Center for South Asian Studies | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

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Apr 29, 2015
Nepal Earthquake Relief Information

For earthquake relief:

Please note that the CSAS does not endorse any of these organizations.

Articles:

We are sharing links to articles about the earthquake written by authors who are in Honolulu, at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, or have links to UHM.

Hawaii Can Help After Devastating Earthquake in Nepal: “When I see the pictures, I cry. The pain and agony of my people is unbearable.”

·By SANJEEV RANABHAT (Click here for link to the article in Civil Beat) 
 
  • Sanjeev lives in Honolulu and contributes to the Civil Beat.
The Nepali community is devastated. On Saturday, a 7.8 or 7.9 magnitude earthquake shook much of the country, with continuing aftershocks, landslides, flooding and avalanches. Millions of people are affected and thousands are dead, injured and missing.

Thankfully, I have been able to contact my immediate family members, who are safe for the time being. Some of my relatives’ houses are completely demolished and I still haven’t heard from many of my relatives and friends.

As the epicenter moves from the west to the east of the Kathmandu Valley, there have been many powerful aftershocks, as strong as 6.7, and people are too scared to go inside. My father says there are about 30 families camping out in our yard in Bhaktapur District, braving the wind and rain.

Nepal earthquake April 2015

People search the rubble in the Kathmandu Valley for survivors of a catastrophic earthquake in Nepal.

It is snowing at higher elevations, and although media has yet to penetrate much of the rural affected areas, it seems that many villages have been devastated. 

There is no power, Internet, or clean drinking water, and scarce medical supplies and food. People are extremely scared. My sister and sister-in-law were on a sixth floor when the earthquake struck. They tried to run outside with my month-old niece and it was so intense that they thought they were going to die.

Luckily, they are all safe. My brother sent me a message that reads, “Kathmandu is completely destroyed.”

I can’t believe what is happening in my country. Dust and gloom covers the Kathmandu Valley and people are confused, hopeless and in grief with hundreds of dead bodies lying on the streets, thousands of people trapped and homes collapsed. 

As a poor nation, our infrastructure is already lacking and we do not have the necessary basic emergencies supplies. Overwhelmed hospitals are operating in makeshift camps outside.

When I see the pictures, I cry. The pain and agony of my people is unbearable. We have lost thousands of years of our cultural heritage, as temples, monuments and stupas lay in ruin. Bhaktapur city, once known as  “a city of more temples than houses,” literally collapsed in seconds.

This is the situation of the capital of Nepal, home to more than a million people.

We have not heard from many rural areas of the country, but a report from a village in the Gorkha District stated only four of 1,200 homes remain standing! Massive landslides and flooding are sweeping away entire villages and surviving communities have related their needs for immediate assistance and their fear of what is to come. 

CNN and BBC are also broadcasting the videos of avalanches at Mount Everest triggered by the earthquake and aftershocks. More than 19 people have died, and hundreds are missing.

Brutal images are circulating of large numbers of corpses in on streets, dead bodies of little children being taken out from rubbles, people crying and praying for help. 

We Nepalese are helpless, shocked and crushed. Our nation is falling apart. Please donate wisely and generously to Nepal’s relief and recovery!

For those seeking reputable organizations to support, the Society of Nepalese in Hawaii 501c3 is raising funds for relief efforts.

There are also a number of organizations providing immediate disaster relief, such as those listed on the Association for Nepali and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) websitehttp://anhs-himalaya.org/relief-agencies/

The ANHS site also provides information including agency platforms, ratings and detailed campaign details in order to help you access how you can make the biggest impact with your donation. 

Nepal Earthquake: We had been Warned

by SAMRAT UPADHAY. April 27, 2015 (Click here for link to article)

  • Samarat Upadhay is a UHM alum who is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of the Humanities in the English Department at Indiana University-Bloomington, where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program. He is the author of several books published by Houghton Mifflin including Arresting God in Kathmandu, a collection of short stories (2001)and The City Son (2014).

Images coming out of Nepal’s devastating earthquake on Saturday reminded me of another earthquake of similar magnitude that occurred 81 years ago. That earthquake of 1934, or nabbey salko bhuichalo, as it was referred to throughout my childhood in Katmandu, had acquired an air of a legend, delivered in black-and-white photos of men and women in traditional garb standing amid the rubble.

But the 1934 earthquake, which killed more than 10,000 people, was a thing of the past, recalled by old folks, resurrected only in history books and works of fiction. History came alive on Saturday at 5 a.m. when I opened my laptop to write, in Bloomington, Ind., and saw the news.

