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The Yadunandan Center for India Studies -

Uka and Nalini Solanki Lecture Series-The Solanki Lecture is an endowed lecture series established by Uka and Nalini Solanki, with the express intention of inviting a distinguished individual to discuss South Asia related topics.

The 9th annual Uka and Lalini Solanki Lecture on March 16, 2011
at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

Long Beach, California
March 16, 2011
Gary Singh/Munish Sharma/Surinder Singh

This year, a historian, one of India’s leading intellectuals, Padma Bhushan recipient, columnist for the leading newspapers and writer of 22 books- Ramachandra Guha was the featured speaker at the 9th annual Uka and Lalini Solanki Lecture at California State University, Long Beach, California.  

The lecture was sponsored by CSULB’s  Yadunandan Center for India Studies and College of Liberal Arts.  The event, which was free and opened to the public, a reception at 6 p.m. followed by the lecture and book-signing from 7-9 p.m. t.

At 7.00pm, Howie Cues Arnie welcomed all guests. Over 200 guests attended this event.

Arnold P. Kaminsky, Senior Coordinator, Public Policy, welcome guests, introduced Solanki family and Dean Riposa. .Dean Riposa spoke about 5 minutes and thanked guests for attending on behalf of CLA. Arnold P. Kaminsky is Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach, and former Chair of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. He was the Founding Director of the Yadunandan Center for India Studies at CSULB.Dr. Kaminsky’s research interests lie in the area of Modern South Asian/Indian History, while his teaching interests include World, British Imperial and Southeast Asian History.

Other speaker were Nancy Wickham and Dave Neumann who discussed importnance of teacher education and about YCIS's mission. Professor Tim Keirn introduced Ramachandra Guha and lecture topic.
Professor Tim Keirn introduced Ramachandra Guha

The title of Ramachandra Guha’s talk was “The Rise and Fall of the Indian Liberal Tradition.

Ramachandra Guha has become one of the most celebrated speakers and authors of 22 books. He has a clear, concise writing style that draws the reader in. His thoughts are mainly about how ideas spread and they are illustrated in the 22 books he's written so far.

Within one hour lecture, Mr. Guha tried to cover his topic “The Rise and Fall of the Indian Liberal Tradition.” by following examples:

  • Rabindranath Tagore, whose stories and especially essays are of universal appeal, is now considered an icon of Bengalis alone.
  • B.R. Ambedkar a political leader, Buddhist activist, philosopher, historian, economist, scholar, editor, revolutionary spent his whole life fighting against social discrimination. He became a victim of sectarian diminution- now known only for his contributions to the emancipation of the subaltern castes.Gandhi fiercely opposed separate electorate for untouchables. Father of India's Constitution, Mr. Ambedkar
  • Nehru family: Jawaharlal Nehru, who helped nurture a democratic ethos across India, is now the property of a single party

The Yadunandan Center for India Studies was formally inaugurated in 2005 by a generous donation from the Uka and Nalini SolankiFoundation. The center is named after Nalini Solanki’s great-great grandfather, an early advocate of education in northern India. The $500,000 endowment from the Solanki family also helped establish the Uka and Nalini Solanki Lecture Series, an annual event which brings a well-known scholar in the field of India studies to the CSULB campus.

The Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation’s donation to the College of Liberal Arts at California State University, Long Beach is an endeavor to help bring greater recognition to India studies by establishing a regional center. Mr. Solanki is also the founding president of the Indian Council for the Advancement of Education in India, and the founder, president and patron donor of the Sardar Patel Award at UCLA.


Annual Uka and Lalini Solanki Lectures 2003- 2010

2009: Pico Iyer

  • Lecture- Our Global Century and Its New Possibilities.
    • He is one of the most revered and respected travel writers alive today and the author of nine books.
    • His first, Video Night in Kathmandu, has appeared on many lists of the top travel books of all time, and his second, The Lady and the Monk, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the category of Current Interest. Pico Iyer discussed his new book entitled The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, which is based on his conversations with the Dalai Lama over the last 33 years.


