LEADERSHIP

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DR. FAUZIA FAROOQUI

Founder and Managing Director

Originally from Lucknow, Fauzia Farooqui teaches Urdu-Hindi and South Asian Studies courses at Princeton University. She is a South Asian Studies scholar, an Indian cultural activist, a poet and fiction writer, and the author of three published books. Her academic interests are Urdu-Hindi and South Asian literatures, Indian culture, and gender studies. Both her research and teaching projects involve inter-disciplinary approaches. Her literature courses at Princeton often explore connections between literary texts and their socio-political contexts. Her gender studies courses situate gender and sexuality issues within the cultural frameworks of South Asia. As an Indian cultural activist, Fauzia is interested in various genres of Indian performing arts and the rich oral traditions of India, including folk songs, storytelling, and poetry recitation. She has performed poetry recitation in concerts, as well as on radio and television. Apart from her academic writing, she has also published original poetry and short stories in various Urdu literary journals. A selection of her poems was included in Hindustaani Shairaat, an anthology featuring poems by female Urdu poets of India. Fauzia currently serves as the President of the South Asian Language Teachers Association (SALTA), an organization that promotes and supports the instruction of South Asian languages in North America. As the executive director of Samanvay, Fauzia provides leadership and support to all Samanvay officers and members and works with artists, local communities, and youth groups to build cultural networks and infrastructures to achieve the aims and objectives of the organization.
fauzia@samanvay.space

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VIJAYA RAMAM

Trustee

Vijaya Ramam is an experienced administrator with a specialization in Hospital Management, as well as a committed art enthusiast. After serving as the Deputy Director- Administration at L. V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Hyderabad for eighteen years, she continues to work as a management consultant and advisor for the institute. After receiving her M.A in Economics from Benares Hindu University and her M. Phil in Hospital & Health Systems Management, from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, Vijay had short stints in various sectors including banking and publishing agency & management. As an Art enthusiast, she is actively associated with Lasya Priya, an Academy of Indian Classical dance in Hyderabad as its Secretary. She is also a Cofounder of Dhruvpad Gurukulam Foundation.

 
Image by Steve Johnson

ADVISORY BOARD

 
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AJIT RANGNEKAR

Ajit Rangnekar is the Director General of Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad, a Telangana Government initiative to take Innovation in Agriculture, Health and Sustainability to Market. He also runs the Hyderabad chapter of Social Venture Partners, an organization which provides pro bono advice to NGOs to scale up their impact. He retired as the Dean of Indian School of Business, India’s highest ranked Business School, where too he espoused Entrepreneurship and Innovation in socially important sectors. He has been a member of many global committees in Business Education and advises Boards of Foundations and Social Ventures. Prior to ISB, he was in Hong Kong for over twenty years, 14 of those with Price Waterhouse Consulting, handling various roles including Country Head, first of PW and then of PwC Consulting practice, and East Asia Head of PwC Telecomm practice and of Learning and Development. He is a graduate of IIT, Bombay, and did his postgraduation in Management from IIM, Ahmedabad.

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DR. ANAMIKA

An Associate Professor at Department of English, Dr. Anamika is a Delhi-based Hindi poet, novelist and translator. Poems from her national award winning poetry collections – Khurduri Hatheliyan, Doob-Dhan and Tokri Mein Digant – are prescribed at national universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, SNDT University, Cochi University, and also at University of Moscow. Her novels – Dus Dwaare Ka Peenjara and Tinka Tinke Paas – have been staged as major productions in Marathi and Malayalam. Her essays on womanist discourse in Hindi have been translated along with her poems in languages such as Russian, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Punjabi, Bangla, Malayalam, Oriya, Kannad and English. Her translations of Rilke, Neruda, Doris Lessing, Octavio Paz and fellow women poets have been published by Sahitya Academy, Harper Collins, Katha, Penguin etc. Her Doctoral thesis is on John Donne and her major English publications include Transplanting British Poetry in Indian Classrooms, Donne Criticism Down the Ages, Post-War Women Poets: Treatment of Love and Death, Feminist Poetics: Where Kingfishers Catch Fire, Translating Racial Memory, Weaving a Nation: Proto-Feminist Writing in Hindi and Urdu (1920-47). She is a trained Kathak dancer and has an MA and a PhD in Hindi too.

