Center Note

This semester has been a fruitful one for the Center of South Asian Studies. We celebrated spring with a lively and successful symposium, and several thought provoking colloquia. We also had the pleasure of hosting Rimli Bhattacharya as our visiting Rama Watumull Scholar. (For more on Bhattacharya, see page 3). Also this spring, the Center's executive committee finalized its decision on the Andrews Chair position, and with the Office of International Affairs, awarded three $5,000 Watumull Scholarships for the Study of India.

As summer begins, the Center is once again at a cross-roads. Sankaran Krishna will end his term as the Center's director and become chairman of Department of Political Science in the fall. In addition, coordinator Safia Aggarwal plans to complete her doctoral work in the Department of Geography. We hope the Center can continue to build on the enthusiasm and energy that Krishna, Safia and the rest of the University of Hawaii's South Asia enthusiasts have pumped into it over the past year.

Center Events

Colloquium Series

Vidyut Aklujkar, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, presented "Brother Cobra, Mother Bitch: Ethics and Ecology in Marathi Women's Ritual Storytelling," February 17. Using her own stylistic translations of kahani (ritual narratives), Aklujkar illustrated the concerns of ecology and karma-based ethics in these women-centered stories. Discussing the connection between the genre of kahani storytelling and gender, she examined the existence of a counter-system of women centered stories. Aklujkar also provided examples of anti-ritual kahani which transforms the genre into a secular and universal domain.

Rimli Bhattacharya,Rama Watumull Distinguished Profes-sor, presented "Subject, Actress, Fires: Spectacle on the 19th century Indian stage," April 7. In the talk, based on her forthcoming book, entitled Icons & Identity: Of Ideal Women and 'Scenic Illusions,' Bhattacharya discussed the emergence of professional theater companies in 19th century India, and the position of the actress as a colonial subject and working woman, within the interstices of technology and the then prevalent norms of representation.

Bernardo A. Michael, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, presented "Reading Maps: Indigenous and Colonial Representations of the State in South Asia," April 27. Michael examined how indigenous and colonial maps represented territory to convey a sense of how land was divided and understood spatially prior to colonial rule. In attempting to come to grips with the spatial substance of these divisions, the colonial state excavated the remains of these divisions and represented them on maps, which provided the geographical template of the state as it is known today.

Tsukasa Mizushima, Tokyo University and Takako Hirose, Daiko Bunka University, Tokyo, presented separate talks at a seminar May 5. In "An Indian Money-lending Community and the Formation of Local Town in British Malaya," Mizushima traced historical trends in land transactions from the 1880s to 1995 in the Malay Peninsula. He observed the nature of ethnic relation in these transactions, assessed the role of an Indian money-lending community - the Nattukottai Chettiyar - in the colonial economy, and located the historical role played by the Indian agents in forming Pax Britannica. In "Japan and South Asia," Hirose traced the patterns of political economy in relationships between India and Japan since World War II. Hirose paid particular attention to the effect of the recent influences of nuclear tests and the Kargil crisis in Kashmir on Indo-Japanese relations.

Lecture in the Vedanta Series

Ashok Aklujkar, Sanskrit and Indian Studies, University of British Columbia, presented "The Word is the World: Non-Dualism in Indian Philosophy of Language," at the Department of Philosophy February 18.


The Center and the South Asia community based cultural group Milan showed the movie Taal>on March 18. In this Bollywood spectacle, a rich man Manav (Akshaye) falls in love with a poor girl Manasi (Aishwarya) at a hill station, only to meet conflict with Manav's scheming relatives. Realizing the errors of his family's ways, Manav attempts to win Manasi back. Produced and directed by Subhash Ghai. Stars Anil Kapoor, Aishwariya Rai, Akshaye Khanna, Amrish Puri. Music by A.R. Rahman.

The Center screened the movie Earth on April 14, as part of the annual spring symposium. Directed by Deepa Mehta, the film is based on Bapsi Sidhwa's novel "The Ice-Candy Man." Starring Nandita Das, Aamir Khan and Rahul Khanna, the movie tells the story of the 1947 partition of India through the eyes of a Parsee girl.


Symposium reveals public nature of private lives

Was the 1947 Partition justified? Was it inevitable? "I wouldn't say it was justified," replied Honolulu resident Inder Kapur. "But it probably was inevitable."

This exchange came near the end of the three-day 17th annual Center for South Asian Studies symposium. Yet, it illustrated the difficulty - and necessity - of having public discussions on the Partition and about its lingering impact on the private lives of South Asians. The fact that it came at the close of the symposium was appropriate. It emphasized the idea that dialogues initiated in the gathering, themed "Public Culture and Democracy in South Asia," should continue, beyond the university environment.

