The New India Foundation awards eleven Fellowships this year to scholars and writers for a set of exceptionally strong non-fiction book proposals chronicling post-Independence India

Bengaluru: The trustees of the New India Foundation are delighted to announce the recipients of the tenth NIF Fellowships–the prestigious grant that supports ground-breaking research and writing leading to an extraordinary range of non-fiction works on post-Independence India.

Given the great number and the breadth of proposals that the NIF received this year, the Foundation has decided to grant the highest number of fellowships for a given year so far: from over 900 applications received, the jury has selected eleven recipients of the Fellowship through a rigorous process of screening and interviews.

The New India Foundation Fellowships are awarded for a period of one year with an annual stipend of 18 Lakhs to each recipient; and include editorial and publishing support for each project. The Fellowship enables scholars and writers to write and publish works of non-fiction. So far, twenty-two books written by Fellowship winners have been published under the NIF aegis; many of these have become seminal and award-winning works on contemporary Indian history.

Currently in its tenth cycle, the New India Foundation Fellowship aims to foster ground-breaking research and writing on the dynamic and rich landscape of independent India. This year, the fellowship awardees comprise an eclectic mix of journalists, academics and researchers, both young and experienced, with a compelling and wide range of proposals.

The list of Fellowship awardees is decided by an eminent panel of jury members that includes political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal, historian and critically acclaimed author Ramachandra Guha, Rukmini Banerji CEO – Pratham Education Foundation; entrepreneur and author Nandan Nilekani, historian Srinath Raghavan, and Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services.

Speaking on behalf of the jury on this year’s Fellowships, Srinath Raghavan, Trustee, the New India Foundation, commented, “This has been an exceptional year for the NIF fellowships. Not only did we receive an extraordinary number of applications, but were delighted to award more fellowships than ever before. The eleven NIF fellows will write books on a remarkable set of topics encompassing cities and forests, law and politics, sports and literature, business and culture –books that promise to transform our understanding of contemporary India. “


Meet the eleven awardees of the tenth New India Fellowships 2021:

ANJUM HASAN, writer and critic

Shillong: First City of India’s Northeast

Anjum is the author of the novels The Cosmopolitans, Neti, Neti and Lunatic in my Head, the book of poems Street on the Hill, the short story collections Difficult Pleasures and A Day in the Life, which won the Valley of Words Fiction Award, 2019. Her books have also been shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi, Hindu Best Fiction and Crossword Fiction awards. She has been a Homi Bhabha Fellow and a Charles Wallace Fellow.


CHITRANGADA CHOUDHURY, multimedia Journalist and Researcher

Power, Profit and Protests: Forest Communities on the Frontlines of Environmental Justice

Chitrangada is a multimedia journalist and researcher, and an Editorial Board member of Article 14. Her reportage on the environment, social justice and rural, in particular indigenous communities, has been cited for multiple awards including the Sanskriti Award, the Press Council of India’s National Award for Investigative Reporting, and the Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize twice. She has published peer-reviewed research in top-tier academic journals; and is an incoming Associate Professor at Krea University.


JAIDEEP HARDIKAR, multilingual freelance journalist, researcher and writer

The Rise and Fall of ‘The Empress’, exploring the story of Tata’s first venture, the Empress Mills- rise and an eventual fall, and its lasting impact.

Jaideep is currently a freelance journalist reporting on India’s hinterland and heartland, specializing in rural and peri-urban issues, with a focus on stories of human interest. He is a Roving Reporter with the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) and also a Fellow at the Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy. He is author of ‘A Village Awaits Doomsday’, and his forthcoming book on agrarian crisis is due for publication later this year.


JAYASEELAN RAJ, social anthropologist and academic

The Egalitarian Paradox: Dalits and the State in Kerala

Currently based at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Jayseelan is also a research associate in the egalitarianism project at the Department of Anthropology, University of Bergen, where he received his Ph.D. in Anthropology. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the London School of Economics and is the co-author of Ground Down by Growth.


MAYA RATNAM, academic and researcher

Dwelling in the Forest: The Government of Nature in Tribal Central India

Maya has completed her PhD in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore in 2017, and currently working as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, at the Ahmedabad University.


M. MOHSIN ALAM BHAT, lawyer and academic

Constitutional Culture: Muslims and Popular Constitutionalism in India

Mohsin teaches at Jindal Global Law School and heads its Centre for Public Interest Law. He has published academic and popular writings on law and religion, equality, and more recently on hate crime and citizenship. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including being awarded the Yale Gruber Fellowship in Global Justice and Women’s Rights in 2016, and the Azim Premji Foundation Research Grant in 2017. He is on the editorial board of Article-14, and is the co-founder of Parichay, a legal aid project focusing on citizenship deprivation in India.


RAZA KAZMI, conservationist, wildlife historian, researcher and writer

The First of Nine: The Story of Palamau Tiger Reserve

Raza currently works as a consultant with the Ashoka Archives of Contemporary India, Ashoka University. His fields of expertise include wildlife history of India, conservation policy, and conservation issues in the country’s ‘Red Corridor’ landscape. His work focuses on the interplay between forest governance and naxalism on one hand, and Adivasi rights and conservation needs on the other. His writings appear in many media outlets and he has also contributed essays to edited anthologies.


SIMIN PATEL, Scholar and Founder Director, Bombaywalla Historical Works

Irani Restaurants of Bombay

Simin’s proposal on Irani restaurants dives into the world of Irani strongmen and dons and the cafes they operated from. Her DPhil dissertation from the University of Oxford traced the role the Parsi community played as cultural intermediaries in colonial Bombay.


SOHINI C, independent journalist and writer

The Losers: A History of Women Runners, and Running, in India

Sohini writes on film, health and politics, and her work has been published in many leading publications across the world. She has been adjudged the winner of the National Award for Film Criticism in 2019. Her writing has been translated into German and Bengali, and is the recipient of several awards and international fellowships.

SRIKAR RAGHAVAN, independent researcher and writer

From Malnad to Mysore: Following the Trail of Literature and Activism in Karnataka

Srikar has graduated with an M.A in English from Manipal Center for Humanities in 2020.


SURYAKANT WAGHMORE, public sociologist, academic and writer

Is a Post Caste City Possible?: Examining Caste Erasure in Contemporary Ahmedabad and Mumbai

Currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Suryakant is the author of Civility against Caste and co-editor of Civility in Crisis. He received his PhD as a Commonwealth Scholar from University of Edinburgh.


About the New India Foundation

Based in Bengaluru, the core activity of the New India Foundation is the New India Fellowships which have been awarded to scholars and writers for over a decade and a half now. Aimed at enabling and supporting high-quality original research on an extraordinary range of topics on post-Independence India, the NIF Fellowships have resulted in the publication of an eclectic and vibrant collection of twenty-two books published by prestigious publishing houses.

Carrying forward its legacy since fourteen years, the Annual NIF Lecture, renamed in 2019 as ‘Girish Karnad Memorial Lecture’, in honour of the late multi-lingual scholar, facilitates debate on important social issues, with talks featuring renowned scholars and thinkers.

Instituted in 2018, the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize, for the best non-fiction book on modern/contemporary India, has further built on its mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writings on the world’s largest democracy.

Ramachandra Guha, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Nandan Nilekani, Srinath Raghavan and Manish Sabharwal are the Trustees of the New India Foundation.


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