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Talks & Conferences

Prof. Dr. Swapna Bhattacharya 20.07.2010, Di, 17h

R317, SAI

Histories, Heritage and Pilgrimage: Ongoing Flow of Buddhist Devotees from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh to India

This power-point presentation will address my experiences of visiting major Buddhist places of pilgrimage, namely Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Nava Nalanda, Rajgir, Benares, Sarnath, Patna, Vesali, Sravasti, Kushinagar and Lumbini. The flow of pilgrims from neighbouring countries is a remarkable phenomenon, linked with India’s increasing closeness to the ASEAN (especially its Buddhist majority countries) as well as to the influence of globalization—developments which became reinforced in the early 1990s. Aspects to be dealt with in the talk are the historical importance of various sites, the significance of edifices (including guesthouses) in Bihar and U.P. in the context of people-to-people interactions, as well as the history of Buddhist pilgrimage which is a much neglected theme in historiography. Pilgrims from Myanmar will be given more attention. It will be interrogated whether the promotion of Buddhist pilgrimage will contribute to developing better relations between India and its four neighbours. Further an empirical description of celebrating the Pagoda Dedication Buddhist festivals (in Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh) with the Khamtis of Arunachal Pradesh, Myanmar and Thailand will be furnished. Last but not least, it will be discussed to what extent relationships of asymmetry are at play in this particular context of transcultural interaction.

Prof. Ali Shah 01.06.2010, Di, 17h

330, SAI

The Civil Disobedience Movement in the Peshawar Valley (1930-1931): A Reappraisal

In 1930, the Indian National Congress, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, launched its civil disobedience movement against the British colonial government, demanding ‘complete independence’ instead of ‘dominion status’. Responding to the call of Gandhi the N-WFP Congressmen also initiated civil disobedience, but in view of their small number the local authorities ignored them. The provincial Congress leaders then requested Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the leader of the Khudai Khidmatgars, to support them in the next round of the intended civil disobedience in Peshawar, to which he agreed. The tragic firing incident of 23rd April 1930, killing more than 200 people in one single day at the Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Peshawar, can be ranked on par with the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar in April 1919. It was followed by a reign of terror in the N-WFP. The Khudai Khidmatgars and their supporters were subjected to the worst kind of humiliation. The Peshawar firing was followed by other similar kinds of atrocities in Takkar, Utmanzai and Hathi Khel. Despite the extreme repression by the N-WFP government against the Khudai Khidmatgars, they remained non-violent. Under the circumstances they were compelled to join the INC, a friendship which continued until the Partition of India in August 1947. Though much research has been done on the civil disobedience movement in other parts of India, the N-WFP and in particular the Peshawar Valley has been neglected in many ways. No proper research has been undertaken on this particular area. Hence, the talk will focus on the civil disobedience movement in the Peshawar Valley and its impact upon other parts of India, relying mostly upon primary sources.

Prof. Arun Kumar, JNU, Delhi 27.05.2010, Do, 14h

317, SAI

The Indian Economy since Independence: Tracing the Dynamics of Colonial Disruptions

The talk will present the Indian economy’s developments since Independence in a long-term perspective, tracing the roots of the continuing problems in colonial rule. It will be argued that colonial rule disrupted the dynamics of Indian society and these did not disappear with independence. They have left their mark on important aspects of post-independence India’s social, political and economic life. In the talk the focus will be on the economic aspects. The choice of the development path based on western modernization and the top-down approach was itself a part of the disruption. The talk will point to the dynamics set into motion by this choice and the failure of this strategy over time. It will be argued that this strategy has led to two paradigm changes in policy-making and neither is able to tackle the basic problems faced by the nation. In particular the following will be highlighted: the structure of India’s economy and its evolution, the backwardness of India’s agriculture and industry and above all the inadequacy of relevant knowledge generation resulting in the continuing lack of dynamism in society as a whole. It will be argued that a long-term and historical perspective is essential in understanding a nation’s dynamics, and more pertinently, for judging its successes or failures.

