India Essay Contest 2013

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India Essay Contest Winners

We were thrilled to receive 28 essay entries for the first India Essay Prize Contest held at BU in Spring 2013!

We had just four weeks for submissions! The contest was announced during the busiest part of the semester when students were getting ready for final exams; thus, we weren’t sure what the response would be. It was the collective effort of reaching out to students by our distinguished faculty from the BU Center for the Study of Asia (BUCSA) and other programs, the Howard Gotleib Archival Research Center, BU Student Services, BU Writing Programs, and Global Programs that BU students heard our call and responded with enthusiasm.

We are so grateful to the following four faculty and staff members who agreed to read and judge the essays within a compressed ten-day period:

  • Maria Gapotchencko, Senior Lecturer, College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program, Boston University;
  • Nazli Kibria, Professor of Sociology, Boston University;
  • Douglas Sears, Vice President and Chief of Staff for the President; and
  • Sunil Sharma, Associate Professor of Persianate & Comparative Literature, Boston University

Congratulations to our India Essay Contest winner and runner up!

First Place:

Challenging Gender and Sexuality Norms through Devotion: Sufi and Bhakti Poets
Written by: Shrishti Nayak
A PhD candidate in Brain, Behavior and Cognition, in the Psycholinguistics Lab at Boston University

Winner’s reaction:
“I’m really excited that my essay was chosen for this prize. Submitting to this competition gave me the opportunity to share something that I wrote a few years ago while exploring South Asian devotional poetry in a humanities class. It was really encouraging to have people read and like my essay, which I had almost forgotten about. Initiatives like this India Essay Prize Competition give students in various fields the opportunity to explore their intellectual interests outside of the academic work they do on a daily basis. As for the prize money, I am currently carrying out research on Indian-English in the BU Psycholinguistics Lab (Indian friends — email me to participate!, and since it is a small scale unfunded project, this money will help a lot with the various inevitable costs associated with research. Thank you again to BU Global Programs and India Initiatives!”


Breaking the Motherland: An Analysis of the Figure of Women in Post-Partition India
Written by: Jeremy Weprich
A sophomore in Kilachand Honors College at Boston University, pursuing a dual degree in Sociology and Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences

Runner up’s reaction:
“It was not until the second semester of my sophomore year at Boston University that I was introduced to India’s power as a global and historic force. Although I have experienced years of high-quality education in the United States, it seems that much of South Asia’s role in international, historical, and cultural developments has been largely overlooked by Western academic institutions. To ignore the ethnic, religious, cultural, and political diversity of India and the larger subcontinent poses a significant handicap to understanding the forces at work in the social, political, and cultural dimensions of our world. India, specifically, can be used as a powerful lens for which to understand patterns and concepts that reach far beyond the country’s borders.

I would love to use the money I won from this contest to begin saving for a future trip to India.”

The entire list of entries is as follows:

India Essay Prize Contest entries
TitleFirst NameLast Name
1A Comparison of Haroun and the Sea of Stories and A Tale of Four DervishesTheaDiklich-Newell
2A Glimpse of IndiaSundharamaniVenkitapathi
3An Afternoon TeaLavanyaMadabusi
5Breaking a Country: India PartitionedKelsea-MariePym
6Breaking the Motherland: An Analysis of the Figure of Women in Post-Partition IndiaJeremyWeprich
7Challenging Gender and Sexuality Norms through Devotion: Sufi and Bhakti PoetsSrishtiNayak
8Education for AllVidya Sachita ReddyVemireddy
9Epigenetics, Indian Renaissance and Vegetarian ChiliMckennaLongacre
10Feminine Transcendence and Masculine Dependence: Religion as an Experience of Gender in Indian LiteratureKellyFelsberg
12India, My CountryNishithaShekhar
13India’s Emerging Middle ClassKelsea-MariePym
14Learning PerspectiveAlexandraKramer
16My Boulevard of Shattered DreamsLouenPereira
17My MotherPriyalShah
18Outsourcing of Animation and Visual Effects Work to IndiaJustinWagg
19Palwal Rural Health MissionKatharinaSchwan
21Shaking A Reputation: India, Orientalism, and International
22Taal, An Indian MelodramaHarleenGrewal
23The Country of ContradictionsNeelDhanesha
24The History of KathakRoshniSingh
25The Influence of Western Culture on Indian Classical Music: Shaping Nineteenth and Twentieth Century North and South IndiaLavanyaPradeep
26The Taj MahalMitaliHariawala
27The Tale of Indian CivilizationAartiJawa
28Tomorrow you Fall?LaurieOhlstein

This annual essay contest is organized in an effort to harness the energy, creativity and initiative of the world's youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development. It also aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world.

*This program is an activity of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Click here to
send your essay online
* This link will be activated soon.

For further inquiries concerning the International Essay Contest for Young People, please contact

Organized by

The Goi Peace Foundation

Endorsed by

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan
Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, Japan Private High School Federation
Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Nikkei Inc.

Supported by


Essay Contest 2018 Flyer (PDF)


Past Winning Essays


Q1Are there any exceptions to the age limit for participating in the contest?

A1No, you must be 25 years old or younger as of June 15, 2018, which is the entry deadline date. That means you must be born after June 15, 1993. On the other hand, there is no minimum age requirement.

Q2Is there a fee for participating in this contest?

A2No, participation is free of charge.

Q3Do I have to be Japanese or Asian to join the contest?

A3A3: No, all nationalities can participate from anywhere in the world.

Q4My essay is a little over 700 words. Is it acceptable?

A4No, essays must be 700 words or less in order to qualify. However, the cover page and essay title are excluded from the word count. There is no minimum word count.

Q5Are the title and cover page included in the word count limit?

A5No, the 700 word count limit is for the body of the essay only.

Q6Do I need a cover page for my essay submitted online?

A6No, a cover page is only required for entries submitted by postal mail. For online entries, all required information is submitted through the registration form, and therefore, you do not need to include a cover page in your essay file.

Q7Can I give any title to my essay?

A7Yes, you can give your essay an original title as long as the content is in line with the theme.

Q8Is there a specific format for the essay (font style, size, line space, etc.)?

A8There are no particular rules regarding formatting. However, your essay file should be submitted in either MS Word(DOC/DOCX) or PDF format.

Q9Can I quote from books or websites? If so, where should I write the reference?

A9If you use quotations, please include the reference at the bottom of the essay. The reference should not be included in the word count.

Q10Can I add photos, images, or my biography to my essay?

A10No. Please send your essay only.

Q11Can I submit my essay via email?

A11No, we do not accept entries by email. Please submit your essay either by postal mail or through the online registration page:* This link will be activated soon.

Q12Can I submit a hand-written essay?

A12Yes, we accept hand-written essays. You can either send it by postal mail or submit a scanned PDF copy through the online registration page:* This link will be activated soon.

Q13Can I submit more than one essay?

A13Yes, you can submit more than one essay as long as the contents are different. They can also be written in different languages. Please use the same account to submit multiple essays online.

Q14Can I submit my essay in my native language?

A14Essays are accepted in English, French, Spanish, German or Japanese only, since these are the only languages the contest organizers and judges can read. However, we can accept essays written in other languages, if they are accompanied by translations in one of the accepted languages.

Q15Can we co-write and submit one essay as a team?

A15No. Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays are not accepted.


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