Smt Nayantara Sahgal '43
Mrs. Nayantara Pandit Sahgal has been elected to the Distinguished Alumni Roll in recognition of her lifetime achievement as a writer of elegantly crafted works of both fiction and non-fiction providing a perceptive and insightful analysis of postcolonial India's social and political climate. Mrs. Sahgal was born in Allahabad, India in 1927 into one of India's most prominent political families. Her mother, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, was India's first ambassador to the U.N.; her uncle, Jawaharlal Nehru, was India's first Prime Minister, and her first cousin, Indira Gandhi, was India's third Prime Minister. It is therefore not surprising that politics and history underlie much of her writing.
A member of the Class of 1943, Mrs. Sahgal attended Woodstock from 1936 until 1940, finishing her high school education in Allahabad due to the changing political climate in the nation. She attended Wellesley College in the United States and graduated with a BA in History in 1947, the first step in a lifetime of academic accomplishment. In 1976, Mrs. Sahgal was named a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts; from 1981-82, a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC; from 1983-84, a fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. In addition to these fellowships, Mrs. Sahgal was Writer-in- Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in both 1973 and 1977. In recognition of her many academic and literary achievements, Mrs. Sahgal was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a Foreign Honorary Fellow in 1990. Mrs. Sahgal is the author of nine novels Dun. In 2002, Mrs. Sahgal was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from Wellesley College. Her last novel, Lesser Breeds, was published in 2003. The Library of Congress currently holds twenty-four of her works. Mrs. Sahgal continues to write, and maintains contact with Woodstock from her home in Dehra Dun. In 2004, she spoke at the Woodstock's 75th annual Commencement, where she inspired yet another generation of students to make a difference in the world.