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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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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.

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 organisations through a multi-faceted dialogue.

We hope all of you at LSE and beyond will attend our events, visit our blog 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.

Sherry Rehman (2)

South Asia Centre holds first ever LSE Pakistan Summit in Karachi

In April the South Asia Centre curated Pakistan @ 70, a two-day event presented by Aman Foundation. The Summit was held at the Institute of Business Administration City Campus in Karachi and comprised panels on philanthropy and institution building, art and modernity, the Constitution, and development and its dividends. In additon Senator Sherry Rehman inaugurated Day 2 and and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi gave the closing remarks. 

Click here for the summit report, session videos, interviews and more.

 
Manisha question

Souh Asia Centre successfully concludes second LSE India Summit in Delhi

India @ 70, presented by Apollo Tyres Ltd, took place at the India Habitat Centre at the end of March. The three day event featured four panel discussions on contemporary issues, from corporate social responsibility and water security, to foreign policy and the Constitution.

In addition, there was a special exhibition curated by the Partition Museum, a conversation on the LSE’s longstanding relationship with India featuring Professors Michael Cox and Ramachandra Guha and a workshop on quantitative methods for the social sciences. 

Click here for the Summit report, multimedia and more.

 
Public Resource Org UP election 2009

Experts react to 2017 Legislative Election results announced across India

On 11 March results were announced for five legislative elections held in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. Mukulika Banerjee, Surajit Bhalla, Meghnad Desai and Maitreesh Ghatak, who were at LSE for the fourth LSE SU India Forum, gathered to discuss key trends and features emerging from the results. Read more on South Asia @ LSE here.

 

Arun Jaitley credit Sonali Campion

100 Foot Journey Club event with Indian Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley

On Saturday 25 February the Hon'ble Minister for Finance Mr Arun Jaitley spoke at LSE on India's current economic and financial climate, and engaged in a Q&A with LSE students and staff.

The event was jointly hosted by the High Commission of India, the South Asia Centre and the LSE Financial Markets Group. It formed part of the LSE-HCI 100 Foot Journey Club series.

A podcast of the event is available here.

 

Pakistan vertical logo composite

Registration opens for Pakistan @ 70: LSE Pakistan Summit 2017

Pakistan @ 70, presented by Aman Foundation and curated by the LSE South Asia Centre, is a global platform to debate matters of contemporary importance to Pakistan and its influence in the international arena.

The Summit will take place at the Institute of Business Administration (City Campus), Karachi on 10-11 April 2017.

More details here. Register for your free ticket here.

Speaker information and more will be announced over the coming weeks. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates

 

India Summit vertical composite

Registration opens for India @ 70: LSE India Summit 2017

India @ 70, presented by Apollo Tyres Ltd and curated by the LSE South Asia Centre, is a global platform to debate contemporary India's power on the international stage.

The Summit will take place at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi between 29 and 31 March 2017.

More details here. Register for your free ticket here.

Speaker information and more will be announced over the coming weeks. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

 

Collective Choice and Social Welfare

Professor Amartya Sen launches new edition of Collective Choice and Social Welfare at the South Asia Centre

On 19 January Professor Amartya Sen was in conversation with Professor Kevin Roberts about the re-issue of his 1970 monograph Collective Choice and Social Welfare, which was widely celebrated for its path breaking role in integrating economics and ethics, and for its influence in opening up new areas of research in social choice. The new edition features new arguments and results, alternating between mathematical and non-mathematical chapters to discuss choice, welfare, inequality, poverty and rights.  

View the event Storify here and listen to the podcast here

 

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.

 

Rajeev_Gowda

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.

 

Salil_Tripathi

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.

 

19a

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. 

Event report, multimedia and Working Papers available 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.

 
LucyChester

The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Geographical Imagination of Pakistan

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

Monday 16th October 2017

6:30pm - 8:00pm

TBC

Speaker: Dr Lucy Chester

The Radcliffe Boundary Commission, which drew the lines dividing India and Pakistan in 1947, brought both the culmination of hopes for an independent Muslim state in South Asia and disappointment for those who had imagined that state in a different geographic form.  Proponents of ‘Pakistan’ in the 1930s and 1940s held a variety of views about its rightful boundaries; this talk will examine the effects of earlier visualisations of that Pakistan on the work of the Radcliffe Commission.

