Category Archives: Current

12 January – Understanding Caste among Muslims – India Matters Webinar 2022

The Association Jeunes Etudes Indiennes (AJEI) is pleased to invite you to its 2022 webinar series India Matters.

On January 12thJulien Levesque will inaugurate this year’s webinar series with the presentation « Understanding Caste among Muslims: Classic Debates and New Scholarly Developments »

From colonial census administrators to social scientists, scholars have debated whether Muslims in the subcontinent can be said to have castes. In recent decades, the discussion also entered the political arena over the issue of reservations in India. This presentation will first sum up the key historical moments of the scholarly debates on Muslim caste since colonial times. The speaker will then turn to more contemporary scholarship to highlight its contribution and the avenues it opens for further research.

The sessions will take place on Zoom 12th January, 1:00 pm CET/ 5:30 pm IST. The presentation will be followed by a QnA.

No registration necessary. Link to join :

ID de réunion : 883 5678 2804

Code secret : 944169

The 2022 AJEI India Matters webinar series will run from January to July. A full schedule of speakers will be available shortly. 

Call for Papers – 2022 ajei international workshop

The AJEI is pleased to announce the 22nd AJEI International Workshop for Masters and PhD students to be held 21 to 23 April 2022

As researchers in social sciences, we are constantly confronting categories. While categorisation is an inevitable process, the division and classification of the social world is not neutral. It entails choices and has implications. Some of these choices may be determined by institutions, others informally emerge within society, and still others are made by researchers for analytical purposes.

This conference invites social scientists who are engaging with categories in their research to reflect on the manners in which they use them. In their work, researchers may trace the origin and evolution of categories. They may also use existing categories and develop a critical stand, or develop new ones as analytical tools.

The objective of the event is to promote dialogue between young researchers involved in the field of South Asian studies. The workshop will offer graduate students (Master & PhD) a platform to present their research work. The sessions will be hosted jointly at the CEIAS, EHESS in Paris and CPR in New Delhi.

The full call for papers is available here

Abstracts in English, from 300 to 500 words maximum, are expected by the 20th January 2022.
Please mention name and surname of the applicant, position and institutional affiliation, current location (country and city).
Sent to:

  • Successful applicants will be notified by 7th February 2022.
  •  Final papers of 8,000 words maximum should be submitted by 1st April 2022.

The workshop is supported by the following partners



appel à L’organisation \ Call for Organization – AJEI Atelier\workshop 2022

22e  édition de l’atelier AJEI

L’Association Jeunes Etudes Indiennes est heureuse d’ouvrir un appel à l’organisation de l’Atelier International AJEI 2022. Nous invitons des équipes de doctorants et/ou de post-doctorants d’universités françaises et/ou indiennes à organiser l’atelier, qui sera programmé pour le printemps-été 2022. L’atelier sera organisé avec un institut partenaire indien et vise à la participation d’étudiants en Master et de doctorants en France et en Inde qui développent leurs recherches dans les disciplines des sciences humaines et sociales sur des thèmes liés aux études sud-asiatiques. Les participants bénéficieront des conseils de chercheurs expérimentés et reconnus dans diverses disciplines, du soutien d’un groupe d’universitaires, ainsi que des réseaux et des ressources de l’AJEI.

Nous invitons les propositions d’ateliers à prendre en compte les possibles changements et imprévus liés à la pandémie. Nous souhaiterions que les candidatures imaginent de nouvelles formes d’ateliers hybrides (ex: des sessions parallèles entre l’Inde et la France), qu’elles proposent des ateliers et approches multi-disciplinaires (voir les détails de l’atelier précédent ci-dessous) et qu’elles suggèrent de nouveaux cadres méthodologiques et thématiques. Nous recommandons également des formats qui combinent des conférenciers dans le style “keynote”, des ateliers ciblés pour les jeunes chercheurs où ils peuvent présenter et obtenir des commentaires pour leur travail,et des activités culturelles comme des projections de films. Ce sont quelques recommandations de l’AJEI, et nous laissons les détails de l’événement à l’initiative de l’équipe organisatrice.

