Rahul Pandita: United States, Fall 2013
Rahul Pandita, a best-selling author and award-winning journalist, is the recipient of the 2010 International Red Cross award for conflict reporting. He has reported from the front lines of conflict—from Iraq, where he was captured by Saddam Hussain’s dreaded Republican Guard in 2003, to Sri Lanka where he chronicled the tragic saga of child soldiers and suicide bombers.
Rahul has brought alive to his readers many theatres of severe human conflict. In Central and Eastern India, Rahul has emerged as an authority on the downward spiral between state apathy and the deadly manifestation of Maoist ideology. British historian Patrick French writes about Rahul’s work in the Maoist areas in his 2011 biography of the Indian sub-continent, India: A Portrait: “Rahul Pandita had done something unusual – he had studied the Maoist movement at ground level for more than a decade, growing ever more interested in the way it functioned, travelling through the remoter jungles of Central India for weeks on end and spending time with the tribal people.”
In Kashmir, arguably one of the most dangerous nuclear flashpoints on earth, he has laid bare, with rare objectivity, the violent Islamist insurgency as well as the heavy-handed response by the Indian security apparatus. His most recent book and personal memoir, Our Moon has Blood Clots (Random House 2013), brings to light for the first time a story—about the ethnic and religious minority Kashmiri Pandits—that has remained unrecorded and buried for almost a quarter of a century. Renowned Indian historian Ramachandra Guha writes about Rahul’s book: “This powerful and moving book throws a sharp light onto one of the most tragic conflicts in the modern world…. (Rahul) returns to the prelude and aftermath of his exile, narrating his family’s tortuous journeys with great sensitivity and skill.”
Our Moon Has Blood Clots has become a lightning rod on all sides of the Kashmir conflict. It is his memoir of growing up as a religious minority in a Muslim-majority Kashmir, living through the “Kristallnacht” of Kashmir on January 19, 1990, and the subsequent exodus of nearly half a million aboriginals into permanent exile.
This book is not just the memoir of an individual. It is the collective narrative of a peaceful minority hounded out by fundamentalist militants, in many ways the predecessors to “Al-Qaeda” as the West knows it. It is as much an act of catharsis as the first honest account of the violent sectarian cleansing that took place in Kashmir in 1990. Rahul’s book has stirred a hornet’s nest, and has compelled stakeholders and observers alike to revisit the enormous human cost of the Kashmir conflict.
From October 21st to November 6th, 2013, Rahul Pandita travelled in the United States on a lecture tour at various prominent educational institutions: the State University of New York at Stonybrook; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; and The University of Texas at Austin. He also spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, and at the World Affairs Council of Houston.
Summary reports, photographs and videos from these various presentations are provided for your viewing pleasure.
TRIP REPORTS, VIDEOS AND PICTURES
Juhi Razdan Kuchroo wins Fulbright scholarship
- George Joseph, India Abroad
Juhi Razdan Kuchroo from Newton, Massachusetts, has received a Fulbright Award to conduct research in immunology at Oxford University.
“This scholarship will provide me,” Kuchroo said, “with the opportunity to not only conduct cutting edge research in the lab of Dr. Fiona Powrie but also have the opportunity to explore Oxford and the United Kingdom.”
Once she returns, she plans to pursue an MD/PhD at Harvard Medical School.
“I was always drawn to science and research because of its possibilities for innovation and creativity,” she said. “After volunteering in hospitals around the Boston area and, especially, the refugee camps of Jammu, I was able to see first-hand the dearth of care available to individuals in underprivileged parts of the world, I realized that I wanted to be a doctor so I could directly aid individuals who do not have access to the high quality of care we do in the United States, and bring to them the cutting-edge research being conducted in laboratories here.”
In 2011, she and her brother Manik, currently a sophomore at Harvard College, coauthored a book, Refugee in My Own Country, on the lives of Kashmiri Pandit refugees living in Jammu.
“The money from the sale of this book,” she said, “goes directly to the Kashmiri Pandit refugees and the Advancement for Health and Education Foundation, which my brother and I founded in 2012 to help the underprivileged in the areas of health and education.” She serves as president of the organization.
Kuchroo studied at the Windsor School and graduated from Harvard College this year, majoring in human developmental and regenerative biology with a citation in Spanish. At Harvard, she received the Detur Prize and the John Harvard Scholarship for Academic Excellence along with the Kirkland House Pfister Prize for excellence in the natural sciences.
Trained in Indian classical dance and Hindustani classical music, she was also a member of the New England Conservatory Chorus.
Her parents, Vijay and Kiran Kuchroo, are Kashmiri Pandit immigrants from India. Her father is the Wasserstrom Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School; her mother Kiran owns a business.
One of the most selective scholarship programs in the country, the Fulbright Scholarship was created by a treaty in 1948. It is the only bilateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards for study or research in any field at any accredited US or UK university.
Courtesy: Anil Kachroo
Applications invited for KOA Achievement Award
Dear KOA Members,
Every year, KOA awards one-time achievement award to Kashmiri Pandit College-bound student(s) living in the USA. Any high school college bound senior student meeting the following requirements qualifies to apply for this award:
- High school GPA of at least 3.5.
- A 2-page vitae.
- SAT score of at least 1985 out of 2400 or an ACT score of at least 30.
- 500-600 words essay on “What does it mean to you to be a Kashmiri Pandit in USA?”
- Some evidence of community service.
- Parents of the student are KOA members.
We invite potential applicants to send their vitae, essay, and ACT/SAT scores via e-mail to Professor Hira L. Koul at firstname.lastname@example.org Also have your school directly fax the transcripts to the fax number 517-432-1405, addressed to Prof. Koul. All documents should be submitted by February 21, 2014.
Please note that the applications are invited for the KOA Achievement Award that has been ongoing for last few years. The new KOA Achievement Award that was announced recently will be implemented next year.