By: Muziah Kargbo

Hello readers, today I present to you an email interview I managed to do with Preeya Deol, a senior who majors in Asian Studies with a concentration on South Asia. I’d like to thank her and her sisters who attend UNC and have a strong interest in South Asia as well. Their mini interviews will be in a following post. I’d also like to add that I’m grateful for the time and effort they put into their responses and I hope that you, the readers, will find the interviews stimulating and a good read, too. Finally, Preeya’s interview is as follows with minimal editing.

Q1: Please introduce yourself 

Hey! My name is Preeya Deol and I am a soon to be graduate of the Asian Studies department with a concentration on South Asia! I am a Capricorn with a strong love for dancing, religious studies, and eating Thai food!

Q2: What are some South Asian courses that you’ve taken during your time as an undergraduate here? (including language courses)

As a South Asian studies major, I have been given the opportunity to take a NUMBER of courses! I have taken all levels of Hindi-Urdu, including a class solely focused on reading the works of South Asian writers and poets. I was also able to take an introductory Urdu script course, which in itself was extremely challenging, but I love a good challenge! I was able to take the classes, RELI 386 and RELI 482, with Dr. Harshita Kamath, who is now in Atlanta at Emory University. They were some of the most amazing courses because they exposed me to voices of those within the studies of religion and sexuality that are repressed or not brought to the forefront during their peaks.

Q3: Is there a particular class you enjoyed and would recommend to others?

I truly enjoyed taking ASIA 331, which was the study of the events of the tragic Partition of India into the two countries we know today as India and Pakistan. We read such interesting pieces of work, such as “Train to Pakistan,” by Khushwant Singh. The poems, as well as the gory details associated with this historical tragedy, helped me to understand the intersectionality of identity and how everyone was truly touched by these events. What stuck with me the most is how there are still lasting effects from what occurred in 1947.

Q4: Could you briefly reintroduce us to your honors thesis and explain how you were influenced to do that particular topic?

My honors thesis was an opportunity for me to shed light on the voices that can be overshadowed with communities: the voices of women. Growing up in a traditional, Sikh home, I was exposed to many religious ideas and accepted them without truly analyzing them. When I entered college and took more religious studies classes, I yearned to understand if orthopraxy and the doctrine of the religion actually aligned.

In addition, my experience with sex education and menstruation were not the most positive and ultimately, very confusing. These instances have not left me and truly inspired me to understand why one thing was being said and another was being done. In Sikhism, men and women are taught that regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, religion, etc. all are equal. No ifs or buts. Similar teachings were brought to my attention, but the beliefs behind menstruation were never shared. Fast forward some years and I was able to conduct my own ethnographic research for my thesis. My research consisted of interviewing women from the Sikh faith in the Triangle area, solely to understand what they believe in regards to menstruation, as well as what practices they follow. It was honestly quite an experience and I hope that I was able to provide something useful to the world of Asian Studies!

Q5: Have you done or want to do a study abroad program relevant to South Asia?

I did not complete a study abroad program, but I did go to India back in 2015. I have wanted to go back ever since!!

Q6: What do you plan to do after graduation? 

I am going to be taking some much needed time off of school, but I am definitely excited for the opportunity to return. As of right now, I will hopefully be working for a public health startup or conducting health equity based research. I would also like to gain more data in terms of my honors thesis and eventually, make it a larger project within the field of public health!

Thank you again to Preeya for the interview and congratulations on your graduation. We wish you the best in your future endeavors!

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