Privately Funded Programs


ISAS has successfully secured private and government funds to enhance South Asia studies at Berkeley.

Amrit Kaur Ahluwalia Memorial Grant Program

ISAS established the Amrit Kaur Ahluwalia Memorial Grant Program in 2000 with the generous support of Dr. Joginder Singh Ahluwalia and family. By annually providing grants for summer research to select graduate students, this program gives young scholars the opportunity to pursue their first serious research in Sikh Studies.

Berkeley Bangla Initiative

This initiative was started in 2003 to promote the study of Bangla language and culture at UC Berkeley, as well as for the training of scholars, development experts, and NGO activists to conduct research in and about West Bengal and Bangladesh. UC Berkeley now teaches first and second year Bangla, as well as other classes on the history and culture of Bengal.

Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies

The ISAS has received a major gift from the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation to establish the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies. In addition to promoting and integrating interdisciplinary scholarship, the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center will sponsor lectures and conferences.

The Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture Series on Pakistan

The Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture Series on Pakistan is named in honor of one of the leading figures in the history of the Habib family. In addition to successfully guiding the Habib family’s transition from India to Pakistan following independence in 1947, Mahomedali Habib laid the foundations for the House of Habib, a group of powerful business and financial companies. The group has a long-standing history of philanthropy and social service and is currently leading the establishment of Habib University, a liberal arts and sciences university, in Pakistan which aims to bridge the gap between global academia and Pakistan. Toward honoring the legacy of Mahomedali Habib – who was distinguished by his love for Pakistan and his deep commitment to education and philanthropy – the Habib family has decided to endow an annual lecture series in his name. Through this lecture series the Habib family aims to improve and diversify conversations about Pakistan in the United States as well as create opportunities for US and Pakistan-based scholars to dialogue. Our inaugural lecture was delivered by leading Pakistani lawyer, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, President Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and human rights activist, Asma Jahangir on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Details about this lecture here.

Berkeley Telugu Initiative

The Berkeley Telugu Initiative aims to make Berkeley, and by extension, the Bay Area, a premier site for the cultivation and development of Telugu literature, humanities, performance and social science outside of India. With generous gifts from the community, a beginner level Telugu language course was launched in UC Berkeley in Fall 2007 as a first step of this initiative.

Bhandari Program on Indian Entrepreneurship in the Silicon Valley

The Bhandari Program on Indian Entrepreneurship in the Silicon Valley was launched in Fall 2007 with a new, yearlong course titled “The Indian Diaspora in the Silicon Valley.” The goal of this course is to document the achievements of the Indian entrepreneurs who have contributed significantly to the rise of the Silicon Valley, and have helped establish the region as a critical node in the global economy. This program has been established with generous support from the Bhandari Foundation, a charitable trust founded in 1994 by Narpat and Chandra Bhandari of Los Gatos, California.

Gobind Behari Lal Scholarship in Science Journalism

In 1982, Phyllis Herron donated $5,000 to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism upon her husband John Herron’s death. The gift was given with the intention of creating a scholarship in memory of the Herron’s long-time friend, Gobind Behari Lal, a science writer who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and the Padma Bhushan in 1969. Thereafter, Indian community members donated additional funds to create a $10,000 endowment to support modest annual scholarships in science journalism for deserving students in the Graduate School of Journalism. Currently, the principle of the scholarship is $21,000, generating scholarships of several hundred dollars for two or three students per year.

Indo-American Community Lectureship in India Studies

This Lectureship enables ISAS to bring prominent individuals from India to Berkeley to deliver a lecture and interact with campus and community members during a two-week stay. The Lectureship brings a scholar from India every other year, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) pays the visitor’s international airfare. Past Lectureship holders include Upendra Baxi, Andre Beteille, Madhav Gadgil, Ramachandra Guha, Meenakshi Mukherjee, Narendra Panjwani, Anuradha Kapur, Ashis Nandy, and Amita Baviskar. With the endowment exceeding $150,000, ISAS and ICCR agreed to make the lectureship an annual occurrence.

The Maharaj Kaul Memorial Fund

Established in 2010 in memory of Maharaj Kaul (1940 - 2009), a UC Berkeley alum, tireless campaigner against injustice and for peace, founder of groups such as India Relief and Education Fund, and Coalition Against Communalism, and long-time supporter of ISAS’s mission and activities, the purpose of the Maharaj Kaul Memorial Fund is to provide support for graduate fellowships and an annual lecture series on the theme of social justice through the Institute for South Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. The inaugural Maharaj Kaul Memorial Lecture was delivered by Palagummi Sainath. More details here. The second Maharaj Kaul Lecturer was Aruna Roy.

The Padmanabh S. Jaini Graduate Student Award in Buddhist Studies

The Padmanabh S. Jaini Graduate Student Award in Buddhist Studies was established in 2009 with a generous gift from Professor Jaini that was matched by the Chancellor's Matching Gift Program This award supports high-achieving graduate students in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley and honors Professor Jaini's important legacy in the field of Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley and beyond. Padmanabh S. Jaini is Professor emeritus of Buddhist Studies and co-founder of the Group in Buddhist Studies. For a list of past recipients of the Jaini Award, please click here.

Qayum Family Foundation Grants for Travel and Conferences

The Qayum Family Foundation Grants for Travel and Conferences was established when the Qayum Family Foundation committed $5,000 annually to fund a series of lectures and graduate fellowships through ISAS. This pledge represents the first U.S. initiative on the part of the Qayum Charitable and Educational Foundation, whose mission prioritizes support of “secular principles of toleration, equitable progress, and unity in India and the Indian diaspora.” The Foundation funds scholarships for meritorious students, particularly women, at Aligarh Muslim University and Shibli National College in Azamgarh.

The Rajendranath Das lecture in Bangla

The Rajendranath Das lectureship on Bangla Studies, commencing in 2008, is a part of the Berkeley Bangla Initiative, and was created by the generosity of Satyen Das, is a lecture series that will bring a prominent scholar of Bangla to speak at Berkeley annually.

Tata International Social Entrepreneurship Scheme

The Tata Group, one of India's largest private sector conglomerates and a global leader in innovative corporate social responsibility initiatives, in 2008 launched the Tata International Social Entrepreneurship Scheme (TISES). The primary objective of TISES is to provide international students with opportunities to contribute to community initiative projects of Tata Group companies in India and in so doing to promote international understanding. University of California Berkeley and Cambridge University in the UK are the first two participating universities. Berkeley will identify up to five upper division undergraduate or graduate students for 8-week summer TISES internships with Tata Group's community initiative programs. Through this program, competitively selected interns join Tata community development teams working on the economic and social empowerment of communities surrounding the company's operating units.