Category Archives: SANSAD Events


Panel Discussion: Targeting Universities in Authoritarian India
Friday, April 15 at 7 PM – 9 PM

Rroom 7000, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

Organized by: Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University

Co-sponsored by SANSAD, MARU, SFU’s J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, SFU’s School for International Studies, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, and UBC’s Asian Studies.

India is often referred to as the “world’s largest democracy,” and its economic promise has made it an attractive target for foreign investment. Recently, however, India’s democratic legitimacy seems to have come into question.

On February 12, 2016, Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the Jawarhalal Nehru University Students Union was arrested and charged with sedition according to a law dating back to the British Raj. Kumar and several other students who were subsequently arrested and similarly charged have been widely proclaimed “anti-national” because slogans at a meeting held at the university to commemorate the third anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri convicted of attacking the Indian parliament in 2001. The speakers had questioned the justice of this execution as well as the justice of the more recent execution of Yakub Memon, who had been convicted of involvement in bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993. The meeting had also protested the summary expulsion and eviction of some students engaged in a similar event at the University of Hyderabad that had led to the suicide of a promising Dalit student, Rohit Vemula. Some at the meeting had shouted slogans in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

The event at JNU is part of a growing authoritarianism overseen by Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), politically represented by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Indian society at large going back to the destruction of the Babri Masjid (Mosque) in 1992, and with roots in the nationalist movement itself in the early twentieth century. This Forum seeks to examine the historical context of the rise of Hundutva in general, consider the targeting of leftist students opposed to the Modi government’s neo-liberal project (the so-called “Gujurat Model”) and to draw the connection to parallel processes in Canada under the aegis of “authoritarian neo-liberalism.”


Ajay Bhardwaj, JNU Alumnus, PhD candidate at UBC, and filmmaker (The Punjab Trilogy).

Dionne Bunsha, Journalist, author of “Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat,” and PhD candidate at SFU.

John Harriss is a social anthropologist and Professor of International Studies at SFU. He has lived and done research in India for long periods over the last forty years, and he is the co-author of ‘Reinventing India: Economic Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Democracy’.

Gurpreet Singh, Journalist, author of “Fighting Hatred With Love: Voices of the Air-India Victims’ Families,” and host of Spice Radio.

Moderated by: Samir Gandesha, Director, Institute for the Humanities at SFU.

Celebrate International Women’s Day in solidarity with indigenous women in Canada and India.

Sunday, March 20: 1.00 PM – 4.00 PM

Room 120, Surrey City Centre Library

10350 University Drive, Surrey, B C: Unceded Coast Salish Territory


Cecilia Point, Musqueam Nation

Joyce Galuska, BC Federation of Labour

Kat Norris, Residential School survivor

Parminder Swaich, East India Defence Committee

Sunera Thobani, Race, Age, Gender, and Autobiography (RAGA) Centre, UBC

Itrath Syed, PhD candidate, SFU

Music: Sejal Lal


Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day by expressing solidarity with Indigenous women in Canada and India. Indigenous and Adivasi/tribal women have been victims of systemic violence in these two nations for years. While the struggle for national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women of Canada continues, an Adivasi female activist Soni Sori,a leading champion of human rights and of Adivasi women against the violence of the state in India was recently a victim of a brutal attack.

Radical Desi and South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy(SANSAD) bring the voice of the South Asian community to support the struggle of marginalized women who are especially vulnerable to violence rooted in colonialism and racism. Join us in fighting sexism, racism, and the heritage of colonialism in Canada and India.

For more information call Chinmoy Banerjee: 604-421-6752 or Gurpreet Singh:778-862-2454.

Lecture on Adivasi Struggles

Hari Sharma Memorial Lecture 2015


Shashank Kela

Friday October 16, 2015

6.30 PM – 7.30 PM

Room 1700

SFU Harbour Centre Campus

515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver



Over the past two hundred years aboriginal people of India (Adivasis) have struggled in various ways against the violence of colonialism and the modernizing state of post-colonial India to maintain their rights in their lands, forests, and hills, and their way of life.  Systematically dispossessed and displaced by the colonizers and the elite of colonial and independent India, they continue to resist and fight back.

Shashank Kela is a writer and historian based in Chennai, India. He worked as an activist in a trade union of adivasi (aboriginal) peasants in western India and has written a wide ranging study of adivasi history and politics, A Rogue and Peasant Slave: Adivasi Resistance 1800-2000 (2012).

Information: Chin Banerjee:

Organized by Hari Sharma Foundation for South Asian Advancement