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South Asia Centre

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South Asia Centre
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7107 5330

Email southasiacentre@lse.ac.uk


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Leaf panel2

Message from Dr Mukulika Banerjee, Director of the South Asia Centre

Welcome to the South Asia Centre! The SAC at LSE aims to serve as a hub for all faculty, visitors, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students at LSE interested in the South Asia region including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka. It was instituted in June 2015 to provide a focus for the various strands of work current at LSE that engaged the region whose particularities constantly challenge conventional social science thinking on a wide range of themes.

Currently LSE has more than 70 academic faculty and many more doctoral students post-docs and Fellows who work on South Asia within disciplinary departments right across the School, making it a global leader of social science expertise on South Asia. Substantial numbers of undergraduate and masters level students from South Asia also come to study at LSE every year. There is thus a huge LSE alumni membership interested in South Asia across the globe. The SAC provides a common platform for all of them.

The SAC also seeks to harness this world class multi-disciplinary expertise to further the School's fundamental mission of impacting public awareness through informed knowledge. To this end, it provides an interface between academic research and governments, think tanks, media and parastatal through a multi-faceted dialogue.

We hope all of you at LSE and beyond will attend our events, visit our website and connect with us on social media, read and contribute to our South Asia @ LSE blog and support the Centre's work.

Click here to hear more from Dr Banerjee about setting up the Centre.

student politicos fco visit

Indian student politicians visit LSE

On 30 November the South Asia Centre hosted a group of Indian "next gen" politicians who were visiting the UK as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office study trip. During their visit, the visitors interacted with LSE students and participated in a lively debate around demonetisation in India.

Tristram Hunt

The Hon Dr Tristram Hunt, MP speaks on 'Cities of Empire' in first lecture of new Colony as Empire series

In late November The Hon Dr Tristram Hunt MP visited the South Asia Centre to speak on his book Ten Cities that Made an Empire  which explores the expansion of the British Empire through the lens of the major cities. Particular attention was given to the three Indian cities that featured in the book: Calcutta, Bombay and New Delhi.

Listen to the event podcast here. The South Asia @ LSE interview with Dr Hunt will be available here shortly.

Ashwini Deshpande

Professor Ashwini Deshpande presents new paper on caste, class and socio-economic mobility in India 

On 22 November the South Asia Centre hosted a workshop for LSE faculty and researchers where Professor Ashwini Deshpande, Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, presented her new research on how social mobility impacts educational and professional outcomes.

The South Asia @ LSE interview with Professor Deshpande is available here.

Future of Pakistan panel

First student-run Pakistan conference takes place at LSE, supported by the South Asia Centre

On 19 November the LSESU Pakistan Development Society hosted a day-long Future of Pakistan Conference to bring together members of the government, experts, and students with a keen interest in discussing strategies and policy recommendations.

Speakers included Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Dr S Akbar Zaidi, Dr Umar Siaf, Dr Mavish Shami, Dr Adnan Kan and many more. The organisers will compile a report summarising the conclusions of the conference, which will be published on their website in due course.

Arif Hasan

Urbanisation Trends in South Asia: Arif Hasan on the Case of Karachi

In the past twenty years major urban related changes have taken place in Karachi which are similar to those of other South Asian mega cities. At an event co-hosted by the South Asia Centre and LSE Cities, Arif Hasan, a practicing Pakistani architect-planner, writer, teacher and activist working in Karachi, discussed the nature and scale of migration; the social and physical change in informal settlements; changes in academia, civil society and government thinking, structure and legislation; and the "burden" of past development. The event was chaired by Philipp Rode.

Listen to the event podcast here, and read the South Asia @ LSE interview with Mr Hasan here.

Baburam Bhattarai 2

Former Prime Minister of Nepal speaks at the South Asia Centre

On 14 November Dr Baburam Bhattarai, former Prime Minister of Nepal, and Dr Dan Hirslund (LSE) were in conversation about a range of issues confronting contemporary Nepal. They touched on issues from corruption to reconstruction efforts following the 2015 earthquakes and the role of the Nepali youth in politics today. The event was chaired by Professor Michael Hutt (SOAS).

Listen to the event podcast here, and read the South Asia @ LSE interview with Dr Bhattarai here.


