Indian Scholar Shares Journalistic, Academic Insight
Before Triveni Goswami Mathur came to Mary Baldwin College as a Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Scholar. Before she translated to English her mother’s autobiography, which chronicles her work as one of few female journalists covering political tension in northeast India from the 1970s to the 1990s. Before she served as visiting professor of contemporary India and media studies at University of Pune, India. And before she earned a Best Supporting Actress Award from the Eastern Indian Motion Picture Association, Mathur grew up surrounded by international news, literature, and perspectives.
“My parents and the atmosphere at home had a large influence on my desire to learn about and report on what was going on in the world,” said Mathur, in residence at MBC for the fall semester. “Seeing the way my mother — a longtime [British Broadcasting Company] reporter — covered tough issues with courage and objectivity and the impact she had on others convinced me to follow in her footsteps.”
And she did. Mathur — who was raised in northeast India and now resides in the western part of that country — covered business, politics, courts, and more during eight years as a reporter for The Indian Express and the Press Trust of India. In 1995, she began her academic foray as visiting professor at the University of Pune, a position she retains today while working as a freelance journalist. Mathur is also visiting professor for the Alliance for Global Education, a study abroad program for American students in Pune. Her previous work includes serving as academic director for the Kaveri Group of Institutes and developing curriculum as a member of the Board of Studies at St. Mira’s College, both in Pune.
Mathur continues a connection with Indian scholars and students that has enriched the Mary Baldwin community for nearly a decade. Since Professor Roderic Owen’s initial visit to Lady Doak College (LDC) in Madurai in 2005, the campus has welcomed several guest lecturers and professors from Lady Doak and various Fulbright programs, as well as hosting two cadets each year from LDC.
“These exchanges and campus visits put a personal, human face on global learning,” said Owen, professor of philosophy. “These are women who speak fluent English, but who have markedly different life experiences, religious beliefs, and political and social views. Through conversation, our students develop a more expansive, more cosmopolitan view of humanity. These are experiences that contribute to our liberal arts education and add to the cross-cultural diversity of campus.”
In addition to teaching an Asian studies course on contemporary India and co-teaching two others (Gandhi and Peacemaking and Indian Media Perspectives), Mathur plans to be part of special events at Mary Baldwin. On October 16, she joins Liberian author and activist Agnes Kamara-Umunna and Palestinian Nora Kort of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program for a panel on Women and Global Peacemaking. Free and open to the public, the event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Francis Auditorium. In September, she drew on her stage and radio acting experience to play the title role in a reading of Medea at Blackfriars Playhouse, directed by a Mary Baldwin College Shakespeare and Performance student.
Mathur’s wide-ranging accomplishments include writing a book in English about a leading Indian orthopedic surgeon and innovator, editing and translating several texts, painting, working as a voice-over artist, moderating seminars, and learning to play the sitar.
To mark her tenure at MBC, Mathur is compiling student responses to the question “What does peace mean to me?” She envisions printing a small booklet that could be used and distributed by faculty and staff and available for people to pick up in the Spencer Center.
“I feel that this is the optimal time for me to be on this campus,” said Mathur. “I am able to share my experiences and also to absorb the richness of another culture. This is the realization of a long-cherished goal.”