Inspired by the intellectual pursuits of Dara Shikoh, a Mughal royal who tried to find a common ground between religions in unique poetic and literary forms, the Dara Shikoh Fellowship is an attempt to drive academic and cultural discourse in a region vitiated by years of cynical political dialogue. Envisioned as a platform where students from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh can interact with a diverse range of scholars, the Fellowship cross pollinates the cultural, economic, artistic and scholastic influences to reinvigorate the artistic scene within the region while simultaneously contributing to discourses around art and culture across the world.
The Fellowship is organised by the Dara Shikoh Centre for the Arts, a cultural institution that celebrates and strives towards preserving the civilizational ethos of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Led by Dr. Jyotsna Singh at the Almond Villa in Srinagar, the Centre is now entering its eighth year and has expanded its mission to become a vehicle for sustained cultural and intellectual dialogue on the region.
The Centre organises the annual Dara Shikoh Festival, now entering its eighth year, at the Almond Villa and works towards creating spaces for environmental, cultural, and social discussions. It has hosted photography workshops with Karam Puri, performances by MK Raina and Mukteshi, readings by Naseem Shifaie and Neerja Mattoo, environmental panels with Sayeeda Imam and Himalayan Wanderers, talks by Gopal Gandhi and Sameera Khan, and workshops with Wildlife SOS and the National School of Drama.
We want people to work together to make a difference.
We are not restricted by city, state, nation, or region.
We share ideas to benefit each other and our environment.
The Dara Shikoh Fellowship aims to bring together individuals across varied disciplines and backgrounds in a fifteen day immersive experience which allows them to interact with local students, artists, craftsmen, writers, and theatre practitioners. Each Fellow will bring to the program an independent project that creatively engages with the region, and will have the opportunity to collaborate with experts in the field within Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh to build upon the project over the course of the program.
Creative engagements with customs and traditions will be highly encouraged: for instance, by applying postmodern sculptural critique on Ladakhi metal work, combining jazz with Kashmiri Sufiana Kalam music, or juxtaposing Pahari miniatures with Surrealist paintings. Fellows will have the option to display their work through events and workshops or to organise panels and seminars to further delve into their areas of interest, for which venues will be provided by the program.
At the culmination of the program, Dara Shikoh Fellows will be expected to produce a piece which best crystallises their experience: this could be a work of literature, a painting, a work of craft or any other creatively inspired piece that will feature in the Centre’s annual publication. Their interaction with the program will not end here, however: all Fellows will become members of the Dara Shikoh Centre for the Arts and will have access to its resources for any projects linked to the region that they pursue in the future.
The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants are required to come with a proposal for what they want to create or work upon over the course of the program. Two Fellows will be selected through a competitive application process from three broad categories: the Social, Literary and Creative arts. Which category best describes the talents individuals bring to the program will be decided by applicants themselves.
Applications, which will consist of a short essay and an interview, will be reviewed by a panel comprising of prominent intellectuals, artists, authors and academics.