Past Events of Fall 2008

Presentation by Owen Cornwall, M.A. student, MEALAC "The Perfect Image: Humayun's Tomb and Sufi Symbolism"
Date: Monday, September 8, 4pm-6pm
Location: 1134 International Affairs

September 15, 2008 South Asia Institute Open House
Chai' n' Chat
Date: Monday, September 15, 6pm – 7:15pm
Location: 1134 International Affairs
Fall 2008 welcome for students, faculty and friends.
Refreshments will be served.
(Almonds & dates will be available at sundown.)

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008 "Teen Behenein" (The Three Sisters)
(2005, Hindi with English subtitles)
Date: Tuesday Sep 16, 7:00pm
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Bldg, Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street

There have been several tragic news stories in India of suicides by unmarried women agonized by the problem of the dowry. In some cases, there have been multiple suicides by three or four sisters ending their lives to spare their parents the burden of providing dowry. This film tells a fictional story of three such women. "Three Sisters" was co-written and directed by Kundan Shah, whose credits include the award-winning comedy,"Janne Bhi Do Yaaro"(1983); the TV serial "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" (1984); and "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa" (1993)among other works. Post-screening discussion with Shekhar Hattangadi, writer-collaborator with filmmaker Kundan Shah. Hattangadi is an alumnus of Bombay University and the Film and Television Insitute of India (Pune). He has worked as a journalist and editor at McGraw-Hill, Times of India and Mirror magazine. Currently he is the India correspondent for the US based magazine Little India, reporting from Mumbai.

An exhibition curated by Vidya Dehejia, with Dipti Khera and Yuthika Sharma
Dates: September 18 through December 13
Location: Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 826 Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue
See Gallery website for full information at

From "The Best Art, Architecture and Design Books"
"By Holland Cotter
New York Times, 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

"Among the season’s many design books I hand the prize to "Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj" by Vidya Dehejia. Deeply researched, engagingly written, handsomely produced, it focuses on the amazing silverware produced by Indian craftsmen for a European cliental during the British Raj. On tea caddies, claret jugs and beer mugs, gardens bloom, Hindu gods walk and cultures gorgeously converge. The book accompanies a show at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University (through Dec. 13) but is a scholarly keeper on its own."

September 22, 2008 University Seminar Series
*Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Poet and Scholar
"The State of Urdu"*

Date: Monday, September 22, 2008, at 4pm-6pm

Location: Southern Asian Institute
1134 International Affairs Building
420 West 118 Street, New York City

Depending on whom you talk to and what definitions you use, Urdu is either flourishing or dying, either holding its own and even expanding its domain, or evolving into virtual unrecognizability. In India there's the question of Urdu versus Hindi, and in Pakistan of Urdu versus Punjabi (and other regional languages); in both countries, the question of Urdu versus English looms ever larger. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, distinguished author of many works of literary history and criticism in Urdu and English, and most recently of a successful novel that is being published by Penguin India in both Urdu and Devanagari scripts, has had a lifelong relationship with Urdu that's both broad and deep in a way that few of his contemporaries can match. He will offer an overview of the state of Urdu, and will also be glad to address particular areas that are of interest to the seminar members. For links to some of his major English-language works, see:

[abstract by Fran Pritchett]

The talk will be followed by an unhosted dinner (cost of about $25) at Sezz Medi Restaurant (1260 Amsterdam Ave. at 122nd Street).

