Invaluable collections for sciences, open to all IFP


The last few months at the IFP have seen the outcome of several initiatives undertaken on its collections, in a variety of domains:

- That of improved conservation, for example with the renovation of its photographic archives resulting in the construction of a dedicated climate-controlled space and the installation of a new storage system for the 200,000 photos, which Antoine Petit, CEO of the CNRS was able to inaugurate on February 17, 2023 (see the miscellaneous section);

- The highlighting of the history of these photographic archives, through an exhibition co-curated by Sri Syama Subam Chintha, a final year design student from NID, with Bharat S., IFP’s archivist, allowing the general public to experience parts of this collection otherwise enclosed in envelopes, boxes, drawers, and cupboards (see the event section). Other exhibitions will see the light this year, thanks to the hosting of three artists and researchers in residence, to work with our collections as part of a collaboration with the India Foundation for the Arts (see the welcome section);

- Better accessibility to scientific data, for example with the digitization of the herbarium, within the framework of the Fantastic Ghats project, which has enabled it to join a recognized worldwide database accessible to all (see the research section );

More broadly, the digitized data of various collections - manuscripts, pollen, herbarium, rare books of the library, part of the photographs - will be very soon accessible online on a dedicated site, thanks to the collaborative efforts with INIST, and a selection of them will soon be accessible on the “Savoirs Partagés en Asie du Sud” project of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This is the fruit of meticulous work on the metadata and the data themselves, to make them intelligible, identifiable and useable.

There is still much to be done, for example to ensure that manuscripts can survive the ravages of time, or to explore the possibilities of systematizing pattern recognition, whether for pollen grains or bronze statues, through collaboration with the CMI. That would save time on identification and allow us to concentrate on the analysis of this data. But the diversity of these efforts towards the collections shows to what extent they are alive and are at the heart of a large part of our research, far from the idea that they would only be an obsolete heritage inherited from the past.

Contact: Blandine Ripert, IFP - blandine [dot] ripert [at] ifpindia [dot] org

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The Āgniveśya Brahmins of Avudaiyar Kovil and the newly found prayogas on the Āgniveśyagṛhyasūtra EFEO


The region of Avudaiyar Kovil in Tamil Nadu, South India, is home to a distinct Brahmin community known as the Āgniveśya brahmins. They follow the ancient Āgniveśyagṛhyasūtra for their domestic rituals, which sets them apart from other communities in the region. Currently, there are fewer than ten families residing around the Avudaiyar Kovil Śiva temple, and they are the only ones who perform the rituals in the Śiva temple. While other Śiva temples in Tamil Nadu claim to follow rituals based on Āgama scriptures, the Avudaiyar temple rituals are based on the Āgniveśyagṛhyasūtra, making the temple rituals unique.

According to tradition, the Avudaiyar temple was built during the 8th century A.D by the great Tamil saint Māṇikkavācakar. The Āgniveśya brahmins settled around the Avudaiyar temple believe that their ancestors were already living in the area when Mānikkavācakar came there and had a vision of Śiva. Local legends, such as the Ādikailāsamāhātmya, support this view. Although the inscriptions of Avudaiyar Kovil that have been studied are not dated prior to the 12th century, it is evident that the Āgniveśya brahmins have been residing there for a long time.

The Āgniveśyagṛhyasūtra has drawn the attention of scholars such as Caland, Tsuji, Witzel, Kajihara, and Ikari. These scholars believed that there were no other texts known to exist on the Āgniveśya school besides its Gṛhyasūtra, which was published from the Trivandrum Manuscript Library in 1940. However, S.A.S. Sarma’s research and fieldwork on this Gṛhyasūtra have revealed two manuals (prayoga) written on it by Abhirāma and Bhāskara. Abhirāma's prayoga describes all the rituals mentioned in the Gṛhyasūtra in detail, and includes a list of mantras to be used for each. There are three known manuscripts for Abhirāma's prayoga, while Bhāskara's prayoga survives in a single manuscript. S.A.S. Sarma’s project is to publish a critical edition of Abhirāma's prayoga on the Āgniveśyagṛhyasūtra, providing a detailed introduction and a revised edition of the root-text.

Contact:sassarma [at] gmail [dot] com

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International Conference on Socio-Economic Inequality in India CSH Delhi

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Inequality remains a constant concern in Indian politics. According to Oxfam's latest report on inequality, India is one of the most unequal countries in the world, with the richest 10% of the population capturing almost 60% of the national income. Moreover, India's social fragmentation makes it difficult to assess inequality. Although India was the first country to implement a policy of affirmative action, marginalised categories of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) are often at the bottom of the social ladder. In addition to caste, religion, gender and place of residence also create significant inequalities. To address these important issues, Tista Kundu (CSH), Kiran Bhatty (CSH), Nicolas Gravel (Aix-Marseille University), Odile Henry (CSH), and Himanshu (JNU and CSH) have organised a two-day "International Conference on Socio-Economic Inequalities in India" on 30-31 March 2023 at the CSH premises. This conference was funded by the AXA Research Fund post-doctoral fellowship received by Tista Kundu, for her project on alternative assessments of inequality and welfare in India.