Prof. Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University, NY 27.05.2010, Do, 10h

212, KJC

Engaging Modernity: James Cousins on Japan, India, and the Culture of Decolonization

Gauri Viswanathan, Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, has published widely on 19th century British and colonial cultural studies (Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India, 1989, Outside of the Fold: Conversion, Modernity and Belief, 1998, to name just two of her influential works). She is currently researching on modern occultism and the writing of alternative religious histories. In this context, her talk at the Cluster will focus on the theosophist James Cousin’s response to debates on modernity in Japan and India during the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, her presentation is concerned with the transcultural search for potential models of decolonization, bringing Ireland, India, and Japan within a field of philosophical and aesthetic interaction.

Prof. Dr. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach 11.2.2010, Do, 10h

112, Karl Jaspers Centre

The Role of Natural Law in Gandhi’s Social Utopia

Max Weber (1864-1920) believed that human rights could not be developed from within Hindu traditions because the latter could not be used to ground natural rights derived from natural law. As a consequence, he ruled out the possibility of Hindu traditions being used to harness any conception of a social utopia. By trying to work out the ramifications of a utopian conception of society based on natural law, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), however, attempted to do precisely that. In my reconstruction of Gandhi’s role of natural law in his social utopia, I will attempt to show that Gandhi did not simply appropriate the model of natural law but remoulded some of its crucial aspects in an attempt to adapt it to the Indian setting. Also, I will chalk out the reasons why Gandhi cannot be associated solely with an ethic of duties. apl.-Prof. Dr. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach’s research focuses mainly on Political, Social and Intercultural philosophy. She has dealt extensively in her writings with problems of religious and national identity, tolerance, the ethics of human rights, and of immigration. She is currently substituting for the Chair for Modern South Asian History, at the South Asian Institute, Heidelberg.

Prof. Dr. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach 2.2.2010, Di, 17h


Kann es eine indische Menschenrechtsbegründung geben?

Am Dienstag, den 2.2.2010, wird unsere stellvertretende Abteilungsleiterin Prof. Dr. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach einen Vortrag zum Thema Kann es eine indische Menschenrechtsbegründung geben? halten. Die Veranstaltung wird um 17h in Raum 317 stattfinden.

Hans Hommes 27.1.2010, Mi

Z 10

Die indische Frauenrechtsbewegung zwischen 1919 und 1935

Die gesellschaftliche Stellung von Frauen in Indien war und ist durch verschiedene Achsen der Identifikation und Hierarchisierung bestimmt. In diesem Zusammenhang wird die Verwendung einer generischen Kategorie „Frau“ zur Umschreibung der verschiedenen lebensweltlichen Kontexte, in denen Frauen in Indien leben, sowie der ganz unterschiedlichen Handlungsmachtpotentiale die damit umschrieben werden sollen, problematisch. Neben einer rein geschlechtlich konzeptionalisierten Identitätsbestimmung sind Kriterien von sozio-ökonomischer Klasse, Kaste und Religion, regionaler und sprachlicher Identität u.v.a.m. wirksam in der Verortung weiblicher Akteure innerhalb der verschiedenen Kontexte der indischen Gesellschaft. Der Vortrag möchte diese Spannung veranschaulichen anhand der Darstellung ausgewählter Strömungen innerhalb der indischen Frauenrechtsbewegung in den 1920er und frühen 1930er Jahren. Unter welchen Bedingungen entwickelte sich ein universeller Repräsentations¬anspruch spezifischer Frauenorganisationen im Umfeld der städtischen Bildungseliten gegen¬über allen indischen Frauen? Wie verhielt sich dieser Anspruch gegenüber der empirischen Vielfalt weiblicher Lebenswelten, welche Homogenisierungsmechanismen wurden wirksam? Wie verhielt sich diese elitäre Frauenbewegung zum Emanzipationsprojekt des indischen Nationalismus? Gerade im Rahmen der Entstehung neuer Konzepte von Staatsbürgerlichkeit und sozio-politi¬scher Subjektivität innerhalb der immer artikulierteren indischen Unabhängigkeitsbewegung entwickelte sich die „Frauenfrage“ zu einem umkämpften Thema. In diesem Rahmen wurde die künstliche Universalität weiblicher Identität immer stärker angefochten, was in der Folge seit Mitte der 1930er Jahre zu einer Marginalisierung der Frauenbewegung, die nicht auf diese Herausforderungen reagieren konnte, in der politischen Praxis führte.

