History

The Indian Association for Asian and Pacific Studies (Registered under Act VI of 1961, Government of West Bengal, India)is a non- profit non-governmental organization taking interest in different kinds of academic endeavors and it works on Asia and Pacific regions. The Association promotes research and understanding of different region of Asia and Pacific Studies to carry out social science oriented studies as well as present their works to the public in forms of lectures, panel discussions, symposia and conferences. The research undertaken by the Association rest on both primary research topics and policy oriented issues such as social and cultural pattern, gender and disadvantaged groups, political developments, economy, trade and investments, science-technology etc. The Association thus works as a platform for social science oriented research projects and promotes programmes of workshops, dialogue and training.

The Indian Association of Asian and Pacific Studies has been for the past 15 years been organising lectures, seminars and international conferences of a very high quality. Yet it has been hampered by an acute lack of infrastructure. The Association which has members from various disciplines affiliated to institutions belonging to almost thirty countries across the globe has operated out of the home of its Founder-Secretary and does not possess any infrastructural asset like an office-room, furniture or even a computer. Considering the rapid increase in the membership number and change in the composition of the Executive Council of the Association it has become very difficult to operate out of the personal home of the Secretary and has become necessary for the organization to acquire an office space and equipment.  The organization over the years has accumulated a certain savings which along with a grant from a funding agency may be fruitfully used for this purpose.

In this regard the history of the academic programmes of the Indian Association of Asian and Pacific Studies is worth noting:

Lecture Programmes:

2003

Lecture Programme I - 9th February 2003 - Professor Probhat Kumar Dutta Centenary Professor of Public Administration and Adviser, State Institute of Panchayat and Rural Development, Govt of WB spoke on Politicizing Rural Developments in West Bengal:  Lessons for Rural Developments in Asia.

Lecture Programme II- 3rd May 2003- Professor Barun De, Member West Bengal Heritage Commission spoke on The USA, Central Asia and the New Asian International Relations.

Lecture Programme III- 30th Sept 2003- Professor Mandakranta Bose, Director Centre for India and South Asia Research, Institute of Asian Research, University of British  Columbia, Vancouver BC, Canada spoke on In Sita’s Footsteps: growing up female in the Asian Diaspora.

Lecture programme IV- 26th December 2003- Professor Jayanta Kumar Ray, Former Centenary Professor of International Relations , Department of History, CU and President, South Asia Research Society, Kolkata spoke on Aspects of India’s Foreign Relations.

2004

Lecture Programme I- 18th March 2004- Professor S.C.Mukhopadhyay, Fellow WB Academy of Science and Technology and Professor Dept of Geography, CU spoke on Hydro-Geo-morphological problem of South Asia with special reference to North East India.

Lecture Programme II- 28th July 2004- Professor Purushottam Bhattacharyya, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur university, spoke on Asia Policy of European Union.

Lecture Programme III- 7th October 2004- Professor Chittabrata Palit, Professor of History, Jadavpur University, spoke on Science and Nationalism: The Asian Perspective.

Lecture Programme IV- 30th December 2004, Professor Rabindra Sen, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University, spoke on Taiwan Issue in China- ASEAN relations (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture)

2005

Lecture Programme I – 5th March 2005- Ms Madhuri Narayanan, Director, CARE India spoke on Eradicating Gender Based Violence in South Asia: Why it matters and implications for personal, social and institutional change.

Lecture Programme II- 21st July 2005- Professor Hasi Banerjee, Department of History, CU spoke on Mira Behn (Madlein Slade): A tale of Self surrender and Self realization.

Lecture Programme III- 11Nov 2005- Professor Mukul Mukherjee, Hony Associate of Women’s Studies Research centre and Formerly Professor of Economics, Delhi University spoke on Women and Health: the Indian scenario.

Lecture Programme IV- 23rd December 2005- Professor Ishita Mukhopadhyay, Department of Economics, CU and Director of WSRC, CU spoke on Women and work in Global South (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture)

2006

Lecture Programme I – 26th May 2006- Professor Mohua Sarkar, Department of History JU spoke  on Situating Environmental History: Recent Debates.

