Yenna Sherma Purmasir
Yena Sharma Purmasir is a first year Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School. Born and raised in New York City, she graduated from Swarthmore College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a double minor in Religion and English Literature. At HDS, she focuses on South Asian religious traditions and is especially interested in studying religious responses to colonial and postcolonial influences on the subcontinent. To that end, she is also curious about the interrelatedness of space and devotion.
As a SRC Junior Fellow, Yena will examine how a bride’s farewell to her natal family (bidaai/vidaai) was further emphasized during and after the partition of India into Pakistan. She plans to investigate how these women rationalized their unique suffering as a reflection of the adversity endured by iconic Hindu goddesses: how all daughters must leave home. Through this project, she hopes to reveal the gendered experience of national and religious identity that has formed in postcolonial South Asia.
In addition to her interests in academia, Yena is also a poet and essayist. Her publication list includes two volumes of poetry and features in Mask Magazine, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Thought Catalog. Like most millennial creatives, she cares too much about Instagram.