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Spring 2016

For the Spring semester 2016, SASA awarded travel grants to Otso Harju, Masters student in Asian Studies at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies and Sanchari De, PhD student at the Department of Communication and Media.

Otso Harju

Otso Harju from Asian Studies was given a SASNET Travel Grant for the fieldwork for his MSc thesis.The work took place in New Delhi in the spring of 2016. During his fieldwork in the Indian capital, Harju interviewed ten young middle-class feminist women about their views on domestic workers, housework and gendered everyday expectations. His thesis “Women and Maids – Perceptions of domestic workers, housework and class among young, progressive, middle- to upper-class women in Delhi” was given the highest grade and was published as a working paper by the Center for Asian Studies at Lund University in 2017. Read the full paper as a pdf: PDF iconotsoharjuwomenandmaids.pdf

Sanchari De

Sanchari De's application was regarding a project on the connection on social media and social movements against the backdrop of the Shahbag movement in Bangladesh.

Sanchari wrote some words about her trip:

"The field trip in Kolkata with SASA scholarship was very fruitful. To avoid the critical and often violent situation for conducting field research in Bangaldesh, the field research was conducted in Kolkata, India from December 24, 2015 – January 23, 2016. Unfortunately, I suffered from chicken pox from the day I arrived in Kolkata and it was a bit challenging for me to continue working with this infectious disease. However, with the support from family, friends and colleagues, I made most of my trip.

I took interviews of 6 people in Kolkata for my research. I visited them personally at their homes or at a place suggested by them. I met them personally and recoded their interview in my mobile phone with their consent. These six persons are:

Mr. Arindam Munshi, social activist

Mr. Subha Pratim, social activist

Mr. Samir Aich, Political activist, painter

Mr. Kalikaprasad Majumder, Singer and member of the Bengali folk band Dohar

Mr. Subha Prasad Nandi Majumder, Singer

Md. Sajib Islam, Blogger

Kolkata is in the state of  Bengal, India whose official language is Bengali same as that of Bangladesh. As culturally Bengali people of West Bengal much close to Bangladesh, many people protested during the Shahbag movement from Kolkata. So, the field research in Kolkata gave access to those people who directly participated in the movement from this geographical location. The location of Kolkata is also important for some bloggers who sometimes go there to avoid conflicting situation in Bangladesh. Many people of Kolkata came as refugees after the partition in 1947 and after the liberation war in 1971. First of all during my field research in Kolkata library at the Deputy High Commission in Bangladesh was visited in December 2015. Although the library had not materials related to the Shahbag Movement, I study the history of the Liberation War in that library. Before going to Kolkata from Sweden, I made contact with Mr. Arindam Munshi who was a secular activist and he put me through to contact with other activists and bloggers present at that time in Kolkata. I met them and interviewed them. Interviews were recorded with their permissions and later transcribed to use as research data. Visual Artist Samir Aich and Singer Kalika Prasad Majumder was contacted and interviewed. Visual Artist  Samir Aich was one of the artists and activists who showed solidarity with the Shahbag Movement at the Academy of Fine Arts and Singer Kalika Prasad Majumder composed a song for the Shahbag movement which his folkband Dohar recorded. Singer Subha Prasad Nandi Majumder was contacted during this visit. He composed the “Shahbager song” . However, he was interviewed for the research at a later date after the fieldwork phase through Skype. Member of an NGO named ‘Amra ekti sachtan prayas’ Subha Pratim was contacted and interviewed. This NGO organized a solidarity rally in Kolkata. They also published a book where they tried to compile literature and texts related to Shahbag. This book entitled Shahbag Shahbag was collected and used as one of the sources of data for the thesis. The poems, slogans etc. compiled in this book referred to in this thesis to underline the use of the history and memory

Apart from interviewing these people I visited the library of Bangladesh High Commission in Kolkata, Jadavpur University Libraries, National Library, British Council’s Library for secondary research Besides these, I talked to numerous people informally to get an idea of nostalgia and memory of people who came as refugees to India during the partition of 1947 or after the Liberation war of 1971. I visited the ‘colony’ area near Jadavpur University where many of these people still live. I also attended the two-day seminar on Indian Cinema at the Jadavpur University in January 2016. With the help of the data collected from this I developed my method and analyses chapters."