L’équipe organisatrice sera demandée

  • D’organiser les appels à communications et de sélectionner les participants
  • Inviter des personnes-ressources de haut niveau pour des conférences, discussions etc.
  • Organiser une collecte de fond  
  • Organiser la logistique 

L’AJEI aidera à 

  • Connexion avec les universités et les institutions indiennes et françaises.
  • Communiquer avec des personnes-ressources de haut niveau.
  • Fournir un certain soutien financier.
  • Les membres du conseil d’administration de l’AJEI se coordonneront avec l’équipe si nécessaire.

Les demandes doivent inclure :

  • Une liste des membres de l’équipe ayant un poste actuel et une affiliation institutionnelle (minimum 2 organisateurs).
  • Un thème possible et une description de l’atelier, avec des sous-thèmes et des sessions possibles (2 pages).
  • Une liste des personnes-ressources possibles que vous souhaitez inviter.
  • Une liste des institutions Français\indiennes possibles qui accueilleront l’événement. 

Les détails des ateliers passés sont disponibles à titre de référence sur ce site :

La date limite pour les candidatures est le 20  novembre 2021, et l’événement devrait être organisé avant avril 2022. Veuillez envoyer un seul mot ou fichier pdf en tant que demande à N’hésitez pas à nous envoyer un courriel pour toute demande d’information.

Call for Organizers – 22nd Edition of the AJEI Workshop

The Association Jeunes Etudes Indiennes / Youth Association for Indian Studies is happy to open the call for organization of the 2022 AJEI International Workshop. We invite teams of PhD students and\or Postdoc scholars from French and\or Indian Universities to organize the workshop, which will be scheduled for Spring-Summer 2022. The workshop will be hosted with an Indian partner institute and is aimed at participation from Masters and early PhD scholars in France and India who are developing their research in human and social science disciplines on themes in Indian\South Asian studies. Attendees benefit from the guidance of senior researchers in various disciplines, and an academic peer-group, along with the AJEI’s networks and resources.

We invite workshop suggestions that account for changes in travel and academic work due to the pandemic. We would like applications to imagine new forms of hybridization (e.g. parallel sessions between India and France), have scope for multiple disciplines (see past workshop details below), and suggest new methodological and thematic frameworks. We also recommend formats that combine conference style keynote speakers, targeted workshops for young researchers where they can present and get feedback for their work, and cultural activities like film screenings. These are recommendations by the AJEI, and the specifics for the event will be up to the organizing team.

The organizing team is expected to

  • Invite call for papers and select participants
  • Invite senior resource persons for keynotes, discussions etc
  • Do some fund-raising 
  • Organize logistics 

The AJEI will assist in 

  • Connecting with Indian and French universities and institutions.
  • Connecting with senior resource persons.
  • Providing some financial support.
  • AJEI board members will coordinate with the team as necessary.

Applications should include

  • A list of team members with current position and institutional affiliation (minimum 2 organizers).
  • A possible theme and description for the workshop, with possible subthemes and sessions
    (2 page).
  • A list of possible resource persons you wish to invite.
  • A list of possible French\Indian institutions that will host the event. 

Past workshop details are available as a reference at this site:

The deadline for applications is 20th November 2021, and the event is expected to be organized before April 2022. 

Please send a single word or pdf file as an application to Please do not hesitate to mail us for any clarifications. 

[Job Offer] Head Researcher in Social Sciences at the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) in New Delhi

Researcher in charge for the team of researchers, responsible for development and implementation of research programmes in the humanities and social sciences in a research centre under the dual supervision of the Ministry of Europe and Business the Centre de Sciences Étrangères (MEAE) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS): Humaines (CSH), USR 3330, UMIFRE 21, at the Centre de Sciences Humaines – antenna of the French Institute in India (IFI), New Delhi.

The last date to send your job application is 30 September 2021. 

