january 2013 programmes


monday 7th january
6.30 pm “An Orthodox Christmas” – a musical presentation of Christmas Sacred Music of the orthodox churches with commentary by Robinson 

tuesday 8th january
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation  

Lecture 27- The Emergence of the Catholic Church  

Lecture 28 - Christian Culture in Late Antiquity 


thursday 10 january 2 to 6 pm and
friday 11th january  2 to 6 pm and performance at 7 pm 

“Page to Stage” – a creative writing workshop for solo performances  conducted by Sahil Farooqi

saturday 12th january
6.30 pm “ Hindustani classical & Devotional Music”  a concert by Sawani Mudgal                                                                                                

saturday 19th january
6.30 pm “Not Just a Book Launch”   Carnatic music and readings from The Temples of South India a book by Indira Menon. Introduction by Reena Nanda


monday 21st january
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation

Lecture 29 - Muhammad and Islam

Lecture 30- The Birth of Byzantium


monday 7th january

6.30 pm “An Orthodox Christmas” – a musical presentation of Christmas Sacred Music of the orthodox churches with commentary by Robinson  

For people across cultures, festivals are an important aspect of connecting with their roots and also with themselves. Christmas as we traditionally know is celebrated on the 25th of December across the world or so we think. 

In the modern era the first casualty of tradition has been the bazaar aspects of almost all festivals around the world. Traditional Christmas has been replaced by commerce. Hence it is interesting to know that there are large groups of people and countries in the world who celebrate their Christmas in January.

Until the sixteenth century, the civil calendar in use the world over was the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in the year 46 B.C. Pope Gregory XIII of Rome, a student of astrology, dates and feasts noticed that the Julian calendar was marginally wrong and introduced the Gregorian calendar, still in use today and fixed 25 December as the date of the celebration of the Lord's nativity. However the Eastern Orthodox Churches continue to use the Julian and Coptic calendars which has 7th January as the date of Christmas (this will change to 8th January after the year 2100 AD.)

This presentation will focus on the music and historical tradition of the Orthodox church which is known under different denominations, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church, the Coptic Orthodox church and the Orthodox churches of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Cyprus. 

 The musical presentation will look at various unique customs and food which are an integral part of the celebration.  

Robinson is an alumnus of St. Stephen's college, Delhi, a Theologian, Meditation Practitioner and a Poet. He has an advanced certificate from Soon Bible Studies and papers on comparative religion. He is currently researching on the mystical and meditative aspects in various religious traditions. His book ‘Christianity; An Indian Theological Perspective’ awaits publication. He has a   published poetry collection. Reminiscences: The Poetry of Communion. Robinson also conducts walks on specific themes in Delhi like the old city Mehrauli, the Churches and Dargahs of Delhi.


The Foundations of Western Civilization – an education in 24 evenings.  An Attic video presentation from The Great Courses taught by Prof. Thomas Noble, University of Notre Dame.

You can discover the essential nature, evolution, and perceptions of Western civilization from its humble beginnings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt to the dawn of the modern world.


tuesday 8th january
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation 

Lecture 27- The Emergence of the Catholic Church 

lecture 27 The key question is how did the primitive Christian communities grow into the Roman Catholic Church? Nero had made Christians into scapegoats, Domitian outlawed Christianity, Emperor Decius undertook the 1st systemic persecution of Christians, Diocletian attacked clergy, burnt books and encouraged denunciations. 

These efforts failed and Constantine began the close association between the Emperors and the Church. He not only granted Christianity legal toleration in the empire but also saw to the building of St. Peters and St. Paul’s basilicas in Rome. 

By the end of the 5th century Christianity had an empire wide organization, a well defined legal status and a definitive body of authoritative writings.  


Lecture 28 - Christian Culture in Late Antiquity

lecture 28  After about 350 AD after struggling for intellectual respectability the Christian church had accepted classical culture and the Roman world and the Church fathers were becoming intellectually dominant.

