Lars Eklund is retiring after 16 years
Lars Eklund has been the deputy director for SASNET and has worked with the network since it was launched in January 2001. He was responsible for the construction and maintenance of the extensive SASNET Internet Gateway on Swedish and Scandinavian South Asian Studies, and the monthly newsletters.
Through frequent travelling, he has also built up a strong network of researchers working on South Asia related issues at Swedish universities, and their collaboration partners at universities in South Asia.
He is a journalist with strong South Asia connections, both professionally and personally – being married to an Indian/Bengali wife and involved in many cultural activies focusing on South Asia. From 1982 till 2007 he was the editor-in-chief of SYDASIEN (South Asia – Political and Cultural Magazine), besides working as reporter cum sub-editor for daily newspapers in different parts of Sweden. For 17 years (1984-2000) he worked as sub-editor, and Night Editor at the daily newspaper Arbetet in Malmö with a great editorial as well as technical responsibility for the newspaper production.
Academically, he carried out undergraduate studies at Lund University in the 1970s in Ethnology, Social Anthropology, and Arabic language studies, crowned by a degree in Jourmalism at the University of Göteborg in 1980.
At SASNET, Lars has been working on a 50 % basis with research communication, and being in charge of administrative duties. In cases of the director going on leave, he has been prepared to step in as acting director.
Lars is also a member of the board, being the Treasurer, for the Europan Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) that organises the biannual European Conferences for South Asian Studies. In 2004, Lars and the then director Staffan Lindberg (who founded SASNET in 2000) successfully oganised the 18th ECSAS conference at Lund University with 400 participants. More information about EASAS.
It should also be mentioned that Lars has travelled extensively to most parts of Asia since the early 1970s, and has visited all the eight South Asian nations on SASNET contact missions. His extramural activities include teaching and lecturing on Indian society, history, culture and religion at various occasions in Swedish schools, folk high schools, voluntary associations, and during several years at Sida seminars for teachers. Currently, Lars is involved in the Swedish Institute run Young Connectors for the Future programme, a leadership training programe for young peoole from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Together with his wife Bubu, he organises cultural seminar programmes on the Nobel Laurate Rabindranath Tagore, and since 2012 they run a singing choir with mostly Swedish people performing Rabindranath’s songs in original Bengali language. The choir frequently holds concert programmes, and in 2013 a tour was even made to India, and a number of appreciated concerts were held in Kolkata, Shantiniketan and other places. Lars has a flat in central Kolkata, his beloved second hometown, and he plans to spend more time there now when he is retiring.
On his last day of work, colleagues and friends came together to congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement. New director Andreas Johansson announced that SASNET's South Asian Library will be named "Lars Eklund Library".