Prof Rajeev Gowda discusses flawed political finance laws and corruption in India

The issue of how to finance politics is one that plagues democracies everywhere. In the case of India it is particularly acute, as the current laws – despite good intentions – serve to encourage corruption in the system.  During a recent visit to London, Professor Rajeev Gowda spoke at LSE on this issue and started a discussion on possible remedies to reduce candidate and party dependence on black money.

Listen to the event podcast here and read the South Asia @ LSE interview with Professor Gowda here.


Martin Woollacott in conversation with Salil Tripathi

On 7 November Martin Woollacott   was in conversation with Salil Tripathi on the themes raised in his book The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and Its Unquiet Legacy  (2014).

The two journalists had a wide ranging discussion about Bangladesh since its inception, touching on the how the war began, how the polical parties still draw on the conflict as a source of legitimacy and how the country is coping with the fallout from the war crimes. They also explored how the challenges facing Bangladesh have evolved, touching on climate change, extremism and the economy.

Read the LSE review of the book here.

Ashutosh Varshney

India's Democracy: Electoral Vibrancy, Liberal Deficits

On 4 November Professor Ashutosh Varshney and Ashis Ray spoke at the South Asia Centre on India’s democratic and electoral record. They provided an analysis of state elections in India since 2014 and assessed the BJP national government’s record half way into their term. 

Listen to the event podcast here and read the South Asia @ LSE interview with Professor Varshney here.

Pakistan Development Society HC event

Pakistan High Commission hosts dinner for LSE students and alumni

On 21 October, the High Commission of Pakistan in London generously hosted a dinner for current LSE students and alumni who are based in the UK. The event was coordinated by the LSE SU Pakistan Society and members of the Pakistan Development Society and South Asia Centre were also in attendance. 

At the event, the High Commission announced some of the events they will be organising in 2017 to mark 70 years of independence. The LSE SU Pakistan Development Society also announced the launch of tickets for their Future of Pakistan Conference, which takes place on 19 November. Find out more about the conference and buy tickets.

FCO Group

Indian Parliamentarians visit LSE

On 21 October the South Asia Centre hosted a group of Indian Parliamentarians who were visiting the UK as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office study trip. During their visit to LSE the group had talks on the British and Indian economies in comparative perspective from Dr Swati Dhingra and the legal issues around Brexit from lawyer and LSE alumna Sarah George. They also had a chance to meet current LSE students and visit the statue of Social Reformer and LSE alumnus Dr BR Ambedkar. 

PhD Reception

PhD welcome reception and Masterclass

This month the South Asia Centre held two events for PhD students: a welcome drinks reception and a Masterclass on Rethinking Quantitative Data. The reception offered doctoral researchers the opportunity to meet those from other years and disciplines working on the region. The workshop led by Dr Laura Zimmermann, SAC Visiting Fellow, explored the availability and diversity of data and how they can be used to greater effect by both quantitative and qualitative researchers. 

directors welcome

Director of the South Asia Centre's message for the new academic year [video]

Watch Dr Mukulika Banerjee discussing the motivations for establishing the South Asia Centre, how the SAC hopes to engage with people across the School and what is planned for the year ahead. 

Click here to see the video.


Society Presidents at Freshers' Fair

Supporting student societies

In September the SAC team met Raza Nazar, Ushma Shah and Tamanna Moushumi, the current presidents of the LSE Student Union Pakistan, India and Bangladesh societies respectively. The South Asia Centre looks forward to supporting their activities in the coming year.

1516 Annual Report Cover

2015/16 Annual Report

In its first year the South Asia Centre forged greater and more substantial links between South Asia and all aspects of LSE and stepped up the School's engagement with the region.

Read about all our activities - from LSE public events and the first ever India LSE Summit to our collaborations with students, alumni, faculty, regional experts and organsitions and the High Commissions - in our 2015/16 annual report, available here.

Kathmandu Alumni

SAC Deputy Director Meets Alumni in Nepal

On 6 August Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Deputy Director of the South Asia Centre, met with the Nepali alumni association in Kathmandu to discuss the South Asia Centre's plans and activities - particularly in relation to Nepal - and find out more about the careers that alumni had pursued since leaving LSE.


Farewell reception for Deputy High Commisioner of India to the UK Dr Virander Paul

The South Asia Centre, in partnership with the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, hosted a farewell reception for Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK Dr Virander Paul. 

