As our Summer internships draw to a close, we wanted to take some time to feature our incredible students and their work over the Summer. Next up is Graduate Student Sahil Dharam Mohan (Architecture ‘23).
Sahil was born and raised here in New England, but has family roots in northern India. He sought to study with MIT India to connect with the spiritual symbolism of Hinduism and Indian culture through architectural research and design. “Although I did not grow up in India, and although I am not religious, the symbolic spirituality of Hinduism and Indian culture has deeply impacted my life.” Sahil said. “[MIT India] gave me the opportunity to dive deep into a specific topic regarding the appropriation and exoticism of Hinduism by Whiteness.”
Sahil’s research led him to the village of Ajunda, in Goa, India, where he was able to study religious and spiritual architecture from throughout the region’s history. “Given Ajunda's history of Muslim religion, Hindu religion, Portuguese inquisition, and now White rave culture, the religious architecture in Ajunda became a clear example for how architecture that was once designed for one religion maintains [. . .] spiritual experience even devoid of religion.” said Sahil of his experience there. Ultimately, Sahil designed a 3D model of a bodice, derived from CT scans of his own body. “The form is guided by the Hindu concept of chakras, and its material origin, form, and symbolic nature resists appropriation from all bodies other than my own.” he explained.
Sahil’s advice to those considering studying with MIT India? “My experience has been fantastic. I am very thankful that MIT-India has allowed me to learn more about myself in an academic way.” He also added that interested students should “Talk to Nureen (our Program Manager) ASAP! She has great advice.”
Sahil wanted to specifically thank those who collaborated with him in his research and his design project, including @ohhhsosavvy and @chelseajbaptiste, and MIT Architecture, @mitarchitecture. He extends a special thanks to Dr. Darell Fields at UC-Berkeley.
Connect with Sahil on Instagram at @sahilmohan