Recent Events, 2018-19

Except as noted, the default time and location for all events:

Time:  4:15-5:45pm
Location:   Knox Hall, Room 208
Street Address:  606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Thursday, September 20
The Jaipur Literature Festival at New York
In association with the Asia Society and in partnership with the South Asia Institute
(Please check the Asia Society website link for complete panel descriptions, time changes and other updated information)
1:00 pm-1:30 pm:  Music by Zila Khan
1:30pm - 2:00pm: Inaugural Address, “Imagining Our Worlds”
Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple, Ambassador Navtej Sarna and Sanjoy K. Roy
2:00 pm-2:40 pm: Panel 2, “Kohinoor: The Light of the World”
Ambassador Navtej Sarna, William Dalrymple, and Navina Haidar
2:50 pm-3:30 pm: Panel 3, “The Written Word”
Martin Puchner and William Dalrymple
3:40 pm-4:20 pm: Panel 4, “Medical Narratives: The Pulse of the Story”
Sharad Paul and Sandeep Jauhar
4:30 pm-5:10 pm: Panel 5, “Shakespeare: The Year of Lear”
Preti Taneja, James Shapiro, and Gauri Viswanathan
5:20 pm-6:00 pm:  Panel 6,“The Intelligence of Tradition”
Molly Emma Aitken, Navina Haidar, and William Dalrymple
6:10 pm-6:50 pm: Panel 7, "The City of Many Tongues”
Alia Malek, Kayhan Irani, Ross Perlin, Ruchira Gupta, and Kanishk Tharoor
7:00 pm-7:40 pm: Panel 8, “India Sutra”
Shashi Tharoor and Tunku Vardarajan
Time:  1:00pm – 8:00pm
Location:  Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street
Monday, September 24
South Asia Institute Welcome Reception
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Location:  207-208 Knox Hall,
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Monday, October 1
A talk by Rishabh Kumar (California State University at San Bernadino)
"The evolution and metamorphosis of Indian wealth 1860-2012”
Moderated by Suresh Naidu, Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and Economics, SIPA

Abstract:   This research is about the metamorphoses of aggregate Indian wealth over fifteen politically transformative decades. Based on a comprehensive new database, I find that wealth-income ratios (i.e. the relative size of wealth accumulated in the past) have fluctuated tremendously in the twentieth century. In emerging India of the twenty first century, wealth is quickly attaining the same disproportionate size (relative to national income) that was seen during economic downturns in interwar colonial India. The long run U shaped trajectories of wealth-income ratios are reasonably explained by a mid-century asset price slowdown and the return of high land shares in national wealth. The implications for balanced growth models are not too sanguine because rising wealth-income ratios have become visible in most large economies, irrespective of their stage of capitalist development.