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DR. C. RYAN PERKINS

Dr. C. Ryan Perkins’ first deep connection with India began on March 23, 1997 when he crossed into India via the Wagah border on Holi.  Astounded by the celebratory spirit and myriad of colors he continued returning to India, studying Hindi/Urdu and conducting research. Having lived in Lucknow, Delhi, and Hyderabad over the years, he has gained a deep appreciation for the vibrant communities of artists and flourishing cultural traditions.  With a working knowledge of multiple South Asian languages, he continues to be deeply engaged with India. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania's Department of South Asia Studies in 2011.  He was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Chicago from 2011-2013 and in Indian History and Culture at the University of Oxford until September 2014 where he also served as course director for their M.Phil program in Modern South Asian Studies.  He joined Stanford University in 2015 as the librarian for South Asian Studies and also serves as the Islamic Studies Librarian.  As a historian of South Asia and the Persianate world, his research focuses on the social, cultural, and literary history of the region from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. His articles appear in The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Modern Asian Studies, South Asia, and the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.  He is currently completing his book manuscript on the birth of the Islamic public in British India.

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CHIRANJIV CHOUDHARY

Chiranjv Choudhary is a member of the Indian Forest Service, Andhra Pradesh cadre who joined the IFS in 1989. At present he is working as Commissioner of Horticulture and Sericulture, as well as the Vice Chancellor of Dr. YSR Horticultural University. His areas of interest include natural resource management, community mobilization, and poverty alleviation. He completed his graduation and postgraduation from Hans Raj College, University of Delhi and later he completed an MA in Public Policy and Sustainable Development from TERI University, New Delhi and an MSc in Forestry from Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun.He has worked extensively in various departments, such as, Forest, Rural Development, Tribal Development, Women and Child Development, Water Resources, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Horticulture and Sericulture, Finance and Planning in the state government. He has also worked on deputation to the Government of India in the Ministry of Rural Development and as a faculty member at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.

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JAY KRISHNAN

Jay has over 18 years of experience in technology, innovation, investments and startups in the US & India. At Mantra Capital, Jay is a partner focused on early stage investments. An avid reader and art collector, Jay reads upto 4 books at month and loves concepts like conscious capitalism, and areas of creative innovation. With his better half, Lakshmi, Jay has been privileged to have been exposed to art over the last two decades. He is a keen follower of experimental films and the independent movie scene. He was the founding CEO of T- Hub, India’s largest startup Incubator and corporate accelerator that housed and accelerated over 300 startups during his tenure. He founded Radifinity inc., a startup in the IoT space. It was acquired by the AB Group in Bengaluru in 2007 through an Asset & IP purchase. Jay has over a decade of experience in the Product development, Program Management & P&L management at Brookrtout Tech. Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems spanning Bangalore, Boston and San Jose. Jay holds degrees in BS, MS in Electrical Engineering and Executive Management from Indian Institute of Management (IIMB). https://www.linkedin.com/in/thejaykrishnan/

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JUAN LUIS LOPEZ-ARANGUREN

Juan Luis Lopez-Aranguren is an Associate Professor in International Relations and Public International Law at the School of Law of the University of Zaragoza, Spain. His field of study is Globalization and Asian Studies. He completed his Ph.D. in International Communication, studying the impact of international communication on East Asian International Relations. As a Japanese Studies fellow, he conducted post-doctoral research on communication, democracy, and policy making at the International University of Japan and at Osaka University. Juan is a member of many international research groups studying communication, policy making, and democracy in Asian and European countries. He has worked as a visiting researcher at various universities in the United Kingdom, Belgium, New Zealand, China, and India. He has been a visiting professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. He understands the value and role of understanding art and culture in communication at individual, national, and international levels. Juan has a strong interest in Indian cultures. He loves discovering how spirituality has influenced Indian art, architecture, culture, and society; and how the connections between spirituality and culture in India often reveals India’s connection with the rest of the world. Juan is interested in studying and supporting Indian arts and cultures through collaborative activities and projects.

