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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

Thu, September 4, 2014 - Fri, September 5, 2014  /  Radcliffe Institute

Using Cellphones to Change Societies Seminar

A group of faculty and practitioners will meet at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study for a seminar to discuss the potential of cell phone data for enabling economic and social mobility. The seminar will lay foundation for future interdisciplinary research.

Session I: Transferability of Interdisciplinary Interventions 
Session II: Business Models and Sustainability 
Session III: Research and Policy Implications 
Session IV: Who will fund these efforts?

Hosted by the Harvard South Asia Institute at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Cambridge MA

View the Workshop page.

Thu, Sep 4, 2014

Fri, Sep 5, 2014

Harvard University
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

10 Garden St
Cambridge, MA 02138 ‎

Mon, September 8, 2014 from 05:00pm - 07:00pm  /  CGIS South Concourse

Chaat Welcome Back Party

Celebrate the start of the school year with the Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI)!

  • Enjoy delicious food from all over South Asia.
  • Meet representatives from student groups across Harvard that focus on South Asia.
  • Learn about SAI’s internship and funding opportunities.


If you are interested in representing your South Asia focused student group at this event, please email us at


Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 05:00pm

Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 07:00pm

CGIS South Concourse
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Mon, September 8, 2014  /  Chennai, India

Harvard Day with the Harvard Club of Chennai

Greetings from the Harvard Club of Chennai! As you know, it’s an interesting coincidence that Harvard University turns 378 on Sep 8th, while Chennai turns 375 years old.

To commemorate this occasion, we have a special event planned on Sep 8th, 7pm at The Forum Art Gallery (#57, 5th Street, Padmanabha Nagar, Adyar, Chennai, 600020, India).

Cartoonist Biswajit Balasubramanian and Pianist Anil Srinivasan have joined forces to put up thematic cartoons about life in Chennai/Harvard, with a tune to go with each cartoon.  There will also be a brief talk on SAI and its projects. The program and mixer starts at 7pm, so please be on time.  The charge for this event is INR 1200 per person, to be paid in cash at the event to Club Treasurer Sridevi Raghavan.

Please RSVP to

Cosponsored with SAI and the Harvard Club of Chennai.

Mon, Sep 8, 2014

Mon, Sep 8, 2014

Chennai, India

Chennai, India

Tue, September 9, 2014 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies in South Asia: Through a Peacebuilding Lens

SAI Book Talk

Moeed Yusuf, Editor of Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Challenge and Director of South Asia Programs at the US Institute of Peace

Chair: Adil NajamProfessor of International Relations and Earth & Environment, Boston University

Dr.Yusuf has studied counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency responses in many countries including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal and other non-South Asian countries. In his talk, he will draw upon his two most recent edited volumes, Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies in South Asia: Through a Peacebuilding Lens and Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Challenge to discuss the experience of South Asian countries with insurgencies, causes of their onsets, and the effectiveness of various strategies to counter them. He will apply these lessons to Pakistan’s current predicament. With 180 million people, the world’s fifth largest nuclear arsenal, and a festering insurgency internally and operating as a hub for cross-border militancy regionally, Pakistan remains a crucial security challenge for the U.S.  He will shed light on the status of the terrorist threat to the Pakistani state and people, the opportunities and constraints in tackling it, and the way forward.

Book sale to follow.

Street Challenges to Pakistan’s Democracy by Moeed Yusuf, Foreign Policy

Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 04:00pm

Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Thu, September 18, 2014 at 06:00pm