Lecture Programme II – 20th Sept 2006- Professor Asha Mukherjee, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Vishwa Bharati, Santiniketan spoke on Environmental Ethics: Tagore’s Vision.

Lecture Programme III- 18th December 2006- Professor Buddhadev Chaudhuri, Dr Ambedkar Professor in Anthropology, CU spoke on Forest, Health and Indigenous people.

2007

Lecture Programme IV- 27th March 2007- Professor Arun Bandopadhyay, Nurul Hasan Professor of History  and Dean (Arts) CU, spoke on Environment, Community and Globalisation : A Historical Perspective in South Asian Context. (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture)

Lecture Programme I – 13th July 2007- Dr Madhumala Sengupta, Department of Education ,CU ,spoke on The State of Higher Education in the perspective of Globalisation.

Lecture Programme II – 18th Sept 2007- Professor Sandhya De, Department of Philosophy, Rabindra Bharati University, spoke on Rights of Man and the Light of Right Education.

Lecture Programme III- 21st November 2007- Professor Sunait Chutintaranond, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand spoke on Gobalization and South East Asian Studies in Educational Curriculum of Thailand.

2008

Lecture Programme IV- 24th March 2008- Professor Sobhanlal Datta Gupta, Surendranath Banerjee Chair Professor of Dept of Political Science ,CU spoke on Intellectuals, Knowledge and Masses: A question of Pedagogy. (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture)

Lecture Programme I- 13th June 2008- Ms Swati Bhattacharjee, Assistant Editor ABP spoke on From Outcasts to Activists : the Sex workers’ challenge to Bhadraloks in Bengal.

Lecture Programme II-30th Sept 2008, Professor Debi Chatterjee, Dept of IR, JU spoke on Dalit Women: Exclusion and Protests.

2009

Lecture Programme III- 30th January 2009- Professor Samir Kumar Das, Dept of Political Science CU, spoke on Political Exclusion and its consequences: the rise of Insurgency in Kashmir and Sri Lanka.

Lecture Programme IV- 2nd April 2009- Professor Gopal Krishna Chakrabarti, Dept of Anthropology CU and Director, Centre for the Study of Social exclusion and Inclusive policy, CU spoke on On the Verge of Existence: An introduction to the study of social Exclusion. (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture)

Lecture Programme I- 30th June 2009- Dr Binode Mishra, Fellow Maulana Abul Kalam Azad institute, spoke on India’s Look East Policy: Conjectures and Reallities.

Lecture Programme II- 16th September 2009- Mr Ashis Chakrabarty, The Telegraph, Kolkata spoke on India- China Relations: Illusions of Engagement.

Lecture Programme III- 22nd December 2009- Professor Partha Pratim Basu, Dept of IR, JU, Spoke on India, ,Pakistan, Afganisthan: the troubled Triad.

2010

Lecture Programme IV- 24th March 2010- Professor Radharaman Chakrabarti, Former VC Netaji Subhas Open University and Eminent Academician, spoke on India’s Foreign policy in the context of Globalization. (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture)

Lecture Programme I- 22nd June 2010- Dr Manjula Bose, Director Tagore Research Institute, ,spoke on The Relevance of Tagore in the Present days.

Lecture Programme II- 24th September 2010- Professor Amita Dutt, Uday Shankar Chair and Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Rabindra Bharati University, spoke on The Feminine in Tagore’s Dance Dramas.

2011

Lecture Programme III- 24th February 2011- Professor Sabujkoli Sen, Dept of Philosophy, Vishva Bharati, Santiniketan spoke on Tagore’s Religion.

Lecture Programme IV- 4th April 2011- Professor Uma Dasgupta, Former Professor ISI, Kolkata spoke on Rabindranath and the Heritage of Buddha. (Renuka & Rathindranath Guha Memorial Lecture).

2012

Annual Seminar and Panel Discussion- 24th March 2012- Understanding North East India: Multiple Dimensions- Speakers were Dr Suchandra Ghosh, Dr M.K.Raha, Prof Lipi Ghosh, Dr Binode Mishra, Mr Mainak Sen.

2013

Annual Seminar and PPT Discussion- 29th May 2013- Travel Across Asia: Glimpses of Indonesia and Lower Burma. Speakers were Professor Chittabrata Palit, Emeritus Professor, JU and Dr Suchandra Ghosh, Reader, Dept of AIHC, CU.

