I was a student on the MSc Contemporary India programme in 2013-14 and a recipient of the generous Pran Nath Bahl Scholarship. I came to the MSc with a background in literature and conflict studies and found the CSASP to be a vibrant space which encouraged diversity of thought within classrooms and in our essays and exams. The MSc is comprised of compulsory and interdisciplinary modules which provide a critical understanding of contemporary India and in fact, encourages an exploration of wider South Asia. At the same time, there are opportunities for specialization, especially through the dissertation where the department’s multidisciplinary resources enable a deeper examination of specific interests. Moreover, interdisciplinary thinking is inculcated through everyday teaching. Thus, we got perspectives from various fields on major social science theorists and had several group sessions to unpack the multidisciplinary meanings in words which are used commonly in social science. The department was also proactive in organizing regular social events through which we could bond with fellow students, faculty and staff.
Currently, I am a Research Analyst at Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and also serve as Director of Studies (India) for a British educational organization. Both jobs require in-depth knowledge of India though in different ways; the deficiencies in public schooling forms the focus of my work at CPR while I work with high income groups in my other role. The MSc’s training has helped in conducting research on Indian education systems and drawing inference for policy. I have extremely fond memories at the department and closely follow its activities; even as the CSASP continues to push new boundaries in teaching and research in Area Studies.