Film Screening: Bawandar

SAI Film Screening

Based on a true story that sent shock waves through India in 1992, this drama concerns Sanwari (Nandita Das), a lower-caste woman with a husband, Sohan (Raghuvir Yadav), and two children, who is raising her family in a rural village. While it’s generally Sanwari’s nature to mind her own business and take care of her family, when she sees a neighbor woman being mistreated by an man from the city’s upper caste, Sanwari is outraged and speaks out in public about the incident. Shobha (Deepti Naval), a social worker, is impressed by Sanwari’s conviction and hires her as an assistant as the Indian government begins implementing a program to give greater rights and protection to Indian women. While she’s timid at first, Sanwari soon comes to value her work as a feminist activist, but as she becomes more outspoken against sexism and abuse of caste position, she earns the enmity of many powerful men in the community. First Sanwari and her family are shunned by the local leaders, and then a group of men from the town’s leadership take their revenge by subjecting Sanwari first to a savage beating and then to a gang rape. Sanwari, Shobha, and Sohan refuse to be intimidated or silenced, and when the local leadership refuses to bring Sanwari’s attackers to justice, they bring the crime to the attention of the national media, leading people across the country to demand justice for Sanwari — and for women all over India.

Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 06:00pm

Thu, Sep 18, 2014

Fri, September 19, 2014 from 05:00pm - 06:30pm  /  Plimpton Room, Barker Center

The Role of Art and Film in Creating Social Change

Gender and Arts at SAI Seminar

Nandita Das, Actor and Director

Cara Moyer-Duncan, Scholar-in-Residence, Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College

Chair: Mukti KhaireAssociate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Co-sponsored by the Arts and Social Justice Program and Mahindra Center for the Humanities

Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 05:00pm

Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 06:30pm

Plimpton Room, Barker Center 113

12 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Sat, September 20, 2014 at 07:00pm  /  Paine Hall

Legends of India: Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee

The SPK Academy, the LearnQuest Academy of Music and the Harvard South Asia Institute are excited to present an Indian Classical music concert by two world renowned musicians: sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan and tabla maestro Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. The on-stage chemistry between these musical virtuosos is simply electrifying and their performances always take Indian Classical music to new heights. Join the many passionate fans of these two living legends of India for an inspiring and memorable evening of music.

Co-Sponsored with Shahid Parvez Khan Academy and Learnquest Academy

Doors open at 6:15PM. Pre-purchased ticket prices: $55, $35, $10 (students). At the door: $60, $40, $15 (students). Available at the Harvard Box Office website.

Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 07:00pm

Sat, Sep 20, 2014

Paine Hall

Behind 1 Oxford Street, Music Building, Cambridge, MA

Tue, September 23, 2014 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S153

Princes of the Mughal Empire

Muslim Societies in South Asia Seminar

Munis Faruqui, Associate Professor, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley

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

Cosponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

For almost 200 years, the Mughal emperors ruled supreme in northern India. How was it possible that a Muslim, ethnically Turkish, Persian-speaking dynasty established itself in the Indian subcontinent to become one of the largest and most dynamic empires in the early-modern period? Using the figure of the Mughal prince, Munis D. Faruqui offers a new interpretive lens through which to comprehend Mughal state formation. In a challenge to previous scholarship, Prof. Faruqui’s work suggests that far from undermining the foundations of empire, the court intrigues and political backbiting that were features of Mughal political life – and that frequently resulted in rebellions and wars of succession – actually helped spread, deepen, and mobilize Mughal power through an empire-wide network of friends and allies. Ultimately, however, because Mughal imperial and princely success were interlinked when both experienced political stress in the late 1600s and early 1700s, they atrophied together with negative results for the empire.


Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 04:00pm

Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


Call for Papers: Pakistan Heritage

Pakistan Heritage is a research journal of the Department of Archaeology, School of Cultural Heritage and Creative Technologies, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan and is jointly edited by professionals from Hazara University and School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, United Kingdom.

    Fall 2014 South Asia Courses

    Harvard will be offering many South Asian courses in the Fall 2014 semester, covering topics such as Islamic law, social enterprise, Indian cinema, South Asian art, music in Islam, Buddhist scripture, and the Era of the 5th Dalai Lama.

      Congrats, Class of 2014!

      Commencement exercises were held at Harvard University on May 29, 2014. Former SAI students, including student coordinators, Graduate Student Associates, and grant recipients received degrees from various Harvard schools.

        2014 Prasad Fellowships

        This year, with the generous support of the Prasad family, the South Asia Institute has funded four Harvard College undergraduate students from various disciplines to study and complete internships in India this summer on issues ranging from the role of media in Indian democracy to environmental governance.