Dr. Thomas Bauer,
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Rothermund,
Prof. Ali Shah
21.1.2010, Do

Z 10

Living Conflict - Indien, Pakistan und die Kaschmir-Problematik

Im Rahmen des Seminars Living Conflict -- Indien, Pakistan und die Kaschmir-Problematik von Frau Schott wurde die Sitzung am 21.01.2010 genutzt, die Seminarinhalte in Form von Gastvorträgen zu vertiefen. Die Vorträge sowie die anschließende Diskussion mit den Experten standen auch anderen Interessierten offen. Im Vortrag des Politikwissenschaftlers Dr. des. Thomas Bauer Spannungen im Kräftefeld zwischen Indien, China und Pakistan: Neue Perspektiven im 21. Jahrhundert wurden wichtige Ansätze zu sicherheitspolitischen Aspekten in Asien diskutiert und eine Einschätzung der weltpolitischen Lage evaluiert. Prof. Dr. Dietmar Rothermund, Emeritus unserer Abteilung, fasste in seinem anschließenden Beitrag Der Kaschmir-Konflikt prägnant die wichtigsten historischen Dimensionen des weltpolitischen Problemfalls zusammen und skizzierte darüber hinaus einige aktuelle Tendenzen sowie deren Auswirkungen auf den Konfikt, beispielsweise die Beziehungen zwischen Indien und Israel. Zu Gast war darüber hinaus Prof. Ali Shah, Inhaber der Iqbal-Professur, der mit seinem Kommentar die Perspektive Pakistans zum Kaschmirkonflikt beleuchtete und die Diskussion hierdurch sehr bereicherte.
Dr. Thomas Bauer Gruppenaufnahme
Prof. Dr. Rothermund

Manju Ludwig 12.1.2010, Di

Z 10

Die widersprüchliche Rolle von Homosexualität im kolonialen Indien - Eine historische Analyse

Die Stellung von Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen ist in den letzten Jahren immer mehr in den Fokus von Menschenrechtsorganisationen in Indien gerückt. Von großer Bedeutung in diesem Prozess war vor allem die Aufhebung der Strafbarkeit homosexueller Handlungen am 02. Juli 2009 durch den Obersten Gerichtshof, der die umstrittene Sektion 377 des Strafgesetzbuches mit seinem Urteil als verfassungswidrig erklärte. Was jedoch in der Diskussion um die Rolle von homosexuellen Identitäten in Indien vernachlässigt wird, ist die historische Dimension des Umgangs mit dieser sexuellen Neigung. Lange haben Politiker und neo-hinduistische sowie linksgerichtete Ideologen Homosexualität als Fremdimport diffamiert und als ‚unindisch’ abgetan. Eine historische Analyse widerspricht dem Gedanken einer durch Muslime und Kolonialisten importierten Homosexualität jedoch vehement. Mein Vortrag wird versuchen, die historischen Ursprünge der Ablehnung und gesellschaftlichen Stigmatisierung gegenüber homosexuellen Menschen in der kolonialen Epoche festzumachen. Der Fokus des Vortrages soll dabei auf der widersprüchlichen Rolle liegen, die homosexuelle Neigungen in der kolonialen Machtpolitik einnahmen. Auf der einen Seite wurde Homosexualität und der Vorwurf solcher als Instrumentarium zur Stigmatisierung indischer Herrscher verwendet und somit im Rahmen der Debatte um ‚Zivilisation’ und Andersartigkeit als ‚oriental vice’ mit negativen Implikationen belegt. Auch die Debatte um Maskulinität und ‚Effeminität’, und damit verknüpfte Geschlechterbilder spielen hierbei eine wichtige Rolle. Auf der anderen Seite waren die Kolonialisten in ihrer männlich dominierten Imperiumsführung ja auch nicht vor Homosexualität in den eigenen Reihen gefeit. Um jedoch den Anschein der unfehlbaren „ruling caste“ zu wahren, mussten die kolonialen Machtinhaber auch in die Reglementierung und Kontrolle der britischen Bevölkerung Indiens investieren. Wie sich dadurch ein bis heute nachwirkendes negatives Verständnis von Homosexualität in Wechselwirkung zwischen Kolonie und Metropole entwickelte, wird Gegenstand dieses Vortrags sein.

