A Centre devoted to the study of South Asia will provide a platform from which to launch a coordinated and sustained engagement with the region.
More than 70 LSE academics currently work on South Asia, seeking innovative solutions to the region’s economic, demographic, and development challenges.
The South Asia Centre will lead the School’s long-term engagement with South Asia by facilitating multi-disciplinary approaches and comparative research by LSE academics.
The South Asia Centre will:
- Develop and coordinate new research projects and collaborations
- Provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge between UK and South Asia-based academics
- Expand academic engagement with new South Asian partners
- Host public events, including lectures and seminars
- Facilitate online debate on South Asian issues, through blogs and social media
- Forecast political, economic, environmental and development trends across the region
- Organise events to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani independence
South Asia and LSE
The launch of the South Asia Centre will be the latest development in the long shared history between LSE and the region, especially India.
LSE’s history with India starts with the School’s founding. A gift by the Indian industrialist Sir Ratan Tata in 1912 made the development of applied social studies possible, and led to the establishment of the Department of Social Science at the School, which initiated research into the causes of poverty. Ralf Dahrendorf, former director of the LSE, referred to the association between India and LSE as a story of soul mates.
The greatest fruits of the long tradition of close mutual relations between South Asia and the LSE have been visible over the last century in the generations of fine minds arriving at LSE for higher studies, several of whom in later life became presidents, prime ministers, chief justices, parliamentarians, business leaders, diplomats, thinkers, activists, barristers, academics and Nobel laureates in their countries. They include President K R Narayanan (India) who studied with Sir Harold Laski; Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba (Nepal); diplomats Munir Butt and Maleeha Lodhi (Pakistan), Abul Fateh (Bangladesh); Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan (Pakistan); leaders Tyronne Fernando (Sri Lanka) and Abdul Qayyum Khan (Pakistan); Justices Mustafa Kamal (Bangladesh) and Dorab Patel (Pakistan); economists I G Patel (ex-Director of LSE, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India), A. S. Jayawardene (former Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka), Syed Ali Raza (former President of the National Bank of Pakistan); National Assembly member Shireen Mazari (Pakistan); and trade unionist and women’s activist Vivienne Goonewardena (Sri Lanka), to name but a few. Dr B R Ambedkar, author of the Constitution of independent India, completed his PhD at LSE in the early 1920s; and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen taught at LSE before moving to the US.
Students from India and Pakistan jointly comprise one of the largest international contingents on campus. Each year, these students bring South Asia to LSE by organising India Week and Pakistan Week on campus.
Numerous academic initiatives and fellowships also seek to promote the study of South Asia at the LSE. The International Growth Centre manages several policy research programmes based in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
The establishment of the South Asia Centre will further intensify LSE’s institutional engagement with South Asia and help develop strong links with South Asian academic institutions and government.