Congratulations to the award winners for 2020!

11 September 2020

The SICCI Prize for South Asian Studies 2019/20 went to the following students: Ranjana Raghunathan for best PhD dissertation Rupal Surendra Nagda for best MA dissertation Ghazi Tahira Namreen Fatima for Best Honours Thesis Raashida Elahi Bte Mohamed R (Arts 2) Aashwini Cassandra Gunasilan (Arts 3)   The Rajabali Jumabhoy Foundation Prize 2019/ 2020 went to the following student: Rebecca Michelle Thomas for the best Honours graduate in South Asian Studies 2020

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Annu Jalais on her new grant from the Social Science Research Council (, USA)

11 September 2020

Her US$35,000 project will develop a “Southern Collective” for Transdisciplinary Collaborations on the Northern Indian Ocean for the planning grant for the ‘Transregional Collaboratory on the Indian Ocean’. Dr Jalais will be working with three co-PIs (1) Aarthi Sridhar, Programme Head of the dynamic NGO Dakshin Foundation; (2) Dr Rapti Siriwardane, researcher at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research; and (3) Dr Alin Kadfak, researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. The project also has fabulous collaborators stretching all across the Indian Ocean from Thailand to the Maldives. This prestigious grant will enable the research team to build on their vision for a ‘Southern Collective’.   For more information, click here.


10 September 2020

The Minor in Asian Studies will be of interest to students across all faculties who seek to develop a critical awareness of Asia in terms of it socio-economic, political, language and cultural features and trajectories. The programme utilises an array of multidisciplinary perspectives and intellectual traditions to bring a multifaceted, inter-Asia approach to the dynamics of Asia providing students the opportunity to take courses on a variety of topics concerning Asia based in the humanities, languages, and social sciences. This Minor will feature strong coverage to the growing connections among Asian nations, examine Asian societies’ vital institutions, and the major problems and challenges that confront them amidst unprecedented social, political, economic change with technological advancement and globalization. Through such training, students will develop a critical awareness of Asian society and culture, business histories and practices, and the historical, contemporary and the future political and economic dynamics of the vibrant region. Appreciating the value of language for students who intend to work in Asia, the Minor will also count one Asian Language module offered at the Centre for Language Studies (CLS). For more information, check out our Minor in Asian Studies page.

JOB VACANCY: Associate Professor in South Asian History, with joint appointment in Department of History

16 December 2019

The South Asian Studies Programme (SASP), a constituent unit of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the National University of Singapore, invites applications for a tenured faculty position, at the Associate Professor rank, in South Asian History, to commence in 2020. The successful candidate will have a strong research agenda focused on South Asian history, with strengths in Islamic history, statecraft, cultural and religious practices, encompassing the medieval and early modern periods and later, and must be able to frame teaching and research within the larger connected context of global and inter-Asian history. The candidate must show a proven ability to conduct research in a South Asian language. Further, a credible record of teaching introductory and advanced courses in themes such as Islam and society, gender, popular culture and art in South Asia will be advantageous. A competitive remuneration package, based on qualifications and experience, will be offered to the selected candidate. The South Asian Studies Programme and the Department of History are two of 15 Departments within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. SASP, in which the position will be anchored, was established in 1999 and is multi-disciplinary in its research and teaching (at undergraduate and graduate levels) and has a vibrant community of research students. Application dossiers should include a CV, a list of publications, a statement of research interests and evidence of teaching experience and any other relevant information, together with a letter explaining why the position at NUS is of interest. Candidates should also arrange to send confidential letters from three academic referees directly to NUS. In addition, candidates will need to submit a Personal Data Consent Form, which can be downloaded at the link below. Review of applications will begin on 13 January 2020 and the search shall continue until an appointment is made. Please submit documents to: Chair, Search Committee (Joint South Asian History Position) South Asian Studies Programme Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore Blk AS8 Level 6 10 Kent Ridge Crescent Singapore 119260 or email: Visit our website at for information on South Asian Studies Programme. The Personal Data Consent Form can be found at the following link:

New book traces Tamils' presence in region

11 December 2019

Sunday, 8 December 2019, Straits Times Online A newly launched publication has traced the Tamil community's presence in Singapore and South-east Asia back 2,000 years. The Indian Heritage Centre's (IHC) From Sojourners To Settlers - Tamils In South-east Asia And Singapore was launched yesterday by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran at the Asian Civilisations Museum. "Our early Tamil pioneers helped to shape the Singapore identity and laid the foundations of contemporary Tamil culture and practice," said Mr Iswaran. He also cited an observation in the book, that the Tamil community "is clearly identifiable but not easily definable" and any attempt to do so is fraught with challenges. Published by the heritage centre and the Institute of Policy Studies, the book explores lesser-known aspects of Tamil history and heritage in Singapore and South-east Asia, examining evidence of Tamil connections with the region. These include the inscriptions on the Singapore Stone, which some experts date back to the 10th century. It was located at the mouth of the Singapore River, before the British destroyed it with dynamite in 1843. Researcher Iain Sinclair, a contributor to the book, recently identified the phrase "kesariva" in the inscriptions found on parts of the artefact, and said it could be part of the word "Parakesarivarman" - a title used by several Chola dynasty kings. This suggests a Tamil presence in the Singapore Strait dating back 1,000 years. The publication is the first between the IHC and an academic institution, and aims to better document history and heritage. Over two volumes, it features research of scholars from India, Singapore, South-east Asia, the US and Europe. Topics discussed include trading ports and maritime routes connecting Indian kingdoms with South-east Asia and the literary similarities between Malay and Tamil. Mr Iswaran addressed the efforts by early Tamil pioneers in shaping Singapore's identity and laying the foundations of contemporary Tamil culture and practice here. "Colonial Singapore was a microcosm of India's diverse cultural background and landscape - its vast, seemingly endless range of sub-ethnicities and linguistic groups," he said. Tamil Muslims set up Singapore's first vernacular press while Indian merchants and moneylenders, including the South Indian Chettiars, were the source of credit and banking before the advent of European banks in the 19th century, he added. "Today, Tamil is one of our four official languages, and community and state-supported efforts to promote the Tamil language and culture continue with vigour. "Tamil Singaporeans, who constitute a majority of the Indian population in our nation, are a vibrant and diverse community, who continue to play an important role in shaping Singapore's future," he said. The book launch was held in conjunction with the IHC's latest special exhibition - From The Coromandel Coast To The Straits: Revisiting Our Tamil Heritage - which runs from Nov 23 to June 30 next year. Admission is free for Singaporeans and permanent residents. By Malavika Menon


