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Past Events of Fall 2007

September 10th General Faculty Meeting
All faculty interested in South Asia are invited to an introductory meeting at the Southern Asian Institute, followed by Chai and Chat.
When: 4-6 pm
Where: Rm 1134, International Affairs Building

September 10th Chai and Chat
Graduate students and faculty members interested in South Asia: please join us for an informal gathering and a chance to mingle with fellow faculty and students.
*Chaat and pakoras will be served along with chai, wine, and beer.
When: 6-8 pm
Where: Rm 1134 International Affairs Building

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September 19 Internship Panel
All students interested to know the experience of students who spent their summer in South Asia working on a variety of issues and areas.
When: 12:30 2:00 PM
Where: Rm 1134, International Affairs Building

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October 03 Brownbag : "Dharavi's Future"
Please join us in a discussion of what is happening in Dharavi. Though no longer can be called "the largest slum in Asia", it remains as unique and interesting place - "A 175-hectare maze of impenetrable dark alleys and corrugated shacks, Dharavi swarms with more than a million residents" (The Guardian, 2007). It sits in the heart of Mumbai city, where real estate prices are estimated to top that of Manhattan.

By Parag Sanghani working on an alternative redevelopment policy for Dharavi with The Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC), one of the largest Indian NGOs working on housing and infrastructure issues for the urban poor. Its partnership with two community-based organizations the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan called "Alliance" works in about 70 cities in the country and has networks in about 20 countries internationally.
When: 1:00 2:00 PM
Where: Rm 1134, International Affairs Building

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October 10 Gandhi on Terrorism
A talk by Alan Nazareth
The 21st century opened on a horrendous terrorist note. Gandhi foresaw and sought to counter the terrorist threat "by offering the revolutionary something infinitely superior" viz "the gospel of love in place of that of hate". Subsequently he proved the far greater potency of "Satyagraha" compared to militant nationalisms and religious extremisms as also its efficacy in countering both. Gandhi affirmed "Peace will come where Truth is pursued and Truth implies Justice". More than a 'war on terror' what is needed is a war on untruth, injustice, oppression and war itself. With the emergence of "asymmetric warfare" and proliferation of WMDs, non violent conflict resolution is now an imperative need.

Since retirement from the Indian Foreign Service in 1994 after a distinguished 35 year career, Mr. Alan Nazareth has been lecturing extensively within India and abroad. He is a founder and Managing Trustee of Sarvodaya International Trust, which promotes integrity in public life, non violence, communal harmony and peace. It has nine regional chapters in India and an international support base. His widely acclaimed book Gandhi's Outstanding Leadership was published in 2006.

Time: 12:30 PM 2:00 PM
Location: International Affairs Building, Room 1134

October 15th Distinguished Lecture Series
The Jurisprudence of Exasperation: Law and Public Reason in Contemporary India
There is arguably, no court more powerful than the Indian Supreme Court. This talk examines that character of Supreme Court intervention in policy matters, and the canons of interpretation judges resort to in arriving at policy interventions.
Dr. Pratap Mehta, President and Chief Executive of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.
When: 4-6 pm
Where: Rm 1512, International Affairs Building

October 17 Once Upon A Partition: Fictional Worlds of the Partition and Beyond
A talk by Asif Farrukhi
The talk proposes to take the significance of the Partition beyond a historical event and looks at it as a literary phenomenon , focusing on the outpouring of fictions and poetry in Urdu. It discusses the categorization of "riots literature" from the point of view of how it was dealt with by the major fiction writers of the day and how such categorization by the leading critics of the period is inadequate. The talk focuses on the treatment of the subject in the work of two major Urdu novelists, Qurrat-ul-Ain Haider and Intizar Husain, who travel through the past to offer a vision of the future. The talk proposes to break open the category of Partition Literature and examine its literary significance with a broader historical view.
Asif Farrukhi is a fiction-writer, critic and translator. His collection of short stories and essays includes "Main Shakh Say Kiyon Toota" (1997) and "Aik Adami Ki Kami" (1999) and Aalam Ijad (2005). He is editor of Scheherzade and Duniyazad.
Time: 12:30 PM 2:00 PM
Where: Rm 1134, International Affairs Building

October 31 Brownbag: "War, Peace and Development"
Eugene ("Rocky") Staples, former Marine Corps fighter pilot, a foreign service officer, and a private foundation executive.

