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Issue, Date Summer 2013 Newsletter

William Lodge ’13 Receives Prestigious Doris Brewer Cohen Award in the Humanities

Contents 2013 Graduates

2 The South Asian Studies Department is delighted to announce that William Lodge, graduating senior in English and South Asian Studies, has won the prestigious Doris Brewer Cohen Award in the Humanities for his senior thesis, "Character and Identity Formation: Representing Dalits in the Indian Novel." The thesis compares the representation of Dalits in Mulk Raj Anand's 1935 novel Untouchable and Manu Joseph's contemporary novel Serious Men. In Spring 2012, William was among the first cohort of Brandeis-India Fellows. He spent the semester in New Delhi at JNU, studying Hindi and Indian literature, history, and culture. William, a talented musician, also utilized his Brandeis-India fellowship to pursue research in Indian classical violin. His time in India heavily influenced his future academic and career goals; witnessing the disparity in educational achievement in India has prompted him to pursue an MS in International Education Development, with a focus on South Asia. He will be attending the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania this fall where he is receiving a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship to support his Hindi studies.

AIF Fellowship Recipient

2 Brandeis-India Fellows

3-4 Brandeis in India Updates

4-5 India at Brandeis Updates


The Doris Brewer Cohen Award is given to the best senior essay or thesis with a humanities focus from an impressive number of programs on campus, including English, Philosophy, Comparative Humanities, Film, Television and Interactive Media, Religious Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Anthropology, Education, Fine Arts, History, International and Global Studies, among many others. The prize comes with a $2,500 award. 

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Brandeis-India Initiative

July 2013

Congratulations to our 2013 Graduates! On May 19, 2013 Brandeis Abhay Mirza, MA in celebrated its 62nd International Economics and Commencement ceremony. Finance Among the graduates, there Hometown: Chennai were a total of 24 students of Plans after graduation: Currently Indian citizenship (9 seeking career opportunities in undergraduates and 15 Finance graduate students). In Jayanta Patra, MA in addition, the South Asian Sustainable International Studies Program was Photo by Mike Lovett/Brandeis University Development pleased to graduate three minors Home Town: Keonjhar, Odisha this year: William Lodge, Daniel Hammerschlag, Plans after graduation: Job in reputed national or and Liza Ansher. international NGO Read about some of our newest alumni: Rachana S. Agarwal, PhD in Anthropology Hometown: Mumbai Plans after graduation: Postdoctoral or teaching position Sonal Chaubey, MS in Biotechnology Hometown: Delhi Plans after graduation: Research in Biotech and Pharma industry Naiya Khushalani, MA in International Economics and Finance Hometown: Kolkata

Shweta Raisoni, MBA in International Business Hometown: Jalgaon, Maharashtra Surbhi Sona, MS in Molecular and Cell Biology (December 2013 graduation) Hometown: Jabalpur (present - Nagpur) Plans after graduation: To continue for a PhD Ramesh Yadawar, MA in Sustainable International Development Hometown: Jimalgatta Dist: Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) Plans after graduation: Work to strengthen NGOs and influence policy decisions for inclusive growth in India. 

SID Student, Julia LaFleur ‘14, Receives Competitive AIF Fellowship The Brandeis-India Initiative would like to congratulate Julia LaFleur on her acceptance as a William J. Clinton Fellow for Service in India through the American India Foundation (AIF). Julia was accepted for one of the 35 fellowships out of an applicant pool of more than 650 individuals. She will be working with an organization called SwitchON/ONergy, which helps provide electricity through solar power projects to rural communities in West Bengal, India. Julia will be living and working in Kolkata from September 2013 to June 2014. As an MA student in the Sustainable International Development program at the Heller School, Julia will be using this opportunity as an AIF Fellow to complete her required 6-month practicum for the program. Having previously served in the US Navy, Julia is looking forward to the opportunity to gain experience through fieldwork in her new chosen career area. She will be graduating from Brandeis in May 2014. To learn more about AIF and the fellowships, please visit 


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Brandeis-India Initiative

July 2013

Left to right: Ariel Magid, Jonathan Wexler, Ankita Sukthankar, Aliza Gans, Rhea Sanghi, Jessica Friedman, Farhat Jilalbhoy (not pictured: Kiran Gill, Molly Lortie, and Alina Pokhrel)

