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
Critical edition of the Kāraṇāgama (IFP/EFEO)

Manuscripts preserved at the French Institute of Pondicherry

The temple occupies a pre-eminent position in Indian culture. Beginning from its plan, construction, the various rites of installation, worship, and festivals, all are governed by the texts of authority, generally called Agamas, which are considered by tradition to have been revealed to different divine personages by Siva. This corpus of Agamas is voluminous and the IFP, since its foundation, along with the EFEO, have been critically editing some of these hitherto unpublished texts as part of its major research programme, based on the IFP’s valuable collection of palm-leaf manuscripts.

The Kāraṇāgama, a voluminous text belonging to this Agama corpus, is an authoritative one, of which the IFP possesses many manuscripts in its collection. A project Critical edition of the Kāraṇāgama has recently been started in which some of the researchers from both IFP and EFEO are participating. Two young scholars graduated in Saiva Agama studies are also part of this team, namely Thirukumaran and S. Gowri Sankaran. For three years a monthly scholarship for each of them is generously funded by the Murugappa Foundation, Chennai. They will be trained in the skills required for producing critical editions, such as entering a base-text into the computer, careful comparison and recording of different readings from the various manuscripts, reconstruction of the original text from among the recorded readings, etc.

Contact: ganesan{at}ifpindia{dot}org & dominic.goodall{at}efeo-pondicherry{dot}org

Mathematical Practices in Early Modern India (IFP)

A Tamil Tinnai School

One of the abiding concerns of historians of mathematics has been, what constituted mathematical practice, before what we today recognize as mathematics came to be? Understood as mathematization, this would entail studying socially embedded mathematical practices, carried out by different kinds of practitioners. This project aims to craft a method for a social history of mathematics where in the cognitive and the social aspects of doing mathematical activities in pre-modern cultures could be studied together, as constitutive elements of mathematization. It will attempt to bring together activities at places of learning, at work, in and among public as a way of understanding mathematical practice. As part of this evolving research programme, we are starting with a pilot study to survey manuscripts in Tamil and Malayalam languages which are records of past mathematical practices. Such an archive would involve manuals of artisans (e.g., sculptors, boat makers); village accountants (manuals of surveying, village account registers in palm leaves, Pedagogic Manuals); Records of learning in schools (Elementary Number Primers, Table Books, Compilations of Problems); Merchant Manuals, Temple accounts. This programme is done in collaboration with the Chair in the History and Philosophy of Mathematics at ETH, Zurich and the pilot study is done as part of the Endangered Archives Programme of the British Library.

Contact: senthil.babu{at}ifpindia{dot}org

LAKSMI project (IFP)

The LAKSMI team

While networks have long been recognised as an important driver of economic, social, and political interactions in developing countries, they often have been analysed in isolation of their societal context. In India for instance, traditional social structures have been and remain of particular importance. Rural South India presents an ideal example of a region which has been subject to rapid transformations in recent years, a region where new forms of social networks coexist with more traditional structures. Understanding the ways in which these structures and new forms of networks complement, substitute for, or hinder each other is crucial for policy makers seeking to design policies that foster economic development and social mobilities.

The LAKSMI project ("LAbour, sKills, Social networks and Mobilities in India"), an IFP / IRD research collaboration, intends to fill this knowledge gap. It offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary analysis, dealing simultaneously with historical changes, social constraints, and individual and spatial characteristics, that goes beyond descriptive analyses and seeks to draw causal inferences of the role of social networks on a diverse set of outcomes (skills, labour, mobilities). LAKSMI makes use of a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, relying on data and research designs conceived through unique and original fieldworks in Tamil Nadu organised by the IFP / IRD research team: household and individual panel data, quasi-experimental design, tracking, and comprehensive qualitative interviews of migrants.

The first output of the project is the completion of a quantitative survey in 2016-2017 conducted in ten villages of Tamil Nadu (following and extending the population of households of the previous RUME project in 2010): the NEEMSIS "Networks, Employment, dEbt, Mobility and Skills in India Survey". See the dedicated website for more details:

Contact: christophe.nordman{at}ifpindia{dot}org

Stringing “Pearls and Coral” (maṇi-pravāḷam) (EFEO)

R. Sathyanarayanan and Giovanni Ciotti

We are used to hearing politicians from all over the world grandstanding about the great age and purity of this or that particular tongue, but realities on the ground are often extremely complex: in both literary and day-to-day usage, we find that languages

from quite different families are often so mutually imbricated that we can find it hard to pick them apart. As part of his work in NETamil, the project led by Dr. Eva Wilden into the networks of intellectual exchange in the Tamil learned traditions that is funded by the European Research Council, Dr. Giovanni Ciotti is engaged in two main collaborative activities with resident scholars at the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO.

With the help of Prof. G. Vijayavenugopal (EFEO), he is attempting to decipher some particularly tricky colophons that are written in a mixture of Tamil and Sanskrit and that are found in manuscripts of the EFEO and IFP collections. These will be included in a study (carried out with Dr Marco Franceschini, of the University of Bologna) on the data that such texts provide about the book-culture of Tamil Nadu (17th - early 20th c.).

Furthermore, he is working with Dr. R. Sathyanarayanan (EFEO) on the second article of their ongoing study of late Tamil Manipravalam on the basis of the evidence offered by both manuscripts and early printed books. In particular, they are investigating the editorial history of the Viṣṇupurāṇavacaṉam, a Tamil adaptation of the Sanskrit Viṣṇupurāṇa, which presents a linguistic register that combines highly Sanskritised grammatical and lexical features with Tamil colloquialisms.