2014

Annual Seminar to commemorate 125th Birth Anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru-10th February 2014- Professor Radharaman Chakraborty, eminent academician and former VC of NSOU spoke on Nehru- Good Governance

2015

On 4th December 2015, Indian Associations for Asian and Pacific Studies organised its Annual Seminar, on Ageing and Kolkata: Perspectives, Challenges and Solutions, in collaboration with Department of South and South East Asian Studies of University of Calcutta.

The Inaugural Session was chaired by Professor Purushottam Bhattacharya, Vice President IAAPS. The welcome address was given by the Dr. Suchandra Ghosh, Secretary IAAPS, and the keynote speaker was introduced by Professor Lipi Ghosh of DSSEAS and Treasurer, IAAPS. In his keynote address Professor RajagopalDharChakraborty, Head, DSSEAS, gave a detailed statistical analysis of the present situation in India and Kolkata on the question of Ageing. He connected the ground reality regarding ageing to political and economic questions of the day and raised a number of important points where an intervention by the state is necessary for the welfare of the senior citizens who within the next two decades will statistically be vital not only for the labour force but will play a key role as the electorate.

The first session of the Seminar was chaired by Professor LipiGhosh. The speakers in this session brought before the audience which comprised mainly of students important signifiers in geriatric health care. Dr AvikSinha pointed out the areas which need urgent action in his paper on Geriatric Health: Issues and Challenges. Dr P.S Mukherjee in his paper on Acute Medical Emergencies in the Elderly  pointed out the probable signifiers which may identify an emergency and also indicated what actions the family must take in those situations.  Dr Debshankar Das, in his paper on Dementia and Depression: Medical Co-relation also underlined the similarities and differences between the two and also indicated certain remedies which may be adopted within the home to help the patients. Dr.IndraniChakraborty’s paper on Focus on Health and Wellbeing: role of Trained caregivers was the bridge between the two sessions where she explained how the medical treatment of old age must be supplemented and followed by caregivers and how the training to these caregivers are beingundertaken in the state today.

The post –Lunch session of the Seminar was chaired by Professor Paula Banerjee of the DSSEAS and it was a panel discussion by representatives of three non-governmental organisations who run old age home and geriatric care centres in the city and suburbs. Dr DipaliDutta from Dinante discussed about her experience in running old age homes and she candidly also discussed the drawbacks they face regarding lack of man power and funds to provide for medical emergencies.Sr. Philomena from Catherine Old Age Home stressed the need for patience in the care of old people and she pointed out that the institution she came from was committed to the service for the past 125 years. They are trying to solve the problem of finances by trying to attract financially well to do inmates which would compensate and balance out the economic disparities. Santisree Roy from Ananda Ashram, situated in the suburbs of Calcutta also recounted her experience in running an old age home which has mainly middle class inmates who have a certain degree of privacy and freedom.

The audience comprising of students and teachers participated actively and a lively discussion took place after every paper. At the end of the Seminar a number of issues had been raised regarding the need for more awareness about the geriatric care and the need for governmental intervention on the health and wellbeing of the senior citizens of the country.

Biennial Conferences:

1. 1st-3rd  March 2002 Held at University of Calcutta, Kolkata. The keynote address was given by Professor Arun Dasgupta, retired Professor of History, CU and Fellow of Asiatic Society, on “Calcutta in Asian Studies”. The sectional Presidents at this conference were Prof Asok Mukhopadhyay, Dept of Pol Sc, CU for South Asia, Prof Jahar Lal Sen ,Dept of History, CU for South East Asia, Professor Satish Chandra, Dept of History, JNU and Former Chairman, UGC for West and Central Asia and Prof Kamal Sheel, Dept of Foreign Langs, BHU for East Asia and Pacific region. There were 39 speakers in the South Asia section; 25 speakers for S.E.Asia section; 8 papers in the West and Central Asia section and 9 papers for the East Asia and Pacific region.

