Aniket De

Tufts 2012 - Full Scholarship

Aniket De is University Scholar at Tufts University, double majoring in anthropology and history. Raised in the suburbs of Kolkata in India, Aniket studied the natural sciences in high school, and received the Governor’s Award for ranking among the top ten in the nationwide Indian School Certificate (ISC) examinations. His interest in antiquity was born out of extensive travels in the ancient cities and villages of India as a child, although in later years the innovative methodological tools of anthropology attracted him more. He was accepted at both Tufts and Duke University with full funding, and chose to attend Tufts.

Aniket’s first ethnographic work was done in the final years of his high school in India, when he studied the Indo-Chinese Community in Kolkata and wrote a series of articles in an Indian newspaper called “Yellow Leaf: Identity and Personhood in an Indian Chinese Community”. During his first year at Tufts, he took a deep interest in gender studies and queer theory, which led to his second paper, “Crossing Borders: Religion, Nationalism and Subalternity among the Hijras, a Transgender community of India”. He presented excerpts of this paper at Tufts’ Women Centre’s Annual Symposium, the Anthropology Department’s Symposium and the University’s Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium. The paper was accepted for publication and presentation at the International Gender Congress in Maltepe University, Istanbul.
Having a deep interest in languages and the classics, he spoke on Sanskrit Drama in the 15thMiami Undergraduate Classics Conference (2013) in Miami University, Ohio. He reviews articles on Asian and Oriental Studies for the Tufts Historical Review and for the UK-based journal Popular Anthropology. Aniket is the research assistant of Dr. Kris Manjapra in Tufts’ Centre for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies, and works in two projects of the department. He is the secretary of the Classics Club at Tufts, and is working towards establishing a peer-reviewed Classics journal and an academic honor society. In 2013, he received the Marianne J. H. Witherby Fellowship from Tufts’ Department of Classics to join the international archaeological expedition team to excavate in the city of Troy in Turkey. Aniket greatly enjoys travelling and learning new languages, and is currently working on an ethnography of a folk group in Eastern India.

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Aniket De says: Ms Seema Patnaik came to conduct an English workshop in my school, Delhi Public School Newtown Kolkata, in January 2010. Ms. Patnaik’s remarkably scientific method of teaching English and her deep concern for students instantly made her a favourite among the students. Not many students in Kolkata applied for an overseas education in 2010, and I had only a faint idea about the application process. My meeting with Ms Patnaik, however, changed the situation completely. She immediately assessed my potential and encouraged me to apply to colleges in the United States. Her involvement, unlike many other guides and teachers, did not stop at a simple suggestion. Even after her five-day term in our school was over, she enthusiastically remained in touch over the phone and email. For months, she provided me with invaluable advice about the SAT Test, the art of choosing colleges and on the methods to improve my writing skills. She spent hours critiquing my essays and providing comments, something I treasure to this day. Ms Patnaik’s active yet selfless guidance for two continuous years was the most important counselling I received during the two most crucial years of my student life. Along with the application process, she helped me improve my literary and communicative skills. I consider it a fortune to have her as a guide and adviser.

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