News & Events

New article by Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani, Jai Shankar Prasad and A.S.M. Mostafizur Rahman

Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani, Jai Shankar Prasad and A.S.M. Mostafizur Rahman recently published an article titled "Analysing the Modi Years – Credit and Criticism" in The Wire, in which they argue that Modi's relatively few successes built substantially upon decades of policy experimentation. The article can be found here.


The South Asia Institute is shifting!

From April 1 to 4, the SAI will be shifting to its new building, joining the Heidelberg Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) in Voßstr. 2, 69115 Heidelberg. We will update all addresses and room numbers on the website as soon as possible after everything has moved and been set up in the new offices. Thank you for your patience and see you soon at CATS!


Lecture by Prof. Rahul Mukherji at the Ethnological Museum Heidelberg (Völkerkundemuseum)

On Saturday, 6th April, at 7pm, Prof. Mukherji will hold a talk after the Annual General Body Meeting of the German-Indian Society (Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft) at the Ethnological Museum Heidelberg (Völkerkundemuseum, Hauptstraße 235). The talk titled "Governing India - What difference does Mr. Modi make?" will adress the question: Is Modi changing the nature of democratic governance in India?

The entry is free. For further announcement, see here.


Dr. Himanshu Jha along with Dr. Jivanta Schottli co-edits the special Issue of India Review on "Globalization and Governance in India"

Prof. Rahul Mukherji provides the introduction to the latest journal issue which has insightful articles authored by Dr.Jivanta Schottli and Prof. Markus Pohlmann, Dr.Himanshu Jha, Dr.Aseema Sinha and Dr. Markus Pauli. The special issue ends with an epilogue by Prof. Subrata K Mitra. This special issue can be accessed here.


Congratulations to our student Namia Akhtar!

Namia Akhtar, one of our Master students in her final year, received a scholarship from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and ResetDOC to attend the summer school "Sources of Democracy: Citizenship, Social Cohesion and Ethical Values", which will take place in Venice at the end of May.


Fourth Global India Training Network, March 10th -13th 2019, Leuven, Belgium

Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr Himanshu Jha, Mr Jai Prasad, and Ms Tanvi V Deshpande, attended the fourth Global India workshop hosted by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance, KU Leuven from the 10th-13th March 2019. Mr Prasad and Ms Deshpande presented their PhD progress as part of the project mid-term review followed by a paper presentation on their respective research topics. Prof. Mukherji and Dr Jha reviewed and commented on the PhD student presentations and papers. Prof. Mukherji further spoke about the EU and India partnership in the context of the International Solar Alliance at the European Commission in Brussels on the 12th of March 2019. The meeting concluded on the 13th of March 2019 with a visit of the fellows to the Indian embassy in Belgium.


New article by Prof. Rahul Mukherji and Tanvi Deshpande

The article "Modi's good governance agenda needs a relook" by Prof. Rahul Mukherji and PhD student Tanvi Deshpande was recently published in Firstpost. It can be read here.


Congratulations to Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani

Dr. Hossein Zarhani's application for habilitation has been accepted by the Habilitation Conference of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Heidelberg University. His habilitation of around 4 years will be mentored by Prof. Rahul Mukherji. Dr. Zarhani's research project for the habilitation will compare the political economy, particularly the telecommunication sector in Iran and India.

Habilitation constitutes the qualification to conduct self-contained university teaching and is the key for access to a professorship in Germany. It is the highest qualification issued by a university.


Third China-India Workshop on Development and Governance

The third China-India Workshop on Development and Governance will take place on June 7, 2019 at University of California, Riverside, CA., USA. The workshop will seek to bring together scholars working on China and India to share and discuss issues of common interest and concern. These issues may include, but are not limited to, the following: the political economy of economic growth, intergovernmental
relations and local governance, policy innovations among local governments, the use of information technology to improve governance, public service delivery, modernization and reform of the civil service, deliberative democracy and civic participation, public accountability and transparency, policy response to demographic challenges such as population growth and aging, as well as Sino-Indian relations.

Co-Sponsors
School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside (USA)
Center for Comparative Political Development Studies, SIRPA, Fudan University
Institute for Global Public Policy, Fudan University
Center for Gandhian and Indian Studies, Fudan University
South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University (Germany)

The Call for Participation can be found here.


Prof. Rahul Mukherji at the Embassy of India in Berlin

On January 16, Prof. Rahul Mukherji spoke at the conference “Good Governance – How Innovative Approaches Can Really Make a Difference: Indian Experience”, organised at the Embassy of India, Berlin, in cooperation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
He was part of the panel on “Changing Face of Democratic Governance through Innovations and Greater Public participation”.


New publication by Prof. Rahul Mukherji & Dr. Himanshu Jha

Prof. Rahul Mukherji and Dr. Himanshu Jha have published their study on The State, Social Policy and Welfare: Reflections on Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal as a chapter in an edited book on The State in India: Ideas, Norms and Politics, recently published by Orient Blackswan.

The chapter examines some of the conditions under which the state is likely to be more capable in delivering welfare results. It argues that ideas held within the bureaucracy are as important as the political will to support such proposals. Ideas and competence within the technocracy matter, as much as the political support for governance projects. This framework is then applied to welfare provisioning in two comparable cases.The first was the successful implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in undivided Andhra Pradesh. The second is the relative failure of the state in West Bengal to implement the same program in the early years.

