In This Issue
About Us
About Pattrika
This newsletter, conceived to give a glimpse of the many and varied projects conducted by the French research centres in India, circulated for several years as a "dead-tree" newsletter, then as a large PDF file. After a pause for reflection in 2016, we have decided to relaunch it in a more convenient online format as a biannual newsletter. This issue covers the first half of 2017, with one or two allusions to significant events from just before or after this period. Click here for previous issues
Contact Us
IFP: ifpinfo{at}ifpindia{dot}org

EFEO: administration{at}efeo-pondicherry{dot}org

CSH: communication{at}csh-delhi{dot}com
Bonjour India 2017

Corporates visiting the mini-museum of the IFP

From November 2017 to February 2018, the Bonjour India platform will be in full swing in more than twenty Indian cities. Our three institutions will not be left behind. The CSH will organize urban walks and events on sanitation, while a manuscript from the EFEO-IFP collection will be on display. IFP is particularly responsible for the organization of events focusing on water: symposia on water availability (Bangalore, 20-21 November) and on mangroves (Kolkata, 19-20 January), debates on the concept of Anthropocene (Pondicherry, Delhi). Its now traditional Winter School in Social Sciences will also focus on water (4-8 December), in collaboration with the Lycée Français de Pondichéry.

All this in my opinion pertains to a policy of dissemination and popularization of science to be encouraged. Of course, the concern to popularize must not sweep away everything in its path, including academic research. But it is a question of making our work more visible: a large audience as well as our funders will better understand the nature of our research, our results will be better valued, not to mention the "citizen science" efforts that the IFP is already leading for several years, such as with the interactive digital India Biodiversity Portal and soon the Assam Biodiversity Portal (see Focus).

This openness to the public is also reflected physically: the IFP's small colonial seaside mansion is open to visitors, who can now visit, on the first floor, a small exhibition on the activities of the Institute and on Pondicherry's past. Furthermore, in search of new sources of income to finance its research, the IFP has initiated meetings with Indian companies and French multinationals established in South India. The objective is twofold, to develop funding through sponsorship, and to carry out studies and expertise for companies and public authorities. It is a smart way to use our research to serve civil society. These new activities are not meant to confine the Institute to a museum or a consulting firm but, on the contrary, the openness demonstrates that the IFP is making the necessary changes to face new challenges.

Contact: frederic.landy{at}ifpindia{dot}org

International Seminars / Workshops


Workshop on Indian Theories of Error.
Kei Kataoka, Associate Professor of Indian Philosophy, Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan), arrived at the Centre in the beginning of February and organised a two-week workshop (including S.L.P. Anjaneya Sarma, Hugo David and Akane Saito) on the Vibhramaviveka of Mandana Misra, a major text on Indian theories of error and illusion, preserved in a single South Indian manuscript.

Contact: hugo.david{at}efeo{dot}net

Ruptures and Breakdowns in Temple Life.
Valerie Gillet and Anne Casile (IRD / IFP) organised an international workshop entitled "Ruptures and Breakdowns in Temple Life" at the EFEO Centre in Pondicherry from 7 to 9 December. On 9 December at the French Institute in Pondicherry, Christophe Pottier closed the workshop with a conference entitled "Uncovering Ancient Landscapes in Cambodia: From remote sensing to Airborne Laser Scanning". For a fuller description of the event see here

Contact: valerie.gillet{at}efeo{dot}net & anne.casile{at}gmail{dot}com

Āḻvārs and Divyadeśas.
The 6th NETamil Workshop entitled ​“Āḻvārs and Divyadeśas” took place at the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO from 31 January to 3 February 2017. Erin McCann and Suganya Anandakichenin organised the first two days,​ during ​which the Vaiṣṇava regional and vernacular voices in South India were explored by such outside scholars as Leslie Orr, Charlotte Schmid, Marcus Schmücker, from abroad, as well as SLP Anjaneya Sarma, KE Dharaneedharan and R. Sathyanarayanan. The second part of the conference, organized by S.A.S. Sarma, examined the history, architecture, rituals and other practices of the thirteen shrines described by Nammāḻvar, Tirumankai, and Kulacēkaran in their songs that are located in Kerala-desa, or malai-natu. M. G. S. Narayanan, a well-known scholar in the history of Kerala, delivered the key-note address; scholars such as Cezary Galewicz, Christophe Vielle, Gopinathan Nair, Rajendran, Padmakumari Amma, Muthulakshmi, Rajendu Dharmoth, Ajithan and Radhakrishnan presented papers.

