In Mumbai: New Members of the Brandeis Family

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We arrive in Mumbai to a blast of heat, a bit startling after the mildness of the Delhi winter.  The scale of the city is vast, and so is the traffic, even in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.  It is wedding season in India, and on our way from the airport to the hotel we past many plots of open land that have been transformed into elaborate parties that spill out onto the roadways.  The legendary contrasts of this sprawling city are everywhere:  the swank high rises and car dealerships, side-by-side the crowded shanties of slums and pavement dwellers.

A new Brandeis family, Hemant and Yolanda Paranjape, the parents of Tanay Paranjape ’13 host us for dinner at their home in a Mumbai suburb.  We also meet Preeti Nalwa, the mother of Tarini Nalwa ’13; the Talwa family has recently relocated to Mumbai from London.  The Paranjape family has a history of support for educational institutions in Mumbai that goes back a century, including establishing the Parle Tilak Vidyalaya School, and we learn a great deal about how one local family has made a multi-generational commitment to serving its community.

Jehuda Reinharz, Hemant and Yolanda Paranjape P '13, and Preeti Nalwa P '13

Making a Difference in Sustainable Development

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On our last morning in Delhi, we have breakfast with Ravi Lakshmikanthan and a group of alumni and students of the Heller School’s Sustainable International Development program.   The SID students have all graduated in the last few years, and are active in the governmental, intergovernmental, and NGO sectors.   Among them are  Reena Gupta, MA SID ’02, a natural resources management specialist with the World Bank, Chandan Samal MA SID ’03 is a project development specialist with USAID, focusing on food security issues, and Alok Kumar, MA SID ’06, who is working on capacity development projects in rural India for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Tenzin Dhonyo has made his way down to Delhi from Dharasalama, where he is

Jehuda Reinharz and Meher Singh '32

working for the Tibetan government in exile.   We compare notes on the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, on the impact of their Brandeis experience, and on ideas for future gatherings of Brandeis alumni in Delhi and in India more generally.  The alumni (and Jehuda) also take turns holding young Meher Singh, Brandeis class of 2032, whose mother, Professor Harleen Singh, is busy soliciting ideas from the alumni about stronger connections between SID and Women’s and Gender Studies.

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