Grantee Update: Mingma Lhamu
Mingma Lhamu was the 2017 recipient of the Inlaks King’s Research Studentship. She is currently conducting research which looks at the making of Darjeeling as a colonial hill station. In this week’s post Mingma writes about her experience in the UK and expresses gratitude to all those that facilitated her research.
Being selected as the recipient of Inlaks King’s Research Studentship for the year 2017 was one of the best things that happened to me in during my twenty-seven years. It provided me with a unique opportunity to be associated with the Kings India Institute, King’s College London as a visiting researcher under the supervision of Dr. Berenice Guyot-Rechard, to work at the archives and libraries around the United Kingdom, as well as, to explore, learn and engage with fellow researchers for three months. Those three months (actually it was about three and half months) were enlightening, enjoyable and absolutely memorable.
I spent most of my time at the British Library collecting content for my PhD. This proved to be a space that not only provided me access to unbelievable research material but also gave me the opportunity to meet with scholars from University of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University and universities around the UK. These interactions not only made life at the library less monotonous but also for some of the most unforgettable and interesting conversations I have had.
I met Dr. Louise Tillin, Interim Director, King’s India Institute and my supervisor; took part in the weekly seminars of the department where I met and engaged with the research scholars from the Institute. Since I did not have to report to the department everyday, I had the liberty to work independently in the archives and libraries.
My research expeditions outside the British Library proved to be equally fruitful. I was delighted at the opportunity to meet with Prof. Michael Hutt of SOAS. He very kindly carved out time of his busy schedule to discuss my project with me.
He introduced me to Gavin Edgerley-Harris, Director of the Gurkha Museum in Winchester, United Kingdom, who allowed me access to their library and archives. I spent a week at the conducting research at the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS), Cambridge University, where Dr. Kevin Greenbank, Archivist, CSAS, and Rachel M. Rowe, Librarian, CSAS assisted me. During my time in Cambridge I was lucky to attend one of the Smuts Memorial Lecture Fund seminars, interact with the researchers and the teaching faculty of the university.
I am deeply indebted to my dear friend Dr. Thomas Simpson, Post-Doc and a teaching faculty at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, without whom my time in Cambridge would have been not so rewarding and comfortable. The final stop of my research sojourn was at the University of Leeds. Here I spent some quality time with the PhD students of the department of History.
During my free time I attended talks and volunteered at the Cartoon Museum. Though, I was able to volunteer only on a few weekends, the experience was incredible. I had fun interacting with the staff and visitors of the museum alike.
This trip was my first outside of India and it was a huge deal for me. Yes, I was nervous and anxious about everything like any one would be, however, I met many kind, patient and thoughtful friends. They helped me make my stay in the UK not only safe and comfortable but they made me feel at home. I would also like to thank the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, without the support of their excellent team this trip would not have been possible.