ECONOMYNEXT – Indian historian Romila Thapar is talking on the history and evolution of museums in India which started during the Colonial period as private collections and became state institution at a lecture in Sri Lanka.
Thapar is a Professor of Ancient History, Emerita, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the University of Oxford, Institute National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Calcutta, the University of Hyderabad, Brown University, and the University of Pretoria.
Sri Lanka’s National Trust for Cultural and Natural Heritage is egaged in protecting and raising public awareness of the tangible and intangible heritage of the island.
“My example will be the history of the museum in India, but my assumption is that this history, as can be observed in India, would probably apply to most countries that were once colonies,” Tharpar was quoted as saying in a National Trust statement.
“Has the museum, now that it is located in an independent state, taken a different form? How can the museum be made into a crucial institution in both defining heritage and in exploring knowledge?
“This is one institution in which the historian and the art-historian have to work closely together, or for that matter even the historian and the professional specialist in whatever discipline the museum is connected to.”
The lecture starts at 1800hours Sri Lanka time on January 27.
Romila Thapar’s special contributions includes the use of social-historical methods to understand the change in the mid-first millennium BC in northern India ass lineage-based Indo-Aryan pastoral groups moved into the Gangetic Plain, creating caste-based states.
The epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata, in her analysis, show how these groups and others negotiated new, more complex, forms of social organization.
She is the author of Lineage to State, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Early India: From Origins to AD 1300, and the popular History of India, Part I.