The conference focused on several thematic sessions on health, education, social mobility and inclusion. The session on education highlighted the problem of continued schooling for Indian children born into disadvantaged conditions, such as marginalised castes, minority religions, less educated and agricultural families. Research on higher education shows that higher education is helping to bridge the rural-urban divide in India, but at the same time inequality in higher education is widening between the rich and the poor due to the exponential growth of private higher education institutions. On health, we find that the effect of malnutrition and inadequate public health spending, as well as the growing share of private health care, are responsible for the increase in inequality in India, especially in the neoliberal context. Other work finds that people in rural areas often turn to distant private health care facilities, despite the existence of nearby primary health care clinics, raising the important question of the quality of health care services in India and its impact on inequalities.


Contact: tista[dot]kundu[at]csh-delhi[dot]delhi

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Local food system workshop 2023. A synergy between science and society – The case of Millets, IFP, Department of Social Sciences, March 6th - March 11th 2023 IFP

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The "Local Food System" (LFS) Workshop provides a platform to improve knowledge exchange and dialogue between researchers and different groups of stakeholders engaged in the localization of food systems (from food production to consumption, as well as processing, marketing, and distributing) in the bioregion of Puducherry, Auroville, and the surrounding districts of Tamil. This year, the fifth edition of the Local Food System workshop emphasized current research projects at the IFP and stakeholders' initiatives on sustainable agriculture innovations and food systems' localization, in particular, the revival of millet cultivation and consumption in alignment with the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023) declared by the United Nations General Assembly. Almost forgotten over the last decades, millets are now increasingly recognized as the future of food and agriculture, considering their nutritional benefits and their resistance to drought.The six-day event has taken place in two regions: Jawadhu Hills and Puducherry, comprising different activities. In Jawadhu Hills, knowledge exchange discussions took place on current initiatives by DHAN foundation, TVS Srinivasan Services Trust Jawadhu Hills, and citizens on millet cultivation, processing and consumption, as well as honey collection. In Pondicherry and its bioregion, the event included workshop sessions in different villages with Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) involved in food enterprises, a photo exhibition by school students (“Millets in our daily diet”), the screening of the documentary Land of women (dir. Marion Gaborit, 2021) and a debate on food security and food sovereignty at the Alliance Française.

Contacts: Venkatasubramanian G. ; Delphine Thivet

Read more: https://www.ifpindia.org/ifp-in-spotlight/local-food-system-workshop-2023-march-6-to-march-11-2023-ifp/

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Gender Inequalities in Higher Education and Scientific Careers: Examples from Engineering and Medicine in India. CSH Delhi

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This project, led by the CSH, has been selected by the "Women and Science" Chair of the University of Paris Dauphine-PSL. Led by Prof Odile Henry (CSH and University of Paris 8), the project is being conducted by Prof Pradeep Kumar Choudhury (Assistant Professor of Economics, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU, Delhi), Prof Seema Singh (Associate Professor in Economics & Head, Department of Humanities, Delhi Technological University, Delhi) and Dr Aprajita Sarcar, postdoctoral researcher at the Laureate Centre for History and Population, University of New South Wales, Australia).

The study will examine the relationship between educational trajectories and employment scenarios of women in two sectors: engineering and medicine. The first objective of the study is to account for the different mechanisms that may explain girls' orientations in what is now functioning as an academic 'market'. The second objective will be to understand the social logic of the withdrawal of girls from the labour market when they have the degrees that would facilitate their integration. While it is common to explain this supposedly 'voluntary' withdrawal by social and family norms that are extremely restrictive for young girls, it is necessary to recall the context of generalised informalization of work and increased competition between men and women on these labour markets.

Contact : Odile Henry

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The herbarium of the French Institute of Pondicherry online in open access. IFP


The French Institute of Pondicherry possesses incredible archives, one of them is a herbarium, with many rare or very ancient plant observations. In the frame of a project called FANTASTIC Ghats funded by the Japanese Ministry of Environment through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), this herbarium (and 2 others) have been digitized, curated and published in open access.

The team of FANTASTIC Ghats is very pleased to report the full completion of the project of publication in open access of 3 herbaria, on time, with all due deliverables. A total of 52,353 occurrences have been published on the GBIF Portal on the date of 27/02/2023. It gives open access to three collections : the Dang Herbarium dataset (3,598 records), Baroda (21,668 records) and the herbarium of the French Institute of Pondicherry (27,087 records). Each plant observation is published as a unique data called “occurrence” (1 record of 1 species in 1 place at 1 moment).
An Online seminar on Natural History collections and Open Data was held on the 14th of February 2023 following this publication of data online. It has been a success with more than 80 inscriptions from various countries in South Asia. A data paper is ready to be submitted to Biogeographia.

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Hindu Temple Legends in South India – The South India Office at the EFEO EFEO


“The Hindu Temple Legends in South India” project, a sixteen-year-long project focusing on the history of the ancient city of Kanchi, using in particular hagiotopographical texts (māhātmya, sthalapurāṇa) in Sanskrit and Tamil, was launched with a kick-off workshop in Pondicherry in October 2022, and then a further workshop in February 2023 on “Narratives on the Yathoktakārī Perumāḷ Temple”.

The new project, funded by the Heidelberg Academy, is led by Prof. Dr. Ute Hüsken (University of Heidelberg) and coordinated by Jonas Buchholz, with teams that are set up in Heidelberg and Pondicherry (India) in cooperation with the École Française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO), which is hosting the project’s South India Office. (https://www.uni-heidelberg.de/en/newsroom/academy-project-hindu-temple-legends-in-south-india).