The edited book offers an insightful overview of the literature on the state and showcases the interplay of state and society in new sites: processes of globalisation, assertions of sovereignty, and across the regional and local.The volume moves beyond the state question to interrogate how the state can shape concepts, ideas, and institutions central to our lives. The rise of the welfare state with extensive social policies of affirmative action and the emerging penal state are some of the core themes of the volume.


Talk on "Sangh and Sarkar: Hindutva and Governance in Modi’s ‘New India’" by Prof. Pralay Kanungo, Jawaharlal Nehru University, on 23rd January (Wednesday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Dr. Michael Liebig at the Symbiosis International Relations Conference

Dr. Michael Liebig addressed the Symbiosis International Relations Conference, which was held on 21 December 2018 in Pune, India. The subject of his talk was 'The Kautilyan Roots of Indian Strategic Culture'.


Dr. Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini on ‘India-China Relations in the Indo-Pacific - India's Competing Grand Strategic Perspectives’

Dr. Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini presented a paper on ‘India-China Relations in the Indo-Pacific - India's Competing Grand Strategic Perspectives’ employing the ‘subculture-cleavage model on grand strategic thought’ at the conference on ‘India and China in the Indo-Pacific Region: A New Balance of Power’, which took place in Warsaw on November 23rd, 2018. The conference was organized by the Institute of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science and International Studies in cooperation with Centre for Europe, University of Warsaw, Sichuan University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Manipal Academy of Higher Academy and Heidelberg University.


Prof. Rahul Mukherji at the Annual Meeting of the Indian Association of Asia Pacific Studies

On 1st November, Prof. Rahul Mukherji delivered the keynote address for the two-day Annual Meeting of the Indian Association of Asia Pacific Studies held at the Centre for Research on Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) in Chandigarh, India. The session was inaugurated by Professor Partha Ghosh, the president of the Association, Mr. Rashpal Malhotra, the Executive Vice Chairman of CRRID, and Dr. Peter Rimmele – Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s country Director in Delhi. Dr. Wolfgang Peter Zingel of the South Asia Institute also presented a paper during the meeting in Chandigarh.


Talk on 'New Issues in the Caste-based Reservations in India' by Prof. K.C. Suri, University of Hyderabad, on 3rd December (Monday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Talk on 'Capturing Institutional Change: The Case of the Right to Information Act in India' by Dr. Himanshu Jha, Heidelberg University, on 26th November (Monday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


International workshop 'Democratizing Governance in India: a facet of aspirational polity'

On 2nd and 3rd November, Prof. K.C. Suri, Dr. Michael Liebig, Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani and Dr. Himanshu Jha attended the International workshop 'Democratizing Governance in India: a facet of aspirational polity' at University of Hamburg.

On the first day, Prof. Suri gave a talk on 'India’s democratic politics: A review and evaluation of competing explanations'. Dr. Jha presented his research on 'Evolution of the Right to Know: Indian Constitution and the Judiciary' on the second day, while Dr. Liebig gave a talk on 'Persistent Patterns of Conflict Resolution in India - The Kautilyan Upayas Template' and Dr. Zarhani on 'A Tale of Two States - Governance, Elite Agency and Development in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar after the Liberalization', in a session chaired by Prof. Suri.


Talk on 'The Ministry of Home Affairs and Political Order in India' by Prof. Subrata Mitra, Heidelberg University, on 19th November (Monday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Prof. Rahul Mukherji at Punjab University, Chandigarh

On 2 November, Prof. Rahul Mukherji has given a Special Lecture on "State Capacity: Comparative Lessons from India" at the Department of Political Science at Punjab University, Chandigarh.


Congratulations to our student Namia Akhtar!

Namia Akhtar, one of our Master students in her final year, has received a Degree Completion Grant from Heidelberg University as support in the final phase of her degree in South Asian Studies.


Talk on 'Political culture in Pakistan: Opportunities and challenges' by Dr. Ali Zulfiqar, University of Karachi, on 5th November (Monday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Talk on 'India in the Age of Super States' by Prof. Alasdair Roberts, University of Massachusetts Amherst, on 22nd October (Monday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


New publication by Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Hossein Zarhani and K. Raju

The Indian Journal of Human Development recently published an artcle jointly edited by Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Hossein Zarhani and K. Raju entitled "State Capacity and Welfare Politics in India: Implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Undivided Andhra Pradesh". Further information is available here.


Dr. Himanshu Jha at the 47th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Himanshu Jha organized a panel on State Capacity and Bureaucratic Rationality in India at the 47th Annual Conference on South Asia held at University of Wisconsin-Madison from 11-14 October 2018. In this panel Dr. Jha presented a co-authored paper (co-authored with Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani, K.Raju and Dr. Manab Roy) on Ideas, Tipping Point and State Capacity in India: Comparing Welfare Politics in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.


