Tushar Kanti Barua

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B.A. (Hons), M.A., Dr. Litt., Ph.D.
Tushar Kanti Barua
Professor Tushar Kanti Barua Professor Tushar Kanti Barua
Born31. October 1935
Chittagong, East Bengal Bangladesh
🏡 ResidenceStaranzano Italy
🏳️ CitizenshipSwiss and Italian
🎓 Alma materUniversity of Florence
💼 Occupation
👩 Spouse(s)Dr. Onoria Parini

Professor Tushar Kanti Barua (born 31. October 1935 in Chittagong) is a Bengali Anthropologist, Archeologist, and Historian. He is known internationally for his writings and research on the Society, Culture, and Politics of the Indian sub-continent.


After attending high school (Junior Cambridge) at St. Anthony's High School in Calcutta and his matriculation exam at the Gasbaria High English School in Chittagong, conducted by the East Bengal Secondary Education Board, Dacca, and was placed in the First Division with distinction in Mathematics. Then he enrolled at the Chittagong Government College and obtained the diploma of I.A. (Intermediate Arts) with a very high rank in the list of successful candidates (13th position) of all the candidates in East Pakistan.

He enrolled at the University of Dacca in the course of B.A. (Hons) in History, with Political Science and Economics as Supplementary Subjects, and graduated in 1957. He completed his M.A. (Master of Arts) in Archeology and Ancient Indian History in 1958 and won in 1959 the competition for the place of Archaeologist - Researcher at the Department of Archeology, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Karachi, West Pakistan.

Barua conducts different excavations and archaeological explorations in Sind and West Punjab in western Pakistan (1959–62), and was Curator of the Archaeological Museum of Comilla, East Pakistan (1961–62). In 1962 he wins the competition for Field Officer (Director) for archaeological excavations, Department of Archeology, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Karachi.

He earns a scholarship for "post-graduate studies" of the Italian government at the University of Florence (1962–64) and to study with Professor Paolo Graziosi, a prominent Ethnologist with the Thesis: The Cultural Relations between the Tribes of Hindukush and those of Chitral and obtains a degree of "Dottore in Lettere" with the maximum marks 110/110 at the Faculty of Letters at the University of Florence in 1965. During his stay, he undertakes various visits in different Ethnographic Museums: British Museum, London; Basel; Pigorini in Rome; Musèe de l'Homme in Paris, to study the administration, organization and exhibition of objects in the ethnographic collections.

On his return to Pakistan he won the competition for the post of Director of the Ethnological Museum, Chittagong in East Pakistan (1965). With serious obstacles and disagreements with the superiors of the Department of Archeology, Government of Pakistan, concerning the administration, organization and collection of objects among the ethnic groups of Chittagong Hill Tracts and their display in the Museum, he resigns from the position as Director and leaves Pakistan in 1966.

Professor Barua was invited to the Max-Planck Institute in Heidelberg on behalf of the Seminar for Ethnology, South Asian Institute, to deliver a lecture on his research. He was shortly afterwards offered the position of Scientific Officer and Lecturer at the University of Heidelberg.

Barua is married to Dr. Onoria Parini, daughter of the famous Italian Sculptor, Ceramic Artist and Engraver, Andrea Parini (1906–1975).

Professor Lorenz G. Löffler, Chairman of the Ethnology Seminar, University of Zurich, invited Prof. Barua from San José State University as a visiting Professor to give some lectures in the summer semester on the Social, Economic and Political problems of Bangladesh immediately after independence, and to organize a group of advanced students for a projected field research in Bangladesh in the winter of 1972-73. The Swiss National Foundation had responded very generously to the application for a grant to undertake this field research (He was joint applicant along with Prof. Dr. Lorenz Löffler).


He earned his Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), Ethnologisches Seminar, Faculty of Philosophy 1, University of Zurich, with the dissertation: Political Elite in Bangladesh (1976)


Scientific Officer and Lecturer, Seminar for Ethnology, South Asian Institute, University of Heidelberg, West-Germany (1967–68)

Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA (1971–72)

Professor, Department of Anthropology, Chair, Anthropology of Socio-Cultural Change, San José State University, California, USA (1968–74), on leave of absence from San José State University from 1972-74 as visiting Professor Department of Social Anthropology (Ethnologisches Seminar), University of Zurich, Switzerland

Adjunct Professor and Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology (Ethnologisches Seminar), University of Zurich, Switzerland (1975-2002). He also taught political Sociology of Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent, Institute of Sociology, University of Zurich, Switzerland (2000-2002)

Visiting Professor: Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli (1983); Storia Politica del Subcontinente Indiano, Università di Catania, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche (1990); Centro Ettore Majorana for Scientific Culture (19-25 March 1990), Erice, Palermo

Visiting Professor: Università degli Studi di Cassino, Department of Anthropology, Facoltà di Magistero, to deliver some lectures on Relationship between "Symbolism and Power" (4-7 February 1991)

Membership and associations[edit]

  • Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, London, England (1975-)
  • Member, INAS, International Network for the Assessment of Social Transformation, The "Groupe de Neuchatel", Switzerland


  • Fellow, American Anthropological Association, Washington D.C., USA (1969–78)
  • Associate, Current Anthropology, Chicago, USA (1968-2002)
  • Associate, Center for South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Member, Commonwealth Human Ecology Council, London, England
  • Member, International Scientific Board, Swiss Academy of Development (SAD), Bern, Switzerland (1976-2002)
  • Member, ISMEO, Istituto per gli Studi del Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Rome, Italy (1982)

