The 1st annual Sardar Patel Award
was held on October 22nd, 2000 at
the Anaheim Sheraton Hotel. The winner was Dr. Srirupa Roy and her
Dr. Srirupa Roy
2000 Award Ceremony:
Abstract of Dissertation
Letter from the Chairman of FSPAA
Letter from the UCLA History Chair
Diversity and National Identity in India"
This dissertation examines the attempts of the Indian state to produce and institutionalize definitions of national
identity in the post-independence period. Through an examination of several selected sites or arenas of nationalist
activity, I show that cultural diversity and civic identity are the main themes of official nationalism. Both these
themes enable the state to build and legitimize its authority. The state’ s definition of India in terms of its natural
and inalienable cultural diversity allows it to present itself as the sole unifying agent the institutional presence
that is needed by the otherwise chaotic nation to achieve order and stability. Further, the emphasis on cultural
diversity is selective, with only certain kinds of sub national groups considered to be legitimate members of the
diverse Indian nation. In sum, the emphasis on diversity is a strategy that allows the state to define and orchestrate
practices of identity-formation at the sub-national level. The second theme of civic identity is also one which
foregrounds the authority of the modern state over its national subjects. These definitions of national identity
serve as effective legitimizing formulas because they have been presumptively established in the public sphere.
However, the state’s quest for legitimacy proceeds at the expense of the freedom and security of individual
At a theoretical level, I bring the state-institution back into discussions of the nation, and argue that the modern
ideology of nationalism does not just invent or imagine particular ‘horizontally’ constituted communities of
individuals. It also imagines an identity for the state-institution that will represent the nation, and attempts to
establish a ‘vertical’ link of legitimate authority between state and nation. Nationalism is, above all, a formula for
explaining and legitimizing the existence of the modern state-institution, and the relation between the national
community and the state is the central and guiding concern in all expressions of national identity.
Masters of Ceremony
Manish Mehta and Sarita Vasa
5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
U.S. National Anthem by Karishma Shah
Indian National Anthem by Arvind Joshi
Bharat Natyam by Vikram Kamdar
Classical Dance by Komal & Mala Tejwani, Shivani Shodhan
Dance - "Rang De Rang De" by Kruti Shah
Poetry Recital - "Sardar" by Dr. Geeta Mehta
Dance - "Inhi Logo Ne" by Kruti Amin
Folk Dance - Rajasthani by Komal & Mala Tejwani, Aneesha Sharma
7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Award Criteria and Announcement of Winner by Professor D.R. SarDesai,
Presentation of Check to UCLA Foundation by Navin Doshi
Presentation of Award by Navin & Pratima Doshi
Presentation of Congressional Certificate by Congressman Edward Royce
Acceptance of Award by Dr. Srirupa Roy
Introduction of Former Prime Minister of India by Mohinder Singh
Keynote Address by Former Prime Minister of India Shri. I.K. Gujral
Vote of Thanks by Sumant Patel
8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Inder Kumar Gujral
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
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.
SARDAR PATEL DISSERTATION AWARD
On October 31, 1999, the 124th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an
endowment of $250,000 was pledged to UCLA 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 one of the greatest sons of India, Sardar
Patel, who along with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, constituted the triumvirate that
was primarily responsible for the advent of Indian independence. 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 may
rightly say, there would no India as we have known it 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 Award is expected to raise the level of academic discourse on Modern
India in the U.S. The winners of the award will be called Sardar Patel Scholars, who would
signify distinct merit and excellence in Indian Studies in this country.
This year, the 125th birth anniversary of the Sardar, will mark the first conferment of
this prestigious award. An evaluation committee chaired by UCLA’s Navin and Pratima Doshi
Professor of Indian History, Dr. D. R. SarDesai, has diligently reviewed 13 doctoral dissertations on Modern India, completed at University of California at Berkeley (1), Boston University (1), University of Chicago (2), Columbia University (2), Cornell University (2), Harvard
University (1), University of Iowa (1), University of Michigan (1), SUNY at Buffalo (1) and the
University of Virginia. From among some of these finest products of painstaking research,
analysis and writing, the Evaluation Committee consisting of Professor D. R. SarDesai (Chair),
Professors (in alphabetical order) Shiva Bajpai, John Hawkins, Amartya Lahiri, Mohan Penubarti,
Ram Mohan Roy and Stanley Wolpert agreed unanimously to designate Dr. SRIRUPA ROY,
currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst,
as the SARDAR PATEL SCHOLAR FOR THE YEAR 2000. The title of her dissertation
for which she received the Ph.D. degree during 1999-2000 from the University of Pennsylvania
under the supervision of Professor Ian S. Lustick was, “Divided We Stand: Diversity and Na-tional Identity in India.”
UCLA’s Department of History, the Friends of Sardar Patel Award Association and the
Indian-American community of Los Angeles supporting this activity, warmly congratulate Dr.
SRIRUPA ROY as the FIRST SARDAR PATEL SCHOLAR. May the high level of her
scholarship inspire hundreds of graduate students across the U.S. to perpetuate the study of
India in the consciousness of this great nation. May the work of the first Sardar Patel Scholar
blaze the trail for successive winners of this prestigious award for all years to come.
Chair, Sardar Patel Dissertation Awards Committee, UCLA