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Department of South Asian Studies Faculty of Arts and Sciences François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduate School of Design Harvard Business School Harvard Divinity School Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Harvard Global Health Institute Harvard Graduate School of Education Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Harvard Kennedy School of Government Harvard Law School Harvard Medical School Harvard School of Public Health Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Indo-US Science and Technology Forum Lahore University of Management Sciences Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Harvard South Asia Institute School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Cover photo: Runner-up, Office of International Education’s Photo Contest, South Asia Harper Sutherland, Harvard College Class of 2014 “QUTB MINAR” Taken in New Delhi, India

Photo at right: Winner of the Office of International Education’s Photo Contest, South Asia Tarik Adnan Moon, Harvard College Class of 2015 “A BANGLADESHI NOON” Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Graphic design and layout of the Year in Review by Marissa Giambrone, SAI Graphics Consultant











Tarun Khanna

Dear Friends, The 2013–2014 academic year saw a landmark for the Harvard South Asia Institute. SAI is excited to have celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2013, and continues its tradition to foster scholarly collaboration between Harvard and South Asian nations. In its tenth year, SAI serves as a premier center on South Asian studies and a cross-disciplinary forum and platform for myriad efforts in South Asia, including programs related to science, social entrepreneurship, gender justice and criminal law, public health and more. Over the past year, SAI has increased its educational efforts and outreach initiatives in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as in other countries throughout the region. Much has been accomplished over this milestone year. The tenthanniversary retreat, held on September 27, 2013, focused on the future of SAI and South Asian studies. Scholars and participants from across Harvard and other institutions gathered to discuss SAI’s focus on South Asia studies through the lens of governance, health and education in South Asia. SAI’s recent Mapping India’s Kumbh Mela project was highlighted as a model for future SAI coordinated interdisciplinary research projects. Nicholas Dirks, vice chancellor of the University of California–Berkeley, spoke eloquently about the old and new directions of South Asian studies, and participants discussed SAI’s future paths and initiatives. SAI has launched new and fostered ongoing projects over the past year. This year, SAI initiated its visiting fellows program, funding two scholars from the region to ‘reside’ at Harvard for the academic year to support their research on South Asia. The South Asian Studies Fellowship focuses on research in the humanities and social sciences and the Aman Fellowship supports the research on development issues related to Pakistan. In January, SAI released its inaugural publication, Health and South Asia, which presents innovative perspectives on a wide range of health issues facing South Asians, from health care financing and patent law to trauma service and on-the-ground care. The publication, which incorporates the work of faculty, students and professionals from Harvard and around the region, serves as a site for initiating discussions on health in South Asia at Harvard. In August 2013, Harvard faculty and students, and senior Mela officials who were invited from India, convened to discuss the documentation of SAI’s Mapping India’s Kumbh Mela project, an 4 South Asia Institute

amalgamation of research on religion and culture, urban planning, business, and health at the world’s largest human gathering. With 2 billion people in South Asia experiencing similar problems and broken systems, SAI can encourage cross-faculty cooperation that can lead to new research and design of common solutions. The Mela project is an example of a successful effort where faculty, students, and practitioners who wouldn’t otherwise interact, came together through SAI’s coordination. SAI’s other projects—including the Harvard Gender Violence Project, which investigates violence prevention and intervention, as well as female education, in the region; and the Resonance Project, a Harvard-MIT-IIT science and technology project, which this past summer took form as an introduction to neuroscience program in Delhi—continues to represent a range of important research initiatives in South Asia.

With 2 billion people in South Asia experiencing similar problems and broken systems, SAI can encourage cross-faculty cooperation that can lead to new research and design of common solutions. This past academic year, SAI hosted over 50 seminars and conferences in Cambridge, Delhi, Dhaka, Karachi, Lahore and Mumbai; as well as a series of webinars, which provide essential, cross-institutional conduits for connecting to the region. SAI continues to support and engage in larger international assemblies, as well. In January 2014, SAI co-sponsored the Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi, in partnership with the Government of Sind and Punjab, and the Pakistan Institute of Architects. This mega-conference attracted over 3,000 participants including politicians, scholars and professionals, as well as citizens from Pakistan and other parts of South Asia. Harvard faculty and graduate students presented at several panels on topics varying from housing and urban planning to public health and policy.


DIRECTOR’S LETTER In February 2014, SAI and the World Bank held a corporate social responsibility summit in Mumbai on Non-State Players in Human Development: Achieving India’s Goals. This workshop, attended by executives and upper management of both public and private sector companies based in the region, focused on a corporate code of ethics and its ensuing long-term profits and benefits.

From Left: Diana Eck, FAS and HDS, and Rahul Mehrotra, GSD, at the Mapping the Kumbh Mela Workshop in August, 2013; Paolo Singer, Harvard College‘13, gave a presentation of his summer thesis research on the IT sector in India at the SAI Grants Open House in November; Sarib Hussain, Harvard College ‘16, spent time at Interactive Research and Development (IRD) in Karachi during summer 2013 on an internship grant funded by SAI.

Earlier, in October 2013, Raghu Rai, the famous Indian photographer and photojournalist, presented the 2013 Mahindra lecture, as well as a photo exhibit featuring his work from over the years. In April 2014, SAI welcomes Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chair of BRAC, the world’s largest NGO and SAI’s affiliate organization. Sir Fazle delivers the 2014 Harish C. Mahindra address on Poverty and Development in South Asia. SAI has awarded over 45 student grants this year, and continues to sponsor fellowships and serve as a vital platform and launching pad for young scholars from across the globe to convene and research fields from anthropology, government and law, to architecture, medicine and technology. Harvard students and fellows, as well as SAI faculty and staff, remain an integral part of the Institute’s composition and contribute greatly to its current and future initiatives. With an eye toward the future, SAI inaugurates its second decade of strengthening South Asian Studies at Harvard. We acknowledge the efforts of each you who continue to engage with SAI. Together we can fulfill our expanding mission to facilitate scholarly exchange, support faculty and students, and build a community of scholars and professionals devoted to scholarship and progress in South Asia. Regards,

Tarun Khanna

Director, Harvard University South Asia Institute Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School

A Year in Review 2013-2014 5


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

Tarun Khanna

Director, SAI & Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS

Meena Sonea Hewett

Executive Director

Nora Maginn Program Manager

Meghan Smith

Teri McGuane Staff Assistant

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

GOALS As a catalyst and bridge between Harvard faculty and the region, the South Asia Institute’s goals are to: • Facilitate scholarly exchanges among Harvard faculty and students, international South Asia specialists, visiting academics, and public figures from South Asia.


• Sponsor lectures and conferences at Harvard and in the region by distinguished academic, governmental, and business leaders whose work contributes to a better understanding of the challenges facing South Asia.

Namrata Arora

Associate Director, SAI Mumbai Office, India

Payal Narain

Program Consultant, SAI Delhi Office, India

Fuad H. Mallick

SAI Partner, BRAC University, Bangladesh

Sana Mahmood

Program Consultant, SAI Karachi Office, Pakistan

• Bring knowledge from South Asia to Harvard by supporting faculty and students with grants for research, study, and service learning. • Build a community of stakeholders committed to building scholarship on South Asia at Harvard and in-region.


FOUNDERS CLUB Syed Babar Ali, AMP ‘73 Purander Das Jo Forman and Mark Fuller, AB ‘75, MBA ‘78, JD ‘79

Mariam Chughtai

Ed.D. Candidate, HGSE, Fall Semester

Mitul Daiyan

MTS Candidate, HDS, Spring Semester

Sreeja Kalapurakkel

Undergraduate, Harvard College, Fall Semester

Meera and Vikram Gandhi, MBA ‘89, ExEd ‘00 Mala Haarmann, AB’91, MBA ‘96 Anuradha and Anand Mahindra, AB ‘77, MBA ‘81 Karen AB ’82 and Sanjeev Mehra, AB ‘82, MBA ‘86 Victor Menezes Arif Naqvi Chandrika and Dalip Pathak

Abigail Russo

Ed.M Candidate, HGSE, Fall Semester

Erum Sattar

SJD Candidate, HLS, Fall Semester

Justin Stern

PhD candidate, GSD, Spring Semester

Sribala Subramanian and Arvind Raghunathan, Chair, SAI Founders Club Rajiv and Anupa Sahney


Gaurav Swarup, MBA ’80

Susan McHone

Arshad Zakaria, AB’85, MBA ’87

Director of Finance and Administration

6 South Asia Institute

Kathryn Maldonis Finance Associate

Karen Christopher

Finance and Administrative Associate



David Barron

David Bloom

John Briscoe

Nicholas Burns

Honorable S. William Green Professor of Public Law, HLS

Chair, Department of Global Health and Population; Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, HSPH

Professor of the Practice of Environmental Health, HSPH; Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering, SEAS

Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, HKS

Diana Eck

Tarun Khanna

Asim Khwaja

William Kirby

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, FAS; Member of the Faculty of Divinity, HDS

Director of SAI & Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS

Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development, HKS

Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, HBS T.M. Chang Professor of China Studies, FAS

Jennifer Leaning

Rahul Mehrotra

Venkatesh Murthy

Venkatesh Narayanamurti

FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Associate Professor of Medicine, HMS

Professor of Urban Planning and Design and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, GSD

Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, FAS

Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and Professor of Physics, SEAS; Director Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, HKS

Parimal G. Patil

Fernando Reimers

Anthony Saich

Diana Sorensen

Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Committee on the Study of Religion, FAS, and Chair, DSAS

Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, Director, International Education Policy Program, HGSE

Daewoo Professor of International Affairs; Director, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, HKS

FAS Dean of Humanities; James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Professor of Comparative Literature, FAS

A Year in Review 2013-2014 7

FELLOWS SAI offers two opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Fellows contribute to the greater Harvard community by teaching, mentoring, and advising students. Fellows reside in the Cambridge vicinity during the time of their award and actively participate in the events and intellectual life of the Institute. The South Asian Studies Fellowship supports 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. The Aman Fellowship supports those in the final stages of their PhDs, recent PhDs, and advanced professional degree holders working on issues related to Pakistan, particularly in areas of Pakistan’s development. Priority is given to candidates with prior educational history that has taken place largely in Pakistan, and plan to return to Pakistan upon completion of the fellowship.

the state patronage, and acceptance in Pakistan. This will be published as a research paper in a peer reviewed journal. During his time at Harvard, Zahir is under the mentorship of Professor Richard Meadow, Director of the Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Harvard Peabody Museum, a Senior-Lecturer in Anthropology at Harvard, and Project Director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project.


Meena Hewett, Parimal Patil, Muhammad Zahir, Tarun Khanna, Mumtaz Anwar, and Shankar Ramaswami

SHANKAR RAMASWAMI SAI POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW IN SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES Prior to his appointment at Harvard, Ramaswami was a Visiting Associate Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. He is currently working on a book project titled, “Souls in the Kalyug: The Politics and Theologies of Migrant Workers in Delhi.” This project explores migrant workers’ work experiences, social worlds, and theological visions in contemporary Delhi. The work focuses on the lives of migrants working in a metal polishing export factory of a multinational company located in the Okhla Industrial Area. The project examines the ways in which workers contest exploitative and hazardous working conditions, continual efforts to intensify work, and attempts to terminate quasi legal workers, through resistances at the machines, humor and joking, forms of collectivity, union activity, and nonviolent protests, involving linkages with workers, activists, and other citizens in India, Americana and Europe. Shankar holds a PhD and MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and an AB in Economics from Harvard College. Ramaswami is co-teaching a class in the spring semester titled ‘South Asian Studies 196: Work and Religion in Modern South Asia,’ with Parimal Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy and

8 South Asia Institute

Chair of DSAS. The class seeks to address two fundamental questions: What is the nature of the experiences, struggles, and visions of poor and working people in modern South Asia? What are the appropriate categories, imageries, and vocabularies for understanding these lives and visions? The answer that the class will present is that we need a different vocabulary than the current dominant ideologies of neoliberalism, liberalism, and Marxism. Ramaswami has been involved in many SAI activities. He was on the panel for a SAI Social Enterprise Seminar titled ‘Growth, Employment, and Poverty in India: A Gender Perspective’ (p. 31)with Maitreyi Bordia Das of the World Bank and Marty Chen of HKS. He also led a SAI South Asia Without Borders Seminar titled ‘Chakravyuh (Lotus Maze): Travails, Entanglements, and Visions of Migrant Workers in Delhi,’ (p. 33) which was based on a chapter from his book.

MUHAMMAD ZAHIR AMAN FELLOW Zahir is an archaeologist and lecturer at Hazara University in Peshawar, Pakistan. He is working to deconstruct and conduct a genealogical analysis of the concepts of Aryans in Pakistan archaeology; its use in the interpretation of archaeological remains, ethnic identities, and the personal and professional interests of archaeologists/academics involved, and

Anwar, funded by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, is SAI’s Research Affiliate for the 2013-2014 year. He is also a research fellow at Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) Germany, along with his permanent position of assistant professor at the Department of Economics, University of the Punjab, Lahore (Pakistan). While at Harvard, he works with Asim Khwaja, Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development, HKS. Anwar holds a double Master in Economics, one from the International Islamic University, Islamabad and the other from the University of Leeds (UK). He did his PhD in Economics from University of Hamburg (Germany). He has published widely in national and internationally reputed journals like Review of Development Economics. He has international exposure in Europe, North America and the Middle East, where he has presented papers at international conferences. Areas of his research interest include International Political Economy and Development Policy.

The SAI Retreat, held on Friday, September 27, 2013, was an opportunity to meet and reflect on SAI’s role at Harvard and South Asia in light of its tenth anniversary, and to discuss SAI’s future direction. Select faculty, students, senior administrators from across Harvard, faculty from peer institutions, and donors participated in the meeting. To a room filled with 60 people, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust gave welcome remarks, noting the importance of SAI and its capability of reaching across the university. Faust mentioned that SAI has helped open doors in South Asia and across Harvard, and identified SAI’s interdisciplinary project, Mapping the Kumbh Mela, as a model for programs at Harvard, as it shows how strong we can be when we work together.

SUMMARY Alan Garber, Harvard University Provost, Jorge Dominguez, Vice Provost for International Affairs, Krishna Palepu, HBS Professor and Senior Advisor to the President of Global Strategy, and Leah Rosovsky, Vice President of Strategy and Programs, were among some of the senior faculty and administrators at the retreat. Professors Diana Eck, FAS and HDS, Venki Murthy, FAS, and Jennifer Leaning, HSPH, presented an overview of SAI coordinated multi-year interfaculty projects that are underway. Eck presented Mapping the Kumbh Mela, a study of pilgrimage and ephemeral urbanism that studies the world’s largest religious festival, which occurs every twelve years and lasts 55 days. The 2013 festival attracted an estimated 70 million pilgrims who came to bathe in the holy waters of Ganga, which makes it an important laboratory for the study of humanities, public health, urban planning, business and technology. Faculty and students from across Harvard are researching issues of urbanism, population growth, engineering infrastructure, health and sanitation, transportation, market forces and the environmental impact of constructing and deconstructing a temporary city. Murthy highlighted the Resonance Program, a collaboration with Professor Pawan Sinha from MIT, and IIT Delhi, which conducted a course in neuroscience, where undergraduate and graduate students from across India were taught by postdoctoral students from MIT and Harvard. (See page 17). Leaning cited some examples where SAI has collaborated with HSPH, the FXB Center, HGHI, and HMS on efforts relating to gender disparity in education, urban poverty, gender-based violence, human trafficking, non-communicable diseases, and disaster response. After the morning session, participants convened in smaller groups to discuss how to further the University and SAI’s mission to advance research on South Asia focusing on three key issues: governance, health and education.

Tarun Khanna, right, SAI and HBS, with Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University

Meena Hewett (left), SAI, speaking to Jorge Domínguez, Vice Provost for International Affairs at Harvard University

Diana Eck, FAS and HDS

Parimal Patil (right) DSAS, talks to Mukesh Prasad ‘93, founder of SAI Prasad Fellowship

Jennifer Leaning, HSPH, leads the health workshop

David Barron, left, HLS, and Venki Murthy, FAS

Governance: Facilitated by David Barron, HLS, this group suggested that a way to look at governance is through focus areas such as urbanization, health and education. An outcome would be to create a best practices model in all or one of the three focus areas on how governance works at the local and/or central level. Information from this research could be used to build a course at Harvard and produce a volume on what good governance looks like, which can then be used in the region. Health: Co-facilitated by Jennifer Leaning, HSPH, and Sue Goldie, Director, HGHI, the group suggested that SAI could be a key connector at the university to inform what other schools and centers are doing across Harvard on health in South Asia. An outcome would be building a research program on global health

Faculty, students, donors and SAI staff discuss education

and an increase in student-faculty exchange, through programs that have significant financial support. New courses that are co-produced, and more interdisciplinary programs like the Mapping of the Kumbh Mela were some other recommendations. Education: Facilitated by Fernando Reimers, HGSE, the group agreed that SAI could help build collaborations between the region and Harvard related to education reform. An outcome could be to convene highlevel decision makers and civil society leaders from the region and bring them together at Harvard to address specific areas, such as education, health, etc. Through fruitful dialogues on how people connect with their roots and identity, we can help the next generation of leaders involved in human development.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 9




Harvard students Danielle Schulkin and Paulo Singer at Kegg Farms, one of the oldest poultry breeding organizations in India, during the SAI Immersion Program in July.

