Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, a specialist on the history of modern India, has written extensively on the meanings and complexities of India’s experience of transition from colonial to the post-colonial period. What freedom actually meant to various individuals, communities and political parties, how they responded to it, how they extended its meaning and how in their anxiety to confront the realities of free India, they began to invent new enemies of their newly acquired freedom.

On Wednesday, 9 December 2020 at 11 a.m. IST, in a live online session, Professor Bandyopadhyay will be taking pre-submitted questions from teachers across schools based on his most recent talk titled Decolonization: Change and Continuity delivered on the Karwaan: The Heritage Exploration Initiative platform.

We invite you to view the talk here:

and submit your questions here:

Last date for submitting questions: 3 December 2020.

Sekhar Bandyopadhyay is a professor and Director at New Zealand India Research Institute. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay has published several books and many articles in his field. Caste, Culture and Hegemony: Social Dominance in Colonial BengalCaste, Protest and Identity in Colonial India: The Namasudras of Bengal 1872-1947 and Caste, Politics and The Raj: Bengal 1872-1937 are his other books. In 1992 he joined Victoria University, where he has been Deputy Dean and an Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Before coming to Victoria he taught at University of Calcutta and Kalyani University in India. Educated at Presidency College and University of Calcutta, Professor Bandyopadhyay’s primary research interest is in the history of nationalism and caste system in colonial and postcolonial India. He is also interested in the history of Indian migration and the Indian Diaspora. In 2014 for his book Decolonization in South Asia he was awarded the Rabindra Smriti Puroskar (Rabindranath Tagore Prize) by the Government of West Bengal. Professor Bandyopadhyay is an Inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of Humanities and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He has been a visiting fellow at University of Chicago, Australian National University, National University of Singapore, School of Oriental and African Studies (U of London), International Institute of Asian Studies (Leiden), Curtin University of Technology, University of Calcutta and Rabindra Bharati University (India). He is Associate Editor of the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies.

A Book Conversation on Settlement and Local Histories of the Early Deccan

Thursday, 26 November 2020. 5.30 p.m.

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Its ‘Histories’ in the plural primarily because our vantage point is to discuss regional, sub-regional and local historical tendencies that then define the whole region we have identified as the Deccan. It’s also our concern to move beyond linguistically defined modern regional entities that are of recent origin to argue that most of these were historically constituted differently, often with flexible boundaries. Emphasizing on looking at histories of small regions and localities also enables one to move beyond mere dynastic history, which in their aim to valorise the present, talk of great individual rulers and icons to then privilege only political history to justify similar tendencies in the contemporary.

The task then is to share with you an inclusive historical narrative that suggests that before and after the rise of the so-called big ‘empires’ there were political systems of organisation that we dismiss as merely ‘tribal’ or those lacking in monumental grandeur. At another level, we also intend to discuss social and economic processes that defined much of the hinterland of the various Deccan sub-regions to reveal both differences and similarities that then give a character to early Deccani history. This character, I argue is one that is in a constant state of negotiating plurality so that Deccan can be characterized a region where cultures meet.

And finally, in interrogating the cultural and religious landscape, writing on localities, places and sites focuses on the ‘fragment’ – epigraph, sculpture, artefact, shrine — as a source of history. This enables us to move away from a meta-narrative of this region’s history built around literary sources from outside the region. As we argue, we are then able to contextualize the monumental and question theoretical models of historical explanation applicable for other spatial units of the sub-continent.
Aloka Parasher Sen

ALOKA PARASHER-SEN has been teaching History at theUniversity of Hyderabad, India since 1979 where, since 2018, she is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sanskrit Studies.

Her main area of research interest is in social history of early Indian attitudes towards foreigners, tribes and excluded castes and different aspects of the history and archaeology of Early Deccan. Her major writings include Mlecchas In Early India (1991); Social and Economic History of Early Deccan – Some Interpretations (1993); Deccan Heritage, Co-Editor (with Harsh K. Gupta and D. Balasubramanian), Universities Press, Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 2000; Kevala Bodhi – TheBuddhist and Jaina History of The Deccan (2003); Subordinate And Marginal Groups In Early India Up To 1500 ADOxford in India Readings Themes in Indian History (2004; 2nd Paperback edition 2007); Religion and Modernity in India (with Sekhar Bandhyopadhyaya) (OUP 2016); Settlement and Local Histories of the Deccan(Manohar 2020 in Press) among others.

71 years ago on 26 November, the Indian Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly, replacing the Government of India Act 1935 and imparting the nascent Indian nation constitutional supremacy. What better occasion to get your young ones introduced to this document if they haven’t been already? Here’s a wonderful reading Gulan and Jayant Kripalani recently put together for us of former Chief Justice Leila Seth’s 𝘞𝘦, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘐𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘢 (Puffin, 2010). Listen, re-familiarize, share.


‘I was living and trying to survive through the lockdown. Alone. Seeking refuge in a city hospital.I was in what can best be described as acute depression. A sense of hopelessness. A ‘decaying’, even.
There I met Dr. Sourabh Kole who would visit the Corona ward with other doctors.
He taught me to fight with my own ‘self’. One day at a time. For days on end. He made me realise you do not fight alone.
Later I saw him contract Corona himself. Lose both his parents. After a few days gap he was back at the hospital for his patients.
Our life-journeys make us meet amazing people sometimes. People who are like the definition of god.I came back to life, warmth, love, my own feminineness of colours, my ma’s world of recreating, bonding, loving deeply.
The oils and water colours are from this ‘rebuilding’ of life. And it is also in a way a tribute to all the people who are intertwined in this process of living, specially Dr. Sourabh Kole, my mother, my father, my work people—Noor, Sanchita, Lakshmi, Jharna—and friends.This show contains works which are conceived during Corona and post Corona time.’
Chandana Hore

The History for Peace quarterly newsletter is out with a fresh teaching learning resource for these times and many other updates!:

Seagull Books now brings you the History for Peace Journals—meticulous compilations of the content of these conferences, which include lectures by Romila Thapar, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Irfan Habib, Krishna Kumar, Audrey Truschke, Sundar Sarukkai, Jerry Pinto, Vijay Prashad, Naeem Mohaiemen, Anam Zakaria, Sohail Hashmi and Aanchal Malhotra amongst many others. An invaluable resource for anyone who believes in the importance and persistence of asking ‘why’.

Download Free PDFs Now

This year began on a busy note, with two History for Peace conferences back to back.

How do we equip our teachers to become enablers of life affirming education? How do we create classrooms that deal with ideas and teachers who nurture intelligence plus character, wonder plus amazement, curiosityplus questioning, thought, reflection, creativity and imagination.These were some of the questions that were explored with over 130 teachers from across the country.

In July 2019, Romila Thapar opened the first chapter of The Idea of the Indian Constitution, a conference for teachers, in Calcutta, with the question: When does a constitution become a requirement? What followed was an explosion of ideas and thoughts from some of the finest minds in the country over three days. Read the report here

This was followed by chapter II of The Idea of the Indian Constitution in Pune with fresh insights and new voices.