Cambridge (Massachusetts): A Harvard study of the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage in India will be presented at an annual symposium on South Asia hosted by the university's South Asia Institute (SAI) in Cambridge on April 25-26.

The symposium will focus on the timely appeal of South Asia to the humanities-at the intersection of religion and civil society, ancient arts and cutting edge technologies, organisers of the symposium said.

"South Asia Without Borders 2013" will explore development, the juncture of caste and race, gender and human rights, social entrepreneurship and the arts, constitutionalism and development in South Asia," they said.

"Mapping the Kumbh Mela", a study by 50 Harvard faculty, staff and student researchers who travelled to Allahabad in January, documents and analyses the processes involved in the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest human gathering.

This religious festival is held every twelve years, lasts 55 days, and draws millions of visitors to a temporary, purpose-built tent city on the banks of the Ganges and Yamuna.

Team leaders will share insights and outcomes that have come from this massive interdisciplinary project and speak with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan at the symposium.

Other topics at the symposium include "Why Europe Got Rich and Asia Did Not", "Historicity and Modernity of Caste" and "Gender and Contemporary South Asia."

READ MORE: Akhilesh to address Harvard University

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has been invited to address the students of Harvard University where he is scheduled to speak on the mantra behind the successful hosting of the mega event Maha Kumbh 2013.

Notably, a 50-member multi-disciplinary team, including faculty and student researchers from Harvard University, had travelled to Allahabad in January to document and analyze the processes involved in the successful hosting of Kumbh Mela. The team had studied various aspects of Kumbh 2013 including urbanization , business and public health and religion at the mela.

The Chief Minister will be accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan, Minister for Science and Technology Abhishek Mishra, Chief secretary Jawed Usmani and in-charge of organising the mela Devesh Chaturvedi.

The delegation will return on April 29. In July, Akhilesh is expected to visit Japan. Earlier, he was scheduled to visit Japan on April 15 but it was postponed due the busy schedule.

The world's largest religious festival occurs every 12 years and draws millions of visitors to a temporary, purpose-built tent city on the banks of the Ganga and the Yamuna. The Kumbh was also documented by various organisations; over 1,000 journalists had covered the festival, which concluded March 12.

Akhilesh Education

The young Chief Minister studied at Dholpur Military School in Dholpur, Rajasthan. He was awarded a degree in environmental engineering while studying at Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore. He went to University of Sydney to study for a master's degree in the same subject. Akhilesh lists his profession on his official Lok Sabha bio data as Agriculturist, Engineer and Political and Social Worker.


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