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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

Established in 2015, the South Asia Centre marks a step-change in LSE’s engagement with South Asia. LSE has more than 70 subject experts whose teaching and research interests concern South Asia; the Centre harnesses this world class inter- and multi-disciplinary expertise to underwrite the School’s fundamental mission of impacting public awareness through informed knowledge. All activities of the Centre focus on public engagement and impact, capacity and skills development, and the creation of a global platform to engage with South Asia – whose particularities constantly challenge conventional social science thinking about the region. 

The mission of the South Asia Centre is to work with individuals, organisations, think tanks, the media, governments and parastatal institutions to debate South Asia amidst its constituent countries and with the world at large through multi-faceted dialogue and debate, and position it as a dynamic global region influencing wider challenges and powers. The Centre’s activities at once capture and animate the multiple alternative and varied global frames of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and their role in the making of the Asian century.

The South Asia Centre is part of the Institute of Global Affairs, alongside several other region-focused Centres at LSE.

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.

 
100FJC

India's Greatest CEOs by Suhel Seth

Thursday 16th June 2016

6:30-8:00pm

Old Theatre, Old Building, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

Speakers: Suhel Seth, Rt Hon. Jo Johnson and H.E. Navtej Sarna

You are invited to the launch of Suhel Seth's new book India's Greatest CEOs.

The book will be launched by The Rt Hon. Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, followed by a panel discussion including H.E. Navtej Sarna, Hon'ble High Commissioner of India to the UK and the author. 

The event is free and open to all, but please RSVP to Tim Aldcroft if you wish to attend.

Suhel was recently interviewed by Saanya Gulati, for the South Asia @ LSE blog. You can read the article here.

This is a '100 Foot Journey Club’ (#100FJC) event, jointly organised by the LSE South Asia Centre and the High Commission of India, London.

 

Latest posts

  • Partitioned Histories: Promoting critical engagement and tolerance by comparing narratives
    A new initiative established by volunteers in India, Pakistan, the UK and US, aims to promote critical thinking and tolerance through history education.  Their publication uses school textbooks from conflict areas as source material and places them side by side to showcase the contrasting national narratives of the same events. The first case study is on India and Pakistan. Ayyaz […]
  • Tackling the ‘killing machines’: Can NGOs help protect human rights in Bangladesh?
    The problem of blogger murders in Bangladesh has become more serious in recent months as attacks are now targeting a wider range of citizens and the government has had limited success in curbing the violence. Tasmiah Rahman discusses how the situation has worsened over the last 18 months, and considers how Bangladesh’s celebrated NGO network and the international donor community […]

India posts 

  • Partitioned Histories: Promoting critical engagement and tolerance by comparing narratives
    A new initiative established by volunteers in India, Pakistan, the UK and US, aims to promote critical thinking and tolerance through history education.  Their publication uses school textbooks from conflict areas as source material and places them side by side to showcase the contrasting national narratives of the same events. The first case study is on India and Pakistan. Ayyaz […]
  • Congrats, Britain, you’ve likely voted for a recession
    Following the British vote to leave the EU, Maitreesh Ghatak assess the impacts on Indian businesses and considers that argument that India could potentially benefit from relaxed immigration. He writes that although the claim has some validity, it has several caveats. The British voters voted, by a margin of 52% to 48%, for the exit from the EU, referred to as […]

Bangladesh posts 

  • Tackling the ‘killing machines’: Can NGOs help protect human rights in Bangladesh?
    The problem of blogger murders in Bangladesh has become more serious in recent months as attacks are now targeting a wider range of citizens and the government has had limited success in curbing the violence. Tasmiah Rahman discusses how the situation has worsened over the last 18 months, and considers how Bangladesh’s celebrated NGO network and the international donor community […]
  • The Bangladesh Paradox: In what ways has social progress been achieved despite poor governance and high corruption?
    Gender indicators in Bangladesh show significant improvement despite other development indices not displaying similar success. Juli Qermezi Huang recently spoke at an event hosted by the South Asia Centre, the LSE Gender Institute, and the Eva Colorni Memorial Trust entitled Tales of the Unexpected: Gender Equality and Social Progress in Bangladesh exploring this paradox, and here discusses the progress made […]