Rishabh Kumar is Assistant Professor of Economics, at California State University (San Bernardino), and previously worked as Economist for the New York City Department of Finance.  He earned his PhD in Economics at the New School University, an MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and BA from Delhi University.  His teaching and research fields include Political Economy, Economic and Social History, Macroeconomics, and Inequality.
Friday, October 5
"Songs for Krishna in Autumn:  Devotional Music from North India"
A concert with Aastha Goswami 
with Suryaksha Deshpande (tabla) and Anirban Chakraborty (harmonium)
Moderated by Jack Hawley (Religion)
Sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Culture in Public Life, the South Asia Institute, the Barnard Religion Department, and the Hindu Students Organization.
Free and open to the public.
Time:  6:00pm-7:30pm
Location:  Miller-Glickstein Theater, The Diana Center, Barnard College, Columbia University
Map and directions to Morningside Campus and Barnard College: <>
Tuesday, October 9
A talk by Kajri Jain (University of Toronto)
“When the Gods Emerge from the Temples:
Iconic Exhibition Value and Democratic Publicness in India”
Organized by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life under the auspices of the Luce project on
“Rethinking Public Religion in Africa and South Asia”; co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute
Abstract:  We are well acquainted with how the affective forces of modern politics depart from the normative ideals of bourgeois publicness. But rather than treating this departure as a binary opposition perhaps it’s more useful to recognize the layered coexistence of, and circuits between, these modalities of publicness, as when electoral politics strategically deploys both religious and secular idioms while also keeping distinctions between them in play. Religion, too, has taken on board the salience of the secular horizon, adopting its forms of value and authority alongside auratic canonical traditions. Revisiting the “oscillation” between cult and exhibition value in a footnote to Benjamin's Artwork Essay, this talk provides a glimpse into how successive new image technologies and genres of public iconopraxis in India, from neighbourhood festivals and printed icons to monumental concrete deities, have played a key role in melding the sensible idioms of democracy and religion.
Kajri Jain is Associate Professor of Indian Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on images at the interface between religion, politics, and vernacular business cultures in India, and contemporary art. Prof. Jain is currently completing a book on the emergence of monumental iconic sculptures in post-liberalization India, Gods in the Time of Democracy. She is the author of Gods in the Bazaar: The Economies of Indian Calendar Art (2007). Recent essays have appeared in the edited volumes Places of Nature in Ecologies of Urbanism (2017), Art History and Emergency (2016), New Cultural Histories of India (2014), and the Cambridge Companion to Modern Indian Culture (2012).
Time: 4:10pm – 6:00pm
Location:  208 Knox Hall,
606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont
Monday, October 15
A talk by Edward Simpson (SOAS, University of London)
“State Highway 31: A road trip through the heart of modern India”
Abstract: This talk follows the route of State Highway 31 through western Madhya Pradesh, central India. The research was part of a larger project looking at the ideas behind the production of infrastructure in South Asia. This journey takes us through landscapes of sex work and opium, some of the oldest nationalist networks in the country, and along the fault-lines of long-running tensions between local communities. The road was one of a series built as a public private partnership and, as such, speaks of the reconfiguration of state relations with private capital and business. Toll booths become places of company ethos, education and for the creation of new kinds of citizens. The nexus of government and private enterprise takes us on a dizzying journey through the world’s tax havens and onto the decks of luxury yachts. Exploring the broader political economy of the road and the organisation of institutions and travellers that sustain it encourages questions about the nature of governance and power in the country.
Edward Simpson is a Social Anthropologist and Director of the South Asia Institute at SOAS University of London. He is currently interested in the relationship between infrastructure, automobility and the global-sustainability agenda.  He is Principal Investigator on a five-year project funded by the European Research Council looking at infrastructure across South Asia, and undertaken in partnership with the Mumbai-based artists CAMP.  His recent publications include The political biography of an earthquake: Aftermath and amnesia in Gujarat India (2013), and the edited volumes The future of the rural world? India's villages 1950-2015, with Alice Tilche (2016); Society and history of Gujarat since 1800: A select bibliography of the English and European language sources (2011); and with Aparna Kapadia, The idea of Gujarat: History, ethnography and text (2010). 
Thursday-Friday, October 18-19
Inaugural Annual B.R. Ambedkar Lectures at Columbia
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, one of Columbia University’s most distinguished alumni, was a political thinker and constitutional lawyer whose thought and activism shaped the world’s largest democracy. In 2018, the Inaugural B.R. Ambedkar Lectures have been planned as a series of two public events to recognize Ambedkar’s continuing relevance for social justice activism and democratic thought in a global frame.  
The B. R. Ambedkar Lectures are hosted by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society;  and co-sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Arts & Science; Office of the Dean of Humanities, Arts & Sciences; Office of the Provost at Barnard College; Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought ; Institute for Research in African-American Studies; Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies; South Asia Instite
Thursday, October 18, 2018
“Global Ambedkar”
Etienne Balibar (French and Comparative Literature )
Nahum Chandler (University of California at Irvine)
Gopal Guru (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (University Professor, Columbia)
Moderated by: Debjani Ganguly (Virginia) and Anupama Rao (History and MESAAS)
Time: 6:30pm- 8:00pm
Location: James Room, Barnard Hall, entrance at 117th and Broadway
Friday, October 19, 2018
“Ambedkar Now”
A talk by journalist Sudipto Mondal of the Hindustan Times,
followed by a conversation with Gaiutra Bahadur, author of Coolie Woman.
Time: 6:30pm -8:30pm, followed by public reception
Location: Davis Auditorium, Shapiro Center, Morningside Upper Campus
Saturday, October 20
A Concert with Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar (Sarod),
accompanied by Shri Nitin Mitta (Tabla)
Organized by the Columbia chapter of SPICMACAY.
Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute, and the Engineering Graduate Students Council.
Pt. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar is one of the most renowned Sarod players of recent times. He received his initial training from Ustad Bahadur Khan and later studied under the legendary Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. His repertoire consists of a combination of DhrupadTantrakari, and Gayaki styles. He has performed all over the world and earned many accolades in his long journey.  Notable awards include the Indian Presidential Gold medal and the 2010 Grammy nomination for his album, "OM NAMOH NARAYANAY".
Shri Nitin Mitta is one of the most sought after Tabla players in the music world and has quickly established a reputation as an artist with a rare combination of technical virtuosity, spontaneity, clarity of tone, and sensitivity to melodic nuance. He has performed with several of India's celebrated classical musicians such as Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Nishat Khan and many more.
The concert is open and free to Columbia students, faculty, staff and alumni, and is subject to RSVP.
CUID is required for entry to Lerner Hall.
Collect your Eventbrite tickets here.
For further information, contact:
Time:  7:00pm –9:00pm
Location:  Room Arledge Auditorium, Lerner Hall