The full details about the application process and candidate profile are available below in the attached documents:

Apply for the above job position on the below link given on the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) website :

Le peuple des déchets. Vies plastiques – The people of waste. Living Plastic

Qu’advient-il de nos déchets après la poubelle ? Comment sont-ils collectés, triés, recyclés et réutilisés ? La gestion des déchets produits par les activités humaines constitue aujourd’hui l’un des points centraux des politiques environnementales contemporaines au niveau international. Mais comment cela s’organise-t-il concrètement en Inde, où des filières informelles de récupération des déchets existent depuis longtemps ?

À partir de l’exemple de Delhi, capitale de l’Inde, ce film explore la transformation d’un déchet plastique en ressource valorisable en donnant à voir la diversité du « Peuple des déchets » qui vit à l’ombre de la société de consommation. Le documentaire a l’ambition de rendre mieux visible la myriade de professions spécialisées dans la récupération, le tri, la revente, le nettoyage, le broyage et la transformation du déchet, du collecteur stigmatisé à la base de la chaine jusqu’à l’industriel en haut de la pyramide qui réinjecte la matière récupérée dans l’économie formelle.

Au-delà du cas indien, ce court-métrage rappelle aux spectateurs leur responsabilité de générateur de déchets et leur lien avec le système de récupération, remettant en cause l’ambivalence des discours sur le recyclage qui tendent à légitimer une consommation de masse infinie.

D’une durée de 18 minutes, ce documentaire a été réalisé par Rémi de Bercegol (CNRS) avec Grant Davis et Shankare Gowda, financé par « IRD Images » et soutenu par « MITI CNRS ». Il a été tourné en Février 2019 et finalisé en 2020. Il s’appuie sur une compréhension scientifique de la situation à Delhi et souhaite ouvrir le débat sur la relation des sociétés à leurs déchets à une audience non-académique.

What happens to our garbage after it is dumped? How is it collected, sorted, recycled and reused? The management of waste produced by human activities is today one of the central points of contemporary environmental policies at the international level. But how is it organized in India, where informal waste recovery systems have existed for a long time?

Through the example of Delhi, the film explores the transformation of a piece of plastic waste into a resource, through filmed interviews with diverse “people of waste” living in the shadow of consumer society. It aims at making visible the myriad of professions that specialize in the collection, sorting, reselling, cleaning, shredding and transformation of waste, from the stigmatized garbage picker at the bottom of the chain until the industrialist at the top of the pyramid who re-injects the recovered materials into the formal economy.

Beyond the Indian case, it reminds the spectators of their responsibility as a producer of waste and their relation with this waste recovery system, putting into question the ambivalent discourses on recycling which tend to legitimize an endless mass consumption.

This short documentary film (18min), has been co-directed by Rémi de Bercegol (CNRS), together with Grant Davis and Shankare Gowda; funded by « IRD Images », completed with “MITI CNRS », it has been shot in February 2019 in and around Delhi and was released in 2020.

It relies on a scientific understanding of the on-going scenario in Delhi (cf. Bercegol, Gowda 2019; Bercegol, Gowda 2020) and aims at opening the debate to a broader non-academic audience about the relationship between societies and waste.

  • de Bercegol R.Gowda S., 2019, « A new waste and energy nexus? Rethinking the modernisation of waste services in Delhi. », Urban Studies, 56.11 : 2297-2314.
  • de Bercegol R.Gowda S., 2020, « « Nettoyer l’Inde », la marginalisation des récupérateurs de déchets à Delhi. » Les Cahiers d’Outre-Mer. Revue de géographie de Bordeaux, 73.281 : 41-68.