  • Writer and director of Hindi films and television
  • Lecture entitled Ammi: Letter to a Democratic Mother.
    • He is best remembered in popular culture for his TV series Nukkad (1986) and Intezaar (1988), along with various documentary films on social welfare and cultural activism.
    • He trained at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, India, and has also taught there.
    • He has lectured widely on Indian cinema at universities in India and the US. He lives in Bombay and Goa.


  • Dealing with Moral Complexity, or, What is a Writer's Dharma?”
    • Journalist and playwright.
    • His book Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.
    • Talked about novelists and journalists deal with moral complexity, by bringing in his own experiences, and his approach to characters.
    • Differences between fiction and nonfiction.

2006: SAM PITRODA (Satyanarayan Gangarm Pitroda)

  • India's Knowledge Society in the 21st Century: The CSU-Knowledge Commission Collaboration.”

          Sam Pitroda, currently chairman of India's National Knowledge Commission. Mr. Pitroda is also largely considered to have been responsible for India's communications revolution
He was born in Titlagarh, Orissa, India. He did his schooling at Anand Vallabh Vidyalaya in Gujarat and Masters in Physics and Electronics in Baroda. In the year1964, Sam Pitroda went to the US and did his Masters in Electrical Engineering in Chicago. He worked at GTE and formed Wescom Switching, Inc. In the year 1984, Sam Pitroda returned to India and founded the Center for Development of Telematics (CDAC) and later became advisor to the PM of India on National Technology Missions. Mr. Pitroda lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Anu, son Salil and daughter Rajal.


The third Solanki Lecture featured Richard Garnick, CEO of WIPRO Technologies. This event was attended by 250 people. The title of his talk was “India, Outsourcing and Globalization.”
Globalization's Gloomy Guses Must Adapt: Outsourcing is shaping everything from IT jobs to business-process services. Rather than fret, the U.S. needs to go all-out to capitalize on it with a long-term national effort


  • The title of Dr. Solomon’s talk was “Shaping the Response to the AIDS Epidemic in India and Engaging in a Culturally Appropriate Plan of Action.”
  • Shaping the Response to the AIDS
    • one of India’s most distinguished HIV/AIDS researchers
    • lecture was attended by 200 people.

Dr. Suniti Solomon is the founder-director of the Y.R. Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE), a premier HIV/AIDS care and support centre in Chennai. She and her colleagues documented the first evidence of the HIV infection in India in 1986. When she served the Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital as a Professor of Microbiology, she set up the first voluntary testing and counseling centre and an AIDS Research Group in Chennai


  • His topic was “Why India Lags Behind China and What To Do About It.” 
  • Spoke on comparative development issues between China and India.
    • Featured economist Arvind Panagariya, Bhagwati Professor of Economics at Columbia.









Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha is one of India’s leading intellectuals; writer for social, political, environmental and columnist for the newspapers such as The Hindustan Times, The Telegraph and Khaleej Times He was borb at Dehra Dun in 1958 and went to The Doon School, St. Stephen's College, New Delhi. In 1977, he got BA in Economics and then MA from the Delhi School of Economics. Equivalent to a PhD degree, he did a Fellowship on the social history of forestry at Indian at Institute of Management Calcutta
  • 1985- 2000, he taught at Berkeley, University of California, Yale University, Stanford University and at Oslo University. He was also a fellow of Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in Germany and also taught at the Indian Institute of Science.
  • After moving to Bangalore, he started writing full time.
  • He was married to the graphic designer Sujata Keshavan and has two children, Keshava and Iravati.
Ramachandra Guha wrote 22 books include Environmentalism: A global history, A Corner of a Foreign Field and The Last Liberal and Other Essays. He is now working on a history of independent India. Awards and recognition:
  • In 2009, received India's third highest civilian award "Padma Bhushan"
  • In May 2008, US magazine Foreign Policy named him "one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world", at 44th place
  • In 2003, won the R. K. Narayan Prize at the Chennai Book Fair
  • In 2001, His essay, "Prehistory of Community Forestry in India", was awarded the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society for Environmental History