Mr. Yogendra Trivedi
Field of Study: Religion
Home Institution in the U.S.: Columbia University, New York, NY
Host Institution in India: LD Institute of Indology and AARSH Research Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat  
Start Date/Month in India: June 2015
Duration of Grant: Twelve months

Brief Bio:
Mr. Yogi Trivedi is a doctoral student and teaching fellow in the Department of Religion at Columbia University. Prior to pursuing his academic interests, he worked as a broadcast journalist in New York City at CBS News and NY1 News. He teaches as a visiting faculty member at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University. His doctoral project focuses on the textual and performative study of North Indian devotional traditions in 18th- and 19th-century Gujarat, specifically the Swaminarayan Sampraday. His doctoral project is enhanced by his experience and training as a lecturer and performer of bhakti poetry and classical and devotional North Indian music. He has trained with various classical and folk musicians such as Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj and Gujarati ghazal maestro Purushottam Upadhyaya. His latest book is the first-ever English hagiography of Swaminarayan.

Mr. Trivedi’s research explores the relationship between performative media—manuscripts, music, and temple inscriptions—and religious community formation in 19th-century Gujarat. In particular, he is focusing on three culturally distinct poet-musicians of the Swaminarayan Sampraday whose work in the formative period of the community had a defining role in the coherence the community displays today. The patterns of expansive sectarian organization that make the Swaminarayan Sampraday so noticeable today in India and in the diaspora carry forward a momentum that can already be observed in the poetry and song of the earliest decades of its formation.