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Keynote Address by Nayanjot Lahiri

Oct 14, 2016

On Wednesday, October 13, Prof. Nayanjot Lahiri (Ashoka University, Delhi) opened the Cluster’s Annual Conference by giving a keynote address about the influence of politics on the archaeological heritage of India and its people in the post-independence era.

In the speech, which was titled “Heritage at the Intersection of Politics and People – India’s Archaeological Heritage”, Prof. Nayanjot Lahiri looked at the archaeological heritage of India in the post-independence era (1947 till the present) from the perspective of politics and people. The presentation began by highlighting the visibility of politics in relation to monuments, museum collections and research in the immediate aftermath of independence and the partitioning of a united India into the nation-states of India and Pakistan.

It then moved on to impart a sense of the fate of monuments and sites since then till the present. In the speech, Prof. Lahiri talked about how sites get protected, who gets them protected, why many of them come under pressure or get destroyed. In exploring these themes, Prof. Lahiri explored the nature of engagement of India’s political leadership, the dangers posed by antiquity smuggling, the pressures that emanate from large development projects, and legal interventions around iconic monuments like the Taj Mahal.

Nayanjot Lahiri is a historian and archaeologist of ancient India and a professor of history at Ashoka University, Delhi. For her work in archaeology, she won the Infosys Prize in 2013. In 2016, she was awarded the John F. Richards prize for her book “Ashoka in Ancient India”.

The opening ceremony of the Cluster’s Annual Conference 2016 was held on October 13 at 18:00, in the Alte Aula of Heidelberg University. With the title "Making, Sustaining, Breaking - The Politics of Heritage and Culture", this event is a collaborative enterprise of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University, the Forum Transregionale Studien, the Max Weber Stiftung - Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland, and the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. It is organised by Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja, Dr. Michael Falser and Dr. Philipp Stockhammer on behalf of Research Area D "Historicities and Heritage".

 

Please visit the conference website for the detailed programme and further information.


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