Dr Paul has been a strong advocate for the South Asia Centre supporting joint enterprises between the Indian Government and the South Asia Centre. This has included developing a Practioner in Residence Scheme, and a residential programme delivered at the LSE focusing on social inequality, injustice and empowerment affecting contemporary Britain. 50 research scholars and 8 government officers from across India took part in the programme, which was part of the 125th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Dr B R Ambedkar.

To see more photos from the event click here

The event was supported by Rami Ranger CBE.

DLewis Dhaka

SAC Visit to Bangladesh

Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Deputy Director of the South Asia Centre, visited Bangladesh from 18-21 June 2016, to meet prominent business leaders and alumni. He led an LSE delegation which included Professor David Lewis (Head of the Department of Social Policy & Member of the SAC Faculty Advisory Group), and prominent alumni Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury (Vice President, BRAC and member of the SAC Advisory Board) and Professor Imran Rahman (Vice Chancellor, University of the Liberal Arts Bangladesh). The meetings had the twin purpose of raising funds for the Centre, and to organise the first ever LSE Bangladesh Summit in Dhaka in 2017.

During the visit, Professor Lewis gave a public lecture, organised by ULAB, on "The Decline of Radical Development NGOs in Bangladesh".

Read more about his lecture in the news coverage here and here.

SAC logo black

South Asia Centre completes first year

Yesterday the LSE South Asia Centre (SAC) celebrated its first anniversary. It has been a busy year: the SAC has hosted more than fifteen events and supported LSESU societies to run their own talks and conferences. South Asia @ LSE, the Centre blog, has expanded its remit considerably and produces regular academic analysis of topical debates.

The SAC also hosted the first LSE India Summit in Goa, and in February Professor Craig Calhoun became the first LSE Director to visit Pakistan as he participated in an official SAC visit. They also organised a range of events to mark the 125th birth anniversary of leading social reformer and jurist Dr BR Ambedkar, an LSE alumnus.

The team are looking forward to expanding engagement across LSE and South Asia over the coming year, with special events planned to mark 70 years of independence.

Click here to for more info about SAC's first year.

Gagan Sood

Dr Gagan Sood  (Assistan Professor in the Department of International History) has authored the following book, which has just been published by Cambridge University Press. 

India and the Islamic Heartlands: An Eighteenth-Century World of Circulation and Exchange

Based on the chance survival of a remarkable cache of documents, India and the Islamic Heartlands recaptures a vanished and forgotten world from the eighteenth century spanning much of today's Middle East and South Asia. Gagan Sood focuses on ordinary people - traders, pilgrims, bankers, clerics, brokers, scribes, among others - who were engaged in activities marked by large distances and long silences. By elucidating their everyday lives in a range of settings, from the family household to the polity at large, Sood pieces together the connective tissue of a world that lay beyond the sovereign purview. Recapturing this obscured and neglected world helps us better understand the region during a pivotal moment in its history, and offers new answers to old questions concerning early modern Eurasia and its transition to colonialism.

HCI Welcome by SAC and Professor Craig Calhoun

India's new High Commissioner to the UK H.E. Mr Navtej Sarna welcomed at the LSE

High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Navtej Sarna visited the LSE on March 9. He was hosted by the Director and President, Prof. Craig Calhoun who shared with him the vision and plans of the newly formed South Asia Centre; he also interacted with academics associated with the Centre working on issues of importance to India.

At the High Commissioner's suggestion, it was agreed that given the close proximity of the LSE and the HCI, as the two institutions are literally across the road, they will strengthen their ties through a new '100 Foot Journey Club' (#100FJC) that will host regular events and discussions on topical issues and research about India.

Prof Craig Calhoun with PM Nawaz Sharif 23 Feb 2016

Professor Craig Calhoun has become the first LSE Director to visit Pakistan.

This was at the beginning of a week long trip around the country, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, where Professor Calhoun, along with Dr Mukulika Banerjee and Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Director and Deputy Director of the LSE South Asia Centre respectively, met with Government ministers, students, alumni, and gave presentations at Universities in each city. 

Read about his meeting with PM Nawaz Sharif here

You can see more highlights from the visit on our faceboook and twitter accounts.

S Ibnes Abbas addressing alumni with Craig Calhoun and Mukulika Banerjee

Reception for LSE Alumni from Pakistan in the UK

On Tuesday 16th February 2016, the South Asia Centre held a reception for LSE Alumni from Pakistan in the UK where they met the LSE President & Director, Professor Craig Calhoun, and His Excellency Mr. S. Ibne Abbas, High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK. 

