Lancaster lecturer receives award to honour women achievers

Head and shoulders image of Bihani Sarkar

A Lancaster University lecturer has received a national award which honours women achievers.

Dr Bihani Sarkar, a lecturer in Comparative Non-Western Thought in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, received the National Culture Champion award at the She Inspires Awards.

It was presented to Dr Sarkar for her scholarship in Sanskrit.

The awards, organised by Bolton-based She Inspires Group, were founded to recognise women in the North-West of England. Now the awards, whose chief patron is Baroness Trish Morrison, the first chancellor of the University of Bolton, include national and global categories.

They were hosted this year by BBC North West Tonight’s Mairead Smyth

Dr Sarkar is a historian of early Indian politics, religions and literature (poetry and drama) between the 2nd and the 15th centuries CE.

Her publications include two books, described as ‘paradigm shifting’ and ‘searching’, and several articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr Sarkar holds a first-class BA (Hons) degree in English Language and Literature from St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford. She then studied Sanskrit through an MPhil in Classical Indian Religions at the University of Oxford and continued with a doctorate.

Before starting at Lancaster University, Dr Sarkar was the Departmental Lecturer in Sanskrit at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford.

Prior to that, she taught Indian Religions at the University of Leeds and the University of Winchester and was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford and a Nachwuchsinitiative Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

After the presentation Dr Sarkar said: "I am deeply thankful to the She Inspires Awards for their recognition. Winning this inspiring award renews and deepens my commitment to my work and students. I felt proud and humbled to be in the company of so many extraordinary women, whose stories have been immensely moving to hear."

The She Inspires Awards celebrate the huge wealth of outstanding contributions women have made to Bolton in 18 diverse categories with six categories open to women from all over the UK and the world.

The event is an evening of celebration and achievements of women from all walks of life, showcasing extraordinary examples of courage, triumph, kindness, compassion, transformation, skill and success.

Packed with stories of unsung heroes, community champions and women who have gone above and beyond in the course of their work, service and passions, the awards highlight and celebrate exceptional accomplishments from women locally and globally year on year.

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