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DR. MAHESH JOSHI

Dr. Mahesh Joshi is a healthcare leader, prolific speaker, revered teacher, and an accomplished professional singer. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of healthcare, particularly in the area of Emergency Medicine for his pioneering work in establishing Emergency Medicine in India. Dr. Joshi is well-regarded for his ability to identify gaps in Healthcare delivery systems in India and addressing them by creating sustainable systems and solutions. Currently, he is spearheading the Apollo Home Care vertical as the CEO. He is the Executive Co-Chairman for the Society of Emergency Medicine India. He is also on the board of trustees of SAVE LIFE Foundation –a not for profit organization working relentlessly in the field of Road Safety. As a gifted performer, Dr. Joshi has done more than 300 individual performances at various public and private forums. He is a rare combination of professional excellence and excellence in the pursuit of passion. Mahajosh, as he is fondly referred to by his fans indeed signifies the unbound energy that he packs into his performances. To learn more about him please check www.mahajosh.com

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DR. MEHR AFSHAN FAROOQI

Prof. Mehr Farooqi is an author and literary critic. She is drawn to translation, literary modernism, intersections between religion and literature, history and art history. Her publications include Urdu Literary Culture, Vernacular Modernity in the Writing of Muhammad Hasan Askari (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012) and The Two-Sided Canvas: Perspectives on Ahmed Ali (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2013). She is also editor of the two-volume Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (Oxford University Press, 2008) and writes a regular column for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn’s Sunday magazine. Farooqi hosts mahfils highlighting the synchronicity of Urdu poetry with daily life. She has collaborated with ghazal singer Pooja Goswami Pavan to explore the space between poetry and performance. Her book on the great nineteenth century Urdu poet Ghalib is forthcoming from PenguinRandomHouse in 2020. She is also writing a commentary on the “rejected” verses of Ghalib. Farooqi teaches at the University of Virginia.

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DR. MOAZZAM SIDDIQI

Originally from Hyderabad, Dr. Moazzam Siddiqi is a literary scholar, an educator, and an Indian cultural activist. He is former chief of the South and Central Asia division at Voice of America, the US government’s official broadcast service. He is an alumnus of Osmania University, Hyderabad. He obtained his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Near Eastern and South Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, where he wrote his dissertation on the eighteenth century, mystical poet, Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil. After two decades of teaching and research at various American universities, such as, UC Berkeley, University of Virginia, Duke University, and Georgetown University, he joined Voice of America and served there in many leadership roles for more than two decades before retiring in 2006. Presently, he resides in Washington, DC and actively contributes to a range of literary and cultural activities in the area and is highly regarded by a flourishing community of South Asian cultural enthusiasts who affectionately call him a “walking encyclopedia” of Indian literature and culture.

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MOHIT OJHAL

Mohit is a senior Corporate Finance professional with over 22 years of experience. He is an engineer from IT-BHU, and MBA (Finance) from IIM-Calcutta. He is currently the CFO of a software services firm. He has worked with NIIT Technologies, Xerox, and Pramati Technologies, and also run his own consulting firm for a while. He takes lectures on various aspects of Corporate Finance at various Business schools and conducts courses on "Finance for Non-finance Managers" for companies. He is passionate about performing arts and has always supported and promoted them where-ever he has been. An avid reader, he reads over 80 books every year. His poems can be accessed on www.ojhal.com

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PARVATHI NAYAR


Chennai-based contemporary visual artist Parvathi Nayar is known for her multidisciplinary art, centred on complex drawing practices, video, installations, text and photography. Her black-and-white graphite drawings are multifaceted works that look at the internal/intimate spaces within our bodies, and the external/public spaces in which we live, often through the prism of science and technology. Parvathi’s art talks about different engagements with our environment, and the philosophies of inhabiting them.

