In the build-up to our Annual India Symposium on April 4, 2019 in New Delhi, the Mittal Institute organized four brainstorming sessions to bring together academics and industry leaders to discuss some of the scientific and technological issues India faces, and the potential solutions to these problems. Four group of experts, who will compose four of the panels at the Annual India Symposium, huddled together to discuss topics related to agricultural advancement, the life sciences, STEM education, and digital health.
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Though it might have been the jetlag, my recent field trip to the Paharpur World Heritage and archaeological site in Naogaon District in northern Bangladesh did not feel like my first visit. As a second-year graduate student in the department of History of Art and Architecture, I had written a seminar paper on the vast Buddhist monastery last fall for a class on esoteric Buddhist art and had spent days hunched over site plans, maps, and photographs of the ninth-century complex.
The Toolkit team develops low-cost Toolkits that can be used in underserved classrooms in India, their ultimate goal to educate students in cutting-edge soft robotics research through hands-on, cognitive learning. After years of development in the US, the team took its first step in India this week and conducted its first workshop in Delhi with a group of educators and students.
Last week, WGBH News Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin led a panel discussion in his series “Caste in America,” speaking with Mittal Institute Director Tarun Khanna, alongside Suraj Yengde, Laurence Simon, Kavita Pillay, and Swami Venkataraman, about the role of caste in the United States. Martin’s series “explores the discrimination Indian immigrants face in the United States as a result of this ancient hierarchical system of human classification,” with this particular segment evolving to encompass a study of caste in general, touching on its impact in other countries and its relationship to race.
Each year, Asia Week New York gathers the world’s best auction houses, museums, and Asian art specialists for a weeklong event celebrating the importance of Asian art and drawing a crowd of collectors and curators from all over the globe. This year, Professor Jinah Kim — Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University — and Dr. Katherine Eremin — Patricia Cornwell Senior Conservation Scientist at the Harvard Art Museums — teamed up with Christie’s to give a talk at the event, delving into their work with the color and pigments used in Indian paintings and the science behind conservation and restoration as part of the Mittal Institute’s Arts Program.
We caught up with Dr. Suresh Subramani, Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Diego and Global Director of the Tata Institute of Genetics and Society, to talk about the need to promote scientific literacy in India and the future of collaboration between India- and US-based scientific organizations. At the Symposium, he will be part of the panel entitled Technological Advancements in Agriculture.
“I was born in a very literary family full of artists, poets, and writers. The art was in the blood, and then my uncle, who is also a visual artist internationally recognized, so he basically channeled my interest into visual arts. Since then I have been involved in visual arts,” says Mahbub Jokhio, one of the Mittal Institute’s newest Visiting Artist Fellows for Spring 2019.
Candidates are encouraged to submit their proposals for the chance to speak on a panel at the upcoming Fall 2019 Mobilities and Immobilities workshop at Harvard University.
“In 1947, British India was divided into Pakistan and India, resulting in the largest forced migration in the history of migration. Certain records say there were about three million who migrated and were displaced, but studies done at Harvard show that the numbers were much higher — about 10–13 million people. The question becomes: Who lives to tell the story?” asks Meena Sonea Hewett, Executive Director of the Mittal Institute. “Art as a medium is a great way to tell these stories, because it allows for multiple perspectives to be shared about the Partition and the feelings associated with it.”
We recently sat down with Dmitry Popov and Ankur Goel, two members of the Soft Robotics Toolkit team at Harvard. This project — currently in the research, development, and testing phase — will become a comprehensive resource that teaches students how to design, fabricate, model, and test their own soft robotic devices.
The University of London is seeking papers for the chance to present at the upcoming conference, India and Pakistan: The Formative Phase 1947–c.1960, in May 2019.
Krupa Makhija is of the first generation of her family to be born in post-Partition India, her parents and grandparents having migrated from the Sindh Province of Pakistan during the Partition. She grew up hearing stories of the pre-Partition era, but only after high school and her art education did she become more curious about her culture, language, and identity. “Art education has created a kind of sensitivity in me, to question things about myself,” she says. Krupa takes the experiences she’s been told about from the Partition era and infuses their emotions and symbolism into her artwork to create a larger dialogue.