In This Issue
About Us
About Pattrika
This biannual newsletter is conceived to give a glimpse of the many and varied projects conducted by the French research centres in India.This third issue in the new online format covers the first half of 2018. 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
International Seminars / Workshops


Equality of opportunities and social mobility: An Indo-French Perspective

Ashwini Deshpande speaking at the workshop

A Workshop on "Equality of opportunities and social mobility: An Indo-French Perspective" was organised on 25th October 2018 at The Alliance Française New Delhi in collaboration with the Embassy of France. Phillippe Coulangeon (CNRS, Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris), Ashwini Deshpande (DSE, Center for Development Economics), Jules Naudet (CNRS), Alain Trannoy (EHESS & Aix-Marseilles School of Economics), Divya Vaid (School of Social Sciences, JNU), Nicolas Gravel (CSH & Aix Marseille School of Economics) participated.

Contact: Nicolas Gravel: nicolas{dot}gravel{at}csh-delhi{dot}com

Population, Health and Society in India through the lens of the latest NFHS round

A two-day workshop entitled "Population, Health and Society in India through the lens of the latest NFHS round" was organised on 13-14 December 2018 at the Institut Français New Delhi, by the organizing committee consisting of Christophe Z Guilmoto (CEPED, Paris), Nicolas Gravel (CSH, New Delhi), KS James (JNU, New Delhi and IIPS, Mumbai) and Abhishek Singh (IIPS, Mumbai).

Contact: Nicolas Gravel: nicolas{dot}gravel{at}csh-delhi{dot}com

Economic Growth and Development

The 14th Annual Conference on Economic Growth and Development was co-organized with the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi from 19th to 21st December 2018. Mathieu Faure (Aix-Marseilles School of Economics) and Nicolas Gravel (CSH amp;Aix-Marseilles School of Economics) spoke on "Equality Among Unequals".

Contact: Nicolas Gravel: nicolas{dot}gravel{at}csh-delhi{dot}com

Foresight ZBNF-Andhra 2050

A meeting of the 2-year project "Foresight ZBNF-Andhra 2050" with RySS-CIRAD-FAO kicked off on December 18 at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. This project aims to carry out a collective retro-prospective study (from the 1960s to 2050) on structural changes in agriculture, employment and income inequality in this Indian state, notably by testing a scenario of future conversion of all farmers to a form of agroecology called "ZBNF" (Zero Budget Natural Farming: ). This scenario could be the first India -- and even worldwide -- scenario of large-scale agroecological transition, which led to being selected as one of the ten most promising projects out of all presented at the first World Peace Forum that was held in Paris from 11 to 13 November 2018. The project "Foresight ZBNF-Andhra 2050" is co-financed by the government of Andhra Pradesh (Via its RySS organization supported by the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives), CIRAD and FAO. Its expected duration is two years (from October 2018 to December 2020), and its scientific direction is provided by Bruno Dorin (CSH/CIRAD/CIRED) and the adaptation of his quantitative tool/model "Agribiom" aiming to assist foresights and implementations of collective desired futures (see article "Modeling world agriculture as a learning machine from mainstream models to Agribiom 1.0" by B. Dorin and PB Joly, to be published in 2019 in the journal Land Use Policy).

Contact: acegd{dot}isi{at}gmail{dot}com


Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry (SSWSP). 4th edition. Theme: Labour and Development

The Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry (SSWSP) is a multi-year programme of intensive and multidisciplinary training workshops addressing theoretical and methodological issues in social science research. This initiative started in 2014, originating from an Indo-French cooperation in social sciences between the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) and the Pondicherry University.

The fourth edition of the SSWSP took place in the French Institute of Pondicherry and Pondicherry University from December 3rd to 7th 2018. The major thread of this edition was to address societal challenges at the intersection between labour and development. About 50 PhD students and young researchers from different disciplinary fields and universities across India (15 states were represented) participated in this event. The objectives were to expose students and young researchers to research frontiers in social sciences on the multifaceted dimensions of labour. The school provided each and every one with the opportunity of knowledge transfer, sharing experiences and research ideas.

