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Sat, 08 Aug


Online event

Looking back through our Identities - Itihāsa Purāna

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Looking back through our Identities - Itihāsa Purāna
Looking back through our Identities - Itihāsa Purāna

Time & Location

08 Aug 2020, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Online event

About the Event

Join us at: Meeting ID: 875 0678 5967 Passcode: 369284

Aloka Parasher begins this session with an interrogation of how Myth and History are commonly understood—juxtaposing this with what is meant by Itihāsa Purāṇa.

Having explained why in the Indian ethos this composite term is preferred, Aloka argues: surely myths cannot be seen as proof givers of history nor can they be seen as ‘truths’ of the past in absolute terms.

Presenting extracts from Romila Thapar's writing that looks at Time to locate human interventions in defining themselves; and Badrinath Chaturvedi's text that looks at the human condition—Aloka will share her own perspectives with examples from research on how identities were formed.

The focus here will be on looking at the transmission of myths into regions and localities. She argues that once this is done, a historical evidence is produced that then edifies the myth to create new meanings. Modern history writing—she posits—needs to be in a continual dialogue of negotiating plurality with what modernity understands as myth and thus we see a dialectical relationship between various pasts and the innumerable presents that continually look back for sustenance.


ALOKA PARASHER-SEN has been teaching at the University of Hyderabad, India since 1979 where, since 2018, she is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sanskrit Studies. She has widely traveled on academic assignments and was DAAD Fellow, (1986- 87) and occupant of the Rotating Chair in India Studies (2007-08) at the South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor (1992) at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and most recently, the first occupant of the Saroj and Prem Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Polity and Society (2008-2011) Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, Canada.

Her main area of research interest is in the social history of early Indian attitudes towards foreigners, tribes and excluded castes and different aspects of the history and archaeology of Early Deccan.

Her major writings include Mlecchas In Early India (1991); Social and Economic History of Early Deccan - Some Interpretations (1993); Deccan Heritage, Co-Editor (with Harsh K. Gupta and D.Balasubramanian), Universities Press, Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 2000, KevalaBodhi, The Buddhist and Jaina History of The Deccan (2003) Subordinate And Marginal Groups In Early India Up To 1500 AD, Oxford in India Readings Themes in Indian History (2004; 2nd Paperback edition 2007), Religion and Modernity in India, (with Sekhar Bandhyopadhyaya) (OUP 2016), Settlement and Local Histories of the Deccan (Manohar 2020 in Press) among others.

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