Hugh Owen Prize

*Entries are now open for the Hugh Owen Prize for the best undergraduate essay on South Asia submitted in 2022. We are accepting submissions throughout the year, with the final submissions due by December 31, 2022. Please forward eligible essays via email to Dr Keshab Giri (Secretary, SASAA) at

Each year the South Asian Studies Association of Australia (SASAA) offers the Hugh Owen prize for the best undergraduate essay in South Asian studies. For the purposes of the prize, the term ‘South Asia’ covers the nations of the Indian subcontinent and is taken to include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Essays are invited from all disciplines.

The prize (value AUD $250.00) is awarded to the best undergraduate essay on South Asia in any field written as part of an undergraduate course of study each academic year, including Honours. The maximum word limit for the essay is 4000 words.

Hugh Owen was one of the key people behind the drive to establish a professional association of scholars in Australia and New Zealand concerned with the study of South Asia. Hugh undertook the difficult task of setting up the journal, South Asia, and established its pre-eminent standards, style and academic standing. Over the seven years of his editorship he succeeded in turning South Asia into a major journal concerned with South Asia studies outside the Indian subcontinent. While heavily involved in this work, Hugh was also a charismatic scholar and teacher and, at the University of Western Australia, was brilliantly successful in building up exciting undergraduate courses in the subject area and also in attracting an array of very bright and enthusiastic postgraduate students. This prize commemorates Hugh’s pursuit of excellence and his efforts to achieve that amongst his students. The prize was set up in 1988 following Hugh’s death and is funded by a grant from his estate through Mrs Terry Owen and with the continued support of SASAA.

Hugh Owen Prize Winners

2021: Manhar Bansal (National Law School of India University) 

Essay Title: ‘Fragment, fantasy,history: Towards newer projects for re-imagining national history’.