Her works have been collected by institutions such as the Singapore Art Museum, BMW, The Sotheby’s Art Institute, The Australia India Institute and Deutsche Bank. She is the subject of the film "Artists of Chennai: Parvathi Nayar" by photographer/filmmaker Saravana Kumar. 
Parvathi is a writer and poet (presentations include Poetry with Prakriti 2017), commentator on contemporary culture and public speaker (TEDx talks include “Seeing the world through Different Lenses”, Chennai 2016). Parvathi received her Masters in Fine Art from Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London, on a Chevening scholarship.
www.parvathinayar.com

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RAMA VAIDYANATHAN

Rama Vaidyanathan is one of the fore most Bharatanatyam dancers of her generation. She trained intensively under the legendary dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy and the celebrated Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. In a performance career spanning more than 30 years, Rama has developed her own individual style without forsaking the core principles of her dance form. Her technique is grounded and yet there is a fresh approach to the innumerable dance compositions that she has added to the Bharatanatyam repertoire. She is among the “outstanding” category of artistes with the ICCR, and has represented India in several world capitals. Having performed at every major dance venues of the world, She has been awarded with several titles. The “Kalaimamani” by the Govt of Tamil Nadu and the “Kalashree” by the Govt of Kerala. Other notable awards are the Kumar Gandharv Puraskar from the Madhya Pradesh Govt, Nadanamamani from Kartik Fine Arts Chennai, Vani kala Sudhakara from Tyagabrahma Gana sabha Chennai, Nritya Choodamani from Krishna Gana Sabha Chennai. Recently Rama has been declared as the recipient for the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for the year 2017. As the Director of Ganesa Natyalaya New Delhi, she has been actively engaged in teaching for more than twenty five years. Rama balances a hectic performance schedule while conducting workshops and master classes all over the world, inspiring a whole generation of dancers.

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DR. ROHIT LAMBA

Rohit Lamba is an assistant professor of economics at Pennsylvania State University where he teaches and does research on various aspects of the subject. He is also a visiting fellow at the Ashoka Center for Economic Policy at Ashoka University. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge. He holds a PhD in economics from Princeton University and a B.A. in mathematics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He has twice served as an economist in the Office of the Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India. He loves reading and writing poetry in Hindi, Urdu and English, and trekking in the Himalaya. The two sides of his family are from Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir and Agra, Uttar Pradesh. You can find more information at www.rohitlamba.com

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SALIM ARIF

Mohammad Salim Arif is a writer, director, and scenographer. He is currently the Head of the Department of Cultural Studies in Whistling Woods International, Mumbai, Asia's leading International Film School. An illustrious alumnus of National School of Drama, New Delhi, he is a very well-known name in the field of Indian Theatre, Television and Films. After his fellowship project of Interaction between Traditional and Contemporary Indian Theatre with Habib Tanvir, his work with Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj, Gulzar’s Mirza Ghalib, Dr. Chandraprakash Dwedi’s Chanakya got him wide acclaim as a Period Film Designer of substance. Nirja Guleri’s Chandrakanta , Ketan Mehta’s Sardar Patel, Gulzar’s Maachis and Hu-Tu-Tu, Govind Nihalani’s Takshak and Anil Sharma’s Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo are his major feature films as a Designer. He has been a consultant for period details in Anil Sharma’s Gadar and Mani Ratnam’s Guru. His stage plays like Aapki Soniya , Ghalibnaama, Kharaashein, Taj Mahal Ka Tender, Kaifi Saab, Shyam Rang, Bayaane Ghalib, Rakt Kalyan, Parwaaze Bayaan Aur, Kachche Lamhe, Atthanniyaan, Lakeerein,Chaurangi, Hum-Safar,Sunte Ho, Arre O Henry,Manto, Mantra,Paansa, Chakkar Chalaaye Ghanchakkar, etc. have made him one of the most exciting and popular directors on Hindi theatre scene in India and abroad. He has Directed and Choreographed events and programmes like Drums of India and Wind Instruments of India shows, Octave 2010, BODH Mahotsav 2013, Festival of India in Kuwait besides Light and Sound shows at Amer Fort at Jaipur, Akbari Qila at Ajmer and Rajbada at Indore .Goonjte Patthar events in monuments of Delhi got him critical acclaim in Apna Utsav 1986. He is on the visiting faculty of several prestigious institutions including Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute,Kolkata, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai , National School of Drama, New Delhi, BNA, Lucknow, Academy of Dramatic Arts,Mumbai University, MPSD Bhopal, and National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He is also a resource person for Sangeet Natak Akademy,New Delhi. He was Awarded Urdu Adab Award of U.P. Hindi-Urdu Award Committee in 2006, UP Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Stage Direction in 2009, the prestigious Vishwa Hindi Akademy’s Hindi Sewa Samman in 2013 and Habib Tanvir Rang Samman in 2016, for his contribution in Theatre.