The important questions addressed were how is the Bible to be understood? How does Christianity relate to classical culture?  This was also the time when Christian art and architecture began to emerge along with the 3rd   great age of Latin literature.  

Jerome played a key role in opening up Christian doctrine for small groups of high born Roman women. His writings were much prized in the Renaissance for their elegance. Augustine, born in North Africa was one of the greatest of the Latin fathers. His Confessions chronicled his conversion and stands as the 1st work of true introspection in Western literature. 

The last of the Latin fathers was Pope Gregory 1 who wrote biblical commentaries, letters and the lives of saints.


thursday 10 january 2 to 6 pm and
friday 11th january  2 to 6 pm and performance at 7 pm 

“Page to Stage” – a creative writing workshop for solo performances  conducted by Sahil Farooqi


Creative writing specific to solo work is a unique genre different from other forms of writing. It involves writing for solo performance techniques, voice work and body movement and this workshop will give participants a chance to showcase their solo piece at the Attic. 

The Page to Stage workshop will be held for four hours each on two days. The second day will also include a 10 minute solo performance by each of the participant.  


Day 1 

1st Hour : Group check in/ instructor introduction/ Overview of the workshop. 

2nd Hour: History of Solo Theatre, Solo Theatre in India, Solo Performance examples by the Instructor, Creative writing exercise. 

15 mins. Break. 

3rd Hour: Mini performance from the writing exercises, group discussion of enhancing your work, another creative writing exercise this time in small groups. 

4th hour: Group discussion on writing stories with the intent of performance. The difference between writing novels and writing for stage. Read through of all the work from the first day 

Day 2 

1st Hour: A talk about prominent Indian Solo Artists and their past work. A read through and video presentation of some their work. 

2nd Hour: Discussion on different types of writings found in Solo Performance:  Spoken Word Poetry, Storytelling, Solo Monologue and Skits. Last creative writing exercise concentrating on ‘Telling Your Story.‘ 

15 mins. Break 

3rd Hour: Sharing your writings and leading into a group discussion.

Choosing your piece for the Attic performance. Techniques used in enhancing your solo work. Breakdown of your work and turning it into a performance. 

4th Hour: Rehearsal for the performance, techniques of memorizing lines and last discussions before closing the workshop. 

One hour Break. 

7-to 8pm Performance at The Attic.10 minutes per participant 

Born in India, Sahil Farooqi was raised in a family full of writers and language critics which exposed him to a world of poetry and theatre.  At an early age, he moved to the United States with his mother. Farooqi earned a B.A. in Theatre Studies with a concentration in Acting from Emerson College. In Boston he developed his first solo show Flip The Switch, about a South Asian boy choosing Theatre over Medical or Engineering. While living in Washington D.C. he worked with Sol & Soul Theatre Company for two years, where he performed regularly with the company during their Hip-Hop Theatre Festival. Farooqi also had an apprenticeship with Regie Cabico, a spoken word artist and the Artistic Director of Sol & Soul. Together they developed Farooqis second solo piece A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonalds, into an hour long performance.  

Farooqi now lives in New York City where he is running a popular monthly performance series called Hipster Circus in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Farooqi recently preformed his solo piece A Brown Monkey goes to McDonald’s at the Gene Frankel Theatre as a part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festival NYC. And he was invited to perform at the Howl Festival in the East Village.

Along with A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonald’s he has also performed Coffee GRINDR at Dixon Place Theatre NYC, a new solo show about finding love on the Internet in New York City. In 2011, Farooqi appeared on Sundance Channel’s new mini documentary-series called Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. He currently lives in Williamsburg.  

Participation by Registration only . Call or email. 2374 6050 mina@theatticdelhi.org 

Charges Rs. 2000. Cheques payable to Amarjit Bhagwant Singh Charitable Trust  

Last date for registration Monday 7th Jan. 2013


saturday 12th january
6.30 pm “ Hindustani classical & Devotional Music”  a concert by Sawani Mudgal                                                                                                          

   Classical Indian music is descended from the Vedas with influences from Persian music in the middle ages. Its spiritual origin is still evident in melodic sounds that follow one another expressing an emotional state in an aesthetic unity. 

