Dissertation Defense: Prem Pahlajrai

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 10:15am
Gowen Hall M-223

The department of Asian L&L invites interested parties to attend Prem Pahlajrai's dissertation defense on Wednesday, September 18th at 10:15 in our conference room (Gowen M223).

Niścaldās and his Vṛttiprabhākar: Advaita Vedānta in the Vernacular 

This dissertation is a study of Swāmī Niścaldās (1791-1863 CE), a highly regarded Advaita Vedāntin and Dādūpanthī, who lived in what is now the state of Haryana in Northern India. Niścaldās is best known for his Vicārsāgar and Vṛttiprabhākar, both written in Hindi. The dissertation examines Niścaldās’s motivations for writing in the vernacular, as opposed to Sanskrit, with which he was also well-versed, by presenting his life and works, particularly the Vṛttiprabhākar. [Dissertation Abstract]

Prem Pahlajrai was born in Pune, India. While growing up there, he was oblivious to the worlds of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy, choosing instead to earn a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Engineering at Pune University. He came to the U.S. to pursue a doctorate, but after completing a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, he worked in the corporate sector for over a decade helping design microprocessors. He has lived in Seattle since 2000 and earned a Master of Arts in 2005 at the University of Washington in Asian Languages and Literature. Since 2005, he has been teaching Hindi in our department.

Supervisory Committee:
Collett D. Cox, Chair (Asian L&L)
Heidi Pauwels (Asian L&L)
Richard G. Salomon (Asian L&L),
Michael Shapiro (Asian L&L)
Kyoko Tokuno (Jackson School of International Studies).
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