Dr Mukulika Banerjee also spoke about the South Asia Centre and its imminent trip to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Thanks to all alumni who came, and for the support given by members of the LSE SU Pakistan Society and LSE SU Pakistan Development Society. It was great to meet you and hope to see you at South Asia Centre events in the near future

Photos of the event are on our Facebook page here

Sam Pritoda

LSE India Summit 2016

‘We live in a world where UBER, the largest taxi company, does not own taxis; Airbnb, the largest accommodation company, does not own rooms; Alibaba, the biggest retailer in the world, does not have a shop. In this world, the language of GDP, balance sheets, per capita income no longer make sense. We need a total redesign of how we look at global finance.’

     ~ Sam Pitroda, pioneer of India’s IT revolution, speaking at             the LSE India Summit in Goa  

The South Asia Centre hosted the first ever ‘LSE India Summit 2016’ at the Cidade de Goa on 28-30 January 2016.

Sponsored in full by Difficult Dialogues LLP, the Summit was immensely successful, with more than 300 people attended it over 3 days. 

Read more about the Summit here.

Details on panels and speakers here.

Twitter Hashtag used for this event: #LSEIndia2016 

Group photo of Ambedkar students

The second delegation of Ambedkar Research Students had a successful visit, finishing with a reception hosted by the South Asia Centre on Friday 27th November. 

Whilst here, two of the students were interviewed by Rozelle Laha, from the Hindustan Times, which features in an article published in the Delhi edition on Wednesday 2nd December. 

The article is featured on page 19 of the Delhi edition. Click here  to view.

South Asia Centre leaf

About the South Asia Centre logo

Sacred Fig (ficus religiosa), Pipal, Bodhi - this symbolises at once social, cultural, religious and ecological benevolence, representing a shared cultural geography and noetic economy. Find out more about the symbol and why it has been adopted as the LSE South Asia Centre logo here.

Asma Jahangir

Religious Intolerance and its Impact on Democracy

The Amartya Sen Lecture 2017, jointly hosted by STICERD and the International Inequalities Institute

Tuesday 17 January 2017

6:30PM to 8:00PM

Old Theatre, Old Building

Speaker: Asma Jilani Jahangir

Discussant: Professor Amartya Sen

Chair: Professor Chetan Bhatt

Asma Jilani Jahangir is a Pakistani human rights lawyer and activist who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Professor Amartya Sen is Thomas W Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He is the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics and an LSE Honorary Fellow.

Professor Chetan Bhatt is director of the Human Rights Centre at LSE.

STICERD brings together world-class academics to put economics and related disciplines at the forefront of research and policy. Founded in 1978 by the renowned Japanese economist Michio Morishima, with donations from Suntory and Toyota, we are a thriving research community within the LSE.  

The new International Inequalities Institute at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to provide co-ordination and strategic leadership for critical and cutting edge research and inter-disciplinary analysis of inequalities.

Click here for more info.

Collective Choice and Social Welfare

Collective Choice and Social Welfare: a conversation with Professor Amartya Sen

This is a South Asia Centre public discussion

Thursday 19 January 2017


Old Theatre, Old Building

Speaker: Professor Amartya Sen

Chair: Professor Kevin Roberts

The conversation surrounds the re-issue of Collective Choice  (1970), with new arguments and results, alternating between the mathematical and non-mathematical to discuss choice, welfare, inequality, poverty and rights.  

Kevin Roberts is Sir John Hicks Professor of Economics at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.  

Amartya Sen is Thomas W Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and an honary fellow of LSE. 

This is event is ticketed.

These will be released on Wednesday 11 January here.


‘The Bloomsbury Indians’: Writing Across the Tracks in Colonial London

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture which is part of the Colony as Empire: Histories from Whitehall series. 

Thursday 26 January 2017


NAB.2.04, NAB

Speaker: Susheila Nasta

‘Bloomsbury’ is often represented as a culturally dynamic space, the familiar crucible oftwentieth century Euro-American modernism where bohemians lived in squares but loved in triangles. Many of those very streets, squares and lodging houses which criss-cross its parameters were inhabited by several hundreds of Indian students, intellectuals and writers who had taken up residence at the heart of Empire through the 19th-20th centuries.