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Stories from the Dark Room: An Exhibition of the IFP/EFEO Photo-archives IFP

IFP, February 19th-April 16th 2023


The IFP celebrated the inauguration of its new physical archive space for its photo-archives with a two month exhibition, curated by Sri Syama Subam Chintha, a final-year design student from NID, Ahmedabad interning at the institute and Bharat S., archivist. Stories from the Dark Room explored the diverse collections of the archive, how the institute’s archival infrastructure has evolved and shaped the ways in which images are stored, indexed, accessed and experienced, and lastly, the diverse forms of research and scientific production it has facilitated over the years. The exhibition was visited by school students, researchers and members of the general public.

SOCIAL SCIENCES WINTER SCHOOL IN PONDICHERRY, University of Pondicherry, November 28-December 2nd, 2022


The Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry (SSWSP) is an annual event that offers intensive, multidisciplinary training workshops on theoretical and methodological issues in social sciences research. The sixth edition, titled "Rethinking Inequalities," took place at the UMISARC campus of Pondicherry University, and included plenary sessions, three thematic workshops, and discussions of collaborative student projects. The event attracted 50 Ph.D. students and young researchers from various universities across India, who explored research frontiers in social sciences using qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to understand the multifaceted dimensions of inequalities. The school provided a platform for sharing knowledge and experience and framing research questions. The SSWSP initiative began in 2014 as an Indo-French collaboration between the IFP and Pondicherry University.

Read more: https://winterspy.hypotheses.org/india

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DHARMA workshop on Education in Ancient India EFEO


A workshop of the DHARMA project (ERC Grant No. 809994) was held from January 30 to February 3, 2023, at the EFEO’s Pondicherry Center. The focus was on epigraphy, although other disciplines were also represented, and the main theme was “education”. Participants shared their findings on what our sources tell us about education: teaching arrangements and texts taught (Sanskrit or not), arrangements for the care of scholars (Brahmin or not), architectural spaces for preaching, study, or book storage, writing arrangements, remarks on scriptural practices, education in the arts (literature, music, dance, etc.), modes of presentation of graduates, etc. In addition to the papers, which were presented in the morning, there were reading sessions in the afternoon, devoted to a range of epigraphic and non-epigraphic sources.

DHARMA Workshop on Methods of Documenting Inscriptions


As part of the ERC project “DHARMA” (No. 809994), Adeline Levivier, a specialist in the study of epigraphy with digital tools, as well as Khom Sreymom and Chea Socheat, from the sculpture conservation workshop of the National Museum of Cambodia / EFEO, came to India in late October to conduct a practical workshop on methods of documenting inscriptions with the Trichy Circle of the ASI. One of their objectives was to assist in the production of a corrected text of the Tiricirāmalai Antāti, which was being studied by Indra Manuel. This consists of about a hundred stanzas in Tamil, engraved in the cave near the top of the “Rock of Trichy”. During the hands-on workshop inside the Pallava cave, the EFEO and ASI teams learned about non-intrusive methods of reproduction of inscriptions, in particular how to make estampages following the methods currently used in Cambodia, and about photogrammetry when applied to epigraphy.

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Discussions with Gisèle Sapiro on the international circulation of ideas CSH Delhi

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The initiative for the mission of Gisèle Sapiro (17-29 October) was taken by the Centre for Research in the Humanities (CSH) in partnership with the Books and Ideas Sector. The objective was to study the reception of Pierre Bourdieu, a global intellectual, in India and to understand how the theoretical and methodological framework he built could be applied to the analysis of Indian society. During her visit, Ms. Sapiro gave a total of eight lectures at universities and research centers, making her schedule very busy. In addition to her lectures on Bourdieu, her wide range of expertise allowed us to discuss the work of Annie Ernaux (who had just received the Nobel Prize) and to talk about freedom of expression in India.

Read more:https://www.csh-delhi.com/news/gisele-sapiro-in-research-colloquium-modes-of-intervention-of-public-intellectuals-in-france-on-28-october-at-300-pm-ist/

Link to the recording of the lecture: https://www.csh-delhi.com/news/gisele-sapiro-in-the-recording-of-csh-talk/

CSH Seminar – How the tiger became Indian (and why) – Mahesh Rangarajan

October 10, 2022

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The CSH was very pleased to welcome Mahesh RANGARAJAN, Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University and Chairman of the Ashoka Archives of Contemporary India, to its monthly seminar. He was Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, from 2011 to 2015. Focusing on the links between ecology, society and culture in India from 1972 to 2022. The lecture by RANGARAJAN in November 1972 marks an important shift in perceptions and relationships between the state and nature.

Link to the recording of the talk: https://www.csh-delhi.com/news/mahesh-rangarajan-in-the-recording-of-the-csh-seminar/

CSH seminar’s contacts:

Joël cabalion - joel[dot]cabalion[at]csh-delhi[dot]com

Laurence Gautié - laurence[dot]gautier[at]csh-delhi[dot]com

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At the French Institute of Pondicherry IFP

Padmavathy K., Post-doctoral researcher at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP. She pursued her Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from Pondicherry University in 2013. She has more than 10 years of working experience in research as well as teaching. Her domain skills include agroecology, organic farming, ecosystem services, climate change and carbon mitigation. Presently working as Post-doctoral Researcher in PATAMIL project with the objective of identifying and mapping actors involved in organic agriculture in and around Pondicherry region.