Kapur, a Hindu who was a teenager on the Pakistani side of the border in 1947, said he spoke to provide a different understanding of the Partition, based on lived experience. His words echoed the stories told by two of the symposium's keynote speakers - feminist publisher Urvashi Butalia (whose book The Other Side of Silence contains a deeply personal account of her own journey across the border to Pakistan and reunion with an uncle whom she never knew) and novelist Bapsi Sidhwa (a Parsi whose critically-acclaimed novel Ice-Candy Man reveals the chilling impact of the events of 1947 from a young girl's point of view).

But Kapur's story was different. It suggested the hostility between India and Pakistan isn't reflected only in traumatic memories of the Partition, but in prejudices and caste-based inclusionary/exclusionary practices that continue not only in South Asia but in diaspora, as well. In some ways, Kapur spoke to heal.

Healing through talk, however, often is a touchy issue. Don't air your community's dirty laundry in public, the saying goes. Yet, as many of the presentations during the symposium showed, an airing of private questions is an often difficult first step toward social change. In her keynote address, Butalia told of how her uncle converted to Islam so he could protect his property in Lahore only to be known forever by his neighbors as "the Hindu." While he might identify himself as a father or a brother, Butalia argues that the Partition has defined him not only as a Pakistani and a Muslim, but also, more ambiguously, as an Indian and a Hindu.

Sidhwa described the ambivalence she felt as a child growing up in Lahore when she suddenly learned that she was Pakistani. We were always Bombay wallahs, she recalls. But after Partition, who were we? Bombay had become a part of India.

Other presenters raised questions about seemingly private issues in different ways. Lekshe Tsomo of the Philosophy department asked whether monastic practices of certain Buddhist scriptures were discriminatory. The issue wasn't part of her doctoral work, she noted. Yet, she added, as a Buddhist nun, it was about her entire life. On a different note, John Pincince of the History department pointed out that Marxist activism and right-wing Hindu nationalist discourse were strikingly similar in their engagement of a common theme: globalization. Pincince argued that such an overlap suggests neither leftists nor rightists are truly interested in changing the status quo. Rather, both wish to reinforce it.

In a response to Kapur's story, S. Charusheela of the Women's Studies department noted that the BJP assertion that the party is not "anti-Muslim" but "pro-us" contains a dangerous undercurrent. It implies that it's okay to be Indian and not Hindu as long as one buys into the Hindutva line that the"proper" Indian is a Hindu one.

If Partition was inevitable but not justified, how does one move forward in understanding not only that event but ongoing relationships among the vast array of faiths and social practices grouped under Indian-ness? The symposium could not answer such a question. But, as the stories told suggest, speaking about the past is a way to start.

- Report by Himanee Gupta


Rimli Bhattacharya gives and receives aloha as visiting scholar in Honolulu

The Center has been delighted to host Rimli Bhattacharya as the Rama Watumull Distinguished Scholar for Spring 2000. Bhattacharya came from the Department of English, M.S. University of Baroda, and offered a graduate seminar in UH's Asian Studies department entitled "India's Modernity and Contestations/Representations of Faith." The course used an interdisciplinary structure to engage with debates on the rights of representation and the place of desire versus faith in a secular state.

Bhattacharya also presented several lectures during her four months in Hawai'i. These included "Celebrating the City: Kalighat Paintings" for the Society of Asian Art of Hawai'i and "Making Modern India: Luminous Lives" for the Twenty-First Century Club of Honolulu and the Department of English at Maui Community College. The latter talk focused on three Indian women's autobiographies dating to the early 20th century. She also gave a Rama Watumull Distinguished Lecture entitled "Subject, Actress, Fires: Spectacle on the 19th century Indian Stage," drawing from her forthcoming book, Icons & Identity: Of Ideal Women and 'Scenic Illusions.'

As one of the keynote speakers at the Center's symposium, she presented a talk entitled "Fictions of Identity: The Story of a Strange Meeting."

Bhattacharya also arranged for a viewing of the film The Bamboo Flute, directed by Kumar Shahani. The film was made available by the Consulate General of India in San Francisco in conjunction with the Ministry of External Affairs in India. She plans later in May to show videos of selected Indian films as part of a lecture and discussion session with students at Kaiser High School in Honolulu.

Bhattacharya describes her experience in Hawai'i as an "immense learning opportunity." The Pacific and Polynesia acquired new meanings, as she encountered questions of identity in Hawaii's positioning in juxtaposition to the Mainland United States and Pacific. No longer are Pacific and Polynesia merely names of islands on a map, and no longer is Hawai'i merely a representation of a tourist place. For Bhattacharya, Hawai'i opened up a complex awareness of the contemporary situation of this region of the world.

With her academic interests in theater and the performing arts, Bhattacharya exposed herself as much as possible to the rich diversity of art forms of Southeast and East Asia and the influence that these arts have had in Hawai'i.

As her stay in Hawai'i ends, she feels inundated with mixed feelings: the intense stimulation and enthusiasm to engage in work related to her past training and new interests combined with the frustrations of the short duration of her stay and incapability of contributing more. She hopes that her experience with Hawai'i in her everyday encounters with people, plants and stories eventually will express itself through future academic endeavors, as well as non-academic ones: travelogues and cookbooks, for instance.