This evening Sawani Mudgal combines the classical followed by the devotional that she has studied so well. 

Born into a family of musicians, Sawani was initiated into music at an early age at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi started by her grandfather Padmashri Pt. Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya and currently headed by her father, Padmashri Madhup Mudgal. She is a gold medalist in M.A. Music from Khairagarh University. She has also passed the Alankar Pratham examination of the Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal in Hindustani classical vocal music and Visharad in Bharatanatyam dance.  

Sawani started rigorous training in music under her father at the age of 12.   She accompanies him at his concerts in India and abroad.  She was an integral part of the project ‘Samwaad’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 2003 to 2005.  She has also sung in the ‘Samwaad’ CD and and ‘Gurbani’.   

She has toured extensively in India and abroad. Some of her significant performances have been at the Fez Festival, Morocco, performances in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Russia, Greece and Pakistan.  

The devotional aspect of music is her speciality from the texts of saint poets - Kabir, Tulsi, Meera, Surdas, Rajjab Ali and the Shabads of Guru Nanak.  She has performed at various important Govt. functions at Vigyan Bhavan, Rajghat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vidhan Sabha and India International Centre.  

Sawani teaches classical vocal music at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, and is the conductor of Gandharva Baal Vrinda (Childrens’ Choir).  She has toured extensively in India as an active member of the Gandharva Choir which has toured many parts of India for the past ten years.  She teaches music therapy at Sanjivani, an NGO for schizophrenics.


saturday 19th january
6.30 pm “Not Just a Book Launch”   Carnatic music and readings from The Temples of South India a book by Indira Menon. Introduction by Reena Nanda

ambi copyReena Nanda accompanied Indira Menon on her journeys across South India. The travels were recorded in diaries and photographs. Indira’s interests in music, history and architecture come together in this book about South Indian temples.

When she visited these sites in the 1970s, they had not been awarded World Heritage status, and the initial sense of wonder is not obscured by subsequent details of architectural technicalities and details of political history  It is the exhilaration that Indira felt and was able to convey that makes this a book out of the ordinary.

Reena Nanda says “Indira Menon was for me the epitome of the European ‘Renaissance’ person. An academic who taught Economics, an authority on Carnatic music, trained by T.Brinda, the granddaughter of the legendary Vina Dhanammal. ”  Indira Menon wrote two books on the subject - The  Madras Quartet and Great Masters. A connoisseur of European Art and a self taught painter whose Rembrandts, Vermeer and Van Gogh could have fetched a good price in the art market. She also excelled in photography producing evocative pictures of her beloved Himalayas with an ordinary camera in the sixties.  

Indira was a great traveller, in the Renaissance tradition, travel for education and enlightenment. She prepared for her tours of Europe by intensive study, taking detailed notes about the museums housing her favourite paintings, and the architectural history of historic sites and buildings. It was a treat to listen to her descriptions.  

When you read this book, bear in mind Indira the musician. To me her pictures evoke the music she loved, which was her life. The recordings of old concerts - both Carnatic and Hindustani vocalists, and a large collection of slides of  South Indian temple architecture and sculpture, which she has left behind reveal her multifaceted personality. And she spared time to teach the children of dhobis, drivers and ayahs from her busy timetable at Jesus & Mary college where she did not neglect her students with whom she established a great rapport. This was due to her great sense of humour, of which you will find many examples in her text.

Reena Nanda has an interest in conservation, music and travel. She has written a biography of Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay published by OUP in 2002. 