Talk on 'Lost in Memory? Interactions along the Southern Silk Road and its Present Implications' by Dr Jayati Bhattacharya, University of Singapore, on 15th October (Monday), 4-6pm at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Dr. Michael Liebig's scholarly visit to India

Dr. Liebig presented his research on "Counter-Insurgency in India and the Kautilyan upayas" on 20th September in Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi and Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi as well as on the 25th September at the Department of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad. All three events were followed by Q&A session and were widely attended.

Here, we provide a short abstract that summarises the presented research.

While the insurgencies in Kashmir and the Naxalite belt' linger on, in most other internal conflicts, the Indian state eventually managed to bring about conflict-resolution by combining remedial and coercive measures: 1. negotiation/conciliation (saman), 2. concession/delivering public goods (dana), 3. dissension/isolation (bheda) and 4. use of force (danda). This approach to conflict resolution has deep ideational roots going back to South Asia’s pre-modern history: the Kautilyan upayas template. Thus, Indian COIN seems to feature persistent patterns as opposed to mere 'adhocism'. However, when empirically examining the Indian state’s responses to insurgencies, we find inconsistent COIN policies flip-flopping between ‘soft’-remedial and ‘iron fist’ policies. This seems connected to the often agonistic relations between political actors (in Delhi and in the respective states) on the one side and the security-vectored bureaucracy, notably police and intelligence organizations, but also civil service actors, on the other side. Thus, politico-bureaucratic interaction seems to be a key factor for determining COIN failure or conflict resolution.


Welcome to Dr. Ali Zulfiqar

The Department of Political Science at the SAI cordially welcomes Dr. Ali Zulfiqar as DAAD guest professor. He is affiliated with the Department of Philosophy, University of Karachi, Pakistan and will stay till December 2018 to further develop his research in the areas of postmodernism, postcolonialism, Pakistan´s political system and corruption.


Interview with Prof. Rahul Mukherji

On 19 September 2018, Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung published an interview with Prof. Dr. Rahul Mukherji entitled "Unmögliche Friedensmission aus dem Exil? Wie der China-Tibet-Konflikt das Leben des Dalai Lama prägt". The article portrays the life of Dalai Lama, discusses his role in the China-Tibet conflict and gives an outlook on the political future development. You can read the online article here.


Professor Rahul Mukherji at the Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi, India

Professor Rahul Mukherji has presented the lecture on Governing India: What do we know and need to know? at the Max Mueller Bhavan on the eve of the Indian Independence Day. The lecture was organised by Radu Carciumaru, M.A, a Resident Representative of New Delhi Branch Office of South Asia Insitute in New Delhi, India. Among many attendees, Dr. Himanshu Jha was present at this well-attended lecture, which became a chance for the interaction between people from various fields and disciplines. The event was followed by extended discussions that lasted until the late evening.


Professor Mukherji on the editorial board of the new journal 'Indian Politics and Policy'

Recently, Professor Rahul Mukherji has been appointed as the member of the editorial board of the new journal 'Indian Politics and Policy'. The journal pays attention to contemporary Indian politics by highlighting current research on Indian policies and political processes within the country. The journal is available under the following link.


Congratulations to our student Ms. Fahiya Rashid!

Fahiya Rashid, a student of the M.A. in South Asian Studies with a focus on Political Science and History has been awarded Heidelberg Alumni US (HAUS) Scholarship for the second time for the upcoming winter semester 2018/19. Besides her studies, she also works as a Research Assistant (Student) at the Max Planck Foundation of Peace and International Law on the Sri Lanka project. Fahiya plans to write her M.A. thesis on the economic and societal factors contributing to the steady increase of terrorist activities in Bangladesh and the counter-terrorism efforts that need to be undertaken to stop this trend. Huge congratulation on your achievement and we wish you every success in the upcoming semester!


Professor Rahul Mukherji at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library – NMML, New Delhi, India

Professor Rahul Mukherji has discussed State Capacity and Welfare Politics in India at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library – NMML, New Delhi, India on 6th August. The lecture is available here.


Professor Rahul Mukherji at GIGA Institute, Hamburg

Professor Rahul Mukherji presented on Ideas, Tipping Point and State Capacity in the context of welfare politics in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal at GIGA - German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg on 9th July. 


Talk on 'Can Clientelism be democratized? A view from the Shops of Power in India' by Sarthak Bagchi, Leiden University on the 23rd July (Monday) at 16:00 in SAI R317. 


Congratulations to Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini.

Congratulations to Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini for successfully defending his doctoral dissertation! The viva voce on his work titled "Delineating India’s Strategic Pluralism: The Subculture-Cleavage Model of Grand Strategic Thought”, was marked by his committee of Professor Subrata K. Mitra, Professor Yale H. Ferguson and Professor Rahul Mukherji with magna cum laude.


Professor Sumit Ganguly at DAI, Heidelberg.

Prof. Sumit Ganguly's talk on 'India: The Foreign Policy of a Global Player' on Tuesday, July 3, in the German-American Institute (DAI), Heidelberg.


Professor Sumit Ganguly at the Annual Meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Berlin.

Prof. Sumit Ganguly, a recipient of the Humboldt Research Award, at the Conferment of Awards during the Annual Meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin on 28th June.


