SWEDISH SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NETWORK
Postal address: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen,
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Visiting address: Universitetsvägen 10 F (plans 4 and 7)
Web page: http://www.statsvet.su.se
– Professor Emeritus Ishtiaq Ahmed. During the academic years 2008–2010 Ishtiaq was a visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore, but from August 2010 he is back in Sweden. Personal web page: http://www.statsvet.su.se/research/home_pages/ishtiaq_ahmed_ram.htm
– Associate Professor Henrik Berglund, phone: +46 (0)8 674 7164
Personal web page: http://www.statsvet.su.se/homepages/henrik_berglund.htm
The Department is relatively large, and research in the field of Politics and Development, which includes studies on South Asia, is relatively significant.
Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed,
born in Lahore, Pakistan, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”The Concept of an Islamic State: An Analysis of the Ideological Controversy in Pakistan” at Stockholm University in 1986. It was published as a book in 1987 and again in 1992.
Since then, he has been involved in a large number of South Asia related research projects, and has teached a range of courses from the basic to the doctoral levels. Besides teaching mainstream subjects such as Political Theory and Analysis of Politics he has also lectured and written on the politics of South Asia (mainly Pakistan and India, but also Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), Political Islam in various contexts and in world politics, Human rights, Multiculturalism, and on Ethnicity, Identity and Nationalism. Furthermore, he has carried out research on Human Rights in Pakistan, and Secularism in India. Ishtiaq became a full Professor at Stockholm University in March 2007.
He is currently working on a research project entitled ”Is Pakistan a Garrison State?” The aim of the study is to generate a comprehensive analysis of the reasons why the military came to play the dominant role in Pakistani politics.
He is also in the process of completing a major study (carried out over many years) based on first-hand accounts of the partition of the Punjab in 1947. This project, entitled ”Forced Migration and Ethnic Cleansing in the Punjab in 1947: An Enquiry into the Ideology, Politics and Processes of Genocide” was funded by the Swedish Research Council during the period 2003–05.
Through his research Ahmed comes up with radically new explanations of what happened in 1947. In April 2003 he conducted field work in Pakistan, and later also visited the Indian East Punjab. This has given him a strong position to bring forth new insights into the partition processes. More information on the project (in Swedish)
Ishtiaq Ahmed led a panel on the issue at the 18th ECMSAS conference at
Lund, Sweden, in July 2004. More information
on the panel. Along with the economist Shinder
Thandi from Coventry University, UK, he wrote a chapter on the
subject in the book ”People on The Move, Punjabi Colonial, and
Post-Colonial Migration”, published by Oxford University Press
in 2004. Read the chapter, called 'Forced
Migration and Ethnic Cleansing in Lahore in 1947: Some First Person Acoounts'.
All in all he has published two books and about 30 papers on religious nationalism, ethnic conflict, and separatist movements in India and Pakistan. For several years, he also used to write weekly Op-eds for the Daily Times, a leading Pakistani newspaper published from Lahore, as well as for The Sunday Magazine, Dawn, published from Karachi. Go for a complete list of Ishtiaq Ahmed’s publications, with direct links to articles.
Besides he is a member of the editorial board of three international
peer refereed journals, namely The
Journal of Peace and Demoracy in South Asia (started in 2004,
and a magazine that he is also the Chief Editor), Asian
Ethnicity, and International Journal of Punjab
Studies. His Working paper on The
1947 Partition of India was published in Asian Ethnicity
(Volume 3, Number 1), in March 2002. Ahmed also belongs to the board of
advisers of the journal South Asia In Review,
launched by the United States Institute of Strategic Studies (for South
Asia). He is also on the editorial advisory board of IPRI Journal and PIPS Journal of Conflict
and Peace Studies.
Between 2000 and 2004 he was the moderator of the ACHA electronic discussion group, Asiapeace (a Yahoo newsgroup). More information on AsiaPeace. For his outstanding performances the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA) in December 2003 recognized him with its ACHA Star award.