Meet Our 2013-2014 Brandeis-India Fellows In April, the Brandeis-India Initiative selected ten new fellows to represent Brandeis in India this summer and during the upcoming academic year. Below is a description of each of their projects: Jessica Friedman MA‘14 is working with Solidarity for Developing Communities (SFDC), a non-profit, secular NGO located in Odisha. SFDC works mostly with Dalit, Adivasi, and minority communities in four districts and utilizes peace-building and rightsbased frameworks for its work on education, environment, agriculture, health and livelihoods. Jessica will be working on Monitoring & Evaluation for SFDC’s new Inclusive Schools Program and proposal writing for the scaling up of a hydrology project this summer. Aliza Gans ’15 is volunteering in Varanasi this summer as a Communications Intern for The Dove Foundation. This youth-led NGO aims to provide quality healthcare, education, and employment opportunities to marginalized youth. Aliza will be promoting the organization’s online fundraising campaign, creating promotional materials, assisting

with events, and writing web content. For her Fellows project, she will be keeping a blog documenting her social justice efforts. Upon returning to Brandeis she plans to host a fundraising event for the organization. Kiran Gill ’15 is interning with Vogue India and MD Media this summer in Mumbai. At Vogue, she will work with the Marketing Department to facilitate the second annual Vogue Fashion Fund India. For her fellows project, Kiran will be blogging about the arts and fashion scene in Mumbai. Farhat Jilalbhoy MA‘14 is undertaking her practicum for the Heller School’s Sustainable International Development program at the Deshpande Foundation in Hubli, Karnataka from September through April. She is interested in working on sustainable livelihoods. While in India, she hopes to report on internship highlights, interviews with Brandeis alumni, tips to students interested in working in India, and opportunities for non-profit internships. Continued on page 4


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Brandeis-India Initiative Molly Lortie ’15 is interning with the organization Ritinjali in New Delhi in June. Ritinjali is a non-profit that works with marginalized individuals, providing education, employment and internships, vocational training, and income generation activities. Molly will be assisting with their Dalil Ekta Camp initiative in Vasant Kunj – a project to make school accessible to children living in slums. Ariel Magid MA‘14 is interning with EduCARE India in Januri, Punjab this summer. She will be assisting on a microfinance project with rural women, facilitating educational workshops on financial literacy and health. Upon returning, Ariel will continue to write about her experience, working to bring attention to these community-based efforts in India. Ariel also plans to use her experiences in India as the basis for her MA thesis. Alina Pokhrel ’15 is spending the summer in Bhopal volunteering with Sambhavana Trust. She will be responsible for producing publicity materials and preparing a report on the Bhopalis successful struggle for clean water. Alina is especially interested in the healthcare system in Bhopal, and she plans to interview patients and survivors of the gas leaks at the Union Carbide India Limited plant about their experiences with medical clinics. She hopes to use her summer research as the basis of her undergraduate senior thesis. Rhea Sanghi ’15 is volunteering with Udayan Care, a Delhi-based nonprofit working with youth to improve their employment options through IT & vocational training. Rhea is interested in studying the role of gender in employment opportunities. For her fellows project, she plans to develop a research publication documenting the stories of unemployed youth. As a member of the South Asian Students Association, Rhea will continue to raise awareness about global employment issues upon returning to campus. Ankita Sukthankar ’15 is spending the summer in Dharamshala, working with the NGO Sankalp. This organization focuses on increasing children’s access to equitable and quality primary education in low-income communities. As an Education Studies major, Ankita will be involved in the Teaching in Schools program, putting the skills she has studied at Brandeis into practice. For the second half of her fellows project, Ankita hopes to work with the Alumni Chapter in Mumbai to organize an event. Jonathan Wexler ’13 is returning to Varanasi this summer to work with students at the Little Stars School where he volunteered three years ago. As a Computer Science and Neuroscience major, he has been working on an independent study project at Brandeis to build an interactive website that promotes early education for non-English speakers. He plans to implement this project at Little Stars, a school that provides free education for underprivileged children.  Read more direct accounts from our fellows on the India Fellows Blog:


July 2013

Brandeis in India Study Abroad for Science Majors Plans continue to move forward for Brandeis’ new exchange program with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. Amber Thacher, Program Manager of Brandeis-Led Study Programs, and Keely Swan, Coordinator for the BrandeisIndia Initiative, visited the IISc campus in May to work with faculty and staff on developing the exchange. This program is geared towards undergraduates interested in studying biology, chemistry, physics, math, and computer science. The program will be open to Brandeis undergraduates beginning spring 2014. Applications are still being accepted on a rolling basis until October 15th for this study abroad opportunity, so please contact Amber at if you are interested in participating.

IISc Campus – Faculty Hall

Invited Lectures In February, Dr. Laurence R. Simon (Professor of International Development and Director of the Graduate Programs in Sustainable International Development & Health at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management) gave several invited lectures in New Delhi:

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Brandeis-India Initiative 1. February 20: Lecture at The Indira Gandhi National Open University – talk titled “The Tyranny of Place: Paulo Freire and Subaltern Consciousness.” At the invitation of Dr. Vimal Thorat, an academic involved with Dalit movements in India, Prof. Simon opened the session on “Theorizing Marginality” at the International Conference on Literature and Marginality. 2. February 21: Talk to staff of the Society for Participatory Research in Asia on “An Introduction to the Thought of Paulo Freire: Origins of Participatory Planning.” 3. February 23: Invited talk (“Where there is no Untouchability: The Value of an International Education”) at the Ford Foundation at the closing event for the International Fellowships Program. Others on the program included the India representative of the Ford Foundation, Ms Kavita N. Ramdas; Dr Syeda Hameed, Planning Commission, Government of India; Dr David Arnold, President of The Asia Foundation; and Dr Ganesh N. Devy, Founder and Director, Tribal Academy at Tejgadh, Gujarat.

