IDEA OF INDIA PART 4 – Spoken Word History

Of all the great civilizations of the ancient world (Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China), India has arguably had the most difficult time separating fact from fiction in the historical record. The reason for this is probably due to the lack of written records for most of India’s history. After the collapse of the Indus Valley… Read more »

IDEA OF INDIA PART 3 – Aryavarta and the Idea of a Glorious Past

It is a common feature of human societies to venerate particular periods of their history. Almost all major cultures hark back to some Golden Age, when their ancestors lived as physical, mental, and moral exemplars of their society’s core values. For many devout Hindus in India today, that Golden Age was the Vedic era, which… Read more »


Pragya Tiwari spent two years researching the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the right-wing, Hindu nationalist organisation in India. She noted that it was Tagore who coined the phrase “Idea of India,” and that he was highly aware of the menace that nationalism could become. According to Tiwari, the RSS is fundamentally opposed to a pluralist future for India, and does… Read more »


If you want to be accurate to the point of being pedantic; the idea of India began 70 million years ago when a chunk of the Earth’s crust broke off from the southern supercontinent of Gondwanaland and moved rapidly (by plate tectonic standards) towards Eurasia, colliding around 50 million years ago to create the Himalaya… Read more »

A Rediscovery of India: Agendas for Change

The title of the session was derived from Meghnad Desai’s book The Rediscovery of India, in which he examines India’s past and present for factors that make India a nation and hold it together, despite inherent contradictions. Throughout the discussion, the panel tried to get a sense of the problems uppermost in the Indian mind, and of people’s expectations… Read more »

Is There An Indian Way Of Thinking? John Elliot, Geetanjali Shree, Pavan Verma, And Ashok Vajpeyi

The session aimed to analyse what exactly was the Indian way in of thinking and creating in the realms of fiction, poetry, music, arts and lifestyle. Ashok Vajpeyi kicked off the session with the statement ‘hota hai’ (‘stuff happens’), the quintessential Indian way of approaching life, according to him. The panel quickly arrived at a consensus… Read more »