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In this one-volume history of India, award-winning historian Rudrangshu Mukherjee, cultural historian Shobita Punja and photographer-archivist Toby Sinclair provide readers with rigorous historical scholarship interwoven with state-of-the-art photographs, maps and illustrations. Pictures and words complement each other in a new way of bringing history alive in the Indian context.
The book covers the major landmarks of Indian history from pre-historic times to the present. Deepening the overarching narrative are essays on archaeology, religion, art, architecture, philosophy, language, culture, the economy, and various aspects of the nation’s plural, diverse society, including the status of women, the presence of caste, and India’s interaction with other parts of the world.
With this programme, the Bangalore International Centre remembers with gratitude Shobita Punja, whose workshop on contemporary art appreciation conducted at the BIC in October 2022 with Kriti Sood, “Seeing Me through You”, had a profound and inspiring impact on participants.
SHOBITA PUNJA was the author of over fifteen books including Museums of India, Divine Ecstasy: The Story of Khajuraho, and Daughters of the Ocean: Discovering the Goddess Within. She held a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, a Master’s degree in Ancient History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, another Master’s degree in Art Education from Stanford University, California and was awarded a doctoral degree for her contribution to the field of Art Education in 1982. She was invited to lecture on Indian art at various institutions and universities in India and abroad, worked with several cultural organizations such as CCRT and INTACH, and served as CEO of the National Culture Fund, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. She was a member of the Governing Council of the Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, and a Trustee of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, UK; Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi; and the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur, among others. We honour Dr. Shobita Punja’s many contributions to art history, education, the conservation of the environment and heritage, and the restoration of several monuments in the country.
Narrative panel, second century BCE – fifth century CE, Sanchi Stupa No. 1, Madhya Pradesh
“This scene from the life of the Buddha provides rich visual information on urban life. The buildings appear to have been made of stone, wood, and brick, and were often two storeys high with wooden architectural details of pillars and capitals. This relief also alludes to the diverse craft industries of this period—the fine cotton fabric worn by inhabitants suggests skilled textile weavers and also jewellery makers. Musicians, charioteers, horse trainers, builders, masons, wood and metal craftsmen, along with other such professions are suggested on this sculptured panel.”
From A New History of India by Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Shobita Punja and Toby Sinclair, Aleph, 2023.
Tea will be served at 11 am.
Rudrangshu Mukherjee is Chancellor and Professor of History at Ashoka University of which he was the founding Vice Chancellor. He was educated at Calcutta Boys’ School, Presidency College, Calcutta, JNU and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was awarded a DPhil in Modern History by the University of Oxford. He taught in the department of history, Calcutta University, and held visiting appointments at Princeton University, Manchester University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. From 1993 to 2014, he was the Editor, Editorial Pages, The Telegraph.
He is the author of many books—these include Nehru & Bose: Parallel Lives; Awadh in Revolt 1857–58: A Study of Popular Resistance; Spectre of Violence: The Massacres in Kanpur in 1857; The Year of Blood: Essays on 1857; Dateline 1857: Revolt against the Raj. His recent books include Tagore and Gandhi: Walking Alone, Walking Together and Twilight Falls on Liberalism. He is the editor of Great Speeches of Modern India and The Penguin Gandhi Reader and the co-author of New Delhi: The Making of a Capital and India: Then and Now.
Toby Sinclair is a London-born Scot who has been working in India for the last forty-five years. He has been involved in the production of wildlife, history, and cultural documentaries since 1995 and is a director at &Beyond Asia. He is a member of Ranthambhore Foundation’s executive committee and is a founder and past vice president of The Responsible Tourism Society of India. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, London, and received the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award in 2007. He continues to be involved in conservation issues.
Mahesh Rangarajan is Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University, Haryana. He is also Chair of the Ashoka Archives of Contemporary India.
Educated at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, he has taught at Cornell, Jadavpur and Delhi. He has served as Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (2011-15) and as Vice Chancellor, Krea University (2021-22). His many works include Fencing the Forest (1996), India’s Wildlife History (2001) and Nature and Nation (2015). His co-edited works include Battles over Nature (2003), Making Conservation Work (2007), Environmental History as if Nature Existed (2010), Shifting Ground (2014), Nature without Borders (2014) and At Nature’s Edge (2018).