10 February

Palagummi Sainath: The agrarian crisis and farmer suicides in India

About The Speaker: Palagummi Sainath, or P. Sainath as he is popularly known, is India’s most highly-awarded journalist with over 40 international and national awards for his investigative and social sector reporting. He is the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu – a 133-year-old daily with a circulation of over 1.6 million. Sainath was the first Indian  journalist in 25 years to win the Ramon Magsaysay Prize in 2007 for his “passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India’s national consciousness.” He won the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s Boerma Prize in 2001 and was the first reporter in the world to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Award. Sainath’s book Everybody Loves a Good Drought, now in its 33rd printing, has remained a Penguin non-fiction best-seller for years.


3 November

Radhika Mohanram:

Gender and the Indian Partition

Abstract: This paper firstly explores the relationship between trauma theory and postcolonial theory.  Then, it maps the contours of the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent. It pays particular importance to the reconstruction of gender during partition and considers the role of women caught up in partition violence within the trauma framework.

Radhika Mohanram teaches postcolonial cultural studies at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory in Cardiff University. She is the author of Black Body (Allen and Unwin and Minnesota), Imperial White (Minnesota) and Imperialism as Diaspora (forthcoming, LUP).  She is currently running a pilot project on collecting memories of the South Asian partitions of 1947 and 1971 in South Wales.

29 September

Vijay Mishra (Murdoch University)

Postcolonial Dialogues: The Texts of  Salman Rushdie

This paper is part of  a  much larger project,  the aim of which   is to  critically annotate (with extended commentaries where necessary) any reference in Rushdie which may not be readily accessible to   a reasonably well-read common reader. The paper presents a number of examples of the kinds of annotations which inform the larger project. At the theoretical level the paper is  about the craft of annotation and, more specifically, about the relationship between authorial annotation and editorial annotation.  After a survey of the historical status of annotation – from its rejection by writers who felt that annotations dismembered or fragmented the text (Alexander Pope’s footnotes, via the fictitious persona of Martinus Scriblerus,  to The Dunciad Variorum is the classic example here) to its acceptance as a key formation of textual scholarship –  I  take up  two ideas which  constitute  the crux of my presentation. The first is the degree to which critical theorists annotate the works of others or   like Derrida  write  extended footnotes to key works which function as departure points for their own thinking. The second idea which I pursue with reference to my principal, primitive text, the Rushdie corpus,  involves  (after Traugott Lawler)  the relationship between  the impulse to say (which leads to self-annotation) and the ‘impulse to leave  unsaid’  (which requires the work of an annotator).  With Rushdie we find that   on the one hand he   constructs his text as self-annotation, and on the other fills it with unexplained allusions.  The paper examines these issues through  extensive citations from  Rushdie’s works

Vijay Mishra, PhD (ANU), DPhil (Oxford), FAHA, is Professor of English Literature and Australian Research Council  Professorial Fellow  at Murdoch University.  Author of books on the Gothic, Australian literature, devotional poetics, postcolonial and diaspora theory,  and Bollywood cinema,  his most recent book  What Was Multiculturalism?  is due out with  Melbourne University Press in  February 2012.

8 September

George Eby Mathew

India: The potential of a billion people with an innovation mindset

For a country with visible dichotomies, the art and science of innovation as a mechanism for problem solving has seldom been applied for resolving India’s deep rooted developmental challenges. Innovation is not about new technology and products alone, as often understood, but it is also about social, incremental and inclusive innovation. Akin to democracy, Innovation has the potential to become the exclusive platform for grassroots development. George takes the view that gaps in employment, healthcare, education and infrastructure are themselves areas that innovation can resolve while leading to sources of wealth particularly in rural India. When millions of micro innovators and entrepreneurs align themselves towards development and growth, you have an innovation super power in the making. George makes a remarkable recommendation that presumptive prescriptions from wood panelled offices, luxury hotel conference rooms and political rallies, be replaced by providing people with platforms for innovation to solve their own problems and create wealth. India’s young people,  50 per cent of India’s population are under the age of 25, holds the key to unlocking this true potential.

About George Eby Mathew
George Eby Mathew is currently a Sr. Principal Business Consultant & Media Practice Leader with Infosys Australia & New Zealand based in Sydney. George is the Author of “India’s Innovation Blueprint: How the world’s largest democracy is becoming an Innovation Super Power (Woodhead Chandos (UK 2010),” a book that draws on his ongoing research and work on “national innovation systems”, started during his tenure as a researcher at Infosys’ Labs. George is also a former journalist with Indian Express who reported on India’s new economy in the 1990s.  Since then he has written extensively on technology, globalisation and innovation as a journalist, analyst and researcher. Prior, he was Head of IT management Research at Infosys’ Labs and an analyst for Gartner.

