2005 Award Ceremony

The 2nd annual Sardar Patel Award was held on June 11, 2006 at the UCLA Campus. The winner was Dr. Michael Youngblood and his dissertation.

Dr. Michael Youngblood

2005 Award Ceremony:
Abstract of Dissertation
Ceremony Program
Keynote Speakers
Letter from the Chairman of FSPAA
Letter from the UCLA History Chair

Abstract of Dissertation

"Cultivating Identity"

    "Cultivating Identity" is an anthropological investigation into the creation of political meaning and the construction of collective identity in contemporary Indian social organizing. Its object of investigation, a prominent movement called the Shetkari Sanghatana in India’s Maharashtra state, offers a excellent case study for examining the limitations of existing social movement theory and for developing an enriched understanding of the politics of social and cultural activism in India today. The study is based on two-and-a-half years of fieldwork conducted in Maharashtrian villages and among movement leaders and participants between 1996 and 1999. In both research and analysis, this dissertation delves into fields as diverse as politics, economics, organizational theory, folklore, and religious studies.

The Shetkari Sanghatana has been one of India’s largest, most influential, and most broadly popular agrarian movements. Emerging in the early 1980’s as a localized struggle for remunerative prices, the Sanghatana rapidly grew to become a highly successful multi-class movement with an active participant base that includes capitalist farmers, mid-level cultivators, smallholding peasants and agricultural laborers. This striking cross-section of rural society that makes up the Sanghatana’s performed community not only lies in stark contrast to the socially divisive movements with which India is often identified, it also defies most existing theory on social movements in general. Scholarly analyses of agrarian movements commonly suggest that the preconditions for organizational success and sustainability include a high degree of consensus on interests and an effective ideological unity. Thus, where movements exhibit an extremely wide socioeconomic base of support, most existing theory leads to conclusions that participants can only be behaving against their true interests – victims of false consciousness, beguiled by the skillful propagandizing of movement leaders.

In this dissertation I take a very different position, suggesting that successful mass social movements may often be better understood by looking at intra-movement contests over meaning and the movement’s shifting utility for differently positioned actors in different contexts of behavior and experience. Although the Sanghatana does enjoy some degrees of consensus and unity across its base, the more characteristic condition is one in which participants move in and out of the movement in accordance with their perceived interests and opportunities. Moreover, leaders are not exclusively empowered to frame the movement’s ideologies and agendas; ordinary participants also contribute to this framing.

Two key concepts are central to my analysis: ambiguity and negotiation. In their representations and dialogues on the movement, participants and leaders draw on a pool of shared multivocal symbols that are capable of expressing both divergent and overlapping contours of agrarian Maharashtrian identity. In this context of use, such symbols render the meaning of the movement itself open to wide variances of interpretation and subtle negotiations on meaning. One important window on this process of interpretive dialogue can be found in the symbols and rituals associated with a mythological demon-king named Bali, whose rule signifies for many a long-lost golden age in rural Maharashtra. Through an examination of modes of participation and participants’ negotiation on the meaning of Bali, I argue that the ambiguity of participant interests and collective meaning in the movement community has been beneficial to the Sanghatana’s effectiveness and sustainability. Contrary to reigning theoretical assumptions, my conclusions assert that ambiguity is neither a failing of the movement nor a failing of lower class subjects to apprehend the “rich farmer” agenda that the movement, in many respects, represents. Quite the opposite, Shetkari Sanghatana participants are highly aware of the interpretive variability within the movement. Subjects throughout the spectrum of the Sanghatana’s social base actively exploit these interstices of meaning, thereby contributing to the continuous crafting of the movement’s ideological contours and helping to define the range of social and economic objectives toward which the movement community struggles.

Award Ceremony Program

Masters of Ceremony
Jyoti Solanki

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. to 6:40 p.m.