She is extremely grateful to the Watumulls for supporting her visit, and appreciative of their remarkable generosity in allowing scholars to pursue their interests without interference or binding strings.

Faculty and student news


Vrinda Dalmiya [Philosophy] attended the International Conference on Ethics and Religion for a Global 21st Century at Chapman University in March, where she presented the paper, "Dogged Loyalties: A Classical Indian Intervention in Feminist Care Ethics." Dalmiya also organized a panel at the American Philosophical Association's Central Division Meeting on "Conceptualising Ownership of Land, Self and Knowledge: Voices from the East" in April, and presented the paper, "Can Goddesses Speak to Us?" at the South Asian Women's Conference in Los Angeles in May.

Monica Ghosh [Library] attended the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies March 9-12, in San Diego, California, where she served as a discussant on a roundtable entitled "Research and Collections: Overseas Chinese and South Asian Communities." Her presentation focused on the South Asian diaspora.

Peter Hoffenberg [History] wrote a book review for the Fall 2000 issue of the Journal of British Studies, which discusses Antoinette Burton's book on Indian visitors to London in the 1880s and 1890s. He also attended "The New Imperialism" working conference at the University of Texas, Austin, which included presentations by such scholars of South Asia as Tom Metcalf and Mrinalini Sinha. Hoffenberg received the Morris Society grant to travel to Toronto to present a paper on William Morris and Indian Art in June.

Sankaran Krishna [Political Science] presented two papers at the International Studies Association annual meeting in Los Angeles and attended the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) trustees meeting during the annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies in San Diego in March. He will be presenting a paper on diasporic identity and globalization at the Cosmopolis conference in Helsinki, Finland, and a paper on Indian foreign policy toward Sri Lanka in the 1990s at a conference in Colombo in June. Krishna will be in India for the summer doing fieldwork on Hindutva and Dravidian politics in Tamil Nadu. He will assume the chairmanship of the Political Science department in Fall 2000.

Samia Rab [Architecture] prepared a report of the 2000 Kenneth F. Brown Asia Pacific Culture & Architecture Design Award Program that gave two honorable mention awards to an Indian architect Rahul Mehrotra. Rab also wrote a technical review of the Conservation Education & Training applications to the Getty Grant Program in Los Angeles. She was nominated as senior editor of placement for The Journal of Design Urbanism & Planning. She will present a paper entitled "The Significance of 'Monuments' in the Post-Cold War Era" at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture International Conference, in Hong Kong in June. Rab also plans to present the paper "Exchanging Values of the Sandstone's Unifying Hue: The World Bank Regional Mission Headquarter Building in New Delhi" at the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments Conference in Trani, Italy. Rab received a $9,600 grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts and was nominated Cooperating Graduate Faculty in the Urban and Regional Planning department.

Lee Siegel [Religion] has signed a contract with Viking Penguin for a forthcoming novel, Snake Eyes and Fallen Angels, this spring. He gave performances of traditional Indian street magic at Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College. In March-April 2000, he wrote for and performed in Magic Special with Penn and Teller in India for Yorkshire television and associated producers, to be broadcast on the Learning Channel this Fall. Siegel also appeared in the A&E Channel's "Kamasutra" and The History Channel's India segment of its "The History Of Sex" series.


Himanee Gupta [Political Science] received her master's degree in American Studies in Spring 2000. Her thesis, "American Places, Indian Spaces: Post-1965 Immigrants Negotiate Community and Self," explores how issues of identity and community have been conceptualized among post-1965 Indian immigrants to the United States. She presented papers at the American Academy of Religion conference in Boston in November and at the South Asian Women's Conference in Los Angeles in May. She also presented the paper "American Dreamers: Indian Immigrants and Their Children," at the CSAS symposium. Gupta will participate in "Revealing the Sacred in Asian America," a conference on religious traditions and immigrant experiences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in June. She received the Brown-Denney Award from the American Studies department for excellence in graduate studies and her article,"Illuminating India: How a South Asian Diaspora Helps Build a Hindu Nation," appeared in the 1999 issue of Sagar.

Jill Keesbury [Political Science] is conducting research for her doctoral dissertation on the formulation of reproductive health policies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She presented the paper "Women's Activism, The World Bank and Population Policy Formulation: The Development of India's Reproductive and Child Health Programme" at the Population Association of America Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in March and at the CSAS spring symposium. She received the UH Arts and Sciences Advisory Council Award Institute for the Study of World Politics field study grant, and is receiving support from an East-West Center Grant.

Randall Koehlmoos [Asian Studies] received his master's degree in Asian Studies, with a concentration on South Asia, in Spring 2000. He will be continuing work in military service in the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) program. He presented the paper "Can the Kashmir Dilemma be Resolved?" at the CSAS symposium in April. The paper was based on his master's degree work.

Sridevi Menon [American Studies] will defend her dissertation "Discursive Realms and Colonial Practice: Contrapuntal Studies of Race in Colonial India and the United States" in American Studies in August. She will assume a one-year visiting assistant professor position at Bowling Green State University in August.