I awoke my wife, who through bleary eyes looked at me in disbelief as I told her, “This is a big one.” The next few hours were spent in frantic attempts to contact our loved ones in Katmandu; first and foremost my parents, whose old age makes them vulnerable, and my wife’s mother, a widow, who lives in a tall building.

For many Nepali expatriates, attachment to the homeland is fierce. I love America, but Nepal is my home —it’s a landscape I have returned to in all of my novels and short stories. And every year I return in person, with my MFA students. Last year we went up to the Himalayan region of Mustang, where my students bathed in the icy cold water from the 108 springs around Muktinath Temple, situated at 12,000 feet. Throughout the trip I was moved by Nepal’s beauty and moved even more by the kindness of the Nepalis we encountered, from the old grandma who served us food at Hotel Bob Marley in Muktinath, to the hotel owner in the resort town of Pokhara who went out of his way to arrange transport for us.

That such calamity would befall such generous people is heart-rending. The initial quake on Saturday has been followed by countless aftershocks that have everyone panicked. Reports are coming in of entire villages laid waste in the mountains. My parents, with whom communication has been difficult because of erratic phone connections and lack of electricity, are camped out in rain on a small field near their home on the outskirts of Katmandu. My mother-in-law is staying with one of her daughters.

We had been warned. In the early ’90s, when I returned to live in Nepal for two years, the country experienced mild earthquakes. Articles appeared in newspapers claiming that a major earthquake was imminent. The reason: movement of tectonic plates in the Himalayas, the very process that created those mountain peaks of stunning beauty in the first place. Concerns were raised about lack of preparedness, especially with the alarming growth of shoddily constructed buildings. But these prophesies of a major trembler didn’t come true. I was among those who thought the experts were exaggerating.

Now this. Thousands have lost their lives, many more have lost their homes, and centuries-old temples, prized for their exquisite carvings in Katmandu Valley’s old palace squares, have been destroyed. Katmandu Durbar Square is in ruins. Patan Durbar Square has been devastated. These were World Heritage sites so, in a very literal sense, the whole world has lost physical access to its cultural history.

Last year my students took photos of erotic carvings in the Jagan Narayan Temple in Patan Durbar Square for Indiana University’s Alfred Kinsey Institute. That temple is now gone. In 2010 we climbed the Dharahara tower in central Katmandu for a panoramic view of this chaotic yet vibrant city. The tower, whose original structure dates to 1832, had collapsed in 1934 and was rebuilt. At the top I remember — now with horror — telling my students that the monument was vulnerable to another collapse because Nepal was so earthquake prone. On Saturday, Dharahara was reduced to a stump.

Nepalis, most of whom are Hindus and Buddhists, are well attuned to the idea that nothing is permanent. The champion of impermanence, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, was born in Nepal. He also taught that life, by its very nature, is filled with suffering.

We Nepalis know suffering. We survived a century-long Rana oligarchy that had most of the country in rags, and the decades-long repressive Panchayat system that kept power in the hands of the king and the caste elites. The 1990 pro-democracy movement ushered in a constitutional monarchy — and then a civil war left thousands dead. Petty politicians have stymied efforts to make a new constitution.

But my people are also resilient. Already Nepalis are uniting to deal with this most recent tragedy. They are digging through the rubble for survivors.

“Feeling helpless,” my wife wrote on her Facebook page. When we have managed to connect, it’s our loved ones in Nepal who have reassured us, rather than the other way around: “Don’t worry, we’re fine. It’ll be OK.”

Samrat Upadhyay’s novel “The City Son,” set in Katmandu, is a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. For donations to Nepal, please visit globalgiving.org

In Nepal: Lift spirits through music

by Anna Stirr (Click here for link to article)

  • Anna Stirr is assistant professor in the Asian Studies Program at UHM.  She specializes in Himalayan cultures.

(CNN)—Living on the fault line that has produced the world’s highest mountain ranges, the people of Nepal knew there would be a major earthquake someday.

Yet last Saturday’s heartbreaking losses still come as a devastating blow, from which Nepal will take years to recover. As the world pitches in to help with immediate relief, thoughts are also beginning to turn to long-term recovery. In the aftermath of the quake, Nepal’s musical traditions can help buoy the resilience and spirit necessary to rebuild the country.

When they could finally reach each other by phone, flutist Nirmal Singh related his experience of the earthquake to his uncle in Hawaii, who relayed his story to me. Nirmal was performing at a Hindu flutes and fled the stage, seeking shelter in the open with other musicians and audience members alike. They watched helplessly as Kathmandu crumbled around them. In that moment, they felt their hearts crumble, too.