Ishtiaq Ahmed visited Pakistan in the Spring 2003 and had
the opportunity to interact with many learned Pakistanis. He summarized
his impressions on the situation for higher education in the country in
an article in Daily Times, published 25 May 2003. The article was titled
”Pakistan needs autonomous universities”. Go
for the article!
On Wednesday 16 September 2009, Ishtiaq Ahmed participated in a well-attended SASNET seminar in Lund. The seminar, entitled ”Contemporary Pakistan:
Islamism, Human Rights and Terrorism” was co-organised by the Association of
Foreign Affairs at Lund University (UPF). A second participant at the seminar was Dr. Rubya Mehdi, Senior Researcher at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute
Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. Dr. Stig Toft Madsen was the moderator. More information.
Associate Professor Henrik
(photo to the right) defended his doctoral dissertation on Hindu
Nationalism and Democracy a Study of the Political Theory and
Practice of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),
in December, 2000. Read the Abstract
of the dissertation.
Berglund has later been engaged in a reserach project called The Saffronisation of Civil Society A Study of Hindu Nationalism and Organisational Life in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, dealing with Indian civil society and its reaction tho the Hindu nationalist challenge, centred around the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The project is a study of how the Hindu nationalist mobilisation is manifested in local civil society, in the city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The project connects to theories on both civil society and nationalism, and is expected to contribute to an increased understanding of the processes leading to a sustained democratisation. More information on Berglund’s research on his personal web page.
In 2004 Henrik Berglund published a book called ”Hindu Nationalism and Democracy” based on his research. The book examines the rise of the BJP as one of the dominant forces within Indian politics. The ideology of the party is analyzed as a form of religious nationalism, with possible strains in its relation to the religious minorities of India. It focuses on the position of the Muslim minority and analyzes he position of the BJP in relation to two issues with major importance within Indian politics: Uniform Civil Code – Shah Bano case and controversy in Ayodhya. Both issues have been studied on a national level and in a local study conducted in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. More information.
In December 2009, Dr. Berglund published an article about the Hindu nationalist movement in India and its role vs. women, in the peer-reviewed magazine India Review, issue 4/2009. The article is entitled ”Including Women: Strategies of Mobilization Within the Hindu Nationalist Movement”.
Abstract: The Hindu nationalist movement has traditionally been dominated by men. Among its leaders, workers, and supporters, women have only recently surfaced in substantial numbers. Also, working in the context of Indian social and political life, which is heavily male-centered, the ideological underpinnings of the movement have previously made it unlikely for women to hold prominent positions. Many of the Hindu nationalist groups strongly support a traditional definition of gender roles and have been very reluctant to assign new and more active identities for Hindu women. Despite this, some development has taken place, and women now have a more active role within the movement. Beginning in the 1980s, women were recruited in increasing numbers, and there has also been a shift in the rhetoric of the movement toward a more active role for women. In the mass campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s women participated as activists and the ideal of women as warriors were contrasted to the traditional roles as mothers and care-takers. How is the role of women defined today within the Hindu nationalist movement? Has the recent emphasis on activism changed the general perception of women within the movement? The article has the following structure: first, an analysis of the ideological background of the Hindu nationalist movement; second, a presentation of the historical role of women within the movement; and, third, observations on the current view on gender relations within the movement, based on field work conducted in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It is argued in the article that the Hindu nationalist movement defines the role of women differently, depending on the political context, but that the general view is that men and women have separate roles, with women largely being assigned a supportive rather than an active role. The article contributes to the debate on gender and Hindu nationalism by drawing on previous research and by assessing established ideas in a new local study.
November 2007, Dr. Berglund was given SEK 1.8 million as a three-years grant (2008-10) from Sida's
Developing Country Research Council (U-landsforskningsrådet), for a new project entitled ”Globalization and its discontent: Coca-Cola in India – a study of
civil society as a platform for political protest”. More information about the Sida grants 2007.
The project is carried out in collaboration with the Dept. of Political Science at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, and a second project partner in Kerala will soon be finalized.