Bernardo Michael [History] plans to defend his dissertation in July. He presented a paper entitled "Separating the Yam from the Boulder: Statemaking and Space on the Anglo-Gorkha Frontier, 1730-1814," from his doctoral dissertation, at the 28th Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin in October. He also presented the paper "When Soldiers and Statesmen Meet: 'Ethnographic Moments' on the Frontiers of Empire, 1800-1815" at the CSAS symposium.

John Pincince [History] is preparing for comprehensive exams. He received the Spring 2000 Watumull Scholarship for Study in India, and hopes to begin his dissertation research on the "Historical Construction of Hindu National Identity: A Critical Biography of V.D. Savarkar" in Spring 2001. He presented a paper entitled "The Sangh Parivar and the Rhetoric of Globalization," at the CSAS symposium.

Bonita Rai [Political Science] presented "Political Analysis on the Nature of Ethnic Conflict, Ethnicity and Hindu Nationalism in Nepal," at the CSAS symposium. The paper was drawn from her on-going doctoral work in political science.


Sumit Sarkar will teach at UH in fall semester

Sumit Sarkar, Professor of History, Delhi University, will be at the University of Hawai'i as the John A. Burns Distinguished Professor Chair in History for Fall 2000. Sarkar, a leading social historian, will give lectures on modern India and teach a new course, "Seminar in Modern Social History of India," in the history department. The seminar will offer a critical look at different approaches to and interpretations of modern Indian history. It will focus particularly on conceptual frameworks for understanding social transformations since 1857.

The issues that intrigue Sarkar are not purely academic, as a recent assault on academic freedom by the Bharathiya Janata Party-led government in India suggest. In fact, the BJP's actions have touched Sarkar personally. Earlier this year, his manuscript in the Towards Freedom (1937-1947) series published by Oxford University Press, was recalled. A similar text by a colleague has been recalled as well.

Sarkar's other works include Modern India, 1983; A Critique of Colonial India, 1985; Khaki Shorts and Saffron Flags: A Critique of the Hindu Right, 1993; and Writing Social History, 1997. He also edited the 1946 volume of the Towards Freedom series.

Sri Lankan scholar Jayadeva Uyangoda to hold Andrews Chair

After screening an excellent pool of applicants, the CSAS executive committee has selected Jayadeva Uyangoda to hold the endowed Andrews Chair in Spring 2001.

Uyangoda, a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, has played an active role in efforts to reform Sri Lanka's constitutional foundations and political structures, working closely with leaders of the Sri Lankan government, opposition political leaders, Tamil nationalists, members of the diplomatic community and peace constituencies.

His primary interests include academic journalism, human rights and peace education, political intervention and civil society politics.


'Ambiguous' imperialists: British India between the wars

Book Review: D.A. Low, Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Ambiguity 1929-1942 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), xv, 358 pp. Cloth.
By S.K
University of Hawai'i

D.A. Low's stature in studies of imperialism and decolonization is deservedly exalted - the preface to the volume under review makes clear his legacy in terms of his prior works and the historians he has mentored over the decades at Sussex, Cambridge and Canberra. Low's central argument in Britain and Indian Nationalism is that the British, in a manner befitting a country that had acquired its empire in a fit of absent-mindedness, were never certain between the world wars whether they were hard-nosed imperialists committed to retaining their Indian colony at any price (including violent suppression of the Indian national movement and its leaders) or whether their adherence to liberal political values committed them to incremental concessions that would whittle away at their very presence in India. This deep-seated "ambiguity" can be better understood, Low suggests, by contrasting it with a clear U.S. desire to be out of the Philippines as fast as possible as well as with the violent methods and intransigence of the Dutch in Indonesia and the French in Indochina. As Ho Chi Minh put it, had Gandhi been in French Indochina rather than in British India he would have ascended to heaven long before he eventually did.

This ambiguity had several consequences. It made for an excruciatingly long process of disengagement; it created the space for the uniquely moral politics of Gandhi and his non-violent satyagraha; it, willy nilly, educated Indian leaders and masses into electoral politics; and it insulated both the Raj and the Congress from the unpredictable, unmanageable energy of subaltern forces. Low fleshes out the details of his thesis in a series of finely-etched chapters: one examines the aftermath of the Irwin declaration (committing Britain to giving India Dominion status) of October 1929; a second the struggle over defining "English" and "Indian" space in Lucknow in 1930; a third Gandhi's jousting with the British to get Congress recognized as the sole representative of the Indian people; a fourth the details of the "communal award" and the tension between pan-nationalism and the "caste" question it opened up; two chapters on the mixed blessings of electoral office in the Government of India Act of 1935; and a final chapter carrying the story up to 1942 and the Cripps Declaration. Low illustrates how British reluctance to take the hard, imperial line often wound up playing into the hands of Congress. While the British hoped each concession would inaugurate a period of peace and ensure continuance of Empire, Congress regarded them as stepping stones toward complete independence.

