Chakra Award

Established in 2004, the Chakra Endowed Fund encourages the study of South Asia at Rutgers University by enhancing the Rutgers Library holdings in this area. The fund supports the acquisition of books, periodicals, films, microfilms, DVDs, and other media.

Additionally, the Chakra Fund supports the Chakra Student Paper Prize, an annual student paper competition that includes a cash award to encourage further study of South Asia. Undergraduate papers are expected to be approximately ten to twenty-five double-spaced pages in length, and graduate papers should be approximately twenty to forty pages in length. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, course term papers, chapters from honors theses, or papers produced during independent study or study abroad. The paper can be on any topic in any discipline (or combination of disciplines) related to one or more countries in South Asia or the South Asian diaspora.

Students interested in submitting a paper for consideration should download the appropriate form and send the form electronically, along with the paper, to the Director of the South Asian Studies Program by the due date (usually mid-March each year).

We are deeply grateful to the generous anonymous donors who have established the Chakra Endowed Fund to support the Rutgers South Asian Studies Program and to fund this student paper prize. Individuals who would like to contribute to The Chakra Endowed Fund or to support SASP in some other way are encouraged to contact Prof. Julia Stephens, Interim Director, South Asian Studies Program.


Past Chakra Prize Winners:


Malaika Jawed, AMESALL, for her paper entitled "Self in the Lover"


Vivek Shah, Religion, for his paper entitled "History, Myth, and the Hermeneutics of Time in the South Asian Imaginary"



Saloni Gupta, History and AMESALL, for a chapter from her honors thesis, “TK Adranvala’s Negotiations with Ideological, Social and Political Constraints, 1947–1966.”

Naimi Patel, Philosophy and Religion, for her paper entitled “Sir Charles Wilkins: An Orientalist?”

Honorable Mention

David Sastre, English and Comparative Literature, for his paper entitled “New-Hewn Faces: Baluta and Double Consciousness”



Rashmee Kumar for her paper entitled "The Myth of the “Body Beautiful”: Representation and Commodification in Contemporary American Yoga Culture."



Vakul Gupta, Genetics, SAS, Rutgers University for his paper entitled "Death and Decay in U.R. Anantha Murthy's Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man"

Honorary Mention

Dimple Shah, Public Health, SAS, Rutgers University for her paper entitled "The Victimized Feminist"