7 June – Roland lardinois – epistemology of south asian studies in France

The last session of this year’s webinar “India Matters” took place on Monday 7 June at 13:00 CEST / 16:30 IST. Last but not least, this time we heard French sociologist Roland Lardinois drawing on his personal experience and extensive research to analyse the structuration of the field of Indian Studies in France. The talk is entitled : “The field of Indian Studies in France XIXth-XXIst century: genesis, structure, transformation

Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to present some considerations on the history of Indian studies in France and the evolution of this field of knowledge from the second half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century. We will draw on the work we have done, focusing on the first half of the twentieth century, and then, using our personal experience, we will examine the transformations that this field has undergone since the 1960s up to the contemporary period. We will insist on methodological problems: should we speak of an Indian studies milieu, as we speak of a literary milieu, a field or a configuration, according to the concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu and Norbert Elias? What do the terms Indologists and Indianists mean? Do we work on India or in India? 
Résumé. L’objet de cette communication est de présenter quelques réflexions sur l’histoire des études indiennes en France et l’évolution de cet espace de savoirs depuis la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle jusqu’au début du XXIe siècle. On se fondera sur des travaux que l’on a conduits, centrés sur la première moitié du XXe siècle puis, en recourant au témoignage personnel, on s’interrogera sur les transformations que cet espace a connu depuis les années 1960 jusqu’à la période contemporaine. On insistera sur des problèmes de méthodes : faut-il parler de milieu d’études indiennes, comme on parle de milieu littéraire, de champ ou de configuration, selon les concepts développés par Pierre Bourdieu et Norbert Elias ? Que signifient les termes : indologues, indianistes ? Travaille-t-on sur l’Inde ou en Inde ?
You might also consider checking these references : Roland Lardinois, L’Invention de l’Inde. Entre ésotérisme et science, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2007 ; trad. Scholars and Prophets Sociology of India from France 19th-20th centuries, Delhi, Social Science Press, 2013 ; « Maîtres à distance et distance aux maîtres : Sylvain Lévi, Louis Dumont et Pierre Bourdieu », dans François Raviez (dir.), L’image du maître spirituel, Arras, Artois Presses Université, 2019, p. 321-338
Watch the Webinar on our YouTube Channel here :

India Matters – Alexandre Cebeillac – Geography of movements – 16 March

This time, the session will deal with the use of large datasets in Indian studies. To talk about that, we will host geographer Alexandre Cebeillac from the Université de Rouen. He almost has a decade of experience performing spatial analyses based on various data sources, from social media datasets to the census of India, often around urban-related issues. He recently defended a monumental thesis that focused on the use of online data in the study of mobilities and vector-borne diseases in Delhi and Bangkok. He has an extensive knowledge of India’s large datasets and knows it all about the difficulties in handling them. He will talk about it and expose some innovative methods he developed to work around some common data problems in Indian studies.

Watch the recording here : 


The French Youth Association for Indian Studies (AJEI) is pleased to invite you to the 4th session of its 2021 webinar series: India Matters on April 6th at 1:00 pm CET/ 5:30 pm IST.

This time, the online session will turn into a forum of associations. It will include representatives from the French Youth Association for Indian Studies (AJEI), the South Asia Research and Studies Venice and Turin Italy (Sarasvati Association), the French Academic Network on Asian Studies (GIS Asie), the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS), the European Association of Young Researchers on South Asia (EAYRSA), the French Association for Research on Southeast Asia (AFRASE), the Japanese Association of South Asian Studies (JASAS). They will each present the history, network, area of studies, and objectives of their respective associations.

The remaining time will be given to a Q&A session and a discussion on the relevance of the geographical area of these associations (India, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Asia, etc.) and the scale of their network (France, Italy, Japan, Europe, Young researchers, civil society, institutions, etc.).

Watch the recording here :

Droits sociaux : les travailleuses en première ligne – Floriane Bolazzi sur France Culture

Une émission à réécouter ici sur France Culture.

Lundi 8 mars, des milliers d’indiennes se sont jointes à la colère des agriculteurs. Ce mouvement massif montre l’investissement des femmes dans la défense des terres. Depuis une trentaine d’années, le milieu agricole s’est considérablement féminisé, que signifie cette implication paysanne en Inde ?