Students in the Resonance Introduction to Neuroscience course at IIT Delhi.

Diana Eck, left, with Mukesh Prasad at the SAI Outreach event, Sacred Geographies: India and the US in New York.


FALL 2013

The Resonance Program brought 25 students from across India to participate in a twoweek Introduction to Neuroscience course, taught by Harvard and MIT postdoctoral fellows, on topics related to neuroscience. The program was led by Venkatesh Murthy, FAS and Pawan Sinha, MIT. (p. 17)

SAI, in partnership with Mukesh ‘93 and Chandni Prasad, organized the second annual SAI event in New York, titled Sacred Geographies: India and the US. 50 faculty, alumni, and friends gathered at the Prasads’ home for a conversation with Diana Eck, FAS. (p. 49)

SAI organized a week-long Immersion Program for SAI grant recipients to gain an in-depth look into organizations and NGOs in and around Delhi. The opportunity allowed students to meet with Harvard alumni as well as other grant recipients. 17 Harvard students participated in the program. (p. 40)

SAI hosted its Annual Harish C. Mahindra Lecture with photographer Raghu Rai on October 29th. The event, which included an exhibit of Mr. Rai’s photos, was an exhibition of his successful photojournalism career which spans across social, political, and religious themes. (p. 20)

SAI hosted a two-day Exploratory Workshop hosted by the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study on the Mapping the Kumbh Mela project. Faculty and students from various disciplines, alongside experts from India, convened to discuss the findings from the field visit to the Mela. The group shared insights from individual experiences on the ground, new research questions, and discussed how the information gathered can be shared with the wider public. A Kumbh Mela ‘handbook’ is underway which will be released this year. (p. 51)

SAI celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary with a lecture by Nick Dirks, Chancellor of University of California, Berkeley, titled ‘South Asian Studies: Pasts and Futures.’ (p. 20)

Senior Kumbh Mela officials from India attends the RIAS Exploratory Workshop in August 2013. From left: Shraddha Dwivedi, Devesh Chaturvedi, Rajesh Rathore, and Mani Prasad Mishra.


views have been accumulated for videos on SAI’s Youtube page to date.

SAI welcomed its first visiting scholar, Shankar Ramaswami, SAI Postdoctoral Fellow in South Asian Studies, who co-taught a class titled ‘South Asian Studies 196: Work and Religion in Modern South Asia.’

Photographer Raghu Rai delivers the 2013 Mahindra Lecture.


people have attended SAI’s 56 faculty-led seminars this academic year.

Nick Dirks, University of California, delivers a lecture at the 10th Anniversary Celebration. Audience from left (front row): Founders Club members Sribala Subramanian, Arvind Raghunathan, and Tarun Khanna, SAI and HBS.


people have viewed the digital edition of SAI’s publication ‘Health and South Asia’ to date.


Left to right: Fuad Mallick, BRAC University, Justin Stern, GSD, Jagath Munsinghe, University of Moratuwa, and Anjum Altaf, LUMS, at the Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi.

Participants at the Educators for Teaching India Conference in April at Harvard.

Kash Rangan, HBS, presents at the Non-State Players in Human Development Executive Development program in Mumbai.



SAI cosponsored the January Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi, Pakistan. The conference, which had over 3,000 guests, convened politicians, scholars, doctors, architects, urban planners, and citizens to explore issues related to urban change. Harvard participants included Satchit Balsari, HSPH, Ruth Barron, HMS, Jennifer Leaning, HSPH, Rahul Mehrotra, GSD, Spiro Pollalis, GSD, and Justin Stern, GSD. (p. 46)

In February, SAI and the World Bank organized a four-day Executive Development Program in Mumbai on ‘Non-State Players in Human Development – Achieving India’s Goals’ for 47 top executives from public and private sector companies. Tarun Khanna, SAI and HBS, Ashish Nanda, HLS and IIMA and Kash Rangan, HBS, cofacilitated the workshop. (p. 47)

In January, SAI released its inaugural publication Health in South Asia. It aims to present a broad range of ways in which people find solutions to public health problems in South Asia. Contributors included faculty, students, and professionals from the region. (p. 51)

On April 4, SAI hosted the annual Educators for Teaching India Conference (EFTI), bringing over 50 middle school and high school teachers from public and private schools to Harvard for a day of workshops related to the theme ‘Women in India: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity.’ Harleen Singh of Brandeis gave the keynote address, and Tarun Khanna gave closing remarks. (p. 49)

Jorge Domínguez, Vice Provost for International Affairs at Harvard University, traveled to India in January to meet with Harvard alums and South Asia experts in Mumbai and Delhi. He spoke at the event in Mumbai, titled ‘Building WorldClass Education: What Lessons Does Harvard Offer?’ (p. 47)

On April 24, 2014, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, delivered the Harish C. Mahindra address on ‘Development and Poverty in South Asia.’ (p. 20) SAI welcomed its first Aman Fellow, Muhammad Zahir, who is working to deconstruct and conduct a genealogical analysis of the concepts of Aryans in Pakistan archaeology.

Health SOUTH ASIA Harvard South Asia Institute

The inaugural SAI publication ‘Health and South Asia’ was released in January.


Students were funded to support research and internships in South Asia during the summer and winter sessions.

Jorge Domínguez, Vice Provost for International Affairs at Harvard University, speaks at ‘Building World-Class Education: What Lessons Does Harvard Offer?’ in Mumbai in January.


South Asian student groups are active at Harvard, and bring together students at the various schools to host events and cultural events related to South Asia.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, delivers the annual Mahindra lecture in April.


universities across South Asia participated in SAI’s webinar series, allowing leading Harvard faculty to interact directly with students and faculty in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

FACULTY SAI strives to create a reciprocal relationship between Harvard and the South Asia region. Interfaculty initiatives include research projects, which bring faculty from various Harvard schools together to engage in multidisciplinary scholarship, the SAI Seminar Series, which supports cross-boundary inquiry through issue-based tracks in a variety of disciplines, and special events and conferences to showcase faculty work and highlight these research initiatives.


Gopal Subramaniam (right), Former Solicitor General of India, with Diane L. Rosenfeld, HLS, at the Gender, Justice, Criminal Law and Curricular Reforms Conference in Delhi in July.


An interdisciplinary group of faculty, students and administrators with relevant past experience hope to join forces with colleagues working in South Asia, to develop ideas and synergies, that can contribute to progressive change in this pervasive problem. FACULTY LEADERS: Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer in Law, HLS, Adjunct Lecturer, HKS; Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor, HBS; Diane Rosenfeld, Lecturer on Law and Director of the Gender Violence Program, HLS entrenched patriarchal norms, and narrow views of gender roles — half the population of India believes that it is sometimes appropriate for a man to beat a woman. This exploratory seminar is organized by leaders at the FXB Center, SAI, and HBS. This meeting forms part of a multi-year, interdisciplinary project involving school-based programs that can transform gender interaction and promote healthy and caring adolescent interactions.

The Gender Justice, Criminal Law, and Curricular Reforms Conference in Delhi in July

July 12-13, 2013, Delhi



August 26-27, 2014, RIAS

The conference in Delhi complemented the ongoing crucial work being undertaken by advocates, experts and grass roots organizations in India. The purpose of the conference was to explore current issues related to law enforcement, advocacy and curriculum reform. The outcome of the conference has resulted in a follow-up workshop supported by the Radcliffe Institute in August 2014 on preventive approaches to gender violence.

WORKSHOP ON GENDER, CIVIL SOCIETY & THE STATE IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIA: PREVENTIVE APPROACHES TO GENDER BASED VIOLENCE Recent high-profile sexual assault cases in India have unleashed a torrent of media attention on pervasive gender based violence across South Asia. Less attention, however, has been paid to one of the precipitants of this epidemic— a serious deficit in opportunities for healthy and caring adolescent social interactions. This deficit correlates with massive unmet needs of young people of all castes and classes in understanding interpersonal relationships, reproductive rights and sexual health. Moreover, much of South Asian society still possesses

Goals of the project include understanding how healthy gender roles can be shaped, within and outside the classroom, among adolescents, families, and social networks. A central objective is to identify the mechanisms through which the Indian state can adopt and replicate innovative school-based programs on a larger scale. Keeping in mind the diversity of India, this project will engage in productive conversations regarding opportunities and challenges facing the Indian state’s implementation of such programs. Participants include key professionals from health and education sectors, policy makers, and scholars. Through discussions with key players, this initiative intends to foster new partnerships and generate innovative ideas and strategic thinking. With an ultimate goal of contributing to policy development and enhanced social justice for Indian adolescents, this project aims to assist with implementation of reforms for key government and educational stakeholders.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 13


The overarching goal of the Harvard Gender Violence Project is to elevate the status of South Asian women by engaging societies to reject violence and foster respect for all people. The Harvard Gender Violence Project (HGVP) is a collaboration between SAI, HLS, HBS, and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, and regional experts working in the area of gender violence prevention and intervention programs. The HGVP was established shortly after the 2012 Delhi gang rape incident that generated wide spread attention, both nationally and internationally, and a call for action.

DISASTER RELIEF AND MENTAL HEALTH Disasters, natural or man-made, put enormous stress on virtually every function of society. What are the best practices in urban disaster planning and response, and how can trauma care be implemented effectively in dense urban settings? In recent years, cities where disasters have been prevalent, such as Karachi, have experienced an increased incidence of mental illness related to the pervasive psychological trauma of recurrent disasters and violence. Moreover, mental health services, in areas without pervasive trauma, are an ongoing challenge throughout South Asia, involving issues of stigma, access to adequate treatment, and awareness. PROJECT LEADERS: Jennifer Leaning, FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Ruth Barron Cambridge Health Alliance, HKS; Stephanie Kayden, Director, Humanitarian Studies, HHI, Emergency Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Instructor in Medicine, HMS; Junaid Razzak, CEO Aman Health, Aman Foundation

June 28, 2013, Cambridge

SAI AND AMAN FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIP A meeting of Harvard clinicians from HMS, HHI, HSPH and Dr. Junaid Razzak, CEO Aman Health was organized by SAI to discuss key issues of mental health systems and disaster response in Karachi. In the past, Karachi has had a baseline of mental illness, but in recent years there are increased occurrences of pervasive trauma due to common occurring disasters. The population of Karachi is now severely impacted by the ongoing trauma. Educated people are leaving the city, and first responding are burning out, Karachi is neither pre or post conflict, and there is a pervasive fear all the time. From the meeting, there emerged three areas of focus for collaboration between Harvard and the Aman Foundation to support the development of mental health systems in Karachi, including psychological first aid training, caring for the caregiver, and women’s access to mental health services.

Psychological first aid training: There is a

need for psychological first aid training for people on all levels of the community, from doctors and nurses, to community health workers and teachers. Training community health workers in basic psychological training will also lower the stigma of engaging in conversations about mental health.

Caring for the caregiver:

There is a huge problem in retaining people in emergency departments in Karachi hospitals, and many people are unprepared to deal with traumas they see on a daily basis. The problem also extends to primary care physicians.

Women’s access to mental healthcare:

Many people, particularly women, are not able to come to hospitals or clinics for a variety of reasons, including isolation, limited language issues and conservatism. The group talked about interventions in Haiti and Cambridge that trained hairdressers and cab drivers to be able to talk to their clients about mental health issues, and this intervention

14 South Asia Institute

Training first responders in Karachi

could also work in Karachi’s markets and beauty parlors. Teachers can also help to intervene in mental health issues for children and parents. Disaster management in Karachi was also discussed, and the group identified three priority areas to focus on: a city wide disaster plan, training for government leaders, providers and planners, which will be in partnership with senior leadership in government and private and public health care, and care and preparedness for the front line of disasters, which may be linked with the mental health project.

Needs Assessment Over a series of meetings and symposia coordinated by the Aman Foundation and HHI, two needs assessments took place in September and October with representatives from Harvard, city leaders in the health sector, representatives from emergency response services, and hospital administrators. The meetings identified large gaps in knowledge among first responders in the city of Karachi, especially in responding to mass casualty incidents and managing disasters.

Training sessions for first responders Following these analyses, the Aman Foundation coordinated these two training programs, taught by Shawn D’Andrea, HSPH Fellow, and Usha Periyanayagam, HSPH Fellow. These training programs built capacity among first responders and hospital leaders to improve disaster response skills. The first training was for senior leaders of Emergency Rooms, while the second was for Ambulance and Field Paramedics, as well as police personnel.

NEXT STEPS The team will execute additional trainings for capacity-building by: Educating hospital and emergency personnel, paramedics and managers on field triage and pre-hospital medical treatment, and principles of incident command and disaster response.

Promoting the coordination and cooperation at all levels, including provincial, city, hospital and pre-hospital providers.

Creating a simulation of mass causality response at paramedic academies and hospitals.

Training in security for hospital leaders, paramedics and first responders.

Incorporating psychological first aid into the paramedic academy.


From left: Jennifer Leaning, HSPH, Sana Mahmood, SAI, an emergency doctor, Junaid Razzak, Aman Health, and Satchit Balsari, HHI and FXB Center, at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in Karachi.

The team of trainers in Karachi, including Shawn D’Andrea and Usha Periyanayagam, Fellows at HSPH

Emergency response training in Karachi

A Year in Review 2013-2014 15

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY Use of mobile phones has become ubiquitous in South Asia — not only as a tool to close the information gap, but a powerful device to promote economic growth in emerging markets. This project hopes to broaden the understanding of mobile technology and how it can enable economic and social mobility particularly for the low-income population. Our collective efforts can increase knowledge of, and provide better access to services in areas of mobile-healthcare, banking, education, etc. and improve livelihoods. Aside from their societal impact, data generated by these mobile technologies can be harnessed to provide novel insights about human behavior at an unprecedented scale. Some of the questions being explored are what these data can teach us about social networks, patterns, etc. Inevitably other questions will arise — what is the role of international legislation regarding data ownership? What lessons can we learn from other big data contexts and how can we apply those lessons to South Asia? Given that almost every discipline can find some engagement with the topic, the project can be used to engage the greater university community. FACULTY LEADERS: Tarun Khanna, Director of SAI, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS; JP Onnela, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, HSPH

CELL PHONE DATA ANALYSIS FROM THE KUMBH MELA The Mapping the Kumbh Mela research project brought together faculty, students, administrators from Harvard with Kumbh Mela planners and government officials involved in the planning and production of the largest religious gathering in the world. The research project provided powerful insights for further research and teaching on understanding social networks and behavior through studying large data gathered from cell phones used at this mass gathering. The research through cell phone data has spurred interest in exploring this nascent area of analyzing big data among several faculty from the Kumbh project. When approached through technology that has the ability to secure vast amounts of information from unimaginably large data sets, the impact of such a study has far greater relevance to understanding and addressing critical issues common to developing countries. For example, cell phones are being used for banking and commerce, for health diagnostics, health care delivery, and more.

Tarun Khanna, SAI and HBS, at a Kumbh workshop in August 2013

16 South Asia Institute

April 24, 2014, Cambridge, MA


How can cell phone data analysis help understand social, health and economic issues?

What other areas can be understood through the study of big data from cell phones?

What are the legal and technical challenges when working with large data?

Organized by SAI, a group of academics and practitioners came to together to share insights on the use of mobile technology and the impact of mobile phones in South Asia. The goal was to identify key areas for future research on how multinationals and local users of mobile technology can add value to the overall economic and human advancement of emerging economies.

NEXT STEPS September 4-5, 2014, RIAS

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY USE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES A small group of faculty and practitioners will meet at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study for a seminar in September to discuss tools that would allow researchers to better understand the dataset’s potential, evaluate options for cross-associating it with other relevant information, and as a result, frame valid research questions that can be empirically answered using info-analytics performed on these datasets. The seminar will lay foundation for interdisciplinary research as well serve as a potential tool for teaching and research. Three areas of inquiry related to cell phone data analysis include:

JP Onnela, HSPH


FACULTY LEADERS: Venkatesh Murthy, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, FAS; Pawan Sinha, Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience, MIT

Students dissect a sheep brain, led by Jitendra Sharma of Harvard and Martinos Imaging Center

Participants at the Resonance Course on Neuroscience at IIT-Delhi

June 24 – July 6, 2013, IIT-Delhi

COURSE ON NEUROSCIENCE A collaboration between MIT, Harvard and IIT Delhi, the goal of this initiative was to introduce talented Indian students to the exciting gamut of brain science. Twenty-five highly talented students from across India, who were selected in a competitive process, participated in a two-week immersion workshop that allowed them to explore some of the most exciting research topics in neuroscience. The key components of the summer school were handson projects and daily lectures on key neuroscience topics, including molecular biology, genetics, physiology, engineering, physics and computer science.

