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News Category: In Region


Trauma and Memory: Healing Through Art


Kabi Raj Lama

 

Kabi Raj Lama is a Nepal-based artist and former Visiting Artist Fellow (VAF) at the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University. The VAF Program enables South Asia-based artists to spend a substantial period of time at Harvard, contributing to faculty and student scholarship and bringing valuable educational experiences from the university to their work.

The Mittal Institute’s Delhi office hosts a regular series of artist talks as part of our India Seminar Series. Earlier this month, Lama spoke at the Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s national academy of arts, which collaborated on the organization of the event in Delhi. His talk, entitled ‘Trauma and Memory: Healing through Art’, retraced his life story; he spoke of art, natural disasters and mental health. The event followed a 3-day workshop on stone lithography with the artist and students at the Akademi. 

Lama’s work reflects the complexities of disasters through an intimate portrayal of personal encounters. He also also looks at how art can be used as a form of healing from trauma. A contemporary printmaker who primarily works with lithography and the Japanese mokuhanga (woodcut) medium, Lama talked about his current project, with a colleague at MIT, that takes his work to a completely new dimension of art therapy and scientific inquiry.

He described his experience with mental health issues following two direct encounters with traumatic natural disasters: the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. He talked about his realisation that mental health is often ignored in the process of rebuilding after such disasters. The Mittal Institute is in the process of building a major project around mental health in South Asia – Lama’s talk showed why this is such an important issue.

New Paper: Look/Act East Policy, Roads and Market Infrastructure in North-East India


The Mittal Institute’s Arvind Raghunathan and Sribala Subramanian South Asia Visiting Fellow for 2017/18, Dr. Raile Rocky Ziipaohas published a new paper in Strategic Analysis Journal, entitled ‘Look/Act East Policy, Roads and Market Infrastrcuture in North-East India.’

Abstract:

The socio-politico-economic scene in India’s North-east region has guided certain aspects of the country’s domestic and international policy. The Act East Policy (AEP) of the government of India aims to build relations with the countries of South-East Asia, including trade relations, for which the north-east serves as the gateway. This article seeks to analyse the relevance of the policy: How is it grounded in the complex region of north-east India? In what way can it impact the region? The article argues that the new national road infrastructure bypasses the local economy, and posits the need to link rural infrastructure—especially connectivity and local markets—with regional, national and international markets.

Click here to read complete paper

 

Wintersession Opportunity in India


 
Eligibility: Any current Harvard undergraduate student, sophomore through senior. While the program’s focus is to use science to inspire students to think about leadership and social innovation, we encourage students from all concentrations to apply.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Christopher Li (Associate Director) at christopher_li@hks.harvard.edu
 
More information: Those interested in applying are strongly encouraged to attend one of the two info sessions with Dr. Dominic Mao, Program lead, PSIL:
 
Monday, Nov 5, 7.30PM 
Thursday, Nov 8, 7.30PM
Venue: Sherman Fairchild 095B (MCB/CPB Concentration Office) 
 
Faculty Chair: Venkatesh Murthy, Professor & Chair, Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Biology 
Director: Dominic Mao, Lecturer in Molecular & Cellular Biology
 

APPLY HERE

 

Deadline: Sunday, November 11 at 11.59PM

Indian Science Students: Apply Now for Funded Program in Bengaluru


Applications are now open for a two-week immersion course, based at IBAB in Bengaluru, that will introduce the students to some of the most exciting developments in Synthetic Biology. The students are expected to stay on campus for the duration of the workshop. Travel and lodging costs for selected students will be covered.

Advanced undergraduates (at least two years of study) and early graduate students from any scientific/technical background related to the course from an institution of higher education in India are encouraged to apply.

Gender, Violence and Vulnerabilities of Adolescents in India


 

[L-R] Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Dr. Anita Raj and Shireen Vakil

Researchers in India have undertaken three major studies related to gender, violence and the vulnerability of adolescents. The research has been led by Anita Raj, Tata Chancellor Professor of Medicine and the Director of UC San Diego’s Center on Gender Equity and Health in the Department of Medicine. She is also a Professor of Education Studies in the Division of Social Sciences at UC San Diego.

As part of its successful India Seminar Series, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University, invited Professor Raj to present her work in New Delhi. Professor Raj’s work is especially pertinent at a time when the conversation around different aspects of gender has been center stage across the globe.

There was an overwhelming response to the event, ‘Gender, Violence and Vulnerabilities of Adolescents in India’, which was attended by key stakeholders across various fields, including non-profits, educators, students and lawyers. The discussion was moderated by Shireen Vakil, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Tata Trusts, and the opening remarks were given by the Mittal Institute’s India Country Director, Dr. Sanjay Kumar.

Professor Raj’s research is designed to inform the Government of India’s Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram Program (National Adolescent Health Program). Here are some of the key findings:

(I) Family violence and suicidality among adolescent boys and girls in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

  • 1 in 20 unmarried adolescents and 1 in 10 married adolescent girls reported suicidality in the past year
  • Suicide/self-harm is a leading cause of death for adolescent girls and boys globally. Family violence appears to increase risk for adolescent suicidality

(II) Process of marital decision-making among adolescent girls in rural Jharkhand.

(III) Partner and non-partner sexual violence against adolescent girls, and the effects of the Nirbhaya case on reporting of rape in India.

  • Non-partner violence and rape crime reports increased following the Nirbhaya case, in December 2012, but not uniformly across the country.
  • There is some indication that districts with higher media access had greater increase in rape reporting to police subsequent to the Nirbhaya case, supporting the value of media awareness to help address violence against women.