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DR. SHARMILA NAGRAJ NANDULA

Dr. Sharmila Nagraj Nandula is an academician who has long been a connoisseur of poetry, art, music and dance. Since completing her doctorate in apparel and textiles she has focused on bringing due recognition to handlooms and khadi. Her work with artisans and weavers stems from a deeply rooted personal connection with the handmade crafts of India. She is a weaver herself, holding exclusive rights with respect to horoscope weaving in India. Dr. Sharmila has 25 years of experience working with students of design. However, for the past four years, she has focused her energy on creating and building the academic legacy of the Woxsen School of Arts and Design. Her endeavors have helped place many students with big brands in India. She also possesses experience with retailers in the United States, as she has worked for Coldwater Creek and Kohl’s. She has designed and been involved in exhibitions of various unique handlooms, collaborating with artisans and weavers from all over the country. Her constant pursuit is giving young Indians insight into the great Indian tradition and its unlimited treasure of wisdom, science and spirituality.

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DR. SAMUEL BERTHET

Dr. Samuel Berthet is a scholar and a cultural activist. Originally from France, he is presently the director of Alliance Française de Hyderabad. He is a historian, working on Indo-French cultural relations as well as shipbuilding and the maritime history of the Indian Ocean. He has curated a dozen cultural festivals, exhibitions, and seminars. His latest exhibition is titled: Rajas, Nawabs and Firangees: Treasures from the French and the Indian archives (1750-1850), organized in collaboration with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the National Museum in Delhi. Apart from history he taught courses in anthropology related to ecology, visuality and media. He studied in Delhi University and taught in Visva Bharati, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Shiv Nadar University. He has been living in India for more than a decade and also spent five years in Chittagong, the port city of Bangladesh as the director of Alliance Française.

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DR. SUKRITA PAUL KUMAR

Sukrita Paul Kumar is a poet and critic, who held the Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at Cluster Innovation Centre at the University of Delhi till recently. Formerly, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, she is an Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Programme, University of Iowa (USA), Hong Kong Baptist University and Cambridge Seminars. She is also, honorary faculty, at the University of Hawaii and Durrell Centre at Corfu (Greece). She has published several collections of poems and many critical books including Without Margins, Folds of Silence, Dream Catcher, Narrating Partition, The New Story and Man, Woman and Androgyny, Ismat, Her Life, Her Times. As Director of a UNESCO translation project, she edited a volume of Urdu short stories in English, Mapping Memories. In 2006, she published, as its Chief Editor, Cultural Diversity in India, prescribed at Delhi University. While her latest co-edited volumes are Speaking for Herself: An Anthology of Asian Women’s Writing and Interpreting Homes, she has also published Rowing Together and Poems Come Home, with translations of her poems by Gulzar, two bilingual books of poems. Her translations include Blind, Nude and Sleepwalkers (Katha). A recipient of many prestigious fellowships, she has lectured in many universities in India and abroad and has also held exhibitions of her paintings.