A vital part of the course was informal dinner discussions that helped impart the culture of knowledge exchange that is taken for granted in the US, but is not as prevalent in India. The program also linked up with businesses in India through a ‘Corporate Day,’ during which scientists and executives from the private sector discussed neuroscience opportunities. GE India, IBM, Infosys, and government officials offered insight and awareness of research possibilities in top corporate laboratories and government as future career destinations. This effort was jointly funded by Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), MIT and SAI.

NEXT STEPS Building on the success of the 2013 program, Resonance plans to offer the course again and expand the summer school to include a faculty-training module, increasing the involvement of corporate entities, and increasing the scope of Resonance over multiple years to include other cutting-edge topics such as genomics, climate change, nanotechnology and renewable energy.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 17


There are two complementary needs in higher education in science and technology for India and the United States. India has several outstanding institutions for higher education that are limited by their ability to provide cutting-edge research to eager students. The United States has several outstanding young researchers who have excellent training in specialized research fields, but have had few opportunities for teaching and mentoring students. ‘Resonance’ is a multi-year effort between MIT, Harvard and Indian academic institutions to address the needs of the two countries.

THE CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIAN CITY Unlike most regions in the world, the common underlying theme that permeates through South Asia’s major urban centers including Colombo, Delhi, Dhaka, Karachi, Lahore, and Mumbai, is a shared colonial past. In each city, post-colonial transformation has generated similar socio-economic tendencies, population growth dynamics and migratory trends, albeit different trajectories in political development. South Asia includes some of the largest and fastest-growing urban agglomerations in the world today, all of which are becoming increasingly interconnected with the larger regional and global economy. Equally relevant is the experience of small and medium-sized cities in each country, and the economic, social and spatial possibilities they represent. This shared past, as well as the comparative points of divergence, merits a deeper examination into how we conceptualize, document and conduct practice in South Asian cities. FACULTY LEADERS: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard GSD; Justin D. Stern, PhD Candidate in Urban Planning and Design, GSD

Justin Stern, GSD, speaks at the Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi in January

Rahul Mehrotra, left, with Spiro Pollalis, GSD, Justin Stern, GSD, and a team from Pakistan at the Pakistan Urban Forum Conference

January 12, 2014, Karachi, Pakistan

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON THE CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIAN CITY PROJECT Following the success of the South Asian Cities conference in Karachi in January 2014 (see p. 46), the Harvard team, in partnership with other scholars in South Asia, held a roundtable discussion on the Contemporary South Asian City project in Karachi. The research initiative seeks to understand the unique characteristics of the South Asian city, with the initial phase focusing on comparative urban issues in India and Pakistan.

18 South Asia Institute

April 24, 2014, Cambridge, MA



This project will generate a literature review on existing materials on urbanism in South Asia and continue to build linkages with professionals and intellectuals in the region. Eventually, the project team at Harvard hopes to sponsor a series of roundtable meetings in Dhaka, Mumbai and Colombo. Country advisors include Professor Arif Hasan, architect and urban planner based in Karachi; Fuad H. Mallick, Pro Vice Chancellor and Chairperson of the Department of Architecture at BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Jagath Munasinghe, Department Head and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Town and Country Planning at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka.

Organized by SAI, this workshop looks at the common challenges and opportunities facing urbanization in the region today, local and global innovations in environmental sustainability, as well as building materials and other technologies that stand to redefine patterns of development. Other topics include how cities in the region remain mindful of the past through conservation, and the unique characteristics that define and differentiate the contemporary South Asian city compared to other regions in Asia and beyond.

WATER This interfaculty project on water and water related issues seeks to create linkages between existing streams of research to create synergy and maximize impact related to access to water, energy, agriculture, food security, climate change and other water-related issues.

NEXT STEPS April 25, 2014, Cambridge


The SAI Roundtable discussion on water in November, with Sharmila Murthy, Suffolk Law, Shafiqul Islam, Tufts, Afreen Siddiqi, HKS, Jim Wescoat, MIT, Erum Sattar, HLS, Meena Hewett, SAI

November 21, 2013, Cambridge

April 15, 2014, Cambridge



SAI hosted a roundtable meeting with experts working on water and water related issues in the Boston area. The discussion focused on how to create and accumulate knowledge around ‘Water’. Water issues are currently being studied from several angles in and around the Boston area, known as the “Capital city of South Asia water experts.” The project brings people together to generate a forwardlooking agenda on water and water-related issues.

BOSTON WATER CONSORTIUM The multi-university Water Consortium, includes Harvard, MIT, Tufts and BU, which organized monthly roundtable discussions between November 2013 and April 2014 to identify a common language around understanding the various issues related to water. Issues that are currently being studied include linkages to energy, agriculture, food security, climate change and urbanization. The group continues to meet to define its contribution to the on-going study of the inter-related issues arising from water use and management.

Hosted by SAI and SEAS, the meeting was chaired by Peter Rogers, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Engineering and Professor of City and Regional Planning, SEAS. Members of the group include scientists and academics from a variety of disciplines including economics, engineering, human rights and law, among others. Faculty from Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Oxford, Suffolk, Tufts, UMass Amherst and UNC were in attendance, as well as members of the US Geological Survey, and NGOs with a focus on water challenges throughout the world. Conversations included the upcoming workshop on Urban Water Challenges hosted by SAI on April 25, as well as the issues of framing access to water as a human right. It was noted by a participant that in order to solve problems related to water, it is necessary to have such dialogues that include depth of many disciplines.

For a rapidly urbanizing South Asia with competing – and often conflicting – demands for water, which problems, when addressed, have the greatest potential to make an impact? Can we bridge the divide between theory and practice when natural, societal, and political forces influence water problems? Each panel member will articulate a problem and suggest: Why and how does addressing this problem advance science and serve society? What do we need to know to address this problem with measurable outcome? Part of SAI’s Annual Symposium, the outcome of the workshop will be to inspire questions, methodologies and help develop consensus for actionable science with a focus on urban water challenges in South Asia.

The Boston Water Group meets in April at Harvard

A Year in Review 2013-2014 19


PROJECT LEADER: Shafiqul Islam, Director, Water Diplomacy Program; Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering; Water Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Project partners: Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Suffolk Law, Tufts, and Boston University

SPECIAL EVENTS This year’s special events included the celebration of SAI’s 10th anniversary, which provided an opportunity to reflect on the role of South Asian Studies in higher education. SAI also hosted the annual endowed Harish C. Mahindra Lectures, given in honor of the distinguished alumni of Harvard College and a visionary leader of business and industry in India. This lecture series, inspired by Mr. Mahindra’s passion for education, is an important component in continuing the understanding of challenges facing the region.



Nick Dirks, Chancellor of University of California, Berkeley, speaks at SAI’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

Raghu Rai speaking about his photos

Harvard students speaking to Raghu Rai over tea before the lecture


Photographer and Photojournalist On October 28th and October 29th, SAI hosted its 2013 Mahindra Lecture featuring photographer Raghu Rai. The lecture was a two-part event, with a photo exhibit and lecture. The exhibition displayed works from his many years as a photojournalist. Rai is known as a chronicler of India and the subcontinent. His photography captures a reality that many people do not see, and is a source of powerful commentary on India’s political, social and religious life. Many of his photos capture unique moments in the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people.

(Right to Left) Bill Kirby, FAS & HBS, Sugata Bose, FAS, and Krishna Palepu, HBS

SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES: PASTS AND FUTURES Nick Dirks, Chancellor of University of California, Berkeley


On Friday, September 27, 2013, SAI celebrated its 10th anniversary with a lecture by Nick Dirks. Chancellor Dirks elaborated on the history of area studies in the US, and the importance of South Asian Studies in higher education. The event provided friends of SAI an opportunity to celebrate SAI’s accomplishments thus far, as well as share ideas for accomplishing SAI’s goals in the coming years.

On April 24, 2014, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, gave the 2014 Mahindra Lecture titled ‘Poverty and Development in South Asia.’ After the 1971 Liberation War, Sir Abed established BRAC to rehabilitate the returning refugees in a remote area in north-eastern Bangladesh. He directed his policy towards helping the poor develop their capacity to better manage their lives.

Founder and Chairperson, BRAC

BRAC’s primary objectives emerged as alleviation of poverty and empowerment of the poor. Under his leadership, in the span of only four decades, BRAC grew to become the largest development organization in the world in terms of the scale and diversity of its interventions.

20 South Asia Institute

ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM SOUTH ASIA REGIONALISM: WORKSHOPS ON SHARED CHALLENGES AND THE WAY FORWARD As part of its annual spring symposium, SAI hosted a series of workshops on April 24 and 25 to highlight ongoing faculty research projects, and to discuss ways in which SAI can act as a platform for faculty, students, and regional partners to build multi-year research programs on key issues critical to the region.


DISASTER RELIEF AND MENTAL HEALTH Ruth Barron, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, HMS and Jennifer Leaning, FXB Professor of

the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Discussions examine the best practices in urban disaster planning and response, and how trauma care can be implemented effectively in dense urban settings. Goals of this project include outlining a plan for a needs assessment in urban areas, exploring innovative undertakings to promote access to mental healthcare, and discussing the need for training of health workers.


Program; Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering; Water Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University For a rapidly urbanizing South Asia with competing, and often conflicting, demands for water, which problems, when addressed, have the greatest potential to make an impact? Discussions seek to bridge the divide between theory and practice in considering issues of water.


International Coordinator of the global researchpolicy-action network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing and Tarun Khanna, Director of the South Asia Institute & Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS Dialogues contemplate what we know about the informal economy in South Asia today, and the links between the formal and informal economies. How do city governments respond to informality? What do informal workers need and want? Should South Asia pioneer an inclusive approach to informality that encourages economic diversity and combines formal-informal, traditional-modern economies in innovative ways?

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY Tarun Khanna, Director, SAI; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS and JP Onnela, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, HSPH

Discussions consider how mobile technology can be used to enable economic and social mobility for the low income population, and promote access to improved services in areas of healthcare, banking, and education.

RELIGION AND SECULARISM Harpreet Singh, College Fellow, Department of South Asian Studies, FAS and Shankar Ramaswami, South Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, SAI

Discussions shed light on religious nationalism and the production of religious violence in contemporary India, by considering case studies from Kashmir and Orissa. This workshop featured presentations by Angana Chatterji, Co-chair of the Research Project on Armed Conflict and People’s Rights at the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, University of California at Berkeley, and Pinky Hota, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Smith College.

THE CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIAN CITY Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Planning and Design and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, GSD

Discussions consider how local and global innovations in environmental sustainability, building materials, and other technologies stand to redefine patterns of development, and seek to examine how cities in South Asia remain mindful of the past through conservation and other means in the face of relentless growth.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 21

2014-2015 FACULTY GRANTS SAI offers research and travel grants for Harvard faculty working in fields related to South Asia. The purpose of these grants is to promote South Asian studies across the University, and to stimulate interdisciplinary research. The 2014 faculty grant awardees include: Jacqueline Bhabha Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer, HLS; Director of Research, FXB Center The goal of the Champions project is to probe the enduring challenge of female educational disadvantage in India in order to generate an evidence base for enhancing the access of disadvantaged girls to education, and to the social, economic and psychological benefits that this education is known to bestow.

2013-2014 FACULTY GRANT PROFILE: RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM AND ETHNIC CONFLICT IN THE MAKING OF MODERN SOUTH ASIA Harpreet Singh College Fellow and a member of the faculty, DSAS, FAS; CoFounder, Academic Room, Harvard Innovation Lab Harpreet Singh is a member of the faculty in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University. He received his PhD in South Asian Religions from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard in 2012. Harpreet also cofounded Academic Room, a platform where academics and subject matter experts from over 200 countries interact, share content and find short-term consulting opportunities. Singh received his Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School and received training in Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Brajbhasha, Urdu, French and German. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 2003, along with Desmond Tutu, Harpreet was honored with the James Parks Morton Interfaith Tribute by the Interfaith Center of New York for his work to help heal local communities on the grassroots level.

PROJECT SUMMARY Richard Delacy Preceptor in Hindi-Urdu, Department of South Asian Studies, FAS To understand more fully the literary terrain in changed economic circumstance, it is imperative to research thoroughly the linguistic and literary topography in non-metropolitan centers in India, rather than in the metropolis of Delhi, where the idea of the vernacular remains critical to everyday practice. Delacy will use this grant to collect materials and data from these smaller, regional centers on publishing, the production of literary journals, and the state of departments of Hindi language and literature in provincial universities.

Jinah Kim Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, South and Southeast Asian, Department of Art and Architecture, FAS The primary archives and archaeological sites for Kim’s research are located in three different South Asian Countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh. This project examines the production of painted palm-leaf manuscripts and its historical relationship to the tantric vision practices in medieval India from art historical, material cultural, and trans-regional perspectives.

Rahul Mehrotra Chair and Professor, Department of Urban Design and Planning, GSD The Urban India Atlas strives to make projections regarding where new population growth, industrial development, and potential infrastructure investment will be directed. A second component of the project is focused on identifying new urban typologies in medium sized Indian cities, with an in-depth look at the political, social and spatial aspects of six different case studies: Erode, Tirupati, Jamshedpur, Panaji, Kharagpur and Mhow. For SAI’s Aman Faculty Grant recipients, please check our website.

22 South Asia Institute

South Asia today presents a mosaic of administrative entities left behind by the colonial empire. In the half-century since independence, the stability of the post-colonial state in the region has been threatened by recurrent and violent conflict between the central authorities and a variety of religious and ethnic minorities. The Balochi and Sindhi uprising in Pakistan; Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka; tribal insurgency in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts; and separatism in Indian Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and the Panjab present a congeries of contemporary breakaway movements in the Indian subcontinent. Surprisingly, except for scholarly work that focuses directly on Hindutva, much of scholarship continues to study nationalism in South Asia using the lens of ethnicity, largely ignoring the role of religious identity. In his proposed book project, Religious and Ethnic Conflict in the Making of Modern South Asia, Singh hopes to provide a new perspective on contemporary nationalisms while engaging with theoretical debates to locate the role of political identities based on religion, ethnicity and caste in the structuring of the public arena in South Asia.

FIELD WORK Singh’s book project is based on ethnographic work in India and Pakistan. He has spent time in the remote villages of the Indian Panjab, Haryana and Kashmir inteviewing a wide range of individuals torn by violent conflict—families impacted by farmer suicide to refugees who are unable to return to their homes. During a visit to Srinagar, for instance, he was fortunate to interview both Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits caught in deadly crossfire between militants and the state. During visits to Lahore and Rawalpindi, with the assistance of the Waqf Board, he was able to meet with members of Hindu and Sikh communities of Pakistan who had been displaced from the Swat Valley in the wake of violence and imposition of jizya (a per capita tax levied on non-Muslims) by the Taliban. His work historicizes the role of violence in the evolution of communities into nations.

SEMINAR SERIES MUSLIM SOCIETIES IN SOUTH ASIA The Muslim Societies in South Asia seminars, led by Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, FAS, are co-sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, and seek to address various issues of Muslim Societies within South Asia, and relationships with other Muslim societies across the globe.


November 15, 2013

THE ‘LAST STORYTELLER OF DELHI’: MIR BAQIR ‘ALI DASTANGO Pasha M. Khan, Professor, Urdu Language and Culture, McGill University Amina Steinfels, left, and Sunil Sharma

October 18, 2013

RETHINKING SUFISM IN MEDIEVAL SOUTH ASIA Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion, Mount Holyoke College

Chair: Sunil Sharma, Chair, Modern

Languages and Comparative Literature, Associate Professor of Persianate and Comparative Literature, Convener of Persian and Hindi-Urdu, Boston University Despite a growing sophistication in the study of Islam, our understanding of Sufism continues to be hampered by deeply ingrained presuppositions, especially in the context of South Asian religious history. Professor Steinfels’ research on a fourteenth century Sufi master, Sayyid Jalal al-din Bukhari, demonstrates the inadequacy of categories such as mysticism, law, and orthodoxy, and the relationships usually presumed between them, to describe the lives and thought of medieval Muslims. She argues that Sufism is understood best as a matter of social identification and practice, rather than religious doctrine and theory.

Chair: Sunil Sharma, Modern Languages

and Comparative Literature, Associate Professor of Persianate and Comparative Literature, Convener of Persian and Hindi-Urdu, Boston University This talk considered the career of Mir Baqir ‘Ali Dastan-go (1850-1928), an Urdu storyteller of Delhi who performed the Story of Amir Hamzah for royal and middle-class patrons, and before the public, in an age of changing attitudes toward the “fantastic” romance (qissah/dastan) genre. By examining Baqir ‘Ali, his biographers, and other commentators on the genre in South Asia, Khan analyzed the supposed decline of the romance storytelling in colonial India from the 19th century onward.

Sufia Uddin

February 18, 2014

RELIGIOUS POLITICS AND THE SURVIVAL OF SECULARISM IN BANGLADESH Sufia Uddin, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Connecticut College

Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim

and Islamic Religion and Cultures, FAS; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, FAS

Frank Korom, right, and Ali Asani

Sufia Uddin’s research interests focus on constructions of Bengali-Muslim religious community from the colonial to the contemporary period. Her work examines the many Bengali expressions of Islam. Her research also covers shared sacred space and religious elements common to both Bengali Hindus and Muslims.