Lighting of Lamp by Hamilton Brewart
U.S. National Anthem by The Boy Scouts of America, Troop 358, San Marino
Indian National Anthem by Arvind Joshi
Sardar Patel audio/video Program presentations by Vikram Kamdar
Entertainment Program by Sarita Vasa

Award Ceremony
6:40 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Welcome by Jitendra Mehta
Introduction of Rajmohan Gandhi by Navin Doshi
Keynote Address by Rajmohan Gandhi
Consulate General of India by Ambassador Shri Viswanathan
Dean of Social Sciences Dep. UCLA by Dr. Scott Waugh
Award criteria and introduction of committee by Dr. D. R. SarDesai
Presentation of Award by Ukabhai and Nalini Solanki
Acceptance of Award by David Stuligross
Donation to Red Cross by Big Saver Foods

8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Keynote Speakers

Rajmohan Gandhi

     Born 1935 in New Delhi. Author, commentator, and Visiting Professor. Member, International Council of Initiatives of Change (formerly known as Moral Re-Armament); Trustee, Friends of Moral Re-Armament (India)

Current positions: Visiting Professor in History for Fall 2001, UCLA.
Initiator and co-chair, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, New Delhi.
Jury member, Nuremburg Human Rights Award.

Some previous positions:
Visiting Professor in History and Political Science, University of Illinois, 1997, 1999 & 2001.
Emory University, Atlanta, 2000.
Obirin University, Tokyo, 1997.
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, 1996.
Professor, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, 1992-2000 Member of the Rajya Sabha, the Indian Upper House, 1990-1992.
Convener, Joint Parliamentary Committee of both Houses for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, 1990-92.
Leader, Indian Delegation, UN Human Rights Commission, Geneva, 1990.
Editor, Indian Express, Chennai (Madras), 1985-87.
Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Washington DC, 1984-5. Member of the Press Council of India, 1982-84.
Chief Editor, Himmat Weekly, Mumbai (Bombay), 1964-81.
Honors received include Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Calgary, Alberta, 1997.
Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Obirin University, Tokyo, 1997.
Honorary Professorship, University of Osh, Kyrgyz Republic, 1996.

Books published include:
Revenge and Reconciliation: Understanding South Asian History, Penguin, New Delhi, 1999.
Rajaji: A Life (biography of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, 1878-1972, Governor-General of India, 1948-1950), Penguin, New Delhi, 1997.
The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi, Viking, New Delhi, 1995.
Patel: A Life (biography of Vallabhbhai Patel, 1875-1950, Deputy Prime Minister of India, 1947-1950), Navajivan, Ahmedabad, 1990.
Understanding the Muslim Mind, Penguin, New Delhi, 1987.

Scott L. Waugh

     Scott L. Waugh is the Dean of Social Sciences at UCLA. As dean, he is responsible for the leadership of some of UCLA’s largest and highest-ranked departments, including anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, sociology, communication studies, ethnic studies, chicana/chicano studies, women’s studies, and ROTC programs. Nearly half the undergraduate degrees awarded by UCLA each year are awarded in the Social Sciences. Also reporting to Waugh are three interdisciplinary research centers: the Center for the Study of Women, the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, and the Institute for Social Science Research.

     Waugh graduated summa cum laude in history from UCLA in 1970. He earned his doctorate in English History from the University of London. A member of the UCLA faculty since 1975 in the Department of History, he has held a number of leadership positions at the university, including the chair of the Department of History and chair of the Council on Educational Development.

     Waugh has received numerous honors and fellowships including two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the UC President’s Fellowship in the Humanities. He has also been the recipient of one of UCLA’s highest honors, The Distinguished Teaching Award. Among his many publications on Medieval English History are the books: The Lordship of England (Princeton, 1988), England in the Reign of Edward III (Cambridge, 1991), and Christendom and Its Discontents (Cambridge, 1996, Editor).

Letter from the Chairman of FSPAA

Dear friends,

     This year we are celebrating the presentation of Second Sardar Patel Dissertation award Facilitated by Friends of Sardar Patel Association. I am extremely delighted to hear from the Evaluation Committee that they have unanimously designated Dr. David Stuligross as the winner of this prestigious award. We extend our heartiest congratulation to Dr. David Stiligross for being selected to receive this prestigious award. The title of his dissertation for which he received the Ph.D. degree from a highly rated University of California Berkely in the current year 2001 is “A piece of Land to Call One’s Own” (this refers to newly created state of Jharkhand in India).

