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News Category: News


Student voices: Learning How to Navigate Big City Labor Markets in Small-Town India


kunal2This is part of a series of reports from Harvard students who have traveled to South Asia with support from a SAI grant.

By Kunal Mangal, PhD Public Policy, 2021, HKS

I had two main goals for this visit. The first was to develop and pilot a survey on career awareness, in collaboration with my partner organization, LEAP Skills Academy. The second was to develop relationships that would be helpful in allowing me to continue to this work in the future. In this report I’ll describe the progress I made on each of these goals.

Based on my observations the past summer, I felt that students in small-town Haryana generally lacked awareness about careers outside of their local labor market, and hypothesized that this lack of awareness may lead students to under invest in their skills (relative to what they would have preferred to do if they had full information). The primary purpose of the survey was to test the underlying assumptions of this hypothesis.

Since writing my grant proposal, I decided to refine my research question in several ways. I focused my survey on the specific knowledge students had of what employers expected from them. The fact that English and computer skills are generally valued in the private sector seems to be well known; the uncertainty seems to lie in what firms are specifically looking for in candidates when they interview them. However, a challenge in taking this approach is that different sectors of the economy can have very diverse requirements of job seekers. After talking to LEAP trainers and local professors, I decided it would be best to focus on IT-related degrees. The advantage of doing this is that students in IT-related degrees are typically positioning themselves for a single sector of the economy, where companies tend to have similar requirements and expectations. This lends itself to measuring knowledge with an objective test.  

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Arms, armor, and weapons


rrBy Meghan Smith, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, SAI

Sometimes, to shatter the glass ceiling, you need a weapon.

Rachel Parikh has plenty at her fingertips – and she wants to use them to break more than a few glass ceilings. As the Calderwood Curatorial Fellow in South Asian Art at Harvard Art Museums, she focuses her work on manuscripts, arms, and armor – yes, weapons.

She admits that even she had her own misconceptions about studying weapons.

“You often associate arms and armor with war, violence, and masculinity,” Parikh says. “I made my own PhD dissertation all about breaking misconceptions about Islamic art and South Asian art, so it was funny that I fell into this misconception about arms and armor.”

Parikh’s dissertation at the University of Cambridge focused on a seventeenth century Deccan Indian copy of a sixteenth century Persian manuscript called the Falnama (‘Book of Omens’). After completing her Ph.D. Parikh was a Postdoctoral Fellow at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she researched and cataloged objects for the museum’s Department of Arms and Armor.

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Apply today: Raghunathan Family Fellowship


Shubhankita Ojha, 2016-17 Fellow

Shubhankita Ojha, 2016-17 Fellow

The Harvard South Asia Institute is pleased to offer the Raghunathan Family Fellowship (formerly known as South Asian Studies Fellowship) to support recent PhDs in the humanities and social sciences related to South Asia. Research topics can cover any period of South Asian history or contemporary South Asia. Candidates must be able to provide evidence of successful completion of their PhD by June of the year of appointment and may not be more than five years beyond the receipt of PhD. Scholars who have not had past opportunities to access Harvard’s resources and who have primarily been educated at institutions in South Asia will be prioritized.

Fellows are expected to reside in the Cambridge vicinity during the time of their award and to actively participate in the events and intellectual life of the Institute. Participation includes contributing to the greater Harvard community by teaching, mentoring, or advising students.

Total stipend for one year: $40,000
Health insurance up to $5,000 and round trip economy travel expenses to from South Asia to Boston will also be provided (for participants residing in South Asia only).

The Raghunathan Family Fellowship for the 2017 – 2018 Academic Year is due March 31, 2017.

Apply.

 

 

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Student voices: Constructions of citizenship and belonging for the stateless Rohingya of Burma


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This is part of a series of reports from Harvard students who have traveled to South Asia with support from a SAI grant.

By Cresa Pugh, PhD Social Policy, 2022

I am immensely indebted to the South Asia Institute for their generous support of my winter session research project in Burma. Over the course of the 28 days that I was in the country I was able to successfully complete each of the activities outlined in my proposal, which included conducting archival research on colonial nation-building, field research such as interviewing and expanding my network of key research informants. In addition, I was able to visit culturally, historically and socially important sites and organizations relevant to my research topic.

When I applied for the research grant I had planned to explore the meaning of statelessness and citizenship for the Muslim Rohingya ethnic group. Once I arrived and began conducting interviews though, my interest shifted slightly to an understanding of the effects of Buddhist ultra-nationalism on ethnic minority groups, particularly Muslim communities such as the Rohingya. This slight tweak in my research question allowed me to have more expansive interviews and conversations as well as expanding the literature available to me to investigate this particular question.

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Mar. 20 – 31: Visiting Artists at Harvard


SAI is pleased to announce our Visiting Artists for the Spring semester, who will be at Harvard from March 20 – 31. During their time at Harvard, the artists will display their work on campus, meet with students, attend courses, and give a public seminar.

Check back on our site for details about the seminars.

Madhu DMadhu Das is a multi-disciplinary Visual Artist based in Mumbai, India; his artistic practice is primarily concerned with the projection of identity onto the social and natural world: in a way that the two are woven together in the Indian space (both mythic space and actual); Exploring both conceptual and material sensibilities through range of media including drawing and painting, photography, performance, video, site-specific interventions, collaborative community projects and interactive/performative installations.

In his work, human body often establish an improvisational relationship with object and sculptural elements in the space. The work has involved the spaces in both a narrative sense and as a site of memory to re-narrate historical events as a way of plotting connections between the particular and the universal. Subjectively, he adapt aspects of material culture as well as methods from anthropology, allegorical fiction as conceptual tool, which later extends to the space of the viewer, from the point of a storyteller, exploring exciting linguistic devices and imagery with a sense of irony and paradox.

