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The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University (The Mittal Institute) engages in interdisciplinary research to advance and deepen the understanding of critical issues of South Asia and its relationship to the world. 


About The Mittal Institute 

Upcoming Events

Mon, September 24, 2018 from 04:00pm - 06:00pm  /  CGIS Knafel, K262

Book Launch | Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India

Benjamin Siegel, an assistant professor of History at Boston University and a former fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, will discuss his new book “Hungry Nation: Food Famine, and the making of Modern India”, alongside commentators Prakash Humar, an associate professor of History and Asian Studies at Penn State University, and Rachel Berger, and associate professor of History at Concordia University.

About the Book:

This ambitious new account details independent India’s struggle to overcome famine and malnutrition in the twentieth century. Siegel explains the historical origins of contemporary India’s malnutrition epidemic, showing how food and sustenance moved to the center of nationalist thought in the final years of colonial rule. Hungry Nation interrogates how citizens and politicians contested the meanings of nation building and citizenship through food, and how these contestations receded in the wake of the Green Revolution. This is the story of how Indians challenged meanings of welfare and citizenship across class, caste, region, and gender in a new nation-state.


Sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 04:00pm

Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 06:00pm

CGIS Knafel, K262
Harvard University

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Wed, September 26, 2018 from 06:00pm - 07:30pm  /  CGIS South, S020 Belfer

The Riyaaz Qawwali Ensemble: A Journey of Cultures and Faiths Through Qawwali

The Riyaaz Qawwali ensemble was established on a college campus in the US 12 years ago. Since then, it has toured the country, debuting in Europe in 2017. Artistic Director and founder of Riyaaz Qawwali, Sonny Mehta, will share his personal story from learning classical music to performing qawwali, the musical genre commonly associated with the Sufi tradition in South Asia. He will demonstrate the basics of qawwali, unfolding the relevant musical elements, poetry and important performance aspects. With the backdrop of the history of qawwali in the US, he will share Riyaaz Qawwali’s journey and how the ensemble has found its voice through performances – breaking, in the process, cultural and religious barriers.

Muslim Societies in South Asia Series, chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard Univerity

Co-sponsored by The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Prince Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program and the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education


Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 06:00pm

Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 07:30pm

COST: Free

CGIS South, S020 Belfer
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA 02138

Thu, September 27, 2018 from 06:00pm - 08:00pm  /  India International Center  /  Kamala Devi Complex  /  Seminar Hall 3

Tackling Fluorosis: Innovative technology as a solution to the spreading health crisis

Join us for our ongoing India Seminar Series to discuss the growing challenge of Water Fluorosis, in a discussion titled, ‘Tackling Fluorosis: Innovative technology as a solution to the spreading health crisis’

There are about 66 million people in India suffering from toxic levels of fluoride in their drinking water, these are mostly poor people in rural communities in dry / arid area that must depend of groundwater as their drinking water source. Fluoride is a vicious toxic ion in the sense that it affects and attacks the poor far more aggressively that it affects those nutritionally better off. It also is very effective in ruining the lives of very young people who then suffer from serious bone deformation (skeletal fluorosis) and its harmful economic, social, and psychological effects.

The panelists for this discussion include,

 – Dr. Andrew Z. Haddad- ITRI-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

 – Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy- Founder and CEO, Sattva Consulting

 – Dr. Sunderrajan Krishnan- Executive Director, INREM Foundation

To RSVP write to and confirm your presence at the event.

Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 06:00pm

Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 08:00pm

Fri, September 28, 2018 from 03:00pm - 05:00pm  /  Harvard Book Store

Book Talk | Trust: Creating the Foundation for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries with Tarun Khanna

The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute and Harvard Book Store welcome TARUN KHANNA—the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School—for a discussion of his latest book, Trust: Creating the Foundation for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries.

About Trust

Entrepreneurial ventures often fail in the developing world because of the lack of something taken for granted in the developed world: trust. Over centuries, the developed world has built customs and institutions such as enforceable contracts, an impartial legal system, and credible regulatory bodies—and even unofficial but respected sources of information such as Yelp and Consumer Reports—that have created a high level of what scholar and entrepreneur Tarun Khanna calls “ambient trust.”

This is not the case in the developing world. But Khanna shows that rather than become casualties of mistrust, smart entrepreneurs can adopt the mindset that, like it or not, it’s up to them to weave their own independent web of trust—with their employees, their partners, their clients, their customers, and society as a whole. This can be challenging, and it requires innovative approaches in places where the level of societal mistrust is so high that an official certification of quality simply arouses suspicion—and lowers sales! Using vivid examples from Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and elsewhere, Khanna’s stories show how entrepreneurs can build on existing customs and practices instead of trying to push against them. He highlights the role new technologies can play (but cautions that these are not panaceas) and explains how entrepreneurs can find dependable partners in national and local governments to create impact at scale.

As far back as the 18th century, Adam Smith recognized trust as what Khanna calls “the hidden engine of economic progress.” “Frankness and openness conciliate confidence,” Smith wrote. “We trust the man who seems willing to trust us.” That kind of confidence is critical to entrepreneurial success, but in the developing world, entrepreneurs have to establish it through their own efforts. As Khanna puts it, “The entrepreneur must not just create, she must create the conditions to create.”

Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 03:00pm

Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 05:00pm

COST: Free

Harvard Book Store

1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138


A Focus On Tribal Issues In India : Meet The Mittal Institute’s New Fellow

“It’s a big leap for me, personally and professionally, and the fellowship was unexpected. But in the first few days here, I have already felt the exciting academic and intellectual atmosphere. The issues that I touch upon in my own work are very much global in nature. There is a lot to learn from other parts of the world. I can listen, share my ideas and fully participate in the academic exchange.”

Mittal Institute Director’s Fall Message

“Welcome to the start of another busy, transformative year at the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University. The Mittal family’s generosity will enable us not only to continue our quest to research and understand the region and its relationship with the world, but will also allow our faculty, students and affiliates to push even further to produce new and useful knowledge.”

US-Kerala Flood Relief Donation

The recent floods that hit Kerala have been the worst floods the State has faced since 1924. Many places in the state are neck-deep in water, massive landslides have laid waste to roads, houses and other infrastructure, thousands of hectares of crops are ruined and hundreds of people have lost their lives. The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University and the America India Foundation are encouraging monetary donations from people in the US.

Unspoken Story – A Conversation About Mental Health

As part of the India seminar series, The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University partnered with Sangath and It’s Okay to Talk for an event titled ‘Unspoken Story’. The event was a conversation between Vikram Patel, The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health, Harvard Medical School and two young women on their personal journey and experiences with mental health.

Apply Now for the 2019/20 B4 Fellowship

The Building Bharat-Boston Biosciences Program (B4) is offering up to eight 18-month fellowships for Indian citizens – currently residing in India – who specialize in a field related to the biosciences. Applicants must have achieved a PhD within the last five years. We may also accept applications from highly-qualified senior doctoral students.