Trinity Term at OCHS saw two new Shivdasani fellows coming to Oxford: Prof. Shashiprabha Kumar, Professor of Sanskrit at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, and Dr Sangeetha Menon from the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. The Shivdasani Fellowship exists to enable outstanding scholars of Indian nationality to come and study and teach at Oxford University.
Prof. Kumar specialises in Nyaya-Vaisesika and has published widely in this field over the past thirty years. During her stay at the OCHS she delivered two lectures and presented two seminars. Besides these, she delivered a talk to the Continuing Education Department, a talk on the Kathopanisad, and on 'Vedic yajna: From ritual to spiritual'.
While teaching a course on Tarkasamgraha at the Centre she noted the lack of an introductory, comprehensive book on Vaisesika. Encouraged by her students and the Director and Academic Director, she is preparing a proposal to author such a book with Routledge for publication under the Hindu Studies Series. Meanwhile, she has prepared a first draft of the book.
As well as the many academic facilities Oxford offers, Prof. Kumar greatly appreciated the atmosphere at the Centre: 'During my eight week stay I never felt that I was away from my home. The Centre is very warm and friendly.' Prof. Kumar was also well liked by the students at the Centre who appreciated her generosity of time given in many tutorials.
Dr Menon has been a fellow at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, since 1996. While at the OCHS, she focused on her work on 'Emotions, experience and consciousness: A comparative study of Darwin, Ekman, and Natyasastra'. She is working towards a monograph that looks at the implications of current trends in the study of emotions with particular reference to Natyasastra. This study will also contribute to her book Consciousness, Agency and Spiritual Experiences. The Fellowship at the OCHS and her exposure to the scholarship at the Centre and in Oxford have greatly contributed to this study.