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SURESH TATA

Suresh Tata is a senior finance professional who has extensive experience working in both the private and public sectors. His academic qualifications include an A.B. degree in Economics from Princeton University and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.  A resident of Arlington, Virginia since 2009, his interests include literature, music, art history and travel.  Suresh has had an abiding interest in all aspects of India’s history and culture, and especially the traditions of Bhakti and Sufism as reflected in Marathi, Hindi/Urdu and Persian poetry.  He is passionate about promoting cross-cultural dialogue in the context of the world envisioned as one family: “vasusdhaiva kutumbakam.”

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DR. SWATI DESAI

Dr. Swati Desai is a professional psychotherapist, a trained teacher of Mindfulness, and an art enthusiast. She currently teaches Mindfulness workshops at the Indian School of Business (ISB) as well as various counseling centers in India. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. After teaching in the US and Hong Kong, she got her training in psychology and practiced as a licensed psychotherapist in the US for many years. She incorporated Mindfulness in her psychology practice and became a trained teacher in Mindfulness. She worked as a Director of Campus Relations for the Center for Mindfulness at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). She launched her Mindfulness app, 2Meditate to promote global groups of Mindfulness meditators. Swati’s passion is to work with people in organizational setting and to help them reach their maximum potential – professional and personal. Following her mother’s footsteps Swati’s other passion right from childhood has been visual art. She finds solace in the cognitive and emotional experience of visual art, both modern and traditional. An amateur artist herself, she has also been interested in the Art history. To learn more about her work, please check www.swatidesai.com

CURATORS

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ALICK BAILEY

Alick Bailey is a performing artist, poet, storyteller, and comic. His works have been featured in Indian and international anthologies, magazines, newspapers and websites. He has received the Literary Achievers Award at the 11th Asiad Literature Festival 2019 organized by the Bharat Nirman Foundation. He also earned a Fellowship at the UN-supported REX Karmaveer Global Fellowship and a Karmaveer Chakra Award. He has been nominated for the National Education Leadership Awards 2019. He is working to make poetry, storytelling more accessible to the general public.

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BHAMINI SHREE

Bhamini Shree is a self-taught visual artist who is currently based in Hyderabad and is originally from Bihar. She received her MBA in Finance and worked as a Credit Risk Analyst before devoting herself fully to art. She works on various mediums and art forms including Madhubani Painting, Mandala and Abstract Expressionism. Her signature style is Contemporary Folk-Art - Fusion of Madhubani Painting and Expressionism. Through her works, Bhamini touches upon various sensitive social issues including about mental health awareness, gender, sexuality, and liberty. She also works on promotion and preservation of folk-art in India and teaches art through regular classes and workshops. Currently, she is working on a couple of projects including Project Dastak - Live Painting with Music to create awareness about various social issues, Project Swabhimaan, which supports financial and social upliftment of transgender community through art. She's also writing a book on Madhubani Painting.



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MYTHILI MARATT ANOOP

Dance, academics and household in that order, these are the spheres Mythili moves between. She is a Mohiniyattam performer and teacher and has learnt under veterans such as Kalamandalam Kshemavathy, Sadanam Balakrishnan and Gopika Varma. Mythili received her doctorate from IIT Bombay under the guidance of Prof. Milind Malshe in ‘Semiotics of Mohiniyattam’. Mythili loves to experiment and is always full of ideas to dance to new texts and concepts and her own repertoire includes Telugu compositions, selections from Kalidasa, and Sufi compositions in addition to the traditional pieces. Mythili initiated ‘ Moham,’ an institute in Hyderabad where she teaches Mohiniyattam. She has publications of merit and also Mythili works as guest faculty at National Institutes of Design. She currently holds the Tagore scholarship for cultural research from the Ministry of Culture.

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NEERJA APTE

Neerja Apte is a well-known stage and television anchor, script writer, voice over artist and also an event designer and curator. She has command over many languages including Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, and English. Neerja has a degree in fine arts, post graduation in Social Science, and also a diploma in Vagmita. As a graded artist of TV and Radio, she regularly hosts cultural and corporate events both on screen and on stage. She has conducted interviews with experts from various fields, such as, politics, business, sports, theater, poetry, music, and dance. As an anchor, Neerja is a perfect blend of grace and Intellect. She has hosted a number of cultural programs in India and abroad with legendary figures of Indian classical music, including Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar, Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chourasiya, Pt. Birju  Maharaj, just to name a few. She has conceptualized and presented some unique programs to explore connections between various art forms. Her program Saher Hone Tak beautifully combines poetry by female poets with Kathak and music. Through Kavi Kalam aur Hum a two hour presentation of the work  of legendary Hindi poets with narration, dance, and songs.

