Reflections from the Field

Reflections from the Field

Each image is a storyteller and what better way than images from the field to catch a glimpse of the deeply impactful work that Krea Research Centres carry out on the field, every day. Presenting, a collection of photographs unpacking few episodes in a series of instrumental work done by some of our research centres interweaving high quality research with impactful solutions on the ground.

Krea University’s ecosystem is built on exchange of knowledge, ideas, insights and meaningful collaborations and Krea prides itself in its ever growing network of Research Centres synonymous with ‘research for impact’.  From solving complex development challenges to enhance socio-economic prosperity, nurturing a support ecosystem for tech innovations for underserved communities, developing and supporting digital innovations for social impact, ensuring economic justice, social opportunity and environmental protection, poverty reduction through policy development informed by scientific evidence, conducting advanced research across the humanities and social sciences to spearheading research and learning related to the human brain and mind, the Krea Research Centres create deep impact across diverse fields.

For this edition of The Krea Communique, here is a glimpse of the pivotal work the Centres carry out on the field through images contributed by some of our Research Centres.

A child receiving a vaccination at the control site of a project exploring ways to boost immunisation demand in Haryana. 2017.
Photo Credit: Shobhini Mukerji, J-PAL SA

Scaling up the Graduation Approach in Bihar, India. 2019.
Photo Credit: Gautam Patel, J-PAL SA

A female police officer with a complainant at a police station in Morena, Madhya Pradesh as a part of a study evaluating the impact of introducing women’s help desks across police stations on the registration of cases of violence against women. 2019.
Photo Credit: Suddhasatwa Bhattacharya, J-PAL SA

Women of Menad or Kunda Kotagiri village of the Kota Tribe. From Left to Right- Ponvelan, Seetha, Lalli, Baby, Anchana, Mathi, Malli, and Manjula. And the cat is “pees”.
Photo Credit: Dr Karthick Narayanan, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Kota name giving ceremony in the Thiruchikady village, Kotagiri. Shalini (holding the baby in her lap) and Prem Kumar’s baby is being named. On this occasion, Hari (feeding the child), one of the priests of the Kilkotagiri Village, blessed the baby.
Photo Credit: Dr Karthick Narayanan, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

A herd of Bubalus bubalis, commonly known as Toda buffaloes, grazing in the meadows of Nilgiris. Among the Asian water Buffaloes, the Toda buffaloes are a genetically isolated breed of buffaloes endemic to the Nilgiri hills. These buffaloes are central to the culture and the livelihood of the Toda of Nilgiris.
Photo Credit: Dr Karthick Narayanan, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This is a photo from the Konniesht recital at the Morthkyodr clan’s sacred diary in Karikadu Mandu, Ithalar, Nilgiri. Konniesht is a form of dance recital in which only men participate. The photo shows that the men form a circle facing inward by locking their elbows. The circle then rotates in a counterclockwise direction, with each man taking a measured tread matching the chanting of the song that begins with ‘O hau hau’.
Photo Credit: Dr Karthick Narayanan, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Rubavathi holding the honey collected for the salt feeding ceremony to the buffaloes at Karikadu Mandu, Ithalar, Nilgiri. The men of the Morthkyodr clan collected this honey for the sacred occasion from a cavity blocked with stone in the sirfs: ancestral trees handed down from father to son. Plains cerana, a member of the Apis cerana bee family, establishes its colonies in the cavity of these trees. Todas collect their honey without damaging the brood. Their honey collection is well known for this unique practice as they do not use fire or smoke to drive the bees away. But instead, they gently blow into the cavity to move the bee away.
Photo Credit: Dr Karthick Narayanan, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Radha (left) and Rajakilli (right), members of the Toda women’s self-help group producing the famed Toda embroidery shawl and cushion cover. Toda embroidery produced by the Toda women is one of the main sources of income for many Toda families today.
Photo Credit: Dr Karthick Narayanan, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences

LEAD at Krea University’s team recently visited Mann Deshi Foundation’s head office in Mhasvad, Satara.
Photo Credit : LEAD at Krea University

LEAD is collaborating with Mann Deshi Foundation on a community health needs assessment and the field visit helped contextualise findings from LEAD’s survey.
Photo Credit : LEAD at Krea University

“It made me realise the power of different voices. Until then, I had an understanding that the quantitative field survey was the culmination of our efforts in obtaining data. However, after witnessing the flow of ideas under the framework that the survey provided, I learned that it was the starting point to a much deeper conversation filled with opportunities for further work.” added Sumiran Ardhapure, Research Associate, LEAD at Krea University.
Photo Credit : LEAD at Krea University

ANM providing vaccination services during our field visit for Time and Motion study of ANMs.
Photo Credit: CDFI

