The first ICCR guest professor was Professor Lipi Ghosh from the Department of South and South-East Asian Studies at Calcutta University, Kolkata. She spent the period November 2010–April 2011 at the Centre for Gender Studies.
SASNET asked five questions to Lipi after her leave:
Who are you?
I am Professor Lipi Ghosh and I have a M.A. and Ph. D in History. I have a fist division marker as well state merit and national scholarship winner from her very early academic career. I have an academic background of study in eastern Indian institutions like Cotton College, Gauhati University, MM College, Patna University and University of Calcutta.
What did you do at Lund University?
I was ICCR Chair Professor. My research in Lund University was related to minority studies and its theoretical paradigms. I had teaching assignment in the Department of Gender Studies.
What did your time at Lund University bring to your research?
I could collect significant range of data from Lund University Library.
What is currently on your research agenda?
Currently I am working on India’s relations with South East Asia- From Historical links to Contemporary Convergences.
What was your latest research publication about?
2016: Rabindranath Tagore in South East Asia: Culture, Connectivity & Bridge Making , Primus India, New Delhi, 2016
2016 : Rethinking Connectivity: Region, Place and Space in Asia Primus India, New Delhi, 2016 ( co edited with Rila Mukherhee )
2016: India Myanmar Relations: Historical Links to Contemporary Convergence, Paragon International, New Delhi , 2015
Professor Ghosh is a distinguished scholar of Asian studies in India and her achievement is to promote India’s relations with neighbouring countries. She has research experience of 32 years. She specializes on South East Asian studies and to be specific on Myanmar and Thai studies. She belongs to the genre of a few Indian scholars, who knows Thai language. She has 16 books at her credit from international and national publishers like Routeledge, Cambridge, Munshiram Manoharlal, Rawat, Primus, Asiatic Society etc. Professor Ghosh is former British Academy Award winner (1999), Ford Asia Fellow(2000), Charles Wallace Visiting Scholar(2004) First ICCR Chair Professor in Lund University (2010-2011), Fulbright Professional and Academic Excellence Fellowship, (2014-15). She was also visiting faculty to MSH, Paris, University of British Columbia, Canada, Cornell University, Harvard University, Berkeley Community College, Chulalongkorn University, and Sirinakharin Wirot, Webster University, Thailand and many other places across the globe. She was the Sectional President (countries other than India) for the Indian History Congress of December 2015. She knows English, French, English, Elementary German (Degree from Maxmuller Bhavan), Thai and Hindi, Bengali and Assamese languages.
As a visiting professor at Lund University, Prof. Ghosh was primarily engaged in research. She worked on a collaborative major research project, sponsored by the University Grants Commission, entitled ”India’s Past Cultural Fabrics in Southeast Asia: A Study of Dvaravati Civilization of Ancient Siam”. She was also taking interest in the subject of India – Southeast Asia Relations in the post-colonial era. Lipi Ghosh runs two ongoing project works in this field, one on ”Indo–Thai Relations in the Context of Changing Globalized World”, and another one on ”Thai Cultural Identity in Northeast India: A Study of Tai Ahoms”.
On Monday 15 November 2010, SASNET organised her inaugural lecture as new ICCR Professor at Lund University. Her presentation was entitled ”Ethnicity, Religion and Nation Building: The Northeast Indian Profile”. The Indian Ambassador to Sweden, H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar (on photo along with Prof. Ghosh) was the guest of honour, and he gave a presentation on ”India-Sweden Bilateral Relations”. Lund University was represented by Professor Sven Strömquist, Assistant Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Ann-Katrin Bäcklund, Dean of the Faculty for Social Sciences; Dr. Kerstin Sandell, Head of department, Centre for Gender Studies; and Dr. Anna Lindberg, SASNET.
The ICCR professorship
An ICCR professorship programme was run at Lund University during four years, 2010–2014. The programme was 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. The agreement was valid for four years, with a new Indian Professor being selected each year. It has now come to an end.
SASNET was actively involved in finalizing the ICCR professorship programme 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, 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.