SWEDISH SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NETWORK
|Mohammed Hassan to the left, and Ole Jensen to the right meet the Baltistani journalist Manzoor Hussain Parwana during their 2004 fieldwork in Skardu.|
In 2005 the team planned to work in Kargil and Ladakh.
The purpose was to look at Balti influence as well as to trace cross-border
interaction and establish contacts for future studies. Ole Jensen withdrew
from the project in early 2005, and unfortunately Mohammad Hassan got
his Indian visa application rejected. Jan Magnusson went to Ladakh on his own,
and spent about a month in Ladakh, Kargil and Nubra during the summer
2005 where he met with local leaders and intellectuals to talk about
Ladakh’s and Kargil’s
relationship to Baltistan and future scenarios. He also interacted with
Dr Sonam Joldan, a researcher living in Ladakh
and recently got his PhD in Political Science from JNU in New Delhi.
Project description: Due to the recent anti-Islamic sentiments in Ladakh Magnusson found the Ladakhi attitude towards Baltistan rather negative, and many of the persons he spoke to seemed to fear an opening of the border. The primary reason for this was the possibility of Balti dominance as the combined Balti population on both sides of the border outnumbers the Ladakhis. In Kargil, by contrast, the attitude was extremely positive. This is due to the fact that about 80 percent of the population there is of Balti decent. For the last decade Kargil, like Baltistan, has experienced a cultural revival, and are in fact a main producer of Balti cultural products. Interaction between Kargil and Baltistan is increasing, not so much as a cross-border activity but more as meetings during pilgrimage to Mecca and other places in the Middle East as well as religious schools mainly in Iran. People in Kargil have high hopes for an opening of the border.
|View over the Shyok river valley with the village Diskit.|
During his visit in Kargil, Magnusson realized that the Balti movement is just as strong there as it is in Baltistan itself, something that may have very interesting trans-Himalayan consequences. Magnusson also visited Nubra, two valleys north of the Ladakh Range. Nubra river valley runs north up to the Siachen glacier area while the Shyok river valley runs north-west up into Baltistan (unfortunately most of the Shyok valley is still a restricted area which only allowed him to go as far down the valley as a short distance beyond the village Hunder. The majority of Baltis in the area reside farther down the valley, mainly in the village Turtuk. Some of the villages in the valley were annexed by India during the 1971 war. 60-70 percent of the Baltis who live there are Nurubakshi muslims. They are comparatively well organized and run a welfare organization called Skarchen. Skarchen is in close contact with Kargil for instance in the production of Balti music recordings. It was originally intended to care only for the Baltis but has extended its activities to all people living in the Nubra area.
In October 2004 Magnusson was given a small Swedish
Research Links grant for another Tibet related research project, now
titled ”Life strategies in long-term
refugee settlements: The social dynamics of the Tibetan refugee settlement
Lugsum Samdupling in Karnataka, India”. The project
is carried out in cooperation with Dr Subramanya
Nagarajarao, Indian Research Institute,
Mysore and Dr Geoff
Childs, Dept. Of Anthropology,
Washington University, St Louis., USA.
Project Abstract: The general aim of the project is to study the life strategies that are developed by refugees in long-term camp settings and the social dynamics they create within the community and with the local environment. More specifically the project looks at these dynamics in the six camps of the first of the Tibetan refugee settlements established in India, namely in Bylakuppe, Lugsung Samdupling, from 1961 and up until present day. This case can serve as an example of many lessons when it comes to the understanding of the social dynamics at work in long-term refugee situations. More specifically the project studies the demographic development in the settlement population, and the interplay and interaction between the settlement and its local environment over time. It also looks at changes in the refugees´way of life and how the community has been socially reconstructed.
The project included a workshop to explore the possibilities of extending a study of Tibetan refugee settlements in the south Indian state of Karnataka, also to settlements and scattered communities in other places all over India. A report from the symposium is published at ACE’s website. More information on the 2004 Swedish Research Links grants.
On Wednesday 16 September 2009, the School of Social Work at Lund university hosted a seminar with Dr. Ruby Sain from the Dept. of Sociology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. The seminar was organised in collaboration with Vårdalinstitutet (The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences), and SASNET.
Dr. Sain, who mostly works on health, illness, ageing, religion and research methodology issues, talked about “Depression – a social problem of the elderly
population in India”. She is the founding editor of the Jadavpur University Journal of Sociology, and her forthcoming books are titled ”Contemporary Social Problems in India-Vol I” (ed.) and ”Folk Religion in Bengal”. Besides, Dr Sain is secretary of the International Forum for the Study of Society and Religion (IFFSR), a forum that links researchers and scholars from Jadavpur University, University of Gothenburg and the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies.
She came to Sweden on a SASNET guest lecture programme grant, invited by the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, Gothenburg University, and Vårdalinstitutet, Lund University. More information.
SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network/Lund
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Last updated 2011-04-21