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Lectures on Politics

Maps, mother goddess, and martyrdom in modern India

Shivdasani Lecture
Professor Sumathi Ramaswamy
24 Apr 2008

Related: Iconography, Modern India, Politics

Of gods and globes: The territorialisation of Hindu deities in popular visual culture

Shivdasani Lecture
Professor Sumathi Ramaswamy
8 May 2008

Related: Iconography, Modern India, Politics

Two Kashmiri lives in the Calukya Deccan

Majewski Lecture
Dr Whitney Cox
13 Nov 2008

From the eleventh century, there is evidence of a remarkable pattern of the circulation of goods, men, and texts between two seemingly unlikely corners of southern Asia: the Valley of Kashmir and the western Deccan (in what is now Karnataka). The broad contours of this mobile world can be traced through a variety of methods, including political history, numismatics, archeology, and the history of art.

In this presentation, however, Dr Cox will concentrate on literary evidence, touching on the lives of two Kashmirian brahmans who found employment in the court of the Kalyani Calukya emperor Vikramaditya VI. One of these men was a state official whose public career took place in the midst of a period of great institutional change; the other was a leading court poet and biographer of his royal patron. Looking at these two emigres together, we can better understand the world and mindset of the cosmopolitan Brahman literatus, and can begin to better chart the changing nature of the early-second millennium South Asia social order.
Whitney Cox is lecturer in Sanskrit at SOAS. His research work focuses on the history of textual creation and dissemination in the far South of the Indian subcontinent in the early second millennium of the Common Era, focusing especially on Sanskrit and Tamil. Dr. Cox was awarded his Ph.D. in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations of the University of Chicago in 2006 for a doctoral dissertation on the medieval Saiva author Mahesvarananda. He is currently at work on a book manuscript tentatively entitled Empire of Wisdom: Mobility, Belonging, and Things Made of Language in Medieval India.

Related: History, Politics, Society

Hinduism, non-violence and the costs of terrorism: towards an Indian mediation service?

Dr Thomas Daffern
5 Feb 2009

This talk will address research into the history and philosophy of non-violence in Indian religious traditions, including Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It will ask whether the stress on ahimsa in the Indian philosophical tradition is something worth preserving, even in the face of terrorist attacks such as most recently in Mumbai, and if so, how can that be done? The proposal to launch an Indian Union Mediation Service will be presented as one intelligent way to square this ethical circle of idealism versus realpolitik.

Dr Thomas C. Daffern is a specialist in peace studies, comparative philosophy and the history of ideas who has taught at the Universities of London and Oxford and also works in the secondary school sector as a religious studies teacher. He founded and directs the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy, as a unique international academic network for thinkers interested in research into peace, conflict prevention and global philosophical and intellectual discourse between different cultures and civilisations. A former educational coordinator of the Gandhi Foundation, he has travelled extensively in India and taught at the Jain University in Rajasthan. See or or for further details.

Related: Modern India, Politics

Indian Foreign Policy: Shifting Roles and Challenges in the New Decade

Ford Lecture
HE Nalin Surie
1 Feb 2010

A review of principal foreign policy development in the first decade of the 21st century and implications for the second decade.

Nalin Surie is the High Commissioner for India in the UK. He is an expert on India-China relations.

Related: Modern India, Politics