“Ever since I picked up a newspaper for the first time, I was interested in reading the foreign affairs section or the world section, and that made me start to think about issues globally. My interest in international politics and human rights gradually grew during my freshman year at SPIA when I took a class on these issues, read accounts by journalists reporting on war crimes and genocides, and realized how important their work is in helping us uncover the truth in all these complex political dynamics. At the end of that semester, in December 2019, there were massive protests happening in India against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which basically defined citizenship in India on the basis of religion and excluded Muslims, compromising basic human rights. A lot of the protesting was led by students, for which they faced a lot of heavy oppression.
I was in the U.S., but a lot of my friends were involved, so I started thinking, ‘How can I be a part of such things?’ I was disassociated from the actual ground reality but was still trying to figure out how I could work towards that and make sure that a country like mine upholds and follows these universal human rights and values."Kanishkh Kanodia ’23
I started the South Asian Progressive Alliance at Princeton with friends who have since graduated, and through that, we’ve worked to spread awareness about South Asian issues on campus and make people aware of what's actually happening in the region. It's been one of my only connections to India on this campus, except for traveling back and forth. It’s been meaningful to have people outside my region and outside my country understand what my country is like and to promote a certain kind of vision of how my country should be. As I leave Princeton, I will be going to China next year as a Schwarzman Scholar to study how people in countries like India and China think about such political and civil human rights issues and hopefully bridge the gap between such thinking between India and China, and China and the rest of the world.”