Rocky Staples will talk on his experiences as a participant in and observer of war, the collapse of bipartisan U.S. foreign policy in the past few years and its consequences, and the failures and successes of U.S. development programs, with particular reference to South Asia and the republics of the former Soviet Union.
When: 12:30 PM 2:00 PM
Where: International Affairs Building, Room 1134

November 7, Brownbag: "Of national concern: Children's periodicals and nationalist discourse (1910s-1920s)"
The discussion will focus on Hindi children's periodicals of the early twentieth century which were aimed to provide children pedagogically sound entertainment and instruction, and to offer parents professional guidance in child rearing.

Shobna Nijhawan is Asst. Professor of Hindi at York University. Her ongoing research deals with Hindi women's writings of the early twentieth century and their role in shaping a Hindi public. She is currently editing a book "Translating Nationalism. An Anthology of Hindi and Urdu Texts".
When: 12:30 PM 2:00 PM
Where: International Affairs Building, Room 1134

November 9, Film Screening: India Untouched- Stories of a People Apart"
When: 1:30 PM
Where: International Affairs Building, Altschul Auditorium, 4th floor

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November 19th Distinguished Lecture Series
"Using the Past in Precolonial India: How Prithviraj Cauhan Became King of Delhi"

Professor Cynthia Talbot, University of Texas at Austin

When Alexander Cunningham investigated the history of Delhi's monuments in the 1860s, he was repeatedly told a story that associated Prithviraj Cauhan with the famous Iron Pillar in Mehrauli. Cunningham was thus confident in following Abu al-Fazl, the Mughal historian, in identifying the site of the Qutb Minar complex as Prithviraj's former stronghold, or Qila Rai Pithora. But it was widely known in the years immediately after Prithviraj's defeat in 1192 to Muhammad of Ghor that his capital had been at Ajmer. How Prithviraj gradually came to be known instead as the king of Delhi is the subject of this paper. Aside from highlighting Delhi's power as a symbol -- one major explanation for Prithviraj's persisting popularity -- I also argue that texts in both Indic languages and in Persian increasingly connected Prithviraj with the city of Delhi as the centuries passed. The construction of Prithviraj as the last Indic king of Delhi was thus not solely a Hindu endeavor, nor imaginings of the Indian past exclusive to one community.
When: 4-6 pm
Where: The Heyman Center's Common Room

To reach the Heyman Center:

Enter the Columbia main gates at 116th Street and Broadway and walk east to the broad granite steps that lead up to Low Library. At the top of these steps, walk past Low Library, continuing east.

Walk between the Maison Francaise on your right and St. Paul's Chapel on your left. Cross a footbridge attached to the North side of Philosophy Hall, walking over Amsterdam Avenue to reach East Campus. Continue walking east across the plaza directly to the East Campus Residential Center, where, to enter, you will be asked to present a picture ID to the attendant at the security desk. Follow the sign through the courtyard to reach the Heyman Center.

November 28, ActionAid: Tsunami Response Programme
The international tsunami response programme has been implemented across six countries (Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Thailand, Somaliland and Indonesia) as a single international programme. ActionAid is now working with some 70 local organizations in 760 villages reaching more than 410,000 rights holders in 2007. The focus of the programme addresses four concerns of the tsunami affected communities namely: 1. Sustainable livelihoods of small and marginal fisher folk, 2. Homestead land rights, 3. Violence against women in the post-disaster situation, and 4. Disaster risk reduction (DRR). The panel will discuss the programme and their experience. The speakers are:

Bijay Kumar is Convener of the Tsunami Response Programme and TMT, and Country Director of ActionAid Sri Lanka. Bijay comes with almost 23 years of working experience in the social development sector. Fathimath Afyia is TMT member, Executive Director of Care Society, Maldives. Fathimath represents Maldivian civil society in several national councils and committees such as the workgroup on developing a child protection system and national council on Education. Amar Jyoti Nayak is TMT member, National Team Leader of the Tsunami Programme of ActionAid India. Amar has more than 20 years of experience working in the emergency response and development sector. Judy Devadawsan is Director of WACOO (Women and Child Care

Organization) partner NGO of ActionAid Sri Lanka. Judy's expertise is mainly on issues of violence against women, conflict resolution and peace building processes. Moira O'Leary is International Tsunami Policy Advisor with ActionAid International. Moira worked for several years in the field of rural community development in Cambodia, Afghanistan, the Pacific and Botswana.
When: 12:30-2:30 pm
Where: 1134 International Affairs Building
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