Lent Term 2017

Past events

 Read about our past events in Lent Term 2017 and access podcasts and blog posts.


"History is Written by the Victors": The Making of Viceroy's House

An LSE Library/South Asia Centre public discussion

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Speaker: Gurinder Chadha

Chair: Dr Mukulika Banerjee

Viceroy's House is a deeply personal film written, produced and directed by Gurinder Chadha, which follows events leading up to the end of British rule in India. The film’s release coincides with the 70th anniversary of the independence of India and the founding of Pakistan.

It’s 1947 and Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), having assumed the post of the last Viceroy, is charged with handing India back to its people. Travelling to Delhi with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and children, Mountbatten takes residence in the grand Viceroy’s House, where 500 Hindu Muslim and Sikh servants live downstairs. But as the political elite take their seats upstairs to wrangle over the birth of independent India, conflict erupts across country. 

Gurinder will give a short talk on the making of the film, followed by an audience Q&A.

Gurinder Chadha OBE began her career as a BBC news reporter, before moving into documentary-making. She is now one of the UK's most respected film makers, with a successful track record in directing films which are international box office successes including Bend It Like Beckham and Bride & Prejudice



A Revolutionary At Large: Scenes from the Life of M.N. Roy

Friday 17 March 2017

Speaker: Professor Dilip Gaonkar

Chair: Mukulika Banerjee

Professor Gaonkar will speak on M.N. Roy, Indian revolutionary, radical activist, philosopher and founder of both the Mexican Communist Party and Communist Party of India. 

Dilip Gaonkar is a Professor in Rhetoric and Public Culture and the Director of Center for Global Culture and Communication at Northwestern University. He is also the Director of Center for Transcultural Studies, an independent scholarly research network concerned with global issues, based in Chicago and New York. He was closely associated with the journal, Public Culture, serving as the Executive Editor (2000-2009) and as Editor (2009-2011).  Gaonkar has edited a series of books and special journal issues on global cultural politics: Alternative Modernities   (2001), New Imaginaries   (with Benjamin Lee for Public Culture, 2002), Cultures of Democracy (for Public Culture, 2007), and Globalizing American Studies (with Brian Edwards, 2010). He is currently working on a book manuscript called Crowds, Riots, and the Politics of Disorder.



LSE India Forum 2017: India - a superpower in the making?

Saturday 11 March 2017

Speakers: Deepak Parekh, Farhan Akhtar, Naman Ramachandran, Dr Surjit Bhalla, Prof. Maitreesh Ghatak, Prof. Amrita Dhillon & more. Full list here.

LIF is the largest India-focused student run conference in the UK that aims to serve as a platform for discussion and debate on India’s most pressing economic, social and political issues. Previously known as the Economic Forum for India at LSE (EFIL), LIF involves keynote speeches and panel discussions by industry stalwarts across a variety of fields. Our mission is to provide our audience of students and professionals alike a platform to discuss contemporary issues, and hear from and engage with inspiring leaders.

LIF was designed and established in 2014 in order to provide an opportunity to the youth in the UK to learn more about issues pertinent to the emerging superpower, India. In recognition of the quality of debate and success of the conference thus far, LIF won the ‘Best LSE SU Event’ award for the year 2014-15. ​



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

Speaker: Dr Jahnavi Phalkey

Chair: Emeritus Professor David Arnold

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. 

Dr 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).

David Arnold is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Warwick. His work has ranged widely over the history of modern South Asia, and beyond, and has included social and environmental history and the history of science, technology and medicine. Along with David Hardiman he was a founder member of the Subaltern Studies group of historians of South Asia.



Out of the basket: Lessons from Bangladesh's development successes 

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Speaker: Dr Naomi Hossain

Discussants: Professor Naila Kabeer, Professor Mushtaq Khan

Chair: Professor David Lewis

Once upon a time, Bangladesh was the world’s basket case – a land of cyclones, hunger and overpopulation, defenceless against the global economy and prone to violent political upheaval. But Bangladesh is no longer the only place facing climate change, globalisation, malnutrition or illiberalism, and it is now seen as a surprising success for how it handled some of these problems. What can be learned about Bangladesh’s past that will help the world navigate an apparently more precarious and contentious, ever more globally-connected future?

Dr Naomi Hossain   is a political sociologist with 20 years of development research and advisory experience. She is currently Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. Her work focuses on the politics of poverty and public services, and increasingly on the political effects of subsistence crises. Dr Hossain is author of The Aid Lab: Understanding Bangladesh's Unexpected Success, due out in 2017.

Naila Kabeer is Professor of Gender and Development in LSE's Gender Institute.

Mushtaq Khan   is Professor of Economics at SOAS.

David Lewis   is Professor of Social Policy and Development in LSE's Social Policy Department



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

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. 

Listen to the podcast here.



Roundtable Discussion: Democracy and Legitimacy in Afghanistan

Thursday 2nd March 2017

Speakers: Dr Martin Bayly, Dr Anna Larson, Hameed Hakimi

Chair: Dr Mukulika Banerjee

The success and sustainability of Afghanistan’s transition to democratic rule continues to shape regional politics in South Asia, and remains a core concern of international actors seeking to justify 15 years of intervention. Join us for an expert roundtable discussion that will consider the manner in which legitimacy in Afghanistan has been perceived by outside actors and take stock of the current and future prospects of Afghanistan’s democratic institutions

Dr Martin Bayly is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in LSE's Department of International Development. He is author of Taming the Imperial Imagination: Colonial Knowledge, International Relations, and the Anglo-Afghan Encounter, 1808–1878.

Dr Anna Larson is a Research Associate in the SOAS Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus and Academic Staff at the SOAS South Asia Institute. She has been working in and on Afghanistan since 2004.

Hameed Hakimi is a Research Assistant on the Asia Programme at Chatham House.



Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali in conversation with Professor Javed Majeed on Muhammad Iqbal

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

Monday 27th February 2017

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.

Javed 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.

Listen to the event podcast here.



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 100 Foot Journey Club series.

A podcast of the event is available here.



Art as a Protest Device in Pakistan

This is a South Asia Centre public lecture

Thursday 23rd February 2017

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.



Cricket as Revolution

This is a South Asia Centre LSE Literary Festival panel

Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Speakers: Dr Prashant Kidambi, Peter Oborne

Chair: Dr Mukulika Banerjee

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. Dr. Kidambi’s research explores the social history of Indian cricket. He is currently completing a book on the history of the first ‘Indian’ cricket tour of Great Britain in 1911, an intriguing story peopled by an improbable cast of princes, Parsis and plebieans that casts interesting light on the interplay between sport, nation and empire.

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

The podcast for this event is available to listen here.



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

Speaker: Shrabani Basu

Chair: Professor Tirthankar Roy

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.  



‘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

Speaker: Susheila Nasta

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.   



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

This is a South Asia Centre public discussion

Thursday 19 January 2017

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. 

View the event Storify here and listen to the podcast here.



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

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.

View the event Storify here and listen to the podcast/watch the video here.