One day, he will perform music again

Several days later, Nirmal remains in a makeshift camp near the performance site, reeling from the earthquake’s devastation. He is trying to get up the courage to walk the five or so miles to his apartment, thinking of the devastation he will pass along the way, and fearful of what he might find when he gets home. Heavy-hearted, he doesn’t feel like playing music yet. But he takes comfort in listening.

Nirmal comes from a family of flutists and flute makers. His uncle, fellow flutist and flute maker Ram Kumar Singh, told me he believes music and art will be necessary for the healing process. “When we see and hear Nepali cultural sounds and images, it creates a mood for the victims to be more positive and to unite. Folk music and arts are the medium that creates a feeling of humanity. It totally ignores differences like ethnicity and political parties.”

For the last several years, Nepal’s government has been trying to restructure the state after a 10-year civil war (1996-2006). Amid well-meaning efforts to right decades of wrongs against marginalized peoples, ethnic identity politics have become a sticking point, and the major political parties have created a stalemate by refusing to compromise.

While marginalized groups fight for long-denied rights and representation, others use the threat of national disintegration to uphold their power and the status quo.

A way to further unity among people of Nepal

Regardless of their own ethnicity or political affiliation, musicians often embrace politics of a different sort. Their claims that music transcends differences are only partly true. Just as often, music and other performing arts celebrate difference, asserting proud identities associated with the country’s 126 registered ethnic groups, 123 spoken languages, and many regional and religious affiliations. Yet they do this in the spirit of social inclusion, appealing to notions of common humanity. The politics of music becomes a politics of humanistic unity, rather than antagonistic power plays.

This may sound a bit utopian. But in artists’ and ordinary folks’ musical responses to the quake, this prevailing discourse about music and unity may help avoid some of the problems that have occurred after other natural disasters. The power struggles over access to aid following the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Sri Lanka threatened neighbors’ peaceful co-existence.

Nepal will face similar challenges in the coming weeks, as relief efforts strive to distribute resources equitably under difficult conditions. The extent of damages in hard-hit rural areas still remains to be determined.

So far, reports paint a picture of a country rallying together to survive. In another Kathmandu camp, writer Sanjeev Pokharel tweeted his delight at hearing his neighbors in the next tent singing. Music’s symbolic social harmony lives on. Laments provide shared catharsis, the continuation of local traditions sounding elements of hope.

In 2006, the Nepali folk band Kutumba played for programs about disaster relief. I was a guest performer, as was Barta Gandharva, a young singer and sarangi fiddle player. “Let’s be safe from earthquakes!” Barta sang to a crowd in the ancient town of Sanothimi, a few miles east of Kathmandu. This town was all but destroyed in the last major earthquake of 1934, and on Saturday was once again reduced to rubble.

That day in 2006, we called elders up to the stage, and they told us their memories of the 1934 earthquake. “Everything was broken,” said one old man. “Our hearts still cry, remembering.” For a few moments he appeared lost in his sadness, years of hardships etched in the lines on his face. Then he, too, began to dance to the music.

Other Organizations

Also, organizations such as the Red Cross, the World Food Program, Oxfam and Global Giving all have good reputations for this sort of crisis intervention and have set up donation sites especially for the crisis.

World Food Program - https://www.wfp.org/stories/nepal


Mar 16, 2015
On the ban of BBC Documentary ‘India’s Daughter’

India’s Daughter is a BBC documentary that was recently banned by the Government of India. The documentary (based on the rape and murder of Jyothi Singh Pandey in New Delhi, India on 16th December) interviews both the perpetrator of the crime as well as Jyothi’s parents. The video was posted on Youtube earlier this month and has since then gone viral. The content and message of the film have sparked controversy. Such debates are significant, especially because we are once again confronted with how to tackle the issues around women’s safety, agency, and bodily integrity when women occupy and transverse public spaces.

Click here to read the perspective from CSAS Faculty S. Shankar on his blog: “Full Spectrum Sexism: India’s Problem Isn’t Just Rape”

Please to refer to the post by Anchita Ghatak in our Forum on this issue: “Violence Against Women and Girls: Will the death penalty solve the problem?”

Check out the following articles with some other perspectives on the documentary:

An Anti-Rape Activist is Disturbed by India’s Daughter: Interview with leading Indian feminist Kavita Krishnan

“Silencing India’s Daughter” by Andre Denhoed in The New Yorker


Mar 4, 2015
March 18-20: 2015 SPAS Graduate Student Conference, “Against the Current: Transforming Perspectives and Thought in Asia,” Center for Korean Studies

Click here for the flyer.