Women SHG members responding during an FGD conducted for impact of SHG program on livelihood.
Photo Credit: CDFI

Training session for the team of enumerators for data collection in Khasi Hills of Meghalaya.
Photo Credit: CDFI

Conducting an FGD with the SHG to gather insights on the impact of Covid 19.
Photo Credit: CDFI

Meet the Researchers

<strong>Meet the Researchers</strong>

Short Snippets From Researchers at Krea

They are inquisitive in their pursuit for answers, meticulous in their approach to data, and tenacious in their adherence to the principles of scientific reasoning. Krea faculty are educators, institution builders and passionate researchers. We asked some of them about their take on research – their inspiration, focus and approach to the process of discovering new knowledge. Through a series of short snippets, we present to you their insights into the fascinating world of methodological and systematic research.

Theory, evidence, analysis.

What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

Q: Why research – what inspires & motivates you to do research?

A: To understand phenomena better, to influence their outcomes (if possible).

Q: What is the focus area of your research?

A: Use of information systems to improve individual and organisational performance.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key features of a research mindset / research mentality?

A: Well-read (broad and deep), analytic mindset, clear communication.

Q: Your piece of advice to young researchers: how to succeed at research?

A: Ask interesting questions, analyse evidence thoroughly, communicate results and implications clearly.

Interesting, Important, Insightful.

What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

Q: What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

A: Interesting, Important, Insightful.

Q: Why research – what inspires & motivates you to do research?

My decision to pursue academic research simultaneously meets two personal goals: engage in an intellectually fulfilling career that is a good match with my skills and interests, and use my analytical strengths to work on important and real problems that I deeply care about. I find the economic way of thinking to be natural and intuitive, and I am inspired by the idea of applying economic principles to understand and improve the lives of disadvantaged people.

Q: What is the focus area of your research?

A: I am an applied development economist, and I study topics at the intersection of gender, development and public policy. I am particularly interested in questions that explore the role of gender norms and women’s autonomy in different realms of the society.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key features of a research mindset / research mentality?

A: Commitment to a life-time of intellectual curiosity and continuous learning, the ability to stay thorough and consistent while always keeping the big picture in sight, and most importantly, patience and perseverance.

Q: Your piece of advice to young researchers: how to succeed at research? 

A: Always remember your ‘why’, the reason you decided to take up research in the first place. Learn to enjoy the process – research is highly non-linear, be prepared to welcome the highs and lows. Show up every day, and work on questions that truly matter to you!

Fascination, challenge, and excitement.

What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

Q: Why research – what inspires & motivates you to do research?

A: The chance to think about some very beautiful ideas. The challenge of tackling interesting problems. The excitement of better understanding phenomena that you initially found initially mysterious, and learning about and discovering new ideas.

Q: What is the focus area of your research?

A: I am a pure mathematician, with primary research interests in algebra.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key features of a research mindset / research mentality?

A: As obvious as it sounds, you should be curious about and fascinated by what you are hoping to better understand. You need to be motivated, persistent, and willing to work very hard. You should have a fundamental openness to new ideas, to sharing ideas, and to reconsidering your own perspectives in light of new information. This includes speaking with other researchers about their and your work, reading what others have written, and understanding connections between your work and the work of others.  

Q: Your piece of advice to young researchers: how to succeed at research? 

A: When you’re young (defined broadly as the first ten or so years after you begin your undergraduate degree, say) try to read, listen, and understand as much about your chosen discipline, in both the broad and narrow sense, as you can. Really invest your time in building a broad, deep, solid foundation. Of course, as an academic you should never stop learning or exposing yourself to new ideas, but you will really benefit from hard-wiring yourself with the fundamental ideas, vocabularies, and intuitions of your discipline at a young age. Invest your time in building connections and working with other researchers, both young and experienced. Develop the habit of attending seminars, colloquia, and talks, even if they are hard to understand at first. Choose the initial research problems you work on with care, and under the advisement of those with experience. And have fun! 

Meaningful, Rigorous, and Valuable contributions to society.

What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

Q: Why research – what inspires & motivates you to do research?

A: Research gives me the opportunity to solve society’s real problems. With those intentions, if my work gets published, it brings immense satisfaction to me. It is a reflection of how I am using my knowledge for the betterment of society. It has also taught me a few virtues of life; the importance of patience, dealing with rejections, and time management. I consider it as my life transformation tool.

Q: What is the focus area of your research?

A: My research interest concerns employee discrimination, diversity and inclusion issues, and happiness in the workplace.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key features of a research mindset/research mentality?

A: A mindset of creating a positive impact, a mindset of hard work, a mindset of right intention, right effort, and right concentration.

Q: Your piece of advice to young researchers: how to succeed at research?

