Next Generations

Posted by sepoy on November 07, 2009 · 4 mins read

Two great opportunities for students from South Asia to pursue graduate education in NY. It is wonderful, and a testimony to the work of the scholars and administrators behind these initiatives, that even in these economic downturns we have these possibilities.

At Columbia:

Applications are sought for the Ambedkar Sanskrit Fellowship at Columbia University in the City of New York. This is a five-year award covering tuition and stipend. One fellowship will be awarded for the academic year 2010-11 (deadline for application to the Department of Middle East, South Asia, and African Studies is January 4, 2010), and, it is anticipated, two more in each of the following two years. Applicants are expected to have completed work at the Master's level prior to admission. Preliminary inquiries, including a brief statement of purpose explaining what the applicant intends to study and why that course of study, may be directed to Sheldon Pollock,


The Graduate School of Arts and Science of New York University is pleased to announce the establishment of the Falak Sufi Scholarships awarded by the master's program in Near Eastern Studies at the Kevorkian Center. Candidates for the master's program in Near Eastern Studies are eligible to apply, including applicants to the program's joint degree with Journalism, the concentration with Museum Studies, and the business track.

Falak Sufi was born in Pakistan in 1983. She possessed a generous heart, the urge to engage with and change the world, and a brilliantly original, vivacious mind. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with first class honors in Political Science. While young, she began to publish the work that showed her great gifts and talent. Among her interests were women and gender in South Asia, the historiography of this region, and the strength of the humanities. However, no list can capture the range of subjects about which she thought, spoke, and wrote. She was a much beloved, deeply admired graduate student in Near Eastern Studies at the Kevorkian Center of New York University when she died tragically in New York in 2008.

The Falak Sufi Scholarship is to honor her memory and to support students from countries with a majority Islamic population in South Asia who might not otherwise be able to obtain a graduate education. These students, preferably female, will be enrolled in the two-year master's program in Near Eastern Studies.

The holders of this scholarship should embody the intellectual spirit and promise of Falak Sufi, and possess a deep and abiding commitment to the role of women in academia and to the questions that she explored, primarily the study of gender in the countries of the Near East, Middle East, and/or South Asia with a majority Islamic population.

For 2010—11, the scholarship includes an academic-year stipend (a minimum of $22,440), tuition, student health insurance, and registration and services fees for up to two years, provided that academic standards of the Graduate School and the graduate program are met.

Application information for all potential students to the master's program in Near Eastern Studies can be found at The online application for admission is also the application for all Graduate School financial aid. No additional forms are required. If an applicant explicitly wishes to be considered for a Falak Sufi Scholarship, that person should add one paragraph to the application's “Statement of Purpose” explaining how the candidate meets the criteria for the scholarship and how the award will enable the candidate to pursue graduate education.

The application deadline for fall 2010 admission is January 4, 2010.

Questions about the Falak Sufi Scholarship should be directed to

Thanks to AV and E for the tips.


vikas | November 07, 2009

'ambedkar sanskrit scholarship'. its cliched but i'd love to call it an oxymoron.

sepoy | November 09, 2009

What exactly is an "oxymoron"? That this scholarship will help (dalit ?) students study at one of the topmost universities with amazing scholar? that ambedkar graduated from Columbia? that he studied Sanskrit against odds? that he had a particular relationship with the language and was intent on promoting it?

xoxo | November 09, 2009

I couldn't agree with you more. As an Indian, I am very proud of Dr. Ambedkar and his accomplishments.

gaddeswarup | November 09, 2009

From google search, I see that Ambedkar not only learnt Sanskrit in his later years (apparently his teachers refused to teach him in school) but also advocated Sanskrit as a national language for India. I have been off and on looking at science writing in Telugu and technical dictionaries in a few Indian languages. Finding systematic terminology for science writing seems to be a problem and it seems easier to borrow from Sanskrit. I wonder whether Sanskrit can play a role similar to Latin for unifying scientific terminology for Indian languages.

vikas | November 09, 2009

i also checked the internet and yes ambedkar did study sanskrit it seems. the point however being that the memory of ambedkar is not about what he sought for sanskrit as a language or as a discipline. that columbia seeks to introduce or alter the dominant currents of the memory of ambedkar in that direction is to be read how? one could argue that columbia seeks to change the established structure of the social origins of sanskrit scholarship in the world today. i hope they do that but it seems very unlikely. in my opinion, it rather seeks to broaden the legitimacy of sanskrit as a discipline, language or culture by using his name. thats good service to sanskrit but whether it would be good service to those who remember (and cause the GoI to remember) Ambedkar is a moot point.

Brijesh Sonkar | November 10, 2009

I am Brijesh Sonkar. I am doing Ph.D...........