SPAS Conference 2015 GOOD

parrenas-2015-spas-keynote-page-001

For more information, visit the website: 
https://spasconference.wordpress.com/ 


Feb 26, 2015
Audio Clip from PhD Student Anjoli Roy’s Talk: “Finding Family in the Archives”

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Can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/uhcsas/anjoli-roys-biography-talkm4a 

This event was in collaboration with the Center for Biographical Research, for:

“FINDING FAMILY IN THE ARCHIVES: STORYTELLING IN DELHI, KURSEONG, AND KOLKATA” 

By Anjoli Roy, PhD Student, Department of English 

February 5th, 12 – 1:15 pm, Henke Hall 325

flyer

Kalinath (Anjoli’s great grandfather) and Anjoli’s dad in 1942/1943 India

When he was arrested in 1919 four days after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre for what the British government called “seditious writings,” freedom fighter and English-language journalist Kalinath Ray became a symbol of the free press in India. Gandhi took up the movement for Kalinath Ray’s release, and a tide in India turned from striving to achieve equality within the British Empire to the call for civil disobedience on the road to independence. For two months in summer 2014, I traveled in India to recover the stories of Kalinath Ray’s’s legacy and to reconnect with family I hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years. After working in archives in Delhi and Chandigarh and spending rainy hours with family in Kolkata, I returned to Hawai‘i with some answers about Kalinath Ray, stories about so many of my other family members whom I never knew, and many more questions that push me to consider how to take care of these stories, what forms they belong to, and how I, as no scholar of South Asian history, can continue to buoy them for and with my family in India and the U.S.


Feb 24, 2015
Bridget Moe, the last link in a sublime musical loop between Hawaii and India, passes away
By 
Feb 11, 2015 · 08:26 pm

On Wednesday night, Penina Partsch posted an item on Facebook announcing the death of her grandmother, Bridget Moe in Houston, Texas. This photo shows Partsch and Moe in 2011, as they were preparing for the older woman’s 85th birthday. Partsch had cooked up an enormous meal, made elaborate decorations and and edited a slide show about her Nani’s amazing life. And what an eventful life it had been. Bridget Moe, born Bridget Althea Ensell to an Anglo-Indian family in Calcutta, was the last living link in an unlikely cultural loop that connects India to the South Pacific islands, a connection that has enriched Indian music immensely.

This loop was strengthened immeasurably in 1929, when a Samoan guitar player named Tau Moe, who had grown up in Hawaii, stopped by in Calcutta for the first time. He would return a decade later, and stay much longer. Moe was a master of the Hawaiian guitar, which is placed horizontally, often across the musician’s lap. The strings are plucked with one hand, as with conventional guitars. But instead of picking out chords with the other hand, Hawaiian guitar players change pitch by sliding metal or glass bars across the strings, giving the instruments its distinctive sound. The slides are sometimes called “steels”, which is why Hawaiian guitars are also called steel guitars.

Tau Moe – or Papa Tau, as he was known – started his musical career as a schoolboy, playing at a stage show in Honolulu for passengers who had stepped off their cruise ships. In 1927, when he was 19, he met his future wife, Rose, at a steel guitar class. Later that year, they joined a music troupe that had been hired to do a South Pacific musical show in the Philippines, setting off on a voyage that would keep them away from Hawaii for 60 years.

Over the next few years, they played Hawaiian music in Japan and China. They even did a stint at the Taj in Bombay in the 1930s before heading to Berlin, where they met Hitler at a fundraiser for orphans. The 1940s found them back in India and they spent almost all of the Second World War in Calcutta, playing at the Grand Hotel. “We played Glenn Miller arrangements (or my own) but always included Hawaiian music,” Moe told one interviewer. “We would do a session of jazz band music, then some classical music, then a Hawaiian session with me on steel guitar.”

The couple’s son, Lani, who had been born in Kyoto, choreographed the shows, in addition to singing and dancing with the band. Their daughter, Dorian, was born in Calcutta in 1946 during a burst of intense Hindu-Muslim rioting. The Moe family would later start performing as the Aloha Four.

At some point during his stay in India, Moe met Mahatma Gandhi. “He was a very highly educated man and I enjoyed the 35 minutes were spent talking to him,” Moe told one interviewer. The musician thought that Gandhi’s dhoti was similar to the lava-lava worn by Pacific Islanders, but told the political leader that it was unusual to see the garment tucked between the legs. “He laughed and said, ‘Well, I am better off than you Polynesian people who walk about without shirts,’” recalled Moe.

During Tau Moe’s stay in India between 1941 and 1947, he taught several Indians how to play the steel guitar, most notably an Anglo-Indian musician named Garney Nyss. Nyss would later form a band called the Aloha Boys and would go on to cut more than 60 records. In the 1950s, the Hawaiian guitar became a familiar sound in Hindi film tunes. Tau Moe died only in 2004 and continued to perform until late in his life. Here’s a record he made in Calcutta in 1943 with the African-American pianist Frank Shriver, who went by the stage name Dr Jazz. Lani Moe is among the vocalists.

