Unlocking the past

Learn more about the rich history of the five South Indian states through this ongoing video series  

Published: 23rd June 2020 07:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2020 07:30 AM   |  A+A-

Time stands still at Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While museums and archaeological sites stay shut, there is always a way for history buffs to visit the past. National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in collaboration with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Bengaluru has come up with an online video series lecture. Called Back and Forth in Time: Lectures on South India’s past, the series will conclude on June 25. 

The talks speak about the past of the five South Indian states. “We tried to bring out the heritage of most of the parts of the Coromandel belt in India,” says Smriti Haricharan, assistant professor, Heritage Science and Society Program School of Humanities, NIAS. Besides architecture, it also covers literature and arts. “Architecture, of course, is an important part of history, which will tell you about the topography and the engineering skills. To know the way people thought during that time or the idea behind any plan, one has to go through the manuscripts as well,” says Haricharan, who has been a part of  NIAS for past 10 years.

For example, Gayatri Iyer, who has an MPhil in Indian Art History from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), spoke about the art and architecture of Karnataka Hoysala and Chalukya era. She also mentioned the superstition that prevails, how religion and politics go hand-in-hand in many ways. Alongside ancient history, medieval and modern history also feature in the series. Haricharan points out that the response so far has been encouraging for them. Each session sees over 100 registrations, with active audience interaction through questions posed at dignitaries. “The virtual classes have given them the advantage of having guest speakers from overseas too,” says Haricharan.

Meera Iyer, who is part of INTACH Bengaluru, says the current scenario is the season of webinars. “But in all these talks on heritage, history and archaeology, there was very little of South India. There were scholars and researchers doing some excellent work on it but no real focus is on it, where the information reaches a lay person.”

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June 23: V Selvakumar –Literary sources and urbanisation of southern India
June 24: Carol Upadhyay and Smriti Haricharan – Reimagining the urban: 
The present and the past
June 25: Hemnath Kadambi – Reimagining South India’s past: Archeology, heritage-making and the public
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