Bangalore, Monday, 29 June 2020: The New India Foundation has announced 31st August 2020 as the deadline for applications for the tenth edition of its Fellowship programme. The Fellowship carries a stipend of Rs 150,000 per month for a year. Selected Fellows will join a community of twenty one published authors.
In the seven decades since Independence, there has been a large body of work produced by Indian historians and social scientists. Taken singly, many of these studies are very impressive; viewed cumulatively, they add up to much less than what one might expect. It is this gap that the New India Foundation seeks to address, by sponsoring work of quality on the history of India since Independence.
Spearheaded by Ramachandra Guha, Nandan Nilekani, Srinath Raghavan, Manish Sabharwal and Niraja Gopal Jayal, the New India Foundation strives to foster interest in documenting the dynamic and rich landscape of post-Independence India and to encourage high-quality research.
According to Ramachandra Guha, Founding Trustee, ‘The New India Foundation has published more than twenty outstanding works of history and non-fiction, many by younger writers, that have won a sheaf of prestigious awards. Our ongoing Fellowship programme aims to catalyze and produce many more such books, that will illuminate in different ways the history and politics of India since Independence'.
Open only to Indian nationals, these Fellowships will be awarded for one year and will carry a stipend of Rs 150,000 a month. Fellowship holders shall be expected to write original books. Proposals should be oriented towards publication, and outline a road map towards that destination. The Foundation is agnostic as regards genre, theme, and ideology: the only requirement is that the proposed works contribute to the fuller understanding of independent India. Thus Fellowship holders may choose to write a memoir, or a work of reportage, or a thickly footnoted academic study. Their books could be oriented towards economics, or politics, or culture. They could be highly specific—an account of a single decade or a single region—or wide-ranging, such as a countrywide overview.
From a large pool of several hundred applications, about 15-20 are shortlisted to meet with the jury and about 5 to 10 fellowships are awarded every two years.
The books that result from the New India Fellowship convey original research in an accessible manner to different constituencies. Some of the most acclaimed works of non-fiction published in recent years have been supported by the New India Foundation fellowships: Rahul Pandita’s Our Moon Has Blood Clots, Akshaya Mukul’s Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, Amrita Shah’s Ahmedabad: A City in the World, Kartik Shanker’s From Soup to Superstar: The Story of Sea Turtle Conservation, Gautam Bhatia’s The Transformative Constitution and Saba Dewan’s Tawaifnama to name a few (a full list of publications appears below).
Applicants for the New India Fellowships are invited to submit their book proposal and a writing sample of at least 5000 words (published or unpublished) either online (www.newindiafoundation.org/fellowships) or by couriering a physical copy to the Managing Trustee, The New India Foundation, Neev Schools, Sy No.16, Yemalur- Kempapura Main Road, Yemalur Bangalore 560037, Phone 080-71101774 (the phone number is provided for courier purposes only) before August 31st, 2020.
Twenty-one titles have been published under the NIF aegis, many of which have gone on to become seminal and award-winning works on contemporary Indian history.
Based in Bangalore, the core activity of the New India Foundation is the New India Fellowships. For more than a decade now, we have been matching public-spirited philanthropy with ground-breaking and relevant scholarships.
India’s rich, complex and contested history has been closely documented. However, the period since India achieved independence (post 1947) remains under-researched by historians and writers. The New India Foundation was set up in 2004 to seek remedy for this. We encourage breakthrough research on contemporary Indian history by awarding Fellowships to gifted, energetic, scholars and writers.
With the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize, for the best non-fiction book on modern/contemporary India, NIF has further built on its mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writings on the world’s largest democracy.
Carrying forward its legacy since thirteen years, the Annual NIF Lecture, renamed last year as ‘Girish Karnad Memorial Lecture’ in honour of the late multi-lingual scholar and playwright, is delivered by a distinguished scholar or writer. Held every year in a different city, the lecture is held in partnership with a reputed public institution in that city.
Ramachandra Guha, Nandan Nilekani, Manish Sabharwal, Srinath Raghavan and Niraja Gopal Jayal are the Trustees of the New India Foundation.
The Economist, in its issue of 21st March 2009, wrote of the New India Foundation as follows: ‘A promising alliance between an industrious scholar and a scholarly industrialist, the foundation brings to mind the Lunar Society of Georgian Birmingham, which counted among its members James Watt, perfecter of the steam engine, and Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles’.