December 4, 2013

NA HINDU, NA MUSALMAN: THE DILEMMA OF A BENGALI ARTISAN CASTE Frank Korom, Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Boston University

Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim

and Islamic Religion and Cultures, FAS; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, FAS This lecture explored the social predicament of a low-caste community of narrative scroll painters in West Bengal known as Patuas. Originally Hindu, they converted to Islam in the thirteenth century. Since then, they have weathered the rough waters of double marginalization; that is, low caste and Muslim. Korom argues that rather than seeing them as victims, it is better to understand their liminal status as a vehicle for empowerment.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 23

GLOBAL HEALTH The Global Health Seminars focus on the challenges to health care and delivery in South Asia and innovative solutions that are developed to address these challenges. Past topics have included India’s compulsory licensing for pharmaceutical companies, mental health access for women, and the use of mobile devices in the delivery of health care.

Dipu Moni, left, with Ruhul Abid

September 20, 2013


September 16, 2013


Partner, Advocate and Patent Agent, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys Cosponsored by the HLS Program on the Legal Profession Mr. Lakshmikumaran’s talk focused on India’s compulsory licensing regime, which can be used to mandate that an IP holder license its IP right to another company or individual for a fee. In 2012, India’s government first exercised its power to issue a compulsory license, allowing a generic pharmaceutical company, Natco, to manufacture a version of the cancer-fighting drug, Nexavar, developed by Bayer, after finding, among others, the branded drug to be cost-prohibitive for India. Mr. Lakshmikumaran also discussed recent global trends in compulsory licensing, examine the Indian legal framework, and discussed the lessons of the Nexavar dispute.

24 South Asia Institute

Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Ruhul Abid, Assistant Professor, Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School

M. Shawkat Razzaque, Assistant Professor, HMS

Richard Cash, Senior Lecturer on Global

Health, Department of Global Health and Population, HSPH Dr. Dipu Moni is the first woman appointed to the position of Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister. Moni was the Secretary for Women’s Affairs and a Member of the Sub‐Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Bangladesh Awami League before her induction to the cabinet. She represented Chandpur‐3 as a Member of Bangladesh Parliament. She worked for women’s rights and entitlements, health legislation, health policy and management, health financing, strategic planning, and health and human rights under the Constitution and law in Bangladesh’s economic and social development programmes and foreign policy issues of the region and globally. As a Minister of Foreign Affairs she has represented her party’s position to the Cabinet Ministers and public representatives of Asia, Europe and the USA, Ambassadors and Senior Representatives of International Institutions. She writes, teaches, consults, researches, conducts advocacy programmes, organizes and leads health service clinics, promotes legislation on key issues.

Arthur Kleinman

November 1, 2013


Professor, Department of Anthropology, FAS, and Professor of Medical Anthropology in Global Health and Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, HMS

Jennifer Leaning, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud

Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Director, FXB Center, Harvard University; Associate Professor of Medicine, HMS Cosponsored by the Asia Center’s Modern Asia Seminar Kleinman and Leaning discussed the dilemma of treating mental disease, especially in the developing areas of China and India. In many countries, people with mental illness never receive the treatment they need because of a lack of access. The treatment gap is wide for low-income people. Stigma is usually the biggest problem, which means the mentally ill can’t contribute to society and can be outcast by their family. The speakers examined the issue of gender, since women often have a higher rate of depression and suicide in these societies, and explained that access to mental health care should be thought of as a human rights issue. Leaning, who has worked in Karachi on this issue, explained that the city is in a ‘chronic state of desperation’ because of frequent bombings, which leads to anxiety issues. She explained how city leaders and citizens can come together and help improve mental health care in the country through better training.

Fauzia Ahmed

February 26, 2014

March 5, 2014

April 7, 2014



Dr. Michael Phillips, Director, Suicide


Research and Prevention Center, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine; Executive Director, WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention, Beijing Huilongguan Hospital; Professor of Psychiatry and Global Health, Emory University School of Medicine.

Fauzia Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Health, Welcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Public Health Foundation of India & Sangath.

and Women’s Studies; Affiliate Asian/Asian American Program, Miami University

Cosponsored by the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Fauzia Ahmed has worked with gender and development programs and policies for low-income families in a variety of countries, including the United States. Early community-based experiences with the African American population, in health and education, enhanced her subsequent work with NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and her native Bangladesh. Arguing that oppressive notions of masculinity should be seen as a major obstacle to women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation, she is writing a book entitled, Microcredit and Masculinity.

Vikram Patel, Professor of International Mental

Arthur Kleinman, Fung Director, Harvard

University Asia Center; Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor, Department of Anthropology, FAS and Professor of Medical Anthropology in Global Health and Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, HMS

Dr. Shekar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at World Health Organization, Geneva

Cosponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center, and the China Medical Board

March 14, 2014

ART AND THE SCIENCE OF FACIAL SURGERY Paul C. Salins, Medical Director & Vice

President, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Center and Narayana Hrudayalaya Multi Specialty Hospital

Chair: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

Paul Salins (left) and Jinah Kim

Diego Bassani’s talk at the Pop Center

For more than 30 years, Dr. Salins has modified, rebuilt and deconstructed faces, some to create harmony, others to restore normalcy, and few to meet an individual’s expectation. Yet, great art uncovers faces which fascinates, captivates and powerfully communicates, whether ugly or beautiful, harmonious or full of discord.

Diego Bassani, Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Chair: SV Subramanian, Professor of Population Health and Geography in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, HSPH

Cosponsored by the Center for Population Development

April 14, 2014

INDIA’S HEALTH SYSTEM: RECENT FINDINGS AND DEVELOPMENTS Sofi Bergkvist, Managing Director, ACCESS Health International

Jerry La Forgia, Lead Health Specialist, World Bank

Chair: Peter Berman, Professor of the

Practice of Global Health Systems and Economics; Director, GHP Educational Initiatives, HSPH Sofi Bergkvist is the founding Managing Director of ACCESS Health International. ACCESS Health identifies, analyzes and supports in the design of healthcare service delivery and financing models for high quality and low-cost healthcare. She is also is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Emerging Markets Solutions at the Indian School of Business, where she focuses on health financing and public private partnerships in health. Jerry La Forgia is a Lead Health Specialist at the World Bank. He devises policies and strategies, conducts policy dialogue with clients and designs and supervises Bank lending operations. He is also leading several policy research tasks in health. Dr. La Forgia specializes in health finance and management. This was the first event SAI and the HSPH India Health Partnership (IHP) have organized together.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 25


Vikram Patel,right speaks on the panel

EDUCATION Over 60 million primary school-aged children around the world do not have access to education and most likely will never learn to read or write. South Asia poses unique challenges and opportunities for ensuring quality and access to education. SAI’s Education Seminars, led by Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor, HBS, brings leading scholars, leaders, and activists in the education field together to examine how education, from primary schools to higher education, can improve and affect South Asia’s social and political makeup.

Lant Pritchett, HKS

Abhimanyu Singh, right

John Wood speaks with HGSE students

September 20, 2013

October 4, 2013

October 21, 2013




Abhimanyu Singh, Director and Representa-

Chair: Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation

Lant Pritchett, Professor of the Practice of International Development, HKS

Chair: Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, HBS

Cosponsored by HGSE’s International Education Policy Program Professor Lant Pritchett presented on critical issues in education policy implementation and ineffective schools, drawing heavily on his research in India. With over 50 attendees, Pritchett discussed the low levels of actual learning happening in the majority of schools in South Asia, emphasizing that simply expanding schooling opportunities or increasing the amount of time students spend in school will not bring about the anticipated education mastery gains. He challenged conventional ideas that classify educational inputs as the dominant factors in educational success, reiterating the flaws in almost all government responses to crises in education.

26 South Asia Institute

tive, UNESCO Office Beijing

John Wood, Founder and Board Co-Chair of Room to Read

Chair: Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor

Professor of International Education and Director of Global Education and of International Education Policy at Harvard University, HGSE

Cosponsored by the Asia Center Modern Asia Seminar

Cosponsored by HGSE’s International Education Policy Program

Singh’s focus was on Universal Primary Education and Adult Education as he took the audience through a systematic comparison between the trajectories of progress in education outcomes and reasons for difference between the two high population countries of Asia. Citing statistics with illustrative graphs, Mr. Singh showed that China had made tremendous progress over the past decade with only ‘residual adult illiteracy’ today whereas India’s progress has been relatively slow.

Over 60 million primary school-aged children around the world do not have access to education and most likely will never learn to read or write. Room to Read believes that all children, regardless of gender or background, have a right to education. By empowering children through this lifelong gift, Room to Read sees a world in which people are able to realize their full potential.

of Business Administration, HBS

The analysis included a discussion of critical factors as to why such difference between India and China has ensued. In particular, he pointed towards political prioritization of education from an earlier stage in China, such as its Constitution of 1949 taking a radical break from the past with an emphasis on modernization, while India’s colonial legacy has prevented the requisite stimulus to innovative action. China took a pragmatic approach in providing accelerated courses for workers and farmers, simplified Chinese characters and skills based education. India’s emphasis on higher education, which did provide rapid industrialization, has resulted in an elitist and urban bias in education and no enforcement of compulsory education laws or those against child labor.

Room to Read had its humble origins Nepal in 2000, where it began bringing donated books to rural communities. Today, it is a global organization dedicated to promoting and enabling education through programs focused on literacy and gender equality in education. It achieves this goal by establishing school libraries, building schools, publishing local-language children’s books, training teachers on literacy education and supporting girls to complete secondary school with the life skills necessary to succeed in school and beyond. Room to Read currently works in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia – with plans to expand.


Devesh Kapur (left) and Akshay Mangla, HBS

February 18, 2014


Science, Madan Lal Sobti Associate Professor for the Study of Contemporary India, and Directo r of the Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania

Chair: Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, HBS

Cosponsored by HGSE’s International Education Policy program Higher Education in India is going through profound changes, not just in scale but in means and ends. What are the the nature and character of these changes? How can one understand and explain these changes within India’s complex political, institutional and social realities? And what are its consequences for India’s economy, social empowerment and democratic politics?

Karthik Muralidharan (back right), with Akshay Mangla. HBS, to his left, speaks to the audience

April 4, 2014

THE STATE AND THE MARKET IN THE DELIVERY OF PRIMARY EDUCATION IN INDIA: THEORY AND EVIDENCE Karthik Muralidharan, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego Chair: Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, HBS Cosponsored by the Joint Seminar on South Asian Politics (Brown Watson Institute, Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and MIT Center for International Studies) India suffers from desperately low educational outcomes despite a sustained increase over the past decade in enrollment and in other input-related performance indicators. At the same time, the proportion of students attending private school, even in rural areas of the country, has increased substantially. What role can public and private actors play in increasing educational outcomes, and what policies and procedures may put the country on the path to change? Karthik Muralidharan relies on years on quantitative research to discuss these questions. Muralidharan is an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, whose research interests center around development, public and labor economics, especially on the quality of public service delivery. He has published dozens of articles on public education, teacher absenteeism and on solutions to schooling failures in India.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 27

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENERGY Fulfilling SAI’s mission of bridging the gap between disciplines, the Science, Technology and Energy Seminars bring leading scholars, scientists, and government officials to explore interdisciplinary topics in South Asia related to science. Past topics have included the space race between India and China, nuclear energy policy in India, and biodiversity in the Himalayas.

Left to Right: Tarun Khanna, Laura Diaz Anadon, and Varun Rai

October 9, 2013

Rohit Chandra, left, with Gulzar Natarajan



Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty Fellow, Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy (CIEEP), University of Texas at Austin

Discussant: Laura Diaz Anadon, As-

sistant Professor of Public Policy, Co-Faculty Chair, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Associate Director, Science, Technology and Public Policy program, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, HKS

thors of Himalaya: Mountains for Life

Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, SAI; Jorge

Cosponsored by the Office for Sustainability, Office for the Arts at Harvard and Harvard Museums of Science and Culture

Cosponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment

The Eastern Himalaya—land of Gods, of ancient mountain kingdoms, of icy peaks and alpine meadows—is like no other place on Earth. The life and landscapes of the region are as diverse, spectacular and fragile as the mountains themselves. Even today, these mountains hold many mysteries: unnamed species, primeval cultures and the promise of magical cures to heal all of humanity. Himalaya— Mountains of Life takes us on a journey of biocultural discovery, from the great canyon of Yarlung Tsangpo and the Siang Gorge in the east to the Kali Gandaki Gorge in the west. Along the way, Himalaya demonstrates through breathtaking imagery and words, why the preservation of this heritage is so important—not just for us, but for the future of all life on Earth.

28 South Asia Institute

Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS

Varun Rai is an Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Energy Systems Transformation Research Group. His principal research interests are in innovation and diffusion of energy technologies; energy and development; and climate change policy. He is a Faculty Affiliate at UT Austin’s Energy Institute and at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy.

Sudhir Kumar, right, speaks with a HKS student

November 25, 2013

INDIA’S ENERGY SCENARIO: VIEW FROM THE STATES Sudhir Kumar, Indian Administrative Service, Former Secretary of Power, Government of Bihar

Gulzar Natarajan, Indian Administrative Service,

Former Managing Director, Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd., Government of Andhra Pradesh

Chair: Rohit Chandra, Ph.D. Candidate, HKS

Cosponsored by HKS’s Sustainability Science Program Sudhir Kumar, Indian Administrative Service, Former Secretary of Power, Government of Bihar, and Gulzar Natarajan, Indian Administrative Service, Former Managing Director, Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd., Government of Andhra Pradesh, and a current Fellow at HKS spoke about the energy scenario in India, focusing on case studies from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

Mahesh Rangarajan


December 6, 2013

Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor, Delhi Univer-


February 26, 2014

M. V. Ramana, Nuclear Futures Laboratory &

Bharath Gopalaswamy, Deputy Director, South

Program on Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Princeton University

Chair: Matthew Bunn, Professor of the Prac-

tice of Public Policy, Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, HKS Cosponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the HKS Project on Managing the Atom Nuclear power has been held out as possibly the most important source of energy for India. And the dream of a nuclear-powered India has been supported by huge financial budgets and high-level political commitment for over six decades. Nuclear power has also been presented as safe, environmentally benign and cheap. In his book, The Power of Promise, Dr. M.V. Ramana makes a historically nuanced and compelling argument as to why the nuclear energy program in India has failed in the past and why its future is dubious.

CHINA-INDIA SPACE RACE: RHETORIC OR REALITY? Asia Center, Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C.

Jaganath Sankaran, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center, HKS

Cosponsored by the Harvard Asia Center, Modern Asia Seminar Series Is the perceived space race between India and China a reality, or just rhetoric? The space exploration agenda of China and India have progressed rapidly in the last decade spanning from human spaceflight to missions to the Moon and Mars. Their growing economies have made it possible to fund these programs at the level not conceivable before thereby stimulating the scientific community in both states to be more ambitious. The Indian Mars orbiter mission, for example, is the first by an Asian nation to successfully launch an orbiter on a path to the red planet—a feat accomplished only by the United States, Russia, and Europe. Similarly, China has been developing advanced capabilities of human space flight with the potential construction of a future manned space station —a feat accomplished only by the most advanced nations. In the sphere of military space competition, China is more actively responding to perceived U.S. threats to its security rather than to India. China views U.S. doctrines of “space superiority” and U.S. missile defense plans with suspicion, believing it to be target of such ambitious U.S. military doctrines. The 2007 Chinese Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test is widely construed as a warning shot—a demonstration of its “hard power” space diplomacy—to the United States.

sity; Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

Chair: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor, Social Anthropology Program, FAS

Mahesh Rangarajan is a researcher, author and historian with a special interest in environmental history and colonial history of British India. He appears frequently on Indian television as a political analyst. He is also a columnist in the print media writing on wildlife conservation, political and environmental issues. In 2010, he led the Elephant task force (Gajah) of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests. The task force was formed to formulate measures for the protection of elephants in India.

April 16, 2014

ENVIRONMENTAL INSPECTIONS IN INDIA Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy, HKS

Pande’s research examines how the design of democratic institutions and government regulation affects policy outcomes and citizen well-being, especially in South Asia. Her work emphasizes the use of real-world evidence to test economic models, often through large-scale field experiments in developing countries. Cosponsored by the Harvard Environmental Economics Program’s Seminar in Environmental Economics and Policy Environmental Inspections in India

A Year in Review 2013-2014 29


April 10, 2014

M. V. Ramana

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE The Social Enterprise Seminars showcase organizations and individuals in South Asia as well as domestically that strive to create a better life for the citizens of South Asia through innovative solutions to intractable problems across the private and public sectors.