Pakistan posts 

  • Partitioned Histories: Promoting critical engagement and tolerance by comparing narratives
    A new initiative established by volunteers in India, Pakistan, the UK and US, aims to promote critical thinking and tolerance through history education.  Their publication uses school textbooks from conflict areas as source material and places them side by side to showcase the contrasting national narratives of the same events. The first case study is on India and Pakistan. Ayyaz […]
  • The changing dynamics of Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship
    Iran’s opening has shaken up the global International Relations discourse, creating new opportunities and uncertainties. Prateek Joshi writes that the power balance in South Asia is already shifting as a result, and looks specifically at how Iran could bring a new stability to the Af-Pak region. Iran’s diplomatic manoeuvring has brought about a revolution in the global International Relations discourse. […]

Nepal posts

  • Improving the detection of corruption incidents in NGOs: Four lessons learned from South Asia
    NGOs routinely face difficulties relating to fraud and corruption, particularly when working in fragile states or disaster situations. Oliver May writes that detection in particular is key to developing strategies to minimise these risks, and draws on a range of South Asian examples to highlight how efforts to identify corruption can be improved. Fraud and corruption are key risks for […]
  • Democracy without elections: 15 years of local democratic deficit in Nepal
    It has been 14 years since local elections have been held in Nepal, and as a result democratisation at local level has stalled despite periodic national elections. Thanesh Bhusal explores why elections at local level have been suspended for so long, the impact this has had on citizen participation and the prospects for the revival of local elections in the […]
  • Community participation should be at the heart of Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction
    Little progress has been made in reconstruction efforts following the twin earthquakes in Nepal last year. Bishal Chalise writes that a key problem has been the exclusion of the affected communities from the reconstruction process, and argues that giving these groups a voice would help to ensure a more tailored, effective and accountable process. This article forms part of our Nepal […]
  • Book Review: Handbook of Disaster Policies and Institutions: Improving Emergency Management and Climate Change Adaptation
    This book encourages the reader to think thoroughly about the dichotomy of “policy-as-usual” vs. “emergencies-as-exceptions”, and how is it possible to plan and prepare for ‘unexpected’ natural disasters, writes Sarah Lester. However, although the book will be useful to policymakers to think critically about preparing long-term disaster response strategies, it does not provide enough of a ‘handbook’ for practicing emergency managers or humanitarian responders […]
  • The 2015 earthquakes highlight that Nepal is not a passive recipient of aid, nor should it be treated as such
    Case studies like Nepal offer the opportunity to reassess how individuals and communities affected by natural disasters can be better served by humanitarian efforts, writes Jeevan R Sharma. He argues the future of international assistance lies in developing constructive relationships with the state and effective partnerships with the local organisations who often end up leading the relief effort on the ground. […]
  • Women in disaster: Gendered vulnerabilities and intersecting identities in the wake of the Nepali earthquakes
    One year on from the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, Sangita Thebe Limbu discusses how the disaster has disproportionately affected women. She highlights how gendered vulnerability is further complicated by other factors such as age, caste and marital status, underlining how pre-existing discriminatory practices and inequalities are being exacerbated and even reinforced in the reconstruction process. This article forms part of our […]
  • Cheaper, cleaner, more reliable: Reasons to invest in cross-border power-trading in South Asia
    Despite improvements to energy supply over the years, many Indian states still face frequent power shortages. Meanwhile, neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Bhutan have large reserves of untapped hydropower with the potential to meet unserved demand for energy in major load centres. Investing in interconnections could also contribute to significant reductions in carbon emissions. In this post, Deb Chattopadhyay, P.N. Fernando and […]
  • Nepal after the Constitution: An expert discussion
    On 11 February the LSESU Nepalese Society hosted an expert panel to discuss Nepal’s long-awaited new Constitution, and to explore where the Himalayan nation is likely to go from here. Sangita Thebe Limbu, who chaired the event, offers an overview of the insights provided by Professor Michael Hutt, Dr Mara Malagodi, Dr Punam Yadav and Dr Chandra Laksamba. In April […]
  • Top South Asian foreign policy challenges for 2016
    Raj Verma discusses the key challenges that threaten to South Asian stability in 2016, from tensions between India and Pakistan, India’s “unofficial blockade” of Nepal, Afghan instability and the renewed rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region. The South Asia sub-continent is dominated by India, the regional hegemon. As a result, most of the foreign policy challenges faced by South Asia […]
  • The “unofficial blockade” has precipitated a significant shift in Nepal’s relationship with its neighbours
    Within weeks of promulgating its first republican constitution Nepal has not just stepped into a new era domestically but also with its two giant neighbours, writes Shreya Paudel. India has imposed an “unofficial blockade”, leading to severe fuel shortages across the Himalayan nation and triggering strong anti-Indian sentiment. In response, Nepal has signed a breakthrough treaty with China, moving away […]

