Celebrate South Asia

Celebrate South Asia is a series of events recognising the University's connections to the region. This year events take place between 30 September to 23 October.


Celebrate South Asia is a series of events, mostly online, celebrating Edinburgh's history and connection to the region.

Events take place between 30 September and 23 October.

This years events include performance arts, poetry, talks and an exhibition.

See the full programme below. The events are open to all staff, students, alumni and the community. Most of the events are free to attend.

South Asian Students Association – Bol 2: South Asian Poetry and Performance Art

  • When: Friday 2 October, 4pm - 6pm
  • Where: Zoom (Meeting Id - 551 820 2080 Password - Bol)

Bol is a special event dedicated to showcasing South Asian experiences through poetry, spoken word and discussion. There will be an online open mic period for anyone who wants to perform, speak or even just share an opinion and start a conversation about their unique South Asian experiences. Please come along to share, or just to listen and learn a bit more about the unique culture and heritage of South Asia and its people.

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Patrick French – The Indestructible Gandhi

  • When: Tuesday 6 October, 4pm - 6pm
  • Where: Zoom

During his lifetime, Mohandas Gandhi often looked like he had lost, but returned to the centre of public debate. Today at a time of historical reassessment he continues to be embraced from many political directions, and appears contemporary in a way his contemporaries do not. Why do Gandhi’s ideas continue to resonate 151 years after his birth, and what explains their applicability between generations?

Patrick French is a biographer and historian, and Professor for the Public Understanding of the Humanities and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Ahmedabad University. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

Register via Eventbrite

Arundhati Roy: Screening of Portal to a New World

  • When: Monday 19 October, 4pm - 5.30pm
  • Where: Zoom

Following her unmissable conversation with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival, we are thrilled to welcome back one of the world’s best-respected authors to discuss her new book of essays, Azadi. The slogan of the struggle in Kashmir for what Kashmiris regard as the Indian occupation, ‘Azadi!’ is the Urdu for ‘Freedom!’. It also became a chant on the streets of India against the project of Hindu nationalism.

In the light of the Covid-19 outbreak, freedom has, Roy says, taken on another meaning and in a new book of essays she invites us to see the pandemic as a portal between one world and another. Here, taken from this year’s 2020 Edinburgh International Book Festival, she argues, is our opportunity to imagine a better future. Arundhati Roy’s own career as a novelist began with the extraordinary success of her Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things in 1997. Since then she has published two further novels as well as a major collection of essays last year. From this recorded event, Roy is in discussion with essayist, broadcaster and journalist Bilal Qureshi. The event is free to attend but you must book via Eventbrite.

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The Sitar Project – Hindustani Music at Lunchtime

  • When: Thursday 22 October, 1pm-2.30pm
  • Where: Live streamed on YouTube from St Cecilia's Hall

We are delighted to present this concert of classical Hindustani music by members of the Sitar Project. Their programme will include: music in the dhrupad tradition performed on the very rare Rudra Veena accompanied by Jori (drums), a solo performance on Tabla (drums), a Sitar and Tabla duo.

The Sitar Project is based in Edinburgh and provides classes, concerts and workshops in all aspects of Hindustani music throughout Scotland and online. The concert will feature Arfan Iqbal, Hardeep Singh (Sodhi), Dr Alec Cooper and Laurence Howells all of whom are regular visitors to the concert room at St Cecilia’s. You can contact the Sitar Project through their website. Please note due to COVID-19 and restricted access to St Cecilia’s Hall, this event will be live-streamed and recorded. The event is free to attend and can be booked via Eventbrite.

Register via Eventbrite

Sound and symbolism: The decoration and design of South Asian musical instruments on display at St Cecilia’s Hall

  • When: Thursday 22 October, 4pm-5pm
  • Where: Zoom (Meeting ID - 840 9587 3920, Password - 3WXHp7RW)

Musical instruments are objects of beauty and their forms, shapes and sounds bring both auditory and visual enjoyment to the listener and player. The design and decoration of an instruments often has deep meaning, connecting the instrument to cultural and religious identity. Explore this merger of sound and symbolism through the South Asian musical instruments on display at St Cecilia’s Hall. This virtual tour will showcase instruments from India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan and their relationships to people, places and beliefs

Join the Zoom meeting

Mental Health in Covid-19 times

  • When: Monday 2 November, 12pm-2pm
  • Where: Zoom

Join Dr. Sumeet Jain, Senior Lecturer in Social Work from the University’s School of Social and Political Science, along with the Mariwala Health Initiative and three of our University of Edinburgh Alum from India (Zarana Mithani, Aishani Sood, and Saloni Agrawal) who have all undertaking the MSc in Counselling in dialogue to offer their perspectives on mental health during Covid-19. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

Register via Eventbrite

Eastern Encounters Exhibition: Four Centuries of Paintings and Manuscripts from the Indian Subcontinent

  • When: Every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 23 July 2020 to 31 Jan 2021
  • Where: The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Royal Collection contains some of the finest South Asian paintings and manuscripts in the world. Tracing more than 400 years of literary and artistic output, the exhibition offers new insights into the shared history of the British Monarchy and the Indian Subcontinent through exquisite illuminated manuscripts, dazzling depictions of the Mughal court, royal portraits, Hindu epics and modern works

All events at the Palace of Holyroodhouse are managed in line with Covid-secure procedures.

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