This included one participant from Thailand and 26 participants from other states of India with the largest contingent coming from Assam. There was a special session Asia Fellows programme where there were 2 speakers from Institute of International Education, Bangkok sat at a Round Table with IAAPS Executive Committee and members. (2 countries participated)

2. 29th -31st January 2004- held at Sambalpur University, Orissa. The keynote speaker was Prof Hermann Kulke, Professor of South and Southeast Asian History at the Dept of History, Kiel University. The sectional presidents were Prof Deepak Kumar, JNU for South Asia, Prof. A Lakshmana Chetty, Prof Of Indo China and South Pacific Studies, S.VUniversity, Tirupati for South East Asia, Dr. Dwijendra NAth Bakshi, Diplomat for East Asia and Pacific and Prof Hari Vasudevan, Prof of Central Asian Studies at Jamia Milia Islamia, ND. There were 34 papers in the South Asia section, 7 papers in West and Central Asia, 7 papers in the S.E.Asia, 7 in East Asia and 22 papers in South and Southeast Asia culture and society section. There were 8 overseas participants with 4 coming from UK, and one each from Belgium, Japan, Finland and Bangladesh. There were 15 local participants from Orissa, 42 from West Bengal and 12 participants from New Delhi, UP, Assam, AndhraPradesh, Punjab ,Mumbai and Tamil Nadu.( 6 countries participated)

3. 13th -15th  October 2006, held at Jiwaji University, Gwalior. The Keynote address was given by Professor Wang Gungwu, Director, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore and Emeritus Professor, Australian National University. The Sectional Presidents were Prof S.D.Muni for South Asia, Prof. V.Suryanarayana for South East Asia, Prof. Surendra Gopal for West and Central Asia and Prof. P.V.Rao for East Asia and Pacific. There were 56 papers in the South Asia section, 13 papers in the South East Asia section, 7 papers in the East Asia and Pacific section, 10 papers in the West and Central Asia section and 6 papers in the South- S.E Asia society and culture section. There were 12 overseas participants- 4 from Bangladesh, 3 from China, and one each from Phillipines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, and Thailand. There were 11 local participants from Gwalior (MP), 48 from West Bengal, 7 from Orissa, 3 from Assam, 3, from Rajasthan, 3 from Delhi, 2 from UP, and one each from Mumbai, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Manipur. (8 countries participated). There was an ASF meeting with Asia Fellows and Conference participants.

4. 22nd  -24th  August 2008 held at Santiniketan, West Bengal. The Keynote address was by Prof Anthony Reid, a Southeast Asian historian at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, on Imperial Alchemy: Understanding Asian Nationalisms.  The sectional Presidents were Prof Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor, Harvard Univ. USA for South Asian section(Asian Universalism and South Asian imagination), Prof Biswadeb Mukherjee, Dept of Chinese, Viswa Bharati for East Asia and Pacific section (Buddhism and Cultural History of China, Korea and Japan, Ruminations on the approach), Prof Peter Skilling, EFEO, Changmai, Thailand for South East Asia (Exploring the legacy of the ‘Golden land’: why study south east Asia?) and Prof Ajay Patnaik, JNU, New Delhi or West and Central Asia (Central Asian Security: Internal Dimensions. There were 51 papers in the South Asia section, 16 papers for the South and Southeast Asia section, 22 papers in the South east section, 16 papers for East Asia and Pacific section and 11 papers for West and Central Asia section. 116 papers in all. There were 27 overseas participants. The largest contingent was from Bangladesh 6, 4 each from Thailand, and China, 3 from USA,  2 each from Malaysia, Philippines, SriLanka and one each from Russia, Indonesia, Japan and United Kingdom. There were 60 participants from  West Bengal, 11 from UP, 8 from New Delhi, 6 from Orissa, 3 from Madhya Pradesh, 2 each from Assam and Karnataka and one each from Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Manipur. (12 countries participated).

