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Monday, May 12, 2008

American Institute of Indian Studies gets Taraknath award

Taraknath Das Foundation has given its annual award for contribution to Indo-US understanding to the Chicago-based American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), which works to advance knowledge about India in the US. Foundation director Leonard A. Gordon presented the award plaque to AIIS president Ralph Nicholas in the presence of a dozen past recipients of the award here Friday.

The New York-based Taraknath Foundation, started in 1935 by an Indian revolutionary and pioneering immigrant, gives grants to South Asian students in the US and to small NGOs in India.

The AIIS, founded in 1961 by scholars, promotes intellectual engagement with India in American colleges and universities.

At the ceremony, Gordon talked about the life and philanthropic endeavours of Taraknath Das.

He praised Nicholas of University of Chicago as a talented anthropologist and administrator who has been skilfully guiding the AIIS.

Nicholas said AIIS has given over 4,000 grants through 47 years and greatly enabled American teaching and scholarship about India. Its main Indian office is in Gurgaon and regional offices in Pune, Chennai, and Kolkata.

Past recipients of the annual Taraknath Das award, given since 1982, include authors R.K. Narayan and Anita Desai, the filmmaking team of Ismail Merchant-James Ivory-Ruth Jhabvala, audio engineer-businessman Amar Bose, the World Music Institute and Gopal Raju, founder of the India Abroad and the (IANS).

Taraknath Das (1884-1958) came to the US in 1907 and galvanised other Indian immigrants for the Indian freedom movement. He taught political science at Columbia University for some time.


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