Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Puppets from the East

Image copyright:  SADACC Trust
'Puppets from the East' is the title of a new exhibition of wayang-golek puppets from Indonesia now showing at the SADACC Trust in Norwich.

Admission is free, and the opening hours are:
  • 9.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
  • 9.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays
It is closed on Bank Holidays and Sundays.

The SADACC Trust is located in the Old Skating Rink Gallery at:
    34-36 Bethel Street
    NR2 1NR
    United Kingdom

Telephone: 01603 663890

By road: Follow brown signs for 'The Forum'. We are 50m from the Forum Car Park entrance. Parking is available whilst visiting the gallery.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Nepal's endangered languages on Radio 4

Dr Mark Turin will present a three-part series on BBC Radio 4 on themes of language diversity, endangerment and policy that starts next week. The first episode, recorded in Nepal over the summer, airs from 11:00-11:30am GMT on Monday, 3 December, 2012.

Alongside analogue and digital radio transmission in the UK, the programme will be streamed live online:

The series has its own set of web pages on the BBC site:

Episodes two and three will cover the linguistic landscape of South Africa and New York City, and will be aired 11:00-11:30am on Monday 10 and Monday 17 December respectively. The programmes will be archived as podcasts by BBC Radio 4.

For more information on Dr Mark Turin, see:

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

NACIRA Conference 2012

 The 2012 conference and Annual General Meeting for the National Committee for Information Resources on Asia will be held on Tuesday 4th December, 10.30-16.30 at the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge.  The theme of this year's conference is Applied Materials: making oriental collections visible, and looks at ways of raising the profile of your collections.  It will include presentations on
  • the British Library's Mughal exhibition
  • the British Museum's shunga exhibition
  • the Cambridge University Sanskrit manuscripts project
  • the Cambridge University Genizah digitization project
There will also be a visit to a display of manuscripts from Cambridge University Library's collections.

The cost is £30, including lunch (£10 for students) and further information about the conference and registration can be found here

Friday, 9 November 2012

Atlas historique de l'Inde

I am pleased to announce that Arundhati Virmani's historical atlas of India will shortly be published.

Atlas Historique de l'Inde, (Paris, Autrement, 2012),  ISBN: 9782746715400, publication date: 13th November 2012, price: 19€

Arundhati writes: "Violent polemics in the last decades have made Indian national history a crucial field for debating political trajectories for future development. This Historical Atlas presents some of the major developments of this past: spatial organizations since the 6th century B.C. to the 21st century: commercial links from the Mediterranean world to China, the widespread circulation of religious and cultural movements, the development of a major pole in the Muslim world, the transformation of old territorial and social equilibriums under colonisation and the unification of a political and cultural territory after independence.

The maps combine a large perspective of the subcontinent with zooms into particular regions. The Atlas presents recent historical knowledge and research on these questions and treats this history from the perspective of space, territory and the long construction of a territory."

An exhibition presenting maps from this Atlas will be held in the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of  Cambridge, 5th-20th February 2013.  Entitled "Mapping Indian History", the maps will be displayed in the South Asian Studies Library, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT, U.K.

Arundhati Virmani is the author of "A National Flag for India. Rituals, Nationalism and the Politics of Sentiment" Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2008. 9788178242323. She teaches at the École des Hautes  Études en Sciences Sociales, Marseille.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Islam, Trade and Politics across the Indian Ocean: the exhibition

I am delighted to announce that the Ancient India and Iran Trust in Cambridge is hosting a travelling photographic exhibition to accompany the British Academy-funded research project 'Islam, Trade and Politics across the Indian Ocean'
An exhibition leaflet may be downloaded at:

The exhibition runs from 7th-21st November 2012 and is open from 9-1, Monday-Thursday; 9.30-1.30 Friday. Afternoon visits by appointment only (please contact the Librarian on 01223 702095, or to arrange).

Location: Ancient India & Iran Trust, 23 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge CB2 8BG
Tel: +44 (0)1223 356841, Fax: +44 (0)1223 361125

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Current exhibitions at the SADACC Trust

All three exhibitions run until 31st December 2012 at the Old Skating Rink Gallery, the SADACC Trust, Bethel Street, Norwich.

    The SADACC Trust
    The Old Skating Rink Gallery
    34-36 Bethel Street
    NR2 1NR
    United Kingdom

Telephone: 01603 663890

By road: Follow brown signs for 'The Forum'. We are 50m from the Forum Car Park entrance. Parking is available whilst visiting the gallery.

Admission is free.