5. 10th- 12th December 2010 held at Sikkim University, Gangtok. The Keynote speaker was Ambassador K.Kesavapany, Director of the Institute of South east Asia Studies , Singapore who spoke on Asia at the Crossroads of its destiny. The sectional presidents were Prof Indranath Mukherji, Senior consultant, Research and Information system for developing countries, New Delhi for South Asia section (Global Financial turmoil and South Asia), Prof G.C. Naidu, Centre for South,  Central and Southeast Asian and South west Pacific Studies, JNU, Delhi for South east Asia section( Emerging South east Asia Security. Is India a significant factor?), Prof Patricia Uberoi, Hony Director of Institute of Chinese Studies, Centre for the study of developing societies,  for East Asia and Pacific section (Reflection on China in the Indian Cinematic imagination) and Prof Nirmala Joshi, Director, India Central Asia Foundation, New Delhi, for West and Central Asia section ( Central Asia though the ages).  There were 73 papers in all. There were 7 local participants from Sikkim, 40 participants from West Bengal, 9 from New Delhi, 4 from Meghalaya, 3 from Karnataka, 2 each from Maharastra and UP, and one each from Assam, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. There were 9 overseas participants- 2 from Bangladesh and one each from  Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Austria, United States of America, and Canada. ( 9 countries participated).

6. 17th – 19th December 2012 held at University of Calcutta in collaboration with the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies. In the inaugural session there were addresses by Professor Suranjan Das, Vice Chancellor, University of Calcutta,   Professor Partha. S. Ghosh, President(IAAPS),Professor Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of History, Department of History, Harvard University ,USA, Mr. Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, Special Secretary (Public Diplomacy), Ministry of External Affairs,  Government of India, Ambassador K Kesavapany, Senior Fellow, Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore. The Keynote Speaker was  Sunanda Kumar Datta-Ray, Writer and International Columnist, Singapore, (Asia can’t be a Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark). The sectional presidents were -

Professor P. Sahadevan, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India(Regional Order in South Asia),Professor Sutiphand Chirathivat, Chula Global Network, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (Southeast Asian Recent Attempts to Broaden Regional Integration in Asia), Professor Tansen Sen, Weissman School of Arts & Sciences, Baruch College, New York, USA.(Is there a need for China Studies in India?) and Professor A.P.S. Chauhan, Centre for Central Asian Studies, Jiwaji University, Gwalior, India (Revitalizing the Civilizational Ties for a Prosperous and Stable Asia : Focus on India- Central Asian Relations).

There were 157 papers in all. In South Asia section there were different panels- South Asia politics -9, gender-9, culture-9, west Bengal-13, social exclusion-6 culture religion and identity-7. In South east Asian section there were 9 papers, in East Asia and Pacific section there were 6 papers, in South, South east, East Asia and Pacific section there were 25 papers, in west and central Asia section there were 10 papers, in South and East Asia section there were 23 papers and in South and South East Asia there were 15 papers in the Gender panel and 8 in science and technology panel. 

There were 60 participants from West Bengal, 11 from UP, 8 from Delhi, 6 from Orissa, 3 from Madhya Pradesh, 2 each from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka and one each from Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Chandigarh Maharashtra, Gujarat and Manipur. There were 21 overseas participants. The largest contingent were from China and Thailand- 4 each, 3 partcipants came from USA, 2 each from Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka and one each from Russia, Indonesia, Japan and United Kingdom. There were participants from 15 Indian states and 10 other countries. Ms Mamata Banerjee, Honble Chief Minister of West Bengal gave her well wishers’ message for the Conference.

7. 20th – 22nd December 2014, held in Tezpur University. Assam. The Conference was inaugurated by Rajiv Bhatia, Director General, Indian Council of world Affairs, New Delhi. The Keynote address was given by Prof Prasenjit Duara,  Director, Asia Research Institute, National university of Singapore. There were special lectures by Prof Ranjan Chakraborty, V.C. Vidyasagar university and Dr H.N.Das, Former Chief Secretary, Govt of Assam;  and on 22nd there was a valedictory lecture by Prof A.C.Bhagavati, Former V.C. Rajiv Gandhi university, AP and former professor of Anthropology, Gauhati Unviersity. There were ten panels with 2-3 technical sessions under each panel.  1) In the Historicity of South Asia and beyond there were eight speakers, 2) Geographical and  Cultural identities in South Asia and Other Asian countries there were four speakers. 3) Major security issues (traditional and non-traditional) in South and beyond there were five speakers 4) Movement of population and demography of South Asia: Contexts of diaspora and migration there were four speakers 5) Regional and sub regional organisations in south Asia and beyond- challenges and opportunities there were eight speakers 6) Peace and conflict studies in South Asia and beyond there were eight speakers 7) Ethnicity and minority in South Asia and other Asian countries: contexts of identities there were nine speakers 8) Gender in Society of South Asia and beyond: continuity and change there were fifteen speakers 9) Social history of science and medicine in south Asia and beyond there were six speakers 10) North east India: history, polity and contemporary dimensions there were twelve speakers.

