South Asia Initiative

About Us

The South Asia Initiative is an independent inter-divisional effort  at UCSD to promote discussion and exchange about South Asia. We support research, bring speakers, and sponsor courses toward  an undergraduate minor in South Asian Studies. We host weekly seminars and round table discussions on Thursday afternoons. Our 2018-19 Steering Committee members are: Vineet Bafna (CSE), Prashant Bharadwaj (Economics), Jana Fortier (Anthropology), Teevrat Garg (GPS), Lilly Irani (Communication), Aftab Jassal (Anthropology), Gaurav Khanna (GPS), Vish Krishnan (Rady School), Ramya Rajagopalan (Institute for Practical Ethics), Gayatri Singh (Library), Saiba Varma (Anthropology), and Kamala Visweswaran (Ethnic Studies).  Contact us to learn more, follow us on facebook, and join us at one of our events this quarter.

Upcoming Events:

Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition With Rez Abbasi & Dan Weiss

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 8pm

The Loft at UCSD: 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093

(via ArtPower)

Few musicians share the ability of Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. He is an alto saxophonist and composer who materializes a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up as a second-generation Indian-American.

The Indo-Pak Coalition, featuring Pakinstani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and percussionist Dan Weiss, blends the sounds of jazz with Mahanthappa’s South Indian roots, creating a new and sublime complexity of sound. The result is a fiery jazz with Indian-Pakistani influences and a modern touch.

Tickets and More Information

Red Baraat Festival of Colors

Thursday, March 20, 2020 at 8pm

Price Center East Ballroom: 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093

(via ArtPower)

Red Baraat Festival of Colors is an immersive celebration of the Hindu holiday of Holi through music, dance, and visuals. Red Baraat has taken the spirit of the festival to the next level: a year round show of communal revelry that brings together what NPR has called “the best party band in years,” a montage of classic Bollywood visuals, and a fiery dancer.

Traditionally, Holi is marked by public gatherings of families and strangers sharing songs, dance, and the exchange of “colors”— colorful dry powder or colored water playfully thrown among the crowds of revelers. It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and for many, a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.

Red Baraat Festival of Colors debuted in 2012 at a sold out Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, and it has since expanded to over a dozen cities in the United States. Returning to its roots of just brass and drums and complete in colorfully painted white jumpsuits plus a dancer, Festival of Colors is a full- blown immersive experience as the band, the visuals, the dancer are like a mélange of colors, each bold on its own but commingling to form a stunning panorama.

Tickets and More Information

Yumi Kurosawa with Special Guest Anubrata Chatterjee

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 8pm

The Loft at UCSD: 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093

(via ArtPower)

Koto visionary Yumi Kurosawa teams up with world-renowned tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee for a program that brings together two expressive musical traditions, bridging the cultures of Japan and India. The duo spin mesmerizing musical tales as they enchant the audience and reinforce the powerful idea of music as a means to enhance the collaborative spirit of our global community. Their performance illuminates the deep-rooted similarities of their craft while highlighting their affinity and respect for one another as virtuosic performers furthering their own timeless musical traditions.

Tickets and More Information

Past Events:

Saturday, June 22, 6 PM, Indian Jazz Journey

Quartyard 1301 Market St San Diego, CA 92101


UC San Diego CityPlace, the university’s new downtown center, is not due to open until Spring 2021, but we are already activating our new downtown presence with an innovative series of monthly cultural events. Next up is Indian Jazz Journey, an East Meets West mash-up featuring four masters of jazz and classical Indian music. Join us for their scintillating performance, along with food and drink from Quartyard plus Indian food truck delicacies.

Jazz virtuoso George Brooks and Indian superstar vocalist Mahesh Kale reunite for a performance that transcends cultural and musical barriers. George Brooks has a colossal tone, intuitive creative leaps, and a commanding technique. The go-to horn-master for blues giants like Etta James and Albert Collins, he helped create the electrifying genre of Indian/jazz fusion with world-class virtuosi like Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin. Mahesh Kale is a phenomenon around the world, beloved for his enchanting, reverberant voice and his unique ability to interweave classical and popular music.

The performance will also feature legendary guitarist Stanley Jordan who captivated the jazz world with his musical vision and beautiful sound. Together with tabla master Subhankar Banerjee, they will put on a brilliant performance of exciting global fusion that will warm your soul.

Join us June 22 at the Quartyard where together, George, Mahesh, Stanley and Subhankar, accompanied by a world-class rhythm section, will conjure otherworldly sounds steeped in Indian ragas and rhythms, creating an intriguing blend of jazz energy and Indian traditions.

Event Registration

Registration for this event is required by Jun 21, 2019. Visit the registration page for details.

Event Fee

$10 for UCSD students and affiliates, $20 general admission


Juanita LaHaye    858-822-2026