17 March

Amit Dasgupta (Consul General of India)

‘Globalization, Migration and the Dilemma of Identity: Ramblings of an Indian by Choice’

12.30 to 2 pm, UTS Building 10 (235 Jones St), Level 2 , Room 4.10

Abstract: Economic globalization is poised to intensify. The trend towards Mergers and Acquisitions is predicted to continue to be strong in 2011. According to Bloomberg, the world’s Top 1000 companies had accumulated strong cash reserves of $3000 billion between 2009-10. Stabilization in the credit markets would allow for easier financing for companies looking for acquisitions. As a net result, companies are likely to gradually shed their ‘national’ identity and be seen as either being efficiently or inefficiently run, rather than as ‘a Japanese company’ or ‘an American company’. This process is also likely to see freer movement of people and thus, of migration. Migration, which is driven by economic reasons, nevertheless, has a profound social impact and triggers discussions on the social impact of economic globalization and multiculturalism.

The talk will try to address how this would impact on identity and how circumstances would determine the chosen identity.

Examples would be drawn from the book Indian by Choice [Amit Dasgupta; Wisdom Tree; 2009].

14 April

Carole Douglas

‘Threads of Traditions – the textile arts of Kachchh, Gujarat’

Abstract: The location of Kachchh has dictated its destiny and the character of its people. With direct access to the Arabian Sea its ports were a vital link in the trade routes between India and Arabia, Africa and the western world.
Caravans traversed the fertile plains of the Indus and the mountain passes of the north and the region (which is now called Kachchh) attracted traders and travellers, adventurers and conquerors, scholars and kings, nomadic pastoralists and religious orders to its promise.

This presentation will trace the history of migration and traditions carried into Kachchh and illustrate the factors that made Kachchh an international hub of textiles that is still strong today.


1 November

Roanna Gonsalves

Curry Munchers, Cricket, and Crime : A writer’s response to the violence against Indian students in Australia

About the presentation: Who would have thought that curry crimes could be solved with cricket? Curry Munchers, Cricket, and Crime takes a look at the violence against Indian students in Australia, through IPL-tinted glasses. It also explores how the recent spate of attacks has thrown up some unusual bedfellows. It presents some artistic responses to the violence, and poses the question, Where does the racism really lie when it comes to international students in Australia?

About Roanna Gonsalves: Roanna Gonsalves is an Indian Australian writer who once came to Australia as an international student. Her work has been performed/published across various media including Screen, Indian Express, PACT Youth Theatre, Eureka Street, ABC Radio National etc. Most recently she worked with Melbourne Workers Theatre on a verbatim theatre show about the violence against Indian students, Yet To Ascertain The Nature of The Crime, which plays in Melbourne from Nov 3 to 14, 2010.

30 September

‘Does Gandhi Matter?’ A documentary film by Manoj Raghuvanshi

After the film screening the Indian Consul General Amit Dasgupta will be in conversation with Vinod Daniel, Board Member of the Australia India Council.

About the film:
To mark the 141st birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on the 2 October, the IOSARN is pleased to continue its Talking India Series with a film screening showing the documentary ‘Does Gandhi Matter’ by renowned Indian filmmaker Manoj Raghuvanshi.

In times of growing interest in and the re-discovery of the Mahatma and his message of peace, tolerance and non-violence, the question the film poses begs to be answered. Through interviews with a wide cross-section of people, the documentary tries to capture the immediate reaction that the question evokes.

About Vinod Daniel:
Vinod is a Board Member of the Australia India Council (Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade). This appointment by the Australian Governor general to be one of the eight board members has a key mandate to broaden and deepen Australia-India relations.

He is also the Chairman of the Australia India Council (Australia’s International Heritage Industry Network), Branch Head at the Australian Museum, Vice Chairman of the International Council of Museums-Committee for Conservation and President of the Board for the Australian operations of the internationally recognized, Indian-based, Centre for Environmental Education.

He has published and presented over 60 papers on various aspects of heritage practice and worked on international initiatives in over forty countries. Vinod works extensively with India on Arts, Culture, Public Health and Environmental co operation. He was awarded the 2009 Indo-Australian Award for Meritorious Service by the Indo-Australian Association and is also one of the sixty invited members of Tourism Australia’s “Friend of Australia’ program.

2 September

Presented by Indian film maker Suresh Kohli: ”Kashmir in Indian Poetry’ and ‘Through a Lens Clearly: Raghu Rai’s India”

About the presentation:
‘Kashmir in Indian Poetry’ uses poetic outpourings in various Indian languages to explore Indian perceptions of the region that was once described as “paradise on earth,” and is now the site of escalating violence.

‘Through a Lens Clearly: Raghu Rai’s India’ follows one of India’s foremost artists and photo-journalists on his journey through the vibrant and diverse cultures of the nation.

The two films are introduced by the director, Suresh Kohli, and followed by an audience Q&A session.

About Suresh Kohli: Suresh Kohli has carved out a  niche in various disciplines of creative communication. He is a poet, author, literary critic, translator, editor, film historian, and a leading short and documentary film maker with more than 24 books, and 80 films to his credit

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