The 6th Annual Monash Business and Sustainability Network Workshop on Sustainable Development

The sixth annual Monash Business and Sustainability network workshop on sustainable development was held at Monash University, Prato Centre from the 25th-26th of June 2018. The workshop was attended by Professor Rahul Mukherji, Dr Himanshu Jha, Dr Seyed Zarhani and Tanvi Deshpande. The co-authored paper titled "Puzzling, Powering, and the Tipping Point: State Capacity in India" was presented by Professor Rahul Mukherji. Dr Himanshu Jha presented his paper on "State Processes, Ideas and Institutional Change: the Case of Right to Information Act in India". The program of the workshop is available here.


Two recent publications by Sumit Ganguly, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Indiana University Bloomington and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow for 2018-2019 at the University of Heidelberg.

1. (with Jayita Sarkar) 'India and the NPT After 50 Years: A look back at India’s decision to reject the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1968'. The Diplomat. June 22. Available here.

2. 'A meeting of minds?' India Today. June 15. Available here.


Visit of Global India fellows from the University of Warsaw, Poland

The Global India fellows from the University of Warsaw, Tomasz Lukaszuk and Akshay Sharma, visited the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University from the 18th till the 21st June 2018. During their visit, they consulted their ideas with Professor Rahul Mukherji, interacted with members of our department, and presented their ongoing work.

On Wednesday, 20th June, a roundtable discussion chaired by Professor Sumit Ganguly and Professor Rahul Mukherji invited our guests to discuss their projects in short presentation followed by question round. Professor Marian Edward Halizak, Professor Jakub Zajaczkowski and Dr Lukasz Golota from the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw, respectively, talked about Revival of Economic Nationalism, India’s Role in the Maritime Governance and The Comparison of Poland and South Korea with respect to the Economic Development. These engaging discussions were concluded with the dinner.


Talk on 'The Evolution of Indian Defence Policies' by Professor Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University, Bloomington, on 15th June (Friday) at SAI Heinrich Zimmer Hall. See the details here.


Professor Rahul Mukherji and Ms. Tanvi Deshpande at the Second China-India Workshop on Development and Governance

Professor Rahul Mukherji and Ms. Tanvi Deshpande attended the second China- India workshop on Development and Governance on June, 8 2018. It was organised by the Seeker Chan Centre for Comparative Political Development Studies and Fudan University's School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA). Professor Rahul Mukherji was the co-chair of the workshop along with Professor Yijia Jing of Fudan University and Professor Anil Deolalikar of the University of California, Riverside. During the event, Professor Mukherji presented a paper on the Rise and Fall of Welfare Politics in West Bengal, co-authored with Dr. Himanshu Jha. Ms. Tanvi Deshpande, a Marie-Curie fellow funded by Global India presented her paper titled, "Institutional change: India's Nation Action Plan on Climate Change?". The workshop presented an opportunity to engage scholars from the US, India and China who are deeply interested in comparative work on India and China.


Talk on 'Refugee and Migrant Labour as a Crucial Population Question of Our Time' by Dr Ranabir Samaddar, Calcutta Research Group, Calcutta on 11th June (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


A warm welcome to our visiting scholar Professor Sumit Ganguly 

Prof. Ganguly is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 2017), and a recipient of the Humboldt Research Award (2017), to be hosted by the Department of Politics, SAI, Heidelberg University. He is a specialist on the contemporary politics of South Asia, Professor Ganguly’s research spans security, ethnic conflict, democratization, foreign policy, and international politics of that region. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of over 20 books on the region. His most recent books include The Oxford Handbook of India’s National Security (Oxford University Press, 2015, coedited with Nicolas Blarel and Manjeet S. Pardesi); Deadly Impasse: Indo-Pakistani Relations at the Dawn of a New Century (Cambridge University Press, 2016); and, with William R. Thompson, Ascending India and Its State Capacity (Yale University Press, 2017).


Dr. Himanshu Jha’s recent publication 

Dr. Himanshu Jha published an article entitled "State Processes, Ideas, and Institutional Change: The Case of the Right to Information Act in India" in the latest issue of the Pacific Affairs (Volume 91, No.2, June 2018). Using historical evidence, this article presents an alternative to the dominant narrative about the evolution of the Right to Information Act in India. Dr. Jha demonstrates that ideas on openness emerged as part of the opposition politics within the state after independence in 1947, gradually and incrementally became part of mainstream politics, and eventually led to the RTIA. The article can be accessed here.


Prof. Subrata K. Mitra’s recent publication

‘Bhutan and Sino-Indian Rivalry: the Price of Proximity.’ Asian Survey 58(2): 240-260. The article points to how the military standoff between Chinese and Indian troops in the disputed territory of Doklam brought forward the foreign policy dilemmas of Bhutan and its search for an optimal strategy toward its two neighbouring big powers. This paper discusses Bhutan’s attempts to balance its overwhelming dependence on India with the necessity of normal diplomatic relations with China. The article can be access here.


A warm welcome to the DAAD Visiting Doctoral Scholar Ms. Debora Pelisson

Debora Ramires Pelisson is a DAAD Visiting Doctoral Scholar and will join our department from April 2018 to March 2019. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil, and, currently, Debora is in the third year of PhD at the same University. She is also a member of the Center of Research and Studies of Politics and International Economy (USP). Her research interests are the international political economy, monetary cooperation and integration and international financial institutions. At the Heidelberg University, she will develop her PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Rahul Mukherji.


