Film Southasia is run by the nonprofit The Southasia Trust. The Trust is engaged in numerous activities, including publication of the monthly magazine Himal Southasian, running the Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange (Hri), and organising seminars and lecture series relating to pertinent issues in the Subcontinent.
Himal Southasian is Southasia’s first and only regional news and analysis magazine. Stretching from Afghanistan to Burma, from Tibet to the Maldives, this region of more than 1.4 billion people shares great swathes of interlocking geography, culture and history. Yet today neighbouring countries can barely talk to one another, much less speak in a common voice. For two decades, Himal Southasian has strived to define, nurture, and amplify that voice. Independent, non-nationalist, pan-regionalist – Himal tells Indians and Nepalis about Pakistanis and Afghans, Sri Lankans and Burmese about Tibetans and Maldivians, and the rest of the world about this often-overlooked region. Critical analysis, commentary, opinion, essays and reviews – covering regional trends in politics and economics with the same perspective as culture and history, Himal stories do not stop at national borders, but are followed wherever they lead.
In Buddhism, “Hri” is a sound or a vibration, the utterance of which awakens the empathy that is an inherent part of every sentient being. The challenges before the people of Southasia must be tackled at the local, national and regional level, and yet the last aspect has yet to receive serious consideration. There can be little disagreement that geopolitical friction, poverty and pressing environmental issues as well as cultural and social dislocation must be addressed through the regional framework. The overarching ultra-nationalism nurtured by each of the national elites in the countries of Southasia has, however, ensured that regionalism remains a prisoner of platitude. There is a need to revive and energise discussions of regionalism on the platform of mainstream politics, public information and research, with a dynamic Southasian sensibility. Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange is a unit of the Southasia Trust, Kathmandu Nepal. The Hri endeavour, besides the more overt political issues of cross-border relevance, will focus on culture, music, literature and the performing arts. Hri emerged out of the need for serious scholarship in the arenas of political and culture over a longer time frame than allowed by journalism. The findings of this research will be published as ‘tracts’ or monographs that will be placed before scholars and policymakers. This attempt to animate the intellectual and cultural space in Southasia will also find expression through conferences and networking activities.
Note: The Southasia Trust has chosen to employ “Southasia” as one word in seeking to restore some of the historical unity of our common living space – without wishing any violence on the existing nation states – we believe that the aloof geographical term ‘South Asia’ needs to be injected with some feeling. ‘Southasia’ does the trick for us, albeit the word is limited to English-language discourse.