Two aspects warrant comment. Firstly, Low begins with "ambiguity" and the word rather worryingly expands to include: ambivalence (p. 31), ambidextrous (p. 27), dualism (p. 35), and even dissembling, duplicitous, delusory and disingenuous (all on p. 36). The plenitude of meaning indicates that ambiguity may not be the precise word needed, although it certainly has a nice touch to it. Is Low in danger of attaching too much weight to tactical differences among British decision-makers by calling it an inherent "ambiguity" when concessions were always regarded only as expedient ways of prolonging empire? That such concessions did not serve their purpose is a separate matter - to consider them indicative of ambiguity or ambivalence seems somewhat unconvincing given the underlying strategic consensus that empire must be retained. Secondly, by ending the story in 1942, Low does not deal with the issue of how, even as the British readied India for self-government, their own prior actions had done much to ensure the very idea of an Indian nation would be up for eternal contestation. Low details the evident relish with which the Raj promoted various "fragments" (minorities and princely states) as counterweight to the Congress. As independence neared, the wages of such a politics of "divide and rule" grew evident. Sensing this and obsessed with the idea of a dignified departure from India, the British left in indecent haste, telescoping the timetable for independence just barely ahead of the engulfing blaze of Partition. They may have saved face, but did so at the expense of hundreds of thousands of their erstwhile subjects.

Nevertheless, this engaging series of essays on the encounters between Britain and the Indian nationalists will be of great interest and value to students in this area.


A treasure trove awaits Nepali scholars who like a good dig

By Bernardo A. Michael
History department

For those interested in researching the past 250 years of Nepali history, the Regmi Research Collection (RRC) constitutes an invaluable collection of historical materials. Housed in 1995 in the National Archives of Nepal in Kathmandu, the RRC contains the transcripts from a number of official Nepali sources such as the Guthi (charitable lands) office, the Lagat Phant (archives of the Department of Land Revenue in the Ministry of Finance of His Majesty's Government), the Foreign Ministry (the Jaisikotha records) and the archives of the Law Ministry.

The credit for creating the RRC goes to Mahesh Chandra Regmi. In 1961, Regmi, then Member Secretary of the Royal Taxation Commission, received a grant from the University of California to transcribe records of the Lagat Phant. A number of people were hired, and the work went on for nearly twenty years. The RRC emerged out of this massive exercise. Today, it stands out as a unique instance of document preservation in South Asia, one that promises years of fruitful research for those willing to mine its wealth.

The RRC contains documents that shed light on the political, economic, administrative and social affairs of Nepali history, from the inception of Gorkhali rule in 1768. One gets a rich sampling of official regulations (sawal ) touching many aspects of governance such as taxation, law, religion, and general administration. Many documents deal with land grants (birta, jagir, guthi ), and assignments under various tenures (nankar, chaudhrai ), revenue settlement re-ports (jamabandi ), official correspondence, and orders. The themes that these materials cover range from the formulation of agrarian policy, the existing regime of landed rights, the institutions of revenue administration to forestry, the mobilization of labor, social practices concerning caste, and gender and sexuality.

Mining the RRC, however, requires the intrepid scholar to negotiate a number of bottlenecks. For one, the microfilmed transcripts are difficult to read, and it can take some time before one can discern the transcriber's writing style. Secondly, with the RRC now on microfilm, access to the material is guided by the availability of microfilm reading equipment, the number of co-researchers to compete with, and a two hour time limit on microfilm use that the RRC imposes. Needless to say, some of these variables are negotiable and ingenious scholars should be able to make the best of the situation. Thirdly, the National Archives of Nepal do not possess a catalogue of the collection, making it impossible to find out the microfilm number of the RRC volume to be consulted. In addition, the RRC is numbered in a staggered fashion, lacking sequence.

Researchers can visit the Nepal Research Center at Baneshwor and access the printed version of the RRC's catalog which not only gives the microfilm number, but also contains a listing (in English) of the contents of each volume. However, if one finds one's self beached at the National Archives of Nepal without any of this information and is willing to begin from the first volume of the RRC, then its microfilm number is E2388. Also, when using the collections, it's worth remembering that the title of a document as mentioned in the Contents section of each volume, might not accurately reflect what it actually contains.

The RRC's nearly 100 volumes make up only a tiny fraction of the rich records available at, for instance, the Lagat Phant or Foreign Ministry archives. Nevertheless, it remains the best organized, systematically catalogued collection of archival materials on matters of Gorkhali governance over the past 250 years. Scholars have yet to begin serious investigations of its documentary wealth. Given the present chaotic state of the Lagat Phant, the continued closure of the Foreign Ministry archives, and the classified status of the archival holdings of the Royal Nepalese Army (the Jangi Adda), the RRC will continue to remain our single most important archival source for the study of post-18th century Nepal.