Drawing on recent research, Nasta’s lecture will reveal how the Indian presence in Bloomsbury began to shape a transnational global modernity, simultaneously shifting British perspectives and angles of vision. In mapping such material traces, one simultaneously encounters the fascinating characters who once walked its streets: novelist, public intellectual and BBC broadcaster, Mulk Raj Anand;  poet, editor and publisher, Tambimuttu; Labour councillor and Founding Editor of the Penguin Pelican series, Krishna Menon;  and gay Irish-Indian novelist, drama critic and journalist, Aubrey Menen. Although writing Britain from a range of different perspectives, this distinctive group were key to exposing the hidden contours of a differently inflected modernity situated both within and outside the European body.  

Susheila Nasta is professor in Modern Literature at the Open University. She has earlier held teaching and research positions at Queen Mary University of London, Cambridge and the University of Portsmouth. Nasta have always been interested in issues of cultural difference and diversity having grown up in India, Britain, Holland and Germany.  In 1984, she founded the famous literary magazine, Wasafiri: The Magazine of International Contemporary Writing, now housed at the Open University and co-published with Routledge.   

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.

COVER IMAGE Somme Q_003983

Forgotten Soldiers of the Raj

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture which is part of the Colony as Empire: Histories from Whitehall series. 

Wednesday 8th February 2017


32L.G.03, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields

Speaker: Shrabani Basu

Shrabani Basu will speak about the nearly one and a half million soldiers from the Indian subcontinent who fought in the British army in the First World War. Travelling from remote villages in India to the harsh trenches of Flanders and France for a war that was not of their making, they fought with unquestioning valour and loyalty, winning some of the highest bravery awards.  Despite being the largest colonial military contingent, their contribution to Britain’s military engagement is almost completely forgotten.

Shrabani Basu is a journalist and writer. Her latest book For King and Another Country: Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-1918  (2015) tells, for the first time, the stories of Indian soldiers who went to the Western Front: from a Maharaja who fought for Empire to the Pathan who won the first Victoria Cross; from cooks and sweepers who accompanied the troops to the young pilots who brought down German planes; from the Indian Muslim soldiers who prayed to Mecca in the fields of France to the bonds that were forged in the mud and blood of the battlefields.  

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.

4 year old Dikshan-Emma Levine

Cricket as Revolution

This is a South Asia Centre LSE Literary Festival panel

Wednesday 22nd February 2017


Wolfson Theatre, NAB

Speakers: Dr Prashant Kidambi, Peter Oborne, Dr Parvathi Raman

This panel will draw on the perspectives of history to explore the dynamics of cricket in contemporary South Asia. Why has the game acquired such enduring roots in South Asia? Are there any common features in the way cricket is played, patronised and followed in the different countries of the region? Why is the game so intensely politicised in these countries? In what ways has the rise of India as a major cricketing powerhouse had an impact on cricketing relations with its neighbours? Is the IPL here to stay and if so, is it a force for good or does it threaten to irrevocably transform cricket as a sport?

Prashant Kidambi is Associate Professor in Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester. 

Peter Oborne (@OborneTweets) is a regular commentator on politics for television, Associate Editor of The Spectator and former chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph. He is author of Wounded Tiger: The History of Cricket in Pakistan and White on Green: Celebrating the Drama of Pakistan Cricket

Parvathi Raman is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at SOAS. She is an anthropologist and historian conducting research on the South Asian diaspora, in both historical and contemporary contexts.  Her current research project is a study of South Asian communities in postwar Britain and their relationship to cricket.

This event is free and open to all. More details here.

Image: © Emma Levine/www.emma-levine.com

Bug Splat

Art as a Protest Device in Pakistan

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture

Thursday 23rd February 2017

6:30 - 8:00pm

OLD.4.10, Fourth Floor, Old Building

Speaker: Ali Rez

Ali Rez is a creative director with more than 16 years of experience: he has won in excess of 100 major advertising awards, and in 2016 is ranked amongst the top 10 creatives in the world by the Big Won report.

Ali Rez, as one of a group of artists including JR, produced the art installation Not A Bug Splat which featured a gigantic portrait of a girl laid out in North West Pakistan to peacefully protest against drone warfare. The campaign gained widespread media coverage (3.5 billion impressions), has been exhibited in several art galleries around the world, and has won several creative awards including the Lion D'Or at the Cannes Creativity Festival in 2015, several British D&AD pencils, and a Clio Gold. Ali Rez will talk about this project and explain how a peaceful work of art is sometimes the most impactful and effective method to protest against an act of human rights violation in South Asia.