     We record with gratification that the creation of the Sardar Patel Endowment at UCLA has generated tremendous excitement among the students of various universities all over America to contest the annual award. We feel very proud of such a wonderful accomplishment. It encourages us to concentrate all our efforts more aggressively to circulate our message reaching to each and every prospective participant. We do appreciate the valuable cooperation offered by the department of history at UCLA.

     Our sincerest thanks to our chief adviser Dr. D.R. SarDesai, Emeritus Professor of History at UCLA and chair of the Sardar Patel Dissertation Award Evaluation Committee and the esteemed members of the Committee who have amazingly scrutinized hundreds of pages of materials leading to the selection of the award winner.

     It is my earnest desire to develop a center at UCLA providing rich cultural heritage of India which include Arts, Music, Dance and Literature.

Lalchand Gaglani

Letter from the UCLA History Chair

From its Establishment to the Present

     On October 31, 1999, the 124th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an endowment of $250,000 was pledged to UCLA (it was fully redeemed a year later) by the Friends of Sardar Patel Award Association of Los Angeles to enable the establishment of an annual award of $10,000 for the best Ph.D. dissertation on Modern India in Social Sciences, Humanities, Education and Fine Arts completed at any U.S. university in the previous year. The award, to be administered by UCLA's History Department would honor the memory of the one of the greatest sons of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who along with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, constituted the triumvirate that was primarily responsible for the advent of India's independence in 1947. The Sardar was truly the architect of Modern India as a political entity being the pivotal force behind the integration of over 500 princely states, without which we might truthfully say, there would be no India as a state we have known in the last half century. It may be added that as of this date, there is no doctoral dissertation award of this magnitude in the United States in any of the academic fields mentioned above.

     The Sardar Patel Dissertation Award is expected to raise the level of academic discourse on Modern India in the United States. The winners of the award will be called Sardar Patel Scholars, who would signify distinct
scholarly merit and intellectual excellence in Indian Studies in this country.

     The establishment of the Award on October 31, 1999 was marked by a banquet for 600 persons drawn from UCLA's academic community, donors to the Sardar Patel Dissertation Award Endowment, and other prominent members of the Indian-American community. On that day, there was a screening of the feature movie, Sardar, directed by Ketan Mehta, an exhibition of photographs depicting the life of Sardar Patel and an inspiring address by Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) and distinguished author of the definitive biography of Sardar Patel.

     The first Sardar Patel Dissertation Award was conferred on Dr. Srirupa Roy, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst by Navin and Pratima Doshi, donors of the Doshi Chair at UCLA in the distinguished presence of Shri Inder Kumar Gujral, former Prime Minister of India. at a banquet attended by over 400 persons at the Sheraton Anaheim on October 29, 2000. Dr Roy completed her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania on "Divided We Stand: Diversity and National Identity in India," under the able supervision of Professor Ian S. Lustick.

     And now, on December 2, 2001, we meet to honor Dr. David Stuligross, presently Assistant Professor of Peace Studies at Colgate University, as the winner of the Sardar Patel Dissertation Award for the year 2001 for his doctoral dissertation on ""A Piece of Land to Call One's Own: Ethnic Federalism and Institutional Innovation in India." This work on the emergence of Jharkhand as one of the three new states in India was completed in the Political Science Department of the University of California at Berkeley under the esteemed guidance of Professor Jyotirindra Das Gupta .

     UCLA's Department of History, the Friends of Sardar Patel Award Association and the Indian-American community of Southern California supporting the activity, warmly congratulate Dr. DAVID STULIGROSS as the new SARDAR PATEL SCHOLAR. May the high level of his scholarship inspire generations of doctoral students across the U.S. to perpetuate the study of India in the consciousness of this great nation. May the work of the Sardar Patel Scholars blaze the trail for successive winners of this prestigious award for all times to come.

Chair, Sardar Patel Dissertation Awards Committee, UCLA