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The Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 

About SAI | View the South Asia Institute video 

Upcoming Events

Mon, December 1, 2014 at 05:00pm  /  CGIS South, S010

Broken Memory, Shining Dust

Film Screening

Depicts the extraordinary journey of kashmiri women from loss, separation, pain, anger, helplessness to hope, faith, grit and determination thrown up by tragedies and circumstances around them. The film is about ‘women in wait’ for their loved ones, who went missing in the conflict ridden valley of Kashmir, India, in last two decades. Woven around the life of Parveena Ahanger, a Kashmiri mother and other such women, the narrative of the film interweaves their memories of loss, pain, struggle, separation vented cathartic that have formed into a resistance movement which in practicality relives their hope to trace a clue about their missing family members.

Cosponsored with the Harvard Asia Center

Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 05:00pm

Mon, Dec 1, 2014

CGIS South, S010

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA

Wed, December 3, 2014 from 05:00pm - 06:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics

SAI Book Talk

Ayesha Jalal, Mary Richardson Professor of History, Director, Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies, Tufts University

Discussant: Atiya Khan, SAI Aman Fellow

Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

Cosponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

*Please note the updated date and time (December 3, 2014, 5:00PM).

Established as a homeland for India’s Muslims in 1947, Pakistan has had a tumultuous history that has unfolded in the vortex of dire regional and international conflicts. Beset by assassinations, coups, ethnic strife, and the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971, the country has found itself too often contending with religious extremism and military authoritarianism. Now, in a probing biography of her native land amid the throes of global change, Ayesha Jalal provides an insider’s assessment of how this nuclear-armed Muslim nation evolved as it did and explains why its dilemmas weigh so heavily on prospects for peace in the region.

Attentive to Pakistan’s external relations as well as its internal dynamics, Jalal shows how the vexed relationship with the United States, border disputes with Afghanistan in the west, and the conflict with India over Kashmir in the east have played into the hands of the generals who purchased security at the cost of strong democratic institutions. Combined with domestic ethnic and regional rivalries, such pressures have created a siege mentality that encourages military domination and militant extremism.

Since 9/11, the country has been widely portrayed as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism. Assessing the threats posed by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as American troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Jalal contends that the battle for Pakistan’s soul is far from over. Her definitive biography reveals how pluralism and democracy continue to struggle for a place in this Muslim homeland, where they are so essential to its future.

Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 05:00pm

Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 06:30pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Tue, December 9, 2014 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S030

Pre-Departure Orientation

This is an orientation for students who are traveling to South Asia during Winter Session 2015, and will include travel tips and logistics, health and safety information, cultural introduction, and will provide an opportunity to meet other students who will be in the region. Food will be served!

All Harvard Students traveling to South Asia in Winter Session are welcome. Please RSVP to Nora Maginn, if you’d like to join.

Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 04:00pm

Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S030
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138


Thank you!

This Thanksgiving, the South Asia Institute would like to thank our supporters all over the world and at Harvard, without whom we would not be able to fulfill our mission of advancing and deepening research on global issues in South Asia.

    SAI Fellowships

    The South Asia Institute offers several opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge. Deadline to apply: January 15, 2015 for Academic Year 2015-2016.

      Mass casualty triage

      “The goal of triage is doing the greatest good for the greatest number – it’s not doing everything you can for every patient,” Dr. Usha Periyanayagam explained, in SAI’s second webinar of the semester, on Nov. 19.

        Shaping problem-solvers

        A Harvard Gazette article looks at SAI Director Tarun Khanna’s Gen Ed course, which spans disciplines to address social, economic challenges in South Asia.

          In Memory of John Briscoe

          SAI is saddened to hear the news that John Briscoe, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering and Environmental Health, SEAS, and SAI Steering Committee member, passed away on November 12, 2014. John was a passionate scholar with a deep dedication to water issues and development.

            Capturing South Asia: Interview with Pablo Bartholomew

            Indian photographer Pablo Bartholomew has witnessed many of South Asia’s tragedies and triumphs – perhaps most famously the gas tragedy in Bhopal. During his visit to Harvard, SAI sat down with Bartholomew to discuss his photo exhibit, the aftermath of the Bhopal tragedy, how photojournalism is changing, and how his South Asian heritage has influenced his work.

              Creating unique digital identities

              Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) delivered the SAI Annual Mahindra Lecture on Nov. 3. During his tenure as chairman of UIDAI, Nilekani designed and implemented Aadhaar, a national biometric identification project wherein each Indian is issued a twelve-digit number that is unique to them.