Atiur Rahman

Dr. Ranga

Donghyun Park, left, and Tarun Khanna

October 10, 2013

October 23, 2013

October 28, 2013




Atiur Rahman, Central Bank Governor of

Managing Director, Thrive Energy Technologies


Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, SAI; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS

Atiur Rahman is a renowned economist who was appointed as the 10th Governor of Bangladesh Bank on May 1, 2009. Prior to his appointment, he was a Professor in the Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shamannay, a centre for research and development in Bangladesh. He was also Chairman of Board of Directors of Unnayan Shamannay, a non-profit organization for research, development and cultural learning. He has also done extensive published research on the micro-finance revolution in Bangladesh and was Chairman of the Credit Development Forum for many years.

Ken Morse speaks to the audience

October 11, 2013

THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS PUBLIC POLICY IN SRI LANKA Ken Morse, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor Tarun Khanna, Director of SAI; Jorge Lemann Paulo Professor, HBS

Charles Hallisey, Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures, HDS

30 South Asia Institute

Ranganayakulu Bodavala, Founder and Marc Mitchell, Lecturer on Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, HSPH

Donghyun Park, Principal Economist, Eco-

nomics and Research Department, Asian Development Bank

Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director of SAI; Jorge Lemann Paulo Professor, HBS

Dr. S V Subramanian, Professor of Popula-

Cosponsored by the Asia Center, Modern Asia Seminar

Ranganayakulu Bodavala (Ranga) has 16 years of experience as a consultant in public health systems in World Bank funded health projects in India, JICA funded projects in Uzbekistan, Malawi, and UNICEF in Afghanistan.

Donghyun Park is currently a Principal Economist at the Economics and Research Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which he joined in April 2007. Prior to joining ADB, he was a tenured associate professor of economics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Park has a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, and his main research fields are international finance and trade. His research focuses on policy-oriented topics relevant for Asia’s long-term development, including Asian sovereign wealth funds and Asian pension reform. Park plays a leading role in the production of Asian Development Outlook, ADB’s flagship annual publication.

tion Health and Geography, HSPH

Hailing from an agricultural family and from a village in India, Ranga is interested in simple technologies that make the life of women and children better, safer and more productive. The technologies could be in water treatment, pumping, communication and home lighting. He founded THRIVE (Volunteers for Rural Health, Education, and Information Technology) and a commercial company Thrive Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd. that pioneered the development and deployment of portable Solar LED home lights in India, Africa, and Latin America through continuous improvements in materials, cost reduction, improved functional benefits and financial modeling.


Maitreyi Bordia Das

November 8, 2013


ment Specialist and Team Leader for Social Inclusion, Social Development Department, World Bank

Shankar Ramaswami, SAI Postdoctoral Fellow in South Asian Studies, Harvard University

Chair: Martha Chen, Lecturer in Public

Policy, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard Kennedy School Cosponsored by the Asia Center‘s Modern Asia Seminar Series Although India is rapidly growing, employment is lacking, especially for women. Furthermore, urban renewal is undermining the workforce. India is unique in that over half of the work force is self-employed. Das explained how the employment dilemma has affected women in India, due to cultural norms and discrimination. Ramaswami used his long-term fieldwork in India to offer a different perspective on gender and employment.

February 21, 2014


Ashutosh Varshney, center, and Sunil Khilnani, right

February 19, 2014

THE EMERGING POLITICAL SITUATION IN INDIA Sunil Khilnani, Avantha Professor and Director, King’s India Institute, King’s College London, Senior Loeb Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Design; Author of The Idea of India

Ashutosh Varshney, Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences, Brown University; Director, Brown-India Initiative

Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, SAI; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School Cosponsored by the GSD Khilnani and Varshney discussed the current political situation in India by highlighting the changing political landscape, major candidates in the upcoming election, and campaign strategies of the major parties. Khilnani discussed how the political situation in India has evolved and changed over recent years. He explained some of the major recent changes in Indian politics: an expansion of electoral competition and a high growth rate have both contributed to changing the political landscape. This deep shift has meant that institutions are unlikely to function as they were designed. Khilnani noted that although there is a loss of faith in many democratic countries, India is seeing very high turnout in elections, as a result of anger and changing expectations. Varshney started by examining several democratic theories about Indian politics. Although some political thinkers thought that democracy in India was unlikely, he explained that India has been a surprise as an improbable democracy. He then talked about the big themes in Indian politics, and how each are playing out in the 2014 elections. Secular nationalism, Hindu nationalism, and caste-based injustice are the major narratives in Indian politics, and each are evident in the strategies of the major parties – the BJP and the Congress Party. By analyzing statistics of voting parties and turnout, he shared his observations on how the parties are reacting to the changing political landscape.

Deepali Pant Joshi, Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India

Cosponsored by the Center for International Development, HKS Joshi explained how India has tried to make its financial systems more inclusive for society and improve banking services for poor people. Low literacy levels are an obstacle in banking, so financial literacy programs in schools have been implemented. Since many poor people do not have proper identification, Joshi has found that the easiest way to connect them to banking is by using mobile phones.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 31

SOUTH ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS Focusing on the humanities and culture, broadly, the South Asia Without Borders Seminars seek to break down traditional borders, whether they be disciplinary, geographical, or temporal. The track is chaired by Parimal Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies, FAS, and is co-sponsored by the Department of South Asian Studies, FAS.

Sara Shneiderman

November 4, 2013


Bina Agarwal

Sara Shneiderman, Assistant Professor of Anthropology & South Asian Studies, Yale University

September 12, 2013


nomics and Environment, University of Manchester

Chair: Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, HKS

Can the gender composition of groups managing local forests affect conservation outcomes? This simple question has been little addressed, despite the substantial literature on women’s representation in public decision-making and the growing research on local environmental governance. Economists studying environmental collective action have paid little attention to the question of gender. Research on gender and green governance in other disciplines has focused mainly on women’s near absence from community forestry institutions. This talk reversed that focus to ask: What if women were present in these institutions? Would that affect conservation? Tracing the history of women’s absence from environmental governance to their negotiated presence, and based on primary data from communities managing local forests in India and Nepal, Agarwal explored this question.

September 21 - 22, 2013


Social Anthropology Program, FAS

Cosponsored by the Political Anthropology Working Group

Parimal G. Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies, FAS

Susanna Siegel, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University

Sebastian Watzl, Center for the Study of Mind in Nature, University of Oslo

Cosponsored by the Center for the Study of Mind and Nature, Oslo, the Department of South Asian Studies FAS, the Department of Philosophy, FAS, and the Network for Sensory Research

Deepak Rauniyar, left, and Asha Magrati

November 20, 2013

FILMMAKING IN NEPAL: ‘HIGHWAY’ BY DEEPAK RAUNIYAR Deepak Rauniyar, Filmmaker Asha Magrati, Actress Chair: Katharina Piechocki, Assistant

Pravin Parekh at HLS

Professor of Comparative Literature, FAS

October 8, 2013

Cosponsored by the Department of South Asian Studies and Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION: BOON TO THE INDIAN PUBLIC Pravin Parekh, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association; President of the Harvard Club of India

Sponsored by the HLS Program on the Legal Profession

32 South Asia Institute

Chair: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor,

Set against the backdrop of the new culture of bandhs (general strikes) that frequently immobilize post-conflict Nepal, Highway explores five different relationship stories that become intertwined during an ill-fated bus journey from eastern Nepal to the capital, Kathmandu. While the passengers - each of whom urgently needs to be somewhere else - await a resolution to the combustible strike that is blocking the only passable road, the film explores the psychological and spiritual bandhs that many Nepalese contend with.

April 8, 2014


Indian Studies in Africa, the University of the Witwatersrand; Du Bois Research Institute Fellow Cosponsored by the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute

December 5, 2013

CHAKRAVYUH (LOTUS MAZE): TRAVAILS, ENTANGLEMENTS, AND VISIONS OF MIGRANT WORKERS IN DELHI Shankar Ramaswami, South Asia Institute South Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow

Chair: Parimal G. Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies, FAS

This presentation explored migrant workers’ experiences, aspirations, and world-views in Delhi, drawing on fieldwork among metal workers in the Okhla Industrial Area. The presentation invoked the image of the chakravyuh (lotus maze), a labyrinthine military formation arising in the Mahabharata, to understand workers’ entanglements in the factory, neighborhood, and family, and growing attachments in the city.

February 28, 2014


This talk addressed the life and work of K. M. Panikkar, best known as the author of Asia and Western Dominance (1953). Lee argues that Panikkar’s historical work is extensive, but that his most fruitful period of scholarship emerged during the 1950s when decolonization across Asia and Africa generated new questions and opportunities for historical writing. Lee’s talk explored Panikkar’s work during this period.

Ronojoy Sen, Senior Research Fellow, Institute

of South Asian Studies and Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Chair: Parimal Patil, Professor of Professor

of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Department of South Asian Studies, FAS In his talk, Sen traced the origin of the directive principle provision in the Indian Constitution. Sen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies and Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He has worked for over a decade in leading Indian newspapers. Prior to his position at NUS, he was with the Times of India, New Delhi, as a Senior Assistant Editor on the editorial page.

Friday, April 11, 2014

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE IN SOUTH ASIA Jonathan Shainin, News Editor, newyorker. com; Former Senior Editor, The Caravan

Hasit Shah, BBC News, London, Nieman Fellow Ravi Nessman, South Asia Bureau Chief, As-

Lisa Mitchell

sociated Press; Neiman Fellow Uday Mehta, right, with Parimal Patil

February 24, 2014


March 28, 2014

Lisa Mitchell, University of Pennsylvania Chair: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor,

South Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow

Social Anthropology Program, Harvard University Cosponsored by the Harvard Political Anthropology Working Group

GANDHI ON COURAGE, ETHICS AND SOCIETY Uday Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, The City University of New York

Discussant: Shankar Ramaswami, SAI Chair: Parimal G. Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies, FAS

Uday Singh Mehta, distinguished professor of political science, is a renowned political theorist whose work encompasses a wide spectrum of philosophical traditions. He has worked on a range of issues including the relationship between freedom and imagination, liberalism’s complex link with colonialism and empire, and, more recently, war, peace, and nonviolence. He is currently completing a book on war, peace, and nonviolence, which focuses on the moral and political thought of M. K. Gandhi.

Chair: Matthew Baum, Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications, HKS

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, Hazara University, Pakistan

Chair: Richard Meadow, Director of the

Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Harvard Peabody Museum; Senior-Lecturer, Harvard Anthropology Department

A Year in Review 2013-2014 33


Ronojoy Sen, center

Shankar Ramaswami, SAI Fellow

URBANIZATION Post-colonial urbanization in South Asia has seen some of the largest and fastest growing urban centers in the world. Rapid growth brings new challenges and opportunities for small, medium, and mega cities. The SAI Urbanization Seminars are facilitated by Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, GSD. November 19, 2013

THE BEAUTIFICATION OF POSTWAR COLOMBO Jonathan Spencer, Professor of the Anthropol-

ogy of South Asia & Head of School of Social and Political Science, Social Anthropology, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Chair: Charles Hallisey, Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures, HDS

Cosponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, HKS Since the end of the country’s 30-year civil war in 2009, the Sri Lankan armed forces have continued to grow despite the absence of obvious military threats to the government. Under the guidance of the President’s brother, the Ministry of Defence now plays a leading role in town planning through the Urban Development Authority (which is formally part of the Ministry). Colombo has seen an aggressive programme of improvement, which started with a “war” on alleged underworld figures, has taken in the eviction of hawkers from pedestrian spaces, the creation of new leisure areas, and now would seem to involve the clearance of “sub-standard” housing, especially in places like Slave Island, an historically dense and religiously and culturally mixed area near the city centre. This talk explored the different kinds of politics that may be at work in this moment, and asked what the project of “beautifying” Colombo might tell us about the political dynamics of postwar Sri Lanka.

Katherine Boo

February 20, 2014

INNOVATION, EXPLOITATION, AND DOCUMENTATION IN THE 21ST-CENTURY SLUMS Katherine Boo, New Yorker Staff Writer, Author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Senior Loeb Scholar, GSD Cosponsored by the GSD Katherine is a staff writer at the The New Yorker Magazine and the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, winner of the National Book Award and PEN/Galbraith Award. Her journalism on how social and economic policy affects disadvantaged communities combines immersive and investigative techniques, and has been recognized by a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. In her talk about her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers, “Boo set out to explain how she approached the Annawadi project — reporting for months at a time, over four years starting in 2007 — and what she learned from it. Her field guide of advice, buttressed by 15 years of reporting on poverty in the United States, seemed applicable to designers, to other scholars, and to ordinary visitors. ‘Empathy is a muscle,’ Boo observed, and training to see things as they are is one way to exercise it. Boo included imperatives of attention: stay independent, outside the ken of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), for instance. Listen more than talk. Document everything, using notebooks, audio, and video. Read official documents. (Gathering accepted facts adds “conviction to the writing,” she said, “and keeps me out of libel jail.”) Be frank about why you are suddenly in a place you are not from. (“I don’t play poor,” said Boo, who engages people head-on. “I just try my best to do justice to their reality.”) Meet a variety of people, not just the informal leaders. And stick around for a while. Sheer duration is a strategy that trumps “a five-day studio visit,” she said. “I enter a community knowing I’m going to be there a very long time.”

Jonathan Spencer

Lastly, know the big data, what Boo called ‘the God shot’ of reality that official statistics represent. But be ready for reality on the ground, too. Her reporting in Annawadi reinforced an idea she had acquired as a young reporter: Small stories can have big power. They can move donors, inform NGOs, and clue in lawmakers. ‘Better policies might get made,’ said Boo, ‘if we understand individual lives.’” From the Harvard Gazette article “Chronicler of poverty” 2/25/14, chronicler-of-poverty/

34 South Asia Institute

BOOK TALKS SAI’s book talks showcase important issues through literature, and allow the community to engage with celebrated authors.


Niraja Jayal

September 23, 2013 Arndt Michael

September 19, 2013

INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY AND REGIONAL MULTILATERALISM Arndt Michael, University of Freiburg Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, South Asia Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS

Michael’s book India’s Foreign Policy and Regional Multilateralism won the Association of Third World Studies’ Cecil B. Currey Book Award and the German-Indo Society’s Gisela Bonn Award 2013. The South Asian Association for Regional Association (SAARC) was first suggested by Bangladesh in 1978 and after years of negotiations, it was founded in 1985. Given this cooperative mechanism, Professor Michael asks why South Asia has not developed a NATO-like (collective security) mechanism to date. He interviewed more than sixty decisionmakers during his research to evaluate South Asian attempts at regionalism from 1947 to 2013. His fieldwork in the region was primarily in India and at the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal. He started with the evidence that increasingly, the world has become one of regions as evidenced by the Nobel Peace Prize given to the European Union in 2012, but that South Asia’s efforts at regional integration and organization remain far behind those of other parts of the world. Michael’s research shows that India’s self-imagination, in particular the Panchsheel principles (mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence) and its efforts to appropriate the language and methods of regional cooperation, have worked in fundamental contradiction, hampering any tangible success of regional multilateral moves. While the five Panchsheel principles by themselves can be made to strengthen regional cooperation towards the collective good of the nations’ citizens, the fundamental commitment of India’s policy-makers, in particular those who formulate its foreign policy, to a Nehruvian understanding of India’s regional and global role, hamper substantive cooperation and meaningful Asian regional multilateralism.

CITIZENSHIP AND ITS DISCONTENTS Niraja Jayal, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Chair: Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, HLS

Citizenship and Its Discontents explores a century of contestations over citizenship from the colonial period to the present, analyzing evolving conceptions of citizenship as legal status, as rights, and as identity. The early optimism that a new India could be fashioned out of an unequal and diverse society led to a formally inclusive legal membership, an impulse to social and economic rights, and group-differentiated citizenship. Today, these policies to create a civic community of equals are losing support in a climate of social intolerance and weak solidarity. Once seen by Western political scientists as an anomaly, India today is a site where every major theoretical debate about citizenship is being enacted in practice, and one that no global discussion of the subject can afford to ignore.

Mohammed Hanif (left) and Abhijit Banerjee

Shuja Nawaz, left, and Husain Haqqani

March 10, 2014


International Relations; Professor of the Practice of International Relations, Boston University; Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States

Shuja Nawaz, Director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council

Chair: Asim Khwaja, Sumitomo-Foundation

for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development, HKS Haqqani’s general argument is that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been based on misunderstandings; he argues that the relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension and always has been, since 1947. Pakistan—to American eyes—has gone from being a quirky irrelevance, to a stabilizing friend, to an essential military ally, to a seedbed of terror. America—to Pakistani eyes—has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military enabler, and is now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation. The countries are not merely at odds, he argues. Each believes it can play the other—with sometimes absurd, sometimes tragic results.

Mohammed Hanif, Pakistani writer and journalist Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation Interna-

Nawaz also argued that there needs to be a national debate about the relationship, and said that there needs to be more of an ownership of the issue in Washington. There has been a disconnect of intentions since the beginning, and a “battle of narratives,” he argued. A strong economy is vital for ultimate security, something that Nawaz said Pakistan needs to work on.

Mohammed Hanif ’s novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes was longlisted for the Booker prize, shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, Commonwealth literary prize and won Shakti Bhatt first book awards. His new novel Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is published by Jonathan Cape. He works as a special correspondent for BBC Urdu and is based in Karachi.

