Campus & Community

South Asia Initiative announces grant recipients

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Marks the first completed cycle of Das and Menezes Travel Grants

South Asia Initiative faculty and student grantees, staff, and
South Asia Initiative faculty and student grantees, staff, and donors. Seated (from left) are donor Anand Mahindra; Naseem Hines, instructor in Urdu; donor Anuradha Mahindra; Director of SAI Sugata Bose; Assistant Director Rena Fonseca; and staff assistant Gwen Speeth.

The South Asia Initiative (SAI) at the Asia Center has announced its first completed cycle of Das and Menezes Travel Grants to the Indian Subcontinent. Grants were awarded for research travel to Harvard faculty and graduate students from across all the Schools, and to undergraduates at the College.

Das Fund Faculty Grant recipients

Theodore Bestor, anthropology: To conduct research on the globalization of the fishing industry and teaching-related study of historical patterns of urban life.

Richard Cash, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH): To conduct research and teaching in infectious disease epidemiology and international health and research ethics.

Lincoln Chen, Global Equity Initiative: To advance the collaboration between the Harvard University Global Equity Initiative and Indian colleagues on human development, health, and education.

Rena Fonseca, history and literature: To research and film nongovernmental organizations involved in post-tsunami reconstruction work in South Eastern India, with a view to setting up a comprehensive program of volunteer opportunities for Harvard undergraduates, as part of an expanding study abroad program in India.

Naseem Hines, Sanskrit: To present a paper on the Medieval Hindi Premakhyana tradition and to conduct research on Maulana Daud’s Indo-Sufi narrative “Chandayan.”

Engseng Ho, anthropology: To conduct research on coastal communities in Malabar and the Laccadives.

Howard Hu, HSPH: To conduct research and lecture on environmental health.

Sheila Jasanoff, Kennedy School of Government (KSG): To conduct research on comparative environmental politics and to speak at an Indian National Science Academy seminar.

Sanjeev Khagram, KSG: To conduct research on the architectures of business regulation and citizenship in comparative and transnational perspective, and on comparative social movements in the south.

Smita Lahiri, anthropology: To conduct exploratory research in North India on the relationship between India’s complex multilingual environment and globalization, for a project on the Hindi-English interface.

Howard Libman, Harvard Medical School (HMS): To enhance educational initiatives on HIV/AIDS for health caregivers.

Ajay Mahal, HSPH: To conduct research on the spread and impact of modern medical technology in India.

Kevin McGrath, Sanskrit: To conduct research on women in the Mahabharata as cultural emblems in contemporary Indian society.

Venkata Sankaranarayanan, HSPH: To conduct research on and establish collaborations in studying the role of contexts in influencing population health achievements and disparities in India.

Jay Silverman, HSPH: To conduct research to inform the development of HIV/AIDS intervention and prevention programs supported by the Indian government (especially protection of married women).

Glorian Sorenson, HSPH: To conduct lectures and research on preventive oncology and biostatistics/epidemiology (especially intervention to influence tobacco use in schools in Bihar).

Ajantha Subramanian, anthropology: To conduct research on the ‘ITT diaspora’ of Indian technology professionals and on the role of scientific expertise in creating forms of long-distance nationalism and cultural citizenship.

Edward Tronick, HMS: To conduct research and training on the effects of maternal mental health on infant development.

Eugene Wang, history of art and architecture: To conduct research on Buddhist art in India.

Richard Wolf, music: To conduct transliteration and translation of field recordings for a study of music in the lives of the Kotas of South India.

Das Fund Student Grant recipients (graduate research and language study)

Faisal Chaudhry, history: Persian language study and archival work in national archives.

Antara Datta, history: Nationalism and education in India.

Zahra Jamal, anthropology: Voluntarism in South Asia to uncover religious and civic ideas of giving.

Sebastian James, KSG: Measuring tax evasion in India using a policy experiment.

Mari Jyvasjarvi, religion: Sanskrit language study.

Samira Khan, KSG: Study of the role of religion, globalization, and governance with prominent human rights lawyer Sonia Khan.

James McHugh, SIS: History of aromatics in India.

Manoj Mohanan, economics: Development of rural health insurance in Karnataka state.

Sandhya Polu, history: How homeopathy stimulated Ayurvedic medicine’s revival and prevented allopathy’s dominance in 19th century Calcutta.

Nirmala Ravishankar, government: Voting behavior in India.

Harpreet Singh, divinity: Study of related textual sources on Hindu devotion in Braj and Sanskrit languages.

Undergraduate research

Krishna Aragam ’05, biochemical sciences: Research on the impact of changing lifestyles on the development of chronic, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease within the Indian population, under the auspices of the PURE study.

Neeraj Banerji ’06, economics: Distortion of firm behavior in India by rigid labor regulation.

Todd Bartels ’06, religion: Interaction between Tibetan medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in historical and contemporary context.

Manav Bhatnagar ’06, government/South Asian studies: Analysis of Kashmiri separatist movement and state response.

Anindita Deb ’06, neurobiology: Organization of the Missionaries of Charity to understand the care available for the poor.

Saritha Komatireddy ’05, government: Research tsunami reconstruction efforts and create documentary.

Roland Lamb ’06, special concentration: To visit sites of philosophical, religious, and historical interest and continue linguistic and cultural studies.

Danielle Li ’05, mathematics/history and science: Village-level health interventions via the use of randomized trials.

Alexandra Munoz ’07, literature: Promote sustainable arts education program by researching religious culture specific to Mussoorie.

Manisha Munshi ’06, social studies/gender studies: How sexual violence has informed postinsurgency women’s activism in Kashmir.

Shankar Nair ’05, religion/Sanskrit: Hindu-Muslim conflict in relation to historical and modern Muslim intellectual interpretations of Hinduism.

Anjali Salooja ’06, social studies: Effect of female engagement in textile production on traditional gender roles in India.

Vanashree Samant ’06, applied mathematics/economics: Microfinance operations in India and incentives for private banks to offer microloans.

Undergraduate language study

Nicholas Boylston ’07, Sanskrit/Near Eastern languages and civilizations: Sanskrit language study (American Institute of Indian Studies).

Rowena Potts ’06, comparative study of religion: Urdu language study (American Institute of Indian Studies).

Victor and Tara Menezes Fund Grant recipients (graduate research)

Sana Aiyar, history: Relationship between the South Asian diaspora in Kenya and the government of India.

Jhumka Gupta, HSPH: Health needs and barriers of female Nepali victims of sex trafficking.

Zahra Jamal, anthropology: Voluntarism in South Asia to uncover religious and civic ideas of giving.

Undergraduate research

Merritt Baer ’06, social studies: Effects of development and modernization on gender power relations in Bhutan, specifically the legalizing of marriage.

Mina Dimitrova ’06: economics: The effects of armed conflict on women’s social status as measured by their labor force participation.

Ali Sethi ’06, South Asian studies: Comparative analysis of Persio-Turkic, Mughal, and post-Mughal depictions of courtesans at Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The South Asia Initiative is currently launching an expanded program of internships in India in collaboration with the Office for Study Abroad. This summer, the initiative will open its first field office in Mumbai, India.

See for additional information.