For the first time, UC Berkeley has taken the No.1 spot on Forbes magazine’s annual list of America’s top colleges, beating out several elite private universities, including Yale in second place and Princeton in third. As the first public university to win Forbes’ top ranking — if you count out West Point — Berkeley was noted for its affordability, excellence and “rich tradition of leading technological and social change.”
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American-born Indian scholar and UC Berkeley alum, Dr. Gail Omvedt passed away on August 25, 2021 after a prolonged illness at her residence in Kasegaon village of Sangli district in Maharashtra. The Dalit-Bahujan, Adivasis, women and human rights champion was 81.
An Indian citizen since 1983, Dr. Omvedt earned her PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley in 1973 for her dissertation titled, "Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society: The Non-Brahman Movement in Western India, 1873-1930."
Dr. Omvedt authored over 25 books, including In Colonial Society – Non-Brahmin Movement in Western India, Seeking Begampura, Buddhism in India, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Dalit and the Democratic Revolution, Understanding Caste, We Will Smash the Prison and New Social Movement in India.
Dr. Omvedt is survived by her husband Dr Bharat Patankar, daughter Prachi, son-in-law Tejaswi and granddaughter Nia.
The Institute mourns the passing of our revered colleague, teacher and friend, Prof. Padmanabh Srivarma Jaini. Scholar of Buddhist and Jain Studies, Prof. Jaini passed away peacefully in his home in the Berkeley Hills on Tuesday May 25, 2021, just five months shy of what would have been his 98th birthday. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his son Arvind and his grandson Ashvin.
Please read a tribute to him by Prof. Alexander von Rospatt, Click here to listen to a lecture delivered by Prof. Jaini at a UC Berkeley symposium organized in 2013 to celebrate and honor his scholarship and academic contributions. Read Ramachandra Guha's review of Prof. Jaini's 2019 memoirs titled, Yogāyoga or “Coincidences” on pages 8-9, of our annual newsletter, Khabar.
The Institute has been following the Covid-19 news from India with growing alarm. In response, we have begun compiling a list of organizations that are providing badly needed relief work. And please consider giving, if you can. We also have a page for past Covid-19 related resources.
Many congratulations to Maryam Hina Hasnain for being awarded the UC Berkeley South Asia Artist Prize and to Dr. Aparna Kumar for being awarded the UC Berkeley South Asia Art & Architecture Dissertation Prize. The award ceremonies and lectures will take place on April 21 and 22 respectively.
We are delighted to announce that Dr. Ahsan Kamal is the recipient for the 2020 S.S. Pirzada Dissertation Prize for Pakistan Studies! Many congratulations to him for his dissertation, Saving Sindhu: Indus Enclosure and River Defense in Pakistan (UNC-Chapel Hill, 2019). The award ceremony and lecture took place on April 12 at 9am.
The Institute mourns the sudden passing of Kimi Bhattacharya on Jan 5, 2021. Kimi was an avid supporter of the Institute and played a major role in the formation of the Bangla Initiative and the Bhattacharya India Fund. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her husband, son, family and her wide circle of friends.
Congratulations to Prof. Atréyēē Gupta on being awarded the Hellman Fellowship for 2020!!! Professor Gupta’s Hellman-funded research will support a book project that examines the artistic and intellectual resonances of the 1955 Afro-Asian Bandung Conference and the 1961 Non-Aligned Movement, using India as a case study.
Congratulations to Prof. Sugata Ray on being awarded the Religion and the Arts Book Award for 2020 by the American Academy of Religion (AAR) for his book, Climate Change & the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550–1850. Read more about the award and what the AAR's jury said in selecting Prof. Ray.
We are thrilled to announce that Interim Dean Geeta Anand has been appointed as the Dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism effective immediately. Please join us in congratulating Dean Anand on this well deserved promotion. We look forward to supporting her and her vision for the future of Berkeley Journalism.
The Institute is thrilled to announce the establishment of the Dr. Ranjit Singh Sabharwal Endowed Fund for Sikh Studies. Generously funded by the friends and family of Dr. Ranjit Singh Sabharwal, as well as those committed to the furthering of Sikh Studies, this fund will support the creation of a semester-long visiting lecturer program.
Aajkal for Fall 2020 is out! Please click on the link below to find out about our Zoom lineup of public lectures, conferences, workshops, and one-on-one conversations for this semester! Looking forward to seeing you virtually at one of them. In the meantime, please stay safe!
