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South Asian Studies Institute

Programs & Events

Find out more about our upcoming and past events.

South Asian Studies Institute Open House

Please visit our new home in K building, stay a while for a tour, chai, refreshments, and interactive activities.

Event details:
Tuesday, March 26, 2024
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Building K (entrance at the left side of building)
Please RSVP at


Sri Lankan Tea Plantation Women’s Odyssey through Middle East Migration

Please join us for this online event with Prof. Fazeeha Azmi, Listening to Untold Stories of returnee labour migrants.

Event details:
Friday March 15, 2024 
9:00 – 10:45 am
Online – Please RSVP for a Zoom link at

Free event, all are welcome to participate



Vancouver Maritime Museum & South Asian Studies Institute Open House

A fun community day at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Embark on a journey of exploration and education at this family-friendly OPEN HOUSE. Engage in a variety of activities such as solving puzzles, creating crafts, colouring captivating scenes, listening to enchanting storytelling sessions, and exploring fascinating archival displays.

Delve into the intriguing world of maritime history and South Asian heritage as you participate in interactive experiences that are both entertaining and enlightening.

Whether you’re a curious child or a history-loving adult, this free event offers something for everyone to enjoy. 

Event details:
Saturday, March 9, 2024
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Ave, Vancouver V6J 1A3
Free event, all welcome. This is a family event suitable for all ages.


Unfolding the Layers of Migration — Sikh Heritage Museum Open House in honour of BC Heritage Week

We are excited to invite you to join the South Asian Studies Institute at the Sikh Heritage Museum Open House in honour of BC Heritage Week, Unfolding the Layers of Migration. 

The Sikh Heritage Museum is a touchstone of history, heritage, and culture for the Sikh community in the Fraser Valley and beyond to all parts of BC. Since it is housed in the oldest standing Sikh gurdwara – the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple in the Americas, Heritage Week is a moment in BC arts and culture that allows us to shine a light on the long and rich history of Sikhs in BC. This year we are hosting an open house and hope to have everyone join us as we commemorate heritage and history in one afternoon with talks, a film, and an exhibit on Transnational Marriages in BC. 

Event details
Tuesday, February 20, 2024  
From 1:00 – 3:00 At the Sikh Heritage Museum 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, 
Feel free to join us earlier from 12:00 – 1:00 for Langar at the Khalsa Diwan Society Abbotsford 
(across from the Gur Sikh Temple 33094 South Fraser Way.
Entry is free, all welcome.



Becoming Human: Using Literature to Legitimize Identity 

Please join us for a presentation and dialogue with the 2023 Dhahan Prize finalists: Deepti Babuta, Jameel Ahmad, and Balijit on November 17th in Building K at 1pm.

The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature celebrates the rich culture and transnational heritage of Punjabi literature and language. The prize aims to promote the growth of Punjabi language globally, as well as encourage new, emerging, and established writers working in the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi.

Please register for this event at 

Unarchived (National Film Board of Canada) screening

Please join us on November 7th for a screening of the National Film Board of Canada's 'Unarchived.'

Building Solidarity: Anti-Casteism at UFV

Please join us in lending support and building solidarity for anti-casteism at UFV by attending an event in collaboration with the UFV Library on September 19th in the UFV Library Rotunda at 11am. 

Marriages and Migration: A Transnational Story of British Columbia and City of Abbotsford’s Komagata Maru Commemoration

Please join us for the opening of a new exhibition, 'Marriages and Migration: A Transnational Story of BC' at the historic Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford, BC on July 22nd from 1-3pm. The exhibit aims to tell the history of transnational marriages in Abbotsford’s Panjabi Sikh community using photographs from the Del Monte collection.
The City of Abbotsford will also be unveiling commemorative signage and announcing the renaming of a section of South Fraser Way in honour of the Komagata Maru tragedy.

