About Us

We are a group of individuals with an interest in South Asia. We wish to explore the past to explain the present and to speculate about the futures that are possible. Only one future will become the past and it will depend on what we do in the present.


Samia Altaf was the 2007-2008 Pakistan Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. She has worked for UNICEF, USAID, the District of Columbia’s Department of Health and taught at the Aga Khan Medical University in Karachi, Pakistan. Her book So Much Aid, So Little Development: Stories from Pakistan has been published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in May 2011.

Dipankar Gupta was Professor of Sociology, Center for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. From September to December 2007, he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

Ahmed Kamran was an active member of the previous student movement for political and social change in Pakistan.

Bettina Robotka is a historian and a Senior Researcher at the Seminar of South Asian History and Society, Humboldt University, Berlin.

Shreekant Gupta is visiting the National University of Singapore on leave from the University of Delhi.

Aakar Patel is a former newspaper editor who lives in Bombay.

Anil Kala: Who am I? When I find out, I will tell you.

South Asian is the quintessential South Asian. In the words of Bulleh Shah (1680-1758):

Na mein Arbi, na Lahori
Na mein Hindi shehar Nagauri
Na Hindu, na Turk Pishauri
Na mein rehnda vich Nadaun
Bullehya, ki jaanan mein kaun

Contact Us: thesouthasianidea@gmail.com

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6 Responses to “About Us”

  1. salma akbar Says:

    ms samia altaf’s latest article in dawn is an other example of people sitting in the comfort of the best of western civilzation and criticizing pakistan and its people. It takes a lot hard effort to do things rather than sit comfortably in the west and just write and criticize. there are lots of hard working , peacful and honest people who are trying to do things right in pakistan , maay be ms samia needs to learn from such people rather than just criticizing. Thanks

  2. Gorki Says:

    Hi Guys

    I stumbled upon this blog from the PTH where Kabir had left a couple of sensible posts. This appears to be a very exciting and a dynamic blog; will visit again; Keep up the good work.

    • SouthAsian Says:

      Gorki: Welcoming you to the blog provides the opportunity to articulate what we are trying to achieve and what you may expect to find here. Most blogs are places where you express and defend your opinions. The South Asian Idea is a blog where you form your opinions so that you may express and defend them elsewhere with expertise and conviction.

      The following analogy allows me to explain this better. When a wrestler goes into a ring he is faced with an opponent and the outcome is either a win or a loss (with the occasional draw). But how well the wrestler does in the ring depends on how diligently he has spent his time in the gym. In the gym there are no opponents, just facilitators – trainers, handlers, nutritionists, physiotherapists, psychologists – and a lot of sparring partners. And this makes it a very different place.

      This blog is like the academy one attends so that one can shine on the stage. This is a job that ought to be done by schools and colleges but is not in South Asia. So we have stepped in to provide a substitute. Given that it is a forum for learning and preparation it calls for a certain sense of humility. We don’t begin or end with the right answer and we don’t presume to know it. We just look at each issue from as many angles as we can much as a lawyer would do in preparing a brief.

      If this is what you are looking for, I hope you find it challenging. Any suggestions to improve the product would be very welcome.

  3. thetrajectory Says:

    Found the articles here very interesting. I am doing a research paper on interactions between Indians and Pakistanis through the Blogosphere. I wld appreciate if your contributors wld care to answer a few questions.
    1. Is blogging (writing and reading) an elitist activity? Do commom people engage in Blogging?
    2. How do you view blogging as a citizen interaction medium?
    3. What, according to you, prompts bloggers to write about achievements or positive developments on the other side of the LOC?
    4. Are most bloggers based outside India and Pakistan and thus present a distinct perspective on issues?
    You may share any other related experiences or responses that you want. I can be reached at thetrajectory@gmail.com

  4. nannikapoor Says:

    Yours is a good blog motivating and cajoling South Asians to find a mean. It is apparently about the common social roots of South Asians. But there are spoilers in the region who for their strategic aims have guided the powers that be in South Asia to a state of overbearing despair. We need to study that aspect

    My blog is an attempt to join the dots from this perspective. Would like to associate with your blog to complete the picture.

  5. Vijay Vikram Says:

    An amazing survey of the Weltanschauungen of India’s reigning talking heads. http://www.newslaundry.com/2012/08/the-secret-olympic-diaries/ Readers might enjoy the levity.

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