Animals in the History of Ideas in India, 1850-1990


Von  25 April 2019


The seminar begins from 25 April 2019. This seminar introduces modern Indian history and society from the perspectives of those who were prominent in shaping ‘India’ between 1850 and 1990. We will seek to understand the protagonists who include philosophers, poets, artists, Maharajas, politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, lawyers, businessmen, religious leaders and social activists and then read their writings, talks and speeches to understand their worldviews. Thereafter, we will examine the ideas and thoughts of our key thinkers on animals and on the boundaries between different species. We will also draw upon literature on animals in Sanskrit language texts that were valorized in the twentieth century. We will endeavor to juxtapose these readings that are specific to the modern Indian social and historical context with frameworks from human animal studies. Some of the prominent personalities we will meet are: Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Dr. George Campbell, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad of Baroda, Dr. Mahendralal Sircar, Dr. Leslie Coleman, Col. Arthur Olver, Dr. J.C. Bose. This seminar is inspired by a course of Prof. Avijit Pathak on modern Indian social thought.