Roja Lakshmi Post-doctoral researcher at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP. She is a Post-Doctoral Researcher under the PATAMIL project at IFP since January 2023. She specializes in sociology of education, tribal studies, women studies, human rights, and social entrepreneurship. She is researching "Women Entrepreneurship on food in Rural and Urban Pondicherry region" by conducting qualitative interviews with narration and case studies methods to understand experiences of challenges, success, and failures of women entrepreneurs.

Prasanth A. Post-doctoral researcher at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP. He joined IFP in February 2023 as a Post-Doctoral Researcher under the PATAMIL project. He specializes in tribal studies, agricultural livelihood & gender studies. He is working on "Food Supply and Food Consumption in Rural and Urban Pondicherry Bio-region". He is conducting qualitative interviews among rural and urban households to understand food supply and consumption patterns among different social groups and geography.

Lucille Lahaye, intern at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP (01/02/2023 to 31/03/2023). Lucille is a student at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre, in a Master's degree program in geography, new ruralities, agriculture and local development. Her internship at the French Institute of Pondicherry within the framework of the PATAMIL research project deals with organic agriculture in Tamil Nadu. Through her research, she is interested in food and agriculture issues, particularly through the production and consumption of millet, in a context of global climate change.

Marie-France Umutesi, intern at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP (01/02/2023 to 31/03/2023) is a student at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre, in a Master's degree program in geography, new ruralities, agriculture and local development. Her internship at the French Institute of Pondicherry within the framework of the PATAMIL research project deals with the role of the State in the development of organic agriculture and the support to conventional agriculture, in a context of demographic growth and farmers distress, in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

Meïra Vincent, intern at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP (21/01/2023 to 12/06/2023). Meïra is a student of the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in Master of urbanism. Within the framework of the Urbaltour research project, she is in charge of the constitution of an atlas on hill stations in India and South-East Asia. She is studying the case of Yercaud, Tamil Nadu, in order to study the process of tourist urbanization.

Kokilavani V. has joined IFP as an associate research assistant to work on various projects (the past and present vegetal diversity of Tranquebar and the flora of Pondicherry) and assist in the maintenance of the herbarium. She will soon be joining the Palynology Lab to help in the preparation of sediment samples for two projects to be starting in spring 2023.

Vinnoli K., assistant archivist at IFP. She has joined IFP as an assistant archivist to work on various projects related to the cataloging and curation of IFP’s digital collections.

Aurosree Paul, archives trainee at IFP. She has joined IFP as an archives trainee to index, appraise and reorganize the IFP’s institutional archives and records.

Sri Syama Subam Chintha, intern at IFP, as a final-year design student from NID, Ahmedabad, has joined IFP as an intern. As part of his internship he designed and co-curated the Stories from the Dark Room photo exhibition at the IFP.

Karthik Subramanian, grantee of IFA-IFP fellowship. He is a documentary photographer who is working on a photo-film weaving archival materials from the Photo Archives, STARS Archive and Herbarium as part of a collaboration with the Archives & Museums Programme of the India Foundation for the Arts.

Devarati Chakrabarti, grantee of IFA-IFP fellowship, she will develop a series of essays, curated walks and structured writing workshops that will critically explore Pondicherry as a site of tourism and history with the aid of the picture postcards and photographs available at the Photo Archives as part of a collaboration with the Archives & Museums Programme of the India Foundation for the Arts.

Sujeet George, grantee of IFA-IFP fellowship. She will develop a physical exhibition, a multi-modal book and a symposium examining the Herbarium as a site of scientific knowledge as part of a collaboration with the Archives & Museums Programme of the India Foundation for the Arts.

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At the École française d'Extrême-Orient EFEO

Riccardo Paccagnella, MA student at the University of Hamburg, spent 5 months in Pondicherry participating in various sessions of classical Sanskrit and Tamil reading at the Centre.

Maria Chauveau, postdoctoral researcher at the EFEO, arrived in Pondicherry on March 1st for a 3-month stay in India to continue her research project on “Bishnoi territories and identity issues: recomposition of spaces and evolution of human-animal relations”.

Olivia Gabriel, from the National Institute of Oriental Languages (INALCO), arrived on March 4th, 2023 for a one-month stay at the EFEO’s Pondicherry Center to continue her research project entitled “Julien Vinson and the Kamparāmāyaṇam: translating a medieval Tamil epic into French in the 19th and 20th centuries”.

Within the framework of the MOU dated 31 October 2022 between the EFEO and the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Heidelberg, Germany, 4 technicians, M. Subramaniam, and M. Ramesh, R. Ramya and Sengamalai Desiga Nayagan, joined the Centre's team to work on the project “Hindu Temple Legends in South India” funded by the Academies Programme of the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, Vorhabennummer II.C.28, as well as the following researchers: M. Vigneswaran, T. Rajarethinam, K. Nachimuthu and H. Venkataraman.

P. S. Sudhanjali joined the EFEO team in Kerala in the British-Library-sponsored Endangered Archives Major Project 1304, “Sanskrit and Malayalam Manuscripts from Śaṅkaran Institutions of Central Kerala” in October 2022 to work on cataloguing the palm-leaf collections kept in Vadakke Madham Brahmaswam.

