The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute is delighted to announce a new gift from India’s Kushagra Nayan Bajaj, which significantly expands opportunities for inquiry and exchange on questions critical to South Asia.
With this gift, the Mittal Institute will offer a new research fellowship, the Jamnalal Kaniram Bajaj Trust Visiting Research Fellowship Fund. Leading scholars from South Asia will have the opportunity to spend a semester on the Harvard campus, engaging with faculty, researchers and students and availing of the university’s vast resources.
Bajaj, a member of the Mittal Institute’s Advisory Council, is Chairman of India’s Bajaj Group, Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Hindusthan Limited and Chairman of Bajaj Corp Limited. He has studied at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and received his master’s degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In 2007, he received the Young Achiever award by the jury of the 10th Rajiv Gandhi Awards, and in 2011, he was nominated for the Indian government’s Padma Shri award.
The Mittal Institute spoke with Mr. Bajaj to learn more about his background, his motivations for this gift, and what he hopes it will bring to South Asia.
Mittal Institute: Mr. Bajaj, what inspired you to support the creation of this fellowship at MI?
Kushagra Nayan Bajaj: I’ve grown up in an environment that placed supreme emphasis on learning, education and knowledge. Right since childhood, it’s been ingrained in us that true education can transform not only your own life, but also that of millions around you. I’m a beneficiary of such education myself, so I’m aware of what it can do. The fellowships have been set up with an objective of encouraging and supporting scholarship and research of the kind that India and its fellow countries in South Asia today require to prosper and be more meaningful to humanity, not only in their countries but the world over.
Mittal Institute: Why did you choose Harvard and the Mittal Institute?
Kushagra Nayan Bajaj: I like the work both entities are doing. It’s admirable what they are doing to disseminate knowledge, build capacity, inspire policy and engage with issues that are shaping India and this part of the world—home to not only one fourth of the world population but also to issues and challenges of the kind not seen in the other parts of the world. This, as I’ve said earlier, is a subject very close to my heart.
Mittal Institute: How do you hope this fellowship will strengthen opportunities for some of India’s leading scholars?
Kushagra Nayan Bajaj: India has talent, intellectual capital, scholars and scholarship in abundance. What it doesn’t have, perhaps, is an organized structure to support these at a large scale. Fellowships, I believe, are a good way of bridging the gap to an extent.
“I sincerely hope the fellowships are able to provide the necessary encouragement and support to scholarship and research that India and fellow nations in this part of the world need today to become more meaningful, not only to themselves but to the world at large.”
Kushagra Nayan Bajaj
Mittal Institute: What impact do you hope the fellowships will have?
Kushagra Nayan Bajaj: I sincerely hope the fellowships are able to provide the necessary encouragement and support to scholarship and research that India and fellow nations in this part of the world need today to become more meaningful, not only to themselves but to the world at large. India, for instance, in the last few years under the current political leadership has been striving to rediscover its glorious historical heritage and its several elements, like art and cultural. I haven’t seen such awakening in the past. It’ll be so good if we are able to get the whole world visiting us to see us, our glorious past, and go back feeling richer.