Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora

  • 2015-17 Indian Council of Social Science Research  Senior Fellow for a project titled ‘Invoking Tamil in a Transnational world: Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora  in Exile’

The research conducted under this fellowship was on the Srilankan Tamil diaspora in Germany, its relationship with the Tamil nationalist movement in Srilanka and its articulation of Tamil identity through language, religion and art. Through a case study of Srilankan Tamils in Germany and their transnational connections, the research examined how exile is connected to diasporic identity. The initial status of the Tamil migrants as refugees and asylum seekers shaped and deployed the idea of Tamilness. Given the centrality of their links with the homeland and their support for the militant movement back home in Srilanka until the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, this diaspora has pursued the goal of globally propagating the idea of Tamil culture.  This, in turn, has effects on politics and culture in the Tamil diaspora at large.


  • 2010 Researcher with Grant from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) to do fieldwork for the project  ‘Religiosity in Exile: Diasporic Hinduism and Srilankan Tamils in Germany ‘, affiliated to  Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn, September - October 2010. 

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Archiving the Cancer Institute

  • 2010 Senior Fellow at AWA (Dr. Avabai Wadia and Dr. Bomanji Khurshedji Wadia Archives for Women), Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s) on ‘Legacy of excellence and outreach: Archiving the Cancer Institute’. ​

Other Projects

  • 2005 – 2007 Coordinator of a team of researchers to explore the historical, architectural and institutional interconnections in the Horniman Circle area of Fort in Mumbai. The project sponsored by Ford Foundation and Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development looked at continuities and changes in this oldest neighbourhood of the city, from the perspectives of urban development, heritage and ethnography. A publication entitled ‘Zero Point Bombay: In and around Horniman Circle’ was the outcome of the project.

  • 2003 – 2004 Convener, Asiatika Committee of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai. Coordinator of the ‘Asiatika: A walk through the Town Hall’ a programme aimed at reaching out to the general public and introducing them to the Asiatic Society of Mumbai during its bicentennial year. The project, sponsored by Ford Foundation and Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, also incorporated a research study on attitudes of high school students to history and urban heritage. I prepared the text for an exhibition on the History, Collections and Activities of the Asiatic Society and the script for a film ‘Steps in Time: 200 years of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai’, made by Rafeeq Ellias.

  • 1997 – 2001 Joint project director of a research project sponsored by IDPAD (Indo-Dutch Programme on Alternatives in Development) titled ‘The impact of a changing social welfare system on relations within marriage, family and social networks in the Netherlands and the public debate on this process ’. Apart from the research report, a joint publication was an outcome of the project.

1.A view of the Asiatic Society from the