Project abstract: Trans-national corporations have during the last decade entered India and in many senses changed the terms for both workers and producers. This has resulted in protests against individual companies and against globalization as such, especially amongst NGOs within civil society. This project includes two case studies of campaigns against the Coca-Cola Company in India, which focuses on alleged environmental damages caused by the production of soft drinks. The first case is that of Mehdiganj in eastern Uttar Pradesh where production has continued despite a long campaign against the company, while the second case covers the events in Plachimada in northern Kerala, where popular protests resulted in the closure of the plant. How is civil society used as platform for political struggles against global economic interests? Why have some struggles been successful while others have failed?
Dr. Pragya Rai was a guest researcher at the department during the academic year 2009-10. She is from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, and obtained her PhD in 2008. She has been associated with the Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University since 2004 as a visiting researcher, in 2008 as a visiting fellow. Her stay was being sponsored by the Swedish Institute.
Pragya worked on a research project entitled ”Political Representation and Empowerment: Women in the Local Government Institutions in Bihar, India”. The Bihar state of India was selected for this study because Bihar is the first and only state in India which has implemented 50% reservation for women in local government.
Project abstract: Gender reservation policy and gender quota policy have become common instruments for increasing women’s representation in legislative bodies in countries across the world. In 1993, Indian government also implemented the gender reservation policy under the provisions of 73rd amendment to Indian Constitution. This amendment makes provision for reservation of 33 percent of seats for women in local government bodies known as ”Panchyats”. The amendment initially provided space for the entry of women representatives into the local government institutions, and since its implementation, the percentage of women entering the local government institutions has been increasing with every election. According to the Human Development Report (HDR, 2000, p.66) women candidates captured 30 to 40 percent of the seats, nearly 7 percent more than the stipulated percentage. Thus, the constitutional support has on the one hand secured a numerical increase of women representatives in the local government and on the other hand it has enabled Indian women across castes, religions and particularly those on the fringe of political and social power, to enter the government institutions at grassroots.
But the research question of concern is whether such advancements can contribute to the empowerment of women, or conversely, whether their inexperience and fragile political base in civil society can give them problem in making use of the position. Virtually, no qualitative study is available on this matter; which can give a fair account of the affair. It can be argued that the main objective of the gender quota is not simply to increase the number of women in local bodies but ultimately to empower them politically.
Thus the main objective of the project is to make a qualitative assessment of the state of women empowerment in the local government institutions, in Bihar state of India. The purpose of this study is: 1. To recognize the factors that restrain or facilitate entry and participation of women in the Panchayats of Bihar, India. 2. To study whether female representatives have different development priorities than men and to identify what these priorities are. 3. To examine the different public projects that has been undertaken by these representatives and how these reflect their empowerment.
The Department is active in sending students abroad to do Minor Field Studies. Students are also sent on Linnaeus Palme grants. A formal collaborative agreement exists between the department and the Dept of Political Science, at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. An exchange of teachers and students have taken place regularly since 2002. More information.
The department has developed a profile on Politics of Development
in teaching and research at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
PODSU, the Politics of Development Group, was established in 1995, coordinated
by Professor Björn Beckman,
whose position in the department was at first funded by Sida/SAREC. His
main work in recent years has been on African trade unions.
PODSU has been responsible for a major research project on ”Politics of Development: Citizens, Interests and Civil Society”, funded by Sida/SAREC under a special programme for research milieus concerned with Third World democratisation. PODSU has been selected as one of five such Swedish milieus. Individual projects by Ishtiaq Ahmed and Henrik Berglund have been carried out within the framework of PODSU.
On 1 January 2010, Stockholm University closed down its Center for Pacific Asia Studies (CPAS). CPAS has been an autonomous research unit under the Dept. of Oriental Languages, but now its staff (including the Director, Prof. Masako Ikegami) has been transferred to the Dept. of Political Science. More information about the dissolved Centre for Pacific Asia Studies.
SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network/Lund
Address: Scheelevägen 15 D, SE-223 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46 46 222 73 40
Webmaster: Lars Eklund
Last updated 2010-11-02