CSH Delhi

The year 2021 was marked by the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is estimated to have caused 2.2 million deaths in India, one of the worst cases of global Covid-19-related mortality (Guilmoto, 2021). The complete closure of the CSH premises, from April to the end of June 2021, once again affected a team that had had a very difficult year in 2020, as the centre was completely closed from 15 March to the end of the year. The consequences of this state of affairs are obviously considerable. Many of the field surveys that were interrupted the first time in 2020, were restarted at the beginning of 2021, but had to be suspended again for several months.

Despite these difficulties, CSH has maintained a very high level of research activity, notably in terms of the volume and quality of its publications. The publication of Julien Levesque's book titled Pour une autre idée du Pakistan: nationalisme et construction identitaire dans le Sindh (published by Presses Universitaires de Rennes) at the very beginning of 2022 marked the culmination of his research carried out at the CSH. It is our greatest pleasure that this research is now widely available.

CSH researchers also had a high media presence in 2021, both in Indian and in several major French media outlets. Their interventions focused on the agricultural crisis in India, which eventually led to the withdrawal by the three central legislations that had aroused the farmers' anger.

Since September 2021, the CSH premises have reopened and it has welcomed fifteen visiting scholars. Laurence Gautier joined Jean-Thomas Martelli as a co-convener of the CSH seminar series, the formats of which are currently being redefined. While some of the seminar sessions should remain dedicated to the presentation of completed works, the CSH should offer these young colleagues a space for the restitution and discussion of their ongoing research. In addition to these internal series, Laurence Gautier and Jean-Thomas Martelli have taken various steps, together with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), to organise a full-day seminar on "The Avatars of Indian Democracy".

This desire to open CSH not only to French academics but also to Indian teaching and research institutions has also resulted in CSH opening its specialised social science library to the public.All these new initiatives are undoubtedly the sign of a beautiful collective energy that is only waiting to unfold after several painful months of individual isolation.

The team of researchers affiliated to the CSH has been thoroughly renewed in 2021. It is important to ensure that Bruno Dorin’s departure should not lead to the loss of an important research field within the CSH, insofar as it offers grounded responses to current ecological and environmental challenges. On the contrary, the CSH should strive to strengthen a research area focused on environmental assessments and their effects on human health, on agricultural transitions, and more generally on alternatives to dominant production models. Joint projects with some researchers from the IFP are being developed in this sphere.

As the new director of the CSH, I hope that this new year will see our research collaborations strengthened.

Odile Henry, CSH-Delhi