Prof. Ali Shah 15.12.09, Di

Z 10

Mughal – Afghan Conflict in India during the 16th and 17th Century: An Appraisal

Both Afghans and Mughals occupy a significant position in Indian history. They left a permanent imprint on South Asian society. The Afghans, also known as Pashtoons, were ruling India before the arrival of the Mughals. Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the famous battle of Panipat (1526) and occupied power. Sher Shah Suri, another Afghan regained the throne from Humayun, the son of Babur, who was expelled from India to Persia. Humayun remained in exile for about fifteen years at the Safavid court and with the support of Persian forces succeeded in defeating the Afghans in 1556 and re-established the Mughal authority in India. Akbar, the Great Mughal (1556-1605) who provided stability and sound administration to the country was challenged by the Pashtoons. Time and again, the Mughal forces were sent to crush the Pashtoons but without success. Raja Birbal, one of the ‘Nauratans’ (Nine Jewels) of Akbar was killed in the mountains of Buner (N-WFP), a stronghold of the Taliban’s militancy till recent past. The same conflict continued during the reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Aurangzeb Alamgir’s era (1658-1707) saw the Mughal-Afghan conflict at its height. He was forced to come in person to Hassan Abdal, near Rawalpindi, to crush the Afghan rebellion in the North-West Frontier region. In his talk Prof. Dr. Sayed Wiqar Ali Shah, who is currently holding the Allama Iqbal professorial fellowship at the South Asia Institute, will analyse Afghan–Mughal relations during the 16th and 17th centuries in detail. He will focus mainly on Akbar’s and Aurangzeb’s reign. The Pashtoon resistance against the Mughals has been given very little space in Indian historiography. Scholars working on Mughal-India are not familiar with the contemporary writings of Bayazid Roshan and Khushal Khan Khattak, who left written accounts of their struggle against the Mughals. They regarded the latter as usurpers. Religion was exploited by the rulers in this context, a fact barely taken into account by researchers working on South Asia.

Soumen Mukherjee 02.12.09, Mi

Z 10

Redefining the ‘Self’: The Political Activism of Aga Khan III and Muslim Religious Nationalism in Twentieth Century South Asia

The corpus of works on the development of competing strands of religious nationalism in late colonial South Asia is impressive enough. However, the question of heterogeneity within such religiously informed nationalist meta-discourses and the concomitant negotiations amongst the different strands within such broader meta-discourses have been too often neglected. Addressing this gap, the present paper explores the heterogeneity within South Asia’s Muslim community along sectarian lines. It seeks to retrieve some of the moments of negotiations that were instrumental in forging a general political consensus. It explores the politico-religious career of Aga Khan III (1877-1957), the spiritual head of the Nizari Khojas. (Scattered worldwide and castigated by the bulk of the Muslims as heterodox, the Khojas belong to the Ismaili branch of the Shia Muslims, though sharing with the Hindus in South Asia some socio-cultural traits) Aga Khan III’s version of political activism led to the evolution of a political discourse negotiating both a sectarian and a broader Islamic Weltanschauung. This facilitated a linkage of his Khoja sub-sect with South Asia’s Muslim qaum along political lines without diluting his own religious position, a development that also catapulted him to the position of a prominent Muslim leader. This hinged upon selective employment of specific symbols or addressing issues of general concern, and a studied silence on the Khoja social memory of not-so-pleasant experiential realities of general Muslim hostility. Based on a range of sources neglected until now and employing in qualified way the analytical framework of ‘strategic syncretism’, this paper studies the course and significance of this development (especially in the 1900s and 1910s).