Das received his Masters of Arts (Painting) from S N School of Fine Arts and Communication, Central University of Hyderabad, India in 2013. Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from College of Fine Art, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore, India 2009. He was awarded the Inlaks Fine Arts Award, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, India (2015) and Shortlisted for Emerging Indian Visual Artists by Delfina Foundation, UK (2014).

 

IMG_0452Rabindra Shrestha is a Nepalese visual artist. Installation, detail pen and ink drawing, painting, traditional painting (Paubha), illustration, cartoon, and ceramic art are the different mediums of his visuals expressions. Most of his art is directly conceptual based. The collaborative line art project, Earthquake line and Finger prints with red line are some of his series in the Nepali contemporary art scene. Many people refer to him as a “Line Artist”. Shrestha’s works has been exhibited throughout the National Fine Art exhibition (nine times), Kochi-Muzirise Biennale 2014 (India), and Asian Art Biennale (Bangladesh). He secured the National Special Award (NAFA) from National Academy of Fine Arts three times, and was a winner of the US embassy Art Competition (Nepal).

 

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Mentoring of entrepreneurs is missing in India: Tarun Khanna, Harvard Business School


This interview with SAI Director Tarun Khanna was published in The Times of India.

The entrepreneurship ecosystem in India needs to evolve beyond ecommerce and mcommerce and into areas such as education and healthcare, said Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School .

Khanna is involved with the startup ecosystem in India as investor and entrepreneur and is also an advisor to the Niti Aayog. Khanna, who was recently in Mumbai, spoke to ET on the deeper structural issues facing entrepreneurs.

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Remembering Faiz


189333_1_013227_magThis article was originally published The News International about a SAI co-sponsored event held in Dubai on Feb. 23.

By Babar Hashm

February is the birth month of arguably the best Urdu poet of all time – Faiz Ahmed Faiz. He touched millions of hearts around the world by exhibiting masterful ingenuity in his writings and by providing provocative  revolutionary messages that will continue to heal distressed souls for all times to come.

Faiz spent his life as a human rights activist, as a journalist and as a flag bearer of arts and culture. To celebrate the birth of the visionary poet, Poetic Strokes which is a unique platform committed to fostering art in all its forms, in collaboration with Harvard University’s South Asian Institute, arranged a beautiful evening titled ‘Remembering Faiz’ for the ‘muhib-bei-zaban’ (lovers of the language) as the host Alok sahib and Faraz Ali described it.

The presentation included Faiz’s grandson and renowned actor, producer and screen writer, Adeel Hashmi, who has perfected the art of reciting poetry – an art his grandfather was not particularly known for. Once someone asked Faiz why he didn’t learn to read out his poems in better style to which he candidly responded: “Ab sub kuch hum hi karein” (should I do everything myself).

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Event of interest: Re-imagining Religion, Caste, and Social Justice in South Asia


Re-imagining Religion, Caste, and Social Justice in South Asia

The third annual international conference on the unfinished legacy of Dr B.R. Ambedkar
April 28 – April 30, 2017 at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

The Center for Global Development and Sustainability (GDS) invites you to join scholars, policy makers, practitioners, students, and the public for two and a half days of panels, presentations, networking and social events around these pressing issues in India and South Asia.

Click here to learn more and register.

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HBS Creating Emerging Markets and India Research Center host inaugural conference in Mumbai


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Read an interview with participants of this conference:
HBS Working Knowledge: Reputation is Vital to Survival in Turbulent Markets
Reputation and resilience are key ingredients that determine whether companies will survive tumultuous markets, according to a new paper byGeoffrey Jones, Tarun Khanna, Cheng Gao, and Tiona Zuzul.

By Rachael Comunale

The Harvard Business School Creating Emerging Markets project (CEM), in collaboration with the HBS India Research Center (IRC), hosted a two-day conference titled, “Creating Emerging Markets: Lessons from History” on February 13-14 in Mumbai. The event showcased the CEM archive, which includes more than 100 video interviews with business leaders in emerging markets conducted largely by senior HBS faculty, and it also marked the 10th anniversary of the IRC. Guest speakers included distinguished business leaders Rahul Bajaj, Ritu Kumar, Jerry Rao, Zia Mody, Anu Aga, and Yusuf Hamied. The event also attracted prominent scholars, including Gita Piramal, Mahesh Vyas, Chinmay Tumbe, and Shekhar Shah, and leading corporate archivists, including Vrunda Pathare, Rajib Lochan Sahoo, and Usha Iyer. Over 120 guests attended.

Lessons from History

The two-day conference in Mumbai sought to address – through two different forums – the question: what is the value of history in business? Day One of the conference explored the value of history for today’s practitioners and policy makers through the lens of four major issues currently facing businesses in South Asia and other emerging markets: spurring innovation, managing family business, navigating business-government relations, and promoting responsible business practices. Each discussion began with a series of short clips from the CEM archive that addressed the specific theme in more detail. For example, during the innovation panel, guests watched a short video of Yusuf Hamied discussing the necessity of incremental innovation in the pharmaceuticals industry in the 2000s.

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Listen to the Partition Podcast


Our podcast on the 1947 Partition of British India has launched! Partition is one of the defining events of the modern era and during this series, leading scholars – starting with Professor Sunil Amrith – will explore and analyze its continuing impact. The second episode features Professor Jennifer Leaning on the historical and humanitarian consequences of migration.

The episodes were recorded at SAI’s weekly seminar series on the 1947 Partition of British India.

Stay tuned for more.

 

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