The session closed with many important questions, dialogue and various conversations around gender and violence among youth in India. There were discussions around the role of education, social norms and sex education that perhaps resonate with the ongoing conversation on gender around the world.  

More information:

McDougal et al 2018_Beyond the statistic-exploring the process of early marriage decision-making using qualitative findings from Ethiopia and India

Raj et al 2009_When the mother is a child- the impact of child marriage on the health and human rights of girls

Raj et al 2010_ Association between adolescent marriage and marital violence among young adult women in India

Raj et al 2014_Brief report_Parent-adolescent child concordance in social norms related to gender equity in marriage – findings from rural India

Raj et al 2014_Sexual violence and rape in India

Defluoridation of Water: Innovative Tech Solutions for a Spreading Health Crisis


 

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, our India Country Director, introducing the panel at the event titled ‘Tackling Fluorosis: Innovative technology as a solution to the spreading health crisis’ . To his right, Dr. Andrew Haddad, ITR-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Dr. Sunderrajan Krishnan, Executive Director of the INREM Foundation (middle), and SriKrishna Sridhar Murthy, CEO of Sattva Consulting (extreme right).

 

The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University, put together a panel on defluoridation of water in India, titled, “Tackling Fluorosis: Innovative Technology as a Solution to the Spreading Health Crisis”. The event was part of a project funded by the Tata Trusts-Mittal Institute initiative called “Multidisciplinary Approaches to Innovative Social Enterprises”. The panel comprised of Dr. Andrew Haddad, ITR-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dr. Sunderrajan Krishnan, Executive Director of the INREM Foundation, and Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy, CEO of Sattva Consulting.

The project looks at scalable and affordable methods of removing fluoride from drinking water in fluoride heavy rural areas, where there is a dearth of access to even the very basic resources like proper nutrition, education, and clean drinking water. Excess fluoride in water can cause diseases such as skeletal and dental fluorosis, which, at their most severe, can result in severely stunted, abnormal growth, and damaged joints and bones. Haddad began the panel by elaborating on both the science behind current defluoridation technology used in India as well as the new technique evolved by Gadgil Lab for Energy and Water Research. The new technology, SAFR (Safe & Affordable Fluoride Removal), proposes using raw, locally-sourced bauxite ore to remove fluoride from water, a method which is 3 to 5 times cheaper, more energy efficient and sustainable than present methods of defluoridation.

Water filtration in Jhabua, M.P an area with high levels of fluorosis. Photograph credits: SAFEBillion.org

Krishnan explained how the fluoride crisis in India is a structural problem, which can only be solved through the interaction of a number of factors such as proper nutrition, alleviating calcium deficiencies, and education. However, the people who generally suffer from fluorosis are those that live in extreme poverty and do not have access to enough food, let alone education. The villagers consider the symptoms of fluorosis in a child as a curse, and tend not to believe that a constructive change is needed in their water source as they have many other issues to contend with. Thus, Krishnan talked about the need for safe water, nutrition management, and behavioural change to work together to solve this crisis.

Lastly, Murthy from Sattva Consulting emphasized the importance of a strong structural ecosystem, where all stakeholders – government, scientists, NGOs, natural resource organisations, and the community – must work together if they want to solve the fluoride crisis on a large scale. He mentioned that Sattva works to join all the stakeholders, to scale up the research and implementation, and help to build local capacity.

Harvard-BRAC Research Partnership Launches


Alongside our partners – the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and BRAC –  we are supporting an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Harvard and Bangladesh, who are examining a range of issues facing vulnerable populations in and around South Asia. This partnership provides a platform for collaborative participatory research driven by regional needs. Current projects are focused on the Rohingya forced migration crisis, encompassing a wide range of topics, including outbreak surveillance modeling, social network analysis, economic integration, resettlement policies, public health impact, and others.

Visit the Harvard-BRAC Research Partnership website for more information.

Mittal Institute Director Discusses Latest Book in Bengaluru


Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School, and Director of The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University, was in Bengaluru for a fireside chat about his new book. He was joined by Manish Sabharwal, o-founder and Executive Chairman, TeamLease for this conversation. This event was organised by the Harvard Business School India Research Centre and the HBS Club of India, in collaboration with TiE Bangalore and The Mittal Institute. The event was sponsored by the Brigade Group.

In his new book, ‘TRUST – Creating the Foundations of Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries’, Khanna looks at case studies, including the case of contaminated milk in China, the Alibaba success story, a non-profit in Bangladesh, as well as microfinance firms in Mexico, Peru, India and Indonesia. “If one needs to scale up, then one of the components needed is trust” he says. Talking about his previous book, he said: “I study entrepreneurship in developing countries. Close to 6-7 million people are eliminated from the mainstream. My idea was to get them connected to the mainstream. That was my thought behind writing my earlier book ‘Billions of Entrepreneurs’ a decade ago.”

Khanna and Sabharwal discussed many aspects of entrepreneurship, from altering mindsets to working in collaboration with the government, data versus building trust, and a comparison between the role of the state in India and China. The conversation was also opened out to the audience who shared comments and questions focused on scalability of entrepreneurial ventures, credibility of businesses, and the timeline for entrepreneurs in a developing country as compared to those in developed nations. 

Tarun Khanna (left) and Manish Sabharwal (right) at the fireside chat event in Bengaluru. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 American India Foundation are encouraging monetary donations from those residing in the US. Please donate through this link – www.aif.org/keralafund