Fieldwork, Research and Publication Grants[edit]


West Pakistan: Archeological Excavations and Explorations; Ethnic Groups of Hindukush and Chitral (Kalash and Kafirs) (1959–61)

East Pakistan: Culture, Kinship System and Socio-Economic Organization of the Ethnic Groups of Chittagong Hill-Tracts (1965–66)

Bangladesh: Processes of Elite formation and their connection to Socio-Economic and political Organizations (1972–73)

Bangladesh: Political Processes and the problems of Socio-Cultural and Economic change (1978–79)

Research and Publication Grants

Swiss National Science Foundation Grant for anthropological Research in Bangladesh, nr. 1.684.72: Field Director and Coordinator of Field Research Group of the University of Zurich (1972)

Publication Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation, nr. 91.346.77 for the publication of Political Elite in Bangladesh (1978)

Post-Doctoral Research Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation, nr. 1.687-0.78 (1978–80)


Among numerous Publications and Conferences, following are the most important:

  • Two Bronze Statuettes from Chittagong Hill Tracts, In: Journal of Asiatic Society of Pakistan, Dacca, Vol. V, 1960, pp 175–77 (with three Photographs). Reference Bibilogr. Journal of Oriental Art, University of London
  • Political Elite in Bangladesh: a Socio-Anthropological and Historical Analysis of the Processes of their Formation, published with the Support of the Swiss National Science Foundation, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Las Vegas: Peter Lang (publisher), 354 pages, (1978) [1]
  • The Role of the Military in South Asia with special Reference to India and Pakistan, Paper presented to the Sixth European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Sevrès, Paris (1978) Colloques Internationaux du C.N.R.S., Nr. 582. In: Asie Du Sud, Tradition et Changement, Paris, 1979, pp: 385-395.
  • Military Regime in Pakistan and Bangladesh: A contrast in Political Processes, Paper presented to the Xth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, New Delhi (1978) In: Geographica Helvetica, Zurich, Nr. 2, 1979, pp: 68-72.
  • Urban Elite in Dhaka: An Exploratory Formulation, In: Un nouveau regard sur la Ville: Contributions à l'ethnologie urbaine, Ethnologica Helvetica, Zurich, Nr. 6, 1982, pp. 61–71
  • Conflict and Factionalism in the Elite Politics of Bangladesh, Paper presented to the Seventh European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Centre of South Asian Studies, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) University of London, In: Changing South Asia: Politics and Government, edited by Kenneth Ballhatchet & David Taylor. Asian Research Service, Hong Kong, 1984, pp. 179–87
  • The Politics of Progress: Elites and Development in Bangladesh, In: Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Asian Studies, Asian Research Service, Hong Kong, 1986, pp. 953–978
  • Symbolism and Power Relationship in Bangladesh, Paper presented to the Eighth European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, Taelberg, Sweden, (July 1981) In: Literature, Social Consciousness and Polity. Edited by Iqbal Narain and Lothar Lutze, New Delhi, Manohar, 1987, pp. 93–113
  • How does an Indian look at Indigenous Indian Medicine?: An Anthropological Viewpoint, Contribution to the International Workshop on "Health and Illness: A comparison of Concept in India and Europe", Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, In: Salute, Malattia e Morte: India ed Europa a Confronto, a cura di G. G. Filippi, Milano, IPL, 1991, pp. 119–131
  • Medical Anthropology: A Mirror for Medicine, Inaugural Lecture addressed to the Seminar on Health Economics, Organization and Management, with special reference to Cardiac Surgery, Ettore Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture, Erice, Sicily, 19–25 March 1990, In: Health Economics, Organization and Management, edited by Ugo F. Tesler, Congedo Editore, Potenza, pp. 21–38
  • Approccio antropologico socio-culturale agli studi della politica nei paesi in via di sviluppo, In: Storia, antropologia e scienze del Linguaggio, Anno VII, fascicolo, 2-3, Maggio-Dicembre, Bulzoni Editore, Roma, 1992, pp. 105–115
  • Les Classes Moyennes au Bangladesh, In: Tiers-Monde, Tome XXVI, Nr. 101, Janviers-Mars, 1985, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, pp. 195–206
  • Humanität zwischen Universalität und Regionalität, Beitrag zum Internationalen Symposium (1993) zum Thema "Islam und Occident: Zwei Kulturen und ihre Menschenrechtsbilder im Konflikt". Im Menschenbilder Menschenrechte, herausgegeben von Stefan Batzli, Fridolin Kissling und Rudolf Zihlmann, SAD (Swiss Academy for Development), Unions Verlag, Zurich, 1994, pp. 23–32


Lucien Bernot. Les Cak: Contribution à l'étude ethnographique d'une population de langue Loi. pp. 267: Tables des Figurs, Planche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1967, Paris, In: Toung Pao, Vol. L1V, Livr. 1-3, 1975 Leiden, pp. 235–238

M. S. Rao, Tradition, Rationality and Change: Essays in the sociology of Economic Development and Social Change, 182 pp. Bibliogr. Index, Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1972, In: Sociologus, Nr. 25-1, 1975, Duncker & Humbold, Berlin, pp. 91–94

Reply to the review of Political Elite in Bangladesh, in Man, (NS) JRAI (Journal Royal Anthropological Institute), 16:4 pp. 696–697 (1981)

External links[edit]

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