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Meet our Graduate Student Associates, 2014-2015

Every year, SAI supports Graduate Student Associates from across the different schools at Harvard whose research focuses on South Asia. The goal of the SAI Graduate Student Associate program is to establish a community of peers to support original and independent research in South Asia. The GSA program is headed by Parimal Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, and Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies, and SAI steering committee member. GSAs participate in monthly workshops in which they present their thesis research to one another. In the spring, GSAs organize an end of year conference to showcase their research.


Ed.D. Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Field of Study: Education, Religion and Nationalism
Dissertation: Religious Nationalism and History Education in Pakistan
Mariam’s thesis examines identity politics and religious nationalism fostered through the Pakistani education system. She has two Masters degrees, also from Harvard, in International Education Policy and Education Policy and Management, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rice University.  Mariam founded the Harvard Pakistan Student Group in 2009 with a small community of less than 20 people. Three years later and with over 600 members, HPSG became the first university‐wide student organization recognized by Harvard University.

PhD Candidate, Department of History, GSAS
Field of Study: Imperial history, British Empire, colonial South Asia
Dissertation: The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge, 1772-1835
Joshua is a John Clive Fellow as well as a Graduate Affiliate at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He received a BA in History from the University of Chicago. His dissertation explores the languages of knowledge and enlightenment in the ideologies of the Company and its critics.


PhD Candidate, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, GSAS
Field of study: Histories and cultures of Muslim societies
Dissertation: Connecting South Asian Histories: Indo-Persian Folk Romances in Regional Historiography, 1650-1850
Neelam’s research interests include tarikh (history) literature in South Asia from the 17th-19th centuries; akhlag (ethics) in literature; transnational intellectual networks and the social and cultural history of South Asia. Neelam studied advanced Urdu and Indo-Persian at the American Institute of Indian Studies, in Lucknow, India, and is also proficient in Arabic and French. Her thesis explores histories written in Indi-Persian over two centuries that marked major transformative political, economic, social and cultural changes in South Asia.


PhD candidate, Department of History, GSAS
Field of Study: Modern South Asian History
Dissertation Title: The Grand Old Man: Dadabhai Naoroji and the Intellectual Foundations of
Indian Self-Government
Dinyar’s  dissertation is on the evolution of the political philosophy of Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), a prominent early Indian nationalist leader and the first Indian elected to the British Parliament (in 1892). In 1906, Naoroji publicly declared swaraj or Indian self-government to be the goal of the Indian National Congress. Dinyar’s dissertation traces the development of this declaration through Naoroji’s early
economic work, his engagement with semi-autonomous Indian princely states, and attempts to build alliances for Indian reform with British Liberals and socialists. He has just returned to Harvard after three years of archival research in India and the United Kingdom where he was supported by an IIE Fulbright-Nehru and Fulbright Hays DDRA fellowship.


PhD Candidate, Department of History, GSAS
Field of study: International and diplomatic history; insurgency and intervention; international institutions, Cold War US foreign policy; modern South Asia; and modern Southern Africa.
Dissertation: Stillborn States: Failed Nationalism in Nagaland and South West Africa, 1960-1966
Lydia studies the interplay between nationalism and internationalism, activism and politics, claim and counter-claim in the emergence of post-colonial nation-states. She looks at sovereign demands that failed – what she call Stillborn States – during the high decolonization of the early 1960s.  I look at literal geographic peripheries – places like Nagaland in India’s Northeast or the contested mandate of South West Africa (independent Namibia as of 1990). In other incarnations, She has been a nuclear policy and scenario researcher for the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (New Delhi) and the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative (New York City).  She was also  a professional ballet dancer, and a founding director of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative and Delhi Dance Theater. She received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree from Harvard University.