Gandhinagar: The Humanities and Social Sciences discipline of the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) is all set to begin the fifth edition of its unique elective course, Introduction to Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS), online from January to April 2021. The theme for this year is ‘The Indian Web of Arts and Aesthetics’.
The genesis of this theme is based on the thought that Indian aesthetics emerged not only from a theoretical framework based on certain fundamental concepts (such as those codified in the Natyashastra), but also from diverse regional traditional practices, like the much-discussed marga-deshi or classical-folk dialogue. Eventually, this dual stream led to the emergence of classical art forms and literature genres gifted with a recognisable pan-Indianness.
Throughout this edition, about 13 eminent scholars, practitioners and cultural proponents from India and overseas, including the course coordinators Prof Michel Danino and Ms Mana Shah from IITGN, will explore the processes of Indian arts and aesthetics, and how they contributed to the cultural integration of Indian civilisation. There will be sessions on various topics such as Buddhism’s spread in and beyond India by Prof Lokesh Chandra; Mahabharata: India’s first anthropological project | Pan-Indianness of Ramayana by Prof Michel Danino; Introduction to Indian poetics by Dr R Ganesh; The practice of ancient Indian theatre by Dr Bharat Gupt; Natyashastra and its pan-Indian legacy | Indian linguistic tradition by Prof Kapil Kapoor; Aesthetics of poetry and pleasure by Dr Shonaleeka Kaul; Indian painting by Dr Nanditha Krishna; Tamil-Sanskrit interface by Dr R Nagaswamy; Kerala performing arts by Ms Ankita Nair; Indian architecture by Prof VN Prabhakar; Indian music: classical and folk traditions by Prof Srinivas Reddy; Chronicling History: The Indian Way by Ms Mana Shah; and Indian dance and national unity by Dr Padma Subramanyam.
The first lecture of the course will be delivered on January 13, 2021, at 3 pm, by Ms Mana Shah, Lecturer of Sanskrit at IITGN and a researcher of Sanskrit pedagogy, manuscriptology and historical literature in Sanskrit, Prakrit and medieval Gujarati languages. In her lecture titled “Chronicling History: The Indian Way”, she will illustrate the pan-Indian nature of historical narratives, also known as Itihasa or Charita, coming from various regions of India.
The course is open to students and anyone interested in India’s knowledge systems and cultural heritage. They can join the course for free by filling an online registration form on the website: http://iks.iitgn.ac.in/. All lectures will be livestreamed on IITGN’s YouTube channel. Starting January 13, 2021, lectures will be held on most Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4 pm. The course’s website will carry regular announcements and updates on the speakers and lectures.