A lecture by Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art (Yale) to accompany the exhibition Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj
Date: September 23, 6pm
Location: 612 Schermerhorn Hall

September 24, 2008 Brown Bag talk
Kavitha Rajagopalan
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, from 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs Building

Kavitah Rajagopalan is a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute, and a graduate of the SIPA International Media and Communications Program. Rajagopalan is the author of "Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West," recently published by Rutgers University Press. Her book is a narrative nonfiction examination of migration, integration and identity formation in three Muslim immigrant families – a Palestinian family from Jerusalem to London, a Kurdish family from Turkey to Berlin, a Bangladeshi family from Dhaka to New York City. Her research involved policy analysis, in-depth interviews and social immersion, and media monitoring, and took her to Germany, the U.K., the Palestinian Territories, India, Syria, and Turkey. Kavitha’s writing approaches broader migration policy and management debates through individual narrative, exploring the influence of economic and policymaking trends, as well as societal attitudes and individual experience, on the development of collective narratives of either alienation or belonging in immigrant communities. She is interested in finding meaningful policy solutions to global conflict and instability by understanding and harnessing the economic, social, political and cultural capital of migrants.

Rajagopalan will present a short reading from her book, and a talk on "Muslim Immigration in the West," followed by a Q & A discussion.
A lecture by Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art (Yale) to accompany the exhibition Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj
Date: September 23, 6pm
Location: 612 Schermerhorn Hall

Sept 24 - Dec 4, 2008 The British Raj on Film
A film series to accompany the exhibition Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj
Dates: Wednesdays, September 24 through December 4 (no screening November 26)
Time: 6:15pm
Location: Room 832, Schermerhorn Building, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue
September 24 screening: Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players)
Director: Satyajit Ray (1977, 115 minutes)

September 29, 2008 Talk by CSM reporter on Pakistan, the US and the Taliban
Date: Monday, September 29
Time: 6pm-7:30pm

Shahan Mufti will speak about Pakistan's role in the war on terror, and how the country and the United States perceive this role differently in the face of the Taliban insurgency - and how the new political configuration in the country changes anything, if at all.

Mufti is a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and covered the tumultuous events in Pakistan of 2007 and 2008 for the paper. He has spent over twelve years living in Pakistan and has also written about the country for The Boston Sunday Globe, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. A graduate of the Joint MA Program in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University, he served as a Fulbright Fellow to India in 2004-05.

October 6, 2008 South Asia Graduate Students Forum
A Presentation by Anna Stirr, Ph.D. student in Ethnomusicology
From Rodhi Ghar to Rodhi Bar: The Commercialization of Gurung Tradition in the Nepali Music Industry

The rodhi ghar is a traditional youth dormitory association particular to the Gurung ethnic group. Classic ethnography of the Gurungs describes the rodhi as a site for socializing youth into traditional labor exchange, and for its most famous aspects: all-night singing and dancing, including flirtatious dohori song duels between young men and women. Now, though the rodhi has died out in rural Gurung villages, it has become an important symbol of Gurung identity and cultural heritage among the urban Gurungs who aim to define a normative Gurung culture; they offer a "purified" version of rodhi as a symbol of their unique culture. At the same time, the dohori songs of the Gurung heartland have become a commercial phenomenon, with a burgeoning cassette industry and a major share of Kathmandu nightlife. For some, dohori restaurants and their rodhi symbolism represent a connection with a tradition of free interaction between the sexes that can serve as a traditional justification for more modern forms of love relationships. This paper traces the development of these two related trajectories, as the rodhi becomes a symbol both of a purified traditional heritage and of adolescent abandon. With particular attention to the youth who perform in dohori restaurants, I examine their investments in both discourses of purification and freedom, how they link them with their own aspirations, and how they define their generation in relation to previous generations in a modern Nepal.

The Forum format is as follows: 20-30 minutes: Presentation
20-30 minutes: Q & A and discussion
60 minutes: Reception (food and drink provided)

Date: Monday, October 6, 2008
Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Location: Southern Asian Institute
1134 International Affairs Building
420 West 118 Street, New York City

The forum is open to all members of the Columbia community. If you have any questions about the forum or are interesting in presenting (graduate students only please), contact the forum coordinator, Audrey Truschke, at

Future forum dates this semester are:
Nov. 6 (Thursday)
Nov. 24

Wednesday, October 15 Gallery Tour and Talk
"Designs to Suit Every Taste" by Dipti Khera (Columbia University)
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 826 Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue

Join Dipti Khera at the Wallach Gallery to view "Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj" and learn how "native" craftsmen produced silver for British use, and then move to the adjoining Room 832 to view the film "Lagaan," in which "natives' learned the game of cricket and beat their masters at their own game!" Coffee and cookies will be served after the gallery talk for those staying on for the film screening.