Congratulations to Sen. Kamala Harris, our first Sarah Kailath speaker, on being chosen as the running mate of Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Harris could become the first woman and the first person of color to hold the office of vice president. Read about her Indian heritage.
The Institute mourns the passing of Prof. Kirk R. Smith, a pioneering researcher on the impact of household energy use in developing nations. Professor of Global Environmental Health and Director of the Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre in New Delhi, Prof. Smith is best known for his work on the effects of indoor air pollution from cook stove fires. Prof. Smith died on June 15 at the age of 73 at his Berkeley home.
Much needed analysis by CSAS' very own, Sanchita Saxena.
A South Asia scholar from Columbia University, known for his affinity with students and potential donors alike, Nicholas Dirks, has been selected as the 10th chancellor of UC Berkeley.
We are proud to announce that Prof. Raka Ray, the former Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies, has been selected as the next dean of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science. We wish her all the best as she takes on this new role. Read more about Prof. Ray and her new role .
Congratulations to Bharat Venkat for receiving the 2019 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences for his book, At the Limits of Cure. Bharat Venkat, who earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, is an assistant professor in Anthropology at the University of Oregon; starting in July 2019, he will be assistant professor at UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics. Read more about the award and the book.
The Institute's South Asia Art Initiative is sending a team of scholars - Atreyee Gupta, Sugata Ray, Asma Kazmi, Sanchita Saxena, & Munis Faruqui - to the Dhaka Art Summit in 2020. The program, titled, "Indian Ocean Imaginaries as World History," will unfold in close collaboration with artists, activists, and art and architecture historians in Bangladesh. Read more about the program "Indian Ocean Imaginaries as World History"
Many congratulations to Dr. Salman Hussain for his dissertation, Together Without Consensus: Class, Emotions and the Politics of the Rule of Law in the Lawyers’ Movement (2007-09) in Pakistan, completed at CUNY under Prof. Avram Bornstein. Award ceremony on April 26, 2019. Read more about Dr. Hussain's dissertation.
Highlights include an award winning photo essay on sanitation workers in India, new publications by UC faculty and alumni, an opinion piece on Rahul Gandhi's UC Berkeley visit, and Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies' related news. Read the Khabar newsletter.
A collaborative team of researchers led by UC Berkeley's Dr. Ashok Gadgil and Jadavpur University's Prof. Joyashree Roy have set up a very efficient and cost-effective system for providing safe and arsenic free water for just 60 paise per litre. Read more about their work.
"Demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are the two major headwinds that held back India’s economic growth last year," said the former RBI Governor in his Bhattacharya Lecture at UC Berkeley on Nov 9, 2018. Hear the lecture and see some pictures from the event.
What terms do we use to describe and evaluate art, and how do we judge if art is good, and if it is for the social good? In How Art Can Be Thought, Allan deSouza investigates such questions and the popular terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught. Read more about the book.
We are very proud to report that in recognition of our work in making UC Berkeley a critical node for South Asian scholarship the U.S. Dept. of Ed. has renewed our NRC as well as FLAS awards for the next four years. Read more about receipt of these two grants.
The BULPIP– AIPS Urdu Program in Pakistan is about to enter Year 5 of operations. The report contains information on the history of the program, the people who help run it and the people who have benefited from it, the program's spending patterns, curriculum, participation and learning statistics, and testimonials from a diverse group of past participants. Read the report.
Prof. Saba Mahmood passed away on March 10 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Prof. Mahmood, a powerful presence in the life of the Institute, played a key role in the creation of the Pakistan Studies Initiative and Urdu@Berkeley. We will all miss her profoundly. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her husband, son, family and to Saba's wide circle of friends. Read more about Prof. Saba Mahmood's passing.
Many congratulations to Dr. William E. B. Sherman (Asst. Prof Religion, UNC-Charlotte) for his dissertation, "Mountains and Messiahs: The Roshaniyya, Revelation, and Afghan Becoming," completed at Stanford University under Prof. Shahzad Bashir. Award ceremony on April 26, 2018. Details about the ceremony.
Navtej Sarna, the Indian ambassador to the United States, visited UC Berkeley on Feb 12. Drawn by UC Berkeley's famed library collections. the ambassador, who is a scholar of the Sikh religion, viewed parts of the South Asians in North America Collection (including documents of the Gadar party) and other holdings on Sikhism. Read the media coverage on the visit.