Contact: wilden.eva{at}gmail{dot}com

National Seminars / Workshops


February 22-24, 2017: "DATAH - Exploring the Digital Archive Tamil Agrarian History 1650-1950".
This 3 day seminar exposed, explored and questioned a digital archive of Tamil agrarian history (DATAH) that was constituted during a five year project (2010-2016) by a team of the Social Sciences Department of the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP). This project was funded by the British Library's Endangered Archives Program (Arcadia). read more

National Seminar on Saiva Agama.
A 3-day National Seminar on Saiva Agama was jointly organised by IFP and Sri Venkateswara Vedic University, Tirupati (SVVU) from 30/1/17-1/2/17 at the SVVU campus. More than 20 scholars participated in the seminar and presented research papers dealing with various subjects expounded in the Saiva Agama corpus.

For other events of the IFP, please visit our website


The first open workshop on -"Indo-French Perspectives on Digital studies" by Marine Aldahdah (CSH) and the Digital Group Studies, an IFRIS - JNU Initiative was held on 15th of March 2017 at JNU University. Anubha Sinha broadly spoke on the state of open access in India, the features of the DBT-DST policy, ICAR policy, on how to shape the future of open access movement in India and what are the obstacles in the same.

CSH Research Tristan Bruslé organized a 2-days seminar on "Labour migration and social change in South Asia" at the Centre for Policy Research, 27 & 28 March 2017.

Screening of films/documentaries


A screening of the 75min documentary "In her words", by Annie Zaidi and organized by the CSH in partnership with the Alliance Française was organized on 6th October 2016, and was followed by a very vibrant discussion on women in Indian Literature, hosted by Urvashi Butalia, Sukrita Paul Kumar, Uma Chakrati and Annie Zaidi. This film traces the historic and social journeys of Indian women's lives as revealed through the literature they created in every era, and the screening continues the tradition of joint evenings between the CSH and the Alliance Française around topics related to the Humanities in India.

On November 23rd, Anandana Kapur and Geetika Narang Abbasi gathered at the Alliance Francaise with the CSH reserachers for the screening of their 55 minutes documentary "Much Ado About Knotting". This film is a light-hearted chronicle of the predicament that almost every Indian faces: born into a society obsessed with marriages, a young girl, a not-so-young man and an NRI couple are compelled by tradition to look for matches via classifieds, matchmaking bureaus and websites. People are searching for the ideal one endlessly and the oft-heard question is - When are you getting married? It was followed by a discussion on mariages and social norms by Anandana Kapur, Geetika Narang Abbasi, CSH affiliated researcher Parul Bhandari and Sukrita Paul Kumar.

The largest red-light district in India - perhaps the world - is The Falkland Road Kamatipura area of Bombay. The young girls who work inside the brothels are modern-day sex slaves. In fact, many of them are Nepalese children valued for their exotic looks. The film "The Selling of Innocents", showed at the Alliance Francaise in partnership with the CSH on 5th December 2016, follows the flesh trade from its source in Katmandu to the sex factories of Bombay. A documentary by Ruchira Gupta, a panel followed the screening with a discussion on Sex Trafficking and Children's Rights.

"On and Off the Record", a movie on the understanding of the equation between the history of 20th Century Hindustani classical music and the travelogue of recording in India, takes us through intimate discussions as it celebrates the music and art of some of the most gifted musicians the world has ever known. The author, Pratik Biswas, is a self-motivated and self-taught sound technician with over eighteen years of experience. His experience working with reputed music labels in more than 100 audio albums of Indian classical, devotional, contemporary and experimental music, was discussed at the Alliance Française de Delhi, along with Kalasetu, India France Music Connection during a post screening discussion with Ingrid Le Gargasson and Jeanne MB, organized in partnership with the CSH, on 22nd March 2017.



The CSH unveiled its latest partnership with the publishing house Springer: "Judging the State in International Trade and Investment Law: Sovereignty, Modern, the Law and the Economics" edited by Prof. Leïla Choukroune, Director, Centre for Social Sciences & Humanities (CSH) in the presence of Hon'ble Justice S. Ravindra Bhat (Judge, Delhi High Court) with distinguished panelists Prof. James Nedumpara (Jindal Global Law School) and Prof. Prabhash Ranjan, South Asian University, 1st March 2017. read more