Hello, bonjour, ഹായ് !
My name is Sonaj Kailas and I am currently pursuing my second master’s in Rare Book📙& Digital Humanities💻 at the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC) 🏛 I hail from Kerala🌴India🇮🇳 and I speak Malayalam, Tamil, English, French (un petit peu) & Hindi.
I was born in Wayanad and brought up in Kozhikode (British called the present-day city of Kozhikode by Calicut for reasons of their own and today we switch between both names), a small town located in the Malabar Coast 🏞 (as it is called since the time of Arab and Roman traders, I do not want to delve much into the history). I studied Humanities & Social Sciences in high school and after schooling, I moved to Delhi, where I obtained a 👨🏾🎓Bachelor in Political Science and 👨🏾🎓Master in Library & Information Science from the University of Delhi 🏛
After my studies, I worked as a School Librarian👨🏾🏫 at KVS in Chennai and later joined for 👨🏾🎓doctoral studies at the University of Delhi🏛. The pandemic has arrived and made life difficult. I decided to drop out and I was really in need of a change.
During my studies for master’s, I had the opportunity to intern with two institutions that had a rich collection of manuscripts📜 and rare books📕. Interning with these institutions had given me many important insights into the value of rare documents and also sparked my interest in archival science. I searched on the internet and found this master, such a unique program that has no counterpart elsewhere in the world. I was fascinated by the course offerings, especially the two internship components.
Now I’m in the second semester of my master. Here we learn about cave paintings & clay tablets to XML-TEI and ancient Greek & Latin to Python programming👨🏾💻. We had the opportunity to participate in the Paris Bible Project.
We have some nice professors and we often conduct seminars by experts in the field. For my master’s project, I will be doing a bibliographic study of Hortus Malabaricus and I’m planning to build a digital version of the same.
I never thought I would go to study in France🇫🇷, though we have a colonial connection. I always dreamed about visiting Switzerland and now I live in my small room in the CROUS of Besançon, just 2 hours away from Lausanne. France is an awesome destination for higher studies. For my first internship, I will be going to Brussels and I hope to visit more countries in Europe during my stay here. Coming from a tropical coast, I always crave sunny days🌅 and spicy food🥘here….!
A scenic view from Besançon