India is in the midst of tremendous change. The whole world is watching its rapid economic growth, along with the development of domestic infrastructure and rich human resources. We are also witnessing the flourishing of its urban culture and the expansion of consumption activities following the rapid growth of the middle class. The role of India in international politics is also expanding. India’s global presence is increasing in the eyes of the world.

On the other hand, India is ridden with serious problems. There are people left behind the economic growth and the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. There are also caste and religious conflicts that inhibit smooth coordination and cooperation of society. The environmental pollution as well as conflict over natural resources is aggravated with the increase of economic activities.

We need to pay attention to both these aspects of India in their complexities and paradoxes in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of contemporary India and its future prospects. We also need to understand that the overall development of South Asia as a whole is crucial for global peace and security. This is only possible through the establishment of stable and positive relationships between India and its neighbor countries. It is thus very necessary to conduct comprehensive area studies on contemporary India and South Asia in order to gain a profound understanding of the dynamics of the 21st century world.

INDAS aims to establish research networks in Japan and abroad in order to construct the organizational basis necessary to develop Contemporary India Area Studies. Through collaborative research, we endeavor to propose new analytical frameworks and research methods for a more comprehensive understanding of contemporary India and its future prospects. We have set out the following six important agendas for INDAS:

  1. Interdisciplinary approach: To conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies on Contemporary India by combining perspectives and methodologies of social sciences, humanities and natural sciences.
  2. Establishment of research networks in Japan: To develop well-organized research networks on Contemporary India in Japan by furthering communications and relationships among researchers and organizations from various backgrounds, regardless of affiliation, age, ethnicity/nationality, gender etc. so as to gain a comprehensive understanding of the multiple aspects of India from diverse viewpoints.
  3. International collaboration: To further deepen mutual exchanges among researchers on Contemporary India in Japan and abroad. We would especially like to build intellectual research networks with researchers located in South Asia, Europe, North America, and East Asia.
  4. Training young scholars: To foster the next generation of young scholars who are able to actively engage in Contemporary India Area Studies in the global environment. We offer young scholars opportunities to participate in international and interdisciplinary research and education projects.
  5. Building research infrastructure: To develop an infrastructure of Contemporary India Area Studies by collecting documents,  visual and museum materials and preparing spatial information database.
  6. Promoting academic-social networks and enhancing public opinion: To deepen mutual exchanges between academic institutions and international organizations, NGOs, and private companies which have strong relationships with India so as to work towards the construction of academic-social networks and contributing towards creating more informed public opinion on India and Japan-India relationships.

Research Topic

Although our main focus is on the contemporary dynamics of India, it is necessary for us to study long-term history in order to understand the on-going developments in a deeper way. Also, in order to seek comprehensive understanding, we need to cover various spheres of study, such as politics, economics, society, culture, philosophy, literature, gender, environment, international relations etc. In terms of geographical area, although the present Republic of India will be the main target of our study, we will also try to cover the countries in South Asia and the Indian Ocean World, in addition to many countries in the world where NRIs are active.

Research Method

We adopt the following three research methods in order to understand the dynamics of contemporary India and its future prospects:

  1. We will pursue holistic understanding of contemporary India while paying sufficient attention to its diversity. For this purpose, we integrate macro and micro perspectives as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches.
  2. We will aim to understand the dynamics of contemporary India and its future prospects in their historical depth. We will establish a long term perspective that connects the past and the present by combining the disciplines of humanities and social sciences, as well as the methodologies of fieldwork and text analysis.
  3. We will attempt to understand India and South Asia in their natural and human aspects. We aim to establish “integrated area studies” of India and South Asia which will analyze nature, ecology, history, culture, politics, economy and society as a whole by integrating the disciplines of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.


Contemporary India Area Studies (INDAS) aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the present dynamism of India from a holistic and long-term perspective. This research project is conducted, in collaboration with the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU), by the INDAS Network which consists of six Research Centers at Kyoto University, The University of Tokyo, Hiroshima University, National Museum of Ethnology, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Ryukoku University. Center for the Study of Contemporary India at Kyoto University (KINDAS) serves as the General Office for INDAS. The research themes covered by each INDAS center are as follows:

Kyoto University (KINDAS)
Director: TANABE, Akio (Professor, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University)
Research Theme: Sustainable Humanosphere, Society and Politics in Contemporary India

The University of Tokyo (TINDAS)
Director: MIZUSHIMA, Tsukasa (Professor, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, The University of Tokyo)
Research Theme: Economic Development and Environmental Change in Contemporary India

Hiroshima University (HINDAS)
Director: OKAHASHI, Hidenori(Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Letters and Graduate School of Letters, Hiroshima University)
Research Theme: Spatial Structure and Social Change in Contemporary India

National Museum of Ethnology (MINDAS)
Director: MIO, Minoru (Associate Professor, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka)
Research Theme: Dynamics of Culture and Religion in Contemporary India

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (FINDAS)
Director: AWAYA, Toshie (Professor, Institute of Global Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
Research Theme: Literature, Social Movement and Gender in Contemporary India

Ryukoku University (RINDAS)
Director: NAGASAKI, Nobuko (Research Fellow, Ryukoku Research Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion, Science and Humanities, Ryukoku University)
Research Theme: Living Tradition of Indian Philosophy in Contemporary India

Publication of Research Results

The INDAS project is planning to publicize the outcomes of our research in the following ways:

  1. Publication of Contemporary India Area Studies Series
    Based on and developing upon the previously published series South Asia Area Studies (University of Tokyo Press, 2002), we are planning to publish the combined efforts of the various INDAS Centers in a new series Contemporary India Studies.
  2. Publication of a Journal Contemporary India
    We will publish a journal called Contemporary India once a year.
  3. Publication of a Working Papers Series
    We will publish working papers including the research products of younger generation scholars.
  4. Construction of Web sites in Japanese and English.
    We will construct our websites for the purpose of publicizing our activities and research products in Japan and abroad.
  5. Formation of Research Networks Connecting Scholars in Japan and Abroad
    We will expand and deepen the existing domestic and international networks of India Studies.
  6. Preparing Research Resources on Contemporary India Area Studies
    We will collect documents, visual and museum materials and also prepare spatial information database on contemporary India. Documents will be collected by Kyoto University and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, while the visual and museum materials will be collected by National Museum of Ethnology and Ryukoku University. The University of Tokyo and Hiroshima University will prepare spatial information database.

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