Exhibitions The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute provided a grant that supported an exhibition entitled “I am a seed of the tree…” on the life cycle and rituals of the Bene Israel Jews of Ahmedabad. The exhibition, which included photographs by Bindi Sheth and text by Esther David, ran from March 28-31, 2013 at Amdavad ni Gufa (Gujarat University Road,

July 2013 Navrangpura, Ahmedabad). The Bene Israel Jewish community has been living in India for two thousand year, traveling from Israel after the fall of King Solomon’s second temple in 70 BC. To learn more about the Jewish community in India, the writer and the photographer, visit: ions/exhibitionslist/Photographs-by-Bindi-Seth1.asp 

NEW 2013-14 Course Offerings FALL 2013 HIST 66A "History of South Asia (2500 BCE - 1971)" T, F 12:30 PM–1:50 PM Instructor: Prof. Govind Sreenivasan Introduces South Asian history from the earliest civilizations to the independence of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Surveys the formation of religious traditions, the establishment of kingdoms and empires, colonialism and its consequences, and postindependence political and economic development.

India at Brandeis In April and May this semester, the Brandeis-India Initiative sponsored three excellent campus lectures. Students of Prof. Ulka Anjaria’s class “Bollywood: Popular Film, Genre & Society” had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Sudhir Manadevan (University of Washington) about “Dhan Te Nan! Onomatopoeia and Other Deployments of Film Sound in Contemporary Multiplex Cinema.” Next, Prof. Anne Rademacher (NYU) spoke to Prof. Jonathan Anjaria’s class “Nature, Culture, Power: Anthropology of the Environment” about Urban

SPRING 2014 POL 132A "Religion, Nationalism, and Violence in South Asia" - special one-time course offering! T,Th 3:30 PM–4:50 PM Instructor: Matthew D. Isaacs – recipient of a University Prize Instructorship (UPI). Examines the phenomenon of religious nationalism in South Asia with focus on violent conflict in Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan. Theoretical analysis of the nature of religious mobilization, the politics of holy space, and the logic of religious violence.

Full course listing: schedule/classes/2013/Fall/6550/all



India at Brandeis continued Ecology and Sustainability in Kathmandu and Mumbai. The students asked many questions and discussed the direct relationship between their coursework and her talk. Finally, on May 1st, Prof. Shilpa Phadke from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences came to Brandeis to speak about “Unfriendly Bodies, Hostile Cities: Reflections on Loitering in Urban India.” Her lecture was incredibly well received, with over 70 students and faculty attending. Prof. Phadke discussed her work on gender and public space and outlined some of the legal, public, and political responses in India to the recent cases of sexual assault and rape. 

Brandeis-India Initiative Social Events in India The Brandeis-India Initiative hosted receptions in Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai in May and June. We were pleased that the following alumni and friends could join us: Sreeraj Sasi MS’10, Sriya Srikrishnan ’12, Nilanjana Maulik MA’96, Priya Saran Chaudhri ’91 & Ranjit Chaudhri ’88, Sambaran Chatterjee ’83, Yashvardhan Kher (MBA incoming class fall 2013), Ishan Gulati ’13 and his father Gautam Gulati, Molly Lortie Left to right: Chandan Samal, Jarnail Singh, ’14, Uday Jain (incoming class and Yash Kher at Delhi Reception fall 2013) and his parents Rashmi and Subhash Jain, Nikhil Bapna MAief’07, Jarnail Singh MA’13 and family, Chandan Samal MA’03, Meher Irani ’16, Ali Nabee ’03 and his wife, Neha Daswani ’16, Sumana Ramanan Dixit ’90, Vikas Gupta MBA’11, Shikha Chandarana (incoming class fall 2013) and her parents Dr. Yogesh and Dr. Dolly Chandarana, Kiran Gill ’14, and Sidak Pannu ’12 

Stay Connected! Brandeis-India Initiative / South Asian Studies Department MS 092 415 South Street Waltham, MA 02453 [USA] Phone: +1 (781) 736-5240 Email:

Alumni & Friends Networks in India Brandeis alumni are working to organize a stronger Brandeis Alumni & Friends networks in India. If you are an alum, parent, or current student interested in participating in a group, please contact the following individuals: Delhi Contact: Nikhil Bapna (MAief ’07) / +91 99102 77891 Mumbai Contacts: Vikas Gupta (MBA ’11) / +91 98208 757 30

Brandeis-India Fellows Blog:

Giving: If you'd like to make a contribution to support the Brandeis-India Initiative, please contact Gayle Gordon '08 at 781-736-4060 or visit our secure giving website.

Chiara Bercu ’11 / +91 9833341299 Not in one of these cities? Still want to connect? Contact Karen Rogol ‘98 (Director, Alumni and University Relations) at Facebook Page:

Newsletter summer13  
Newsletter summer13