Opening hours:
  • 9.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
  • 9.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays.
We are closed on Bank Holidays and Sundays.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture 2012

This year's Nehru Memorial Lecture will be given by Professor Sunil Khilnani, Avantha Professor & Director of the King's India Institute, in the Great Hall of King's College London, at 6.30pm on Wednesday 21st November 2012. The lecture title is:-


Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to <>

I should be very grateful if you would forward this post to any related blogs and mailing lists.

Dr Nigel Chancellor
Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Exploring South Asian history using visual research methods

The Centre of South Asian Studies and CRASSH are organising the first international conference on 'Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods: theories and practices', 15-16 March 2013. The call for papers is now open, see

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Visual rhetoric and modern South Asian history

Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, affiliated lecturer and research associate at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge, is teaching a new seminar series on 'Visual rhetoric and modern South Asian history'.

Time and Location: Michaelmas Term, every Tuesday between 16:00-17:00 in S2 Seminar Room, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP.

All welcome.

For full details see and the poster below.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Indian Emboidery exhibition and talk by Rosemary Crill

Copyright: SADACC Trust
The South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection Trust in association with the Sainsbury Institute for Art (University of East Anglia) will be hosting a talk by Rosemary Crill, Senior Curator for South Asia, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, on Tuesday 13th November 2012.

The talk 'From Mountain, Desert and Palace: a journey through Indian embroidery' will be held at the Old Skating Rink Gallery in Norwich and accompanied by an exhibition of embroideries from the Indian subcontinent. 

Location: Country and Eastern, The Old Skating Rink Gallery, 34-36 Bethel Street, Norwich, NR2 1NR
Time: 6 pm

As places are limited it is essential to reserve a place by Tuesday 6th November by emailing: or phoning 01603 663890.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Mapping India

 Mapping India (HB)

Dr. Manosi Lahiri, founder of ML Infomap and author of the excellent new book Mapping India published by Niyogi Books, will be in London soon giving two lectures. On Monday October 15th she will address the Royal Geographical Society with a lecture entitled 'Five centuries of mapping India' (see and on Wednesday the 17th she speaks at the Nehru Centre (see

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Open access journal, Himalaya, has new editors

Himalaya, the journal of the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies, has new editors.  Sienna Craig is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth College, with a research interest in social study of medicine across the Himalayan region.  Mark Turin is Program Director of the Yale Himalaya Initiative and directs the Digital Himalaya Project at Cambridge and Yale universities.

The new editors write: 'We are honored to be taking over the editorship from Arjun Guneratne, who has worked tirelessly over the last five years to develop an already strong publication into an internationally recognized peer-reviewed journal. Through an innovative partnership with the Macalester College library over the duration of his editorship, Arjun has built an open-access, online repository of the entire back archive of HIMALAYA that is freely available to all, with a rolling two-year window for recent issues to be uploaded and viewable. This makes our journal a leader in the 'open access movement', the practice of providing unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly work, a policy to which we - as the incoming editors - are deeply committed'.

Volume 31 was published last week. Volume 32, a special issue on Ladakh, is expected to be published by December 2012. Volume 33 will be the first issue produced through the Dartmouth-Yale partnership, and a themed issue on gender in the Himalaya is being explored.  The new editors are also keen to include papers presented at the Second ANHS Himalayan Studies Conference convened by Dr. Mahendra Lawoti at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in September 2012.

The editors invite readers to get in touch with them with any questions or proposals for future themed issues, and to visit their website for further information about ANHS Publications,

Saturday, 22 September 2012

National Archives of India

Librarians, archivists and researchers unfamiliar with the blog 'Dissertation Reviews' may be interested in posts in their 'Fresh from the Archives' category.

In a recent post on 18th September 2012, Derek Elliott, PhD Candidate at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge described what it was like to conduct research  in the National Archives of India, New Delhi.

His post explained how to reach the National Archives, what to expect on arrival, (security, registration etc.), searching for records, ordering material, how to get copies and even where to get lunch.  He summed up by suggesting that he had found the National Archives to be one of the most comfortable locations to conduct research in India.

For more information on the National Archives of India, go to their website at:

For more archive reviews, go to:

Dissertation review categories include: Asian Art, Islamic Studies, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Tibetan Himalayan.

A recent post in the South Asia and Asian Art categories by Robert E. Colvard of the Department of History at the University of Iowa, reviewed the 'The Visual Culture of Opium in British India', by Hope Marie Childers.  See:

You can follow Dissertation Reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mental Health reports added to Medical History of British India website

Those of you who regularly read this blog will know that I have been working on the digitisation of lunatic asylum reports from British India for some while.