Talk on 'Integration and Anxiety in Modi’s India' by Professor Subrata K Mitra, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University on 4th June (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Talk on 'India’s Internal Security Culture: The insurgencies in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh and the ‘right mix’ of coercive and remedial policies' by Dr. Michael Liebig, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University on 28th May (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Talk on 'Business and Politics in India: the Tamil Nadu Puzzle' by Professor John Harriss, Simon Fraser University on 14th May (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


The second workshop of the Global India Network, April 23-24, 2018 at the Indian Institute, King’s College London

Professor Rahul Mukherji, Mr Jai Prasad, and Ms Tanvi Deshpande attended Global India Network at the Indian Institute, King’s College London in April. The participants discussed EU-India relations after Brexit as well as the impact of ‘Multi-Level Governance in India’ on both domestic and external policy-making.


A warm welcome to our visiting scholar Professor K.C. Suri

Professor Suri joins our department as the DAAD guest Professor in summer semester 2018 and winter semester 2018-19. He will teach courses on Political Parties in India, Comparative Politics and Indian Political Process (together with Professor Mukherji) as well as Elections and Voting Behaviour in India. Previously, he was awarded Baden Württemberg Fellowship of the Federal State of Baden Württemberg and visited us in winter semester 2016-17. Professor Suri teaches at the Department of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad. His recent publications include Political Parties in South Asia: The Challenge of Change (International IDEA, Stockholm, 2007), Indian Democracy, ICSSR Research Surveys and Explorations: Political Science: Volume 2 (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2013), and Party Competition in Indian States: Electoral Politics in Post-Congress Polity (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2014). He has published many book chapters and papers in national and international journals on different themes pertaining to politics and policies in India. He was a visiting scholar at Uppsala University, Sweden, and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Presently he is the Managing Editor of Studies in Indian Politics, a bi-annual Political Science journal published in India by the Sage.


Professor Mukherji's lectures at Oxford and School of Oriental and African Studies in London

Professor Rahul Mukherji delivered two lectures - one at Oxford (April 25, 2018) and another at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (April 26, 2018). These presentations were preceded by ones at the University of Pennsylvania (April 9, 2018) and at Columbia (April 12, 2018).  Both lectures focused on the capacity of the Indian state to redistribute wealth to the poor. The lectures were based on a paper co-authored with colleagues Dr. Himanshu Jha and Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani, and two senior retired civil servants – Mr. K Raju and Dr. Manab Roy. There was a good scholarly engagement in both places, and younger and more senior scholars debated the view that ideas that evolve within the state have to be taken seriously if we wish to understand how the Indian state develops the capacity to act.


Welcome to Ronja Gottschling!

The Department of Political Science warmly welcomes Ronja Gottschling! Ronja is a Master Student in South Asia Studies focusing on Political Science, Languages and Literature. This semester she joined our team and will be leading a tutorial in Qualitative Research Methods in Political Science every Friday. Her research interests are political conflicts, mobilization and protest and the relationship between religion and politics. Currently, she holds a position as a Head of the Working Group Asia & Oceania (esp. Pakistan) at the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research and has previously worked in South Asia on issues involving federalism, democracy and conflict resolution. We wish you all the best for the upcoming weeks!


Talk on 'The Welfare Effects of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act' by Professor Stefan Klonner, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University on 7th May (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


The study visit of the Global India Marie Curie fellow Tomasz Lukaszuk

Tomasz Lukaszuk, former Polish Ambassador to India, fellow at Global India Marie Curie program, was at the study visit in SAI on April 8th to 20th. Ambassador Lukaszuk held meetings and consultations with Professor Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Himanshu Jha and Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani, focusing on the role of India in maritime governance in the Indian Ocean Region, which is the research interest of our guest. He had the opportunity to access SAI library and enjoy its collection of books and articles on Indian Ocean Region and maritime strategies of its littoral countries as well as external powers.


Talk on 'The Differential Impact of the Second World War on India' by Professor Indivar Kamtekar, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University on 30th April (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Professor Mukherji's talks in the United States

Professor Rahul Mukherji delivered lectures on 'Layering Ideas and the Tipping Point: A Conjecture About State Capacity in India' at The Center for the Advanced Study of India, the University of Pennsylvania on 9th April and at Columbia University on 12th April.


The 59th ISA Annual Convention

Professor Rahul Mukherji and Dr. Himanshu Jha presented papers at the 59th International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention held on April 4-7, 2018, San Francisco. The two papers discussed state capacity in Asia and Climate Change Politics in India and Bangladesh. For details see program here.


Dr Himanshu Jha’s recent publication

'Emerging Politics of Accountability: Institutional Progression of the Right to Information Act’ Economic & Political Weekly 53(10): 47-54.