The event ended on an optimistic note, with both speakers looking forward to the future of improving the relationship. Given that Pakistan is now much more prevalent in American discourse because of recent events, Haqqani hopes that a productive dialogue can be initiated: “Good diplomacy requires cool conversations,” he explained. “Not one party always walking out.”

January 31, 2014


tional Professor of Economics, MIT

A Year in Review 2013-2014 35


the past before us historical traditions o f e a r ly north india

romila thapar April 22, 2014

April 29, 2014

May 5, 2014


GANDHI BEFORE INDIA Ramachandra Guha, Author and Independent Scholar


T.V. Paul, James McGill Professor of International Re-

Discussant: Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Presi-

Romila Thapar, Emeritus Professor of History

lations, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Chair: Asad Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Social Anthropology Program, Department of Anthropology, FAS

Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Today, it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country. It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists’ hands. Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure? In The Warrior State, noted international relations and South Asia scholar T.V. Paul untangles this fascinating riddle. Paul argues that the “geostrategic curse”--akin to the “resource curse” that plagues oilrich autocracies--is at the root of Pakistan’s unique inability to progress.

36 South Asia Institute

dent of the Centre for Policy Research; Associate Professor of Government and of Social Studies, FAS Cosponsored by the Harvard Book Store Gandhi Before India gives us equally vivid portraits of the man and the world he lived in: a world of sharp contrasts among the coastal culture of his birthplace, High Victorian London, and colonial South Africa. It explores in abundant detail Gandhi’s experiments with dissident cults such as the Tolstoyans; his friendships with radical Jews, heterodox Christians and devout Muslims; his enmities and rivalries; and his often overlooked failures as a husband and father. It tells the dramatic, profoundly moving story of how Gandhi inspired the devotion of thousands of followers in South Africa as he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime. Researched with unequaled depth and breadth, and written with extraordinary grace and clarity, Gandhi Before India is, on every level, fully commensurate with its subject.

at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Chair: Emma Dench, Professor of the Classics and of History, Harvard College Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of the Classics, FAS

The claim, often made, that India—uniquely among civilizations—lacks historical writing distracts us from a more pertinent question, according to Romila Thapar: how to recognize the historical sense of societies whose past is recorded in ways very different from European conventions. In The Past Before Us, a distinguished scholar of ancient India guides us through a panoramic survey of the historical traditions of North India. Thapar reveals a deep and sophisticated consciousness of history embedded in the diverse body of classical Indian literature.

FILM SERIES SAI’s film series offers a powerful and varied mix of contemporary films, documentaries, and historic works.


Doria Bramante

Gyan Correa

October 24, 2013

December 9, 2013

April 14 – 15, 2014




Doria Bramante, Film Producer, Advisory

Board member, International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan

Narad M. Adhikari, Human rights activist,

Board member, International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan Suraj Budathoki, Founder and Coordinator, International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan

Chair: Kevin Caffrey, Lecturer, Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, FAS

The Refugees of Shangri-La explores the indomitable spirit of scarcely-known group of exiles from the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. After 20 years in exile, many abandon hopes of returning to a paradise lost and choose to seek a future in a place called America. In the shadow of Bhutan’s lofty ideal of Gross National Happiness hide 107,000 refugees, who were pushed out of their country as their peaceful kingdom turned against them. After twenty years living in bamboo huts and barbed wire parameters in Nepal, the “Refugees of Shangrila” break a solution-less cycle and brave a new course, westward ho. The film shows a population, packing up for a journey that will scatter them across the sea into a strange new world. And how the power of their community helps them to face odds with hope, optimism and an enduring smile. On this new quest they change not only their own lives, but ours.

Gyan Correa, Director Chair: Vikramaditya Khanna, Bruce W. Nichols Visiting Professor of Law, HLS

The Good Road was India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 86th Academy Awards, and follows three intersecting stories all on the same highway: A family on vacation lose their son. A truck driver’s last ride. A girl chasing hope. This is a life affirming journey, across a local highway, and into the heart of an unseen India, where acts of great compassion are shown to strangers. Director Gyan Correa engaged with the audience in a Q+A session after the screening.

March 26, 2014

RED ANT DREAM Sanjay Kak, Indian Documentary Filmmaker Chair: Ajantha Subramanian, Professor, Social Anthropology Program, FAS

Cosponsored by the Political Anthropology Working Group

Michael Oppitz, Professor emeritus of ethnog-

raphy, University of Zurich & former director of the Ethnographic Museum

Chair: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, FAS

Cosponsored by the Department of History of Art & Architecture, Harvard University Shamans of the Blind Country is a three-and-a-half hour epos about faith healers in a remote mountain region of north-western Nepal. The film was screened in two parts, followed by a talk with the director. The film shows Magar shamanism in all its variety and range. It follows the arduous process of initiation that each student has to go through before he or she can enter the guild of the chosen healers. It participates in many rituals and séances the shamans perform to cure their patients’ illnesses and avert their misfortune. any facets of this religion are presented in a visual language that suit the Magar perspective, disregarding all theoretical speculations that usually overgrow this kind of subject.

‘Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist’, the revolutionary patriot Bhagat Singh had said almost a hundred years ago, and that warning travels into India’s present, as the armed insurrection led by Maoist guerillas simmers in Bastar, in the troubled heart of central India. To the east too, beleaguered adivasis from the mineral-rich hills of Odisha come forth bearing their axes, and their songs. And in the north the swelling protests by Punjabi peasants sees hope coagulate—once more—around the iconic figure of Bhagat Singh, revolutionary martyr of the anti-colonial struggle. But are revolutions even possible anymore? Or have those dreams been ground down into our nightmares? This is a chronicle of those who live the revolutionary ideal in India, a rare encounter with the invisible domain of those whose everyday is a fight for another ideal of the world.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 37

Harvard Mirch, a new student a capella group that fuses pop music with Hindi music, performs at the SAI Holiday Party in December

STUDENTS SAI supports students from across Harvard’s schools by sponsoring student events, funding in-region internship and research, and serving as a connector for the student groups at Harvard focusing on South Asia.


38 South Asia Institute


STUDENT GRANTS SAI offers a variety of in-region opportunities for Harvard students through the SAI grants program. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for research grants to support independent and thesis field work. SAI has partnered with over 50 organizations in South Asia to offer internships to Harvard students. SAI has awarded 47 grants this year for summer and winter research and internship grants.


Mou Banerjee, History, PhD, GSAS

Internship at UNDP Turtle & Village Conservation Project, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Vineet Diwadkar, Landscape, Architecture,

Economically empowering widows in Bangalore, India by partnering with Awake India and Rotary Club.


Sabrina Ghouse, Social Studies, 2015

Hindu and Muslim apologetics against evangelical Christianity in the Indian ecumene in the nineteenth century.

Megan Prasad, Economics, 2015

Urban Planning, PhD, GSD Ethnography, video documentation and visualization seeking to model the systems that generate Mumbai’s particular urban form.

Inesha Premaratne, Government, 2015

Sahjabin Kabir, Design Studies, PhD, GSD

Dhaka’s transportation growth and its impact on the natural landscape and environment. Aparna Kamath, Global Health and Population, MS, HSPH Study of the players, provisions and programs shaping access to cancer care and treatment in India.

Caitlin McKimmy, MTS, HDS

How do Tibetan refugees intertwine the notion of a ‘sacred homeland’ into their own biographical narratives of persecution and displacement?

Finnian Moore Gerety, South Asian Studies,

PhD, GSAS The contributions of Brahmin singers to the development of OM in early South Asia.

Johannah Murphy, Master in Divinity, HDS

Establish a leadership curriculum for young women in the slum of Dharavi.

Yusuf Neggers, Public Policy, PhD, HKS

Identify the impacts on voter behavior and electoral outcomes in elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly.

Alexandra Raphel, Public Policy, PhD, HKS

Determine which pricing model would be optimal for the Aman Foundation’s private ambulance system service to be sustainable in Karachi.

Haider Raza, Political and Economic Develop-

ment, MPP, HKS Evaluations for the Program Monitoring and Implementation Unit of the Punjab government in Pakistan.

Justin Stern, Landscape, Architecture, Urban

Planning, PhD, GSD Innovations in urban design strategy that have corresponded with Jamshedpur’s growth from a small and remote company town into a metropolis of nearly 1.4 million residents.

Andrea Titus, Political and Economic Develop-

ment, MPP, HKS Determine which pricing model would be optimal for the Aman Foundation’s private ambulance system service to be sustainable in Karachi. Lydia Walker, History, PhD, GSAS 1964-1966 Peace Commission between the Indian Union government and Naga separatists under the auspices of the Naga Baptist Convention.

Continue work on GrowLanka, a mobile system designed to connect job seekers to potential employees.


UNDERGRADUATE INTERNSHIP GRANTS Jennifer Chang, Mechanical Engineering, 2016 Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

Louise Eisenach**, Chemistry, 2016

Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

Reina Gattuso*, Literature and Studies of

Women, Gender, and Sexuality, 2015 Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

Jacqueline Ma, Human and Developmental

Regenerative Biology, 2016 Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

Annie Rak**, Applied Mathematics, 2016

Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

Sara Theiss, Psychology, 2015

VidyaGyan Leadership Academy, Noida

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH GRANTS Zeenia Framroze, Government, 2015

How should the Indian media function to preserve Indian democracy?

Brenna McDuffie, South Asian Studies, 2015

Hindi language study at American Institute of Indian Studies, Jaipur.

Ekta Patel, Environmental Science and Public

Policy, 2015 Urban-Population Vulnerabilities, Environmental Change, and Environmental Governance: Surat, India. *Cosponsored internship with the Institute of Politics ** All or partially funded by the Office of Career Services.


Center for Microfinance, Thanjavur

Sarah Bolivar, MLA, GSD

Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School, Surkhet

Madhav Khosla, Government, GSAS Center for Policy Research, Delhi


The Baboo, the Babi, and the Padri Sahib: Christianity, Colonialism, and the Creative World of Indian Intellectuals, c. 1813-1907.

Jahnabi Barooah, MTS, HDS

Sanskrit Study, American Institute of Indian Studies, Pune.

Kyle Belcher, MAUD, GSD

Mapping Post War Resettlement in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

Sourav Biswas, MLA, GSD

Productive Landscapes of Peri-urban Kolkata: Mapping the resource-recovery processes in the East Kolkata Wetlands.

Todd Brown, MTS, HDS

Sanskrit Language Study in Kathmandu, with particular focus on Buddhist textual materials.

Gregory Clines, Religion, PhD, GSAS

Braj Bhasha and Early Hindi Workshop of Bansko, Bulgaria.

Namita Dharia, Anthropology, PhD, GSAS

Jugaad Development: the politics and experiences of urban growth in India’s National Capital Region.

Vineet Diwadkar, MLA/MUP, GSD

Modeling Mumbai: Human Architectural Currencies.

Laurel Gabler, MD, HMS

Role of community mobilization as it relates to neonatal and maternal health emergencies in Nagpur, India.

Kanishka Elupula, Anthropology, PhD, GSAS

Ethnographical engagement with caste in modern spaces: Social lives of Dalits in private corporate sector.

Daniel Feldman Mowerman, MAUD, GSD

Mapping Post War Resettlement in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

Kayla Kellerman, MTS, HDS

Hindi Study, American Institute of Indian Studies, Jaipur.

Joseph Kimmel, MTS, HDS

The Kingdom of God among Nepalese and American Clergy.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 39



GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATES Every year, SAI supports Graduate Student Associates from across the different schools at Harvard whose research focuses on South Asia. The goal of the program is to establish a community of peers and support original and independent research in South Asia. The GSA program is headed by Parimal Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, and Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies, and SAI steering committee member. GSAs participate in monthly workshops in which they present their thesis research to one another. In the spring, GSAs organize an end of year conference to showcase their research.


History, PhD, GSAS

Research focus: Indian intellectuals’ encounters with Christianity in the nineteenth century.

Grant Recipients Continued Ian Maccormack, Religion, PhD, GSAS

The Contributions of the Regent Sangye Gyatso to Buddhism and Polity in Tibet.

Aditya Menon, Comparative Literature, PhD, GSAS

Sanskrit Study, American Institute of Indian Studies, Pune.

James Reich, Religion, PhD, GSAS

The Relationship between literary theory and religion in pre-modern Kashmir.

Sarika Ringwala, Public Policy, PhD, GSAS

Evaluating Initiatives to Improve Public Service Delivery in India.

Heather Sarsons, Economics, PhD, GSAS

Dowry Payments and Female Welfare in India.

Lauren Taylor, MTS, HDS

Assessing the Relationship between Spiritual Practice and Community Health Outcomes in Rural, Southern India.


Dissertation: Religious Nationalism and History Education in Pakistan.


EdD, HGSE Research focus: identity politics and religious nationalism fostered through the Pakistani education system.

Joshua Ehrlich, History, PhD, GSAS

Dissertation: Empire of Letters: An Intellectual History of the East India Company, 1772-1835.

Neelam Khoja, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, PhD, GSAS

Dissertation: Connecting South Asian Histories: Indo-Persian Folk Romances in Regional Historiography, 1650-1850.

Dinyar Patel, History, PhD, GSAS ADITYA DASGUPTA

Government, PhD, GSAS Research focus: the relationship between partisan political competition and rural development in India.

Dissertation: The Grand Old Man: Dadabhai Naoroji and the Intellectual Foundations of Indian Self-Government

Lydia Walker, History, PhD, GSAS

Dissertation: Stillborn States: Failed Nationalism in Nagaland and South West Africa, 1960-1966. *Aman Foundation Graduate Student Associate



Research focus: public law, political theory, and intellectual history; and especially in Indian political thought and Indian and comparative constitutional law.

The SAI Immersion program was a week-long field trip from July 17 to 21, 2013 in Delhi and the surrounding area for SAI summer grant recipients. It provided an opportunity for students to gain a firsthand look at the way organizations are handling India’s most pressing problems, while encouraging them to see their coursework on issues of education, development, public health, and entrepreneurship in action. It was also a chance to connect with other students and alumni in the region. Participants visited Kegg Farms, FabIndia Pratham, Arpana Trust, and spent the weekend in the village of Gomla, in Haryana, that had been adopted by Anant Vikas, a NGO focused on bridging the urban and rural divide. The program was coordinated by Nora Maginn, SAI Program Manager, and Payal Narain, SAI Consultant, Delhi.

Political Theory, PhD, GSAS


Global Health, PhD, HSPH Research focus: how information can help improve health in resource-poor settings--including an assessment of reducing maternal mortality in Nepal.


History, PhD, GSAS

Research focus: Evolution of the political philosophy of Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), a prominent early Indian nationalist leader and the first Indian elected to the British Parliament.

Harvard students visit a Pratham Center in Delhi


SJD, HLS Research focus: Pakistan’s development architecture; exploring the linkages between the institutional and legal structures of the country’s rural agricultural economy based on the control of water and land resources in the Indus river basin. *Aman Foundation Graduate Student Associate

40 South Asia Institute

A school in Gomla, Haryana

Harvard students visit Kegg Farms

STUDENT EVENTS September 20 – 22, 2013


Students enjoying South Asian food at the Welcome Back Chaat Party in September

Madhav Khosla, center, PhD Candidate, political theory, GSAS


Organized by the Harvard U.S. – India Initiative, the goal was to raise awareness about India and the challenges it faces, and to bring together the current and future generation of Indian leaders, who share a common vision of a more developed India. Jaago brought together students from both India and the U.S. who were guided by eminent scholars in a dynamic, intellectually vibrant environment. The conference served to not only educate, but also provided an opportunity to unite the brightest students from both countries to connect and jointly engage with the issues facing modern India. Speakers included Professors from MIT, Harvard, Boston University, and Brandeis University. The conference featured hands-on panel discussions on a range of political, economic, and social issues, as well as an innovative series of student competitions.

September 25, 2013

CHAAT PARTY Over 100 students, faculty, and staff gathered for SAI’s 2nd annual Chaat Party in the CGIS Concourse. It was an opportunity for students to learn about SAI’s grant programs, events on campus, and the 16 student groups at Harvard that focus on South Asia.

October 5, 2013

HUNGAMA Dharma, Harvard’s Hindu Student Association, provides Harvard students with the opportunity to learn about and participate in Hindu festivals and traditions on campus within a close-knit community of fellow students. Dharma threw a Bollywood party, in the Lowell House Dining Hall, for students to celebrate and have some delicious South Asian food.

