Scholars 2019: Madhulika Srikumar, Mohammad Haider, Nikita Shah & Pratyush Anand
This week we bring to you a lawyer, an assyriologist, an art conservator and a physicist.
Madhulika Srikumar is currently an Associate Fellow with the Cyber Initiative at Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and a India-US Public Interest Technology Fellow at New America in Washington DC. For the past three years, Madhulika has been working at the intersection of technology, law and policy.
Her research on law enforcement access to data has been cited extensively by prominent stakeholders including the expert committee established by the government to draft India's first data protection law. She regularly authors opinion pieces on developments in regulation of the digital economy for leading publications. Through her research and advocacy, Madhulika seeks to examine how cyber governance in emerging economies can respond to policies scripted predominantly in the West.
In fall this year, Madhulika will be heading to Harvard Law to pursue the LLM programme with support from the Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarship as well as the law school. During her graduate programme, Madhulika intends to gain a holistic and interdisciplinary understanding of law-making, institution building and gender mainstreaming to realise her goals both as a lawyer and a policy professional.
The depictions of tribute bearing delegates at Persepolis have for long been an object of my fascination with the ancient Near Eastern world. The reliefs of Scythians wearing their distinct pointed hats, the Medians donning their traditional tunics and trousers, and the Persians wearing robes influenced by Elamite attire, all highlighted the celebration of regional distinctions and connections between the varied regions of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.
Curious to learn more about these cultural connections in the Near Eastern world, I read about the Achaemenid Empire, and how it reflected not only the continuity of Ancient Near Eastern traditions, but also expanded the boundaries to which they dispersed. The palaces at Persepolis and Susa incorporated fluted columns representing Greek styles, Assyrian motifs like winged bulls and even Egyptian motifs like the winged disk, representing the all encompassing nature of the Persian Empire and the synthesis of diverse cultures and arts achieved under the King of Kings.
My MPhil in Assyriology at Cambridge will cover the ancient languages, cultures and the archaeology of Mesopotamia. My period of focus will be the First Millennium BC, when Mesopotamia witnessed the rise of territorial states in Assyria and Babylonia, followed by the cultural and political unification of the entire Near Eastern world under the Achaemenids of Persia. Through my studies, I aim to better understand the cross-cultural interactions shaping these regions, and how this cultural interconnectedness reflected in the arts, architecture, religions, languages and the state systems of this period.
Apart from my academic interests in history and archaeology, I am interested in astronomy, and often spend my evenings observing and illustrating deep sky objects like clusters and nebulae. I also really like to understand how things work, and my current focus is on 90’s Japanese sports cars.
I grew up to be a fine arts major specializing in commercial art, but my love for preserving and conserving arts of every shape, size and form was constantly encouraged. Growing up in a community with diverse traditions coupled with my grandmother’s annual ritual of cleaning her collection of textiles, copper/silver vessels and account books, taught me the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.
I love spending time in museums and try to learn as much as I can about different forms of art. A chance visit to a special exhibition in a museum where conservators were working on an art object and explaining to the visitors their work, changed by whole perspective about museums and what happens behind the scenes. From there, I went on to start my formal training in art conservation by pursuing a Master’s course at the National Museum Institute in Delhi.
My journey in the field of art conservation has been fascinating to say the least. Conservation is an amalgam of arts and sciences with something new to learn every single day. From assisting in the preventive conservation of an Egyptian Mummy, restoring a national treasure, to making paint using historic recipes, I have had the opportunity to work on a lot of different kinds of media and supports.
The Inlaks scholarship will enable me to continue my training in art conservation at the University of Amsterdam with a specialization in paintings. I hope to research and investigate conservation problems that arise in oil and acrylic paintings, concentrating on pigment alterations and their degradation mechanisms. My main aim is to find practical solutions for conservation problems in the Indian context which can be easily applied in practice supported by scientific reasoning.
When I’m not conserving art, I love visiting museums and historic places, reading books and taking trips to the mountains.
Hello everyone! I am Pratyush Anand. I completed my B.Tech in Engineering Physics from IIT Madras in the year 2019. Physics has always come to me as a surprise and my first interaction with this subject happened about six years back and till now it never fails to amaze me with all its advancements. I mean, who knew that a space-time geometry isomorphic to a Mobius Strip can lead to consequences such as time travel. Yes! Tony Stark was right :)
Since high school, I have been very interested in learning about the vast world of particles and the way our universe is evolving in time starting from the Big Bang. Since then I am trying to gain understanding in this field through my courses and internships.
During college, I had the opportunity to work with some of the great minds in the field through internships at CERN in Geneva and Thesis project with the IHEP [Institute of High Energy Physics] in China. I have been admitted in the Joint Master of Science (MSc) program with the specialisation in High Energy Physics at ETH Zurich and Ecole Polytechnique Paris. With the help of this program, I will be able to develop skills in experimental High Energy Physics which includes accelerator and detector physics. I wish to contribute in this field either in terms of understanding the universe in a better way or in terms of creating modern technologies for a better future of mankind. Apart from that, I like Sci-Fi movies, novels, Marvel/DC comics. I also like to sing in my free time and play table tennis.
I feel very grateful to the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation for selecting me as one of the thirteen scholars for the year 2019. I have also been selected as a Narotam Sekhsariya Scholar. With the help of these two scholarships, I can focus on my studies without facing any financial burden.