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South Asia Institute


With Nandan Nilekani at SAI

Nandan Nilekani delivered the Harish C Mahindra lecture at Harvard earlier this week. Ton of fun, great attendance from Cambridge community, trying to understand the promise of the digital ecosystem of which the biometric ID, Aadhaar, is a key piece. Here’s a report on the event: “Being able to confirm,


Sir Abed at SAI

The South Asia Institute was honored to host at Harvard, for our annual Harish Mahindra Lecture, Sir Fazle Fasan Abed, founder and chairperson of Dhaka based BRAC. BRAC is the world’s largest NGO, now alleviating suffering of the poor and needy in many countries in Asia and Africa. The lecture


A pool for do-gooders

Here’s an op-ed published in Indian Express. The prospect of mandated corporate social responsibility (CSR), as directed by the India’s Companies Act, 2013, prompts revealing reactions from all and sundry. For the sceptics of organised, especially large-scale, enterprise, CSR is an oxymoron. For those who fear the encroaching hand of

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India has a large number of government-owned corporations. They are called Public Sector Undertakings, or PSUs, in India. World Bank and South Asia Initiative are jointly engaging with PSUs this week in Mumbai. The agenda includes discussing ways in which PSUs can make their CSR programs more productive. The new


With Raghu Rai

Raghu Rai delivered the sixth annual Harish Mahindra lecture at Harvard, hosted by our South Asia Institute. He discussed several dozens of his photographs, taken over fifty years as an accidental photographer (that is, one who meandered into photography after a civil engineering degree, and never left, fortunately for all


SAI – year in review

The South Asia Institute at Harvard has grown, intellectually, by leaps and bounds, and has engaged dozens, if not hundreds, of students, alumni, faculty and other well-wishers in Boston and in South Asia, thanks to the efforts of an amazing team. Do take a look at South Asia Institute: Year


From Vishakapatnam, To Anywhere

We’ve all heard how technology is rapidly changing the way we communicate with one another. But what isn’t always mentioned is the fact that technology changes the type of communication we have, and the results of those interactions as well. In October, I led a video discussion that was broadcasted

Data collection at Kumbh

One wag criticized me for suggesting that this is the Big Data Kumbh in a previous blog post.  I’m not sure why collecting data on such an interesting and inspiring (to me anyway) gathering should detract for a spiritual experience. This link shows some of my colleagues collecting data on