Gandhinagar: Focusing on some little-explored features woven into the two epic tales of India, the next two lectures of the Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) elective course by the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) will take us through the journeys of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which have enthralled India and much of Asia for close to two millenniums.
Prof Michel Danino, a well-known expert of Indian civilisation and culture, and coordinator of the IKS course at IITGN will deliver two online lectures on February 3 and 4, 2021, from 3:05 to 4 pm (IST). The first lecture, titled ‘The Ramayana: The Journey of a Journey’, will follow the journey of Ramayana’s heroes, briefly trace the geography, flora and fauna described in the epic, and reflect on the deep imprints it has left on the Indian landscape from the South to the North-East.
The second lecture – ‘The Mahabharata: India’s First Anthropology Project’ – will show how this epic encompasses India’s entire geography, political landscape and ethnic diversity into its story through the Pandavas’ campaigns to the remotest corners of India and beyond, and the Great War. Such vibrant tapestry of major clans and tribes of the subcontinent resulted in what might be called India’s first anthropology project. Like Ramayana, the Mahabharata was also translated, retold or re-created in every region of India, including tribal areas, with hundreds of sacred landmarks emerging from the tale.
Prof Michel Danino likes to call himself a lifelong student of Indian civilisation. Apart from many research papers and popular articles, he authored The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati (Penguin India, 2010) and Indian Culture and India’s Future (DK Printworld, 2011). With Prof Kapil Kapoor, he co-edited a two-volume textbook, Knowledge Traditions and Practices of India (2013 & 2015) for a CBSE elective course for class XI and XII. More recently, he edited Sri Aurobindo and India’s Rebirth (Rupa Books, 2018). Since 2011, Prof Michel Danino has been associated with IITGN; he coordinates there the activities of the Archaeological Sciences Centre and also the course on IKS.