The Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS) awarded this year’s South Asian Languages Video Awards in April 2024. The goal is to highlight students' work in South Asian languages and help promote language programs beyond campus.

“It’s a great pleasure for me to give out these awards,” says Matt Hull, director of CSAS. “It’s so important to recognize the outstanding work of students and faculty in the language program.” 

The Asian Languages and Cultures’ South Asian Language Program offers Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Urdu courses. Its goal is to help students develop language skills and cultural and regional awareness. For their final project, students in the South Asian language classes are asked to work in groups of 3 or 4 and produce a short video to showcase what they learned during the semester. The video project is worth 10 percent of their total grade. 

“This project allows students to practice, develop, and master their language skills,” says the Director of the South Asian Language Program, Syed Ekhteyar Ali. “It is also useful as they learn from their peers and understand the challenges and importance of collaboration.”

“We feel this is a wonderful way to showcase their learning outcomes. They choose specific themes and create the story to show their mastery over the vocabulary and control on various structures and grammar usage in contexts,” adds Ali. “These videos are, in a way, documentations of their performances, and we also use them to reflect upon our teaching methods and styles.”

This year, 32 videos were submitted and reviewed by a panel of judges outside the language department for the CSAS South Asian Language Video Awards. In addition to the recognition, the students also receive a small cash prize. 

The 2024 Award for Best Picture went to beginner Punjabi’s The Last Day Party by Eshan Barhing, Mili Vij, Kanika Verma, and Simran Gullani. The short film is about students organizing a party. 

Second-year Urdu’s Pakistani Corruption by Raafe Ahmed, Husban Khan, Muhammad Rauf, Arriyan Raza, and Sharjeel Sumbal and beginner Punjabi’s A Trip to Grandmother’s House by Jasmin Bains, Daman Gill, Isha Saini, and Anisha Singh won honorable mention. In Pakistani Corruption, a hit-and-run accident exposes corrupt cops and judiciary, while in a Trip to Grandmother’s House, students plan a trip to their grandma's place.

Please visit the CSAS YouTube channel to view the award-winning videos.