Contact: Christophe Jalil Nordman, christophe{dot}nordman{at}ifpindia{dot}org & Anne Casile anne{dot}casile{at}ifpindia{dot}org

Pacippini - Hunger and Pain in Tamil Literature

The Department of Indology of the French Institute of Pondicherry, CNRS and the University of Toronto jointly organized two workshops on "Pacippini - Hunger and Pain in Tamil Literature". On 13th of August 2018 there was a discussion among invited scholars regarding the selection and translation of source material from Tamil, and on 28th and 29th November 2018 a workshop was organised for doctoral scholars in South Asian studies connected to the program/project in a broader perspective.

"Hunger" is a notoriously polysemic and slippery concept which can and is used and appropriated in very different contexts -- ranging from dieting to anorexia, from ascetic fasting to famine-induced starvation. This workshop was not concerned with the material causes of hunger, the economic reasons for it or the socio-political processes that bring it about. Rather, it aimed at illuminating the religious and cultural history of the concept from a longue durée perspective, through its literary representations within one vernacular tradition.

Contact: M. Kannan, kannan{dot}m{at}ifpindia{dot}org

Ecosystems & Sustainable Development

The French Institute of Pondicherry and the CIFEODD organized an international Francophone conference in Pondicherry (India) on 'Ecosystems and sustainable development' with the main theme of "human and natural transformations of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems", from 23rd to 25th October 2018. The following topics were addressed: Topic 1: Human and natural transformations of coastal and terrestrial ecosystems Topic 2: Educational approaches to sustainable development or social-ecological transition Topic 3: Participatory approaches Topic 4: Governance and sustainable development. Around 50 oral presentations highlighted specific projects, ecological and socio-economic work linking sustainable development and ecosystems in a variety of situations in ten countries.

Contact: Christophe PROISY, christophe{dot}proisy{at}ifpindia{dot}org

Literary Circulations in South Asia: Producing, Translating, Preserving Texts

The International Workshop on "Literary Circulations in South Asia: Producing, Translating, Preserving Texts" was organized by the research Project DELI (Dictionnaire Encyclopé dique des Litté ratures de l'Inde) and by the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), with the support of the research units Mondes Iranien et Indien, Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud and Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Comparatistes on 21 and 22 August 2018 at the IFP. The organizing committee comprised of Nicolas Dejenne (IFP/U. Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris-3), Kannan M. (IFP), Anne Castaing (CNRS), Claudine Le Blanc (U. Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3) and Ingrid Le Gargasson (U. Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3). Some 25 scholars from India and abroad participated in the workshop that focused on four main topics: history of translations and adaptations of literary texts in South Asia from the classical period onwards; specificities of "literary circulations"; production and preservation of literary texts; patronage and sponsorship of literature.

