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Mission

The Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 

About SAI | View the South Asia Institute video 

Upcoming Events


Sun, November 2, 2014 from 05:00pm - 07:00pm  /  Harvard Memorial Church

Music Stories of Bengal

SAI Community Event

An evening with:
Folk Minstrel Paban Das Baul; Poet and songwriter Prthwiraj Choudhury; Author Mimlu Sen; and Music producer Dipankar Jojo Chaki

‘Music Stories of Bengal’ is an experiment in bringing live Bengali music of various genres together. This Project is the brainchild of Dipankar Jojo Chaki, Indian National Award Winning Music Producer.

Paban is a world famous Indian folk singer based in Paris. Paban belongs to the ‘Baul’ tradition of Indian folk singers. He collaborates with musicians from around the world and has developed a new genre of Baul music called ‘Afro-Baul’. His most popular album was titled ‘Real Sugar’ and was launched by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records in London. He has performed in venues around the world, including the Jaipur Literature Festival and the ‘Nine Lives’ Concert, 2009 in London, of William Dalrymple. He has contributed to several film soundtracks including the popular song ‘Shundori Komola’ from the film Shukno Lonka.

Popular song by Paban Das Baul

Prithwiraj Choudhury is a Harvard Professor and singer/songwriter/poet. He has published four books of poetry, most recently the book ‘Kotha Com’ published by Signet Press (Ananda Publishers).

Song written, composed and sung by Choudhury

Purbo Paschim by Choudhury 

Mimlu Sen is the author of the book ‘Baulsphere’ that documents the lives of the Baul musicians. While living in France, Mimlu Sen witnessed a performance by the Bauls, a group of wandering mystic-minstrels from West Bengal. Captivated by the music and by one of the musicians in particular, she returned to the country of her childhood: “yearning for the deep familiar breath of India”.

Tickets will be sold for $10 at the event, and can also be reserved ahead of time by calling Mandrita at 203-524-7658.

Free parking at 52 Oxford Street.

Join the Facebook event.

START
Sun, Nov 2, 2014 at 05:00pm

END
Sun, Nov 2, 2014 at 07:00pm

VENUE
Harvard Memorial Church (Harvard Yard)

ADDRESS
Harvard Memorial Church (Harvard Yard), Cambridge, MA

Mon, November 3, 2014 at 04:15pm  /  Tozzer Anthropology Building

Building Stories: Speculation and Reconstruction in Contemporary Mumbai

South Asia Without Borders Seminar

Vyjayanthi Rao, Assistant Professor of Anthropology,  The New School for Social Research in New York

Chair: Asad Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Social Anthropology Program, Harvard University

Cosponsored by the Harvard University Social Anthropology Colloquium

START
Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 04:15pm

END
Mon, Nov 3, 2014

VENUE
Tozzer Anthropology Building, Room 203

ADDRESS
21 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA

Mon, November 3, 2014 from 06:00pm - 07:30pm  /  CGIS South, S010

Unique Biometric ID: Creating a Large Scale Digital Ecosystem Using the Aadhaar Experience

SAI Mahindra Lecture

Nandan NilekaniFormer Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India; Co-founder of Infosys; Author of ‘Imagining India’

Reception to follow.

Register.

START
Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 06:00pm

END
Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 07:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S010

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA

Tue, November 4, 2014 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War

SAI Book Talk

Rohini Mohan, Author

V.V. (Sugi) Ganeshananthan, Bunting Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University; Author of Love Marriage 

Chair: Charles Hallisey, Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures, Harvard Divinity School

Book sale to follow event.

For three decades, Sri Lanka’s civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas in a fierce battle that swept up about 300,000 civilians and killed more than 40,000. More than a million had been displaced by the conflict, and the resilient among them still dared to hope. But the next five years changed everything.

Rohini Mohan’s searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation looks beyond the heroism of wartime survival to reveal the creeping violence of the everyday. When city-bred Sarva is dragged off the streets by state forces, his middle-aged mother, Indra, searches for him through the labyrinthine Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mugil, a former child soldier, deserts the Tigers in the thick of war to protect her family.

Having survived, they struggle to live as the Sri Lankan state continues to attack minority Tamils and Muslims, frittering away the era of peace. Sarva flees the country, losing his way – and almost his life – in a bid for asylum. Mugil stays, breaking out of the refugee camp to rebuild her family and an ordinary life in the village she left as a girl. But in her tumultuous world, desires, plans, and people can be snatched away in a moment.

