Kumbh’s pop-up mega city ‘unlike any other research’ for Harvard team
The team, comprising undergraduates and graduate students, case writers and professors, architects and anthropologists, doctors and documentarians, visited Allahabad for five days last week to undertake interdisciplinary research in a number of fields, such as urban studies and design, religious and cultural studies, environment science and public health, technology and communications. Led by Prof Diana Eck of the Harvard Divinity School, the faculty engaged in different projects at the Kumbh with their respective students.
Eck, a leading scholar of India’s pilgrimage tradition, sees the Kumbh as an opportunity to wed Hinduism’s longstanding reverence for the natural environment and its sacred rivers to a growing campaign to clean up the Ganges. “Definitely the mela is an incredible and astonishing human undertaking. Just the organisational logistics involved in managing so many people over a few months in one spot is tremendous. Our project seeks to understand this unique phenomenon better,” she says.
“I think Harvard has a lot to learn from south Asia,” says associate director of Harvard’s South Asia Institute, Meena Hewett, adding, “One thing you’ll hear from all faculty is the issue of scalability. It’s very easy to transform the lives of one or
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