Abhirami Prakasan, doctoral student from the Pondicherry University, joined theEndangered Archives Major Project 1304, “Sanskrit and Malayalam Manuscripts from Śaṅkaran Institutions of Central Kerala” to help with organising the photographs of the manuscripts of the Vadakke Madham Brahmaswam collection.

S. Saravanan and T. Rajeswari joined the Tamilex Project (a digital corpus and historical dictionary of first-millennium Tamil literature), a newly launched 25-year project funded by the Academy of Sciences in Germany through the Hamburg Academy and undertaken by the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at the University of Hamburg. S. Saravanan is preparing an analytical glossary for the Nālaṭiyār (letters c, ñ, t, n, p, m, y, v) while T. Rajeswari will be finalising and correcting the proofs and completing the introduction in Tamil and English for the Patiṟṟuppattu.

Gopika G., Vrinda P.M., and S. Vishnupriya, have all three joined the Project “Light on Hatha Yoga: A critical edition and translation of the Haṭhapradīpikā, the most important premodern text on physical yoga.” — an AHRC and DFG project directed by James Mallinson and Jason Birch (ref. agreement dated 14 September 2021 signed between the SOAS and the EFEO). Gopika G. and Vrinda P.M will be involved in proofreading etexts of printed books, starting with Vijñānabhikṣu’s Pātañjalabhāṣyavārttika, while Vishnupriya S. will work on transcribing manuscripts of unpublished works, notably the Upāsanāsārasaṅgraha, the Haṭhasaṅketacandrikā and Godāvaramiśrā’s Yogacintāmaṇi), as well as posting the finalised versions online for public access when ready.

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At the Centre de Sciences Humaines CSH Delhi

Diego Veyrac joined the CSH in February 2023. He is a master's student in Social Sciences-Populations and Development at the Université Paris Descartes. His research topic is « Exploring new family forms in Delhi and urban India.» He is conducting a systematic biographical review and interviews with Delhi individuals from different age groups to identify potential shifts in family formation ideals. He is working under the supervision of Christophe Guilmoto (CSH).

Florian Vigroux, joined the CSH in March 2023, is a Ph.D. scholar from the Laboratoire d’Etude et de Recherche sur l’Economie, les Politiques et les systèmes sociaux - LEREPS. His thesis is entitled « Organizational and institutional innovations in agroecological transitions of Indian dairy systems ». He is working under the supervision of Marie Derville and Rajeswari Raina (Shiv Nadar University), on the project ‘TransIndianDairy’.

Noa Sitarz is a master's student in geography at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University. She is doing an internship under the project « One Health » and is focused on analyzing urban planning through the lens of the One Health concept. She joined the CSH in January 2023 and is working under the supervision of Marie-Hélène Zerah (CEPED and CPR) and Olivier Telle (Paris-Sorbonne and CPR).

Paul-Emile Charlier is a master's student in demography at the University of Strasbourg. He joined the CSH in January 2023 for an internship on the topic « Gender and reproductive health in India.» He is working under the supervision of Sylvie Dubuc (Strasbourg University) and Christophe Z. Guilmoto (CSH).

Gagan Kumar joined the CSH in December 2022 as a visiting researcher. He is a historian teaching at Jindal Global University as an Associate Professor. He completed his Ph.D. from the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU. His Ph.D. thesis explored the role of diplomacy, wars, surveys, mapping, spying networks, and law-making in shaping the northwest frontier region of colonial India.

Spoorthi Gangadikar joined the CSH in February 2023 and is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis, member of the LabTop-CRESPPA, and an associated Ph. D. student with CESAH-EHESS. Her current thesis, under the supervision of Odile Henry (CSH and Université Paris 8) and Jules Naudet (CESAH-EHESS), looks into the various ways privatization has impacted India's schooling system, particularly in the states of Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Sahib Singh is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at University College London (UCL). He joined the CSH in September 2022. His doctoral research focuses on the cultural and political articulations of an indigenous environmental movement in India, value transformations, and traditional ecological knowledge. It also explores notions of self-determination and how they intersect with the politics of representation and indigeneity as a concept.

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At the French Institute of Pondicherry IFP

Aneesh Raghavan, who recently obtained his PhD from Pondicherry University for his thesis on the first book (vimarśa) of Mahima Bhaṭṭa’s Vyaktiviveka, left the Indology Department on 30th March to take on a post-doctoral position offered to him at the University of Heidelberg in the project “Hindu Temple Legends of South India”, led by Ute Hüsken. For the last nine months he worked, together with S. Lakshminarasimhan, on the completion of vol. 5 of the Pāṇinīyodāharaṇakośa, a dictionary compiling the examples of traditional Sanskrit grammar, several volumes of which have appeared in the past. Aneesh, a regular visitor at the IFP since many years, also participated in the various events and projects conducted by the Department.

Barathan Narayanan, Ecology Department of IFP, retired in February 2023 after serving 38 years as a Technician specializing in Herbarium maintenance and Forest field works. He remained an invaluable part of different ecological teams and researchers. He made an indelible impression among his colleagues and his work was, and still is, central to one of the IFP's precious Collections - The Herbarium.

