In 2018 the LSE South Asia Centre organised an impressive program of events across the UK. We look back on our ten most popular interviews taken from the South Asia Centre’s events and the South Asia @ LSE blog. Remember you can stay up-to-date with 2019’s program of events by signing up to our mailing list

“This is ethnic cleansing. It’s not just a bump in the road” – Mark Farmaner

In January, the South Asia Centre, published an interview with Mark Farmaner of Burma Campaign UK in which he spoke with Rebecca Bowers about the escalating crisis and why the current inaction of the international community is legitimising the ongoing violence against the Rohingya.


“Religion doesn’t enter politics in Nepal in quite the same explicit way that it does in India” – Professor David Gellner

Prior to his participation in the ‘Who are the middle class in South Asia’ panel at the LSE South Asia Centre summit, Professor David Gellner spoke with Ananya Dasgupta about his preliminary research findings in Nepal, and how the high level of migration has been breaking down caste boundaries.

“We are not creating problems for agencies but giving them priorities”: how Afghanistan improved its children’s health in 10 years – Homayoun Ludin

As a country recovering from conflict, Afghanistan had some of the worst health indicators in the world. In just 10 years however, despite conflict and widespread poverty, Afghanistan made significant improvements in its health indicators. Swagata Yadavar speaks to Homayoun Ludin, Afghanistan’s director of public nutrition, about how focusing on breastfeeding has helped Afghanistan  turn its infant mortality and child malnourishment figures around. 

“People like me feel like the very idea of India is under challenge” – Yogendra Yadav

In this video interview with Tom Wilkinson, Yogendra Yadav addresses the changing relationship between democracy and diversity in India. As the keynote speaker at the prestigious Ralph Miliband lecture, and discussant at LSE South Asian Centre event exploring ‘The Urgency of Secularism” with Amartya Sen, the academic confronts India’s modern political transformation: that is, the growing hegemony of the BJP. He offers a compelling theoretical framework for making sense of the electoral, coercive and cultural dominance of the party of Narendra Modi; and the crisis of the idea of India and his engagement as a political activist. The founder of Swaraj Abhiyan will bring to light the organisations effort to challenge the BJP and offer an alternative to Indian youths.

“The mixture of Islam as a state religion adjoining secularism is not healthy.” – Sara Hossain 

On the sidelines of the LSE-Berkeley Bangladesh Summit held at LSE in June 2018, Mahima A. Jain interviewed to Bangladeshi lawyer Sara Hossain, who was a panellist discussing “Civil Society and the State”.

“I don’t believe that Hindutva is Hinduism” – Dr Shashi Tharoor

Dr Shashi Tharoor was recently in the UK to promote his new book  Why I am a Hindu. With a general election coming up in India, the battle between Tharoor’s Congress Party and the current government, the Bharatiya Janata Party, provides an interesting backdrop for the release of Tharoor’s new book. Anishka Gheewala Lohiya had the opportunity to talk to Dr Tharoor at LSE about the relationship between politics and religion in India.

“Educate women and men lose control” – Surjit S. Bhalla

Economist and writer Surjit S. Bhalla’s latest book The New Wealth of Nations investigates what’s behind the huge drop in income inequality and absolute poverty over the last forty years around the world. And at a time when the MeToo Movement grows in strength, he tells Rebecca Bowers how his book helps explain how women and the middle classes continue to hold the keys to change in India.

“All we want to do is fit in. To be accepted. To be part of the group”: Discussing LGBTQ rights in Bangladesh

Following the LSE-UC Berkeley Bangladesh Summit, a representative from a queer collective in Bangladesh spoke to Rebecca Bowers on the current status of LGBTQ rights in the country.

“The Kabuliwala represents a dilemma between the state and migratory history of the world” – Shah Mahmoud Hanifi

Taking Afghanistan as an example, Professor Shah Mahmoud Hanifi talks to Chris Finnigan about the fundamental questions posed by migration within South Asia. With Rabindranath Tagore’s legendary short story the ‘Kabuliwala’ as a reference, Hanifi explains how religion, culture, commerce and politics have shaped people’s experiences of living and moving around South Asia, and what lessons the past can provide for the present.

You only have to look at the US and Brazil to see if the genie of inequality is let out the bottle, it’s very hard to put it back in again – James Crabtree

Former Mumbai bureau chief for the Financial Times and LSE alumnus, James Crabtree sat down with the editor of SouthAsia@LSE, Christopher Finnigan to discuss his new book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age, and the state of income inequality, crony capitalism and corruption in India.

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