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York Centre for Asian Research Update            Issue 9, Monday, April 11, 2005

Today @YCAR: Brown Bag Seminar on Urban Politics in Contemporary India presents

Sujata Ramachandran (PhD Candidate, Queens Geography) & Sailaja Krishnamurti (PhD Candidate, York Social & Political Thought ), April 11, 2005, 2:30-4:30 pm , 270B York Lanes, YorkU Keele Campus

Sujata Ramachandran: 'INFILTRATORS, QUIT INDIA': Undocumented Bangladeshis in New Delhi and 'Thin' Hegemony of Hindu  Nationalism

It is well known that during the decade of the 90s, nationalist organizations of the Hindu right sometimes known as the Sangh Parivar that had been subdued at the margins for much of the 20th century would re-surface as a significant political force in India. Their xenophobic discourses also drew attention to the presence of numerous undocumented migrants from neighboring Bangladesh - many of them Muslims - by characterizing them as 'infiltrators' representing a visible threat to the long-term existence of an enfeebled Hindu-Indian nation. While the Indian bureaucracy, media and even other political parties did not remain unmoved by its pervasive influence, 'Infiltrators, Quit India' proved to be a troublesome undertaking with limited efficacy albeit far-reaching results. The presentation will provide a critical account of this controversial mission and its consequences for migrant Bangladeshis in New Delhi's slums.

Sailaja Krishnamurti: Picturing Indian history: Comics and the construction of the nation in the Indian diaspora

Amar Chitra Katha is a very popular illustrated children's series consisting of retellings of various Indian myths, folk tales, legends and historical events.  Though the series claims to represent "the glorious heritage of India," the vast majority of stories portrayed in its several hundred volumes are culled from Hindu traditions and sources.  These comic books, which are widely read throughout the Indian diaspora and lauded for their educational value, have an impact on the way in which young readers understand history and imagine the nation.  The image of India projected by the comics is ahistorical and limited, but is often taken as a reliable and academically sound source of information by its readership. This presentation will show how, in brushing over the complexities of communalism, the comics also camouflage the Hindu nationalist ideology that underpins them.

Other Events: From Aid to Capacity Development:  A National Forum for Fostering Research Alliances for Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

Hosted by: University of Ottawa Coastal Community Health Working Group of the Ocean Management Research Network (OMRN),  and the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) , April 21- 22, 2005 .

Join a national forum to discuss Canada’s medium and long term plans for tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation, identify lessons learned, and explore the role of integrated ecosystem and population health research approaches and capacity development for the post-tsunami research and aid agenda.   The University of Ottawa’s Coastal Community Health Working Group, Ocean Management Research Network (OMRN) and the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) will convene a national forum to identify research approaches for the medium and long term tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation.

The tsunami disaster of December 26, 2005, killed over 300,000 people in South and Southeast Asia, and affected the lives and livelihoods of millions more.  In the aftermath of this tragedy, Canadian relief agency staff,  government officials, NGO volunteers and academic researchers are weighing options for medium to long term collaboration respecting tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation.  There is a need to better understand the long term impacts of the tsunami disaster, particularly on the health and well being of coastal families and communities.  Research can also help shape and influence reconstruction and rehabilitation policies and programs, particularly as these relate to disaster management, planning and community resiliency.

On April 21-22, 2005, the tsunami forum will be convened in Ottawa to look beyond the immediate catastrophic effects of the disaster and to develop a common understanding of the broader environmental, social, health and economic impacts.  This event, which is co hosted by the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Society for International Health commences with an evening reception 5:30 – 7:30pm,  Thursday, April 21, 2005, in the Senate Room, 083, Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa.  The tsunami forum will take place Friday, April 22, 2005 from 8:30am to 5:00pm in the Panorama Room, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ottawa.

For information please contact:  Women’s Health Research Unit, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa  --


CALL FOR PAPERS: Graduate Student Symposium on Youth Development, Health Promotion and Violence Prevention, Tuesday, May 3, 2005, Chancellor’s Lounge, York University Deadline for Abstracts: Friday, April 15, 2005

Submissions are invited from all Graduate Students doing theoretical or empirical work on areas relating to Youth Developing, Health Promotion and Violence Prevention. You are invited to submit an abstract (one page, double spaced), for a 20-minute presentation.  Abstracts will be accepted by e-mail, in person or by fax.

The purpose of the symposium is to stimulate York community's interest in scholarly work on Youth Development, Health Promotion and Violence Prevention. The symposium is intended to provide an opportunity for graduate students to present research in a comfortable environment with students and faculty members who have common interests.
The symposium will be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2005, in Chancellor's Lounge, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The LaMarsh Centre is an Organized Research Unit based in the Faculty of Arts at York University.
For more information about its research and related activities, go to or email


Upcoming Conference: Buddhism in Canada Academic Conference at Trinity College, May 25-26, 2005.

The conference is organized by Nalanda College of Buddhist Studies, sponsored by the Yehan Numata Program in Buddhist Studies at UTM, and endorsed by Science for Peace. For more information, contact:

Dr. James Beckman
Registrar (Acting)
Nalanda College of Buddhist Studies

Funding Opportunities: 2006-2007 India Studies Fellowship Competition

The York University Office of Research Services (ORS) has received information from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute regarding their 2006-2007 India Studies Fellowship competition.  These fellowships provide travel, research and living allowances to Canadian scholars while they study in India during the 2006-2007 academic year.

For details on the various fellowships that is being offered by the Institute, please see below.  For further details and application form, please contact ORS at ext. 55055 ( or visit the following website:

For candidates with appointments in a Canadian university or college to undertake (i) research (ii)language training, or (iii) an acquisition of a new area of expertise.