Contact: Nicolas Dejenne, nicolas{dot}dejenne{at}ifpindia{dot}org


10th NETamil Workshop

Tracing School Formations and Scholarly Networks The 10th international workshop of the NETamil (ERC Advanced Grant 339470) project took place from 3rd to 12th September 2018 at the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO. The workshop was organised around the theme “Tracing School Training and Scholarly Networks”. One of its aims was to understand better the transmission of the oldest Tamil grammatical and literary texts and the role of certain religious schools in this transmission. The various papers presented were as follows:
• Introduction to the Tamil Renaissance with emphasis on the impact of the Dravidian ideology on the Tamil Renaissance by Thomas Lehmann (University of Heidelberg)
• Mayilai Aṇṇācāmi: A 19th-Century Tamil Scribe and His Manuscript Collection by Jonas Buchholz (CSMC, Hamburg)
• The Breaking of a Tradition? The Professionalization of Tamil Pandits in Colonial India by A.R. Venkatachalapathy (Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai)
• Interrogating Sources and Layers of Transmission of Classical Tamil Cankam Literature during the 18th and 19th Centuries by Rajesh Venkatasubramanian (IISER, Mohali)
Īśvaraguṇābhivyaktiḥ mōkṣaḥ: Liberation as the Manifestation of Śiva’s Qualities in Individual Souls by S.L.P. Anjaneya Sarma (EFEO, Pondicherry)
• The Upatēca-rattiṉamālai and the perpetuation/formation of a lineage of Ācāryas by Suganya Anandakichenin (CSMC, Hamburg)
• Restoring knowledge by integration and refutation: Sivagnana Munivar’s visualization of tradition by E. Annamalai (University of Chicago, USA)
• The Commentary of Teyvaccilaiyār to the Tolkāppiyam Collatikarām: A Lone Representative of an Isolated Stream of Grammatical Thought? By K. Nachimuthu (EFEO, Pondicherry)
• Glimpses of the Tiruniḻalmāla: An early Malayalam poem by S.A.S. Sarma (EFEO, Pondicherry)
• Is Piṅkala muṉivaṉ the son of Tivākaraṉ? Continuities and discontinuities in the Tamil lexicographic tradition by Jean-Luc Chevillard (CNRS, Paris)
• Scholarly Networks and the Spread of Tamil Śaivite Non-Dualism: Some Notes on the Reception of the Niṭṭāṉupūti by Eric Steinschneider (Ithaca College, USA)

Contact: Eva Wilden, eva{dot}wilden{at}gmail{dot}com

Vedānta philosophy as reflected in Sarvajñātman's Pramāṇalakṣaṇa, 14th to 21st of November 2018, Pondicherry

Workshop organised by Akane SAITO (JSPS Fellow, Visiting Research Fellow at the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO) and Hugo DAVID

Sarvajñātman is a well-known Advaita scholar, sometimes dated to the 9th century due to his assumed relation with Sureśvara, but more likely to be placed some time after the 10th century. His best-known work is the Saṃkṣepaśārīraka (“Vedānta in a nutshell”), an independent treatise developing in metrical form the main tenets of Vedānta philosophy. The purpose of this reading session was to investigate a less well-known work of his, the Pramāṇalakṣaṇa (“Definition of the means of valid knowledge”), in which the six means of knowledge (pramāṇa) accepted by Śaṅkara’s scholl of Advaita are examined against the background of the Mīmāṃsā system and its basic texts (e.g. the Mīmāṃsāsūtras , which are frequently quoted by Sarvajñātman). The reading was planned to coincide with the visit from Japan of Dr. Tomohiro Manabe (Kyushu University), a specialist of Vedānta. The participants discussed, on the basis of a close reading of Sarvajñātman’s text, the relation of the Pramāṇalakṣaṇa to earlier Mīmāṃsaka tradition, as well as its place in the corpus of later Advaita literature.

Contact: Hugo David: hugo{dot}david{at}efeo{dot}net

From Mukula Bhaṭṭa to Maṃmaṭa (readings in Sanskrit poetics)

On the occasion of the visit of Alessandro Graheli (IKGA, Vienna) and Daniele Cuneo (University of Paris 3), a workshop was held in the EFEO’s library hall from 23rd July to 10th August 2018 with the purpose of working through the draft of two new critical editions prepared Alessandro Graheli, Daniele Cuneo and Hugo David. The editions are those of an important Sanskrit text on poetics (alaṃkāraśāstra), namely Mukula Bhaṭṭa’s Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā, written in Kashmir in the 9th century, and of its critique by Maṃmaṭa, the celebrated author of the Kāvyaprakāśa, in a lesser-known treatise called Śabdavyāpāravicāra. Mukula is best known as an ancient adversary of Ānandavardhana’s theory of “poetic suggestion” (dhvani), and his treatise may be the first systematic investigation of “linguistic functions” (vṛtti) in the history of Indian poetics. Maṃmaṭa, in turn, systematically criticises Mukula’s views from the point of view of the dhvani-school. The new editions of both texts are based on manuscripts from North India that have not been collated before, in particular a precious 14th-century palm-leaf manuscript from Rajasthan.