Collaborative Programmes with other institutions and Special Lectures:

1st -2nd March 2003 - Women Across Asia in collaboration with Women’s Studies Research Centre and Institute of Development Studies. 30 speakers from different institutions participated in this Seminar from different parts of the country.

5th March 2005 - Special Lecture programme Travels Across Asia in collaboration with School of International Relations and Strategic Studies, JU.

18th February 2006 - Book Release of Women Across Asia in collaboration with WSRC.

25th March 2006 -  International Symposium on Celebrating IT in Social utility: sharing experience from Asia in collaboration with Indo-Japan Welfare and Cultural Association and Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, CU.

3rd January 2008 - National Seminar on Globalization and the State of Higher Education: The South Asian Scenario where four speakers from CU, JU and NCERT Delhi presented papers.

12th-13th January 2013 - UGC Sponsored National Seminar on Contemporary Indian Education and Society: Relevance of Swami Vivekananda, in Collaboration with Fakir Chand College, Diamond Harbour.  Speakers were  Swami Tattwaswarananda, Principal Ramkrishna mission Sikshana Mandir, Belur Math, Dr Kamal Krishna Dey, Ex Principal David Hare Training College, Dr Soma Chanda, Rama Devi Women’s College, Bhuvaneshwar, Professor Tridib Kumar Chakraborty, Dept of IR, JU, Dr Sujata Raha, College Of Education, Burdwan, Swami Purnananda, Secretary Ramkrishna Mission TB Sanitarium, Ranchi.

18th -19th December 2013 - International Seminar on India’s Look East Policy: Gleanings from the Past to the Present in collaboration with University of Burdwan. The speakers were Professor Sugata Bose, Gardiner Fellow, Harvard University ,USA,  Dr Suchandra Ghosh, Dept  of AIHC, CU, Dr Sarvani Gooptu, Calcutta Girls’ College, Dr Aparajita Dhar, Burdwan University, Dr Yogesh Raj, Martin Chautari, Nepal, Dr Syed Tanveer Nasreen, Burdwan Univ.,  Dr Binata Sarkar, Burdwan University, Dr Rajen Singh Laishram, Manipur University, Dr Rakhee Bhattacharya, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, New Delhi, Dr Jatindranath  Saikia, Golaghat Commerce College, Assam, Prof Tridib Chakraborti, JU, Prof Suthiphand Chirathivat, Chulalongkora University, Dr Anasua Basu Roychowdhury, Calcutta Research Group, Prof Manmohini Kaul, JNU New Delhi. 

2015 : IAAPS participates as strategic partner  in First World Asia Study Conference organised by TIIKM  held in Colombo, Sri Lanka . The Conference was organized by the International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM), Sri Lanka and it provided a research platform for academics, scholars, thinkers, practitioners, and corporate and public policy-makers around the world to exchange knowledge, discuss issues, share innovations, and build networks. There were several Conference tracks as notes below -

Asian Archives: Manuscripts and other endangered documents related to Asian history, culture, drawings, maps and photographs were  encouraged.

Asian languages and literature: Studies on oriental languages such as Sinhala, Tamil, Pali and Sanskrit and studies related to Asian literature were discussed.

Asian Religions: Manuscripts and other working papers related to the Asian religions such as Buddhism ,Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Bahá’í Faith, Islam, Taoic religions, Confucianism, Daoism, Chinese ethnic religion, Shinto, Mugyo, Indian religions, Jainism, Lingayatism, Sikhism were given priority. Other religious studies were also incorporated.

Asian History and Heritage: Research on South Asian Archaeology were given foremost priority. Asian hydraulic civilization, Chronicles and historical traditions, Indian Ocean trade, South Asian influence in Southeast Asia, Urbanization and State formation, Pre-modern Asia, religious revivalism and National movement were also investigated.