Wednesday, October 15 Brown Bag
A talk by P. Chengal Reddy on "The Indian Agricultural Economy since Economic Liberalization"

Date: Wednesday, October 15
Time: 12:30-2:00pm
Location: Room 1128 International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

P. Chengal Reddy will speak about the evolution of the Indian agricultural economy and the situation of Indian farmers since the onset of economic liberalization in 1991, and the role of farmers' movements in influencing national and international policies. Dr. Reddy is an affiliate of the Federation of Farmers Associations (FFA), Andhra Pradesh, India; and the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association and will visit SIPA immediately following his participation in a World Bank "International Conference on Nonrenewable Groundwater Resources."

Wednesday, October 22 Brown Bag
"Culture and Place: Architecture, Identity and the Dynamics of Placemaking" A Talk by Hirmanshu Burte

Burte will explore how the notion of 'place' (and placemaking) can help us rethink the spatial object - whether building, open space or city - in a way that situates it directly within everyday culture. By proposing a systematic conceptual model of 'place' as opposed to the more abstract notion of 'space', Burte will try to clarify how design (irrespective of authorship) and social practices of dwelling are locked into a close embrace, one that directly shapes cultural identity. Drawing upon research from my recently published book, 'Space for Engagement', I shall sketch out one approach to thinking about architecture that is centered on everyday rituals of dwelling which are central to placemaking. The hope is that this approach offers us a way out of the predominantly formal and symbolic focus of much architectural discourse, by focusing on the ordinary, unexalted body and being who inhabits architecture unselfconsciously. Such a view of architecture, Burte argues, enables us to discuss cultural identity through the lens of an 'everyday habitation of place'. It also helps bring into focus the simple rituals of everyday dwellling (and the corresponding 'affordances' architecture offers) as important markers of identity.

Himanshu Burte is an architect and writer from India, and is visiting the USA on a Fulbright Fellowship to study the politics and poetics of public space design here. His first book, 'Space for Engagement: The Indian Artplace and a Habitational Approach to Architecture," (Seagull Books, Kolkata: 2008) was published recently.

Time: 12:30pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Friday, October 24 Film Screening
"The Clay Bird" (Matir Moina)
Director: Tareque Masud (2002, 98 minutes)

"A visually stunning, culturally fascinating, politically timely film based on the director's own childhood, THE CLAY BIRD has been called one of the most important works to come out of the Muslim world. Set against the backdrop of Pakistan during the turbulent 1960s, a family is ripped apart by religious beliefs and civil war. Anu, a shy young boy from rural East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), is sent away by his father Kazi, an orthodox Muslim, to a Madrasah. Far from his family and the warmth of his region's vibrant Hindu festivities, Anu struggles to adapt to the Islamic school's harsh monastic life. As political divisions in the country intensify, a split develops between moderate and extremist forces within the Madrasah. In the village, these same tensions create a growing divide between the stubborn Kazi and his increasingly independent wife, Ayesha. THE CLAY BIRD is an authentic and loving portrait of Bangladesh, showing the country in all its color and complexity – its seasonal beauty, rich folkloric traditions, extraordinary music, and pluralistic culture. Touching upon themes of religious tolerance, cultural diversity, and thecomplexity of Islam, Tareque Masud’s poignant film has a universal relevance in a crisis-ridden world" (Amazon).

For more information you can visit:

Refreshments will be served and a discussion will follow afterward.

