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The University has declared the current academic year the "Year of India," which will include a series of events designed to enhance political and cultural awareness of South Asia's largest country.

"Brown wishes to deepen its relationship with India," said Ashutosh Varshney. professor of political science and a coordinator of the program, which he said would expose students to "the culture of an old civilization which is rising once again, as a polity and as an economy."

Organizers said they hope to invite political leaders, academics, artists and film stars to public events on campus.

Dean of the Faculty Rajiv Vohra P'07 said the program, which is still in the planning stages, would encompass cultural and economic policies that "don't usually get addressed."

Public figures such as N.R. Narayana Murthy, the founder of international technology company Infosys Technologies, is scheduled to visit next month. The University is set to host actress Konkona Sen Sharma in the spring.

There will also be an exploration of visual, literary and performing arts from India, including a visit from a classical Indian dance troupe. Many of the events and appearances will be financed by the University and various outside funders, Varshney said.

Vasundhara Prasad '12, who is involved in organizing the program, said students can look forward to a showcase of Bollywood films.

"We feel having a Bollywood week would be fun not only for South Asian students who are already in the know, but also American students," Prasad said. "It's very appropriately timed because a lot of people are interested."

Prasad said the goal of the Year of India is "not just to increase awareness of India here on campus, but also to increase awareness of Brown in India."

"Other schools that are very well known, like Harvard and M.I.T., people strive to get into," she said. "I tell my family members I go to Brown University and they say, ‘Oh, I'm sure that's a very good school,' but they haven't heard of it."

Prasad said she hoped the Year of India would increase the number of students from India who apply to Brown.

The Year of India is being coordinated by a number of groups, including the Watson Institute for International Affairs, the South Asian Students Association and faculty from different academic departments.

"It's a Year of India, but the hope is that when we bring together people who are interested, the interest will bring together other projects over time," Vohra said. "Much of the energy that goes into it this year will be an investment into future collaboration."


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