04 October 2019

The annual FASS Awards Ceremony celebrates the pursuit of excellence across all domains, academic and non-academic achievements alike. From Special Book Prizes and Gold Medals for high-performing undergraduates to the FASS Student Leadership Award (#FSLA) which rewards leadership in extra-curricular activities, the Faculty’s bid to cultivate well-rounded students is an unceasing one. Our heartiest congratulations to our award winners!
1. Ms Shivani Gupta Graduate Student Teaching Awards (Semester 1, AY2018/19)
2. Ms Gopika Jadeja Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) Prize (Best PhD Dissertation) 3. Ms Losheini Ravindran SICCI Performance Prize (Best South Asian Studies Major Student in Year 4) 4. Ms Genevieve Chia Xin Ying Rajabali Jumabhoy Foundation Prize in South Asian Studies (Best Honours Graduate in South Asian Studies) SICCI Prize for South Asian Studies (Best Honours Thesis for South Asian Studies Programme) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize 5. Ms Rebecca Michelle Thomas SICCI Performance Prize (Best South Asian Studies Major in Year 3)

Marrying for a Future: Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War

31 January 2019

SIDHARTAN MAUNAGURU. (2019). Marrying for a Future: Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War (Global South Asia). University of Washington Press The civil war between the Sri Lankan state and Tamil militants, which ended in 2009, lasted more than three decades and led to mass migration, mainly to India, Canada, England, and continental Europe. In Marrying for a Future, Sidharthan Maunaguru argues that the social institution of marriage has emerged as a critical means of building alliances between dispersed segments of Tamil communities, allowing scattered groups to reunite across national borders. Maunaguru explores how these fragmented communities were rekindled by connections fostered by key participants in and elements of the marriage process, such as wedding photographers, marriage brokers, legal documents, and transit places. Marrying for a Future contributes to transnational and diaspora marriage studies by looking at the temporary spaces through which migrants and refugees travel in addition to their home and host countries. It provides a new conceptual framework for studies on kinship and marriage and addresses a community that has been separated across borders as a result of war.

A Republic in the Making, India in the1950s

01 February 2018

GYANESH KUDAISYA. (2017). A Republic in the Making, India in the1950s (1 ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press This work takes a critical look at India in the 1950s, a momentous decade in its contemporary history. It looks at the colossal challenges which India faced in its years after Independence and conveys a sense of the hopes and aspirations, dilemmas and anxieties of its political leadership. It considers the key ideas, paths, and trajectories which were articulated in these years and have left an enduring imprint upon the Republic's fabric as we know it today. The values and personalities from that decade continue to remain a frame of reference, a benchmark for public life in present-day India. The narrative on the 1950s is woven around certain key themes: the manner in which India moved away from conditions of disorder and turmoil to deal with the 'unfinished business' of Partition; the cartographic reconstruction of India as a political space; the uncertain journey of its democratic institutions; the crafting of inclusive citizenship amidst the ambiguities and anxieties surrounding the minorities; and finally, the audacious project of economic self-reliance through development planning and land reforms. Presented as a broad-brush canvas, rather than a micro-history of the 1950s, this work offers insights into how India came to be transformed in critical ways to anchor itself as a resilient, democratic polity, increasingly coming to terms with societal diversity and heterogeneity. It shall be useful to those interested in unraveling the trails and tracks of India's exciting journey in its formative decade as a new nation.

Singapore Indian Heritage

01 October 2017

Singapore Indian Heritage is the Indian Heritage Centre’s first publication since the centre’s opening in 2015. It comprises essays by respected scholars and IHC’s curators on different aspects of Indian heritage, as told through the centre’s permanent galleries as well as catalogue entries featuring the centre’s collection of over 300 artefacts, photographs and documents. Edited by Professors Rajesh Rai and A Mani, the publication is an important addition to the compilation of writings on Singapore’s Indian community, and in particular on the community’s cultural heritage.

Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India

27 June 2015

Ronojoy Sen, Columbia University Press, 2015
Reaching as far back as ancient times, Ronojoy Sen pairs a novel history of India's engagement with sport and a probing analysis of its cultural and political development under monarchy and colonialism, and as an independent nation. Some sports that originated in India have fallen out of favor, while others, such as cricket, have been adopted and made wholly India's own. Sen's innovative project casts sport less as a natural expression of human competition than as an instructive practice reflecting a unique play with power, morality, aesthetics, identity, and money. Sen follows the transformation of sport from an elite, kingly pastime to a national obsession tied to colonialism, nationalism, and free market liberalization. He pays special attention to two modern phenomena: the dominance of cricket in the Indian consciousness and the chronic failure of a billion-strong nation to compete successfully in international sporting competitions, such as the Olympics. Innovatively incorporating examples from popular media and other unconventional sources, Sen not only captures the political nature of sport in India but also reveals the patterns of patronage, clientage, and institutionalization that have bound this diverse nation together for centuries.