Five Indian Students Selected For Rhodes Scholarship In The UK This Year

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The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1902 through the will of Cecil John Rhodes, is considered one of the most prestigious international scholarship programs worldwide. The Rhodes Scholarship was first introduced in India in 1947, the year of India’s independence. At that time two Indian students had qualified for the scholarship. This year five students have been selected to mark the 75th anniversary of the Rhodes Scholarship in India.

The first two Indian scholars were selected in 1947. Since then, six scholars have been chosen every year from India, meaning there have been around 250 Indian Rhodes scholars.

Lavraj Kumar became the first Indian to receive a Rhodes Scholarship in 1947 and went on to study chemistry at Magdalen College, Oxford. Lavraj retired in 1984 as Secretary, Ministry of Steel.

The founders of the Rhodes Trust wanted to promote unity among English-speaking nations and instill a sense of civic-minded leadership and moral fortitude in future leaders, regardless of their chosen career path.

Over the years, Rhodes Scholars have achieved fame as politicians, academics, scientists and doctors, writers, entrepreneurs and Nobel laureates.

Many scholars have become heads of state or government, including United States President Bill Clinton and economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Ritika Mukherjee, Adrija Ghosh, Akumjung Pongen, Dr Varad Puntambekar and Dr Aishwarya Vedula are the five Rhodes Scholars selected for India for 2022. He will now pursue his academic interests at the University of Oxford starting this month.

Due to Kovid-19, the entire selection process was conducted virtually for the second consecutive year. Five scholars qualified after passing two rounds of preliminary interviews and were then interviewed to receive the prestigious scholarship.

Akumjung Pongen is the first student from Nagaland to get this scholarship to study at Oxford in 2022.

Adrija Ghosh, who hails from Kolkata, has completed BA, LLB (Hons) from West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. His goal is to study for a BCL degree at Oxford and pursue a career in Strategic Public Interest Litigation.

On the other hand Dr Varad Puntambekar is going to do his Masters/PhD from Oxford University from this month.

A final year BSc (Hons) student at Miranda House, Ritika Mukherjee is interested in the neurobiology of sleep and wakefulness.

Dr Aishwarya Vedula, the Hyderabad girl hopes to do further research in clinical and molecular neuroscience with the aim of eventually becoming a physician-neuroscientist.

These five scholars have left for Oxford to begin their journey and learn from the best in their respective fields. Meanwhile, the Rhodes Trust is focused on expanding its wings to increase the number of scholars in India and reach out to more students.

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