Des femmes activistes crient des slogans pour la Journée internationale de la femme, elles manifestent contre les récentes réformes agricoles du gouvernement central, à Amritsar, le 8 mars 2021.Des femmes activistes crient des slogans pour la Journée internationale de la femme, elles manifestent contre les récentes réformes agricoles du gouvernement central, à Amritsar, le 8 mars 2021. Crédits : NARINDER NANU – AFP


Des milliers d’Indiennes sont descendues dans les rues, ce lundi 8 mars, profitant de la Journée internationale des droits des femmes pour se joindre aux agriculteurs en colère. 

Une manifestation massive qui a permis de mettre en lumière une implication des femmes en réalité bien antérieure.
Depuis le début du mouvement, les femmes sont mobilisées pour en assurer la logistique, cuisinant pour nourrir ceux qui occupent toute la journée l’espace publique. Mais leur participation ne se limite pas à ce rôle invisible. 

Performance, chants, slogans, les paysannes s’affichent, comme les paysans, pour défendre leurs terres. De fait, en dépit de l’organisation fortement patriarcale de l’Inde rurale, le secteur agricole s’est considérablement féminisé au cours des trente dernières années, face à l’exode des hommes vers la ville.

Quand ceux-ci quittent les campagnes à la recherche d’emplois journaliers, les femmes continuent à pratiquer une agriculture de subsistance pour nourrir leurs familles. Un rôle souvent non reconnu, mais qui s’est renforcé avec la crise du covid-19.
Bergères, ouvrières agricoles, ou fermières se mobilisent donc désormais, non pas contre une inégalité de genre, mais pour leur droit au travail et à la subsistance. Une lutte féminine qui pourrait aussi devenir féministe, si elle permet de changer le regard des hommes sur elles.

Cette implication des femmes dans la contestation paysanne constitue-t-elle un phénomène nouveau en Inde ? Dans quelle mesure sont-elles spécifiquement menacées par les réformes agraires de Narendra Modi ? Leur mobilisation dans les manifestations a-t-elle une chance de bousculer l’ordre patriarcal de l’Inde rurale ?

Nos invités pour en parler sont Isabelle Guérin, directrice de recherche en socio-économie à l’IRD et au CESSMA et Floriane Bolazzi, chercheuse en socio-économie à l’Université de Milan-Bicocca. 

Une émission à réécouter ici sur France Culture.


Why are Indian Farmers Marching against the Government of Narendra Modi

Floriane Bolazzi 18 October 2018

The last few years have seen farmers from several Indian states take to city streets to voice their unhappiness with the national government. With elections approaching next year, the budding opposition movement has grown in intensity – to the point of provoking a military crackdown that has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries.

In recent months, hundreds of thousands of farmers have marched for miles and taken increasingly desperate steps to attract national media attention. Some of the more dramatic tactics include self-scarring, holding dead rats in their clenched teeth, throwing living snakes from the upper decks at the home opener of the Chennai Super Kings, crawling on the street fully naked while screaming “Shiva, Shiva, Shiva” in front of Parliament, holding mock burials for themselves, and dumping huge quantities of milk and vegetables on the streets of big cities.

At the origins of this anger is a complex combination of deep agrarian crisis coupled with a lack of opportunity outside of farming sectors. The feelings of injustice are compounded by a sense of exclusion from Narendra Modi’s India Shining campaign since 2014. Now, in the run-up to national elections in 2019, peasants’ demands generally enjoy public sympathy and widespread support — instilling some fears of a possible upset within the ruling party.


Rural areas without rural power

Once Indian farmers are sufficiently angered to mobilize large-scale protests, it is nearly impossible for any government to contain. Although India’s economic power is not derived from the rural side of global India, more than two-thirds of the total population – around 70% — live in rural areas.

The current Prime Minister stands accused of having abandoned his campaign promise to improve the lives of the 800 million inhabitants who still depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. But it will not be easy to to solve the structural crisis of Indian farming. Paradoxically, the agrarian distress has risen simultaneously with the expansion of productive capacities.

