Establishing ‘knowledge’

Another university endowment has been gifted. This time it goes to the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins (SAIS) for “India studies,” and comes from Mohinder P. Sambhi, a Ludhiana-born hypertension specialist.

A prominent Indian-American has donated $2 million to establish an endowment for India studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. The endowment is the first of its kind in Washington…The fund supports student fellowships, a professional lecturer and eventually a professorship to be held by a scholar or practitioner whose eminence and promise in the field deepens Indian scholarship and instruction at SAIS, the institution says.

SAIS is reknown for its programs in international affairs. In the past, it was also reknown for its neo-conservative tilt, home to faculty members such as Francis Fukuyama who was an important figure in the rise of neo-conservatism and a key contributor to the Reagan doctrine of containment. As the Iraq debacle has unfolded in recent years, Fukuyama has backed away from the neo-conservative agenda.

Given the history of political thought at SAIS, I’m curious as to how politics will influence the development and curriculum of this department. The program claims that objectivity and neutrality are its goals, but this is only possible to a limited extent.

Sambhis gift will provide a venue for Indian voices; give younger Indians an exposure to how policy works in Washington, Khilnani said, adding, There is a hunger for news of India. … Khilnani said SAIS would have an impact through its students, but said, We dont intend to have an advocacy role. That would be a mistake. Objectivity and neutrality will be more useful in building a relationship.

Will all voices be given equal space, equal respect? How will the divisions and politics of India manifest themselves in an educational institution in the U.S. such as SAIS that focuses on diplomacy and international affairs? Whose voices will be heard the loudest? One would hope for objectivity and neutrality in any educational context, but nothing is apolitical.

And given that South Asia Studies is already offered, what focus will the “India studies” bring that wasn’t possible through the previous program?

It will be interesting to see what the politics of this department will be as it develops.


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4 Responses to “Establishing ‘knowledge’”

  1. Jodha says:

    And don't forget former Dean, Paul Wolfowitz.

  2. Jodha says:

    And don’t forget former Dean, Paul Wolfowitz.

  3. Tj says:

    Big heart.man ..i think this kindaa folkz r rare… who think abt others. I reme mi early dayz in US whn i wrkd wid some well known person in (fresno) calif…He was so miser.he still owe mi money.. …..His last name is [deleted] (fresno , ca) .. He is piece of [deleted] i wish god ll give this him hell……

    [Not sure how this is related, but please avoid personal attacks and stick to the post topic….thank you]

  4. Tj says:

    Big heart.man ..i think this kindaa folkz r rare… who think abt others. I reme mi early dayz in US whn i wrkd wid some well known person in (fresno) calif…He was so miser.he still owe mi money.. …..His last name is [deleted] (fresno , ca) .. He is piece of [deleted] i wish god ll give this him hell……

    [Not sure how this is related, but please avoid personal attacks and stick to the post topic….thank you]