Paducah by naresh.fernandes


The Aloha Boys.

Though Tau Moe was the most influential steel guitar player in India, he wasn’t the first to bring Hawaiian music to India. In 1922, a seven-member group named Ernest Ka’ai and his Royal Hawaiian Troubadours presented a show called A Night in Honolulu at the Excelsior Theatre, performing hula hula dances wearing yellow wreaths. They came several times over the next few years. By the time they returned in 1928, The Times reported, “Bombay has many lovers of Hawaiian music and there is for these, and indeed for anyone who loves good music and singing and dancing, a treat in store when Mr Ka’ai’s Troubadours open in Bombay on November 30.”

Everyone seems to need someone to exoticise. Somehow 1930s India, the country others saw as a place of snake charmers and opulent maharajas, chose to be captivated by women in grass skirts swaying under fake palm trees. In 1930, a group called the Royal Samoans visited Bombay. The correspondent of The Times of India was bowled over by the spectacle they put on at the Empire Theatre. “The dress (what there is of it) of both men and women reminded one of the pictures of the ancient Egyptians,” the paper wrote. “They are unlike anything India has seen before.”

Bombay seemed to be fascinated by the South Seas. The next year, one Mrs Hayes of Jasmine House on Convent Street in the Fort was offering Hawaiian guitar lessons at Rs 30 for four classes a month. Furtado’s music store, meanwhile, was offering Hawaiian guitars – “sweet toned and good finish”, their ad promised – for Rs 28. The price included a canvas case. In 1932, at a fundraiser at Bandra’s St Andrew’s School, right down the street from where I live, the repertoire included “an excellent replica of Honolulu’s coy maidens dancing the hula hula, enlivened by song”, said the Times.

Back in Calcutta, Tau Moe had by the 1940s been joined by two of his cousins: Pulu and Tauivi Moe. Tauivi Moe began to perform at the 300 Club, where he met a young Anglo-Indian singer named Bridget Ensell. They were married when she was still in her early teens, though, her granddaughter Penina said that they didn’t start living together until she was 18. In 1944, Tauivi Moe’s  husband introduced her to the African-American pianist Teddy Weatherford. Evidently, Weatherford’s band at the Grand Hotel was receiving mixed reviews at the time, mainly because his singer wasn’t up to scratch. Tuivi Moe told the pianist to “try out his wife” because she had “a lovely voice”. It was a fit and she ended up making a couple of records with the Weatherford bandin addition to singing with them at the Grand.

Tauivi and Bridget Moe headed for Samoa in 1949 and moved to Hawaii in 1956. Neither of them sang professionally after that. Tuivi Moe became a masseur at the YMCA, while his wife became a manager at a shop called India Imports. When their daughter, who was living in Houston, was expecting her first child in 1977, the couple moved to Texas and ended up staying.  Tauivi Moe died in 1980.

Though I’d read a little about their famous cousin, I discovered the story of Tauivi and Bridget Moe only three years ago, when their granddaughter Penina Partsch wrote to my friend Suresh Chandvankar of the Society of Indian Record Collectors wanting to know if he had any of the records he grandmother had cut with Teddy Weatherford. If Bridget Moe had actually put any copies of the records in her baggage when she left Calcutta, they’d long been lost.

Chandvankar passed the message on to me – and as it turns out, I did have one track. I mailed Partsch Ice Cold Katie. The next morning, I had a message in my inbox. “You can imagine my excitement when I receive emails about the Ice Cold Kate track!” Partsch wrote. “I am still reeling from the shock. I played it for my sister living in Hawaii (who is incredibly homesick as it is) and she cried and cried.”

Ice cold katie by naresh fernandes

Here’s a grainy amateur video of a performance by the Tau Moe family.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

Jan 28, 2015
‘The many crickets of an Indian boyhood’ by Sankaran Krishna

JANUARY 27, 2015 – Originally Posted and Published on ESPNcricinfo

The many crickets of an Indian boyhood

Sankaran Krishna 

Tennis-ball cricket: ubiquitous in school yards, playgrounds and maidans across India  © PA Photos

 

One of the joys of growing up in the India of the 1960s and ’70s was the multiple forms of cricket played all around you. There was tennis-ball cricket, cork-ball cricket, French cricket, cricket played on matting wickets, turf cricket with a proper cricket ball, and a host of other forms – some of them possibly unique to India and owing to what one might call our context of scarcity and surplus of imagination. I’d like to ruminate on some of these forms and the special skills they necessitated and developed. 