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.



Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali in conversation with Professor Javed Majeed 

This is a South Asia Centre public discussion and is being organised in collaboration with Bloomsbury Pakistan.

Monday 27th February 2017

6:30pm - 8:00pm

Thai Theatre, NAB

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali will be in conversation with Professor Javed Majeed on poet-laureate Muhammad Iqbal's philosophy and thought.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was the 106th Bishop of Rochester, for 15 years, until 1 September 2009. He is originally from Asia and was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. He was appointed in 1994. Before that he was the General Secretary of CMS from 1989-1994 and prior to holding this position was Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan.

Professor Javid Majeed joined King’s College London as Professor of English and Comparative Literature in January 2012, having taught at Queen Mary's and SOAS, University of London. His publications include Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism (Routledge, 2008) and Autobiography, Travel and Postnational Identity. Nehru, Gandhi and Iqbal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).He is currently writing a book on the Linguistic Survey of India, conducted by the colonial state under the supervision of Sir George Abraham Grierson (1851-1941) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.

Bloomsbury Logo (F) (Low-res)


Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture which is part of the Colony as Empire: Histories from Whitehall series. 

Monday 6th March 2017

6:30pm - 8:00pm

Thai Theatre, NAB

Speaker: Dr Shashi Tharoor

Focusing on his latest book Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India (2017), Dr Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes the argument that British imperialism in the Indian subcontinent was a form of enlightened despotism that would benefit the Indians, demonstrating how every supposed imperial ‘gift’, from the railways to the rule of law, was designed in Britain’s interests alone. This incisive reassessment of colonialism exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain’s stained Indian legacy.

Dr Shashi Tharoor is a sitting Member of the Indian Parliament affiliated to the Congress Party. Dr Tharoor has a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the US, and was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998 as a Global Leader of Tomorrow; he has authored fourteen previous books and has won numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. 

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.

jahnavi phalkey

Flights of Empire: Allies, Aeronautics, and Adversary in World War II Bangalore

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture which is part of the Colony as Empire: Histories from Whitehall series. 

Wednesday 8th March 2017


32L.G.03, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields

Speaker: Jahnavi Phalkey

Jahnavi Phalkey will tell the little-known story of an aircraft base in Bangalore -- part of Britain’s Southeast Asia Command during World War II -- its relationship with Germany, and its use by British and allied armies to plan military action in Southeast Asia. Being able to use India as a base gave the British a strategic advantage in the region beginning from Burma to Japan. What is less known is its connection to the establishment of aeronautics research in independent India. 

Jahnavi Phalkey is Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Technology at King’s College London. She is the author of Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth Century India (2013).

This event is free and open to all.

Please email if you have any queries.    

Roy Moxham

Distorting History: Robert Clive and the Capture of Bengal in 1757

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture which is It is part of the Colony as Empire: Histories from Whitehall series. 

Wednesday 17th May 2017


Alumni Theatre, NAB

Speaker: Roy Moxham 

Roy Moxham has made his mark in readers’ minds with his sensitive studies of the great hedge (2002) and tea (2003), highlighting the stark yet unknown consequences of British imperial rule in the subcontinent; he has also written a book on Phoolan Devi, India’s ‘Bandit Queen’ (2010). His forthcoming book The Theft of India (2017) deals with the human cost and consequences of Clive’s annexation of Bengal in 1757; while the Battle of Plassey (which led to the final defeat of Bengal is well-known, the tremendous human suffering and loss of life is a rarely discussed chapter in history. The Theft of India will be on sale at his lecture.

Roy Moxham grew up in Worcestershire. His varied and exciting life has seen him work on a Herefordshire fruit farm; as a tea planter in Nyasaland, and later Malawi – spending 13 years in Eastern Africa before returning to London in 1974 to set up a gallery of African art. He is a trained book and paper conservator, has worked at the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Senate House library, University of London. From 2005, Moxham spends his time in writing and giving talks.

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.   


