Dr. Ashwin Mahesh
|Birth date:||43 Yrs|
|Occupation:||Astronomer, Urban expert, Journalist|
Ashwin lives in Arakere-Puttenaalli area, off Bannerghatta road, with his wife Sapana and have two young daughters, Aditi and Mahiti.
Ashwin Mahesh attended the Army High School in Bangalore (class of 1986), and then studied Physics at St Joseph's College of Arts and Science. When the popular television series Cosmos by Carl Sagan was shown on TV, he became fascinated by it, and wanted to become an astronomer. He joined the amateur astronomy club which met at the Visveswaraya Museum, and also became an undergraduate assistant to a professor at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, in Koramangala.
After college, he went to Pondicherry to get an MBA, but his heart was really in science, so he continued his education abroad first in astronomy (MS) and then in climate science (PhD, Geophysics). As an astronomer, he studied star formation, and developed a technique to spot new stars as they are formed. For his PhD and during his subseqent employment, he studied Antarctic and Arctic clouds, especially their relationship to global warming and climate change.
He returned to Bangalore in 2004/5. Since then he has been working mostly on urban development issues, and on technologies to strengthen public administration, which he has pursued along with his colleagues in the social technology company, Mapunity.in (of which he is one of the founders), and through academic research efforts - He has a research appointment at the IIM, Bangalore and at the CiSTUP in IISc. He has also worked as Adjunct Faculty with IIIT, Bangalore.
Ashwin also have a parallel interest in media. Between 1997 and 2004, he used to write a regular column for rediff.com, and during this time he became interested in public interest media. Along with his friend, he started publishing India Together, which included positive development stories that were sent out to various Indian student groups in US colleges. This has since grown into one of India's largest public affairs magazine, and he continue to edit it. Recently, he has been working with a few others to develop a hyper-local online information platform for cities, focusing on neighbourhoods, and leveraging governance information for public participation.
He has been associated with the anti-corruption initiative, CORRUPTION SAAKU, from its inception, and have played an active part in IAC's demand for the Jan Lokpal Bill in Karnataka. He has participated for many years in various initiatives of Lok Satta Andolan, beginning with the campaign for electoral reforms. He has worked for a year or so with Dr JP in the Administrative Reforms Commission, and it was during that period that he became interested in the broad spectrum of governance and administration and an Ashoka Fellow - a global social entrepreneurship recognition, which he got in 2009. He has worked with many civil society groups in the city from time to time, on a variety of urban issues.