SASA Awards

SASA is committed both to advancing South Asian Studies in the academic community and creating a greater understanding of South Asia’s peoples, cultures and opportunities in the wider world. To this end the SASA Board annually recognizes two outstanding individuals or groups who have made important contributions to these goals, one from the academic community and one from the secular world.

2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

2012 Awards

SASA Academic Award - Alf Hiltebeitel

Professor Hiltebeitel was honored by SASA in recognition of his long and influential career as a scholar. His texts have become bywords in the discipline and his analyses have been fundamental for our understanding of the great epics of India. From left to right: Dr. Hiltebeitel, Dr. Deepak Shimkhada, SASA President, and Dr. Vishwa Adluri.

SASA Community Service Award - Dhiren Mehta
Mr. Mehta's work with the Los Angeles chapter of Pratham USA has been exemplary. To date, the chapter has over 1,500 volunteers who have helped over 175,000 children in India. Working to create and support solutions which address root problems, and are efficient, cost-effective, and scalable, Mr. Mehta has been diligent in promoting Pratham's singular mission of "Every child in school and learning well."

2011 Awards

SASA Academic Award - Joseph M. Dye, III
Dr. Dye's tenure at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has seen its Indian collection become one of the nation's top five Indian public collections, while the associated Himalayan (Tibetan and Nepalese) collection is now among the top three. Here he is in the VMFA's new South Asian Gallery. From l to r: Dr. Shantaram K. Talegaonkar, VMFA Board Member; Mr. Alexander Nyerges, VMFA Director; Joseph M. Dye, III, E. Rhoads and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, VMFA; Dr. Dina Bangdel, VCU; Dr. Bill Vanderbok, SASA president.

SASA Community Service Award - Ron Somers
Mr. Somers is the President of the U.S.-India Business Council. He played a lead role in coordinating the passage of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement and is widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures in U.S.-India relations. He is also the President of the Manhattan India Investment Roundtable, which focuses on key business opportunities and issues in India.

2010 Awards

SASA Academic Excellence Award - Stanley Wolpert
Professor Wolpert (Emeritus, UCLA) received the 2010 award in recognition of his long, fruitful, and influential career. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the political and intellectual history of modern India and Pakistan. He has written numerous fiction and nonfiction books on these topics. He is to the left above, with SASA board member Paul Hanson.

SASA Community Service Award - Navneet Chugh
Navneet Chugh is the Managing Partner and Founder of the Chugh Firm, the Founder-President of three different Bar Associations, the Co-founder of The Indus Entrepreneurs Southern California, the Founder-President of Indian Professionals Toastmasters Club, a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Managing Editor of the India Times. He is to the left above with Ken Silver, SASA board member.

2009 Awards

SASA Academic Excellence Award - Harold A. Gould
Professor Harold A. Gould (Emeritus, University of Illinois) is internationally known for his prolific and insightful work on contemporary politics and culture in South Asia. He is currently a Visiting Scholar in Political Anthropology and South Asian Civilization at The South Asia Center at the University of Virginia. He is flanked above by Chandrika Kaul, SASA vice-president, and Bill Vanderbok, SASA president.

SASA Community Service Award - Chitra and Anil Deshpande
Chitra and Anil Deshpande received the 2009 SASA award for their support of South Asian Studies. The Desphandes provided the support necessary for the University of Central Florida’s India Program, which was founded in 2007. They continue to offer support through their named endowed fund at UCF and through The India Group. They saw the UCF India Program become the UCF India Center in 2012. They are joined above by by Chandrika Kaul, SASA vice-president, and Bill Vanderbok, SASA president.

2008 Awards

SASA Academic Excellence Award - Pratapaditya Pal
Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, curator emeritus and scholar extraordinaire, has remained one of the most influential forces in the field of Indian art, and its most tireless promoter, from the 1960s to the present. He has done pioneering research on Himalayan art and helped to give this area global recognition, through exhibitions, lectures, and publications. He is also the General Editor of Marg, the premier academic journal on South Asian Art.

SASA Community Service Award - Neena Bansil
Neena Bansil is the President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of First Choice Bank. Ms. Bansil has more than 25 years of experience in the banking industry, specializing in commercial and international banking operations. Ms. Bansil previously served as President/CEO of State Bank of India (California), where she provided significant support for the promotion of knowledge about, and understanding of, India and its neighbors. Under her hand, SBI(C) generously helped to foster intellectual exchange among scholars of South Asia.