Scholars 2019: Amartya Mitra, Anirudh Belle, Anushri Visweswaran & Kirtivardhan Singh
In a three part series of posts we will be introducing the scholars of 2019.
This week we have two scholars, Amartya Mitra and Anushri NV who will be pursuing degrees in conservation. Anirudh Belle is pursuing a degree in law while Kirtivardhan Singh will pursue a degree in economics.
I have been fascinated with nature for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are those of exploring forests; collecting insects and frogs in the pristine environment of Bhutan, where I spent my early years. This fascination translated into a childhood obsession for fossils and dinosaurs. Just like the theropods evolving into birds, my interest, too evolved from dinosaurs to ornithology as I grew! My pursuits for a life dedicated to wildlife led me to an undergraduate degree from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, where I majored in zoology and biochemistry. Here, my professors, through their lectures and recommended readings such as Dawkins’ “Selfish Gene”, kindled my interest in evolutionary biology.
With this newfound thirst and my quest to learn about the scientific process and novel ecosystems, I went on to intern under the guidance of Dr Elisa Bonaccorso at USFQ in Ecuador. Here, I worked on DNA and bioinformatics in the laboratory, while assisting with bird captures and mist-netting on the field. During this sojourn, I was also extremely lucky to be able to visit the Galápagos Islands, an experience which cemented my desire to pursue a career in evolutionary research. Sadly, even in such a protected ecosystem, I happened to spot a sea lion with a plastic ring cutting into its neck. This was a particularly significant incident which, along with the habitat degradation, human encroachment and overfishing that I witnessed in the bustling metropolis of my hometown of Mumbai, turned my eyes to the need to protect and conserve our planet and its wildlife.
When I am not in the laboratory or on the field, I create art and practice scientific illustration. I also sculpt and paint animals and, in the process, absorb each one’s distinct and unique morphological features and adaptations. I wish to use this hobby to raise awareness about conservation.
I will be eternally grateful to the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation for helping me in my quest, through the opportunity to pursue an MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation at University College London. By studying in this world-renowned university of eminent alumni, with expert researchers and some of the world’s best resources, I hope to be armed with the knowledge to study and conserve the incredible wildlife of my country.
Anirudh is a graduate of the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) programme at the Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, and the B.A. Economics programme at Loyola College, Chennai. He has a general passion for the law, but with a specific interest in private law, the philosophical foundations of private law, as well as administrative law. Besides the law, Anirudh is also an enthusiast of music – Jazz, Electronic, Rock, and Indian classical music – of food, and long-distance running. In March 2014, the India Today magazine featured him in their national list of 30 young achievers, for his advocacy through You Speak India (an organisation he had founded in the run-up to the 2014 general elections in India to promote greater awareness and engagement among the youth in India on public affairs). Anirudh will be commencing graduate studies in the law (BCL) at the University of Oxford in October 2019.
Growing up on the edges of a city, nature was an integral part of my life. Over the years, I have watched the city grow and the life that once surrounded me disappear. This led to an interest in nature conservation, and a Bachelor’s in Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology from Madras Christian College.
Field and classroom experiences during my undergraduate led to a strong belief in balancing the needs of society and the environment. I became interested in how the two affect each other, and especially through governance practices. My current work focuses on how perceptions of natural resource bases may have affected their management historically and how such academic understanding can be practically applied today.
I am thankful for the Inlaks scholarship, which allows me to pursue a Master’s in Sustainable Development, with a focus on governance, from Utrecht University. I hope to gain the necessary tools and skills to study governance practices through multidisciplinary research.
After my course, I aim to work in the field for a few years to gain experience and further hone my skills, before pursuing a PhD. I wish to study the effects of governance policies on natural resources and the environment in South India, and to use that understanding to help take steps towards a more sustainable future.
Economics is an intricate subject, however something which each individual feels he or she has an expertise in, whether knowingly or unknowingly. It can be agreed that the world around us is complex but far more complex is human behaviour. Economics helps us give reason to human actions at an individual, state and institutional level.
Ever since I was introduced to economics formally, I have been amazed by the diverse applicability of the field. Not just in existing orthodox domains like the government and central banks, I find economics increasingly more visible in our daily life decision making and rightly so. I often tell my friends that ‘Ten percent of the world around us is explained by the three Laws of Motion, and the remaining ninety percent is pure Economics or its applications’. I take detailed interest in policy implications of economics and understanding growth and development.
I studied B.A. (hons.) Economics at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce in Delhi University. Inspired and motivated to study the subject further, I have decided to pursue the MSc in Economics programme at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I am extremely grateful to the Inlaks Foundation for giving me a scholarship, as this will now serve as a bridge between an enthusiastic economics student to a well equipped economist in my career.
A Roger Federer fan to the core, I am an excellent tennis player. As a child, I have always loved all sports and played tennis at the national level. Sport gives me an opportunity to detach from the world for the duration of play and it serves as my ‘downtime’. I have learnt valuable life lessons on the field of play that have had an instrumental effect on making me the person that I am today. Not one to back down to a challenge, I take life on, one shot at a time.