The beginning of 2020 will mark a massive celebration of science and technology with the India Science Fest, which aims to bridge the gap between science and society. This extravaganza is a non-profit initiative to help youth engage with the latest in science from across the world, fueling curiosity and demystifying the scientific career path. Aspiring Minds, an Indian-born global assessments leader, is a lead organizer of the Festival in association with the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University, the primary academic partner for the event.
Category : India
The Mittal Institute’s Building Bharat-Boston Biosciences (B4) program works to establish connections between institutions in India and Boston to promote scientific research and build new knowledge in the field of biosciences. Each year, the B4 program holds two workshops in India that convenes a group of talented Indian university students and introduces them to the latest developments in the life sciences. Over the summer, one of these workshops was hosted at IISER in Pune as part of the program, bringing in 25 students from universities and institutions all across India to receive training from experts in Advanced Light Microscopy techniques, ranging from basic microscopy to super-resolution imaging.
By Pranati Parikh. This summer, I participated in the Sanskrit program in Pune, Maharashtra, offered by the American Institute of Indian Studies. It surprised no one, I think, that I spent approximately ten weeks of my summer in India — a country to which I owe my cultural and religious heritage, a country which is home to people who look like me, who use similar blends of spices in their daily cooking, and from whose mouths spills a cadence of speech that echoes my own family. India is as familiar to me as my mother’s hands. And, yet, this summer was a glimpse into a new India. It was a time for appreciating granularities in a familiar topography, and finding it splendidly unfamiliar at every step, yet, in the end, discovering a place for myself.
Until recently, Jhabua — a district in the western part of Madhya Pradesh — was largely a tribal area. But despite its recent development, village communities in the area still lack access to basic resources, such as education, proper nutrition, and clean drinking water. In these communities, excess fluoride in the water has caused skeletal and dental fluorosis, which, at their most severe, can result in stunted, abnormal growth, and damaged joints and bones.
India’s National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) illustrates yet another example of the Government of India moving forward with a major health digitization program that will affect millions of citizens. However, data researchers, academics, and activists have expressed some concerns about the development of this policy, bringing up fears of security breaches and privacy controls.
The Mittal Institute’s 1947 Partition of British India project seeks to unravel the history behind one of the world’s largest forced migration events, allowing us to understand the implications of mass dislocations across geographies. Despite the amount of established historical and political scholarship on the Partition, there is still much to uncover through oral accounts from minority groups within India — specifically, from Muslim families who did not migrate to Pakistan.
The Building Bharat-Boston Biosciences (B4) Program, run by the Mittal Institute and funded by the Department of Biotechnology within the Government of India, aims to connect the scientific institutions of India and Boston to collaborate, share research, and build new knowledge in the field of biosciences. As part of the program, the Mittal Institute brings five scientific fellows from India to Cambridge to work in labs with faculty mentors across Harvard University and other local institutions. This week, our five visiting B4 fellows and some of their mentors came together over a lunch hosted by the Mittal Institute with Professor Venkatesh Murthy, faculty lead of the B4 program and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard, to kick off the B4 fellowship.
In 1979, an organization named Gram Vikas emerged in Odisha with the goal of supporting marginalized communities in India — from providing cleaner ways to access water and sanitation, to the construction of schools and renewable energy sources. Today, Gram Vikas is working on a project to revive a solar micro-grid in Maligaon that had broken down in 2013 after its power source became depleted. Without improvement of the micro-grid, electricity in the community is unstable, and blackouts can last months at a time. Eshaan Patheria, a Harvard College ’18 alumnus, joined the organization as an SBI Youth for India Fellow in 2018, and now oversees the micro-grid renewal project in Maligaon. In partnership with the local community, Patheria’s team is using modern technologies to improve quality of life throughout the district.
Every 30 minutes, a farmer in India commits suicide. That haunting fact is the inspiration behind a new social enterprise and digital platform called Gramhal, which will streamline the work of smallholder farmers in India, while increasing their income. Co-founders Vikas Birhma, originally from a village in Northern India, and Pankaj Mahalle, from a small village in Central India, met and became friends at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. “We both had lived experiences of agrarian hardships and poverty, which became a strong undercurrent of our friendship,” Birhma said.
“The pathway from education to employment for Indian youth is, simply put, failing them,” says Vish Srivastava, co-founder of India’s newest employment app, Meet. Alongside co-founder Ankit Chugh, the two have built a platform to address the difficulties that India’s job market presents, with 30% of Indians aged 15-29 either unemployed or not enrolled in an educational institution or skills training program.
Over the Spring semester, Professor Rahul Mehrotra of the Harvard Graduate School of Design challenged his students in an Option Studio to examine the sanitation infrastructure of Mumbai. They were given one ultimate goal: to build a wide-ranging strategy that would upgrade the indigenous settlements of the Koli or fishing community and integrate them into the broader urban system through sanitation infrastructure.
The Mittal Institute engages in interdisciplinary research to advance and deepen the understanding of critical issues in South Asia and the region’s relationship with the world. It holds regular events on issues relating to South Asia; offers fellowships and grants to further the study of the South Asian region; produces research and programs on social, economic, scientific, and political issues in South Asia; and much more. We are seeking a Communications Manager to handle content, communications, press relations, and event outreach in our New Delhi office.