Tennis-ball cricket (though sometimes the ball in question was nothing more than a lowly rubber ball) was the predominant form in most playgrounds and schoolyards, especially among the younger lot. Given the sheer surfeit of players and the need to rotate strike as quickly as possible (everyone fancied himself a bastman, of course) you were out caught even after the first bounce. Batsmen – the good ones at any rate – rapidly figured out the virtues of playing with soft hands, placing the ball into gaps, and using their wrists to control the trajectory of the ball. You could hit the tennis ball a long way if you had the elusive kinaesthetic skill of timing and always hit with the wind and never into it.  

As I heard foreign commentators rhapsodise on the wristiness of Indian batters like Azhar or Laxman or Vishy, I’ve often sent a silent thank you to those days of one-bounce tennis ball cricket that is probably to credit for overdeveloping those skills. As a bowler in tennis-ball cricket you quickly realised your best bet was to perfect the length and vary the pace ever so slightly. With all the tennis-ball cricket played by the youth of India, we should have been churning out metronomic bowlers in the Glenn McGrath mould. 

The cork ball was the poor boy’s cricket ball. It lasted forever and had the hardness of the real thing. On dusty playground tracks it offered bounce, and you could bowl both fast and spin with it. There was something funny about the cork ball’s bounce: upon first hitting the ground it slowed down and sort of stood up, but after the second bounce it accelerated rapidly. As a fielder this meant you either stopped it right after the first bounce (or caught it before, of course) or you were in for a futile chase to the boundary as the cussed thing picked up speed with each bounce. As a batman, if you timed your shot well off the middle, the bounciness of cork ensured that you could hit it a long way. If you were a bowler, again length became your best weapon. Short balls, even by the faster bowlers, stood up and waited to be clobbered. The roughness of the cork ball offered spinners a lot – sometimes too much, as it were – making length crucial once again. 

When you had no stumps, not even a wall on which to draw them with charcoal, and a postage stamp of a field, French cricket was your best bet. I have often wondered if this form of cricket is played anywhere at all outside India, and how it came by its strange name. Your legs are the stumps and if the ball hits you below the knees you are out. In some variants, the batsman cannot move his feet and has to dexterously play the ball behind his back even, when needed. Once you struck the ball away – and keeping it well away from you was the secret to success in the game – you scored runs by circling the bat around your midriff, with each circle counting as a run, until the next “delivery” came at you. This version required the least equipment of all (a bat and ball would suffice), and I remember school days where the hard clipboard on which we placed our exam answer papers served as bat and a balled-up wad of paper was the ball. 

My first encounter with a matting wicket and a real leather cricket ball was also my education about the chasm that separated all other forms of cricket from the real thing, and the boys from the men. Possibly because of the mat itself, suddenly the distance between the bowler and batsman seemed to have shrunk greatly. Matting wickets offered pace and true bounce (especially if the turf below was hard and well-swept) and you had to judge the length instantly. Batsmen who could hook, pull and cut – all shots played above the waist – thrived on matting wickets, and physical courage was indispensable. It was a delight for bowlers too: the coir offered turn for the spinners, movement off the seam for faster bowlers, and bounce for everyone. And you could bowl a genuine bouncer – as distinct from a half-tracker that floated over the batter’s head. 

As I watch incredibly talented batsmen like Suresh Raina struggle against the short ball on fast and bouncy pitches, I’ve wondered if early exposure to a turf wicket, especially in India, isn’t a tad underrated. A stint on coir matting might be the answer to Raina’s woes. In fact, what if we required about half our domestic matches to be played on matting wickets? It would give our faster bowlers responsive tracks and teach them the virtues of bowling the right length, our batters a chance to get used to the short and sharp stuff, and even our fielders some much needed deep-slip catching practice. It would certainly better simulate conditions in Australia or England than bowling machines or throwdowns can. And it may even help India accomplish something that seems more distant than ever – win a Test series down under or in South Africa. 

Sankaran Krishna is a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, in Honolulu


Jan 27, 2015
Call for Applications: Sharma Memorial Scholarship for graduate studies on South Asia

THE JAGDISH P. SHARMA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Application Deadline: Feb 16, 2015

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for the Jagdish P. Sharma Memorial Scholarship to support graduate students who have a focus on South Asia. Now in its fourth year, the annual scholarship will award each recipient up to $5000–half delivered at the opening of each semester. A maximum of $10,000 is available for the upcoming academic year, Fall 2015 to Spring 2016. To date, a total of $30,000 has been awarded to seven graduate students.

The prospective recipient should be a graduate student enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences at UH and pursuing studies of or about the South Asia region and its people. The criteria for the scholarship includes: 1) Statement of commitment to South Asian studies; 2) Academic merit as determined by the selection committee; and 3) Letter of recommendation from an academic faculty member.