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    Following years of civil unrest, Sri Lanka is now finding its feet as an influential country in South Asia for trade. Sumudhu Jayasinghe looks back at how 2016 shaped Sri Lanka’s emerging economy, and what it means for the region going forward. Sri Lanka, though a small island state, lies at the tip of the South Asian subcontinent and at the center of the Indian Ocean. In […]
  • Will politics drive or impede urbanisation in Pakistan?
    Pakistan is amongst the most urbanised countries of South Asia, experiencing a consistent and long-term demographic shift to urban centres. Long neglected, urban development and planning have only recently become part of the policy discourse, largely as the urban electorate has expanded significantly, writes Hina Shaikh. The need for urban planning is gradually gaining policy traction with main political parties in […]

Sri Lanka posts

  • Given its geostrategic importance, Sri Lanka’s policy decisions must seek to balance competing actors and interests
    Following years of civil unrest, Sri Lanka is now finding its feet as an influential country in South Asia for trade. Sumudhu Jayasinghe looks back at how 2016 shaped Sri Lanka’s emerging economy, and what it means for the region going forward. Sri Lanka, though a small island state, lies at the tip of the South Asian subcontinent and at the center of the Indian Ocean. In […]
  • Paradiplomacy and India: The growing role of states in foreign policy
    Globalisation and trends towards federalism have created increasing scope for paradiplomacy. In this article, Harsh V. Pant and Falguni Tewari discuss the opportunities that sub-national international relations could create for a number of Indian states and the challenges that paradiplomacy poses for the central government. This post builds on a previous article Paradiplomacy: Can India learn from China? While the Modi government can be […]

St Antony’s Asian Studies Centre Seminar Programme: South Asian History 

11 October - 29 November 2016 (weekly)

Convened by Dr Faisal Devji, the seminars take place on Tuesdays at 2 pm in St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Full programme available here.

All are welcome. Enquires to asian@sant.ox.ac.uk
Abstracts for upcoming talks can be found on the College website

Dadabhai Naoroji

Black Chronicles - Photographic Portraits 1862-1948

18 May - 11 December 2016

National Portrait Gallery, St Martins Lane, WC2H 0HE

The National Portrait Gallery in partnership with Autograph ABP presents a unique ‘snapshot’ of black lives and experiences in Britain.

This important display of photographs reveal some of the stories of Black and Asian lives in Britain from the 1860s through to the 1940s.

Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits 1862-1948 brings together some of the earliest photographs of Black and Asian sitters in the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection.

These are exhibited alongside recently discovered images from the Hulton Archive, a division of Getty Images. The display of over 40 photographs highlight an important and complex black presence in Britain before 1948, a watershed moment when the Empire Windrush brought the first group of Caribbean migrants to Great Britain.

In addition, Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits 1862-1948 highlights new acquisitions including a series of portraits by Angus McBean, of Les Ballets Nègres, Britain’s first all-black ballet company and a selection of photographs of the pioneer of classical Indian dance in Britain, Pandit Ram Gopal, by George Hurrell.

This exhibition is free. 

For more info click here.

Nathaniel Halhed public domain

British Library South Asia Series

A series of talks based around the British Library's ‘Two Centuries of Indian Print’ project and the BL South Asia collection.

14, 21 and 28 November 2016


The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB

Monday 14 November Dr Richard Williams (Oxford). Forgotten Music and Muted Women: gender, performance, and print in the British Library

Monday 21 November Neha Vermani (RHUL). Mughals on the menu: A probe into the culinary world of Mughal elite

Monday 28 November The ‘High’ and ‘Low’ of the Farce in Colonial Bengal: Bat-tala, Proscenium and Beyond

Click here for more info. No booking required. In case of queries contact Dr Layli Uddin at layli.uddin@bl.uk.

Image credit: Nathaniel Halhed's 'A Grammar of the Bengal Language' (Hoogly, 1778). British Library, T 6863. 


MN Srinivas Memorial Lecture 2016: Outside Caste?

A King's India Institute Lecture

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Old Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29), Kings College Strand Campus

Speaker: Professor David Mosse (School of Oriental and African Studies)

Dr B.R. Ambedkar, whose 125th birth anniversary is celebrated this year (2016), provided a basis for social policy and law in India in relation to caste inequality and discrimination. However, the course he charted towards justice and common humanity in the age of equality and rationalism was frequently challenged by crosswinds of religion and nationalism.

Taking the separate cases of caste and caste-based discrimination among non-Hindus, and outside India — the exclusion of Christian and Muslim Dalits from provisions and protections as Scheduled Castes in India, and response to the outlawing of case discrimination in the UK — this lecture looks at various ways in which caste comes to be enclosed within religion (specifically Hinduism) and the nation, so as to restrict the field of social policy, exempt caste from law, and limit the social politics of caste.

Read more about the event here and click here to register (required). The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

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