Even though mental disorders contribute significantly to the burden of illness in India — making it a nationwide public health priority — most of those affected do not receive evidence-based intervention. In low- and middle-income countries, such as India, non-specialist workers are key in providing healthcare to rural areas. Growing evidence demonstrates that with appropriate training and supervision, they can effectively deliver brief psychological treatments for mental disorders. However, the efforts to scale up these initiatives are prevented by a heavy reliance on the traditional methods of face-to-face training and supervision.
Category : News
By Kalpana Mohanty, Doctorate of Philosophy ‘25. In a household with a Tamilian mother and a Bengali father, the common language at home was English. As a result, I had an asymmetric grasp of Hindi where I was able to understand the language almost fluently, but unable to speak it back with the same fluency. My three months of intermediate Hindi lessons at Zabaan, suggested by Professor Maya Jasanoff, was incredibly valuable in helping me rectify this.
We spoke with Vikram Patel, the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, to learn more about the status of mental health in India and South Asia at large, both before and during the pandemic.
Through a seminar series called “Extreme Urbanism: A View on Afghanistan,” organized by the Mittal Institute, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, experts address Afghanistan’s architectural, urban, and territorial features. This cycle of talks aims to create a platform where varied topics, ranging from vernacular architecture and building traditions to infrastructure and cultural specificities, are discussed in conjunction with issues related to historic settlements and contemporary planning in Afghanistan.
Every year, the Mittal Institute supports Graduate Student Associates (GSAs) from across the different schools at Harvard who are enrolled in a PhD program and whose research is focused on South Asia. We are now accepting applications for our next round of GSAs at the Mittal Institute.
Art is known to transcend barriers and boundaries, binding people across race, religion, and geographies. Dance holds the unique power of bringing relief into a world struggling under the gloom of uncertainty. However, the physical restrictions placed on performers due to the ongoing pandemic have enforced a radical re-imagination of the ways in which dance culture can be practiced and disseminated across the world. Last week, as part of the Harvard Worldwide Week, dance teams representing three global centers and institutes of Harvard University convened to present a program called “Channels of Expression in Times of Change: Music and Dance Across Continents.”
By Victoria Andrews, Summer 2020 Student Grant Recipient. I began my Sanskrit language training with the South Asian Summer Language Intensive (SASLI) during the summer of 2020. The unusual circumstances of the 2020 pandemic prompted me and the summer program to modify our plans for remote learning. In any other year, for my studies, I would have traveled to and lived in Madison, Wisconsin for the duration of the summer Sanskrit intensive. However, this year, I was able to video into my classes from Cambridge. Embarking on this linguistic endeavor has already proved fruitful for my studies this fall.
We spoke with the Chair of the Extreme Urbanism seminar series, Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), to learn more about his Option Studio at the GSD this semester, the seminar series, and the challenges and future of urban development in Afghanistan.
Each year, the Mittal Institute supports faculty research projects with grants ranging from $15,000–$30,000. Faculty members at Harvard are eligible for two types of grants that bring together faculty from different fields and regions whose scholarship relates to South Asia. Traditionally, the Mittal Institute has prioritized interdisciplinary research, and research that catalyzes connectivity between scholars at Harvard and those in South Asia. Up to five grants will be awarded each year. Full-time Harvard faculty members, preferably at the junior levels, are encouraged to apply.
During 24 Hours of Harvard, part of Harvard University’s Worldwide Week, the Mittal Institute hosted performances by musician and writer, Ali Sethi, and Dastango (story-teller), journalist, and writer, Himanshu Bajpai, with commentaries by Harvard Professor Ali Asani. The performance highlighted this cosmopolitan ethic of South Asia and its shared cultural history by showcasing Khusrau’s work and legacy.
Each year, the Mittal Institute’s Seed for Change (SFC) competition for Harvard students aims to develop a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India and Pakistan. Grant prizes are awarded to interdisciplinary student projects that positively impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan. As a result of COVID-19, we have all had to make adjustments to our daily lives, and Harvard students are continuing to learn in new and creative ways. In light of this, the Mittal Institute recently offered SFC Exploratory Grants to students who are currently working on ideas or a project that addresses intractable problems in India and Pakistan.
The Mittal Institute is excited to announce its participation in 24 Hours of Harvard (24hH), organized by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA) at Harvard University during the Worldwide Week at Harvard 2020. As part of this event, the Mittal Institute will be hosting an online session entitled, “Khusrau’s River of Love: Cosmopolitanism and Inclusion in South Asian Traditions,” which will include performances by noted artists from South Asia, Ali Sethi and Himanshu Bajpai. The performances will be interspersed with analysis and commentary by Ali Asani, Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University, who will also moderate a live Q&A session with Ali Sethi and Himanshu Bajpai following the performances.