More information and the electronic application for the scholarship – administered by the Department of History – can be found through the UH STAR system. If prospective applicants have questions, or wish to submit an application directly, they can contact the scholarship administrator, Prof. Ned Bertz at bertz@hawaii.edu.

For more about Dr. Jagdish Sharma and this scholarship, please see the following article: JPS scholarship

Many thanks especially to the Sharma family for their continuing generosity.


Jan 26, 2015
EWC Exhibition: Mountain Minorities: Tamang and Rai Cultures of Nepal
 
        
Upcoming Exhibition Announcement
 
Mountain Minorities:
Tamang and Rai Cultures of Nepal
 
 
January 25 – May 10, 2015
East-West Center Gallery
 
Presented by the East-West Center Arts Program, in cooperation with The Nepal Foundation
 
Nepal, high in the Himalayas and the birthplace of the Buddha, is a crossroads between India and China. This small landlocked country is home to a great diversity of peoples, languages, flora, and fauna. Nepal has a population of more than 26 million people, made up of over 80 different ethnic communities. Although people often think of the Sherpas guiding trekkers and mountain climbers up to the Everest base camp, there are many lesser known communities living in the lower ranges of the mountains. These are very isolated communities who are often very poor, and have unique ritual practices, clothing, weavings, paintings, and utensils, many of which are on display. This exhibition will focus on two communities: the Tamang and the Rai peoples. In addition, on display are over 50 photographs by two Nepali artists, and thankas by the renowned painter, Hira Lama.
 
Curator: Michael Schuster
Installation: Lynne Najita
Photographers: Navesh Chitrakar and Uday Karmacharya
 
Research Assistance: Mary Carroll, Yadav Rai,Mohan Lama, Rabin Lama, Enuka Lama, Shulang Zou, Suresh Tamang, Society of Nepalese in Hawai‘i (SNEHA)
 
This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Aston Hotels & Resorts.
 
EWC Arts Programs are supported by the Hawai‘i Pacific Rim Society, Friends of Hawai‘i Charities, Jackie Chan Foundation USA, Richard H. Cox, EWC Arts ‘Ohana members, and other generous donors.
 
Click here to download the exhibition handout.
 
 
Special Events in the EWC Gallery with free admission, unless otherwise noted.
 
Sunday, January 25, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Exhibition Gala Opening including reception and traditional folk dance and music by the Society of Nepalese in Hawai‘i (SNEHA)
 
Sunday, February 15, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Love, Indigenous Culture, and the Village in Nepali Music”
Anna Stirr, Assistant Professor, UHM Dept. of Asian Studies
 
Sunday, February 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “The Tamang: Mountain Indigenous Community”
Suresh Tamang, President, Society of Nepalese in Hawai‘i
 
Sunday, March 1, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Release from Poverty: A Nepal Community’s Inspiring Story”
Mary Carroll, Chair, The Nepal Foundation
 
Sunday, March 8, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Education in Nepal”
Kabi Neupane, Professor, UH Leeward Community College Dept. of Biology
 
Sunday, March 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Improving Heathcare in Nepal through a Hawai‘i-based Youth Movement”
Cierra Nakamura, Pres. Smiles Across Miles; and Sen. Glenn Wakai, Pres. Reach Out Pacific.
 
Sunday, April 12, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Film: Himalaya, directed by Eric Valli
An annual caravan of Nepali villagers struggle to bring salt from the high Himalayas to the lowlands for trade.
 
 
Saturday, April 18, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 19, 4:00 p.m.
Concert: “Music of the Himalayas”
 
 
EWC Imin Center – Jefferson Hall
Featuring Parashuram Bhandari, master of the sarangi
 
Ticket information, coming soon
 
 
Sunday, May 3, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Geology and Culture in Nepal”
Arjun Aryal, Post-Doctoral Researcher, UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
 
 
Gallery Info:
 
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)
Gallery hours: Weekdays: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sundays Noon-4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays and holidays
 
For further information: 944-7177 
 
—–
 
The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.
 
For 30 years the EWC Arts Program has enriched the community through concerts, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions focusing on traditional arts of the region, and by arranged cultural and educational tours by artists who are skilled in bridging cultures.
East-West Center
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96848

Jan 22, 2015
8th Annual Bollywood Film Festival (January 3-January 30, 2015) ​at the Honolulu Museum of Art

The 8th Annual Bollywood Film Festival (January 3-January 30, 2015) ​at the Honolulu Museum of Art ​offers an impressive range of films that cover​ a wide variety of themes, genres, and languages. ​The slate this year has again benefited from the work of Sai Bhatawadekar, Assistant Professor of Hindi-Urdu​ in Department of Indo-Pacific Languages.​ She has been serving on the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Bollywood film festival committee for four years now. As part of the committee, she helps critically study and suggest new films that would capture the attention of Honolulu audiences and, at the same time​,​ widen the scope of the festival.

