The Mittal Institute wrapped up its Annual Symposium yesterday after two days of dynamic panels that touched on South Asia from myriad disciplines and lenses, including the arts, the environment, health, economics, and the next generation. The theme, “The Making of Modern South Asia,” celebrated and commemorated 75 years of independence from British India and brought together guests in person in Cambridge and virtually from countries around the globe.
Category : Social Enterprise
Through the Seed for Change (SFC) Program, the Mittal Institute fosters and supports the development of a healthy, vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in both India and Pakistan. Each year, the Mittal Institute holds this competition to identify and reward interdisciplinary student projects that positively impact social, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan.
Vidya Subramanian, this year’s Mittal Institute Raghunathan Family Fellow, is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research interests lie at the intersection of technologies and societies. Vidya’s current research investigates the changing nature of citizenship in the technological society we now inhabit. Focusing on India, her research is loosely framed by two large issues: the first is on the colonization of the everyday so-called real world by the digital; and the second focuses on how power permeates and is implicated in such technologies. She is mentored by Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School. Vidya will be a panelist during a discussion on the “Next Generation of Scholars” at the Mittal Institute’s Annual Symposium on May 19, which will focus on the theme “The Making of Modern South Asia.”
Hemakshi Meghani, co-founder of the Indian School of Democracy (ISD), is a Harvard Kennedy School graduate, where she studied as a World Bank Graduate Scholar. She began her journey as a Teach for India Fellow before working with Boston Consulting Group and two startups in the education and sociopolitical consulting space. Hemakshi is passionate about politics, bottom-up social reform, and making democracy work for every citizen of the country, and she shared some insights into her experience building ISD.
The Mittal Institute welcomed a new VAF Artist, Mehwish Abid, to campus this week, for the start of her eight-week research fellowship at Harvard. The program connects artists from South Asia with Harvard’s intellectual resources, and allows a platform for mid-career artists to conduct independent research that explores critical issues in South Asia through the lens of art and design.
Milind Tambe, the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Director of Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University, has prioritized public health and wildlife conservation as two key areas of focus for his work with artificial intelligence.
Durba Mitra, Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute and Assistant Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality has been awarded the Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies for her book, Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought. This prize honors “outstanding and innovative scholarship across discipline and country of specialization for a first single-authored monograph on South Asia.” Indian Sex Life, which demonstrates how ideas of deviant female sexuality became foundational to modern social thought, also received an honorable mention for the J. Willard Hurst Book Prize from the Law & Society Association.
The Mittal Institute welcomed two new VAF Artists, Bunu Dhungana and Pragat Jain, to campus this week, for the start of their eight-week research fellowship at Harvard. The program connects artists from South Asia with Harvard’s intellectual resources, and allows a platform for mid-career artists to conduct independent research that explores critical issues in South Asia through the lens of art and design.
Aidan Milliff, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate, is a Ph.D candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a predoctoral fellow at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University. He wrote an Op-Ed in the Hindustan Times on India’s response to riots in 1984 and 2020.
Kushagra Nayan Bajaj, an Indian businessman and Chairman of the Bajaj Group, Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Hindusthan Limited, and Chairman of Bajaj Corp Limited is the benefactor of the Mittal Institute’s newest research fellowship, the Jamnalal Kaniram Bajaj Trust Visiting Research Fellowship Fund. His support creates a fellowship at the Mittal Institute to deepen the teaching and research on significant cultural issues related to South Asia.
The Mittal Institute’s annual Seed for Change (SFC) competition aims to develop a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India and Pakistan, offering grant prizes to interdisciplinary student projects that have the potential to positively impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan. We recently spoke with a few of our past winners of the SFC competition — the teams of Umbulizer, Gramhal, and Meet — to learn how their social enterprise initiatives in Pakistan and India have grown since the time they one.
Through a collaboration between the Tata Trusts and the Mittal Institute, the project “Designing a Sanitation Hub” will yield a series of design drawings and representations of how a sanitation “hub” will be configured spatially in both rural and urban settings, including indigenous community settlements (such as the koliwadas and lal dora areas) to high-density squatter settlements.