A: Succeeding in research has the following conditions:

– Spend a great deal of time understanding the problem statement. This will entail what research approach to follow.

– Talk to the experts in the field and other stakeholders (actors) from the beginning till the end. They are valuable data sources. Discuss your findings or opinions with them; this will ensure a holistic understanding of your field.

– Research is one of the fields where shortcuts never work; there are no quick fixes; therefore, one should not compromise on their effort. 

– Get into the habit of reading and writing. Scientific knowledge comes from various sources; limiting yourself to one stream or area will make you an average researcher.

– Most notably, aspire to live an extraordinary life! Discipline and hard work are essential mantras of succeeding in research.

Papers, Chai and Patience.

What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

Q: Why research – what inspires & motivates you to do research?

A: Even before my first thought of pursuing an academic career, research had a pull factor for me. I wanted to do a PhD to give a decent closure to my academic journey and also advance my training in the subject of Physics. But it was during my PhD studies that the idea of a full-time academic career matured. This happened for two main reasons. Firstly, I liked the subject and wanted to learn more about it. Secondly, research as a career gives one a chance to develop one’s own learning curve at a pace one is comfortable with, and keep growing in the process. There may or may not be celebratory milestones, but if you keep at it, every day you add on to your value as a professional. 

Q: What is the focus area of your research?

A: My research focuses on searching for hints of new physics at high energy particle collision experiments like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The idea is that we already have a widely accepted and standard framework of how the various fundamental particles are expected to behave when they interact with each other. But there are various experimental observations and theoretical issues that hint towards the fact that this framework, known as the Standard Model, may be incomplete. So the task at hand is to study the behaviour of these particles in very high energy collisions and try to quantify the deviations from the expected patterns of interactions in such experiments.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key features of a research mindset / research mentality?

A: I think the most important quality of a research mindset is being more process oriented than result oriented. This is because in research, more often than not, one does not know if the line of inquiry or the method used is correct or not. The only way to make progress is to take the next step and course-correct oneself along the way. Another important element that helps is to always be ready to learn new skills, be open to new ideas etc. Today, the landscape of any discipline changes at a very fast pace, and we need to keep ourselves updated in terms of the know-how of the field.

Q: Your piece of advice to young researchers: how to succeed at research?

A: My advice would be to constantly keep adding to your skill sets, keep getting better and better at what you do, and let this be an attitude that you carry till a much later stage in your career. Another helpful thing would be to keep interacting with colleagues from other areas or subjects and learn about what they are doing. This will help you better contextualise your own research, and you will not feel like an island.

Understanding the world (field) better.

What are the three words that you think of when you hear the word “research”?

Q: Why research – what inspires & motivates you to do research?

A: I research to understand the field better.

Q: What is the focus area of your research?

A: Corporate Investments and Credit Rating Agencies. 

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key features of a research mindset / research mentality?

A: Passion, patience and hard work.

Q: Your piece of advice to young researchers: how to succeed at research? 

A: The qualities (passion, patience and handwork) increase the probability of success, and nothing is guaranteed. I don’t think there is a defined path to success. It is like entrepreneurship; we have to take risks and sometimes we succeed.

Universities and Research in the Indian Context

Universities and Research in the Indian Context

By Prof Ramachandra Guha

In an edition anchored on the theme of  research and its critical role In the world of academics and the very act of learning itself,  it only felt right to invite one of the most renowned historians in India and the globe to share his insights on the ‘history of research’ in the context of Indian universities. In an exclusive piece for The Krea Communique, Prof Ramachandra Guha navigates us through the history of research across natural sciences and the social sciences in one-hundred-and-sixty-five years since the first modern universities in India were founded. Prof Guha sheds light on how Indian universities have failed to perform as creditably as might have been expected but not everything is lost as the recent decades witnessed corrective steps taken by the public university system; and how a whole new generation of private universities will further and deepen this process. Prof Guha emphasises, “In the Indian context, the university must be conceived of as a theatre of intellectual innovation as well as of social emancipation”.

In the year 1857, the universities of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras were founded. In subsequent decades, these were followed by the founding of the universities  of  Aligarh, Allahabad, Banaras, Osmania, Mysore, Punjab and Delhi. Although established by a colonial regime, these universities helped serve as a crucible of modernity in India. As the sociologist André Béteille has written, these founding universities ‘opened new horizons both intellectually and institutionally in a society that had stood still in a conservative and hierarchical mould for centuries’. Indeed, these universities, says Béteille, were ‘among the first open and secular institutions in a society that was governed largely by the rules of kinship, caste and religion’.  Men and women, upper caste and lower caste, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Parsi, all met and mingled together as colleagues and peers, in a manner previously inconceivable in a segmented and stratified society.