Carmen Spiers stayed at the Indology Department of the IFP for the last four years, to pursue her work on the recently discovered Odia manuscripts of the Paippalādasaṃhitā of the Atharvaveda, a very ancient Sanskrit text (second only to the Ṛgveda) on magic and Vedic ritual. Upon her arrival, she worked on selected hymns with T. Ganesan, before completing her PhD thesis on book 3 of the Paippalādasaṃhitā at the École pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), Paris, in December 2020. After the successful defence of her thesis she stayed on to pursue her research in the field of Vedic studies, ancient botany and Sanskrit philology. In 2021, she received the prestigious “Prix de la Chancellerie des Universités de Paris” for her doctoral work. Carmen left the IFP in January to join the Department of Indo-European linguistics of the University of Leiden (Netherlands), where she will stay for the next two years with a Marie-Curie fellowship.

Matthew Leveille, a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia (USA), left the IFP on 30th April, after spending ten months in the Indology Department as a fellow of the AIIS. His work focuses on the stotras (“songs of praise to the deity”) written by the famous 16th-century South Indian polymath Appayya Dīkṣita, particularly his Varadarājastava,and on his Śaiva-Vaiṣṇava religious imagination. During his stay he worked with scholars at the IFP and EFEO, did a thorough search for manuscripts of Appayya’s stotrain South Indian libraries and travelled for fieldwork to Kanchipuram and Thanjavur to learn of the temple cultures there. Recently, he also started a reading group of the Śivamahimakalikāstuti, a difficult poem of praise to Śiva with double meaning (śleṣa), commented upon by Appayya’s descendent Tyāgarāja Makhin.

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Hugo David left Pondicherry in January, after two years and a half as head of the Indology Department at the IFP. After joining the EFEO in 2015, he came to India in January 2016 to pursue his workin the field of Sanskrit studies, in collaboration with traditional scholars. His first book, on the 10th-century Vedānticthinker Prakāśātman and the early development of linguistic thought in India, was published by the EFEO in 2020, and was awarded the “Émile-Sénart” prize by the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 2022.His other research interests include grammatical philosophy, especially the work of Bhartṛhari (5th century), Indian poetics and musicology, as well as South Indian manuscript traditions. Officially posted in the EFEO headquarters in Paris since January, he continues to be a member of the editorial board of the “Collection Indologie”, jointly published by the EFEO and the IFP, and still acts as HoD for Indology until his replacement by B. Larios in August. He will remain affiliated with the IFP, and will continue working in India in the coming years as PI of the newly launched project DiPiKA, “Digital Preservation of Kerala Archives”, funded by Arcadia (2023-2028), which aims at producing a new survey and large-scale codicological study of Kerala manuscripts.

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At the École française d'Extrême-Orient EFEO

Within the framework of the project “Light on Hatha Yoga: A critical edition and translation of the Haṭhapradīpikā, the most important premodern text on physical yoga.” — an AHRC and DFG project directed by James Mallinson and Jason Birch (ref. agreement dated 14 September 2021 signed between the SOAS and the EFEO), S.B.V.K.B. Gupta worked on a part-time basis for several months to transcribe manuscripts of the Haṭhapradīpikā and supervising the works of the research assistants, Dibakami Krutarth and Priyanka Avula.

Paras Mehta, who collected, transcribed and collated manuscripts of the Haṭhapradīpikā, within the framework of the project “Light on Hatha Yoga: A critical edition and translation of the Haṭhapradīpikā, the most important premodern text on physical yoga” left in September 2022 after having been a member of this project since September 2021.

K.S.R. Chakravarthy, left on 1 December 2022 after having worked, a one year, as a research assistant in the project “Intellectual History of Late Vedānta” — ORPG 8704 hosted by the University of Cambridge, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and directed by Vincenzo Vergiani, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge. His work consisted of constituting a Database of Vedānta scholars in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and gathering the necessary documentation to that effect, in the form of printed books and manuscripts.

Marzenna Czerniak-Drożdżowicz, from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, spent some months at the Centre to pursue her research on the cultural ecosystem of textual traditions in pre-modern South India and worked with R. Sathyanarayanan on finalising their critical edition of the Śrīraṅgamāhātmya. Her trip was funded by the Polish National Science Centre.

Lucy May Constantini, a PhD student at the Open University, was back in Pondicherry in the opening months of 2023 to continue her work with S.A.S. Sarma on her project “Practice and Text in the South Indian Martial Art Kaḷarippayaṟṟu: confluence, contradiction, evolution.”

Mary Premila (Boseman), a dear colleague who has been a valuable associate of our team for decades, passed away on 16th March 2023. Mary was an accomplished translator and copy-editor who worked with us over the years to ensure the accuracy and clarity of many of the books, articles, and other texts of several researchers of the EFEO, both in Pondicherry and in Paris. She also taught English to scholars here, from whom she enjoyed learning about their work, for she always took a personal interest in the studies conducted here.

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At the Centre de Sciences Humaines CSH Delhi

Laurent Glattli is a doctoral student registered at Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. His doctoral thesis is entitled « Heritage conservation and post-independence nation-building in South Asia.» He has been affiliated with CSH as a visiting doctoral fellow since March 2021 for archival research in Delhi, Pondicherry, and Kolkata.