Dr Lucy Chester is Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado Boulder. Lucy’s monograph Borders and Conflicts in South Asia: The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab (2009) is the only modern study of the drawing of the Radcliffe Line (separating India and Pakistan) by Sir Cyril Radcliffe a few months before the partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947. Her more recent research has been on cartography, and on Britain and the Palestine Mandate.

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries. 

 
mahesh-rangarajan-262x300

Nature and Nation: India’s Post-Independence Environmental Transformations

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

Monday 13th November 2017

6:30pm - 8:00pm

TBC

Speaker: Dr Mahesh Rangarajan

The aftermath of Indian independence not only witnessed an acceleration of rates of economic and demographic expansion, but was also a period when the ways in which people related to the environment underwent changes. These were of defining significance both in terms of ecological destruction and measures for conservation, yet are often overshadowed by socio-political narratives. This talk will reflect more deeply on the processes behind independent India’s environmental shifts and how its nature was remade.

Dr Mahesh Rangarajan is Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University, Sonepat. He has written extensively on environment in Indian history. His most recent publication is Nature and Nation: Essays on Environmental History (2015), which discusses events and processes that show how specific environmental changes happened, and the global ecological dimensions of Indian transformations.

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries

 
DavidGilmartin

Pakistan and the Grand Narratives of 20th Century History 

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

Monday 4th December 2017

6:30pm - 8:00pm

TBC

Speaker: Dr David Gilmartin

The birth of Pakistan as an historical event varies depending on the lens through which it is viewed and interpreted. In this talk, David Gilmartin will explore the different understandings of Pakistan produced by competing narratives of 20th century world history, whether it is empire and nation, religion and democracy, or environment and development.

Dr David Gilmartin is Professor of History at North Carolina State University. His research focuses on the intersection between history and imperialism in South Asia; he is currently working on the legal inheritances of India’s electoral institutions from colonial times, and their concomitant visions of sovereignty. His most recent publication is Blood and Water: The Indus River Basin in Modern History (2015).

This event is free and open to all. 

Please email if you have any queries.    

 

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 Myanmar's NLD-led Government: one year on

A Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre panel

Tuesday 21st March 2017, 6.30 - 8.00pm; Room TW1.G.01, Tower 1

Speakers: Dr David Brenner, Dr Khin Mar Mar Kyi, Prof Marie Lall

Chair: Dr Jürgen Haacke

This panel discussion will review the record to date of the NLD-led government, one year after it assumed power. To what extent has Daw Aung San Suu Kyi been able to make headway on major issues and key challenges the country has faced, such as political reforms, the peace process, the situation in Rakhine State, and the relationship with China?

Free and open to all. More details here.

 

Ganeshan-Wignaraja

Is Regionalism Passé? Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia

Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre event

Wednesday 22nd March 2017, 12.30 - 2.00pm; Room 9.05, Tower 2

Speaker: Dr Ganeshan Wignaraja

Chair: Dr Jürgen Haacke

This seminar will examine the costs and benefits of closer infrastructure connectivity between South and Southeast Asia, the political economy of infrastructure investment financing, and the role of national policies and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. It draws on Connecting Asia: Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia co-edited by the speaker. 

Free and open to all. More details 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.

Feb-April 2017

5-6:30pm 

The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB

Monday 27 February CJ Kuncheria (JNU) An Empire of Smoke: Growing Indian Tobacco for Britain in the Interwar Years 

Monday 13 March Professor Francesca Orsini (SOAS) Present Absence: World Literature and Book Circulation in the 19th Century

Monday 27 March Professor Tony K. Stewart  (Vanderbilt) The Colloquy between Muhammad and Saytān: Conundrums in the 18th century Bengali Iblichnāmā of Garībullā 

Monday 10 April Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, MBE The Enlightenment in 18th Century India                                                  

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. 

 

Ambedkar

St Antony’s Asian Studies Centre Seminar Series

January - March 2017 (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

 
 

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