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The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University (The Mittal Institute) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 


About The Mittal Institute 

Upcoming Events

Fri, April 20, 2018 from 12:15pm - 02:00pm  /  CGIS South, S050

Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar: Forced Migration in South Asia: Past and Present

Satchit Balsari, FXB Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Faculty, Emergency Medicine, HMS/BIDM
Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, SAI

Moderator: Yee Htun, Clinical Instructor, Harvard Law School 

SAI Director Tarun Khanna and FXB Fellow Satchit Balsari will run a discussion that focuses on the effects of forced migration, the 1947 Partition of British India, and how moving large groups of people across borders affected countries such as present-day India and Pakistan. This seminar also ties in research from SAI’s ongoing research related to the Partition.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center.

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 12:15pm

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 02:00pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Mon, April 23, 2018 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S010

Are South Asians a Single Population? Insights from Culture, Genetics and Disease

During this interdisciplinary discussion, the four panelists will discuss the ways that cultural practices and social structures intersect with biomedicine and genetics. Specifically, they will be examining the ways that endogamy and caste structures in South Asian contexts have produced implications for health practices and medical predispositions. Ultimately, the discussion will touch upon the ways that seemingly disparate academic fields can help inform and improve the practices and understandings of other disciplines. This seminar was inspired by the New York Times article “In South Asian Social Castes, a Living Lab for Genetic Disease” by Steph Yin, published on July 17, 2017.

David Reich, Professor, Harvard Medical School
Priya Moorjani, Assistant Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development, University of California, Berkeley
Richard Meadow, Director, Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Peabody Museum of Harvard University
Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit, Harvard University

Chair: Venkatesh Murthy, Professor and Chair of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Co-sponsored with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute; Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University; Possible through the generosity of the Asia Center


Monday, April 23, 2018
4:00PM – 5:30PM
Reception to follow

Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 04:00pm

Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S010

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA

Mon, April 23, 2018 from 12:00pm - 01:00pm  /  Room T401  /  Taubman Building, Harvard Kennedy School

Building Resilience through Mobile Money

Can mobile money help the rural poor become more resilient to climate change shocks? Imtiaz ul Haq presents new evidence using satellite data from the world’s most successful mobile money market, Kenya, and discusses how the findings translate to South Asia.

Imtiaz ul Haq, Aman Visiting Fellow; Assistant Professor Of Economics At The Lahore University Of Management Sciences, Pakistan

Chair: Shawn Cole, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 12:00pm

Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 01:00pm

Wed, April 25, 2018 from 05:00pm - 06:30pm  /  1201 Massachusetts Ave  /  Lowell Inn  /  Second Floor

Coming Out and Coming Back: Rediscovering Hinduism After Coming Out

Dr. Om Lala, MD, MBA, MPH ‘12, AB ‘06, former President of Dharma and
Founder of the Harvard Interfaith Council, will begin by discussing his
experience of grappling with his Hindu faith after coming out as gay.
Treating Dr. Lala’s experience as a case study, we will then ask and
discuss broader questions around Hinduism, sexual orientation, andhow
everyone comes out in some way or another.

Faculty Host: Diana Eck, Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society, Director of the Pluralism Project

Refreshments will be served.

Cosponsored by Harvard Dharma

Wed, Apr 25, 2018 at 05:00pm

Wed, Apr 25, 2018 at 06:30pm


Q + A: Using Art as a Way of Reflection

As a 2018 Mittal Institute Visiting Artist, Rajyashri Goody’s art revolves around the complexities of identity seen through the lens of larger social, political, economic, and religious structures at play — and consequently the tug between power and resistance that manifests itself within minority communities.

Q+A: Studying the Past Through Genetics

Before her participation in the upcoming panel “Are South Asians a Single Population? Insights from Culture, Genetics, and Disease,” The Mittal Institute asked Priya Moorjani about her research, which uses statistical and computational approaches to study questions in human genetics and evolutionary biology.  Monday, April 23rd at 4PM in CGIS South SO10.

South Asian Sisters Bring Yoni Ki Baat to Harvard

Theater and performance art can bring many things to both its audience and actors. It can educate, empower, and start difficult conversations. As part of Asian Heritage Month, the South Asian Sisters @ Harvard are producing Yoni Ki Baat, a South Asian version of The Vagina Monologues, to place a spotlight on gender, sexuality, and femininity in this cultural context. SAI chatted with co-directors Amberine Huda and Sheliza Jamal, SAI communications intern, about their involvement and passion for this production.

Getting to the ‘Why’ of British India’s Bloody Partition

The birth of Hindu-led India and Muslim-ruled Pakistan in 1947 from what had been British India was horrifically violent, the start of a religious conflict in which millions died and millions more fled across the new borders toward safety. The great sorting that occurred after the Partition of India remains the largest forced migration in human history, characterized not just by the bloodshed and tears with which it is often associated, but also by often-overlooked acts of courage and kindness, according to Harvard scholars studying it.

Contemporary Pakistani Artist and Academic Continues Traditional Craft

Murad Khan Mumtaz’s research focuses on devotional portraiture with a special interest in representations of Muslim saints in early modern India. On April 6th, he gave a talk at SAI that will discuss sixteenth and early-seventeenth-century album and manuscript paintings made for Muslim patrons. Before his talk, we chatted with him about his Miniature Portrait training at the Lahore National College of Art, his influences, and journey into traditional musawwari painting. 

Q +A: Shaping Nepal’s Leaders

Building a country’s future is no easy task. Especially since young leaders often need to be coached and given proper opportunities. Even with this challenge, Pukar Malla has spent his career conducting research and developing initiatives to bring self-sustaining entrepreneurship to Nepal. 

SAI Hosts Student Research Art Exhibition

On Wednesday, April 4th, SAI hosted an opening reception for its Spring Art Exhibition, “Showcasing Research in South Asia Through Visual Arts.” It features 2D and 3D art and artifacts inspired by Harvard students who traveled to South Asia sponsored by Harvard SAI travel grants. The show was curated by Sheliza Jamal (Graduate School of Education) and Neeti Nayak (Graduate School of Design).

Art as a Weapon of Resistance in Kashmir

Tushar Madav and Sarvnik Kaur’s documentary Soz: A Ballad of Maladies gives the world a look at the Kashmir region without media-sponsored stereotypes or rhetoric. In an interview with SAI, the filmmakers of Soz: A Ballad of Maladies discuss their film and the importance of telling the overlooked stories of artistic dissent in Kashmir.