Lola Cindrić is a Ph.D. student in Social Anthropology at the EHESS (CESAH-EHESS). Her research aims at studying the technical, commercial, identity, and political issues at stake in the craft of “pietra dura” (or stone inlay/Florentine mosaic/parchin kāri) both in Florence, Italy, and Āgrā, India. She joined the CSH in September 2022 for four months.

Županov, Ines G. is Senior Research Fellow at the CNRS in Paris and a former director of the Centre d’études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS-EHESS). She is a social and cultural historian of Catholic missions in South Asia and has also worked on other topics related to the Portuguese empire. She worked at the CSH as a senior researcher between September 2019 till September 2022.

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At the French Institute of Pondicherry IFP

The CNRS Bronze medal to Marine Al Dahdah


The CNRS has awarded this year Marine Al Dahdah's research in sociology of science and technology with the bronze medal. This distinction rewards initial research that has established a researcher as a specialist in their field. Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Movements (CEMS), posted at the Social Sciences Department of the IFP, specialist in digital policies in Asia and Africa, Marine studies the construction of development programmes through digital technology and their effects on institutions and citizens in the Global South. She focuses on two areas targeted by these digital policies, Sub-Saharan Africa and India, and on a key development sector, health. In a context where the boundaries between health as a fundamental right and as a consumer product are entirely redefined, she analyses the reassignment of responsibilities between public and private actors, between institutions and individuals, driven by digital technology. She suggests that development aid is being redeployed towards products designed by the digital industry to meet the needs of the poorest.

More information on the CNRS Talents website: https://www.cnrs.fr/fr/talents/cnrs?medal=40

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At the École française d'Extrême-Orient EFEO

Sarma, S. A. S. (2022) received the “Dr. T. Aryadevi Endowment Award” for his “sincere and dedicated contributions to Sanskrit studies and research” from Vadakke Madham Brahmaswam Vedic Research Centre, Thrissur, Kerala.

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IFP Editions


Putuccēri Uyirccūḻal Pakutiyil Nāṭṭuttēṉīkkaḷum Makarantac Cērkkaiyum [Native Bees and Pollination in the Puducherry Bioregion. Tamil version]. Written & Edited by Ammel Sharon ; Project & Scientific Coordination K. Anupama & H. Guétat-Bernard ; Inputs Ecology S. Prasad, J. Lazar, A. Indhu ; Social Science Amuthavalluvan V. & F. Landy ; Geomatics Narpavi, S. & J. Andrieu ; Economics N. Gallai ; Illustrator Kiran Joan ; Book Design Gopinath Sricandane ; Translated into Tamil by Amuthavalluvan V., Science & Society n˚1, Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2022, xiii, 68 p.

Full-text PDF available here: https://www.ifpindia.org/bookstore/ss1_tam/

The paper copy is available for sale.

IFP pub2_120x172

Kīrai Putuccēri Maṟṟum Tamiḻnāṭṭiṉ Uṇavu Kalāccāram [The Keerai Project: Leafy Greens in the Food Culture of Puducherry and its Bioregion. Tamil version]. Science & Society n˚2, Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2022, 76 p.
Language: Tamil. 300 Rs (14 €).

Full-text PDF available here: https://www.ifpindia.org/bookstore/ss2_tam/

The paper copy is available for sale.

IFP-EFEO Editions

IFP pub3-120

The Sumatipañjikā: A Commentary On Cāndravyākaraṇavṛtti 1.1 and 1.4. Critically edited by Ramhari Timalsina, Collection Indologie n˚153, Institut Français de Pondichéry / Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, 2022, xx, 424 p.
Language: Sanskrit, English. 1200 Rs (40 €). ISBN: 978-81-8470-245-3 (IFP); 978-2-85539-259-2 (EFEO)

Order from IFP: https://www.ifpindia.org/bookstore/ci153/

Order from EFEO: https://publications.efeo.fr/fr/livres/977_the-sumatipanjik


The East Mebon Stele Inscription from Angkor (K. 528). A Sanskrit Eulogy of the tenth-century Khmer Sovereign Rājendravarman, by Dominic Goodall, Collection Indologie n˚154, Institut Français de Pondichéry / Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, 2022, 331 p.
Language: Sanskrit, English. 900 Rs (30 €). ISBN: 978-81-8470-246-0 (IFP); 978-2-85539-260-8 (EFEO)

Order from IFP: https://www.ifpindia.org/bookstore/ci154/

Order from EFEO: https://publications.efeo.fr/fr/livres/975_the-east-mebon-stele-inscription-from-angkor-k-528

Books ( other than our imprints)


Julhe S., S. Jurion, G. Mainguy, D. Sehili and D. Thivet, 2022. Face à la vulnérabilisation au travail, La Crèche, 336, ISBN: 979-10-353-1988-5, URL: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-03910320.


Rajeswari, T., 2022, Pārata māvintam. Mūlamum uraiyum. Tokuti - 1 (āyvu muṉṉuraiyuṭan mutal aintu carukkaṅkaḷ). Tokuti - 2 (āṟām, ēḻām carukkaṅkaḷ). [Critical edition of an old Tamil rendition of the Mahābhārata in 2 volumes]. Erode : Aram Patippakam. 382 + 310 p.

Vijayavenugopal, G., 2022, Piranmalai Temple Inscriptions, Published Jointly by EFEO, Pondicherry, and the Centre for the Study of Pandyan History, Madurai, pp. 100.

