Mass Violence on the Rohingya People – Nov 20, 2017

The Rohingya People:
Mass Violence in Myanmar

Since late August more than half a million people belonging to a minority group have left their homes in western Myanmar, (Burma) in what the UN describes as “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing”.

The panel members have all undertaken extensive research on the ground in western Myanmar, and will explore what factors have motivated the violence, and why there appears to be mass support among the Myanmar public for the military’s campaign against the Rohingya.

Mon, November 20, 2017
05:00pm – 06:30pm
CGIS South, Tsai Auditorium S010
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Journalist and author of “Myanmar’s Enemy Within Buddhist Violence And The Making Of A Muslim ‘Other’”
Founder and Executive Director of the Peace and Development Initiative (Kintha) in Rakhine State, Burma.
Founder of the Rohingya Society of Greater Nashua (RSGN).
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.

Co-sponsored by Asia Center, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute.

Inequality and Agrarian Crisis in Rural India

Association for India’s Development – MIT, Boston & Metro west Chapters
and the
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

Inequality and Agrarian Crisis in Rural India

A talk by P. Sainath

Thursday, September 28th, 7:00pm
MIT #6-120
182 Memorial Drive,
Cambridge MA 02139

(Walkable from Kendall and Central T-stops)

P.Sainath, the winner of the 2007 Magsaysay Award and former Rural affairs editor of The Hindu is here to talk about the agrarian crisis and the growing inequality in India. He was the first Indian to win the Magsaysay in that category in nearly 25 years (after R.K. Laxman). He was also the first reporter in the world to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize in its inaugural year in 2000. Sainath’s work includes a series on the devastation of Indian agriculture by anti-farmer policies this past decade, which runs in The Hindu. Consisting of detailed reports from the households of landless laborers and marginal farmers across the country, the series has set the agenda for investigative rural reporting.

One of his hallmark projects, the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) was launched on Dec. 20, 2014. The PARI website is aimed at recording the everyday lives of everyday people; it hosts the video, still photos, audio, and text articles. The website is not-for-profit and free to view; techies, lawyers, and accountants – are volunteers. The website hopes to grow by all the contributors – journalists, writers, film-makers, editors, translators, public participation. Anybody can send pictures, text articles, photo stories, films – as long as they fit PARI’s mandate – ‘the everyday lives of everyday people’. You can read up more about the website here: PARI

Sainath’s full bio

Free and Open to all

Water Future of South Asia: Divided by borders, connected by rivers – May 9, 2017

Tuesday 7 pm, May 9, 2017

Room 2-146

Speaker: Jayanta Bandyopadhyay

Jayanta Bandyopadhya, environmental activist and professor, author of fourteen critically acclaimed books, is the former head of the Center for Development and Environment Policy at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.

The Himalaya is the climate maker and water tower of Asia. Himalayan rivers feed the large economies of Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. About 3 billion people depend on waters from the Himalaya. The rivers are diverse and feed into the lives and livelihood of vast populations in the countries of South Asia – peaceful sharing of water across boundaries is therefore imperative.

Following the Look East policy of the Government of India, attention has been focused on the Brahmaputra and future options for its governance. Challenges include floods and erosion; hydro-power projects, possible transfer of water outside the basin, water-based transportation, and ecosystem services in all parts of the basin.

A trans-boundary organization among Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India is proposed for future governance of the Brahmaputra sub-basin.

Organized by:

Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

The South Asia Forum at MIT
Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT

Bangladesh and the Politics of Rights – Feb 19, 2017

Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia


Bangladesh and the Politics of Rights

A talk by Sara Hossain

Sunday 2 PM, February 19, 2017
77 Mass Ave
Room 4-231

Bangladesh made significant strides in a number of areas since its emergence as a country in 1971, but its achievements have been marred by political instability and the suppression of civil and human rights. Attacks on workers, critics, and political opponents by state forces have seen a steady rise through different administrations. The latter meanwhile has failed to protect bloggers, publishers, and minorities from attacks by religious extremists. Often the only recourse to persecuted individuals and groups has been the work of independent lawyers, activists, and groups.

Sara Hossain has consistently challenged discriminatory laws against women and secular activists, including “fatwa”s issued to mete out degrading and violent punishments to women and girls. She is a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and an honorary executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST). Her awards include the 2016 International Women of Courage Award, the Ananya Top Ten Leading Women Award in 2005, and the Human Rights Lawyer Award by The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First).


Women’s and Gender Studies Program
South Asia Forum at MIT

Book Presentation: Bil’in and The Nonviolent Resistance – Dec 1, 2016

Iyad Burnat

Thursday, December 1, 2016
7:00 PM @ Friends Meeting House 5 LongFellow Park, Cambridge, MA

Book Presentation: Bil’in and The Nonviolent Resistance

Iyad Burnat is the coordinator for the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Palestine. For 10 years, Iyad and the Popular Committee of this small village have held weekly non-violent demonstrations against the confiscation of their land. They have repeatedly been met with violence by the Israeli military. Iyad is coming to the Boston area to describe what life is like under Israeli occupation, his village’s ongoing struggle for justice and freedom, and what inspires him to continue non-violent resistance.

Iyad is the winner of the 2015 James Lawson Award for Achievement bestowed by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict during its summer institute at Tufts University.

Sponsored by:
United for Peace with Justice

Cosponsors: Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia; Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine; American Friends Service Committee; Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights; Friends of Sabeel – New England Chapter; Interfaith Peace-Builders; Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston

What the Fields Remember – Oct 8, 2016

The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

Invites you to a screening of the film – What the Fields Remember

Room 3-133
MIT Saturday October 8, 3 PM, 2016

On 18th February 1983, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, more than 2000 Muslims were killed in the town of Nellie and its surrounding villages in Assam, India. People’s homes were burnt down and their fields destroyed. Most of those who died were old people, women, and children. To date the Nellie massacre remains on the margins of India’s public history and is virtually wiped out from the nation’s collective memory.

The documentary film What the Fields Remember revisits the massacre three decades later. From the survivors’ – Sirajuddin Ahmed and Abdul Khayer – a retelling of the event, and their struggles of coping with loss and memories that refuse to fade away, the film attempts to explore ideas of violence, memory, and justice. What the Fields Remember also attempts to raise larger questions around collective memory – of what we choose to remember and why we choose to forget.

Followed by Q&A with director Subasri Krishnan

Subasri has been a filmmaker for more than a decade. She also heads the Media Lab of the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS). Her documentary films deal with contemporary politics. Her first documentary film “Brave New Medium” on internet censorship in South-­‐East Asia, has been screened at film festivals, both nationally and internationally.

Governance for Development: Political and Administrative Reforms for Bangladesh

Sponsored by CGIS/Harvard
Supported by the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

Governance for Development: Political and Administrative Reforms for Bangladesh

by Dr. Nazrul Islam

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
4:00 pm, Friday, September 30
CGIS South S354,
1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Governance problems are possibly the main constraint on the realization of the socio-economic potential of Bangladesh. Based on his recently published book, Governance for Development: Political and Administrative Reforms for Bangladesh (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016), Dr. Nazrul Islam will present an analysis of Bangladesh’s governance problems and discuss some reform options for the electoral process and of the civil service in Bangladesh.

About the Speaker

Nazrul Islam is currently a Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United National Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Previously, he taught economics at Dhaka University (Bangladesh), Emory University (USA), and Kyushu University (Japan). He has published eleven books and numerous articles in reputed international journals. His most recent book is Economies in Transition: China, Russia, and Vietnam, published by Eastern Academic. Dr. Islam is also the founder of Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) and is playing a leading role in the environmental movement of Bangladesh.