Journal of South Asia Women Studies

The Journal of South Asia Women Studies: Our First Twenty-one Years

Editorial Note by Enrica Garzilli

Almost twenty-one years ago this night I put my fingers on my laptop keyboard and sent a test cyber-message to Dr. Ludovico Magnocavallo, our Technical Editor, and to Prof. Michael Witzel, the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Tantric Studies- IJTS. After their reply I announced to the cyberspace the birth of the IJTS. My message was sent by garzilli@fas.harvard.edu on Tuesday, May 30, 1995 at 9:58:10 PM and received from arcadiax1.arcadia.polimi.it, our old Italian server, at 9:55:15 PM. After waiting for hours with our eyes stuck on the screen, on Wednesday 31, 1995 at 02:55 AM we received our first "subscribe" message from "curiouser and curiouser" of the University of California, Santa Barbara. After a couple of months, Ludovico and I founded the Journal of South Asia Women Studies - JSAWS. On November 29, 1995 we published our first issue.

On May 13, 1997 we established the Asiatica Association, according to the Italian law. In April 2001, the Asiatica Association has become an ONLUS, the Italian Government term for 'non profit organization having a social utility'. This means that all the money collected with memberships and donations will be exclusively employed to pursue our social and cultural mission, and donations are entitled to tax exemption. The Asiatica Association is a non-profit, non-governmental, cultural association, which has been established to promote and diffuse the study of the Asian cultures. It is open to all bona fide scholars whose interest is the knowledge of Asian countries and the encounter between Asian values, Human Rights values, and Western values. Among the main purposes of the Asiatica Association is the publication of our electronic and hard copy journals, the IJTS and the JSAWS.

Thank you for your twenty-one years of good appraisal of our work, for your subscriptions, and for submitting papers, reviews, questions, news, and suggestions. Thanks and to all our authors, and to those working hard behind the scenes - first of all our Technical Editor, Ludovico Magnocavallo. It is only thanks to all of you that this publication - soon in hard copy, too - is made possible.

The 2015 Constitution of Nepal

Three major events occurred in Nepal in 2015. The first was the devastating earthquake that hit the country on April 26. The second and third events are political: it was issued the new Constitution, which substituted the Interim Constitution 2007 and came into effect on September 20, 2015; and the election of the ex Defense minister (2009-2011), Ms Bidhya Devi Bhandari, as Nepal’s first female president on October 29.

The new Constitution split the country into seven federal provinces, grouping together the existing districts. However, two districts are split in two parts and form two different provinces. The promulgation of the Constitution was immediately followed by blockade at the Nepal-India checkpoints of trade and transit from India, including food and medicines for the people affected by the earthquake. Madhesi and indigenous groups protested the denial of their rights as consequence of the boundaries of the new provinces, while Human Rights activists accused the Constitution of being gender discriminatory. In the ongoing protest an estimated 45 people were killed. Most deaths were attributed to excessive use of force by the security forces. On the 2015 Constitution: Why is Nepal's new constitution controversial? (BBC News, September 19, 2015).

The Human Rights Watch World Report 2016 underlines nine major issues for Nepal:

  1. Post-Earthquake Recovery
  2. Constitution-Related Political Unrest
  3. Denial of Citizenship Rights
  4. Accountability for Past Abuses
  5. Rights of Tibetan Refugees
  6. Migrant Workers
  7. Early Marriage and Children’s Rights
  8. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  9. Key International Actors

In this issue

In this issue you can read the poem Am I a Problem? by Prof. Bhumika Sharma (Solan, HP, India), and the paper Nepal 2013-14: Breaking the Political Impasse (PDF) by Enrica Garzilli, which are freely accessible. The paper is a survey of the political, social, judicial, and economic situation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in 2013-2014, before the epochal events of 2015.1 Here you can read my curriculum, including my list of publications (books, scientific papers, lectures, reviews, divulgative articles, etc. Among them my latest book Il Duce's Explorer. The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, vol. 1 (Milan 2014) and the paper Cultural Nationalism and Internationalism in the First Half of the 20th Century: Famous Indologists Write to the Raj Guru of Nepal – no. 3. A Sanskrit Letter Written by Sylvain Lévi in 1924 to Hemarāja Śarmā, in “K. Karttunen ed., History of Indological Studies. Papers of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference, vol. 11.2.” Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2015, pp. 17-52.

The paper Two wives for a perfect life: Nag'mati and Padmavati in Jayasi's Padmāvat as symbols of the integration of bhoga and yoga by Giorgio Milanetti analyzes Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem Padmāvat (c. 1540) within the larger frame of the interplay between Islamic mysticism and Indian ascetic traditions, arguing that the integration of spiritual refinement and participation to daily life – an issue that was strongly advocated by the Sufis of Avadh – represent the central theme of the poem. This paper is the revised and much enlarged version of the the paper published in JSAWS vol. 5 no. 2 (December 25, 1999). Giorgio Milanetti is Professor of Hindi language and literature at Sapienza University (Rome, Italy). Among his publications a translation of Jayasi’s Padmāvat based on a fully reviewed critical edition of the text. His most recent work focuses on a re-reading of Indian medieval texts as sources of historical research.

The paper The ‘Fallen’ Females of Rabindranath’s Broken Nest and Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay’s Blazing Home Revisited by Narasingha P. Sil analyzes two poems, which describe the odyssey of two married women’s quest for realizing their unrequited love and unfulfilled desires of expressing their subjectivity and identity in defiance of the patriarchal morality of their caste-and tradition-ridden society. The contrasting experiences of these two fictional female characters testify to the two authors’ ideas of and attitudes to educated urban women (bhadramahilā). Narasingha P. Sil is Professor Emeritus of History at Western Oregon University (USA). Professor Sil has published several monographs, articles, book-reviews and encyclopedia entries in scholarly presses and journals around the globe. Among his relevant publications Sharatchandra's Caste and Gender Consciousness: A Reassessment (in Sage Open (January-March 2015), Rabindranath's Aesthetics Revisited (in Visva Bharati Quarterly, July 2014), and Rabindranath's Nationalist Thought: A Retrospect (in Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, 21/2012).

  1. This paper was first published in Asia Maior vol. XXV (2014), Engaging China / Containing China, eds. M. Torri and N. Mocci, pp. 323-336.