Co-sponsored by Club Bangla and the Southern Asian Institute

Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Monday, October 27, 2008 The Southern Asian Institute Presents: Journalism in India
Scott Carney shares the ingredients of becoming a serious journalist in the Indian subcontinent.

He will share his experiences on covering the Bangalore mafia for WIRED magazine. Story here:

Through a discussion on his own experiences in reporting in South Asia, Carney will lecture on tools to becoming a successful reporter in India.

Scott has traveled to some of the most dangerous and unlikely corners of South Asia. He has written about skeleton traders who deflesh human bodies and export the remains to American anatomy classrooms. In 2006, he helped uncover a network of kidney brokers who had been buying and selling organs to foreign medical tourists in South India. He has published stories about an all-out auto-rickshaw race across the state of Tamil Nadu. He has seen a satellite bearing India's national dreams explode above the launch pad at a highly secure space center and investigated reports about foreign drug companies conducting illegal clinical trials on unsuspecting patients.

About Scott Carney:

Scott has written for WIRED, Discover, Marie Claire, net , National Geographic Television, GQ, the Wisconsin State Journal, Isthmus, Fodor's Travel Guides,, Dragonfire, India Today, Coreweekly and the Hindustan Times. He is a regular contributor to National Public Radio. His blog Trailing Technology attracts thousands of visitors every month. He is a member of the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA). The title of his first book will probably be "Suicide Sutra", but he can't tell you any more about it than that.

Time: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Tuesday, October 28 The Annual Mary Keating Das Lecture
Dr. Mallika Sarabhai on Development & Empowerment through the Arts:

"Reaching them young - sensitizing adolescent Indians for a just society"

Talk with screening, followed by a discussion

Over the last few years Mallika Sarabhai has been concentrating on India's youth, to try and sensitize them towards their huge responsibilities towards India's have-nots, and the exciting challenges of creating a just and equitable society. Over the last two years, through her performance "Unheard Voices", she has launched a movement of the young to be part of the change.

Mallika Sarabhai is a performer and creator of many talents. Her career has developed from being an internationally acclaimed classical dancer and film personality, to being an activist and commentator on social issues. Educated as an economist and a business manager, Mallika is co-director of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad, a unique centre for the arts which has performed all over India and all around the world. There she directs the Darpana Performance Group; the Janavak Folk and Tribal Dance Company; Darpana for Development; Darpana Communications; and the Darpana Conservatoire.

From a small dance academy that was founded over five decades ago, today Darpana is a workshop for the arts where tradition meets technology to break down boundaries of art and life and where performers from the world over work together. With over 25000 graduates, nearly 10000 performances, audiences in 90 countries and a vibrant arts environment, Darpana today is a centre for artists committed to excellence, innovation and the excitement of using the arts for change

In recent years Mallika has managed to apply her artistic talents to her desire for social change in a series of unique projects. Working with terms of her most experienced Darpana performers, and training dozens of her rural and traditional artists, she has instituted programs of using the performing arts to examine gender awareness, issues of violence and environmental issues in schools, AIDS awareness in slum areas and witch killing in rural areas. These interactive projects bring artists together with sociologists, scientists and local people to make challenging programs often leading to community action.

Location: Lindsay Rogers Room, 707 International Affairs Building, Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street at Amsterdam Avenue.
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Monday, November 3 Film Screening
"Rabba Hun Kee Kariye" (Thus Departed Our Neighbours)
Directed by Vijay Bharadwaj (2007)
Duration: 65 Minutes
Language: Punjabi with English Subtitles

"Rabba Hun Kee Kariye" traces a shared history of Punjab - a culture, language and a way of life - that was torn asunder in the fateful year of 1947. It captures the documentary maker's almost unexpected encounter with feelings of guilt and remorse about the violence of the partition. These informal tales, almost like folklore, are strewn across the memory-scape of the Punjabi countryside.

