York grad wins Shastri Student Prize for her essay

York graduate Rakhee Ramesh has won the 2006 Lal Bahadur Shastri Student Prize for her essay "East Indian Heritage and Ethnic Identity".

The $500 prize is sponsored by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. It is awarded annually to an undergraduate and a graduate student for the best essays on Indian culture, history, religion, arts, economic and social development, or the human dimension of science and technology as they relate to India. Awards go to students registered at a Canadian university associated with the institute.

Ramesh, who graduated last June with a BA in psychology and communication studies, wrote the essay as part of the course work in her fourth-year advanced research course. Teaching assistant Aaron Clarke nominated her for the award, which will be presented to her in a special ceremony at York when she returns from India later this term.

"I did my thesis on East Indian heritage and identity because I wanted to research how university students of East Indian heritage living in Canada’s multicultural society, identify with and relate to their origin and culture," says Ramesh. "I feel extremely privileged and thankful to have won this award from the Indo-Canadian Shastri Institute because this research allowed me the opportunity to do a closer study of Indian culture among Canada’s diverse population."

The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute promotes mutual awareness and understanding between India and Canada mainly through academic activities. It funds research, links institutions in the two countries, and organizes seminars and conferences. It is named after Lal Bahadur Shastri, prime minister of India from 1964 to 1966 and a distinguished mediator and statesman.

York history graduate Andrea Panday (BA ’05) won the 2005 prize for her paper "Toronto’s Little India: A Landscape of Adaptation".