Abbas Jaffer, center, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, GSAS

October 22, 2013

INDIA CHANGING: SEARCHING AND SUPPORTING INNOVATION INSURGENTS Professor Anil Gupta, founder of the Honey Bee Network, Executive Vice Chair of the National Innovation Foundation. Professor in the Centre for Management in Agriculture at IIM-A

Organized by the Harvard India Student Group, Professor Anil Gupta’s talk focused on the ecosystem of inclusive innovations emerging in India, with global implications. There were examples from five foci of innovations: children, tech students, informal sector, professionals and public systems. He shared the policy influencing process based on passion, purpose, performance and platforms. Gupta shared a large database of ideas registered by NIF with interested students who want to take these patented innovations and incubate their start-ups. Student performers at Hungama in October

A Year in Review 2013-2014 41


Student performs at the Diwali celebration in November

November 10, 2013

HARVARD-WIDE DIWALI NIGHT The Harvard India Student Group (HISG) hosted the first ever university-wide Diwali Night in November. The event was attended by over 400 students, staff and faculty from across 12 Harvard schools and was popular among both domestic and international students. The evening featured a traditional three-course Indian dinner, followed by an hour long cultural show and Bollywood dance party. Performers included classical, Bollywood and Bhangra dance, hindi film and rock music bands, the Indian Ensemble at Berklee College of Music and the South Asian a capella group Harvard Mirch. The event was co-sponsored by the South Asia Caucus at HKS, the South Asia Business Association at HBS, India GSD, the South Asian Students Organization at HSPH, the Harvard South Asian Law Students Association, and the Harvard Graduate Council.

February 14-17, 2014

HPAIR CONFERENCE: THE MANY FACES OF ASIA: SHAPING IDENTITIES IN A DYNAMIC WORLD The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) is student-run organization of the Harvard FAS. As Asia spirals into faster development, how will Asia maintain its essence in such a fast-paced world? The HPAIR Harvard Conference provided a forum to discuss the many faces of Asia in the 21st century. Delegates were equipped with the tools and ideas to have the ability to shape Asia’s identity that will accelerate Asia’s development moving forward. Asia has transformed itself into a world superpower in the past decades. At the same time, Asia has vibrant history and culture with thousands of years of tradition that reaches far beyond its borders. Meena Hewett, SAI, spoke at the closing ceremony of the conference.

42 South Asia Institute

Harvard students celebrate Holi on campus in March

February 15-16, 2014

April 19 – 20, 2014



The annual India Conference at Harvard was held at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School in February. The conference, now in its 12th year, has become the largest student run India focus conference in the US. This year’s conference was the largest in history with over 100 speakers and 650 attendees. On February 15, the conference opened with a Q&A session between Tarun Khanna, HBS and SAI, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, the President & Chief Executive of the Centre for Policy Research, a leading political think tank in India.

March 29, 2014

HARVARD HOLI CELEBRATION On Saturday, March 29th, the Harvard campus became a little more colorful as students gathered in the Mac quad for Holi, the Hindu festival of colors meant to celebrate the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. The event was organized by Harvard Dharma, the Hindu Student Association, and the Harvard India Student Group.

Harvard College Pakistan Weekend (HCPW) was a conference that aimed to mold the international narrative about Pakistan by providing an opportunity for students, academics, practitioners and community members to gather in discussion of Pakistan’s future. In particular, there is a dearth of debate regarding Pakistan’s economic potential. The conference included keynote addresses from Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group, Humayun Akhtar Khan, Former Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Amjad Janjua, Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan State Oil Company, Shujaat Nadeem, Chairman of Samba Bank, Pakistan, and Asim Khwaja, Professor of Public Policy at HKS. The conference covered three crucial facets of Pakistan’s economy: public policy, international investment in the private sector and financial sector support. The panels highlighted the need to educate Pakistan’s young population, the pressing problem of energy, the work being done in Pakistan’s growing technology sector and the much-criticized legal system.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS From Bhangra to Public Health, these groups bring together students from the various schools to plan events and hold discussions related to South Asia. Events range from conferences about Indian politics to a capella performances that merge pop music with Hindi songs The Harvard India Student Group, along with the Harvard Pakistan Student Group, are recognized by Harvard as Universitywide initiatives.



Dharma, Harvard’s Hindu Student Association, serves as a forum in which Harvard students learn about the Hindu religion and the culture associated with it.

The Harvard US-India Initiative fosters relations between college students from the United States and India to address some of India’s most pressing social, political, and economic issues.

India GSD looks at design issues pertinent to the country and is an agency for understanding, provocation, and debates about the past, present, and future of design in India. HARVARD BHANGRA, HARVARD COLLEGE

Harvard Bhangra exposes the Harvard community to Bhangra through campus performances, represents Harvard at competitions, and teaches Bhangra to interested individuals. HARVARD INDIA STUDENT GROUP, UNIVERSITY WIDE

The Harvard India Student Group provides a platform for communication and collaboration amongst the students and faculty on India-related topics. HARVARD MIRCH

Harvard Mirch is a co-ed South Asian a capella group aiming to bring together the best of the South Asian and the western pop music. HARVARD PAKISTAN STUDENT GROUP, UNIVERSITY WIDE

HPSG aims to create opportunities for students across Harvard with an affiliation with Pakistan to connect on activities and topics of interest. HARVARD PROJECT FOR ASIAN AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

HPAIR is student-run organization that promotes understanding of the economic, political, social, and cultural issues facing the Asia-Pacific region by organizing panels and other events on Harvard’s campus. HARVARD SANGEET, HARVARD COLLEGE

Harvard Sangeet serves to usher South Asian music to its deserved place among the other cultural and artistic establishments at Harvard, and to establish Harvard as a premier seat of South Asian musical leadership. HARVARD SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION, HARVARD COLLEGE

The Harvard South Asian Association brings the Harvard community closer to South Asia and its Diaspora through academic, political, social, outreach and cultural initiatives. HARVARD SOUTH ASIAN MEN’S COLLECTIVE, HARVARD COLLEGE

The South Asian Men’s Collective works to strengthen a sense of brotherhood between members and to create a supportive arena for dialogue and discussion.


HGSE Harvard Pakistan Student Group creates opportunities for HGSE students to connect on activities and topics of interest related to Pakistan. PAKISTAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION, HARVARD COLLEGE

Pakistan Student Association seeks to promote interest in and awareness of Pakistan’s culture and current affairs within the Harvard undergraduate community through events that bring Pakistan to the fore. SOUTH ASIA BUSINESS ASSOCIATION STUDENT GROUP, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL Pages/club-details.aspx?name=southasianbusiness

The South Asian Business Association (SABA) provides a forum for students who want to participate and lead initiatives related to South Asia. Objectives include: community unification, education, representation of South Asia on campus, and inclusion. SOUTH ASIA CAUCUS, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL

The KSG South Asia Caucus serves as a forum for all KSG students interested in South Asia to exchange political, economic, social, and cultural ideas impacting the region in general, or specific countries in the region. SOUTH ASIAN LAW STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

The South Asian Law Students’ Association provides a forum for students who are interested in promoting a network of legal professionals interested in South Asian American and South Asian legal issues. SOUTH ASIAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION, HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

The South Asian Student Association serves to promote South Asian Culture awareness within the HGSE community. SOUTH ASIA STUDENT ORGANIZATION, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH The HSPH South Asian Student Organization focuses on health issues affecting people of South Asian origin, collaborates with faculty, staff, alumni, and other student groups, and launches independent initiatives. STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION OF MEDICALLY ORIENTED SOUTH ASIAN STUDENT GROUP (SAMOSA). HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

SAMOSA is student group focused both on South Asian issues in the healthcare arena and in building a community of students interested in South Asian issues.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 43



IN REGION To increase learning from regional experience, Harvard presence in South Asia is crucial. With SAI representatives in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, SAI can successfully support Harvard faculty and student research, teaching, and field experience. With the support from our in-region staff, SAI has sponsored numerous events in-region, including student- and alumni-focused events, faculty led symposia, and other academic events that strengthen the relationship between Harvard and South Asia.

44 44

Jacqueline Bhabha, HLS, HKS and HSPH, leads the webinar ‘Tackling Gender Violence in South Asia - What options do we have?’ in November with 15 universities in South Asia.

WEBINARS SAI hosts several webinars throughout the year, which give faculty the chance to interact with students and academic leaders at universities across South Asia and engage on critical issues. Through webinar software provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), the interactive sessions allow students in the region to interact with the Harvard Faculty, and submit questions on social media. Over 15 universities across South Asia have participated.

November 26, 2013


Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH, Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at HLS, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, HKS

Professor Bhabha explained that gender norms have become skewed over the century. For example, many boys in South Asia grow up with a sense of entitlement that is learned from school, movies and on the street. The burden does not fall on one particular group or sector; rather society as a whole is to blame. Professor Bhabha also addressed the education system, which is not truly coeducational. She said that from a young age, many girls live in discreet gender worlds, which makes it hard to become familiar with normal social exchanges. It is vital that both girls and boys form normal friendships at a young age with the opposite gender and develop a sense of normalcy. Professor Bhabha also discussed another troubling norm in South Asia: the apprehension to talk about sexual and reproduction issues, even among close family members. Discussing sexual health is seen as illicit. Sexual violence should not be seen as “a private shame, a guilty secret for the woman.” Access to contraception was also discussed, which Professor Bhabha described as an important right for a woman to be able to control her own fertility. Overall, change must come from within communities, not from top-down. This is why many of the policies related to gender violence have failed to change the situation. Women, as well as men in communities, must work to change these social norms. Social and economic conditions that contribute to poverty must also be addressed in order to truly combat gender violence.

Venkatesh Murthy, center

February 27, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014



Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Benjamin

Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, SEAS; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, HKS In our rapidly transforming world, engineering plays an ever more central role, especially in advancing basic science, creating tools and everyday technologies, driving economic development and meeting societal challenges in areas from energy to environment to human health. Explaining the role of engineering as a linking discipline, Narayanamurti said, “engineering is not applied science; it is science that is applied engineering.” He made a strong case for a well-rounded education in all fields, and said that we must encourage students to learn the creativity and innovation of entrepreneurship. Another ‘grand challenge’ of engineering education is getting women involved, which Narayanamurti explained is vital for societies. He explained that women’s access to science education is more of a challenge in the developing world, but not one that cannot be overcome. Having women leaders in all fields is an important step: “Can women be renaissance engineers? Yes!” he said. “We need more women role models so that it is an accepted reality.” Throughout his presentation, Narayanamurti emphasized the importance of merging the study of engineering with biology by combining the perfection of biology with the creativity of engineering, because “nature perfected how human beings and the living world were created.” Technology is evolving to become more human-like, which means merging biology with engineering is more important than ever.

Venkatesh Murthy, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, FAS

“How can you possible not be excited to study what the brain does?” Professor Murthy asked during the webinar. How do you sense the world? How do you remember things? How do you sing, play or even just walk? How do you think? Of course, you do all of this with your brain, which has been called the most complex machine in the world. Who you are as a person is largely a function of the brain, from a scientific point of view. This also means that when something goes wrong with the brain there are devastating consequences to the individual as well as society. Naturally, how the brain works is one of the most exciting questions in the world. Professor Murthy discussed how the study of neuroscience has implications not just for doctors in the clinic, but also for psychologists, educators, computer scientists, musicians, tennis players and just about everyone. He discussed how the field is incredibly interdisciplinary, and how a student with almost any background can hope to make meaningful contributions to the field. He explained that studying how the brain works and processes information can help us understand how to better create many things in our society.

May 8, 2014

WOMEN IN POLITICS: THE CASE OF INDIA Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor of Business Administration, HBS

Women lag behind men on many metrics across the world (health, education, wages), including political representation. Professor Iyer discussed two major questions: Does electing women to political office make any difference? Given that women comprise only 21.4 percent of national parliaments across the world, how can women’s representation in political office be increased? She reviewed some of her work based on data from India on both of these questions. The results are relevant both for other countries and for other disadvantaged groups.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 45


In this webinar, Professor Bhabha touched on several methods of preventing gender violence, including better police training, which also means an increase in accountability of elected officials. There needs to be a shift in attitude about how sexual violence perpetrators are viewed, including increased impunity for offenders. She also advocated for increased protection for survivors, including support, rehabilitation, and a recognition of the effect on mental health. Medical workers must be better trained to recognize signs of domestic violence.

Venkatesh Narayanamurti, center


Pakistan Alumni Event in Karachi, hosted by Danish Lakhani HBS ‘07

Spiro Pollalis, GSD, in Karachi

January 9 – 12, 2014, Karachi

Summer 2013, Dhaka, Delhi, Karachi, and Lahore

HARVARD SOUTH ASIA ALUMNI EVENTS SAI held several alumni events during the summer to connect alums with current and incoming students and faculty in Dhaka, Delhi, Karachi, and Lahore. Events included a casual dinner in Dhaka, a Young Harvard alumni event in Delhi, and alumni dinners in Karachi and Lahore.

July 12-13, 2013, Delhi

GENDER JUSTICE, CRIMINAL LAW, AND CURRICULAR REFORMS CONFERENCE This conference, part of the Harvard Gender Violence Project, was the first step in convening a group of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, the academy, service providers and NGOs. The meeting provided an opportunity for information exchange and discussion across a range of issues – legislative, educational, policy and service oriented – relevant to sexual assault and gender violence in India and, more generally, South Asia.

November 20, 2013, Mumbai

THE FOUNDATIONS AND FUTURE OF IDENTITY POLITICS Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, FAS; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

This panel was part of the “AsiaLive“ series, which provides a platform for informed discussions relating to important and topical issues that significantly impact Asia. The discussion traced the origin and the rise of identity politics, especially in the last two to three decades, and the effects on society. While other bases of identity politics were addressed, discussions focused particularly on identity politics based on religion and culture. Increased globalization has brought different people in closer proximity, which has paradoxically lead to increased polarization with people retreating further into their religious and cultural groups. The event was cosponsored by SAI, Asia Society India, and Open Magazine India.

46 South Asia Institute

Diana Eck, FAS and HDS, in Kolkata

January 2nd, 2014, Kolkata

SACRED GEOGRAPHIES: INDIA AND THE US Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion

and Indian Studies, Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society, FAS, Member of the Faculty of Divinity, HDS Professor Eck spoke about her recent book India: A Sacred Geography as well as elaborated on SAI’s recent Project Mapping India’s Kumbh Mela a multidisciplinary study involving over 50 Harvard faculty, staff and students. India: A Sacred Geography traces the footsteps of India’s pilgrims, mapping India’s spiritual landscapes: its mountains, forests, rivers and seashores, ancient sites of her temples and shrines, that are powerful magnets to India’s masses. It is these very pilgrimages, dating back thousands of years, which are an integral part of otherwise diverse religious cultures that continue to bind India as a nation. The book explores the sacred places of India, taking the reader on an extraordinary trip through the beliefs and history of this rich and profound place, as well as providing a basic introduction to Hindu religious ideas and how those ideas influence our understanding of the modern sense of India as a nation. The event was hosted by Gaurav and Parul Swarup, SAI Founders Club members.


and Human Rights, Harvard Director, Global Emergency Medicine Program, Weill Cornell Medical College / NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Ruth Barron, Assistant Professor, HMS; Director of Outpatient Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance

Meena Hewett, Executive Director, SAI Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud

Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights

Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, GSD

Spiro Pollalis, Professor of Design, Technology

and Management, GSD; Director, Zofnass Program for the Sustainability of Infrastructure

Justin D. Stern, PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, GSD

In January, Karachi became the gathering place for politicians, scholars, doctors, architects, urban planners, and citizens to explore issues related to rapid urban change at the Contemporary South Asian City Conference. The mega-conference, with over 3000 guests registered, took place at the historic Frere Hall. The conference aimed to generate new knowledge and insight into the driving forces, socioeconomic challenges and political implications facing the contemporary South Asian city. The Harvard team participated in several panels, including: Professional Practice in South Asia, Memory and Conservation of the Built Environment, Constructing the ‘Right to the City’ in South Asia: Housing, Governance & the Civic Realm, Beyond the Nation-State; Emerging South Asian Urbanism, Mental Health and the Urban Environment and Disaster and Mass Casualty Response in Urban Crisis.

Ashish Nanda, Current Director, IIM-A, HLS, HBS

January 16, 2014, Mumbai


Participants at the corporate social responsibility workshop in Mumbai

Jorge Domínguez, Vice Provost for InternaJoined by:

Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights; Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer on Law, HLS; Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, HKS

Ashish Nanda, Robert Braucher Professor of

Practice, Faculty Director of Executive Education, and Research Director at the Program on the Legal Profession, HLS; Director, IIM-A Cosponsored with the Harvard Club of Mumbai, the HBS India Research Center, and the Harvard Alumni Association In this rapidly changing world, a world-class transformational education experience is what today’s youth aspires to obtain. Excellence in teaching and research standards and holistic learning for societal improvement is the endeavour of all leading universities. Speaking to an audience of mostly Harvard alumni and senior Indian educators, Vice Provost Jorge Dominguez started the conversation to talk first about Harvard’s mistakes — in his opinion, to be truly a world-class institution, the institution would have to be free from the folly of dogmatism, arrogance and labour market protectionism; student bodies should have universal representation, and in general adopt a more inclusive approach. His vision for Harvard is to be a truly public university, open to all, with excellence as the only criteria, accessible to all with varied locations and in many parts of the world.