I am delighted to announce that they have been added to the Medical History of British India website as the 'Medicine - Mental health' collection.

The 20,000 pages cover the period of 1867 - 1948 and describe the patients, staff and conditions of asylums throughout colonial India. This free to access material provides extensive research on responses to mental illness when the asylum's role was changing. Detailed reports show how 'moral management' was used by British colonists to treat native and European patients. This material will be particularly valuable to genealogists and those interested in the history of psychiatry, Indian and colonial history.

Please do have a browse and remember that the reports are searchable; just click on 'include book content' when you search.

The material, from the National Library's India Papers collection, was microfilmed and digitised using a grant from the Wellcome Trust.

(Picture shows Block plan of Rangoon Lunatic Asylum from 1893, image number:

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

ASHT events for September

The Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail has announced its

September events.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Inaugural meeting of South Asian Arts Group

Anonymous watercolour and ink painting in Mithila style
 (Bihar) depicting Radha and Krishna,  from Crafts Museum, New Delhi;
2007, private collection.

A date for your diaries...the inaugural meeting of the South Asian Arts Group (SAAG) will be hosted in Norwich by the Sainsbury Institute for Art (SIfA) on Tuesday November 13th 2012.  

The South Asian Arts Group (SAAG) is an informal network of academics, curators, artists and arts professionals, who share an interest in the arts and visual/material cultures of South Asia and the diaspora. SAAG provides a space for interaction, conversation and exchange for people interested in South Asian arts in the UK. 

Through an annual gathering – held at a different location in the UK each year – participants of SAAG will foster contacts, partnerships and friendships with a view to building interactions across different disciplines and approaches to South Asian arts.

The event is being organised by Daniel Rycroft (University of East Anglia) and Sarah Turner (University of York).  It is free and places will be filled on a ‘first come, first served' basis.  To download a registration form, go to:

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Islam, Trade and Politics across the Indian Ocean

On Friday 6 July the Ancient India and Iran Trust (AIIT) in Cambridge was a most convivial venue for the joint annual meeting of SAALG and SEALG (Southeast Asia Library Group), where I spoke on the British Academy-funded research project 'Islam, Trade and Politics across the Indian Ocean', investigating Ottoman links with Southeast Asia:   These links date back to the sixteenth century, when the sultanate of Aceh in north Sumatra contacted the Ottoman emperor to ask for help against the Portuguese who were disrupting the Indian Ocean pepper trade.

The project set out to study all forms of interaction between these two regions, from political, religious, literary and commercial exchanges to mutual influence in material culture.  A nice example of these interactions was evident among the exhibits that the AIIT's Honorary Librarian, Ursula Sims-Williams, had put out on display for the meeting: some rare 19th-century Malay lithographed poems from Singapore, which bore on the back cover the name of the publisher, Haji Muhammad Amin, modelled on the Ottoman tughra or calligraphic royal emblem.

Syair Sinar Alam, Singapore, 1914
AIIT A14E40(1)

Dr Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator for Southeast Asian Studies, and curator of Indonesian and Malay collections, the British Library.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Dalai Lama visit to National Library of Scotland

On Friday 22nd June, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet visited the National Library of Scotland here in Edinburgh.
He had requested a private viewing of some of our collections, including archives of Isabella Bird Bishop and also some Medical History of British India items.
On this page from His Holiness’s website Jan Usher, Head of Official Publications and one of the founders of the project, shows His Holiness a photograph from 1894 of Indian mendicants in the Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient

We were delighted to welcome Maïté Hurel, Librarian for South Asia, École Française d'Extrême-Orient in Paris, to our recent SAALG conference in Cambridge.

Readers unfamiliar with the work and resources of l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient, are recommended to visit their website at:
Managed as a blog, the website has an English-language version, for those of us more linguistically challenged than Maïté!  It is superbly organised and contains links to their centres across south and south-east Asia, links to library catalogues under Documentary resources, contact details for academic staff under Research/Geographical areas and details of new publications.

Monday, 9 July 2012

New open access journal and blog

Journal Homepage ImageThe University of Edinburgh is about to release a new online open-access publication called 'The South Asianist' - see:

An interdisciplinary academic journal, it aims to encourage critical debate on social, environmental, cultural, linguistic, religious, political and economic aspects of South Asia, with provocative, peer-reviewed essays and reviews, complimented by video vignettes, including interviews and mini-documentaries.