THE INDIAN FARMERS' PROTEST (2020-21) - Religion, Caste, & Gender at Delhi Borders

June 20th, 2023 @ 1-3PM. Building F, UFV Abbotsford campus
Dr. Christine Moliner (OP Jindal University) and David Singh (PhD Candidate at the U of East Anglia and U of Copenhagen) will give a presentation based on fieldwork conducted during the kissan andolan (farmers' protest) at its two main protest sites of Singhu border and Tikri border and since the end of the movement, in Panjab villages of the Malwa region, considered as the hotbed of the mobilisation.
For any inquiries, please contact

Equality Day Observation and Celebration at SASI

Join us for a discussion on enhancing inclusion and preventing caste-based discrimination at university campuses.
F Building, UFV Abbotsford campus
April 26th, 1-3pm
The South Asian Studies Institute is proud to partner with the Chetna Association of Canada and the Ambedkarite International Coordination Society for the Equality Day Celebration.

Paldi Heritage Minute screening

Join us in the premiere screening of the first Heritage Minute by Historica Canada showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Paldi, a welcoming and inclusive town founded by immigrants on Vancouver Island, BC. All are welcome and dinner will be served. Please RSVP to by Monday, April 17th. We hope to see you there!


April 19th, 2023 @ 6PM

F Building, UFV Abbotsford campus


Screening of Rails, Jails and Trolleys at the UFV Chilliwack campus.

Rails, Jails and Trolleys is a South Asian Studies Institute produced documentary. The film presents the history and present-day events on the decline of agriculture in India. The film analyzes responses to three agricultural bills passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2020. The response to these bills became the ‘largest farmer’s protest in human history.’

All are welcome!

Date: March 15 2023, 4-5:30 pm. Entry is free
Library of the University of the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack campus
45190 Caen Avenue, Chilliwack

To get your admission ticket, sign-up below:

Register now

Voices from a Smouldering Underground - Panel & Dialoque

SASI is hosting an afternoon panel and dialogue on the critically important topic of caste and anti-casteism.
The issue of caste discrimination has received critical attention at post secondary institutions in the US in the recent past and has become an area of discrimination recognized by Universities in the US, UK and beyond.

Join the conversation on storytelling as a path towards freedom for the marginalized, learn parallels between the historical experiences of woman and lower castes in India, explore ideas for moving forward and gain life insight from towering authors who over have overcome barriers.

Our speakers on this afternoon:

  • Balbir Madhopuri, an award winning, widely acclaimed poet/author and speaker and it is a great honour to have him in our midst.
  • Arvinder Kaur Dhaliwal who is also an acclaimed author and poet

All are welcome!

Date: Nov 17 at 1:00 pm Entry free
Room F125, F Building, University House
University of the Fraser Valley, 33844 King Road Abbotsford

For any questions, please contact us at or call at 604-854-454


Research Colloquium: Youth Crime Prevention and Sports

November 25-26, 2022

It is very clear that involvement in sport can impact different aspects of one’s personality and social setting in both positive and negative ways.  It is also clear that risk-based theories of youth crime prevention rest on shaky evidence and that positive youth development interventions, through sports or other forms of interventions, still must demonstrate how they can produce tangible crime prevention outcomes. The colloquium brings together Canadian researchers who focus on crime prevention and desistance from crime and researchers who have studied the role that sports can play in fostering positive youth development.

Join us for a 1.5 day conversation on how to address these issues. For more information, please visit:

 Ehsaas Readers and Writers Festival

You are all invited to the SASI's tradition of commemorating brilliant writers, poets, and authors through the 'Ehsaas Readers and Writers Festival.' Join us in person on October 13th, at 6pm. Featuring a book launch for Tariq Malik's 'Exit Wounds' and the e-launch of Dr. Rajnish Dhawan's 'That Land Beyond the Waves,' there will also be readings from poets Dr. P. Rathanaswami, Subbu Govindarajapuram, and Dr. Kusum Soni. 