February 3 - February 6, 2014


Ashish Nanda, Robert Braucher Professor of

Practice, Faculty Director of Executive Education, and Research Director at the Program on the Legal Profession, HLS; Director, IIM-A

V. Kasturi ‘Kash’ Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, HBS

SAI collaborated with the World Bank and the Government of India’s Department of Public Enterprise to organize a four-day Executive Development Program titled “Non-State Players in Human Development – Achieving India’s Goals” The workshop took place at the Harvard Business School Classroom at the Taj Land End Hotel in Mumbai, India. The workshop was facilitated by Kash Rangan, HBS, Tarun Khanna, SAI and HBS, and Ashish Nanda, HLS and IIM-A. Assisting with the program was Shashank Shah, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Management Studies. Namrata Arora, SAI Associate Director of the Mumbai office, and Payal Narain, SAI consultant, coordinated the program. The 47 participants were mainly top-level managers and executives from the large and medium-sized Indian public sector corporations, and some private sector companies.

tices and strategies in CSR development were highlighted. The workshop was modelled after the highly successful Strategic CSR executive education program developed at the Harvard Business School. It includes case study sessions, sharing of ideas, experience and opinions via discussion groups and opportunities to recap and reflect on the learning. The 12 cases studied were from across the globe – examples of best practices, as in the case of Charles Veillon, S.A., a Swiss mail order and retail company, and the highly evolved business philosophy of India’s home grown Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, as well as cases showing instances of business failure and collapse due to the complete lack of social responsibility as demonstrated in Bolivia’s Cochabamba Water case and the case of India’s Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. Questions on personal ethics and leadership were brought to the fore through the Harvard classic – ‘Parable of the Sadhu.’ The faculty leaders brought their brilliant, complementary and inimitable teaching styles to the table – testing, tweaking and cajoling the interest and enthusiasm of seasoned corporate bosses. The main takeaway from the workshop was that a strategically planned and managed socially and environmentally responsible code of ethics by corporate leaders, not only results in increased profits, but will also sustain the business in the long term. Such a code of ethics should be embedded in corporate policy and should be followed in letter and in spirit. Several suggestions to facilitate true CSR ensued.

In view of the legislation on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India, the main objective of the program was to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of senior managers of corporations. Through the case study approach, best prac-

A Year in Review 2013-2014 47


tional Affairs at Harvard University and Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico

COMMUNITY SAI connects with communities outside of Harvard interested in South Asian culture and studies, including alumni, K-12 schools, peer institutions, and community organizations, that inform current areas of interest and help identify need for further scholarship on issues relevant to the region.


Audience members at ‘Sacred Geographies: India and the United States’ in New York in November

48 South Asia Institute


March 31, 2014

GLOBAL LITERATURE ONLINE BOOK GROUP FOR EDUCATORS Discussant: Shankar Ramaswami, SAI Postdoctoral Fellow in South Asian Studies, Harvard University Diwali celebration at the Boston Children’s Museum

October 27, 2013, Boston

The Harvard India Student Group (HISG), in partnership with BU-Hindu Yuva, brought together students from Harvard, Boston University and University of Massachusetts to volunteer at the Boston Children’s Museum Diwali celebration. The highlight of the day was a performance by the newly founded a capella group Harvard Mirch. Other fun activities included making diyas out of recycled materials, paper lanterns and door hangings, and rangoli. This was a fun and interactive way to educate the children about the cultural significance of Diwali, an important festival in South Asia. The volunteers all found the experience very fulfilling.

November 14, 2013, New York City, and April 18, 2014, San Francisco

SACRED GEOGRAPHIES: INDIA AND THE UNITED STATES Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion

and Indian Studies, FAS; Member of the Faculty of Divinity, HDS SAI hosted 2 community events with Professor Diana Eck in New York and San Francisco about her recent book India: A Sacred Geography, which traces the footsteps of India’s pilgrims, mapping India’s spiritual landscapes: its mountains, forests, rivers and seashores, ancient sites of her temples and shrines, that are powerful magnets to India’s masses. It is these very pilgrimages, dating back thousands of years, which are an integral part of otherwise diverse religious cultures that continue to bind India as a nation.

PRIMARY SOURCE: EDUCATING FOR GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING SAI is proud to support organizations in the community that promote South Asian culture and studies through education and generation of new knowledge about the region. SAI awarded a grant to Primary Source to support their commitment to resource building for K-12 educators in the areas of South Asia. Based in Watertown, MA, Primary Source promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators to people and cultures throughout the world. By introducing global content, Primary Source shapes the way teachers and students learn, so that their knowledge is deeper and their thinking is flexible and open to inquiry. Through SAI’s funding, Primary Source developed a new online course about India was developed.

April 4, 2014, Cambridge

EDUCATORS FOR TEACHING INDIA CONFERENCE Keynote: Harleen Singh, Associate Profes-

sor of Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, and South Asian Studies, Brandeis University Closing Address: Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS, and Director of SAI On April 4, 2014, teachers from across Massachusetts gathered for the sixth annual Educators for Teaching India (EFTI) Conference at Harvard, hosted by SAI in partnership with EFTI, The Winsor School, Phillips Academy and The Groton School. The conference brought together high school and middle school educators from both private and public schools who are interested in teaching courses about India and South Asia. The theme of this year’s conference was Women in India: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity, which was chosen in light of increased media attention on gender violence in India. Harleen Singh, Associate Professor of Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, and South Asian Studies, Brandeis University, gave the keynote address to kick off the conference, explaining challenges faced by women and India, and sharing her own personal experiences as an Indian women. In the interactive workshops, teachers were able to engage with experts on a wide variety of topics related to women in India, including peer pressure on street children, women and leadership in India, female identity in Hinduism, the influence of the education system in reducing gender violence, and female infanticide India. The fascinating workshops provided teachers with the opportunity to explore these complex topics and brainstorm how the sensitive issues can be taught in the classroom. Closing remarks were given by Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS, and Director of SAI. Established in 2008, EFTI is a group of secondary school educators dedicated to deepening knowledge of India and to exploring India’s role in school curricula. The organization includes teachers in public and private schools as well as educators in supporting academic institutions. Through outreach and education, EFTI aims to enhance the role that India plays in curriculum.

A Year in Review 2013-2014 49



Held in partnership with HGHI, this online reading workshop for K-12 educators discussed Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Using Adobe Connect webinar software, teachers were able to log on to a virtual classroom and interact directly with Ramaswami and other participating teachers. The teachers were also able to brainstorm with each other how sensitive material can be taught in the classroom, given that the themes of the book include issues such corruption, religion, ethics, poverty and inequality. Participants included a 4th grade teacher at a private school in Baltimore, a high school world literature teacher in Iowa, and teachers from public and private schools in Massachusetts.

Educators for Teaching India Conference in April

The Kumbh Mela Festival, 2013

PUBLICATIONS In order to further its outreach efforts and connect faculties across the different departments and schools at Harvard, SAI launched two publications this year, which showcase SAI’s ability to connect faculty across many disciplines, and create new knowledge on issues critical to South Asia.

50 50

PUBLICATIONS HEALTH AND SOUTH ASIA Released on January 10, 2014 Of the approximately seven billion people living in the world today, nearly two billion live in South Asia. It is largely a young population, even though the number of people who are above the age of 60 is expected to double by the year 2040. The nations in the region have a high percentage of young children who suffer from malnutrition, or are underweight. Limited access to clean water or adequate shelter compounds these health issues. Healthcare financing is far from ideal. Indeed, every major health-related issue that is being debated in the world today has a relevant case study that can be found in South Asia. South Asia is both the place where some of the most acute health problems are aggregated, as well as the place where some of the most innovative solutions, for both the region and the world, can be found. With all this in mind, SAI chose health as the topic for our inaugural publication.

To be released in 2014 The Kumbh Mela is a Hindu religious fair that occurs every twelve years at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers on the plains of northern India. Since its inception early in the first millennium CE, the Kumbh Mela has become the largest public gathering in the world. Today it draws tens of millions of pilgrims over the course of a few weeks. The most recent observance of the festival took place from January 14 to February 25, 2013 in Allahabad, with an estimated attendance of 70 million people. Because of its size and complexity, the Kumbh Mela inspired interdisciplinary research in a number of complementary fields – business, technology and communications, urban studies and design, religious and cultural studies, and public health. The visit to the Kumbh Mela provided Harvard faculty and students a unique prototype for the academic study of mass gatherings that impact issues of urbanization, public health, the role of religion in societies, and business and communications infrastructure. SAI served as the coordinating unit for this multi-year research project. With a mission to serve as a platform to connect various faculty doing research on issues critical to the region, the research on the Mela was seen as a keystone project to undertake. While faculty have published their own research in publications specific to their discipline, it was agreed that it would be greatly beneficial to have a book that housed each of these cross-disciplinary perspectives in one place. This project serves as an example of sophisticated interdisciplinary research and provides tools for teaching and conducting research on the complexities of largescale human gatherings, pilgrimages, and cultural events. It also raises an interesting question for future interdisciplinary research and the role of an Institute such as SAI, within a university, where the focus is on the geography rather than a discipline or an issue per se. Often the importance of geographic knowledge has been de emphasized over the last 30 years at Harvard. This notion is changing, at least in the business schools, where all students have to travel to another country and bring back their experience into the classroom. Chapters include: Ephemeral Urbanism: The Kumbh Mela as an Extreme Case, History of the Kumbh, Maps of the Kumbh Mela, Planning the Kumbh: Institutions and Governance, The Pop-Up City on Time (Photoessay), Health and Risk Management at the Kumbh, Urban Design at the Kumbh: Grid Infrastructure & Flows, The Pop-Up City from the Inside (photoessay) and Business at the Kumbh.


We invite you to think of health as broadly, humanely, and ethically as possible. Health is a bundle of complex factors. Consequently, solutions to health-related challenges can be found only when we take a cross-disciplinary approach. In the pages that follow, you will see a range of professional and disciplinary perspectives. Lawyers and physicians, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, policy-advocates and journalists, scientists and designers, epidemiologists and graphic novelists, economists and Open Access advocates, come together to present a rich array of solutions to health challenges. The publication you hold in your hands (or are reading on a screen) is not exhaustive. Instead, we aim to present a wide representation of the important, and occasionally surprising ways, in which people find solutions to public health problems in South Asia. Our contributors are seasoned professionals in the region, highly-regarded professors who have tackled these issues for decades, younger faculty who represent the next generation of thinkers, and graduate students who are in the formative stages of their professional development.


The SAI aspires to connect faculties across the different departments and schools at Harvard; to connect Harvard faculty with their colleagues at other universities; to connect students with teachers; to connect professionals working in South Asia with the Harvard community; and to foster cross-region collaboration in South Asia. SAI released the publication digitally, and is available at http://southasia

The Kumbh Mela festival, 2013 Photo by Alykhan Mohamad, GSD MUP ‘13

A Year in Review 2013-2014 51

IN THE NEWS SAI activities are covered by the media, both at Harvard and at the global level. Some examples of recent news coverage are profiled here. For more information on SAI news, visit our website: http://southasiainstitute.

52 52

Jennifer Leaning, HSPH, speaks to the media at the Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi in January

SAI IN THE NEWS Mehrotra, Chair and Professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), conceived the Conference on the Contemporary South Asian City, held in Karachi last month and co-sponsored by Karachi’s Aman Foundation and Harvard’s South Asia Institute. Coordinating the Harvard delegation was SAI’s Executive Director, Meena Hewett.

Tarun Khanna, SAI and HBS (Photo courtesy of

February 6, 2014 PSUS COULD BE ENGAGED IN CSR MORE PRODUCTIVELY: TARUN KHANNA By Aveek Datta Mumbai: Indian state-run companies are much better placed to implement meaningful programmes of corporate social responsibility (CSR) than their private sector counterparts, owing to the large scale on which they operate and their accessibility to the government, says Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann professor at Harvard Business School and director of Harvard University’s South Asia Institute. Khanna is in Mumbai to deliver a workshop organized jointly by the South Asia Institute and the World Bank to engage with Indian public sector enterprises on ways to make their philanthropic efforts more relevant. The new Companies Act mandating companies to set aside a certain percentage of their net profits for CSR activities, says Khanna, will make CSR an increasingly important part of the chief executive’s agenda at Indian companies, even though some firms will still try to “dodge” it. Read the full article: Companies/NVQioMXAzDgPYweaoS22lM/ PSUs-could-be-engaged-in-CSR-more-productivelyTarun-Khanna.html

February 23, 2014

Rahul Mehrotra is no stranger to Karachi. From his base in Mumbai, he built Amin Hashwani’s house in Karachi some years ago — a project for which he visited the city several times. “By the time we did the interiors though, we couldn’t get visas,” he added, when we spoke in Cambridge recently. He recounts a moving story about one of his visits to Karachi. As they landed in the city, he noticed tears in the eyes of an engineer, Subit Deshpande, who was accompanying him from Mumbai. “He told me that his late father was a Bombay-based contractor who built that airstrip, when Karachi was part of the Bombay Presidency.”

Read the full article: urban-planning-disaster-management/#.UydhvD9dV8G

Meena Hewett, executive director of the South Asia Institute, said the Pakistan programs are an expression of the institute’s focus on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Though India is the region’s largest country, it’s important, Hewett said, that the institute promote an agenda that encompasses all of South Asia. In addition to fostering an understanding of the country itself, Pakistan has a lot to offer to the regional dialogue, Hewett said. Pakistan is the world’s sixth-most populous nation, with a long history and enormous diversity. It is struggling with many of the same issues as many of its neighbors, including urbanization, poverty, water security, public health, religious differences, and governance. “Beyond the narrative of violence and terrorism, there is all this good development work going on,” Hewett said.

Rahul Mehrotra, GSD, in Karachi

March 14, 2014 THE BRIGHT SIDE OF PAKISTAN: SOUTH ASIA INSTITUTE WORKS TO SOLVE URBAN CONCERNS, FOSTER FRESH THINKING By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer The initial idea was a lecture by a noted Harvard design professor and a quiet discussion with a small group of interested local partners. By January, however, the event had grown into a three-day conference on South Asian cities, attracting upward of 800 people, with concurrent sessions in large tents erected for the occasion in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. In addition to a Harvard delegation of seven, the conference drew urban design professionals, government officials, and academics from across Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, including India and Bangladesh. Tarun Khanna, director of Harvard’s South Asia Institute, said the event grew through regional collaboration and was symbolic of a “narrative of peace” that seeks to counterbalance the history of strife in the area. Organizers said the conference was just the initial discussion in what they hope will be an ongoing conversation about the problems and opportunities confronting cities across the region. Further, officials at Harvard’s South Asia Institute (SAI) say the conference is both part of the Institute’s growing engagement with Pakistan and a sign of the enthusiasm of Pakistani partners for further collaboration.

Rahul Mehrotra, chairman of the Graduate School of Design’s Department of Urban Planning and Design and one of the January conference’s organizers, said that studying the region’s cities not only has the potential to generate knowledge, it is also a crosscutting issue that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty members and provides a forum for cooperation by experts in different nations. The conference was the first of five planned over the next five years, Mehrotra said. The next conference is tentatively planned for Dhaka, Bangladesh. South Asia’s cities have a lot to learn from each other. While urban areas around the world are struggling with the same problems, the cities across South Asia share a “similar DNA,” Mehrotra said. That DNA has been instilled by shared regional history, including British colonization and enormous urban growth in the post-independence era. Among their commonalities, the region’s major cities are among the world’s largest, have undergone rapid demographic change in the last 30 years, and suffer from poor infrastructure and services, as well as a lack of political will to transform, Mehrotra said. That means lessons learned from South Asian cities might be easier to adopt than lessons learned in other parts of the world, Mehrotra said. Karachi, for example, has done some path-breaking work to improve its slums, while Mumbai has well-functioning conservation legislation that can be easily replicated. And low-lying Dhaka has experience dealing with its physical environment and climate change. Read the full article: gazette/story/2014/03/the-bright-side-of-pakistan/

A Year in Review 2013-2014 53



The idea is to generate new insights about the socioeconomic and political challenges that South Asian cities face, like housing, urbanization, disaster response, mental health, and conservation.

SAI’s engagement is multifaceted and includes conferences and training programs in Pakistan, workshops, fellowships, and Pakistani students on Harvard’s campuses, as well as webinars spanning both locations, featuring Harvard faculty in Cambridge and viewed by students at dozens of Pakistani universities.

BUDGET 2013-2014


INCOME Provost Funds



Program support



Founders Gift Funds



Interfaculty Initiatives



Other restricted Gifts $280,000


Student Support




Regional Support




Visiting Scholars



Administrative Support



Endowment Income


Saved Balances and $249,767 Co-sponsored Funding







INCOME Provost Funds



Program support



Founders Gift Funds



Interfaculty Initiatives



Other restricted Gifts $242,000


Student Support




Regional Support




Visiting Scholars



Administrative Support



Endowment Income


Saved Balances and $372,870 Co-sponsored Funding




54 South Asia Institute


FY BUDGET A Year in Review 2013-2014 55


Profile for Harvard South Asia Institute

Year in Review 2013-2014  

A review of all of SAI's activities in the academic year 2013-2014.

Year in Review 2013-2014  

A review of all of SAI's activities in the academic year 2013-2014.

Profile for sainit