From Asian Studies major to leading scholar and activist in India

Yaaminey Mubayi '90

Yaaminey with colleagues at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University in 2012

Yaaminey Mubayi ’90, Historian and Cultural Heritage Specialist

Special Major: South Asian Studies

Advanced Degrees: M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Jawaharlal Nehru University; MSc, Social Policy, London School of Economics

Doctoral Thesis: "Poverty of Choice: Gender and Livelihoods in Punjab" (advisor, Indira Peterson, published in Another Side of India: Gender, Culture and Development

I came to Mount Holyoke in the Fall of 1986 as an Asian Studies major. I was attracted to the prospect of studying Asian Art, Comparative Religions, languages and Cultures. However, as I experienced the full scope of the Liberal Arts curriculum that Mount Holyoke provides, as well as, the facility of taking courses off campus at Smith, I began to feel more oriented towards Area Studies as a field and decided to focus on South Asian Studies as a major.

This was not offered as a mainstream option at the time, however, I was given the option to design my own major in "Indian Studies".

I was also given the option to carry out specific training in classical South Asian languages, Sanskrit and Pali, from the University of Delhi towards my Special Major.

More about Mubayi:
Mubayi is a leadiing scholar and activist in eco-friendly and locally based conservational initiatives at major historical and heritage sites in India, and would like to connect with MHC students about her work and possible internship opportunities.

"Mubayi's work with the culture sector in UNESCO introduced her to the issues besetting development agencies and the importance of people's concerns in development initiatives... She has subsequently worked with various non-governmental organizations in the field of culture and development. She strongly feels that culture is a fundamental issue that underpins development initiatives. Yaaminey works on pilgrimage sites in Puri and Amritsar to illustrate the power inherent in culture as a medium to drive development initiatives... Yaaminey is on the Expert Committee of the Government of Punjab for Development of Cultural Tourism. Lastly, she is also founder member of Satark Nagrik Sangathan, an organization working on using the Right to Information (RTI) for community empowerment in New Delhi" (Another Side of India, UNESCO, 2008)