When India won her independence from the British rule in 1947, the north western province of Punjab was divided into two. The Muslim majority areas of West Punjab became part of Pakistan, and the Hindu and Sikh majority areas of East Punjab remained with (the now divided) India. The truncated Punjabs bore scars of large-scale killings as each was being cleansed of their minorities.

Sixty years on, "Rabba Hun Kee Kariye" examines this shared history. While East Punjabis fondly remember their bonding with the Muslim neighbours and vividly recall its betrayal, the film excavates how the personal and informal negotiated the organised violence. In village after village, people recount what life had in store for those who participated in the killings and lootings.

Monday, November 3 at 6:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Tuesday, November 11 Brown Bag
A talk by journalist and novelist Siddhartha Deb Co-sponsored by the South Asia Students Association and International Media and Communications Program

Siddhartha Deb will speak on recent reporting in the rural areas of Manipur and Andhra Prasdesh and the need for a new journalism on poverty. Deb was born in north-eastern India in 1970. His first novel, "The Point of Return," was a Notable Book of the Year in The New York Times. His second novel, "An Outline of the Republic," (published in Britain and India as "Surface") was on the longlist for the Impac-Dublin Award, a finalist for the Crossword Award in India, and a book of the year in Daily Telegraph, London. A recipient of a fellowship from the Society of Authors, UK, he is currently working on a narrative nonfiction book on India and is a writer-in-residence at the New School. His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Harpers, Guardian, Observer, New York Times Book Review, Boston Globe, Columbia Journalism Review, Daily Telegraph, Nation, and Times Literary Supplement.

Date: Thursday, November 11, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Wednesday, November 12 Brown Bag
"Afghanistan: Freedom of Press and the Role of Women in Journalism"

Farida Nekzad (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Dr. Saeed Shafqat (SIPA)

An opportunity to learn from two knowledgeable sources and their dialogue. Q&A session will follow.

Farida Nekzad:
Managing editor and news director of Pajhwok Afghan News and Vice President of the South Asia Media Commission. Farida Nekzad is known for her commitment to work for both press freedom and equality for female journalists. Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghanistan's leading independent news agency, provides continuous coverage from across the country, with eight provincial bureaus and a network of reporters writing in English, Pashto, and Dari for Afghan and international audiences.

Dr. Saeed Shafqat:
Professor and Director of the Centre for Public Policy & Governance (CPPG), Lahore, Pakistan. Current professor of Globalization and Transformation of Religion and Politics in South Asia course at SIPA, and former Executive Director of the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) in Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr. Shafqat is the author of /Political System of Pakistan and Public Policy /(1989/) Civil- Military Relations in Pakistan/ (1997), /Contemporary Issues in Pakistan Studies/ (2000, 3rd edition), and /New Perspectives on Pakistan: Visions for the Future/ (2007).

Date: Wednesday, November 12
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Building

Thursday, November 13 Brown Bag
"Goodbye to India's non-alignment?"
A talk by Dr. Gabriele Sinigoj

Given the recent bilateral agreement between the US and India, will there be a non-alignment policy in India any longer? Sinigoj will examine the history of India's policy of non-alignment since Independence to the present day. Sinigoj is a graduate of the University of Heidelberg, and performed research activities for her dissertation at Columbia under the tutelage of Professor Emeritus Ainslee Embree. She taught at the University of Vienna until 2006, and is the author of "India and Non-alignment as a Foreign Policy Strategy" (1998) and "The Impact of Aging: A Common Challenge for Europe and Asia" (2007).

Date: Thursday, November 13, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Monday, November 17 University Seminar
"The Mutiny's Future" a talk by Fasal Devji (New School)

The Indian Mutiny has long been seen as a defining moment of India's modern history. Much of the debate about the event, however, focuses on the supposedly traditional elements that compromised its success. This paper revisits the scene of historical and historiographical battle to ask how we might engage with such traditions to conceive of the Mutiny's modernity in more productive ways.