These colonial-era universities were focused on teaching and the awarding of degrees, rather than on research. Nonetheless, some of the first great Indian scientists taught and did their pioneering research in these universities. They included the physicists C. V. Raman, Satyen Bose, K. S. Krishnan and Meghnad Saha, and the chemists T. R. Seshadri and K. Venkataraman. In colonial times, there were also some world-class humanities scholars working in Indian universities, such as the historians Radhakumud Mookerjee and Jadunath Sarkar, the economists Radhakamal Mukherjee and V. K. R. V. Rao, and the sociologists Radhakamal Mukherjee, G. S. Ghurye and Irawati Karve.

After Independence, however, the Government of India chose not to build on this legacy of university-based research. Rather, the state established a chain of laboratories under the rubric of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which operated entirely outside the university system. In subsequent decades, some (but by no means all, and perhaps not even a majority) of these CSIR labs did good work in their designated fields. However, in retrospect perhaps the country would have been better served if scientific research had been more firmly located within the university system, as was the case for example in the United States. In the American system, research was strongly interwoven with teaching, while scholars in a particular scientific discipline always had the opportunity to interact with those in another scientific discipline. Working in the same university structure also encouraged scientists and humanists to understand one another and their work.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Indian universities continued to produce first-rate scholarship in disciplines such as economics, sociology, and history. However, so far as the natural sciences were concerned, Indian universities were largely concerned with teaching alone. In later decades, some belated, and modest, attempts, were made to atone for these missteps. Thus Hyderabad University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, both founded in the 1970s, encouraged original research in the sciences as well as the social sciences. However, both these universities were funded by the Union Government; meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Indian universities, run by State Governments, had little or no interest in scientific research.

What then of higher education in the private sector? This has thus far been dominated by engineering and medical colleges, run on commercial lines, and with no interest in research at all. Only in the last decade or so have we witnessed the founding of private universities offering a broader range of courses and disciplines, and with larger intellectual ambitions. I have in mind here institutions such as Ahmedabad University, Ashoka University, Azim Premji University, Jindal Global University, Krea University, and Shiv Nadar University. These universities all conceive of themselves as much more than teaching shops. They all hope to become centres of research as well.

It is now one-hundred-and-sixty-five years since the first modern universities in India were founded. As I have argued, they have opened up spaces where people previously segregated by caste, class, gender, language and religion could meet with one another as independent human beings. However, on the intellectual and especially research front the Indian university has not performed as creditably as might have been expected. This was partly the result of conscious government policy, which took scientific research out of the university system into self-enclosed laboratories shut off from society. Some corrective steps have been taken in recent decades in the public university system; and we may hope that the new generation of private universities shall further and deepen this process. In the Indian context, the university must be conceived of as a theatre of intellectual innovation as well as of social emancipation. 

Padma Bhushan awardee Prof Ramachandra Guha Is a renowned historian, biographer and journalist. He Is also a Distinguished University Professor at Krea University.

To love the unsolved mysteries- My research journey

To love the unsolved mysteries- My research journey

By Prof Swarnamalya Ganesh 

In the course of curating opinion and experiences pieces for our edition, we sought a seasoned researcher who could shed light on what is pegged “the research mindset” , a first-person account of the journey through research, the preparation, trials and tribulations, and perseverance as one attempt to solve the unsolved. Who better than a veteran researcher, academic and practitioner to take us through this journey of inquisitiveness and enquiry, which is interesting but also tough and demanding. Prof Swarnamalya Ganesh takes us through a journey through her words, from the persistent questions as a young practitioner to the early years as an academic researcher that led her to her calling- the Early Modern South Indian Nayaka era. As Prof Ganesh poignantly narrates, the need to retain the child-like joy in the “spirit of enquiry” each time one steps into the field, understanding that “I know not fully, yet” all through the milestones, and how the true hallmark awaits not just in the great courage exhibited during research but in the patience that emerges when the courage subsides. 

Often research is laid down as an obvious path forward in many academic disciplines. But having learnt an art form such as dance from the age of three under hereditary Gurus, my love and devotion was always to my traditions of practice. But slowly, my friends and even my Gurus noticed the stray but persistent questions I began asking; sometimes to them but often to myself. If we look around us, everyone is curious and is always asking questions. The “do you know-s” fill the days and hours of our lives and various media including social media, feed into such human curiosity and the need to consume social knowledge about people, our environment, society, science, and meta things as well. But when one recognizes the first signs of their questioning mindset as a characteristic that is there to stay beyond curiosity, that is when they do something more than to reach for the daily newspaper or google- research.

