2000 Award Ceremony

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 dissertation.

Dr. Srirupa Roy

2000 Award Ceremony:
Abstract of Dissertation
Ceremony Program
Keynote Speakers
Letter from the Chairman of FSPAA
Letter from the UCLA History Chair

Abstract of Dissertation

"Divided We Stand:
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 subjects.

     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.

Award Ceremony Program

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

Award Ceremony
7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Award Criteria and Announcement of Winner by Professor D.R. SarDesai, UCLA
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.

Keynote Speakers

Inder Kumar Gujral

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


     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