Thursday October 13th 2022
South Asian Studies Institute, UFV Abbotsford Campus
33844 King Road

Room F125 - at the Uhouse building


T‌he SASI, in partnership with Tourism Abbotsford is pleased to present a second screening of 'Rails, Jails and Trolleys,' a documentary film on the world's largest farmers protest.

Saturday, October 1st


Eventbrite tickets available at:

The SASI is pleased to host the launch of "An Ocean of Peace," a travelling exhibit curated by the New Westminster Museum. The exhibit opening will take place at the Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site, Gur Sikh Temple.

Sunday, June 19th, 2pm

All are welcome.


SASI 5th Annual Symposium - November 19, 2021

Building a Diasporic Roadmap through Inquiry and Engagement

‌outh Asia represents the regions of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. More broadly, the historical, political, cultural and linguistic boundaries that constitute the South Asian region are complex and intricate, complicated and intertwined while being vastly heterogeneous. This is further reinforced in the make up and experiences of the Canadian diasporic communities from these regions all across BC and Canada. Included in the complexity of such a large region are “twice and third migrants” from the region who migrate to Canada from other second and third countries.

Since 2017, the South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) has hosted an annual symposium engaging in topics related to South Asian Canadian geo-political spaces, naming, gender, caste, history, and culture. Given the apotheosis of the time we are living in - and with an ongoing commitment to shift and build solidarities amongst our communities, the SASI invites you to ourfifth annual symposium which looks at building a road map through regional understanding.

The 2021 symposium is organized as a round table discussion where, through conversation we build upon the work of inter-disciplinary academics and other stakeholders in order to create a road map towards furthering current and future research and building partnerships.

We invite your perspectives based on the intersectionality of lived experiences with themes ranging from politics, policy, culture, language, art, aesthetics, activism, heritage, food, clothing, history, society, development, philanthropy, social justice etc. – any and all of the areas of work that drive your passion as it relates to South Asia and the Diaspora. 

The questions we aim to explore are: 

  • What is required to build a robust and forward thinking research road map that reflects South Asian diasporic communities with academics, scholars, researchers, students, activists, cultural historians and interested organizations?
  • What foundations need to be built (and how) that help us secure a foothold for further and future research that deepens engagement, builds historical records and enhances diasporic internal and external understandings?
  • How do we address issues related to how South Asian Canadian histories have been omitted, erased and neglected by post-secondary, heritage/historic organizations, K-12 education, the GLAM sector etc.?
  • How do we design/implement solidarity (as action) for South Asian Canadian research and studies that is inclusive of South Asian Canadian diasporas in BC?

RSVP your attendance at by November 1st or call for more information at 604-854-4547.

SASI Director, Dr. Satwinder Bains is a contributor to the book "Abbotsford - A Diverse Tapestry." Please join her, and all other authors/contributors for the virtual launch on Tuesday, June 29th at 7pm.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 657 0893 0768 Passcode: 105349

All are welcome. Please contact Kris Foulds for more information or to purchase a copy by emailing: or call 604-864-8087 ext.122.

"Global Solidarity with India's Farmers: Conversations with Canadian Union Leaders and Political Representatives."

DAY: S‌unday, June 27th


To register:

The SASI is please to partner with the Hari Sharma Foundation to host a meaningful conversation on the ongoing Farmers Protest.

May 26, 2021, marked the completion of six months of India's farmers' and workers' protest at the borders of the national capital of Delhi against the three contentious farm laws. These farm laws were passed in September 2020 by the Modi government, without consultation or debate in the midst of the first wave of the Covid pandemic and lockdown. The farmers oppose these laws because they will empower corporations to seize their land, jeopardize their livelihood, create food insecurity and deepen the agrarian crisis facing the country.