Academia will prepare an endless questioning mind with the apparatus needed for a permanent future it seeks with research. Firstly, reading every work ever published on one’s subject of interest, whether it be useful or turns out to be useless tinsel, may seem like an exercise in drudgery which ultimately winds up turning the feverish mind into a pitch ready to absorb. Then somewhere in the early years of research, one begins to ask less questions and starts looking at the complex intersections of circumstance, context, society and history that define each fact held by other predecessors or in dominant narratives thus far. 

I personally realised that I had met my calling in the Early Modern South Indian Nayaka era when everything I read, every question I asked, every solution I sought led me back to Tanjavur, Madurai and Gingee Nayaka world. That is where I began my journey. 

The most key factor in research is to find a great guide. In my case though, my guide turned out to be less instructional and more of an intrusion. This meant that I got to actively seek mentors from across disciplines, each one of them an expert in their area, be it history, archeology, epigraphy, language, musicology. What a blessing that turned out to be for me! One of the reasons I chose to join Krea was because my research strongly interweaves multiple disciplines and perspectives. This reflects strongly in my practice too. In these years, even as I write, speak and perform my research, the one dictum that I set out with, which is “I know not fully, yet” gets more and more confirmed.

Research is great, not researchers. So, one of the best lessons I learnt from some of my mentors is to allow my findings to be pliable to change brought on by perspectives and new facts that emerge from all quarters. To retain the child-like joy in the “spirit of enquiry” each time we step into the field. Research also requires tremendous patience and diligence. I recall as the year 2009 was coming to a close, I had reconstructed a dance repertoire called Mukhacali. I was pleased with the outcome and therefore moved on to other repertoires. But in 2011 when I revisited Mukhacali, in light of new facts and with a body that by then had experienced other forms such as Perani, Jakkini etc which I had reconstructed, I decided to dismantle the whole of the earlier version, only to restart. The result was not one but three more reconstructions of Mukhacali each from the 10th, 12th, 14th centuries before arriving at the 17th century version. Both as performers and researchers we unashamedly ply our trade, but the eternal scapegoats for such exercises for me, are my good-natured students who patiently watched me undo and redo my own findings over many years until I was satisfied.

The true litmus test comes though, in the form of dejected friends and family who give up any hopes of making plans for an outing with us. The total and absolute control that one gives the subject of our research to have over us, ensures that we become immersive participants of the era into which we wish to dive. So shopping, movies and outing become a thing of the past and luxuries afforded only by those who float on the surface. 

Writing one’s research, speaking about it, in my case also performing my research are integral parts of the journey and I enjoy doing all of it, however I thirst to share my work with other researchers and always grab any slight opportunity, even to be in the midst of others who are in the pursuit of their feverish minds. Sharing, listening to each one’s experiences and perspectives keeps us spirited through what can otherwise be a lonely journey in research. To me the Fulbright Fellowship that I received soon after I finished my doctoral research provided this fraternity. Great courage is exhibited during academic research days by scholars, especially towards a doctoral degree. But the true hallmark waits to be seen, when the courage subsides, and when patience emerges. The patience to be with the subject, to ebb and flow with its course and to continue to love it for its yet unsolved mysteries. 

Prof Swarnamalya Ganesh is an Assistant Professor of Practice, Literature and Arts, Global Arts at Krea University. A veteran performer with over 35 years of experience, Prof Ganesh is a scholar of dance history and a trained academician in art practice and sociology

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Sathya Saminadan on the launch of his book

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Sathya Saminadan on the launch of his book

The Deception Moment

Please tell us a little about the book and the genre?

“The Deception Moment” is a Sci-fi thriller. It is about a mission the protagonist Devavrat Deshpande, a Retired RaW officer, takes up knowing a minor slip in the assignment would lead him to execution. Concomitantly he was undergoing a personal depression which was rising above him from time to time. Would Devavrat be able to come out of the challenges and complete the assignment successfully? Is the bottom-line of the story.

Is it set in India?

Yes, it happens in Mumbai. But wait, you have a twist in that. You should be reading the book to know what I’m referring to.

We do not hear much about contemporary Indian science fiction, what’s the inspiration behind penning down this manuscript?

The biggest inspiration for me to pen down this book is our Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. If we put away all the religious colours aside, Mahabharata talks beyond time for that age. All the latest scientific advancements these days like Surrogacy, Human farming, DNA manipulation and cloning or the atomic advancements were mentioned in Mahabharata. Being an ardent fan of the epic, I took all the inspiration from that. 

When did you start working on the book and how does it feel now that the book is released?

I have been doing research since 2017 to write this book, as it involved a lot of scientific and logical explanation for many sequences in the story. But I started to write the book in the middle of 2019 and completed it by early 2020.

How has the experience been juggling the role at IFMR GSB and moonlighting as an author?

I wanted to be an author even before I became a professor. Writing was my childhood passion. I have been publishing stories, summaries and articles in magazines since my college and school days. Writing is something which I do during the relaxing time from the demanding job.