For librarians with appointments at Canadian libraries to undertake (i)research or (ii) study in India that would enhance knowledge and skills relevant to India Studies teaching and research support.

For candidates who have completed a Ph.D. to undertake research in India.

For visual and performing artists who (i) are practitioners of an Indian art form in Canada and wish to undergo training or engage in related activity in India to improve their skills or expand their repertoire, or (ii) are not practitioners of an Indian art form but wish to undergo training in India in an Indian art form to develop their own work in new, interesting and creative ways.

DURATION: Minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 12 months. The awards are made for the fiscal year (April 1 - March 31) following the annual competition and must begin before April 1.

VALUE:  A monthly living allowance of Rs 16,000 a monthly research stipend of Rs 4,000 and return airfare to India.

DEADLINE: Deadline for receipt of complete applications is June 30, 2005. Please note that applications sent by facsimile are not accepted. An additional copy sent electronically is required.


York University researchers are reminded that all applications for external research funding, including Letters of Intent, must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Services before they are submitted to the granting agency.  For internal approval, the application must be accompanied by a completed ORS Application Checklist, which requires the Chair’s and Dean’s signatures.  To ensure that the approved application is ready by the agency deadline, a complete application folder must be submitted to the ORS ten (10) working days prior to final submission date.

Office of Research Services, 214 York Lanes, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Tel: (416) 736-5055, Fax: (416) 736-5512.

Asia News: Amid Pressure, Burma assuming ASEAN Chairmanship by Connie E. Fernandez, Inquirer, Date : 2005-04-11

Burma (Myanmar) has rejected calls that it give up the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year because of its poor record in democracy and human rights as Southeast Asian foreign ministers arrived here yesterday for a three-day retreat.

Foreign Minister U Nyan Win said the European Union and United States could not force his military-ruled country to refuse the rotating chairmanship of the ASEAN.

"That is their attitude, not ours. We can decide ourselves because we are an independent country," U Nyan Win told reporters late Saturday as he arrived at this resort on Cebu island.

Asked if he felt his country's record on human rights and democracy qualified it to chair ASEAN, he said: "This is our responsibility. This is all the ASEAN [members'] attitude."

The issue of Burma's chairmanship in 2006 is looming large as ministers of the 10-member grouping were to meet for dinner yesterday and a retreat starting Monday.

The pressure is mounting for Burma not to take the chairmanship of the ASEAN.

Representatives Loretta Ann Rosales of the party-list group Akbayan and Antonio Cuenco of Cebu City wrote the 10 foreign ministers attending the informal meeting to consider the resolutions issued by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Burma Caucus (AIPMC).

The IPU resolution, which was adopted by the AIPMC during its meeting in Manila on April 2, opposed the assumption by Burma of the ASEAN chairmanship until it complied with its promises of democratic reforms and respect for human rights, including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League of Democracy and other political prisoners.

"The two resolutions carry the sentiments not only of its parliamentarians of ASEAN but also of the Governing Council of the IPU, presenting its member parliamentarians from 144 countries, and through them, the voices of the people they represent," wrote Rosales and Cuenco, who were delegates to the IPU.

Rosales chairs the House committee on human rights, while Cuenco heads the House committee on foreign affairs.

While ASEAN adopts a policy of nonintervention in the internal affairs of member-countries, Burma should not be allowed to assume the chairmanship because it has not instituted democratic reforms, a condition for its membership in the ASEAN in 1997, Rosales said.

Vigorous debates

Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo acknowledged there were vigorous debates over Burma.

"Well, one thing about ASEAN is that we have to arrive at a consensus, but in arriving at a consensus we have to expect vigorous debate and that is expected," Romulo said at a press conference at the Shangri-La Resort Hotel.

He said the issue would be brought up during the informal meeting.

"But in the end, we have to consider the credibility (of ASEAN), what is good for ASEAN," he said. "I have full faith and confidence that each of the 10 members will have this always in their minds and in their considerations."

ASEAN's newer members Cambodia and Vietnam have said they will support Burma's chairmanship. New member Laos is also likely to back Burma while Thailand has said it believes in "constructive engagement."

Road map

The Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, however, are pushing for a timetable for the junta's so-called "road map to democracy" and have repeatedly appealed for Burma to free Aung San Suu Kyi.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said ASEAN as a family would "discuss this with an open mind" but stressed it was a highly complicated problem.

"We have no preconceived solutions," Yeo told reporters. "While we may have our views, in the end they (Burma) bear the consequences of their own actions."

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said he and his fellow ministers would "discuss the matter and find something that will be acceptable to all."

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, which won the elections in 1990 but was never allowed to rule, has rejected the junta's democracy road map. The US and the EU have also denounced it as a sham.

Analysts say that if Burma takes over the chairmanship in 2006 without moving toward democracy, ASEAN could become alienated from its Western allies.

If Burma took over, it would host in 2007 a major security forum traditionally attended by dialogue partners -- the EU, United States, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Korea, China and Russia.

Both Brussels and Washington, which have imposed tough economic sanctions on Burma, have warned they would boycott ASEAN meetings if policies were being steered by a country with a questionable track record.

Romulo noted that other ASEAN members like the Philippines "have expressed in no uncertain terms" their position that Burma should pursue the road map.

ASEAN groups the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It rotates its chair alphabetically and Burma [under its military-given name] is due to take over from Malaysia in 2006.

Military-ruled Burma was admitted to ASEAN in 1997 but has continued to ignore calls to free Suu Kyi.

York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact Ste. 270 York Lanes, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON  M3J 1P3. URL: