A talk by Aruna Roy – Sunday, April 15, 2012

MIT Bush Room (10-105)
77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA

The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia presents
A talk by Aruna Roy

Transparency and Accountability in Governance: Current Challenges in India

Aruna Roy is an Indian political and social activist (and former member of the Indian Administrative Service) who founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana (“Worker-and-Peasant Power Union”). She was a prominent force behind the Right to Information (RTI) movement in India, which led to the enactment of the Right to Information Act in 2005. She has also has helped shape the rural jobs program (the MNREGA) and a food-security bill.

Among numerous awards and felicitations, in 2000, she received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, and in 2011, she figured in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Co-sponsored by:

Association for India’s Development (AID)
South Asia Forum at MIT

Forest Notes on the Maoists – Sunday, April 1, 2012, | Time: 4:00PM

Room: MIT 3-133

Bio: Alpa Shah is a social anthropologist at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is interested in inequality and efforts to address it. She has drawn on more than a decade of field research in India to explore how marginalized people experience indigenous rights activism and Adivasi politics; poverty, the developmental state and corruption; seasonal casual labor migration and transformations in the agrarian economy; the state, education and positive action policies; and the radical left and emancipatory politics, notably the Maoist movement. She is the author of In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism, and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.

Sponsored by:

The South Asia Forum at MIT
The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

Remember Gujarat

An Evening of Remembrance
In Film, Poetry, and Reflection on March 11, 2012, Sunday at 4pm

MIT Room 4-231

Please join us to mark the 10th year of the Gujarat massacre, in which thousands of people, mostly Muslims, were killed and about 200,000 internally displaced in the period between February-March 2002. Our event will start with the film “Had Anhad.” This film follows the 15th-century Indian poet Kabir through a journey of song and music as his modern-day followers try to spread a message of the common ground between people of many different religions. The film showing will be followed by song and poetry performances.
Refreshments provided.




Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Indian-American Muslim Council
TwoCircle.net (TCN).
Association for India’s Development
South Asians for Justice



Uprisings: Kashmir to Wall Street

A talk by
David Barsamian
January 18th, 6:30PM
Room 4-163, MIT

One of America’s most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists,
David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his
weekly radio show Alternative Radio—now in its 26th year—and with his
books, written with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali,
Arundhati Roy and Edward Said. His latest book of interviews with Noam
Chomsky is How the World Works. Barsamian, who was deported from India a
few months due to his work on Kashmir and other revolts discusses the world
affairs, the state of journalism, censorship, the economic crisis and
global rebellions.

Sponsored by:
The South Asia Forum at MIT.
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

Events Organized

The Alliance has:

Organized lectures and panel discussions on politcal issues of relevance to South Asia, with noted activists and scholars, such as Asghar Ali Engineer (social scientist from India), Asma Jahangir (human rights activist from Pakistan), Ananad Patwardhan (activist film director from India), Maitrayee Choudhury (on the Uniform Civil Code) and Noam Chomsky

Screened documentary videos and films, such as Eclipse (on the womens movement in Bangladesh and the conservative religious reaction to it), Father, Son and the Holy War (on the symbiotic relationship between patriarchy and religious bigotry in India), The War Crimes File (on unpunished war criminals from the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh) , Something Like a War (Feminist perspective on Reproductive & Sexual Rights in India).
Raised funds for relief work and activist organizations in South Asia, including during the flood in 1998 in Bangladesh

Campaigned in support of civil rights issues, including petitions for jailed garment factory leaders in Bangladesh (2010), release of Dr. Binayek Sen (2009).

Organized cultural events with well-known artists from South Asia, such as Shabana Azmi and Habib Tanvir as well as local artists from the area

Held a Youth Conference (South Asian Solidarity Seminar for Youth 1998) in cooperation with proXsa (Progressive South Asian Exchange Net), FOPA (Forum of Progressive Artists), and SAAAC (South Asian Action & Advocacy Collective).

Observed South Asia Day each August from 1999 to 2010.