The theme of this issue is “South Asia and the World.” Three papers and a translation locate South Asian cultures and politics in global contexts across contemporary, colonial and precolonial times. Through their explorations of space and place, situatedness and displacement, they shed light on the interactions between global and local hegemonies and how they shape the constructions of meaning and performances of identity.

In his ethnographic account of the construction of a temple in Montreal, Aditya N. Bhattacharjee examines how Hindu-Bangladeshi immigrants preserve—but also reinvent—their individual-collective identities, especially with the help of religious rituals or pujos. Safoora Arbab’s translation of Ghani Khan’s poetry brings to light a postmodern sensibility far ahead of its times: by reinforcing essentialized representations of Pashtuns in both foreign and indigenous discourses, Khan transcended the East-West binary and revealed how discourses on either “side” were driven by common impulses. Amrita Mishra’s re-reading of Mulk Raj Anand argues that the author, while explicitly commenting on caste relations during late colonial rule, was implicitly performing anticolonial resistance by linking the condition of the caste-bound subject to that of the middle-class Indian citizen under British rule. We return to the power of rituals in the issue’s final article, but in a very different manner this time: Nalini Rao’s study of navaratri rituals in precolonial and colonial times reveals the fusion of religious and royal power and how it is sustained across historical eras in symbolic performance.

We remain deeply thankful to the South Asia Institute for its continued support of Sagar, designer Dana Johnson for his work on the print volume, web editor Deepa Fadnis for ensuring that our site remains up to date, student members of our Editorial Collective and faculty members of our Editorial Board.


Saif Shahin and Jeff Wilson

Chief Editors, Sagar: A South Asia Research Journal