Asia and the West: Encounter with Western colonial powers were investigated mainly through Asian sources and the Asian point of view. The study of our Industrial heritage, changes to the landscape, new townscapes and architecture with Western influence were also discussed.

Asian Migrants: Studies on the migration of South Asian workers to the other parts of the world and history of such a movement in the past were taken into account. Also studies on refugees, illegal migrations of Asians to other part of the world were counted as  interesting topics.

Traditional Asia: Aspects of traditional Asian sciences, technologies and knowledge will be investigated. Asian hunter-gatherers, Ayurveda medicine, slash and burn cultivation, pack-animal transportation, traditional sea faring and methods of fishing, rituals and ceremonies, marriage customs, Folk-lore and other aspects of Asian ethnology were incorporated.

Asian Environment: Research on various aspects of Asian environment were encouraged. Sea level changes, environmental change, tsunami and other natural hazards, tropical mountains were some of the prioritized areas under this theme.

Asian Art: Contemporary art and literature, drama and theatre, visual art and other creative work were patronized. Cultural shows, exhibitions, workshops and similar activities were organized.

Contemporary Asia: Studies on economy, politics and society of contemporary Asia are covered under this theme. Research on bilateral relations, trade and cultural agreements, Regional corporation, mitigating terrorism and  peace building efforts were also encouraged and taken into account.

14th December 2016 - An UGC sponsored National Level seminar on the theme, Nation, Identity & the Other in Colonial and Post-Colonial Performing Arts: An Asian Perspective, was organised by Dept. of History, Rishi Bankim Chandra Evening College, Naihati, in collaboration with Indian Association for Asian and Pacific Studies was held in 14th December 2016.  The daylong seminar tried to bring out the essence of the theme through the cultural experiences expressed in music, drama and films in diverse milieu and vast range of historic contexts. The key note address was delivered by renowned scholar, singer and dramatist, Prof. Sudipto Chatterjee, Professor in Cultural studies, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. He had delivered an enthralling   presentation on Lalan, Man of the Heart, which is a theme of his research for more than two decades. His inimitable and insightful lecture became even more appealing by the wonderful rendition of endless songs, sung by the speaker himself.

In Business session I, there were four interesting papers on four different areas of performing arts. Dr. Md. Kazim, Associate professor in Urdu, University of Delhi, spoke on ‘The female characters of Parsi Theatre: Experiments and Contribution in Indian Freedom Struggle’, highlighting some prominent characteristics of professional theatres in Bombay in the 19th Century.Prof. Sarvani Gooptu, Professor in Asian Literary and Cultural studies, Netaji Institute for Asian studies, Kolkata enlightened an untouched area of research, that is the role of the audience, in her paper titled, ‘Thinking  Theatre:  critical appreciation   of performance and production  in Bengali Public theatre 1874-1930.    Dr. Urvi Mukhopadhyay, Assistant Professor in History, West Bengal State University, Barasat had illuminated the audience with her sound knowledge about the initial days of Indian cinema. Her paper was titled ‘Introduction of sound and language issues in Indian cinema.’  Dr. Nandini  Bhattacharya, Associate Professor in History, Calcutta Girls’ College, Kolkata, has highlighted how Bollywood films have their impact in identity building outside India, her paper was titled, ‘The Soviet Legacy of Bollywood Mania: Creative Adaptation in Contemporary Cultural Identity of Tajik Mindscape.

Meanwhile, there was held a parallel session where about five papers were read by paper presenters. Here too very many interesting themes were in discussion   such as the Swadeshi songs, pantomimes or sawngs of old Kolkata , dances of Orissa, Bengali films on Partition and the like.

