focus Asia is a yearly event organised by the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE) at Lund University, and this 10th Focus Asia event brings together leading media scholars who discussed media in Asia and beyond. Several of the lectures at the Focus Asia conference addressed the relationship between media, democracy and the public sphere in different national and regional contexts. Dr. Thussu talked about ”Infotainment – Indian Style: Changing Contours of TV News in the World’s Largest Democracy” on Thursday 26 February, 16.00–17.30. Read the full programme for the Focus Asia February 2009 (as a pdf-file).
Two smart quizz winning Indian students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai, Rahul Singh (from Jamshedpur) and Haripriya Mukundarajan (from Bangalore), visited SASNET and Lund University on Monday 23 February 2009. They were the winners of a Nobel prize quizz competition organised by the Embassy of Sweden in India in October 2008. The winners’ prize was an all-expenses paid, weeklong trip to Sweden where they would get an opportunity to visit Swedish universities and major technology companies in Lund, Göteborg, Linköping, Sandviken and Stockholm. SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund organised their visit to Lund University, that included visiting the Nanoscience laboratory at the Dept. of Physics (photo above). More information.
Professor Ravinder Kaur from the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi held a SASNET lecture at Lund University on Wednesday 11 March, 14.15–16. Prof. Kaur talked about ”Strangers as Spouses: Marriage Implications of India’s Skewed sex Ratio”, focusing on the continuing gender imbalance and the recent steep declines in the child sex ratio in India. The presentation is based on extensive fieldwork consisting of interviews with cross-region couples in the state of Haryana with additional evidence from Uttar Pradesh. Some fieldwork-based evidence has also been obtained from the bride-sending states of West Bengal and Kerala. An interesting finding and a hopeful sign is the positive sex ratio of the offspring of such marriages. The lecture was organised in collaboration with Lund University’s Dept. of Economic History, and the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE). Venue: Conference room, Dept. of Economic History, Scheelevägen 15 B, 1st floor, Lund. More information (as a pdf-file).
• Dr. Walter Andersen, Associate Director of the South Asia Studies Program at Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C., USA held a joint SASNET/UPF (Lund University Association of Foreign Affairs) lecture in Lund on Monday 16 March 2009, at 19.30. Dr. Andersen, who has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, lectured on ”Islamic militancy in India: A domestic issue with significant foreign policy implications” He has recently retired as chief of the U.S. State Department's South Asia Division in the Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia. Venue for the seminar: Café Athen, Sandgatan 2, Lund. More information about Dr. Andersen.
SASNET’s searchable database for Swedish and Nordic researchers involved in any kind of South Asia related research has been updated. The register, created in 2001 has been dormant for a long time but has now been reshuffled, more visibly presented, and with full interactivity for the users. The researchers already represented in the database are obliged to log in and do necessary changes. Log-in information has been sent by e-mail to them. Those Swedish and Nordic researchers not yet represented are kindly invited to join the register and enter information about current South Asia related research in the database. Please go to the entrance page www.sasnet.lu.se/updResearchers.php. As an old user click on the "update" button, as a new user click on the ”new user” button. Please note that your e-mail address will become your user name for future log-in.
To search for individual researchers in the database, please go to www.sasnet.lu.se/registerf.html.
Please note that the database/register currently is only open for Swedish and Nordic researchers.