Contact: Hugo David: hugo{dot}david{at}efeo{dot}net

Tenth International Intensive Sanskrit Reading Retreat (TIISRR) in Siem Reap

Reading at the Baphuon beside friezes illustrating scenes from the epics, which were presented by Louise Roche (doctoral student at the EPHE)

The EFEO organised the Tenth International Intensive Sanskrit Reading Retreat (TIISRR) in Siem Reap from 3rd to 16th January 2019. As the location suggests, several Cambodian inscriptions were included in the programme and many of the reading sessions were held amongst the splendid monuments around Angkor.

For logistical reasons (mainly audibility), a numerus clausus was fixed at 25 persons and filled within 24 hours of announcing the event. Participants of all levels joined from Cambodia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Russia, the UK and the US. Three reading sessions a day were devoted to works of which critical editions are in progress, namely chapter 12 of Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa, with the tenth-century commentary of Vallabhadeva (led by Csaba Dezső, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest); the discussion of the nature of recognition (pratyabhijñā) in Jayantabhaṭṭa’s ninth-century Nyāyamañjarī (led by Alex Watson, Asoka University, Delhi); and a selection of largely unpublished Cambodian inscriptions in Sanskrit from the seventh to the twelfth century (led by Dominic Goodall, EFEO, Pondicherry). The event was made possible by the EFEO Centre in Siem Reap, under Éric Bourdonneau, and was financially supported by PSL (Paris Sciences Lettres), through SPIF ATLAS (“Ancient Texts, Languages and Archaeologies of South and South-East Asia”), a project borne by Véronique Degroot (EFEO, Jakarta), Valérie Gillet (EFEO, Paris) and Emmanuel Francis (CNRS/EHESS/CEIAS) that promotes training workshops for students of PSL.

Contact: Dominic Goodall: dominic{dot}goodall{at}efeo-pondicherry{dot}org

National Seminars / Workshops


Local Food System of Pondicherry : A discussion on food sovereignty and agroecology

Organic food exhibition held on the street

The Department of Social Sciences of the IFP in coordination with the Agriculture Department of Pondicherry organized a 3-day event on the "Local food system of Pondicherry" from 4th to 6th January 2019. The objective was to introduce a discussion on the concept of "local food system" as "a collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption in order to enhance the environmental, economic, and social health of a particular area" (

The idea is to renew this event every year in order to put this question on the political agenda, and, in collaboration with the diverse actors (researchers, elected representatives and policy makers, NGOs, farmers and fishermen, citizens' movements (organic food consumers), food processing units, etc.), to organize a platform to collectively discuss and perhaps decide what their 'food priorities' are. The 3 days were organized around different activities: conferences on the concept of "City region food system" and discussion with urban citizens; site visits to organic farms; an organic food exhibition on the street and participative approach with the farmers, food transformers and urban consumers (presentation of food stands, food sharing). The event was also an opportunity to build connections with other initiatives such as Makaam, Tumbaktu, Dhan, Keystone, Indian Food Sovereignty network but also at the local scale with SLI, SAS, Pebble Garden, Inseason fish. The workshop brought together 50 participants who carried out concrete projects. We are now entering the phase of developing concrete initiatives for 2019 that will be presented in January 2020. The IFP's objective is to analyse initiatives on local food systems in practice.

Contact: Hélène Guétat: helene{dot}guetat{at}ifpindia{dot}org & G. Venkatasubramaniam: venkat{at}ifpindia{dot}org

National Workshop on Saiva Agama and Saiva Siddhanta

A 2-day National conference on "Saiva Agama & Saiva Siddhanta" was organised by the Department of Indology of the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) in collaboration with Siva Sri Sambamurthy Sivachariar Trust, Chennai and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA, Regional Centre), Puducherry on 25 and 26 October 2018 at the Conference Hall of the IFP.

This conference was intended to draw the attention of the scholarly community on some of the unexplored subjects treated in the vast Saiva Agama corpus as well as on some of the themes expounded in the Saiva Sidhanta texts in Tamil. More than 30 scholars and researchers presented their papers and participated in the discussions.

Contact: T. Ganesan: ganesan{at}ifpindia{dot}org

For other events of the IFP, please visit the website