The films featured in this festival include quintessential rom-coms of course, but also the festival’s first Marathi language film – Fandry – which depicts young love in the shadow of untouchability;​ a biopic ​on India’s world champion woman boxer,​ Mary Com; ​a documentary on classical Kathak dance; ​a spectacular adaptation of Hamlet​;​ India’s first motion capture animated film​;​ and much much more. These films illustrate growing ideological and thematic trends in Indian cinema – strong female leads and their struggles and self-discovery, relationships revolving around Indian cuisine and cooking, sports as a medium of evoking national pride, and East-West literary and artistic collaborations. The festival also features a Bollywood dance workshop for beginners and experts alike led by Hawaii’s Bollywood and Indian Folk dance group – Aaja Nachl​e.

The dance group – is founded by Prof. Bahatawadekar and Nada McClellan, and has become a well-savored ingredient of the festival recipe. Additionally, Prof. Bhatawadekar also contributes to this yearly festival by delivering inaugural lectures and giving ​brief talks on prominent actors and directors​.​

Please click here for the entire list of films and schedule for the film festival.

Sponsored by Indru and Gulab Watumull & the J. Watumull Fund.

Special thanks to the Bollywood Film Festival Committee—Sai Bhatawadekar, Maya Cowell, Alan Eyerly and Lachmin Singh.

Additional thanks to Antara Bhardwaj, Hindipendent Films; Farhana Bhula; Alice Coelho, Eros Entertainment; Gayatri Gulati and Khushboo Saha, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd; Carol Khewhok, Shangri La, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; Arun Pandian, Ayngaran International; Nishant Roy Bombarde and Nikhil Sane, Essel Vision; Vinitha Vinayachandran, UTV Films and Sanjay A. Wadhwa, AP International.


Jan 13, 2015
2015 UHM CSAS Symposium Call for Papers, April 15-17 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS 

Decolonial Futures in South Asia and Beyond

** Please Circulate Widely **

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa invites paper and panel proposals for its 32nd Annual Spring Symposium

View the flyer here.

April 15-17, 2015, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

Deadline to submit proposals: January 16 (Friday), 2015

The material and existential conditions in contemporary South Asia and its diasporas necessitate a reckoning with forms of power which suppress or marginalize different manifestations of knowledge, subjectivity and social relations.  What sorts of political struggles, epistemological shifts and aesthetic sensibilities could help envision and realize decolonial futures in South Asia and its diasporas?  A new generation of scholars has begun to engage with political projects and intellectual traditions that have been subjugated or silenced within dominant national narratives. We invite papers which engage with the challenges decoloniality poses for postcolonial studies, research on South Asian migration, and/or scholarship on imperial formations, old or new. We welcome new forms of writing and storytelling that excavate silenced histories, lived experiences, and resistance politics and practices. Given our location in Hawai’i and the Pacific, topics of particular interest include oceanic connections, decolonial politics, environmental struggles and rights, and transnational networks.

Please send a 200-word abstract for an individual paper by email to csas@hawaii.edu. If proposing an entire panel, please also include a paragraph-length rationale and a proposed title for the panel along with paper titles and abstracts.  

For further questions, contact csas@hawaii.edu.

A limited amount of free lodging will be available to participants.

Our panels will be anchored by keynotes by:

biopic_muppidi_smHimadeep Muppidi, Political Science and International Studies at Vassar College, New York. He is the author of The Colonial Signs of International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2012) and, most recently, of Politics in Emotion: The Song of Telangana (Routledge, 2014).  

CMS_VBald_155Vivek Bald, Comparative Media Studies and Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A scholar, writer, activist and documentary filmmaker, he is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013).  

bahadur-author-photo-6Gaiutra Bahadur, writer and journalist.  She is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture (University of Chicago Press, 2013).  In this work of creative non-fiction, she reconstructs the lives of indentured women, including of her own family, in early twentieth century Guyana, breathing life into lost and neglected stories that stretch across continents. As a journalist, she has covered the politics of global migration.

bertz_nedNed Bertz, History, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.  An Indian Ocean historian, Dr. Bertz examines mobility, place, and claims of belonging amidst emerging notions of nationhood in Diaspora and Nation in the Indian Ocean: Transnational Histories of Race and Urban Space in Tanzania (forthcoming from University of Hawaiʻi Press).

 


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