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Scholars 2018: Aadarsh Rajan, Anaka Asokan, Anand Dhankoti and Arjun Ashoka

Scholars 2018: Aadarsh Rajan, Anaka Asokan, Anand Dhankoti and Arjun Ashoka

As the new scholars of the Foundation embark on their journey onwards we would like have you all better acquainted with them. As a part of a three part series we have invited the scholars to write a little bit about themselves and what what drives their passions within their practice. 

This week we present to you a graphic designer, a conservationist, a dancer and a physicist. 

Aadarsh Rajan


A graphic designer by day and type designer by night, I inhabit a world of letters. 

My obsession with typefaces began with the first typography course in my second year at NID and it continued as I learnt to draw a typeface for my final project with EkType Foundry in Mumbai. Apart from this, I tackle various identity design, publication design and illustration assignments for various clients. 

However, ever since I attended the course in Indian Aesthetics at Jnanapravaha, I have been driven to dive deeper into the history of Indian images against the socio-political and cultural events that have influenced their inception. So much so that the course has had a lasting impact on my typographic practice. 

Looking around you will notice that every street, corner and niche in India is bestrewn with messages imploring us to act upon them swiftly and at their heart are the idiosyncratic letters that voice these messages. Now, as an Indian type designer, my interests lie in understanding the nameless hands that birthed these letters and the aesthetic sensibilities that influence each colour and stroke. I continue to draw Tamil typefaces that are informed by history of the script and the local Tamil aesthetic. I hope that my year at Reading can fuel these interests with their academic support and provide me a platform for rigorous study.

Other than these academic interests, movies and podcasts are an inextricable part of my day in the study; while basketball, frisbee or running long distances occupy my evenings and nights.

Anaka Asokan

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
(Max Ehrmann)

Anaka Asokan has a post graduate degree in Conservation of Works of Art from the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology ; the only Institute in India which offers a professional degree in Art Conservation. Her desire for a personal approach coupled with active participation that would involve contribution in a practical sense drew her to conservation.


According to her fabric is not just a mere piece of cloth or a garment of utility or luxury made by weaving of threads, it’s got much more to it. There is science behind every aspect of textile; be it in the form of its warp and weft, the weaving techniques, dyes and the designs. Apart from science there are also emotions, sentiments and cultural values attached to them.

She is a recipient of the scholarship provided by the National Museum Institute to the top two students consecutively for all three semesters of her study. She was among the five students selected for the Summer School 2017 at the Institute of Conservation, University of Applied Arts, Vienna. She is currently involved in taking care of the museums and organizing various art workshops at Sanskriti Pratishthan, Delhi.

In September 2018, she will join the Centre for Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow to pursue her specialism, M.Phil in Textile Conservation. She is the second Indian to pursue this course at this Institution which is internationally recognized as the leading professional education in the field of textile conservation. Apart from academics, she is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and Carnatic vocalist. Her main aim is to conserve the rich textile heritage of India and promote Textile Conservation overall.

Anand Dhankoti


My life drastically changed when I was taken to an NGO called the Bornfree Art School and was given the gift of literacy and art education. I have lived in a slum almost all my life and was forced to labor as a child by supporting my family by working at various odd jobs. It was at the Bornfree Art School that I was introduced to the world of arts and found my love for dance. Dance has had the most profound affect on me, it inspired me, empowered me and it has taught me the importance and meaning of life. This is why I have chosen to pursue it professionally.

I have been trained in classical ballet and jazz with Yana Lewis, the Artistic Director of the Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet in Bengaluru, for the past 10 years. I have also by studied gymnastics, swimming, kalaripayattu (Indian martial arts), fire dance and puppet acts.

Having had a difficult childhood myself I am now determined to reach out to other children and make a difference. I am a co-founder and senior faculty member at Shrushti, a Bangalore-based NGO working with underprivileged children. We hold workshops in dance, theatre, painting, and music, creating an opportunity for the children to continue their education in various NGOs around Bangalore and the rest of India.

In addition to my social work, I have performed as a dancer at various arts festivals and cultural events, including most recently the Asia Athletic Championship in Orissa in 2017, the KINTSUGI Fococo3 event in Bangalore in 2017, and at the Attakalari India Biennial 2017. I also participated in the Prakriti Foundation biennial event in Chennai 2017, winning the Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary dance award together with my team.

I have successfully completed a BA degree in Economics, Political Science and Sociology from the St. Joseph's College, Bangalore. Thanks to the Inlaks scholarships I will attend the Contemporary Dance School Hamburg, Germany, and develop my artistic skills. My dream is to found and run a dance school that inspires new generations of dancers everyday, in addition to this I would like to conduct outreach programs, providing therapeutic dance for underprivileged children (juveniles and substance abused victims) and communities in slums and tribal communities.

Arjun Ashoka

Arjun Ashoka received his undergraduate degree in Physics from St. Xavier's College in Mumbai in 2018. He has been interested in studying Physics ever since the 11th standard when he was introduced to the brain bending problems in the famed Halliday and Resnick textbook. Arjun attended the Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh and it was here that his interest in using science for sustainability was born. 

Arjun Ashoka.jpg

Arjun plans to study physics and applied physics till the PhD level and then pursue an education in to the workings of photovoltaics. He believes there is a serious need to bridge the gap between novel advancements in the efficiencies of lab based solar technologies and manufacturable and scaleable technologies. He is deeply interested in studying condensed matter and solid state physics and will be pursuing a Master of Advanced Study (MASt) in Physics at the University of Cambridge for the year 2018-19 with the support of the Inlaks Scholarship. The Master of Advanced Study (MASt) in Physics is also known as Part III of the Natural Science Tripos.

The Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge is doing incredible work on the optical and electronic properties of molecular and nanoscale semiconductors, for applications in optoelectronic devices such as solar cells and LEDs as well as cutting edge research for the next generation of Lithium ion batteries. Arjun hopes that in his time there he can expose himself to the frontiers of research in these areas to propel himself toward a fruitful PhD and career working on photovoltaics with the eventual drive to bring his work back to India – which he believes is a potential world leader in solar energy. 

In his free time Arjun enjoys listening to music, playing the guitar, cycling, playing football and going on photography trips to the Himalayas. 

Scholars 2018: Edwin Joesph, Ipshita Banerjee, Needhi Thangasamy and Rahul Sharma

Scholars 2018: Edwin Joesph, Ipshita Banerjee, Needhi Thangasamy and Rahul Sharma

Inlaks Scholars and Ravi Sankaran Fellowship Interns 2018

Inlaks Scholars and Ravi Sankaran Fellowship Interns 2018