Contact: giovanni.ciotti{at}uni-hamburg{dot}de

Projet IndiaMilk (CSH)

In India as in Vietnam, when the availability of land per agricultural asset is low or very low, then cattle becomes a mean to intensify the income and live from agriculture with fewer land. India thus became the 1st world producer of milk (138 million tons in 2014). This spectacular increase in production, linked to the cooperative system encouraged by the NDDB (B. Dorin, 2002, 2009), pushes us to ask about its viability and its economic durability. The India Milk Project, financed by the CIRAD/INRA has for general objective to understand the undergoing transformation of Indian dairy systems - as a whole and in its diversity - and to assess to which extent it represents a sustainable development model, able to address jointly food security, social inclusion and environmental issues. More specifically, the project intends to come up with answers to the following questions: Who are the Indian dairy farmers and what are their practices? What are the extent and consequences for the ecosystems of the decline in multifunctional livestock and of the dairy intensification? What conditions are required for the rural poor to really benefit from the dairy development? How does dairy farming fit into the more global biophysical and economic development path of the Indian subcontinent and what is its sustainability in this modernisation context?

To achieve this objective, IndiaMilk offers an original multidisciplinary, multi-scalar and long-term perspective approach, drawing together several sources of data coming from national statistics and surveys as well as interviews carried out during long and meticulous fieldwork. The project consists of four work packages: (i) Differentiation of Indian dairy farms; (ii) Impact of livestock farming on local and global ecosystems; (iii) Dairy producers' access to markets; (iv) Indian dairy and metabolic transformation of the Indian economy. We combine two specific conceptual frameworks - agrarian system (WP1) and market functioning institutional analyses (WP3) - with two sets of methods for environmental impact assessment (WP2) and national biophysical accounting (WP4). Coordinated by Claire Aubron, professor at Montpellier SupAgro (Umr Selmet) and researcher affiliated to the CSH, the project beneficiated from a funding from the meta-programme GloFoods (INRA/CIRAD) and allowed to team 5 senior researchers from 5 different institutions (Cirad, Csh, Enfa, Inra, Montpellier-SupAgro). In 2016/2017, a Phd thesis has been launched by Yvane Marblé, a first economic review has been published by B. Dorin and C. Aubron, and communications have been presented at seminars. In July 2017, a funding for a research assistant was obtained, for a en data engineering & bio-economic modelling engineer to work on IndiaMilk at the CSH.

Contact: communication{at}

Palanpur project (CSH)

The village of Palanpur, Moradabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India has been the subject of close study by economists since the late 1950s. The Palanpur story helps inform the wider issues around growth and development in India across the last six decades. It has the unique advantage of being an independent project with coverage across several decades. The issues which it raises and studies in detail of rural growth and poverty in relation to national growth are constant themes for other countries and the overall study of development. It provides a special opportunity to examine both how the growth and development of a country as a whole influences lives and livelihoods in one village and how forces and mechanisms thought to be at work in the economy as a whole might actually be present and important, is one example of a basic building block for the economy of the village. There is a round of study for each decade since independence making it a unique longitudinal village level study in terms of the continuity and richness of data. Three of the surveys involved long residency in the village (more than eight months in each of 1974-75, 1983-84 and 2008-10) by the principal investigators themselves. There has been continuity of the researchers; Nicholas Stern has been involved with the study of this village since 1974. Thus, there is close acquaintance not only with the household data, but also with the individuals and households themselves, together with the economic, social and political institutions of the village. The time spent in developing in-depth knowledge of the village has allowed high data quality, and a rich narrative of the household histories spanning multiple generations, to be gathered.

The project "Palanpur 2012-2016", financed by the London School of Economics allows for new data collections in Palanpur that provides a unique opportunity to understand development in India through the perspective of this same village again, under the scrutiny of Himanshu, researcher affiliated to the CSH, Economics Professor at JNU University (JNU/SSS/CESP) and member of many Indian ministry committees. The project in included world renowned researchers (like Nicolas Stern, Peter Lanjouw or Jean Dreze), a post-doc (Sartak Gaurav, who then left yo teach as an economics teacher at the IIT Mumbai, J. Mehta School of Management), 2 Phd students (Floriane Bolazzi, student from Paris 7 Diderot University CESSMA and Chloe Leclere, student of Ecole Normale Sueprieure Lyon, cf projet NONMARK), and seven research assistants working at the CSH (Gajanand Ahirwal, Aditi Banerjee, Ruchira Bhatacharya, Bhavna Joshi, Japneet Kaur, Gaurav Meena and Priyanka Pande). After an international conference in 2015 called "India's Economic Revolution: A perspective from six decades of development in Palanpur" (LSE, 2015) intended to present and discuss the results in the presence of Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Michael Lipton, Barbara Harriss-White, Gerry Rodgers, Janine Rodgers, Jocelyn Kynch, Mike Mcguire or Maitreesh Ghatak, 2016 has been essentially focused on the redaction of a book under the direction of Himanshu and set to be published in 2017. This book temporarily called "Spatial Mobility in Palanpur: A Seven Decades Overview" will include a chapter by Floriane Bolazzi and Chloe Leclere. This work on data from 1983 to 2015 on migrations in Palanpur is being crossed with data from the Census of India or the Indian Health and Development Survey with the objective of analyzing the factors determining the migration of workers, types of migrations, links between them and origins, the segmentation on the city of arrival. In 2016 Himanshu published with Praveen Jha and Gerry Rodgers a book called "Changing Village in India, Insights from Longitudinal Research" (Oxford University Press 592p.) which was the object of a launch at the CSH.