Ananya Bhatt from Mumbai, has been awarded the Jainti Dass Saggar Memorial Scholarship for Excellence by the University of Dundee.
Winners of the award show remarkable potential to study at undergraduate level and must have already received one of the University’s existing scholarships for international students.
Born in the Punjab in 1898, Jainti Dass Saggar undertook a 26-day sea journey to study Medicine at University College Dundee, the forerunner of the University, in 1919.
After graduating, Dr Saggar became a GP in the city and served on the boards of various education and welfare bodies until he was elected to Dundee Town Council in 1936.
He then served as a Labour councillor for eighteen years until his death in 1954.
Ananya, who moved to Dundee to to study BSc Computing Science, says she is inspired by Dr Saggar’s example and is determined to live up to the principles that underpin the award.
She said: “I feel truly honoured to receive this scholarship. It will help with the expense of travelling across the world and settling into a new life, but the moral value of the award is even more important than the monetary value, for me.
“When I read about Jainti Saggar I was inspired by his achievements, particularly in helping people less privileged than he was.
“To win an award bearing his name is a great honour and I am determined to uphold the values which he and the scholarship represent.”
Ananya continued: “I want to be a software developer and to use my skills to help underprivileged children around the world somehow. Through my course I hope to build a firm foundation for this.
“My parents always taught me about the importance of helping others. They never tried to shelter me from the inequalities of society and wanted me to work to make things better.
“My father took me to visit an orphanage for girls from a young age and I started volunteering there when I was about 10.”
Ananya’s experiences at the orphanage were just the start of her charitable endeavours.
She has volunteered with a wide variety of causes, including plantation drives in forests near Mumbai whilst helping raise money for others such as an animal ambulance charity.
Wendy Alexander, Vice Principal (International) at the University, said, “Dr Saggar was a true example of a global citizen, an inspirational character who dedicated his life to helping others.
“He worked to improve the quality of school meals, helped open a psychiatric clinic, and argued for the provision of 20 communal canteens for Dundee’s poor.
“Ananya exemplifies Dr Saggar’s values and is a worthy winner of a scholarship in his name and she has already shown a determination to transform lives, locally and globally.
“I look forward to seeing the impact she makes throughout her time at Dundee and beyond.”
Ananya is a keen swimmer and badminton player and is looking forward to pursuing her passions at Dundee. She also plans to join the University’s Indian Society.
Former members of the Society reached out to Ananya and other new entrants from India, something that has furthered her excitement about her move to Dundee.
“I have spent time away from home on trips and at camps, but I had never been to the UK before,” continued Ananya.
“This is a completely new experience, and one I am very excited about. Mumbai is a huge place so moving to a much smaller city is a massive change, but I am very excited to be experiencing this new lifestyle and discovering everything my new home has to offer.
“I looked at a lot of UK universities but what really appealed to me was the course structure and what Times Higher Education magazine had to say about Dundee.
“Before I left, I spoke to Indian alumni and they only had great things to say about the city and University.
“They talked about how Dundee helps you become the person you want to be and that appealed to me because I want to explore myself through my degree.”
Jainti Dass Saggar’s contributions to social and political life are evident from his inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the city’s Saggar Street is named in his honour.