As part of the Nepal Studies Program, Professor Michael Witzel from Harvard University will lead a conference titled “Hinduism in Nepal: The Ritual Dimension.” Ritual has played a major role in Hindu societies, from the Vedas to modern times, and it has been particularly prominent in Nepalese society. It accompanies individuals from morning until night, from birth to death, and it shapes the customs of society throughout the year. This conference will explore some of the rituals, past and present, that are typical for Nepal. Stress is put on the extensive documentation that has been carried out over the past few decades, with a particular focus on fire rituals.
SAI Event Topic : South Asia Without Borders
Ancient records of early Buddhism, recovered from Tibet, identify five great centres of learning a thousand years after the birth of Prince Gautama Buddha. Of the five, two are amongst the four hundred Buddhist sites in Bangladesh; Somapura Mahavihara (Paharpur) and Jaggadala. These centers could not have thrived without patronage and proximity of the Silk Road which brought trade and Buddhism close together. Hasna will discuss a trip she took in 2015 and 2017 to Mongolia in search of a connection between Mongolia and India via Bangladesh.
South Asia Without Borders Seminar: Divine Kingdoms of the Western Himalaya: From Subjects to Citizens
Professor Sax will discuss the pre-colonial society of the Western Himalayas, which consisted of small territories ruled by local devatas (Hindu deities) through their oracles. He will provide ethnographic details of the system as it still exists, paying special attention to how it has adapted to the modern, secular Indian republic.
Shehla Rashid Shora has emerged as a prominent face of the student-youth movement in India. She was active in the movement seeking justice for Dalit research scholar, Rohith Vemula, who ended his life after facing prolonged harassment by the University of Hyderabad administration. She also led the movement for the release of JNU students, Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban who were wrongfully imprisoned following a vicious media trial.
In this talk, Ahmed will speak about the communal violence experienced during the transfer of power to Indian and Pakistani governments, specifically examining the situation which prevailed in the Punjab. Ahmed will present an analysis based on empirical evidence and a Theory of Ethnic Cleansing to shed light on how and why the Punjab was bloodied (March 1947), partitioned (End of March to 17 August 1947) and cleansed.
Coins are small metallic documents of the past. In the images and legends impressed upon them, they contain clues that can give us insights into the times in which they were created and used. In this talk, examples from ancient India will be used to show how the unpuzzling of these clues can help us bring back forgotten dynasties, recreate historical events and shine a light on political and economic conditions.
SAI Research Affiliate Hasit Shah – journalist, Londoner and Prince fan – explores the connections between a group of second-generation British South Asians and a musician they too claimed as one of their own.