* This brief on the RRC emerges from my own work with the resource, conducted in connection with a dissertation on the Anglo-Gorkha War of 1814-1816. I am grateful to Mahesh Chandra Regmi for sharing his experiences with me in April 1999.

Upcoming Events

ASDP Summer Institute "Religions, Philosophies and Culture in India: Conflicts and Negotiations"

The ASDP Institute, a joint project of the East-West Center and University of Hawai'i, will be held from June 12-July 14, 2000. In its first week, the institute will focus on themes from Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions. Speakers include Roger Ames, Arindam Chakrabarti, Vrinda Dalmiya and Eliot Deutsch, all from Philosophy; and Peter Hershock and Elizabeth Buck, of the East-West Center. Week 2 will focus on religion and gender, with talks by Christopher Chapple, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; R. Sunder Rajan, George Washington University, Washington D.C. and the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi; and Jyoti Rout, independent artist, San Francisco. Week 3 will examine aesthetics in art, architecture and Indian literature. Speakers include Deutsch, Mary-Anne Milford-Lutzker, of Mills College; Samia Rab, Architecture; Monica Ghosh, South Asia Library; Miriam Sharma, Asian Studies; and Pandit A. Chakrabarti, independent musician, New Delhi. Week 4 will focus on politics and identity, with sessions led by Jagdish Sharma, History; Sudipta Kaviraj, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University; and Robert Retherford and Meheroo Jussawalla of the East-West Center. Week 5 will discuss development, economic liberalization and globalization, with talks by S. Charusheela, Women's Studies; and Veena Das, Delhi School of Economics and New School of Social Science Research. Other presenters include Jay Garfield, Smith College, and Zayn Kassam, Pomona College.

Chakrabarti and Dalmiya direct the institute. For more information, please contact Peter Hershock ( or Sandy Osaki (

Classical music performance

Celebrated in India for his contributions to the North Indian Patiala Gharana style of music, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty will perform at 7:30 p.m. June 29 at the Academy Theater at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. He also will give a lecture-demonstration June 29 at the university.

Chakrabarty will be accompanied on tabla by Master Yogesh Samsi and on tanpura by Chandana Chakrabarty, both from India. He will also be assisted by his daughter, Kaushiki.

The performance will include classical and semi-classical music of India. Chakrabarty's repertoire ranges from high classical ragas to more lyrical thumri and devotional bhajans as well as Karnatic vocal forms.

Chakrabarty has more than 50 albums and CDs to his credit, and has performed all over India and in major cities in the United States and Britain. He gave a historic joint recital with the legendary Karnatic vocalist, Balmuralikrishna at Carnegie Hall in New York during the 50th anniversary celebration of India's independence in 1997. This marks his first performance in Honolulu.

Odissi dance performance

Jyoti Rout will perform Odissi dance, accompanied by Ruth Halpern, at 7:30 p.m. June 17 at the Wo International Center's Luke Auditorium at the Punahou School. For more information, please contact Saleem Ahmed, 395-5329.

Resources for studying South Asia

Teaching South Asia

Teaching South Asia is a new, refereed, freely accessible Internet journal devoted exclusively to facilitating the study and teaching of the subcontinent at the post-secondary level. Published biannually, Teaching South Asia will act as an online forum for professors and others, emphasizing interdisciplinary teaching methods at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. The journal will feature articles on teaching South Asian studies, review articles, book reviews and reports on the state of the field of South Asian studies. Contributions will be written by teaching professors and advanced post-graduate students who have teaching experience from around the world. More information on Teaching South Asia may be obtained from the Visit Project South Asia Web site: asia. Questions concerning submissions may be referred to Teaching South Asia's editor, Dr. Karl J. Schmidt, at


Watumulls nurture scholarly, community endeavors across globe

By Safia Aggarwal
CSAS Coordinator

The Center extends a special thanks to the Watumull family for its ongoing support and generosity. It is safe to say that the Center would not exist in the form it does without the Watumulls' support. However, our activities constitute only a small aspect of the family's philanthropic outreach, outreach that extends locally, nationally and internationally.

G.J. (Gobindram Jhamandas) Watumull established the Watumull Foundation in 1942 to provide technical assistance and promote achievement by Indians in various fields. In the late 1940s the foundation began giving scholarships to Indian students wishing to attend American universities. The foundation also provided funds to help doctors, teachers, and engineers receive training in U.S. institutions.

Besides assistng Indian students, the Watumull Foundation helped purchase medical equipment, farm machinery, and grain seeds for use in India. It channeled funds towards projects related to population control, family planning, and famine relief. During the 1970s, the foundation provided funds to finance wells for drinking water and irrigation throughout India. Since then, the foundation has worked within other rural development programs such as reforestation projects promoting the planting of trees with the help of local voluntary organizations.

The foundation also is dedicated to promoting better understanding between India and the United States. It has sponsored the visits of Indian scholars in American universities, provided funds to university and public libraries in the United States to purchase books on India, and has bought books in the United States for Indian educational institutions and public libraries.