It is also publishing a new blog, edited by Kristin Bouldin, to 'encourage people to openly express their impressions, discoveries, and thoughts in relation to research in South Asia'.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

MATERIAL LIFE IN SOUTH ASIA, 1500-1900 - call for papers

A one-day New Researchers' Workshop is to be held at the University of
Cambridge on Thursday 27th September 2012.  The Workshop is for current
graduate students, post-doctoral and early career researchers whose work
examines aspects of material life.  This could concern issues ranging from
production, consumption, trade and living standards, to taste, food and
drink, work, everyday life and ritual.  Scholars whose work examines
regions at the 'fringes' of the colonial heartlands (e.g. Burma, Kashmir,
Tibet, Punjab, Sri Lanka, Assam, Bhutan, Nepal, Rajasthan), and which uses
non-textual/artefactual as well as textual sources, would be extremely

Proposals of 500 words and a brief CV should be emailed to
Jagjeet Lally ( by 31st August 2012.

The Workshop will be followed by a one-day conference in April 2013.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Amateur Cinema Studies Network launched

The University of Cambridge Press Office has recently published a press release about the Amateur Cinema Studies Network, a project launched in May this year.  The announcement also includes a reference to one of the newly digitised film collections by the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.
Dr Annamaria Motrescu, Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer, Centre of South Asian Studies 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sri Lankan photographic archive published online

The Ancient India and Iran Trust is delighted to announce that the Sri Lankan Photographic Archive of Professor Howard Wilson is now live on the Trust’s website.  The archive has been kindly donated to the Trust and digitised by Mrs Marti Wilson and can be accessed by  following the links from the Home page at to the  ‘Photo Archives’ page and the ‘Howard Wilson Collection’, or clicking on the link below.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

South Asian Literature Festival

SALF is an online hub for South Asian literature presented by the Festival, with contributions from a team of passionate bloggers and writers.Our primary goal is to make news and information related to South Asian writing highly accessible to the public through news, book and event reviews, features and interviews.The site will also act and develop into a forum for discussion between people and groups that are interested in literature connected to the region.

Monday, 28 May 2012

SAALG Summer Conference 2012 - 6th/7th July - Cambridge

We are very pleased to announce the next SAALG conference which will take place in Cambridge on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th July at the Ancient India and Iran Trust. 

Copyright - Ancient India and Iran Trust

The conference will explore crossovers in South Asia and Southeast Asian Studies and this year we are delighted to be joined by our colleagues from SEALG, so it will be an excellent opportunity to network and make new connections.

Friday 6th includes several fascinating talks, as well as the SAALG business meeting, for those who wish to attend:

10.45 - 11.00        Arrival, networking and refreshments
11.15 - 12.00        Dr Sue Sutton (Archivist, Henry Martyn Centre, Cambridge) 'Operation Nip-Off'. 
Some aspects of the repatriation of Japanese troops from Southeast Asia at the end of the Second World War in the Far East.  
12.00 - 12.35        Dr Sujit Sivasundaram (University Lecturer in World and Imperial History since 1500, University of Cambridge) 'The British invasion of Ceylon in the conflicting cultures of palm-leaf texts.'
12.35 - 13.05       Mrs Ursula Sims-Williams (Librarian, Ancient India and Iran Trust and Curator of Iranian Collections, British Library) 'An introduction to Southeast Asian collections in the AIIT'
                             Mr Edward Proctor (Librarian for South and Southeast Asia at Duke University & South Asian Studies Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA) 'Recent Developments in South Asian Collections in the United States'        

13.05 - 14.15       Lunch and networking

14.15 - 14.55       Dr Annabel Gallop (Curator for Indonesian and Malay collections, British Library) ‘Islam, trade and politics across the Indian Ocean: investigating Ottoman links with Southeast Asia’

14.55 - 15.15       Dr Sud Chonchirdsin (Curator of Vietnamese collections, British Library) ‘Cartoons and propaganda from North Vietnam during the early stage of the Vietnam War’

15.15 - 15.55       Dr Mark Elliott (Curatorial Research Fellow, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge) ‘The Eyes of the Ancestor: Returning photographs to an Indian village’

15.55 - 16.15       Refreshments

16.20 - 17.00       SAALG Business Meeting

For the evening of Friday 6th we have booked a table at St. Johns Chophouse for a conference dinner 

On Saturday 7th there is an opportunity for a guided tour of the newly refurbished University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology by Mark Elliot (Curatorial Research Fellow, MAA) and Jocelyne Dudding (Curator, Photographic collections, MAA).