These farm laws are part and parcel of neoliberal policies expropriating people's resources, labour and livelihoods worldwide. The global significance of this largest and longest non-violent peaceful protest by the Indian farmers has been warmly appreciated by labour unions, political activists and farmers everywhere. Many city councils in Canada, such as Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, and others, along with many Canadian labour organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Federations of Labour, and UNIFOR, have passed resolutions or issued statements in support of the demands of the Indian farmers.

Islamophobia: Seeking solutions for hate: Eradicating Islamophobia and the systemic structures of racism

The SASI is pleased to partner with UFV's Peace and Reconciliation Centre (PARC) to have an important conversation on hate and how to enact change.

 Wednesday, June 23

6:30pm – 8:30pm
Zoom Link-
Free – Open to public
Email –

“Our heart goes out to the Afzaal family and all members of the Muslim community in the wake of this heinous hate-motivated mass murder. This tragic act of violence tears at the very fabric of our society and reveals that Islamophobia and racism are alive and well in Canada.

We know that this crime will cause all members of the Islamic faith to fear for their lives and to feel that they cannot be safe within Canada.

We must all do everything we can to counter this and to affirm for Muslims that we are committed to eradicating Islamophobia and the systemic structures of racism.”

Dr. Keith Carlson
PARC Director



Constructing Heritage in Canada's South Asian Diaspora

June 16 2021

10 am (Pacific Daylight Time) via Zoom.

Presented by the Association of Critical Heritage Studies – Canada 

This symposium examines the construction and performance of cultural heritage in South Asian diaspora communities in Canada. Panelists bring critical perspectives on how and why ‘heritage’ is important in grassroots settings, and whose heritage is omitted from the Canadian historical record.

And we ask: How does diasporic heritage challenge issues – such as the term South Asian, or the term Canadian?


Dr Satwinder Kaur Bains, University of the Fraser Valley

Dr Srilata Ravi, University of Alberta

Itrath Sayed, Simon Fraser University

Kathleen Boodhai, Northumbria University


Dr Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo and Dr Susan Ashley (Co-chairs ACHS – Can)

To register

For more information contact


Abstract: As the ongoing farmers struggle in India completes six months, it has attracted global attention. The Indian diaspora has taken special interest and played a key role in this movement. What makes for this unexpected and extraordinary success of this movement? What are the lessons here? What has the movement achieved in the first six months? And, what is the roadmap and the challenges ahead? What does this movement signal for the future of Indian democracy? 

Biography: Yogendra Yadav is an author, social activist, journalist and Psephologist, whose primary interests are in the political and social sciences. He has taught Political Science at Panjab University, Chandigarh (1985- 93) and has been a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi since 2004. He has published a number of articles and books. His current book, “Making Sense of Indian Democracy: Theory as Practice ” was published in 2020. He was an editor and advisor for various publications, such as the European Journal of Political Research. He is the national convener of Jai Kisan Andolan (JKA), and also a convener of All India Kisan Sangarshana Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) that lead the current farmers ’ movement in India. 
DATE: Wednesday, June 2, 2021 TIME: 9.00 AM PST 9:30 PM IST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 850 2565 0656
Passcode: 907686




Farmers Movement and Emerging Solidarities in Rural Punjab: Caste, Class and Sikhi

DATE: Friday, April 23rd, 2021


To attend the online lecture please register at: 

(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the lecture)

Abstract: Rural Punjab has been a divided region. The most important axis of this division has been through caste, which also overlaps with class. Almost all the agricultural land is owned and cultivated by Jatts and a few other minor caste groups, such as Sainis, Kambojs, Rajputs and Labanas. Dalits, who make for more than 30% of the state population, are almost all landless. This presentation will look at how the current farmers' movement has provided an opportunity to rebuild solidarities across castes. Unlike other regions of India, Punjab has the idiom of Sikhi that could help in building newer solidarities across caste communities.

Join Dr. Surinder S. Jodhka, Professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University to take part in the conversation. Moderated by SASI Director, Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains. Q&A to follow.


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