Drawing on the family's connection to Hawai'i, the Watumull Foundation also supports educational, philanthropic and cultural work locally. It contributes to numerous local educational institutions including the University of Hawai'i and the Center for South Asian Studies, Foreign Students' Assistance Fund, and the East-West Center. It has supported numerous lectures, performances and conferences including the East-West Philosophers' Conference held at the University of Hawai'i since 1949. In addition, the foundation supports hospitals, community organizations, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The foundation is now known as the G.J. and Ellen Watumull Foundation, and is administered by Lila Sahney, the daughter of G.J. and Ellen Watumull, and the president of the foundation.

Since the early 1960s, educational support also has come from another branch of the Watumull family, that of J. (Jhamandas) Watumull, brother of G.J. This branch began helping Indian students studying in the United States by mailing all applicants $300. Now called the J. Watumull Fund, it supports as many as 100 students annually. Also in the early 1960s, the Rama Watumull Endowment Fund was established in memory of Rama Watumull, son of J. Watumull, who died in a plane crash in 1953. It supports Indian students and philanthropic and educational institutions in Hawai'i. It also supports the Rama Watumull Distinguished Indian Scholars Program, which was initiated in 1986 to help promote mutual understanding between United States and India by supporting educational and research exchange between educational institutions based in India and the University of Hawai'i. Through the endowment, the Center brings a scholar from India to teach for a semester at the University of Hawai'i every other year.

The J. Watumull Estate, established in 1975, provides further support to scholars and students at the University of Hawai'i. Now known as the J. Watumull Fund, it also provides financial assistance to two hospitals near Bombay, run by the Brahma Kumaris religious group. In addition, the fund supports an MBA college, run by the Vivekanand Education Society, and a girl's college run by Sadha Bela religious group.

The J. Watumull Fund also supports Hawai'i-based philanthropical, educational, environmental, and health organizations. One of the newest projects is a scholarship program that helps UH students go to India. Initiated in 1996, it provides up to three $5,000 grants to students annually. Gulab (son of J. Watumull) now administers the J. and Rama Watumull Funds.


Report on South Asian Women's Conference, Los Angeles

Vrinda Dalmiya [Philosophy] and Himanee Gupta [Political Science] presented papers at the third International South Asian Women's Conference in Los Angeles, May 6-7. The conference, brought together about 80 academic researchers, political activists and career professionals in an intense weekend of panel discussions, open-ended workshops, lunches and receptions.

Vrinda Dalmya's paper, "Can Goddesses Speak to Us?," was part of a panel on historical perspectives and women's spirituality. This session raised questions about such categories of "self" and "other," and whether the distinction between "West" and "non-West" is perhaps artificial. Himanee Gupta's paper, "American Dreamers: Indian Immigrants and Their Children," was part of a panel on the second-generation experience. While the session drew spirited debate about the meanings of identity and community from a diverse range of participants, it acknowledged the contributions that post-1965 immigrant women and their American-born children have made to problematize the meaning of Indian.

Most of the papers reflected ongoing scholarly research. Yet, many questions on the presentations came from participants with backgrounds in community organizing or from a wide range of personal experiences. Such a dialogue makes the South Asian Women's Conference a stimulating experience, in many respects.

Organizer Sangeeta Gupta, who, as editor of Emerging Voices: South Asian American Women Redefine Self, Family, and Community (Walnut Creek, Calif.: Altamira Press, 1999), is dedicated to bridging gaps between ivory tower intellectualism and community activism, opened the conference by encouraging participants to regard it as a weekend "retreat." Such an emphasis shifted the gathering's focus from one that was intellectual in a traditional sense to one that was perhaps intellectual in a more organic sense. We were asked, in a way, to remove our regular "hats" and try to conceptualize our research interests in a more holistic sense. In addition, the focus on "South Asian women" as a category of intellectual inquiry drew a fascinating cross-section of thinkers, from Hawai`i, New Zealand, England, Canada, India and elsewhere in South Asia, as well as the U.S. Mainland.

-By Himanee Gupta
Political Science department

Upcoming Conferences

The International Maheshwari-Rajas-thani Convention 2000 will be held July 1-4 at the Oakbrook Marriott in Chicago. For information contact: Swarka Taparia, 6430 Manor Drive Burr Ridge, IL 60521-5767; phone: (630) 655-0083;

The Society for Indian Philosophy & Religion will hold an International Interdisciplinary Conference in Calcutta Aug. 1-4, with the theme "Language, Thought and Reality: Science, Religion and Philosophy." For more information contact: Dr. Chandana Chakrabarti, Elon College Campus Box 2336, Elon College, NC 27244; phone: (336) 538-2705; e-mail: chakraba@numen.

The XXXVIth International Congress of Asian and North African Studies Conference will be held in September at the University of Montreal, with the theme "Oriental and Asian Studies in the Era of Globalization: Heritage and Modernity - Opportunities and Challenges." More information may be obtained from ICANAS 2000 Secretariat, Bureau des Congres, Universite de Montreal, P,O, Box 6128, Station Downtown, Montreal (Quebec) H3C 3J7, Canada; phone: (514) 343-6492, e-mail: congres@bcoc. umontreal. ca, or the internet: http://www.