Are you working on another book at the moment or is it parked for the future?

Yes! The next book of mine is a political thriller. I have completed it and am looking out for the best publisher around.

Prof Sathya Saminadan is the Assistant Professor, Marketing at IFMR GSB.  An educator and author, Prof Sathya is also an alum of IFMR GSB.

About Prof Sathya Saminadan R S

Post Completing MBA from IFMR, he garnered 19 rich years of work experience of which 10 years he was in the industry and 9 years in Academia. His initial career started with a Pharmaceutical Company as Sales representative and he later moved to aviation industry and later into banking sector.He has had a vibrant career growth, starting as a Sales Executive to Assistant Vice President. He has been a part of every marketing department which included Sales, Training, Digital Marketing and Product strategy. He was heading the branches in a bank, leading a holistic team of managers who were responsible for revenue and broadening the market.

During 2010 moved to Great Lakes Institute of Management as lecturer for marketing as move towards the passion of becoming a teacher. Prof Saminadan, Completed his PhD in Digital Marketing in alliance with search and purchase behaviour of the consumer from the University, SCSVMV – Kanchipuram. He is associated with more than a dozen colleges in Chennai and outer as a visiting professor and to name a few, IIT- Madras, LIBA and SRM.

He was awarded as the best teacher for the year 2016 by the International Business Conference committee, Goa for his contribution towards teaching and research in the area of Marketing. He has been a committee chair on many occasions for managing an event, conference, department and institution building exercises.

Prof Sathya Saminadan have also published several research papers and some them have been widely recognized among the research community Reach him at [email protected]

Take Two- Diversity Dialogues

Take Two- Diversity Dialogues

A veteran from the area of Strategy and Management, Prof Shobha Das,  Area Chair – Strategic Management, IFMR GSB, got on a Zoom call with an Ethnomusicologist, Prof Sumitra Ranganathan, Senior Assistant Professor of Music, SIAS. What followed was an exchange from worlds intersected, in stark contrast yet drawing the parallels.

Prof Shobha and Prof Sumitra got together for a special exchange of ideas and perspectives on the occasion of International Women’s Day, tracing the similarities and differences in their lives as academics and as women from diverse fields. Paving the way for an interesting dialogue, Prof Shobha Das drew attention to how arts and management are considered to be siloed as two different worlds but yet share deep commonalities. In agreement Prof Sumitra explained how this is innate to the consciousness at Krea, how habits of the creative mind come together in almost all domains.

Drawing on her life as an academic, Prof Shobha spoke about how academia is synonymous with her identity, more so than being a woman. Academia has allowed her to explore, interact with different people and learn about things, about how it affirmed there is no ‘me’ in academics.  While Prof Sumitra pondered on her identity at the intersection of arts and academics, her journey from being a theoretical physicist to the  world of IT and finally to the shift in academics, and how it made the most sense in a space such as Krea University. She expressed how she felt closest to home in academia, where the active churning rarely stops, and spills over.

“The artist in me expresses it in this way, my shift into academics happened following a song, it was a beautiful dhrupad I learnt from the Maharajas of Bettiah, composed by them. And following that song is how I decided I will do my PhD in music and then I made a transition and there I have stayed ever since.”

Prof Sumitra expressed her amazement at women artists from traditional communities who have always had to manage their time and demands made at them as a person. Prof Shobha drew the analogy to the field of management, to what is labeled ‘The Great Resignation’ in the post pandemic era.

“More women have resigned than men because women have realised if now they go back to the workplace, all things they have adapted to will feel astray. The onus is on them to now continue the new role but apparently the men aren’t that affected by the change in role because they probably were able to partition it still and continue to do so. The Great Resignation is greater for the women, post pandemic. We will have even fewer women in the workforce.”

Continuing the thread, Prof Sumitra spoke about the pressure women face as caregivers and how it comes into play when she seeks employment, cloaked as questions and qualms. Prof Shobha pointed out how the top 500 Fortune Companies in the United States had 8 percent women as CEOs and the top 500 companies of NSE had 5 percent as CEOs and the buck didn’t stop there, a study by IIM-A showed that the gender pay gap increased as women climbed the ladder instead of the other way round. This led to contemplation over the takeaways from the pandemic on how to bring women back to the workforce, of the awareness and the solutions.

Prof Shobha stressed on the fact of inability to delve deeper into metrics, incentives and motivation to keep higher education equally excitable for men and women. On how if one lesson from the pandemic is accessibility, the other is a question on digital divide. In Prof Shoba’s words, “A chakravyuh we need to emerge from.”

