Saman Tariq Malik, an English major from the Class of 2016 has won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Each year the Rhodes Trust awards this scholarship to one person from each member country to study at Oxford. Saman is the Rhodes Scholar-elect from Pakistan for the year 2017. She competed for this scholarship against an estimated 4000 applications from Pakistan this year. The result was announced on November 26, 2016 by the Pakistan Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, following the interviews held in Islamabad.
Along with a major in English, Saman earned a minor in History during her time at LUMS. She is the first student from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences to have won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Saman was consistently on the Dean’s Honour List at LUMS and was also the winner of the prestigious Raazia Waseem Award for the Best Senior Project in English at LUMS.
Her research thesis was a culmination of her long term interest in literary histories of South Asia. Though Saman officially majored in English, her work is essentially interdisciplinary in nature, traversing the disciplines of history and comparative literature. Her areas of interest include the study of Urdu literary traditions, vernacular print cultures, narratives of exile, gender and reform discourses, the Anglophone novel, world literatures and Orientalism. Ostensibly, an examination of a lesser known Urdu translation of Kalidasa’s ubiquitous Sakuntala by Akhtar Husain Raipuri, Saman’s Senior Project diverged into a study of intellectual afterlives of literary texts in South Asia’s context. Her project, “Many Afterlives: The Urdu Translation of Sakuntala and the Politics of Authenticity,” was supervised by Dr. Ali Raza (Assistant Professor, History) and Dr. Maryam Wasif Khan (Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literature) and is now being revised for publication.
During her undergraduate academic career, Saman was involved in a range of extracurricular and service activities. In 2016, she was selected as a research assistant for Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi’s project on the Archives of Pakistan. She assisted in organising the first comprehensive workshop for archivists across the country taught by Dr. Kevin Greenbank from the Cambridge University. Saman was also selected among nine students for a seminar workshop on the ‘The Ontology of a Witness of War’ conducted by Dr. Manan Ahmad from Columbia University. As a research assistant for a remembrance-based digital archive project, she assisted Dr. Ali Raza and continues to work on it after graduation. Alongside, she is also assisting Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi (Assistant Professor, History) in his historical inquiry on national culture of Pakistan. She is a senior teaching assistant for courses at LUMS under the supervision of Dr. Maryam Wasif Khan who is preparing her for teaching. Recently, Saman delivered a lecture in Dr. Khan’s Western Canon class: “Beyond the Western Canon: Sexuality, Sappho and Ismet Chugtai.” Saman is a contributing writer for the acclaimed online magazine, Tanqeed. She is an artist with a special interest in contemporary Pakistani political art.
The Vice Chancellor LUMS, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi extending his felicitations commented, “Saman took full advantage of the open, interdisciplinary environment of LUMS, working with the resident and visiting international faculty to produce her insightful research thesis focusing on the literary histories of South Asia. She brings honour to herself, the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS), and LUMS. We are all truly proud of what Saman has achieved."
Saman aims to further her interest in South Asian literary cultures and digital archiving through an MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies at Oxford. According to Dean of the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Ali Khan, “Saman’s proposed research on intellectual and cultural histories of South Asia is likely to yield tremendous and much needed insights into our history. We need excellent historians in Pakistan and Saman is poised to join the ranks of the very best.”
Upon receiving the scholarship Saman thanked her faculty at MGSHSS saying, “I am deeply honoured to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship 2017. It is a dream come true. I want to thank Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi, Dr. Ali Raza, Dr. Kamal Munir, and Dr. Maryam Wasif Khan for their constant guidance, love and support. I look forward to my time at Oxford, contributing through my work to the diversity that represents the Rhodes Scholar community.’