Since the Green Revolution of the late 1960s, India has multiplied its production and has become the world’s largest producer of cotton and the second largest producer of wheat, rice and sugar. However, the contribution of agriculture to the total GDP has decreased from more than half during the early decades after Independence (1947) to around 15% in recent years.

Among the main causes for this decline, the government’s chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian, identifies a distorted subsidy regime which favored cereals like rice and wheat rather than pulses and oilseeds. In the last 30 years, with the emergence of urban habits of consumption, the cereal demand per capita has continuously declined – thereby undermining the domestic market. He suggests the government should move away from subsidies to target crops in favor of direct support to farmers.

The farmers, for their part, portray themselves as victims of market forces, and bemoan the lack of adequate support from the State – which takes the form of Minimum Support Price, procurement and risk covers. In addition, the constant improvement of technological, the need for bigger quantities and more expensive pesticides and the rising prices of diesel and electricity, all weigh heavily on the sector and especially on small farmers who cannot compete in the global market. Nonetheless, small farmers make up the majority of all landholders in India.


A “jobless growth”

According to estimations from the 59th National Sample Survey for 2003-04 only 5% of rural households owned more than 3 hectares and were able to generate more income than their expenditures out of their production. One third of all rural households own less than 0.4 hectare and another third owns no land at all.

Compared with the early 1990s, landlessness and polarization around the issue of land ownership have increased. Farmland is still the primary source of livelihood for more than half of the total population, and it is getting scarcer with demographic pressure.

The country is slowly shifting from the middle to late stage of a demographic transition, but in rural areas the fertility rate remains slightly higher, averaging around 3 children per woman. Moreover, the model of joint household has been declining in rural societies – which has implications for the subdivision of land from one generation to the next. As a result, the diversification of sources of livelihood has become a normal trend in rural economy.

The structural transformation occurring in the last half century in India is also characterized by a drastic shift from the primary to the tertiary sector, leaving no room for manufacturing to absorb all of the excess rural labor force. Indeed, industry has been stagnant for the last two decades, contributing only 20% of the broader economy.

This model of development has been defined by some economists as “jobless growth” where an entire span of the population is trapped in the uncertainty of casual and informal jobs (approximately 85% of all non-farm jobs fall into the “informal sector” according to the International Labor Organization), mostly in construction and related sectors.

Investing in education to face the skills mismatch in the labor market and paying huge bribes to access government jobs is something that many parents in remote villages hope they can do for their children. A vicious circle of indebtedness is thereby aggravated, especially where access to credit is mostly confined to informal institutions that impose usurious interest rates (10 to 15% per month). Extreme debt burdens have even pushed some farmers to take their own life in anticipation of the State compensation of about 250 euros to their family.

The National Crime Records Bureau counted 8,007 cases of farmer suicide in 2015, and has reportedly continued to grow in subsequent years. Loan waivers became one of the core demands of the peasants’ movement after it was first introduced by Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Rural distress has worsened in the last years

Other demands that were inspired by the Swaminathan Commission Report, were submitted to the government in 2004 but never applied. The report had suggestions for “faster and more inclusive growth” for farmers and agriculture sector. Some of the key points were: land reform aimed at redistributing ceiling-surplus and waste lands, and the prevention of diversion of prime agricultural land and forest to the corporate sector for non-agricultural use with the implementation of the Forest Right Act.

Also included in the report were recommendations for the development of better infrastructure for irrigation and an expanded outreach formal credit system to reduce crop loan interest rates and to provide a system of public insurance against losses due to natural calamities for the small farmers.

The current government, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, set itself the ambitious target of doubling farmer incomes by 2022 from the current average of 120 euros per month. Agricultural economists are optimistic about this – but that’s it.

Recent indicators suggest that rural distress has worsened under the four years of the present government because of dismal agriculture growth rates, stagnant real incomes for farmers and declining wages, along with slowdown in the non-farm sector4. The upcoming elections will likely inspire some palliative measures but there will be no panacea for the rural population forthcoming for the time being. The future of this huge mass of unhappy peasants will remain a high stakes challenge for the next government.

Photo: Vasudevan Narayanan