Two years ago I was honored to be part of “Mapping the Kumbh Mela,” a university-wide cross-disciplinary project to learn from a religious pilgrimage festival in India, the world’s largest mass gathering on earth. Team participants continue to publish research, case studies, and lessons learned, with a number of new essays and articles due out over the next few months. See most recently this World/Huffington Post essay by Alykhan Mohamed, “How to Build a Holy Smart City” (December 10, 2014). Alkhan was at the Kumbh as part of the Graduate School of Design team, and he has a longtime commitment to social action and initiatives that make a real difference for those who live in poverty around the world. (Alykhan’s Twitter)
For my own thoughts on how the Kumbh Mela festival connects with comparative religion and global health, see Beholden, chapter 2 (due out next month). Detailed information about the Harvard project and links to research resources are available at the Harvard Global Health Institute and the South Asia Institute at Harvard University, the project co-sponsors.