Places for our main conference day on Friday at the AIIT are limited to 35 so if you would like to attend we recommend early booking, as places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. For a confirmation form and accommodation options please contact our Secretary, Helen Porter Bookings will close on Friday 29th June.

To attend our Friday programme the fee is £20.00 payable on the day and to attend the Saturday programme it is an additional £10.00. Attendance on Saturday only, is also possible and we encourage you to bring guests, family or friends, there is no limit to numbers for our Saturday programme. The price of the meal at the restaurant is not included in the conference price and again family and friends are welcome.

If you have any questions or need any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Helen or Rachel Rowe our Chair

Please spread the word to colleagues/students or friends who might be interested in attending.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Asians in Britain - new online resources available

A multimedia timeline and Asians in Britain website are now available on the British Library's website. They celebrate the often overlooked, long history of the South Asian presence in Britain and tell the stories of some key individuals including:

Dadabhai Naoroji- elected Liberal MP in North London in 1892 and the first Indian to be elected to parliament in Britain
Image courtesy of British Library Board [14119.f.37]

Sophia Duleep Singh -Indian princess and Suffragette who marched alongside Emmeline Pankhurst to parliament in 1910, and was a major campaigner for women's rights. The image is from Suffragette 1913. Courtesy of the British Library Board.

The website and interactive timeline have been created as part of Beyond the Frame: Indian British Connections Based on extensive archival research deriving from the 3-year project Making Britain: South Asian Visions of Home and Abroad, 1870-1950 (funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2007-10), this exciting follow-on is led by the Open University and directed by Professor Susheila Nasta in collaboration with Penny Brook of the British Library.

A database of research resources for the history of Asians in Britain, hosted by the Open University, is also available online.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Prahlad Bubbar: Exhibition: Recent Acquisitions of Indian Paintings and Photography, from 19 April to 18 May 2012 - London

Prahlad Bubbar, Asian Art

5 Aldford Street, Mayfair

Prahlad Bubbar is delighted to announce his forthcoming exhibition,

Recent Acquisitions of Indian
Paintings and Photography
, on view at his gallery in Mayfair from 19 April to 18 May 2012.

A highlight of the exhibition is a collection of previously unseen portraits by the nineteenth-century Indian photographer, Raja Deen Dayal. Widely considered to be the one of the most talented and influential photographers of his time, Deen Dayal’s work provides a fascinating window into the
lives of India’s elites at the dawn of the modern age.

The exhibition features works that date from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. It showcases the great variety of styles and themes found in the history of Indian works on paper, from the early cosmic diagrams of the Jains to the arrival of photography. In particular, it celebrates the diversity and ubiquity of the Indian portrait, whether in the form of the ash-smeared, Hindu god Shiva or the bejewelled Rajput princes of Rajasthan.

Prahlad Bubbar is a dealer and consultant of Indian art. He is a specialist in Indian miniature paintings from 1400-1900 and widely respected in the field for his knowledge.

All works are for sale. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Sunday by appointment.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Government release of 'migrated archives'

The Foreign Office will be making available to the public a large collection of files from former British territories, sometimes known as the "migrated archives". The files will be made available between April 2012 and November 2013.

The Foreign Secretary made a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on 5 May 2011 about these colonial administration files held by the FCO and subsequently informed Parliament on 30 June that he had appointed Professor Badger from Cambridge University as the Independent Reviewer.

Professor Badger has approved a timetable for the transfer of the migrated archive files to The National Archives (TNA). Foreign Office Minister David Lidington announced on 26 March that the first batch of files will be available at TNA on 18 April 2012.

The files are being transferred in alphabetical order of the colonial territory concerned with the exception of prioritised release for Kenya, Cyprus, British India Ocean Territories (BIOT) and Malaya files where there has been particular interest.

Files for Ceylon will be transferred July 2012 - April 2013
Files for Malaya on 18 April 2012
Files for Sarawak/Brunei 18 April 2012
Files for Singapore April 2013 - September 2013
Files for Mauritius during April 2013
Files for Seychelles 18 April 2012

For more information, see:

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Royal Asiatic Society Lecture: Reel Histories

Royal Asiatic Society Lecture Series 2011-2012

Reel Histories: The Film and Oral History Collections of the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge

Dr Kevin Greenbank
(University of Cambridge)

Thursday 12th April 6pm
Free and all are welcome

Royal Asiatic Society
14 Stephenson Way
Nearest Tube: Euston, Euston Sq, Warren Street Tel: 020 7388 4539