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PRANAV SHARMA

Pranav Sharma, a national award-winning science communicator & astronomer, is an aficionado of poetry and literature. He was the founding Editor of the Taj Literature Festival in 2013 and the co-Founder of Agra Book Club. He is widely regarded for his interdisciplinary work on astronomy and poetry which can also be seen in the Space Museum curated by him in Hyderabad. He is currently curating a poetry anthology on astronomy and space sciences.

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RASHMI BHARDWAJ

Rashmi is an author, poet, translator, editor and educationist. She is the executive editor of Pashyantee - a women’s collective magazine dedicated to art and literature, and runs a literary website Meraki Patrika, aimed at promoting new voices in literature. Her most recent book, Maine apni maa ko janm diya hai was awarded the Shivna Internation Poetry Award. Her first book, Ek atirikt a, received the prestigious Jnanpith Navlekhan award for poetry. She has translated several renowned books including Ruskin Bond’s stories and Hansda Sowendra Shekhar’s Adivasi Nahi Nachenge and edited many prestigious books. Her work has been published and recognised on many national and international literary platforms including Bharat Bhawan, Sahitya Akademi, Raza Foundation, Hindi Academy, and Amrita Sheril Cultural Foundation, Budapest. She also regularly writes for various newspapers, magazines and blogs. When Rashmi is not writing, translating or reading, she can be found spending time with her daughter,  two dogs and her plants.

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SMITA SHREE

Smita Shree is an engineer, a classical Indian dancer, a dance teacher, and an art enthusiast. She has learnt a number of Indian classical dances, including Kathak, Odissi, and Kuchipudi. She has received extensive training in the Banaras gharana of Kathak. She also teaches Kathak to young students. She promotes Indian classical music and dance among people of all age-groups. She has been the driving force in incubating Sri Indradeo Center for Performing Arts (www.indradeo.com). She played an important role in curating cultural events for the inaugural function of the centre. She loves curating Indian music and dance events. 

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SOUMYA VENKATESAN

Soumya Venkatesan dabbles in all forms of poetry - from rigorous ghazals to cathartic spoken word, and most often scribbles about nostalgia and the human condition. She has performed on various stages in the country including Hyderabad Literary Festival and Shaam-e-Rekhta. Some of her work is published in the journal, Narrow Road. When she is not engaged in doggerel, you will find her in the company of cats, cacti and knitting needles.

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SUNILA GOLLAPUDI

Sunila Gollapudi is a Technology leader, an Indian classical dancer, an author, a painting and sketching artist and jewelry maker. She currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, US and is originally from Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Sunila has over 19 years of experience in the IT industry and currently works as Vice President for Enterprise Architecture and Data Strategy in the Office of CIO for Broadridge Inc. She has authored three books till date on Data Engineering, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence topic with acclaimed publishing houses like Springer and Packt. She is a mentor and industry speaker at executive conferences. She is an established and graded Indian classical dancer in Andhra Natyam. She is the disciple of Late Dr Padmashri Nataraja Ramakrishna and Acharya Shri Kala Krishna. She specializes in Navajanardhana Parijatham and she collaborates and promotes revival of unique choreographies of historic value under her not-for-profit dance banner “Nartanasala”.

Sunila also is a painting & sketching artist and her hand-made ethnic contemporary design jewelry along with her painting is sold for charity under her not-for-profit art banner “Havishhaa”. Her sales proceedings are used for the welfare of girl children.

She is a trained veena (Indian classical string instrument player and holds masters in French literature.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunilagollapudi/

https://sunilagollapudi.com/