Faisal Devji is Associate Professor of History at The New School. He is the author of /Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity/ (2005) and /The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics/ (2008).

Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Wednesday, November 19 Brown Bag
"Promoting Trade & Investment in Afghanistan: The Kabul International AgFair 2008"

A talk by Tanjila Islam, National AgFair Director, USAID/Afghanistan

Agricultural trade fairs (also known as "AgFairs") are organized in Afghanistan to support domestic and international trade, mainstream Afghan products into international markets, spur economic growth, and promote food security through improved agricultural development and technology transfer. Ms. Islam will discuss the challenges and opportunities in organizing international trade fairs in a conflict-affected environment as well as the impact and results of the AgFairs in Kabul and Kunduz.

The 2008 AfFair was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Afghanistan Investment Support Agency; Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan; and supported by the United States Agency for International Development. Over 50 business delegates from India, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Turkey, Pakistan, and the United States participated in the AgFair to establish contacts and negotiate opportunities with Afghan businesses. As many as 40,000 businessmen, women entrepreneurs, and members of the general public flocked to the fairgrounds to visit over 170 booths featuring fruits and nuts, vegetables, dairy products, carpets, and crafts during the three-day fair at the Badam Bagh Fairground in Kabul. More information about the fair can be found on the USAID website

Date: Wednesday, November 19, 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Monday, November 24 South Asia Graduate Student Forum
"Describing Language before Linguistics: The View from Eighteenth Century Delhi."

A talk by Arthur Dudney, MEALAC Ph.D. candidate

Famously, the philologist Sir William Jones told the Asiatic Society in 1786 that Latin, Greek, Persian and Sanskrit came from a common source, and historical linguistics was born. Or was it? The fact is that theories about language in early modern India and in Europe were in many respects not that different, and one Delhi-based littérateur, Khan-e Arzu, appears to have come to a similar conclusion about the relationship between Persian and Sanskrit some forty years before Jones. Indeed, an author as influential as Arzu must have been known to Jones's Indian collaborators and may have influenced Jones. My talk will look at the achievements of Indian scholars writing in Persian about language and at how Europe's own march towards modernity (specifically towards defining a modern science of linguistics) ensured that the tradition to which Arzu belonged has been completely marginalized.

Date: Monday, November 24, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs, 420 West 118th Street.

Tuesday, November 25 Lecture
"Globalization and Anti-Caste Movements"
A public talk with scholar-activist Gail Omvedt

Co-sponsored with the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life

Dr. Gail Omvedt is a senior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum in Delhi. She is the author of numerous books and articles on class, caste and gender issues, including: We shall Smash this prison: Indian Women in Struggle (1979), Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements in India (1993), Gender and Technology: Emerging Asian Visions (1994), Dalits and The democratic revolution (1994), Dalit Visions: the Anticaste movement and Indian Cultural Identity (1994) , Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste (2003) and Seeking Begumpura: The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectual (2008).

Date: Tuesday, November 25, 6:00-8:00pm
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Monday, December 1 University Seminar
"The Partition's Long Shadow: Legals, Illegals and a Hybrid Citizenship Regime in Assam, India"
A talk by Sanjib Baruah, Bard College


Citizenship practices in the Indian state of Assam have a serious fault-line. To many people the government seems uninterested in policing borders and enforcing the citizen/foreigner distinction. This has drawn the ire of even the Indian Supreme Court. Yet there are ambiguities about citizenship in post-Partition India that can explain these practices. Pragmatic politicians have only adapted to the reality of a transnational space that does not conform to the model of a bounded national territory with a clearly defined community of citizens. However, the tensions between the 'national order of things' and the reality of an actually existing transnational space have consequences. They adversely affect the legitimacy of governmental institutions, and the livelihood strategies of people. Policies premised on the fiction of hard national borders cannot provide the foundation for stable political order in this region.

Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Tuesday, December 2 Film Screening and Discussion
Screening followed by a discussion with director Suman Mukhopadhyay Tuesday, December 2, 6:00pm to 8:30pm

CHATURANGA (2008) is a film based on the 1916 novel by Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. It is a story of two young intellectually inclined men confronted by the challenge of rationalist modernity and their dealings with the women around them. It is also a story of the travails of a woman whom men want to both protect and emancipate. Though set in colonial Bengal a hundred years ago, the film is surprisingly contemporary in its intellectual debates and suppressed sexuality. In the hands of Suman Mukhopadhyay, the director, the Tagore novel acquires a harder, crisper and less lyrical style than the well-known Tagore films of Satyajit Ray. CHATURANGA has been shown recently at film festivals in Montreal and Sao Paolo and will feature in the Indian Panorama section of the forthcoming International Film Festival in Kolkata. It is also to be commercially released in November.

The director Suman Mukhopadhyay is one of India's most accomplished young makers of serious theatre and cinema. His first film Herbert (2006) won much critical acclaim and is to be screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from December 11 to 17, 2008.

Location: Room 707, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Thursday, December 4 Brown Bag
Democratic Revolution in an Islamic State: The Maldives
A talk by Dr. Scott Morrison

In October, for the first time history, the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Maldives conducted competitive multi-party elections. The result was the ouster of its thirty-year President by a former political prisoner. Scott Morrison will introduce the Republic of Maldives and the history of the democratic movement that culminated in an apparent democratic transition in his self styled Sunni Islamic state.

Scott Morrison received his Ph.D in political science at Columbia in 2004. He spent 2007-2008 in the Maldives as a lecturer in the Faculty of Sharia’ah and Law at the Maldives College of Higher Education. He is currently teaching “Middle Easter Cultures” at NYU and researching Ziya Gokalp, a founding ideologue of modern Turkey.

Co-sponsored by Middle East Institute

Date: Thursday, 4th December 2008, 12:30pm-2pm
Location: Room 1118, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Thursday, December 11 A Conversation about Mumbai
The Southern Asian Institute will host an informal discussion about the recent events in Mumbai. Columbia student Aarti Singh and Bholenath Vishwakarma (Columbia 2008) and will begin the conversation with brief remarks, followed by an open discussion with audience members. Refreshments will be served.

Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Location: Room 1134 International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Thursday, December 11 Lecture
"Crossing Caste lines: Global Modernity and the Cosmopolitan Dalit Identity"
A talk by Dr. K. Satyanarayana

PAPER ABSTRACT: Does Narendra Jadhav's Outcaste represent the dalit perspective on globalisation? I have tried to demonstrate in this paper how the discourse of globalisation relocates the project of modernity in a different spatiality and in new discourses of power. I have examined Jadhav's recently published memoir /Outcaste/ ( popular and widely discussed in the US), a text that idealizes global citizenship. Locating himself in the new global space, Jadhav, a dalit bureaucrat and an economist, replays the tradition-modernity dichotomy. He reifies caste identities as untouchable identities and locates them in the domain of a backward and oppressive "tradition." While Dalit writers critique the projects of national modernity (of both the nationalist and the Left varieties), Jadhav celebrates a new global identity. I call it a cosmopolitan Dalit identity. Contextualising this new identity in the period of the new global discourses of human rights and caste, I argue that this new global identity, mediated through the institutions of global society, undermines contemporary Dalit engagement with modernity in the village and the nation-state and too quickly reproduces the city and the global space as emancipatory spaces. Jadhav's desire to fashion a new global identity reinforces the colonial view of Indian society (read "village India") as backward and the global society (read "American society") as modern. The cosmopolitan identity, therefore, is euro-centric and elitist. I further suggest that Jadhav's view of global modernity represents a "conservative" position and that the Dalit engagement with global forms of modernity is diverse and very different.

K. Satyanarayana is a lecturer at The English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad.

Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: Room 1134, International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street
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