Please do join us to enjoy a rare evening of dance, as an offering by Leela Samson (Bharatanatyam) and Madhavi Mudgal (Odissi), and a reading of short excerpts from Anand’s writings at Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on 24 February, 2020, at 7:00 PM.
Dr. Anandalakshmy received Masters degrees in Economics from Madras University and in Child Development and Education from Bryn Mawr College, U.S.A, as a Fulbright Scholar. She was then awarded her doctorate in Human Development by the University of Wisconsin at Madison, U.S.A, while on an East-West Fellowship. She began teaching at an innovative school in Chennai called Vidya Mandir. Later, she moved to Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, where she developed and established a master’s degree course in Child Development; and was later to be the Director for over seven years. Anand was a beloved teacher and friend, who went beyond structured learning to look at pedagogy in varied contexts. Like her famous lecture, ‘Four questions in search of a speaker’, we became questions in search of a continuum of answers.
Anandalakshmy had a long and distinguished career in the field of Child Development and its intersections with cultural studies, family dynamics, social welfare, and gender studies. Her research work was prolific, especially in the areas of development of young girls, cognitive development in early childhood and socialisation of children. In the course of assisting the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in Tamil Nadu, she made two short documentaries on innovative teaching methods in Tamil Nadu schools.
Amongst many other positions, she was the President of the Governing Body of the SWRC/Barefoot College, Tiloniia; and the Executive Committee of the Doosra Dashak, Rajasthan; Volontariat in Pondicherry, and Bala Mandir in Chennai, and Pathashaala in Elimichampet, Tamil Nadu. She was also an advisor to UNICEF, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and several academic institutions in India. Notably, Anand worked with the Bernard van Leer Foundation, helping assess and monitor childcare work in SEWA, Ahmedabad. As a conscientious democratic citizen, she was closely engaged with many civil society institutions, and was a special friend of the MKSS and the School for Democracy. She was associated with all its important activities and was a generous supporter in many ways.
She was a co-editor of a book for SAGE publications on qualitative research methods. She put together and published a compilation of her writings between 1970 – 2014 titled, ‘Thinking with the heart’, which is an inspiration to many. Mention must be made of her monograph – Meeting the Dalai Lama – encapsulating her continuing admiration and reverence for the Dalai Lama. She helped with the editing of ‘The RTI Story: Power to the People’.
Anand was a scholar of outstanding ability and integrity. Her curiosity and imagination were unorthodox both inside and outside the classroom. She looked at different forms, and modes of learning as in her study of the ‘ashtavadanis‘, dance forms, classical music, social action, democratic learning, experiments with alternatives, in all forms of living life. Meeting her was always a delight