Logo AmbiAmbi publishes unusual, well-produced and well-written books about South East Asia, especially related to the physical environment and built heritage, that appeal equally to specialists, occasional readers, and design aficionados. With a founding team who have great interest and experience in writing, editing, designing and printing, Ambi sees itself as a ‘niche player’ promoting the concept of writing and reading. For information on other books published by Ambi, see  http://ambiknowledgeresources.wordpress.com/


monday 21st january
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation 

Lecture 29 - Muhammad and Islam 

lecture 29 The world of late antiquity produced 3 heirs: the Islamic world, the Byzantine Empire and the Germanic West. This lecture examines the rise of Muhammad in a large and turbulent Arabia. 

The Prophet (570-632) came from an old, wealthy and well connected Meccan family. He entered the caravan trade as a young man and married Khadijah, a widow some years older than he. As a young man, he began to retire to the hills and caves outside Mecca, where he received a revelation from Allah. 

He was soon preaching a new monotheist, ethical and exclusive faith that galvanized his followers. The basic teachings of Muhammad are contained in the Quran (which constitute the scriptures of Islam), Hadith (collections of Muhammad’s own sayings) and Sunna (the “good practice”, the customs of Muhammad himself) 

On Muhammad’s death his old associate Abu Bakr became caliph, or successor to the Prophet. He and his successors fought lightening campaigns that brought Muslim armies to Central Gaul in the West and to the frontiers of China in the East. 

In 661 a new family of caliphs, soldiers from Syria emerged as the Umayyads who moved their capital to Damacus . They were followed in 750 by the Abbasids who moved the capital to a newly founded city, Baghdad. This was a period of brilliant cultural achievement. Muslim scholars began to tackle the massive Greek corpus of learning. 

What had been achieved in a remarkably short time was a newly dominant people, a new universal faith, a new chosen people, a new holy book and a culture deeply rooted in antiquity.

 Lecture 30- The Birth of Byzantium 

lecture 30 The 2nd of Rome’s heirs is Byzantium. It was also called East Rome. The Western Roman Empire was collapsing in the 5th century but the Eastern empire persisted. Generally the Eastern rulers were more skilful and competent. The East was more prosperous, urbanized and intellectually cultivated. 

The peoples of that time thought of themselves as Romans but on hindsight we can see that the two cultural realms were drifting apart. The East was going its own way in language (Greek), military and administrative matters and in matters of theology. In the Hagia Sophia Justinian created a church having characteristics of traditional Raman architecture but was on balance something new. 

Distinctive religious customs now marked sharp differences between East and West and it was now possible to speak of Greek orthodox and Roma catholic (although as yet neither side admitted or desired a rupture).




"Western", "Civilization" and "Foundations"


History Begins at Sumer


Egypt-The Gift of the Nile


The Hebrews-Small States and Big Ideas


A Succession of Empires


Wide-Ruling Agamemnon


Dark Age and Archaic Greece


The Greek Polis-Sparta


The Greek Polis-Athens


Civic Culture-Architecture and Drama


The Birth of History


From Greek Religion to Socratic Philosophy


Plato and Aristotle


The Failure of the Polis and the Rise of Alexander


The Hellenistic World


The Rise of Rome


The Roman Republic-Government and Politics


Roman Imperialism


The Culture of the Roman Republic


Rome-From Republic to Empire


The Pax Romana


Rome's Golden and Silver ages


Jesus and the New Testament


The Emergence of a Christian Church


Late Antiquity-Crisis and Response


Barbarians and Emperors


The Emergence of the Catholic Church


Christian Culture in Late Antiquity


Muhammad and Islam


The Birth of Byzantium


Barbarian Kingdoms in the West


The World of Charlemagne


The Carolingian Renaissance


The Expansion of Europe


The Chivalrous Society


Medieval Political Traditions I


Medieval Political Traditions, II


Scholastic Culture


Vernacular Culture


The Crisis of Renaissance Europe


The Renaissance Problem


Renaissance Portraits


The Northern Renaissance


The Protestant Reformation-Martin Luther


The Protestant Reformation-John Calvin


Catholic Reforms and "Confessionalization"


Exploration and Empire


What Challenges Remain?