The New India Foundation: Applications Invited for Fellowships
In the six-and-a-half decades since Independence, there has been a large body of work produced by Indian historians and social scientists. Taken singly, many of these studies are very impressive; viewed cumulatively, they add up to much less than what one might expect. The chief reason for this is the determining inﬂuence on scholarly practice of that single date: 15th August, 1947. Historians rarely look beyond the attainment of Independence, whereas other social scientists don't look back at all. We have solid studies of the Congress under British rule, with books written about its operations in different parts of India, yet there are no systematic studies of this most inﬂuential of political parties in the post-independence period. Again, there are numerous ethnographic accounts of the caste system.Yet, we have no analytical overview of caste since Independence.
We have had political scientists conducting ﬁeld studies of every single election since 1952. But we have no comprehensive analyses of changes over time in voter behaviour, election propaganda, or election ﬁnance.
These examples could be multiplied manifold. The Republic of India is a Union of twenty-eight states, some larger than France and Germany. Yet not even the biggest or most important of these states have had their histories written. Again, there are no serious biographies of some of the key ﬁgures in our modern history: such as Sheikh Abdullah or Master Tara Singh or A. Z. Phizo or (to take ﬁgures from very different ﬁelds) Pandit Ravi Shankar or Dhirubhai Ambani.
It is this lack that the New India Foundation seeks to address, by sponsoring work of quality on modern India.
The New India Foundation invites applications for the seventh round of the New India Fellowships. Open only to Indian nationals, these Fellowships will be awarded for a period of one year, and will carry a stipend of Rs 90,000 a month. Fellowship holders shall be expected to write original books. Proposals should be oriented towards ﬁnal publication, and outline a road map towards that destination. The Foundation is ecumenical as regards genre, theme, and ideology: the only requirement is that the proposed work contribute to the fuller understanding of independent India. Thus Fellowship holders may choose to write a memoir, or a work of reportage, or a thickly footnoted academic study. Their books could be oriented towards economics, or politics, or culture. They could be highly speciﬁc–an account of a single decade or a single region–or wide-ranging, such as a countrywide overview.
Since 2004, a total of twenty-eight New India Foundation Fellowships have been awarded, for books to be written on such topics as the social history of Telugu ﬁlms, the reform of personal laws, refugee politics in north-eastern India, the history of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, debates on the death penalty in India, and the science and politics of biodiversity conservation.
The books emanating from the New India Fellowships have been published by prestigious presses such as Penguin, Permanent Black, Palgrave Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Random House and Harper Collins. Nine books have appeared so far; these have been widely acclaimed and received several awards.
Applicants for the New India Fellowships for 2013-2014 are invited to submit their c.v., book proposal, and a writing sample of at least 5000 words (published or unpublished) to the Managing Trustee, The New India Foundation, 22 A, Brunton Road, Bangalore 560025, before 30 June 2013. These may be sent by post or courier. Email applications will not be entertained. However, speciﬁc queries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The fellowships will be decided by a jury whose members are André Béteille, Ramachandra Guha, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Nandan Nilekani, N. Ravi, and Srinath Raghavan.
Further details about the Foundation may be found at www.newindiafoundation.org