Sri Lanka posts

  • DSC Prize Shortlisting: Reflections on South Asian literature
    On 26 November, the DSC Prize for South Asian literature shortlist was announced at LSE for the third year in a row. The novels selected were Family Life by Akhil Sharma (Faber & Faber, UK); Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy (Hachette, India); Hangwoman by K.R. Meera (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India); The Book of Gold Leaves by Mirza Waheed (Viking/Penguin India); The Lives of Others by Neel […]
  • “Workers in the textiles industry are portrayed by the media as victims. I wanted to challenge that narrative” – Sanchita Saxena
    On 27 November Dr Sanchita Saxena will speak at LSE about her book Made in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka: The Labor Behind the Global Garment and Textiles Industries. Ahead of her visit she spoke to Sonali Campion about how her findings challenged the media portrayal the garment industry in Asia and highlighted the strength of the female-led labour movement […]
codex_india_summit_2016_700x400[1]

Codex India Summit 2016 

Tuesday 28th June

9th Floor, Taylor Wessing, 5 New Street Square, EC4A 3TW

Speakers include: The Rt Hon John Redwood MP, James Crabtree, Dr David Landsman, Alok Sharma MP, Simon Lister & Dr Mukulika Banerjee

As growth accelerates, making India the fastest growing large economy in the world, this summit presents an excellent opportunity for CEOs, entrepreneurs, professionals and investors to learn more about India’s potential to become a major economic power in the 21st century – as well as a great networking opportunity for anyone already connected with India and its business community.

India has a lot to be optimistic about.  The digital economy is rapidly expanding, with the number of smart phone users expected to exceed 500 million by 2020., and the start up sector attracting billions in venture capital.  Can these tech driven businesses meet India’s economic and social needs ?
This year’s summit will be organised as a series of panel discussions with delegates encouraged to contribute and debate with speakers.  We will round off the day with a Summer Drinks Reception on one of the most spectacular roof terraces in London..!

For more information about the speakers, agenda and how to register click here and to find out more about Codex click here.

 
Dadabhai Naoroji

Black Chronicles - Photographic Portraits 1862-1948

18th May - 11th 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.

 
Banjara-exhibition

Stitching the Square - an Exhibition of Banjara embroidery from India

25th May to 30th July2016

10 am - 6 pm Monday - Saturday

Joss Graham, 10 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LT 

'Banjara embroideries, like the Banjara themselves, are almost instantly identifiable. The fortitude of the patterns and the wealth of stitches is unmatched by any other culture'. Charllotte Kwon and Tim McLauchlin 'Textiles of the Banjara: Cloth and Culture of a Wandering Tribe' 2016

Click here for more info. 

 
Bhupen Khakhar2

Exhibtition: Bhupen Khakhar - You Can't please all

1 June – 6 November 2016

Monday - Sunday

 

Tate Moderm, Bankside, SE1 9TG

Renowned for his unique figurative style and incisive observations of class and sexuality, Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) played a central role in modern Indian art and was a key international figure in 20th century painting. This landmark exhibition showcases vivid works on canvas, luminous watercolour paintings and experimental ceramics. 

An accountant-turned-artist, Bhupen Khakhar demonstrated a commitment to representing his world with unflinching honesty. High and low merged in narrative paintings with influences ranging from devotional aesthetics and street culture to European painting and pop art. He confronted provocative themes, particularly his homosexuality, with rare sensitivity and wit. Haunting portraits of ordinary men and last works describing his struggle with cancer express a rare humanity.  

Bringing together Khakhar’s work from across five decades and collections around the world for the first time since his death, this is a unique opportunity to discover his extraordinary work and inspirational story.

Tickets from £9.50.

Click here for more info.

 
Tati

Tati: Emerging Bengali Textiles and Fashion

An Oitij-jo Fashion Design and Textiles (FDTC) exhibition

Tuesday 7th June – June 12th June

Rich Mix, 35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

'Tati’ in Bangla means weaver. This exhibition is an interwoven conversation between British fashion and textile practitioners who fuse Bengali artisan woven fabrics, cross-cultural design, and re-interpreted contemporary craft within their work - taking Bangladesh beyond the RMG industry. From using indigenous, sustainable new materials and fibres; to drawing design from the daily street cultures of Rickshawallahs in Dhaka; to sourcing fair trade hand woven fabrics from weavers in Bangladesh. Tati aims to start a dialogue about the wider aims of future partnerships of British Designers and the handmade in Bangladesh label.

Click here for more info, and here for the press release.

 
 
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