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A Short History

"disseminating information on economic, social political and cultural developments in countries of South Asia"
CERAS Centre d'études et de ressources sur l'Asie du Sud (South Asia Research and Resource Centre) was founded as a secular democratic organisation in May 1993 with the objectives of disseminating information on economic, social political and cultural developments in countries of South Asia, establishing liaison between individuals and organisations in Canada with those in South Asian countries with the purpose of increasing fruitful exchange in various fields and building cooperation between Canadian organisations and their counterparts in South Asia. We are happy to report that it has carried out its founding mandate more effectively than was anticipated at its founding.

CERAS is still a very young organisation. In the short period of a little more than three years, we have been able to organise a large number of programs addressed by visitors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan as well by prominent activists from Canada and the U.S.A, concerned with South Asia.

Our activities include organising meetings and seminars in cooperation with other organisations more commonly with South Asian Women's Community Centre, assisting in the activities of other secular democratic organisations in Montreal and other cities such as Toronto, New York, Boston and Kingston, developing active relationship with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and assisting them whenever we can. Community work among the South Asian immigrants in Quebec is not the main plank of our program; this is done by other friendly organisations. Nevertheless, we occasionally undertake such programs such as preparing material on the specific health needs of the South Asian community for use by the medical and para-medical professionals in Montreal.

Year 1993

May 4: Sardar Sarovar the Great Whale of India, speaker: André Nol, journalist, La Presse.

June 30: Prospects of democracy in Pakistan, speakers: Prof. Feroz Ahmed (Washington), and Prof. Mohammad Qadeer (Kingston) organized with Pakistan Association of Quebec.

July 23: India's Family Planning Programs, speaker: Dr. Satyamala (New Delhi), organized with South Asian Women's Community Centre.

August 1: Fundamentalism in South Asia with special focus on India, speaker: Dr. Narendra Singh (Mysore).

Sept.25: A play by Montreal Serai: Five or Six Characters in Search of Toronto to raise funds for CERAS.

Oct.10: An Evening of Urdu Poetry with Fehmida Riyaz (Pakistan) and other poets organized with Pakistan Association of Quebec.

Oct.12: Women's rights and democracy in Pakistan, speaker: Fehmida Riyaz, writer and poet from Pakistan.

Year 1994

April 18: People's literacy programs in India, speaker: K.K Krishnakumar; organized with Regroupement des Groupes Populaires en Alphabétisation du Québec.

April 27: Contraceptives, a feminist perspective, speaker: Judith Richter (Amsterdam).

June 17-19: FUNDAMENTALISM AND DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS OF WOMEN: THE INDIAN CONTEXT Invited guests: Prof. Uma chakravarti and Rati Rao (India) and Pat McGuire (USA) and Khushi Kabir (Bangladesh)

August 7: Artists in struggle for Indian independence, speaker: S.M. Mehdi (India)

Sept.17: Artists against religious violence: Role of SAHMAT, speaker: Vivan Sundaram(India).

Oct. 1: Evolving economic policies in India, speaker: Dr. Ashok Mitra (Calcutta, India).

Nov. 1: Development journalism: A critique of media and development in India, speaker: P Sainath (India).

Nov. 4: Into the European mirror, a video by Julian Samuel.

Dec. 6: Father, son and holy war, a documentary by Anand Patwardhan

Year 1995

Feb.17: The Marxian concept of Capital and the Soviet Experience speaker: Prof. Paresh Chattopadhyay.

March 17: Problems of the Indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh), speaker: Suhodh Bikash Chakma.

March 31: Current situation in Pakistan, speaker: Dr. Mohammad Qadeer

April 30: The Fourth International Conference on Women (Beijing), speaker: Khushi Kabir (Bangladesh).

May 29: New World Order and the Fishing people of India, speaker: Nidhi Srinivas

June 6: South Asian workers in the Gulf region, speaker: Prof. Hassan Gardezi

August 8: Reflections on the political history ofPakistan, speaker: Ahmed Altaf (Karachi, Pakistan).

August 30: Literacy movement in India, speaker: M.P. Parameswaran (Kerala, India).


Year 1996

March 19: Impact of Globalisation in India: Socio-economic and Cultural Aspects, speaker: Sudeep Banerjee (India)

May 5: People's Resistance and Culture, speaker: Habib Tanvir (India)

May 10: Elections in India: Results, analyses and Prospects, Panel: Rana Bose, Daya Varma and Jooneed Khan;Live from India: Asad Zaidi and Sumanto Banerjee

May 18: Globalisation, Poverty and Women's Health, speakers: Jasodhara Bagchi, Anuradha Chanda, Paramita Banerjee, Nivedita Chakraborty, Santana Acharya, Nasiruddin Khandokar and Krishna Banerjee (Jadavpur University, India)

August10: Alternative Film Industry in Bangladesh, speaker: Masihuddin Shaker (Bangladesh)

Sept. 29: Annual General Meeting of CERAS

Oct. 18-20: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: BANGLADESH 1971-1996; PEOPLE'S STRUGGLES, Invited speakers: Farida Akhtar, Philip Gain, Shamsul Huda, Khushi Kabir, Sultana Kamal, Manjurul Ahsan Khan, Michael Soren, Karhad Mazhar and Devasish Roy (Bangladesh); Ranabir Samaddar (India); Raunak Jahan, Shelly Feldman, Lee Lakeman and Bara MBengue (North America)

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