Retracing a Mnemonic for woman empowerment, something she had coined for an event in the year prior, Prof Shobha expanded STREE- Support The People Who Are Around You, the women and community members. Talk about the people and what hardships they have, stories are never hidden. Raise awareness in every forum you can. Educate yourself and others of opportunities available for women. Empower women, put power back in their hands.

Prof Sumitra added how there is a huge opportunity to bring the quality of a woman that is associated with the aspect of ‘care’ to the classroom. A need to feminise the workplace, to bring in the idea of care to the classroom where everyone cares for the other, making space differences and acknowledging that they come from various backgrounds and do not face the same challenges, to inculcate the ethics of care into enabling students, workers and colleagues.

The short conversation concluded with a pause, refraining from a full stop. With a promise for future collaborations, exchange of novel ideas and building of continuous bridges.

Please click here to view the engaging dialogue.

Books Banter: Q & A with Prof Bishnu Mohapatra on the launch of his book, Buddha aur Aam, Hindi translation of selection of his poems from Odia

Books Banter: Q & A with Prof Bishnu Mohapatra on the launch of his book, Buddha aur Aam, Hindi translation of selection of his poems from Odia

What is the underlying idea that binds this selection of poems together in Buddha aur Aam?

The title of this poetry volume is taken from a poem evocative of the subtle and sublime force of personal faith and devotion, kept alive in times of great disenchantment.  The poems are largely taken from the first four volumes of my poetry. Many of my poems seek to re-enchant our world, by reflecting on contemporary realities through a gaze that seeks out nature’s mystery in the most unlikely of places. Memory as a weave of remembering and forgetting, as a means of understanding our place in time, is also a recurring theme in many of my poems.

What is your relationship with the Odia language and why is writing in it, particularly special?

Odia is my mother language.  It is not just the language that I learnt to speak, read and write in first, but it is also my emotive language, the language of my memory and also the language of my sensorium. 

The metaphors and the presence of nature that dominate my poetry were imprinted in memory from my childhood; the feel of wet leaves under my feet at the riverbank, the creaking of insects at night, the light of glow worms, the songs of jatras, the lament of the cuckoo, all of these were carved into my imagination in the language of the land where I was born. 

Writing poetry in Odia and doing my social science and academic work in English has given me two vast and diverse landscapes which speak to each other, and enrich each other.  Each language carries with it its own life-world, its own inner resources.  Even after living more than four decades outside Odisha, my love for Odia and its rich tradition of literature, lives and thrives inside me.  Writing poetry in Odia enlivens a connection between place and time, and moves me beyond ‘here’ and ‘there’, ‘now’ and ‘then’, to the unknown place where metaphors take shape and make meaning.

How do you work closely with a translator in a manner that the spirit and essence of your work is captured in its truest form? Why is that process so important?

I am also a translator, although I rarely translate my own poetry.  I have translated and published Pablo Neruda’s poetry into Odia and my translations of Rilke’s poetry is to be published this year. I believe that translation is also a form of interpretation, of transposition, and that the translator carries from one language into another not only the essence of the poet’s expression, but also a little bit of of themselves.  I tend not to interfere much with the translator’s work as the process of translation has its own integrity.  I am grateful to my translator Dr Rajendra Prasad Mishra for his careful and dedicated attention to carrying my voice along with his into the Hindi translation.

In the world we live in, why is reading poetry crucial?

For me, poetry has always been more than a form.  It is a way to un-conceal the world, without revealing all of its mystery.  Recently, some of my poems were published in an anthology ‘Singing in the Dark’ – a collection of poems from across the world written during the pandemic related lockdown.  What were poets writing about during these uncertain times? Why are we reading more poetry about this time?  Poetry has the capacity to hold that which cannot be understood, while signalling us towards a multitude of possibilities.  A poet’s expression is always an indication, a nudge, a glimpse towards a larger vision.  The human condition and its striving towards its hidden own possibilities is what makes reading poetry essential.

Prof.  Bishnu Mohapatra, Professor of Politics, Krea University

Reach him at: [email protected]

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Bharath Sethuraman on the launch of his book

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Bharath Sethuraman on the launch of his book

Proofs and Ideas: A Prelude to Advanced Mathematics

Prof Sethuraman, could you tell us what was the inspiration for the book?

Most people view mathematics as a formidable edifice built using reams upon reams of mysterious symbols, decipherable only to the chosen few who have dedicated their lives to it. While this view has partial justification, it fails to capture the essence of the subject: mathematics is a beautiful subject, full of the most delectable patterns, many of which can be appreciated by anyone who has studied the subject in high school. It is an arena for play, for exercising our creativity. It can bring joy. It can evoke a deep sense of wonder. All it requires is patience and a willingness to push our minds to their furthest.

Why is this book the need of the hour?