The 29th annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Region/Association for Asian Studies will be held Oct. 27-29, at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. The theme of the conference is Asia-Tradition, Memory, and Change. For more information please contact: David Prejsnar, Department of History/Philosophy, Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, PA 19130; phone: (215) 751-8644; fax: (215) 972-6304; e-mail:; Web site:


The University of Wisconsin at Madison has a position open for Professor of Hindi-Urdu language and literature. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in South Asian Languages and Literature, be proficient in Hindi and Urdu, and be familiar with literary traditions (modern/pre-modern), literary theory and post-colonial theory as well as approaches to cultural studies. Applicants should send resume and cover letters to Prof. Ellen Rafferty, 1240 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1557, by Aug. 28. Please refer to position vacancy #35772. For information, contact emraffer@facstaff.; fax: (606) 265-3538, or call: (608) 262-3915.

Fall semester courses related to South Asia

ARCH 271: World Architecture & Urbanism, Samia Rab
ART 492: WI/Art of Ancient India, Nancy Dowling
ART 791: Hindu Art of South Asia, Nancy Dowling
ASAN 320I: Asian Nation State: South Asia, Staff
ASAN 393I: Field Study-Asia: South Asia, Sankaran Krishna
ASAN 600S: Asian Studies Proseminar: South/Southeast Asia, Michael Aung-Thwin
ASAN 620: Topics: Gender in the Performing Arts of Asia, Ricardo Trimillos
ASAN 624: Culture and Colonialism, Miriam Sharma
ASAN 627: Ethnic Nationalism in Asia, Dru Gladney
ASAN 694: Topics in Buddhist Studies: Nagarjuna and the Origins of Mahayana Buddhism, Mark Siderits
DNCE 651: Seminar in Dance Research, Judy Van Zile
DNCE 653: Dance Ethnology Seminar, Judy Van Zile
HIST 152: World Civilizations, Peter Hoffenberg
HIST 241: Civilizations of Asia, Jagdish Sharma
HIST 301: WI/History of India & Pakistan, Jagdish Sharma
HIST 663: Seminar in Indian History, Sumit Sarkar
HNDI 101, 102: Elementary and Intermediate Hindi, Rama Nath Sharma
LIS 705/ HIST 705/ ASAN 705: Asian Research Materials and Method, Lynette Wageman, Monica Ghosh
PACE 412: Gandhi, King and Nonviolence, Staff
PALI 381: Elementary Pali, Walter Maurer
PHIL 213: WI/History of Philoso-phy III, Vrinda Dalmiya
PHIL 305: Philosophy of Religion, Arindam Chakrabarti
PHIL 418/WS419: WI/Feminist Issues in Philosophy, Vrinda Dalmiya
PHIL 725: Seminar in Philosophical Topics, Eliot Deutsch
PHIL 740: Seminar in Philosophical Text, Arindam Chakrabarti
POLS 340, 640: Comparative Politics, Sankaran Krishna
POLS 374/WS 374: WI/Women and Politics, S. Charusheela
REL 151: WI/Religion & Meaning of Existence, Ramdas Lamb
REL 300: WI/The Study of Religion, Ramdas Lamb
REL 600: Study of Religion, Cromwell Crawford
REL 662B: Graduate Seminar in Indian Religions, Lee Siegel
SNSK 181, 281: Introduction to Sanskrit and Intermediate Sanskrit, Walter Maurer
WS 418: Women and Work, S. Charusheela

Fulbright grants available

The Fulbright Scholar Program is offering grants for U.S. faculty and professionals to conduct research and/or lectures in several Asian countries including Bangladesh, Pakstan, India and Sri Lanka. In addition, Fulbright offers a South Asia Regional Research Program.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and have at least three years of university teaching or professional experience. They also must hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree in their respective fields.

The application deadline for the 2001-02 academic year is Aug. 1. For information on South Asia, contact Gary Garrison, (202) 682-4024, or e-mail, jmcpeek@ Or write to the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden St., N.W., Suite 5L, Washington D.C. 20008-3009.

CSAS Thanks You for Your Continuing Support

CSAS thanks all those who have supported the Center with monetary contributions in recent years. These funds provide a flexible resource to supplement our (rapidly declining) university operating budget and permits us to augment our South Asia activites.

Your tax-deductible contributions are greatly appreciated and can be made payable to the University of Hawai`i Foundation Account No. 130910, c/o Center for South Asian Studies, Moore 411, University of Hawai`i, Honolulu, HI 96822.


South Asia News is produced by Sankaran Krishna, Director, Safia Aggarwal, Coordinator, with help from Himanee Gupta.

Contributions of short articles, opinions, book and film reviews, information, etc., are welcome. Please send them to the Center for South Asian Studies ( For announcements on Center activities, please check our Web site:

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