Prabhat Kumar 17.11.09, Di

Z 10

From Punch to Matwala: Transcultural Lives of a Literary .

This paper attempts to delineate the transcultural lives of Punch - focusing primarily on the literary form of the satirical journal and its narratorial self - which was received enthusiastically within the Hindi literary sphere during 19th and early 20th century colonial India. In the first section I demonstrate the marginal but consistent presence of satire in the discursive arena of Hindi journals before 1920. 1920 was a watershed year in terms of production, circulation and reach of periodicals published in North India. My analysis will not be restricted merely to Punch itself, but will also cover 'Punch-like' satirical columns published in influential periodicals like Kavivachansudha, Harishchandra Magazine, Bharatjiwan, Hindi Pradeep, etc. On the basis of this survey, my paper will examine the specific meanings and shapes of the literary style/trope, and will chart the transcultural journey of the concept of Punch itself. This magazine was originally founded in Great Britain but travelled to and made a mark within the Hindi literary culture. Borrowed self-consciously from a different cultural context and encoded with new and local meanings, I argue that Punch, or Punch-like satire, functions as a double-edged sword within the hands of newly emerging Hindi middle class: it helps carve out a moral, cultural and political space vis-à-vis colonial rulers and traditional indigenous elite on the one hand, and is also used to create new markers of difference vis-à-vis the lower classes, Muslims and women on the other. In the second half of the paper I will talk about Matwala (1923) - a self-proclaimed satirical periodical claiming its inspiration from a Bengali counterpart (Avatar, 1923). Situating it in the larger context of the Hindi literary culture and the print industry, I will argue that Matwala inherited and expanded the literary space created by its predecessors and marked the evolution of satire from a marginal presence (a column or two within established journals, mostly) to a full-fledged journal. More importantly, its literary format established an instant rapport with the post - 1920 trends of nationalist mobilization, consequent increase in the moral and political confidence of Hindi intelligentsia, a laicization of the Hindi public sphere and rise in production, and a greater circulation and consumption of nationalist issues. I will also map the change and/or continuity in the political agenda and function of satire.

Dr. Inayatullah Baloch 3.11.09, Di

Z 10

Ethnic or Nationality Problems: the State and Modern Islamic Thinkers.

Nationality or ethnic problems are of great importance in the Muslim world. These problems have taken the lives of millions since the disintegration of the Ottoman Caliphate, while thousands of people today live in exile and in jails or were forced to migrate as a consequence. Many Muslim intellectuals blame Western constructs and developments (the nation-state, nationalism and colonialism) and the West itself for contemporary political problems such as ethnic conflicts in the Muslim world. In this presentation an attempt will be made to uncover the roots of nationality or ethnic problems within a historical and cultural framework of the Muslim East. It will also discuss whether Islam and Muslim history offer answers to the problem of nationality or ethnic conflicts, with special reference being made to the ideas of modern Islamic thinkers.

Vera Höke 25.06.09, DO

Raum 316

Raja Rammohan Roys Konstruktion des Christentums

Dr. Basabi Khan Banerjee 09.06.09, DI

Raum 317

The Indian Textbook Controversy and the West Bengal Chapter
Hanna Werner 19.05.09, DI

Raum 207

Large Dams, Development and the Question of Modernity in India

Martina Franke-Schaub 28.04.09, DI Raum 317

Nehru und Indien in der Berichterstattung von "Spiegel" und "Zeit" 1947-1964

Jeweils 17 Uhr

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