In the Post-Lunch Session, there were two very exclusive presentations. The first one was by Dr. Rongili Biswas. Being the proud legacy of great singer and political activist, Hemango Biswas, Rongili’s sound voice, wonderful diction of various unknown songs was a unique and enchanting experience. She presented some very rare musical collection of Hemanga Biswas from the ethnic communities of Garo-Khasi-Jayantiya hills. She also made two rare presentations of the boat-men songs, one from Srihatta, East Bengal and the other from China (her father was sent for treatment of his acute tuberculosis to China after a nation-wide fund raising from the artists). The final presentation was of Benil Biswas, Assistant Professor in School of Culture and Creative Expressions, in Ambedkar University, Delhi whose paper was about the collective identities charted out through collective reminiscence and cultural meetings of certain marginal communities to create a local level, communitarian collective identity and placing that in the national platform. His lecture titled, ‘Archaeology of a Nation and the Belongingness Performed: Kavigaan from Namasudra Performance Repertoire as a Palimsest’ was a well balanced presentation of theoretical premise, narratives of experiences and appropriate rendition of songs.

15th-16th December 2016- The department of History and Political Science of The Bhawanipur Education Society College organized a two-day UGC sponsored National Seminar on December 15 and 16, 2016, in collaboration with the Indian Association for Asia and Pacific Studies (IAAPS, Kolkata). The theme of the seminar was '' India: The Global Actor in the Indian Ocean (Perspectives and Challenges)''. The seminar was inaugurated by a welcome note by the Teacher-in-charge Dr. Suchandra Chakraborty and then addressed by Dr. Purusottam Bhattacharya, Vice President, IAAPS. Dr. Radharaman Chakrabarty was the Chief Guest of the seminar. The Keynote speech was given by Emeritus professor UGC and the Director of Centre for Indian Ocean Studies, Osmania University, Prof. P.V. Rao. The two-day seminar focused on the role of Modern India in the Indian Ocean centric power-politics through four different Plenary Sessions namely- Regional History and Politics, Traditional and Non-traditional Security Threats, Maritime Trade and Diaspora. The eminent speakers enlightened the students and participants about the power-positioning of US and China in the ocean-politics, role of Indian Government in this ambit of maritime trade, natural resources and security, history and evolution of threats from Piracy to Atomic invasion and many other facets of the topic. Dr Purusottam Bhattacharya focused on the various aspects of India-EU cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. Dr. Nupur Dasgupta spoke on the historical role of British Malay in IOR. Dr. Anindyo Jyoti Majumdar and Dr. Tridib Chakraborti analysed the traditional and nontraditional security threats in the region with special reference to the major power ploys in the IOR. Dr. Suchandra Ghosh presented a thought-provoking lecture on the ship wreck evidences which trace the history of South and South East Asia. In the same session Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Choudhury enlightened us with her ideas on energy trade in Bay of Bengal. In the final session Dr. Aneek Chatterjee drew our attention to the much debated issue of Indian diaspora in Australia and Dr. Selva Kumar in his lecture presented a survey of the historical and contemporary role of Indian diaspora in the IOR. The students of History and Pol. Science departments also presented powerpoint presentations under the guidance of their teachers. The very successful seminar was concluded on December 16, 2016 with the Valedictory Speech given by Prof. S.D. Muni, Professor emeritus, IDSA, NUS, ISA.

18th May 2017 - IAAPS organised a Special Lecture in collaboration with Department of South & South East Asian Studies, University of Calcutta . The lecture was delivered on Role of Indian Navy in Nation-Building by Commodore Srikant B Kesnur, Director, Maritime warfare Centre, Mumbai on 18 May 2017. The talk was very lively and well attended by University scholars and IAAPS members. Commodore  talked about how by virtue of operating away from the gaze of the ordinary citizen, the Indian Navy unlike its counterparts the Indian Army and Indian Air Force remains somewhat of a mystery to many people. While its role in protecting India’s maritime interests or ‘defending our coasts’ is understood by many, its contribution to nation-building is not so well known. Commodore Kesnur emphasised three main aspects. The first relates to the close link between the Navy and the economy. By ensuring the safety and security of our seaborne trade, Indian Navy contributes directly to our economic prosperity. Secondly, Commodore stressed on the linkages between the Navy and Science and Technology. By virtue of operating the most science and technology intensive platforms the Indian Navy over the years has created a huge manpower of very capable and skilled S and T manpower. Further, by being the first service to lay great emphasis on indigenisation, the Indian navy has been ‘making in India’ since the early 1960s. And thirdly, he covered a whole range of other disciplines comprising sports, human resource development, ecological housekeeping, ‘swachbharat’ and clean environs, skill development, social outreach.

 

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