The first workshop of the project Global India, February 21 -23, 2018, Barcelona, Spain

Professor Rahul Mukherji, Dr Himanshu Jha, Mr Jai Prasad, and Ms Tanvi Deshpande, attended the first Global India conference at Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacional (IBEI), Spain, on February 21 - 23, 2018. Global India is a Horizon 2020 funded European Training Network. The network is based at Dublin City University, Ireland, and is composed of six different EU Universities and nine academic and non-academic partners in India. Mr Prasad and Ms Deshpande are the two Marie Curie fellows hosted by Department of Politics, SAI, as part of Global India network. They presented their preliminary research outlines at the network's workshop.


Congratulations to Ms. Viola Bianchetti

Ms. Viola Bianchetti, a student of the M.A. in South Asian Studies with a focus on Political Science and History, has been selected for a five-months traineeship at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels. She will be employed in the Directorate "Relations with Organised Civil Society and Forward Studies" from February. Congratulation on your achievement and we wish you every success in the upcoming months!


Professor Mukherji’s trip to Kolkata

Professor Rahul Mukherji presented a paper at a workshop organised by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Kolkata on the theme: Political Economy of Sub-National Regions – Comparative Studies of Indian States on 11 January 2018. The paper was titled: Rise and Fall of Welfare Politics in West Bengal. It was jointly authored by Dr. Himanshu Jha and Dr. Manab Roy. Dr. Jha is a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the department and Dr. Roy is a retired Secretary of Rural Development who served the Government of West Bengal. Subsequently, Professor Mukherji also delivered a public lecture on Governance in India at Jadavpur University on January 16. This public lecture was organized by Jadavpur University and the Netaji Institute of Advanced Studies.


Talk on 'Is there a countermovement against neo-liberalism in India today?' by Prof. John Harriss, Simon Fraser Universit, University of Amsterdam on 22nd January (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here. 


Kautilya’s Arthashastra: An Intellectual Portrait: The Classical Roots of Modern Politics in India by Subrata K. Mitra and‎ Michael Liebig

The co-authored book of Dr. Liebig titled Kautilya’s Arthashastra: An Intellectual Portrait: The Classical Roots of Modern Politics in India is now available as the Indian Rupa edition.

Additionally, The Times of India has published an article about the Panel on Kautilya's Arthashatra at the Military Literature Festival 2017 which Dr. Liebig attended this month in Chandigarh, India.


Prof. Mukherji’s visit to India

During his recent visit to India, Prof. Mukherji has delivered keynote addresses for the 18th Conference titled ‘Inclusive Development: Perspectives and Policies’. The conference was held during 3rd-5th December and was organised by Indian Association of Social Science Institute (IASSI) at Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur in collaboration with Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad. Prof. Mukherji also delivered a public lecture at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies in Hyderabad on December 8.


Professor Rahul Mukherji and Dr Himanshu Jha’s recent publication

Bureaucratic Rationality, Political Will, and State Capacity - MGNREGS in Undivided Andhra PradeshEconomic & Political Weekly, vol. 52(49) pp: 53-60.


Congratulations to Meah Mostafiz!

Our PhD candidate Meah Mostafiz was elected as a member of the Executive Committee, International Representative at Doctoral Students Convention (DSC), Heidelberg University. The elections for the new Executive Committee were held on November 8, 2017, during the DSC's Annual General Assembly. DSC is the official body that supports and voices concerns, issues, and interests of all doctoral students/researchers in front of different departments and committees within and outside Heidelberg University. 

The DSC's members of the Executive Committee:

Humanities:  Ralph Höger, Jan Wysocki
Life science: Jianghui Zhu
Social Science: Meah Mostafiz
Natural science: Luca Bayha, Celia Viermann
Employee at university: Michael Kraft
Individual doctorate: Veronica Iubei
Graduate program: Alexander Lehmann


Talk on 'Labour and Capital in India's Informal Economy' by Prof. Jan Breman, University of Amsterdam on 18th December (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here


Talk on “From Bondage to Citizenship: Dalit and African-American Mobilization in Two Southern Deltas” by Prof. Narendra Subramanian, Political Science Department, McGill University on 27th November (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


New Ph.D. candidate

A warm welcome to a new Ph.D. candidate, Mr. Ranjith Gunaratna, who has recently joined our department. His Ph.D. topic is “Diaspora, an agent of change: the case of Sri Lanka”. His other research interests include counter-terrorism, Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East and Sri Lanka’s relations with China. Mr. Gunaratna is a current Sri Lankan Consul General based in Frankfurt.


Dr. Zarhani, as the guest lecturer at Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran

Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani, lecturer and research fellow at the department of political science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University was the guest lecturer at the faculty of world studies, University of Tehran, Iran in September and October 2017. During his stay at University of Tehran, he offered a post-graduate course on ‘Nation Building and Political Development in India.’ Moreover, he delivered a lecture on ‘Federalism in India: Emerging Trends in the Center States Relations’ to the graduate students.


Outdoor excursion of South Asia Institute

On Wednesday, the 11th October, our Department has explored the historical atmosphere of the small village Leutershausen followed by the hiking through the nearby forest with the Hirschburg and Schanzenköpfle castle ruins. This wonderful outdoor activity has been organized for the South Asia Institute's Trip Day and brought together friends and colleagues from the other Departments of the SAI.


Dr. Liebig at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, India

Dr. Michael Liebig has delivered a talk on 'The Kautilyan Roots of Intelligence Culture in South Asia – A Historical Perspective' on 5th October during a conference titled 'Exploring the Roots of India's Strategic Culture' organised by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, India.


