Opportunities for Dalit and Adivasi Students for Higher Education in
World’s Premier Educational Institutions: A

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*Insight Study Circle Meeting  held on 22 August 2010 (Sunday) at  Indian
Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi*


*1. David Vumlallian Zou* (from Manipur) teaches at History Department,
Delhi University and did his doctorate from Queen’s University, Belfast with
full scholarship from Academic Planning Grant (Northern Ireland).

*2. Abhay Xaxa* (from Chhattisgarh) is currently working with Indian
Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi and did his Masters in Social
Anthropology from University of Sussex, UK  (2008) as one of the recipient
of International Ford Fellowship Programme.

*3. Bhawani Buswala* (from Rajasthan) is currently in the country for his
field research. He is pursuing his PhD in Anthropology from Brown
University, Rhodes Island, USA on full university scholarship.

*4. Rama Devi* *Hansraj* (from Andhra Pradesh) completed her Post Graduation
in Human Rights from University of London (2004) as one of the International
Ford Fellow. She is currently based in Kolkata and is working with Catholic
Relief Service.

*Given below are the excerpts from the speeches from our panel of speakers
followed by a brief interaction session with our audiences*.

*Rama Devi Hansraj*

I did my MA from University of Hyderabad, Department of Mass Communication.
I am the first generation educated person in my family. After completing my
studies in Hyderabad, I worked with some small Human Rights groups in Andhra

Through that network I came to know about International Ford Foundation
Fellowship programme that was meant exclusively for students from
marginalised background.  I applied and was selected after going through its
rigorous selection process. With that fellowship, I did my Masters in
University of London in Human Rights.

As I was part of Dalit students’ movement in Hyderabad University, I was
very conscious of caste discrimination that we all go through both subtle
and direct. Perhaps that made me to opt for my study in the area of Human

Also I felt that articulation on the issues is a major problem. I have heard
many Dalit women who were able to articulate and share their personal
experiences in their vernacular language so well but doing so in English was
a big challenge. They are being represented by people who are only good at
articulating in English and so people coming from the grass root realities
could never talk for themselves at a bigger platform like UN. These reasons
led me to opt for a course in human rights.

What I liked about Ford Foundation was their entire interview process. The
whole process was very comforting and gave us enough breathing space and to
remain confident as applicants. They appointed one panel member to each
applicant to interact at personal level. The one who was interviewing me,
later, in the interview actually spoke on behalf of me which was very
encouraging. This gave me lot of confidence and helped me face whatever
question they asked.

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