Scholarships to India and Women
While the 52 scholarships in the original will are still offered annually, a number of changes and additions have been made and today there are 83 scholarships on offer. These include introduction of scholarships to the Commonwealth countries including India. Prof. Asim Kumar Datta (Christ Church, 1947) and Late Mr. Lovraj Kumar (Magdalen, 1947) comprised the first batch of Indian Rhodes Scholars. For the first 38 years, India had one or two scholarships every year. The number of scholarships was increased to three per year in 1985, and four per year in 1991.
Until 1977 no women were elected to Rhodes scholarships, because the will as interpreted by the Rhodes Trust Acts of Parliament confined the awards to 'male students', when the U.K. government introduced legislation to outlaw sex discrimination a clause in the bill permitted single-sex educational institutions and charities to continue to discriminate in favour of one sex. Following lobbying by the Rhodes Trustees, a further clause was inserted into the eventual Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 allowing single-sex education charities to seek leave to open their awards to both sexes. Under this clause the Secretary of State for Education made an order in 1976 declaring Rhodes Scholarships to be tenable by women, and nullifying the effect of the words 'manly' and 'manhood' in the will.
In 1979, Shalini Randeria became the first woman from India to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and in 1995, Ms. Roopa Unnikrishnan became the 100th Rhodes Scholar from India. Since 1998, six scholars are elected from India every year. More recently this number has been reduced to five. Unlike USA and many other Rhodes constituencies that have a "quota" for each state, Indian Rhodes scholarships are awarded on an All-India basis. However, our selection procedure involves zonal interviews (in the North, East, West and South zones) to shortlist candidates for the final interview and screening process.