Hindi-Urdu Flagship Student Wins Two Prestigious Awards
Posted: May 8, 2012
The Department of Asian Studies and the Hindi-Urdu Flagship program would like to recognize Hindi/Urdu major Ramu Kharel for his dual accomplishment of winning both the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship Award and the George H. Mitchell Student Award for Academic Excellence. Ramu won second place for the Mitchell, which was awarded on May 2nd.
The J.J. Pickle Citizenship Award is presented annually to an outstanding student whose contributions to campus life exemplifies high standards of leadership and public service. The Mitchell Award recognizes undergraduate students nominated by their professors for their hard work and extraordinary contributions to their fields of study.
Ramu began working with dispossessed populations in India while studying abroad with the Hindi-Urdu Flagship. He interned with the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan (BMMA), an organization dedicated to raising the standard of living and education for Muslim women living in India.
When he returned to Austin, he created the Health Awareness Program in South Asia (HAPSA) and recruited UT students to work with community organizers in India. Together they organize workshops on infectious diseases, tobacco use, alcohol, sexual education, and nutrition in order to increase health awareness among marginalized communities around South Asia.
Thanks to an undergraduate research fellowship, Ramu was able to return to India to conduct ethnographic research for his honors thesis, “Reclaiming Hope: The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan and the Movements for Justice.” His thesis focuses on women’s empowerment projects in the slums of Lucknow, an issue he is passionate about. According to his thesis adviser, Dr. Akbar Hyder, Ramu’s work “demonstrates a great depth of knowledge in history, economics, gender relations, and health care. He boldly exposes the subtle flaws in the ideologies and structural hierarchies that constitute these projects.”
Ramu suffered personal losses at a young age, and these experiences left him determined to remake his world into one with adequate medical care and justice for all. In hopes of making this dream a reality, Ramu plans to be a doctor and was recently accepted as a medical student for the class of 2016 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
Please join us in congratulating this remarkable young man for his many honors and achievements. In addition to the Pickle and Mitchell awards, Ramu received Honorable Mention for Dean’s Distinguished Graduates, the Majaz Literary Award, the Outstanding Student Award, the Lone Star of Academic Excellence Award, and the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Scholarship.
In the spirit of Urdu's great poet, Muhammad Iqbal, we wish Ramu well as he soars:
sitaaron se aage jahaan aur bhii hain
abhii 'ishq ke imtehaan aur bhii hain
tuu shaahiin hai parvaaz hai kaam teraa
tere saamne aasmaan aur bhi hain
Beyond the stars lie even more worlds
There are still more tests of passion
You are a falcon, flight is your calling
Before you lie many more skies