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Appointments 2003-04

Rembert Lutjeharms
Rembert Lutjeharms

Trinity Term (Apr-Jun 04)

Shivdasani Fellowship

Professor S., Ramaratnam (Ph.D. Sanskrit, University of Madras) is Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Vaishnava and Hindu Studies during Trinity Term 2003. He is Principal of the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College in Chennai (Madras), India. His wide range of publications and research interests include Sanskrit grammar and poetry, and the practice and theory of Hindu domestic ritual.

Hilary Term (Jan-Mar 04)

Shivdasani Fellowships

Awards for this fellowship have been granted to two scholars this term, one from India and one from Italy.
Daniela Rossella obtained her degree (promotion) in Sanskrit Language and Literature, magna cum laude, at the University of Milan, Italy, with an essay regarding the woman's condition in ancient India. She obtained her Ph.D. in 2000, magna cum laude, at the University of Rome, Italy, with an essay on women's characters in classical Indian poetry. Throughout her career, her work has followed two different, albeit parallel, trends: First, the women¹s position in India (both in past and the present) from the perspective of law, religion, literature, and sociology. Second, the study of Indian classical texts (epic, poetry, law, drama, innology, etc.), in order to reach a holistic vision of Indian civilisation. She has translated many Sanskrit texts, several of which had not yet been translated into any Western language, and written essays about classical Indian literature and about woman's position in ancient and modern Indian society. She has taken part, and will take part, to many international conferences and congresses. Since 1991, Dr. Rossella has served as Department Assistant in the Oriental Studies Department of the University Milano, Italy. From the academic year 2001-2002 she serves also as Department Assistant in the Department of Philosophical, Linguistic, and Literary-Linguistic Sciences of the University of Perugia (Italy), and she also works as Master organizer and tutor at IULM, the Free University of Languages and Communications of Milano. Lectures, lessons, speeches, researches, tutorship of students are parts of her work. Actually, she is engaged in two again parallel projects: 1) the first translation into Italian of the renowned Vidyaakara¹s anthology (the Subhaasitaratnakosha), destined to become a part of a larger study concerning Indian poetry; 2) an investigation about the relationship between Indian devotional poetry and Indian classical amorous lyric, along with a comparison with some Western mystical currents and their profane counterparts. For reading the complete list of Daniela's publications, please visit her homepage:,Daniela.htm
Nilima Chitgopekar is an Associate Professor and currently the Head of the History Department at the Jesus & Mary College ( Delhi University).Having taught there for over two decades her teaching assignments include The History of Ancient India and The History Of the USA. Along with this undergraduate teaching Nilima has been teaching the post-graduate students in a separate campus. Having completed a Ph.D on Development of Shivaism in Madhya Pradesh c. AD 550-1200 she was fortunate to immediately start teaching a course that was relevant to the kind of research she was involved in. The course is entitled Development in Indian Religions and the topics that she covered include The Emergence and Spread of Tantrism, The Evolution of the Vaishnava Pantheon and Growth of Shivaism.
Nilima Chitgopekar's interest in the study of religion is exemplified in the methodology used in her book Encountering Shivaism The Deity the Milieu the Entourage ( Munshiram Manoharlal, 1998). Here she looks at the development of a sect at a particular point of time and in a specific geographical locale. She attempts a holistic approach to a wide variety of sources-iconography, scriptures such as the Puranas and inscriptions. Chitgopekar also works in areas of gender studies. She recently edited a volume Invoking Goddesses Gender Politics in Indian Religion (Har Anand, 2002).
Her most recent publication is a small monograph The Book of Durga (Penguin, 2003). At present she is writing a book on Shiva.

Tamal Krishna Goswami Visiting Fellow 2004

This year's TKG Fellowship has been awarded to Dr.Vidya Sayinath of the University of Madras. Dr. Sayinath acquired her degree of Doctorate in the System of Vedanta of Indian Philosophy. Her thesis refers to the epistemological aspect as elucidated by Sankara and Ramanuja. Her work highlights the significance of knowledge as expounded by the two philosophers, which served as the substratum for their Ontological structure. Presently she is engaged in the study of Ramanuja's Philosophy. This study examines the Concept of Devotion as the cementing factor of the various aspects of his System. Dr Sayinath writes articles on religion for various publications, including several articles for the Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

Michaelmas Term (Oct-Dec 04)

Shivdasani Fellowship

Dr.Vidya Sayinath  hails from Orissa, (Eastern India) and is currently a Professor, Department of Indian Philosophy, University of Madras, Chennai and earlier to it, worked at Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai as the Editor. He has been teaching Indian Philosophy especially Vedanta for over two decades. His areas of Research Interest include Buddhism, inter-school dialectics in Vedanta, and textual studies and editing of rare Sanskrit texts. He has contributed a number of articles in National and International Journals and authored a few books which include Anubhutiprakasa of Vidyaranya and Advaitamakaranda of Laksmidhara.
He had his Ph.D. degree in Sanskrit from University of Madras and also studied traditional texts in Advaita and Nyaya under noted traditional scholars. He was a Charles Wallece Fellow at the University of Oxford and gave a few lectures on the Tarkapada of Brahmasutrabhasya of Sankara in 1995.

OCHS welcomes new students

New students to the Centre for 2003-2004 include:

Nadeem Ahmed, UK (2003)

Pembroke College BA in Religious Studies, School of African & Oriental Studies, London, 1993. Presently reading for an MLitt in Philosophy, Oxford University.

Rembert Lutjeharms, Belgium (2003)

Blackfriars Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees in Oriental Studies (Indology), University of Ghent, Belgium, 2003. Thesis: "Hamsaduta of Rupa Goswami. A Study in Translation". Currently pursuing a DPhil in Theology, Oxford University. Rembert's interest is in Sanskrit poetry and poetics, especially in relation to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.

Kiyokazu Okita, Japan (2003)

Pembroke College B.A. in Religious Studies, International Christian University, Tokyo, 2001. Thesis:"The Necessity for and the Possobility of Interreligious Dialogue". Presently reading for an MSt., in the Study of Religion, Oxford University.
I was born in Japan, where Buddhism and Shintoism are the predominant religions. However, I received my secondary education in a Jesuit school and thus, developed an awareness of the plurality of religions. During my undergraduate days I studied the history of Indian intellectual thought and modern Protestant theology. My current academic interest is in inter-religious dialogue, particularly Hindu-Christian dialogue.