Nachimuthu, K., 2022, Tamil ilakkiyam Inru (Collection of Radio Interviews). KiNaa 75 Publication Series 1, Coimbatore, Prof. K. Nachimuthu Institute of Research for Language and Culture, 96 p.

Nachimuthu, K., 2022, Kavignarkal Kavitaikal Part 1. KiNaa 75 Publication Series 2, Coimbatore, Prof. K. Nachimuthu Institute of Research for Language and Culture, 96 p.

Nachimuthu, K., 2022, Kavignarkal Kavitaikal Part II. KiNaa 75 Publication Series 3, Coimbatore, Prof. K. Nachimuthu Institute of Research for Language and Culture, 96 p.

Nachimuthu, K., 2022, Ulakam Thedum Tamil. KiNaa 75 Publication Series 4, Coimbatore, Prof. K. Nachimuthu Institute of Research for Language and Culture, 100 p.


Patel, Neelam, Dorin, Bruno, Nagaich, Ranveer. 2022. A New Paradigm for Indian Agriculture. From Agroindustry to Agroecology, New Delhi: NITI Aayog, 70 p.

Gautier, Laurence. A paraître. Between Nation and Community. Muslim universities and Indian politics after Partition, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.

Jodhka, Surinder S. 2022. Chathi: Study of Caste. Chennai: ‎ Kalachuvadu Publications.

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Edition of special journal issues


Dahdah M. A., C. Jullien and R. Voix (eds), 2022. South Asia in Covid Times, Association pour la recherche sur l'Asie du Sud, 10.4000/samaj.8195, URL: https://hal.science/hal-04003615.

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Chapters in books


Al Dahdah M., 2022. "Top up your healthcare access": mobile money to finance healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa,In: Chiapello, E. et al. (ed). Financialisations of Development : Global Games and Local Experiments, Routledge, 2023 URL: https://hal.science/hal-03765653.

Balachandran N., 2022. Tropical dry evergreen forest of Southern India, In: H. Dominique, R.R. Josoa, R. Herizo, R. Samuel, R. Vonjison, R. RadoElysé, R. Verohanitra and M.C. Stéphanie (eds), Valoriser les forêtsSèches, Valorisation durable des forêts sèches de l'Océan indien, Antananarivo, IRD, UE/COI-Biodiversity, Ansto, p. 79-89, ISBN: 979-10-95771-40-1, URL: https://hal.science/hal-03942488.

Fréguin-Gresh S., C. Danièle, H. Guetat-Bernard, et al, 2022. Valuing the roles of women in food security through a gender lens: a cross-cutting analysis in Senegal and Nicaragua. Reconnaitre le rôle des femmes dans les cuisines: études croisées sur l’alimentation familiale au Sénégal et au Nicaragua, In: T. Alban, A. Arlène, B. Aleksandra and Z.-R. Nadine (eds), Sustainable food systems for food security. Need for combination of local and global approaches, Edition Quae, Paris, pp. 85-97, ISBN: 9782759235759, URL: https://hal.science/hal-03970978.

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Visit at IFP of Antoine Petit, CEO of CNRS IFP


17th Feb, 2023

The entire IFP team was pleased to welcome Antoine Petit, CEO of the CNRS and his delegation, including Thierry Dauxois, Director of the National Institute of Physics, Michel Dayde, Deputy Scientific Director of Institute of Information Sciences and Technologies, Jérôme Guilbert, Director of Communications, Amel Feredj, Deputy Director for India, Africa and the Middle East, International Cooperation. They were accompanied by Professor Madhavan Mukund, Director of the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), Professor Pascal Weil, Deputy Director of RELAX, Meena Mahajan from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), and also the Director of the CNRS office in India, Srini Kaveri, with its Executive Secretary, Deepali Dham.

This was an occasion for Antoine Petit and the Consule Generale Lise Talbot-Barré to inaugurate the renovation of the photographic archives, after a visit of the exhibition Stories from the dark room, launched on this occasion. This visit was followed by an informal meeting with the entirety of the IFP team, over a drink on the IFP terrace overlooking the sea, followed by a dinner at the consulate with Indian partners, a visit of the collections and laboratories and a lunch with the French researchers assigned to the IFP the following day. These exchanges should lead to possibilities of collaboration, which already began with IFP hosting 3 students from the CMI in May, to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence for recognition of images in the pollen and photo collections.

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SĀDHUS, YOGINS, ASCETICS from our photo archives EFEO

As part of the annual Pondicherry Heritage Festival, a photography exhibition titled “Sadhus, yogins and ascetics, from the photo archives of the EFEO” was set up from February to April 2023 on the ground floor of 19 Dumas Street. The exhibition featured selected photographs from the EFEO’s photo library in Paris curated by Isabelle Poujol, and was previously presented at the Maison de l’Asie in Paris in March 2022.

Concert of Baroque Music

As part of the 2023 Pondicherry Heritage Festival, ‘A Morning Hour of Baroque Music’was offered by the Pondicherry Flute Ensemble from 9am in the library hall at 19 Dumas Street on 12th March.

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General Assembly at CSH CSH Delhi

The CSH held its first General Assembly on 10 February 2023. The members of the CSH (statutory members, associate members and invited members) discussed the results of the past year and future directions in terms of scientific policy. After the General Assembly, the "CSHers" had the opportunity to get to know each other better over a lunch at Karims.

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