New Ph.D. candidates 

A warm welcome to our new Ph.D. candidates, Tanvi Deshpande and Jai Shankar Prasad. Tanvi will be working on 'India and the Politics of Climate Change', whereas Jai Shankar will study the topic on 'Revisiting the State: Politics, Development, and Tribal Welfare in Jharkhand, India'. Their Ph.D. training is a part of the Global India Programme which is Horizon 2020 funded European Training Network. They will pursue their research under the supervision of Prof. Rahul Mukherji.


Prof. Jakub Zajączkowski at the Department of Political Science, SAI

We have a pleasure to host Professor Jakub Zajaczkowski (Warsaw University) who is visiting our Department from Wednesday, 27th of September. 
During his stay, Prof. Zajaczkowski has presented on the topic "India's Strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region: An Offensive Realist Approach". The talk was held on Thursday, 28th of September.


Dr. Zarhani's visit to Hyderabad

In the context of our Department of Political Science's ongoing research project on bureaucratic culture in India, Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani visited Hyderabad. From September 12 to 20, Dr. Zarhani conducted expert interviews with top-ranked ISA officers, party activists, and regional politician and interacted with academic colleagues at University of Hyderabad and Osmania University on the subject area.

On September 14, 2017, Dr. Zarhani, as a guest lecturer, delivered a talk on “Elite Agency, Development and Development in the Indian States” at the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad.


Dr. Himanshu Jha at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University on 6th and 7th September 2017

Dr. Himanshu Jha delivered lectures on ‘Politics of Accountability’ and ‘Politics of Welfare in India’ at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) in Lucknow, India on 6th and 7th September 2017.


Dr. Himanshu Jha at the O. P. Jindal Global University, India

On Wednesday, 30th August 2017, Dr. Himanshu Jha delivered an open lecture at the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O. P. Jindal Global University, India on “State Processes, Ideas and Institutional Change: Case of Right to Information Act in India”.


Congratulations to Mr. Krishna Kumar Saha

Mr. Krishna Kumar Saha, a master student of South Asian Studies with focus on Political Science and Anthropology, has secured a Ph.D. position at Ghent University (Belgium) under prof. Bert Suykens’s supervision starting November ’17. He will be working on a doctoral project titled 'Electoral Violence: A Case of Bangladesh Local Government Elections'. Mr. Saha was awarded a doctoral scholarship from Special Research Fund for this project from the same university. We wish you every success in your academic journey!


Dr. Himanshu Jha wins the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) award for the best PhD dissertation
 
Dr. Himanshu Jha’s PhD thesis on ‘Capturing Institutional Change: Case of Right to Information Act in India’ has been awarded the prestigious Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) award for the best PhD dissertation in 2016 at the National University of Singapore.


Congratulations to Ms. Lara Klossek

Ms. Lara Klossek, studying South Asian Studies with a focus on Political Science and History, has secured a position as a PhD candidate at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (Spain) under prof. Barbé supervision starting this October. During this three-year program, she will spend one semester in India while conducting research on the topic "The making of EU foreign policy towards India". This PhD program is a part of Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network which is an EU funded project aiming at explaining India's increasing importance in world politics. Heidelberg University together with 9 other European and Indian Universities and 5 non-university partners is also a part of this project. Congratulation on your achievement and we wish you every success in your new academic journey.

 


Congratulation to Ms. Qudsia Naz

Ms. Qudsia Naz, a master student of South Asian Studies with focus on Politics and History, has successfully passed the entry exams and the following interview for the position at Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS). The final decision was announced on the 10th of April this year. She will be travelling to Pakistan this September to take up the position and will continue to work on her research for master thesis from there. We wish you every success in your new position.

 


First SAI Student Conference

Prof. Mukherji has delivered the keynote speech for the First SAI Student Conference on 30th June. The Student Conference was an effort of Master Students of South Asian Studies who presented their research interests in the form of poster conference. The research topics covered wide range of recent issues in South Asia such as women issues, cultural heritage, material culture, shipbreaking, and ethnic conflicts.


 

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Photo credit: Borayin Maitreya Larios 
Video credit: The Pashtun Times


Professor Mukherji’s Visits to Switzerland and Italy in June 2017

Professor Rahul Mukherji recently presented at two conferences on the politics of welfare in India.

Conference in Zürich, Switzerland titled 'Welfare Schemes, the State and Corruption in South Asia: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches' was organised by the University of Zürich on the 20th of June.

On the 28th of June, the conference in Prato, Italy on Sustainable Development was organized by the Centre for Development Economics at Monash University. This workshop was a part of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network' workshops.


Talk on ‘India's Climate Justice Debate’ by Dr. Annika Styczynski, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy on 10th July (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See details here.


Talk on Global Local Linkages at the Ireland India Institute, Dublin City University, Ireland 21 June 2017

Dr. Himanshu Jha delivered a talk on ‘Untangling the Global-Local Linkages: The case of Right to Information’ at the Ireland India Institute, Dublin City University, Ireland. Department of Political Science at SAI, Heidelberg University alongwith the Dublin City University is part of a Horizon 2020 funded European Training Network on Global India.