The Seasons of Trouble is a startling, brutal, yet beau­tifully written debut from a prize-winning journal­ist. It is a classic piece of reportage, five years in the making, and a trenchant, compassionate examina­tion of the corrosive effect of conflict on a people.

START
Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 04:00pm

END
Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Tue, November 4, 2014 from 12:00pm - 01:30pm  /  CGIS South, S030

Anatomy of a Man-Made Disaster: Thirty Years Later, Remembering the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

SAI Arts Initiative Seminar

Pablo Bartholomew, Photojournalist

Chair: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor, Social Anthropology Program, Harvard University

In December 1984, a gas leak at the Union Carbide Factory, now owned by Dow Chemicals, caused the death of thousands of inhabitants of Bhopal and incapacitated the living who have yet to be fully compensated. Photographer Pablo Bartholomew, then aged 29, who arrived at the scene recounts his experiences of what it was like covering the disaster and its aftermath.

Lunch will be provided.

Nov. 5, 5PM: A Personalized History of Indian Photography, 1880 to 2010 with Pablo Bartholomew

Pablo’s photo exhibit, ‘Coded Elegance’ will be on display in the CGIS South Concourse, 1730 Cambridge Street, from Nov. 5 to Jan. 31, 2015.

With generous support from the Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund, the Arts Initiative at SAI brings experienced and emerging artists to Harvard whose work focus is on social issues related to South Asia.  

START
Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 12:00pm

END
Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 01:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S030
Harvard University

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Wed, November 5, 2014 from 05:15pm - 06:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

A Personalized History of Indian Photography, 1880 to 2010

Arts Lecture and Opening Reception for ‘Coded Elegance’

Photographer Pablo Bartholomew, whose career spans over 40 years, introspects on his personal collection of historical photographs as well as works by other photographers from the pre and post-Independence era, rounding off by elaborating on contemporary practices. This visual walkthrough consists of photographic work that has marked and influenced him.

Chair: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture South and Southeast Asian Art, Harvard University

Reception to follow.

Nov. 4: Anatomy of a Man-Made Disaster: Thirty Years Later, Remembering the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Pablo’s photo exhibit, ‘Coded Elegance’ will be on display in the CGIS South Concourse, 1730 Cambridge Street, from Nov. 5 to Jan. 31, 2015.

With generous support from the Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund, the Arts Initiative at SAI brings experienced and emerging artists to Harvard whose work focus is on social issues related to South Asia. 

START
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 05:15pm

END
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 06:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Wed, November 5, 2014 from 12:00pm - 02:00pm  /  Larsen Hall 106

A Conversation with Shridhar Venkat

Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation; Eisenhower Fellow

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest NGO-directed school meal program, feeding 1.4 million children every day. To advance its vision that “No child in India will be deprived of education because of hunger”, the Foundation operates out of 22 locations throughout India, serving almost 11,000 schools. It has been nationally and internationally recognized for decreasing malnutrition, increasing school attendance and academic performance, and instilling post-graduation aspirations in participating students. Venkat is on an Eisenhower Fellowship, where he is exploring new NGO sustainability strategies, and gathering information to advance the development of a School of Social Innovation, which will be the first of its kind in India.

Cosponsored with the International Education Policy Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

START
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 12:00pm

END
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 02:00pm

VENUE
Larsen Hall 106

ADDRESS
Larsen Hall 106, 13 Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138

Fri, November 7, 2014 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S250

Dictatorship and Development: The Dilemma of the Left in Pakistan, 1950s-1960s

South Asia Without Border Seminar

Atiya Khan, SAI Aman Fellow

Chair: Asad Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Social Anthropology Program, Harvard University

In the midst of a massive political upheaval in the late 1950s, when the ruling party, the Muslim League, was riven with an internal crisis and leftist groups had forged their alliances in the form of an umbrella organization including labor unions, peasants, and students from both East and West Pakistan in order to push for change, it was General Ayub Khan who wrested control of the state. In a quick move, the left-led student and labor movements were sidelined, frustrating the hopes of reforming democracy. What enabled the rise of the first military dictatorship in Pakistan? Why and how did the left fail to channel the existing discontent into the restoration of democracy?

This presentation attempts to address the failure of democratic politics in Pakistan in the 1950s -1960s by examining the role of the left in accepting the martial rule of Ayub Khan and ways in which leftist organizations wrestled with the social political contradictions of their own context

Progressive politics in Pakistan: Q+A with Atiya Khan

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START
Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 04:00pm

END
Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

ADDRESS
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

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