Prior to joining the Contemporary India course, I faced the dilemma of choosing between two of my favourite subjects for my Master’s research – India’s foreign policy and the Maoist insurgency in tribal areas of India. But thanks to the course’s interdisciplinary structure (and of course to the amazing lectures by George, Kate and Matthew), I believe I had my hands on the entire wish list and more. Dr. Kunnath’s supervision in particular helped me to understand the complexities of insurgent-state dynamics within the large context of government’s neoliberal agenda. Also, I must duly acknowledge the importance of Pran Nath Bahl Scholarship for me, without which Oxford would have been a distant dream.
After completing my Masters, I was keen on observing and contributing towards the tribal movements in my home state Jharkhand, and hence based myself in one of the insurgency-prone areas of the state. The interdisciplinary skills acquired at Oxford helps me to juxtapose the regional scenarios with the broader national-level social-economic-political scene. I have, for the past nine months, been employed as a researcher at the Sociology Department, Cambridge, and have since then been carrying out ethnographic research works in these insurgency-affected areas. I’m hoping to join the ‘other side’s’ PhD program by the end of this year. Presently, I am about to switch tracks and will shortly be joining a history project in the Indian President’s office. Besides my mundane academic pursuits, I have had sporadic engagement with the strategic cum security studies, which often reminds me of the very riveting discussions during Kate’s lecture; nostalgic me!