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Professor and Filmmaker

Date & Time

Saturday Sat, 16 Apr 2022


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

There is no better way to describe Buchanan’s Journey in 1800 than reproducing the title of his book – A Journey from Madras Through the Countries of Mysore, Canara, And Malabar, for the Express Purpose of Investigating the State of Agriculture, Arts, and Commerce; the Religion, Manners, and Customs; the History Natural and Civil, and Antiquities.

It is almost two decades now that our speaker began retracing Francis Buchanan’s Journey.  Although I am far from having completed the entire route, the experience so far has been fascinating, persuading him to study history in ways that he might have otherwise missed.  In this proposed lecture, the speaker will share some of his experiences and learning accompanied with photographs and short clips from his documentary films on the following subjects:

  1. The breakthrough Buchanan’s Journey gave when trying to “solve” the mystery of the “Curse of Talakad”.
  2. The amazing wealth of information in the Journey that one was able to utilize to measure agricultural productivity and standards of living in erstwhile Mysore at the cusp of colonialism.  This work became an important contribution to the Great Divergence debate.
  3. Explorations on iron and steel smelting that the reviewer for the Economic & Political Weekly termed as “revisionist environmental history”.
  4. Finding the coarse blanket weavers of Tumkur district who continue to manufacture blankets in quite the same way that Buchanan described. The speaker’s documentary film, “A Looming Past” was screened at several international festivals across the world.
  5. Recording the remnants of the “Pillai Chatram” that is unfortunately falling apart and one can only hope that it might be restored.
  6. Reconstructing the environmental history of pre-cantonment Bangalore.
  7. The fascination with mundane history triggered by Buchanan’s Journey.


Sashi Sivramkrishna

Professor and Filmmaker

Dr. Sashi Sivramkrishna completed his Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Bombay (now Mumbai) and Ph.D. from Cornell University (USA).

Apart from teaching, Dr. Sivramkrishna pursues research on a wide range of subjects including environmental, economic and monetary history as well as on more contemporary issues, in particular, macroeconomics.

He has published widely in academic journals including Business History, Environment & History, Journal of the Economic & Social History of the Orient, Global Environment, Economic & Political Weekly, Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Journal of International Development, and Journal of Human Development & Capabilities. He is the author of three books, The Curse of Talakad: Re(Situating) and (Re)Contextualizing a Legend in History; In Search of Stability: Economics of Money, History of the Rupee and Maximum Government, Maximum Governance: Reframing India’s Macroeconomic Discourse. He is also a regular contributor to Moneycontrol and other online magazines.  Dr. Sivramkrishna is also on the editorial board of Global Environment: A Journal of Transdisciplinary History.

Dr. Sivramkrishna is an avid documentary filmmaker.  His films have been screened at several international film festivals including the Royal Anthropological International Film Festival (UK) and Festival of Documentary Cinema (Russia).

Presently, Dr. Sivramkrishna is Sr. Adjunct Professor (Economics) at Narsee Monjee Institute for Management Studies, Bangalore, and Director at the Foundation to Aid Industrial Recovery, New Delhi/Bangalore.  He can be reached at sashi.sivramkrishna@gmail.com