Unfortunately, a lot of school mathematics is geared towards getting students ready for the applications of mathematics to physics and engineering, and this essence of mathematics is lost among all the symbol pushing and manipulation needed. Therefore, this essence needs to be re-captured when studying for a degree in mathematics, for there, one has to go beyond mere symbols and get down to the heart of the subject.

What is the premise of the book?

This book focusses on some core ideas that are needed for studying mathematics, ideas that are quite accessible to anyone with exposure to high school mathematics. For instance, how do you show that given any six arbitrary natural numbers, the difference of some two of them must end in 0 or 5? Or, how do we capture the fact that the kind of infinity represented by the natural numbers is the same as that represented by the rational numbers (the set of reduced fractions), but is different from the kind of infinity represented by the real numbers (the numbers represented by lengths along a line)? The ideas behind these are all simple and yet deep.

How do some ideas in the book find expression in the Krea curriculum?

I have used the material in this book for the Core and Skills course at Krea “Mathematical Reasoning,” and have also used it for the required mathematics department course “Discrete Mathematics” (soon to be re-named as Introduction to Proofs and Mathematical Thinking).

When did you start work on the book and how do you feel now that it is officially launched?

The project started several years ago at my previous university, California State University Northridge, where I designed the text for their version of the Introduction to Proofs course. While the core was conceptualized and developed there, much of the book was written after moving to India, and in particular, the last portions were written at Krea (and used for courses here). It was delayed by Covid (and my own laziness), but I am glad that it is finally out.

About Prof.  Bharath Sethuraman

Professor of Mathematics, Krea University

Prof. Bharath Sethuraman has nearly thirty years of experience as a mathematician and a teacher. He received his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, but switched to pure mathematics and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego. He held a permanent position as mathematics faculty at California State University Northridge for over twenty-five years, teaching undergraduate and masters level students, many of whom came from less privileged backgrounds, and many of whom were first generation college learners. He has also taught at other universities in the US and in India, including at IIT Bombay, Indian Statistical Institute Bangalore, and Azim Premji University.

Besides being a committed teacher, Prof. Sethuraman has been active in research, working primarily in the fields of algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry. Prof. Sethuraman has been the recipient of several research grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and of other research and teaching grants from various sources.

Prof. Sethuraman has written three books for undergraduate students: Rings Fields and Vector Spaces, A Gentle Introduction to Abstract Algebra, and Proofs and Ideas: A Prelude to Advanced Mathematics. Outside of academics, he enjoys traveling, cycling, reading, and music.

Reach him at: [email protected]

Krea University Faculty Receive Prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Environment Journalism

Krea University Faculty Receive Prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Environment Journalism

Sri City, January 6, 2022: Prof. Aniket Aga (Associate Professor of Anthropology & Environmental Studies) and Prof. Chitrangada Choudhury (Associate Professor of Practice in Environmental Studies & Public Policy) from Krea University have won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism in the ‘Environment, Science and Technology’ category. The Awards aim to celebrate excellence, courage and commitment, showcasing outstanding contributions every year.

This prestigious annual event in the Indian media calendar pays tribute to Print, Digital and Broadcast journalists who maintain the highest standards of their profession despite political and economic pressures, and who produce work that generates and sustains public trust in the media and impacts the lives of people.  The award in the ‘Environment’ category acknowledges exceptional contributions to public awareness and understanding of environmental issues, science and technology.  

Prof. Aga and Prof. Choudhury had reported two articles on illegal herbicide-tolerant GM cotton seeds and an associated complex of lethal chemical inputs like glyphosate which are sweeping through biodiversity-rich Adivasi farms of Odisha’s Eastern Ghats, radically altering a fragile ecology, and food and knowledge systems. Their two stories titled ‘Sowing the seeds of climate crisis in Odisha’ and ‘Cotton has now become a headache’ along with a broader climate change series published by the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), were named for the award. 

Prof. Aniket Aga is interested in science and technology studies, democratic politics, and agrarian studies, and works on questions of environmental justice, food democracy and sustainable agriculture. His first book ‘Genetically Modified Democracy’ examining the ongoing controversy over genetically modified (GM) food crops in India is recently out from Yale University Press & will be published in South Asia in early 2022 by Orient Blackswan. He is especially keen to work with students from disadvantaged groups, including Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi students and students from rural backgrounds.

Prof. Chitrangada Choudhury is a multimedia journalist and researcher. Her reportage on the environment, social justice and rural, in particular indigenous communities, has been cited for multiple awards including the Sanskriti Award (2008), the Press Council of India’s National Award for Investigative Reporting (2015), and the Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize twice (2010 & 2018). She is a Founding member of The People’s Archive of Rural India, an Editorial Board member of Article 14, and a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for World Environment History, University of Sussex.

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