Global Conference on Transparency Research 19-21 June 2017, Limerick, Ireland

Dr. Himanshu Jha presented a paper on ‘Capturing Institutional Change: Case of Right to Information Act in India’ at the 5th Global Conference on Transparency Research, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. The conference was co-organised by University of Limerick and University of Baltimore. More than 90 papers were presented during the Conference which brought together academics and the practitioners from around the world working on the issues of transparency and accountability.


Talk on ‘Caught in the Crossfire: The Chinese Indian Community and the Deterioration of India-China Relations, 1947-1962’ by Prof. Tansen Sen, City University of New York on 22nd June (Thursday) at SAI Room 316. See details here.


China-India Workshop on Development and Governance
June 3, 2017 Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Group Photo

Professor Rahul Mukherji and Dr. Himanshu Jha presented papers during China-India Workshop on Development and Governance organised by Fudan University, Shanghai China on 3rd June 2017.  Professor Mukherji presented a paper on Is India a Developmental State? and Dr. Jha presented a paper on State Processes, Ideas and Institutional Change. Professor Mukherji also delivered a lecture on Globalization and Indian State at ‘Seaker Chan Centre for Comparative Political Development Studies’, Fudan University.


Talk on 'Two Contrasting Perceptions of India in the minds of Sinhala-Buddhists in Sri Lanka' by Dr. Nirmal Dewasiri, University of Colombo on 12th June (Monday) at SAI Room 317.See details here.


Talk on ‘Constitutionalizing India: an Ideational Project’ by Professor Bidyut Chakrabarty, University of Delhi on 29th May (Monday) at SAI Room 317. See detail here.


International Relations in Asia-Pacific region: multidimensional research perspectives, 11th May 2017, Warsaw
Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani presented on 'India’s State Level Politics in Post-Liberalization Era: Regional Leaders and International Economic Actors' during the International Relations in Asia-Pacific region: multidimensional research perspectives on 11th May 2017 in Warsaw. The conference was organised jointly by The Institute of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science and International Studies,
University of Warsaw, South Asian Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford, South Asia Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Heidelberg and South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium.


Workshop on 'Governing India' 7th-8th May 2017. Venue: Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg

This workshop invites policy-makers, public intellectuals, technocrats and scholars who have engaged with governance in India to reflect and discuss on how India executes its governance. For attending this workshop see details here. 


Call For PhD Applications

Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute at the Heidelberg University, Germany invites applications for outstanding students to apply for two doctoral positions for the duration of three years under the European Union Marie Curie Fellowship programme. See details here.


Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Special Lecture Series, New Delhi, India 21 March 2017

Dr. Himanshu Jha, Lecturer and Research Fellow in the department of Political Science at SAI, delivered a talk on "The Right to Information Act from a Federal Perspective: Accountability at the State and local levels" at the Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences.


Book Launch in Singapore

On March 2, 2017, the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore held a book launch of Kautilya’s Arthashastra: an Intellectual Portrait – Classical Roots of Modern Politics in India (Nomos) by Subrata Mitra and Michael Liebig. Prof. Mitra is Director, ISAS, and Emeritus at the Department of Political Science, South Asia Insitute (SAI), Heidelberg University, Dr. Liebig is lecturer at the department. See detail here.


Rethinking Stakeholder Participation: In Global Governance

Professor Rahul Mukherji, Dr Himanshu Jha and Meah Mostafiz (PhD Candidate at SAI) presented a co-authored paper on India and Bangladesh in Climate Change Finance: From Structural Conflict to Embedded Liberalism at a workshop on “Rethinking Stakeholder Participation in Global Governance: Challenges and Reforms in Financial and Health Institutions” held from 2-3 March in Burghausen, Bavaria. The workshop was co-organized by the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration (CTEI) at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Hochschule für Politik/Bavarian School of Public Policy at the Technischen Universität München (TUM). The paper is part of the ongoing project on ‘Rethinking Stakeholder Participation’ sponsored by the Swiss Network for International Studies. Department of Political Science at SAI is one of the partners in this project.


South Asia in World Politics Working Group

Professor Rahul Mukherji helped launch the South Asia in World Politics Section of the International Studies Association at the Association’s Annual Meeting in Baltimore between February 21 and 25, 2017.

As one of the chairs of the South Asia in World Politics Working Group he attended the working group meetings and chaired the last session that discussed the future of the section. The South Asia section will highlight the importance of the region in international studies.


Talk on ‘Local Elections in Uttar Pradesh: Caste, Money and Violence’ by Dr. Siddhartha Mukerji, Assistant Professor at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow and Baden Württemberg Fellow, SAI. 23rd January (Monday) SAI Room 316. See detail here.


Talk on 'Party Switching in India: Understanding the downside of Indian democracy' by Professor K C Suri University of Hyderabad and Baden Württemberg Fellow at SAI. 16th January (Monday) SAI Room 316. See detail here.


Talk on 'Right to Information a Viable Institution: the case of Bihar, India' by Dr. Himanshu Jha Lecturer and Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, SAI, Universität Heidelberg at SAI. 9th January (Monday) SAI Room 316. See details here.

 
 
 

 

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