The Mattoo Center for India Studies at Stony Brook University recently received a prestigious endowed Chair and a $5 million endowment at its 20th birthday celebration held on Sunday, Oct. 29.
The celebration was attended by India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty, who commended the Center for making public service as much a priority as academic excellence. It deserved to be known more widely, including in India, Chakravorty said, according to a press release from Stony Brook. Also present was Congressman Raja Krishnamoorth, D-Illinois, who said, “We need more Centers like this to train the new generation of Indian American leaders to swell the ‘Samosa Caucus’ in the Congress,” along with other members of the Indian American community.
According to the press release $2.5 million of the endowment came “from the Indian American community”; $1.25 million from Nirmal K. and Augustina Mattoo Chair in Classical Indic Humanities; $250,000 from Drs. Yashpal and Urmilesh Arya for the Arya India Studies Library; $150,000 from Sreedhar Menon; $150,000 from Deepak and Neera Raj; $100,000 from Dr. Krishna Gujavarty for an annual seminar on leadership and values; $100,000 from Sudesh and Sudha Mukhi for courses and performances in Vedic studies and music; $100,000 from S.N. and Kamal Sridhar for teaching and research support; and a lecture series from Drs. Rajesh and Sonali Kakani and other major gifts from Dr. Vijay Arya, Dr. Rishimani Adsumelli, Dr. Nungavaram Ramamurthy and Dr. Latha Chandran and Prem Chandran.
Nirmal K. Mattoo, the chairman of the Center’s Executive Committee, praised the university for recognizing the importance of India’s contributions to knowledge and the Indian-American community for their support of the Center’s mission.
Professor S.N. Sridhar, a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and the founding director of the Mattoo Center, said it was student demand for courses on India that drove him to work with the university administration, the Indian American community, Dr. Azad Anand and Dr. Mattoo, to create the India Studies center. He also helped develop its core curriculum, structuring programs such as a Minor in South Asian Studies which helped offer a Major and Masters in Asian and Asian American Studies.
Professor Sacha Kopp, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that a public university “has the responsibility not only to serve the public through education but to give back to the public in the form of knowledge and sharing and fostering community and culture.” Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., president of Stony Brook University praised the Indian-American community for its tireless efforts in building the Center.
Over the 20 years the Mattoo Center for India Studies has grown to include an Arya India Studies Library which features 13,000 titles; its publication Ananya: A Portrait of India which includes articles by 40 of India’s leading scholars; the Center is also leading an international consortium of translators of a Kannada Mahabharata to be published by Harvard University Press; this apart from seminars, exhibits, lecture series and performing arts series bringing the best of India.
The Center has conducted more than 200 outreach programs for schools, museums and civic institutions and is serving as a resource to mainstream media like PBS.
It also offers student scholarships and supports university departments, community associations and student groups in their India-related initiatives.
Today, Stony Brook teaches more than 30 courses on India every year and over 22,000 students have taken courses on India.