june 2012 programmes


monday 4th june
6.30 pm  The Foundations of Western Civilization  

Lecture 5 – “A Succession of Empires”

Lecture 6 – “Wide-Ruling Agamemnon”

monday 25th june
6.30 pm

 Lecture 7 – “Dark Age and Archaic Greece”

Lecture 8 – “The Greek Polis-Sparta” 

 wednesday 6th june
6.30 pm United Flakes of America: An Evening of True Stories by Saurabh Tak

  friday 8th june
6.30 pm “The Room” a play Directed by Vikramjeet Sinha & Produced by Kalasmriti Productions

saturday 9th june
1 – 2 pm Food Meditation # 23  

saturday 16th june
6.30 pm “Robber of The Heart'' The Esraj – a recital by Arshad Khan

 tuesday 19th june
6.30 “A Prayer for Aliyah” a film by Zorawar Shukla
(27 minutes)

 wednesday 20th june
6.30 pm “Delhi: A World Heritage City” an illustrated talk by A.G. Krishna Menon

thursday 21th june
6.30 pm Zubaan Talkies, Take #5: Why Did the Feminist Cross the Road? An Evening of Feminist Stand-Up Comedy

wednesday 27th june
6.30 pm Moonweavers – Chaand ke Julaahe 5th Poetry Open Mic



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 Norte 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.

This series of 48 half hour lectures - 2 per evening will be introduced by an eminent professor/personality who will also answer questions. The events and the course are free. The title of each lecture is listed below.


monday 4th june
6.30 pm

Lecture 5 – “A Succession of Empires” 

The peoples holding sway over the ancient Near East included the cruel Assyrians, the Medes, the Neo-Babylonians who overthrew the Assyrians around 600 B.C., and the Persians, who along with the Medes would build the largest empire the world had seen to that time. 

The main achievement of the Neo Babylonians whose high point lasted only about a century…. .was the massive rebuilding of the city of Babylon, creating there the famous Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, an elaborate palace complex with beautiful pleasure gardens surrounding it.


Lecture 6 – “Wide-Ruling Agamemnon” 

 Civilization in the Greek world began in the Mediterranean of Crete about 2000 BC. The civilization there has been long called the Minoan from the mythical King Minos. We do not yet know exactly who these people were. They did not speak Greek but their massive palace complex at Knossos, which covers 5 acres provides clues about them. The4 size, beauty and decorations of the complex suggest wealth, leisure and a developed aesthetic sense. The complete lack of fortification suggest that the people were peaceful and non aggressive.   

This is the period of the great cities of Mycenae and Corinth and Pylos, the very cities that are mentioned in Homer’s Iliad.

 monday 25th june
6.30 pm

 Lecture 7 – “Dark Age and Archaic Greece” 

 Greek civilization did not grow to glory in a straight line from the Myceneans. Between 1200 and 1100 B.C there is evidence for wide spread destruction of the major Mycenean sites. These invasions were traditionally associated with the Dorians, a people from Northern Greece who settled primarily in the Peloponnesus with Sparta as their key city.  

We speak of Greeks, oddly, because the Romans called them Graeci. The “Greeks ”called themselves Hellenes and their land, Hellas. There were 4 major groupings of Greece with modest ethnic and linguistic differences : Attic, Ionic, Aeolic and Doric. The great achievement of this period was the Polis, the city state that was the key Greek political institution.


Lecture 8 – “The Greek Polis-Sparta” 

polis Spartan society was harsh and peculiar, yet many observers at the time and since have found "the Spartan way" strangely compelling. After all, they won the war against Athens, and their victory moved Plato to re-imagine Athenian society in The Republic. What were the main features of this system, and why did the Spartans embrace it?One outstanding feature of the Spartan system was the social classes The homoioi (= were adult male Spartan citizens over the age of 18) They had substantial rights of political participation. The periokoi (dwellers about) were what we would call “resident aliens”. These people were not citizens but enjoyed basic protection. 

There were 2 kings, drawn from the same 2 families, who had veto power over each other. One was usually at home, and one away with the army.


The Foundations of Western Civilization 



"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?






wednesday 6th june
6.30 pm United Flakes of America: An Evening of True Stories by Saurabh Tak


Born and raised in India, Saurabh Tak is a TNT-sponsored New York City Moth Story Slam winner (www.themoth.org), who has been featured as a performer at various venues including Columbia University in New York, Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington DC, and the Un-cabaret in Los Angeles.


This past Diwali Saurabh returned home to India for the first time in 10 years! "Why?" You must wonder. Come find out the answer to that and more at his very first storytelling solo show in India, The United Flakes of America, in which he narrates five separate true stories picked out from various phases of his unconventional immigrant years in America.



 friday 8th june
6.30 pm “The Room” a play Directed by Vikramjeet Sinha & Produced by Kalasmriti Productions


The Room is a rendition of the play called “Rope” by Patrick Hamilton. Based in a farmhouse in Delhi, the drama is about a murder committed by Eishaan and Rohit, two upper middle class young adults who are deeply influenced by the intellectual ideas of their mentor.  Their fidelity to the act of murder culminates into a brazen dinner party which takes place on the chest which contains the murdered victim.  Relatives and close friends of the victim are invited by the young men to their outhouse to celebrate over the body of the victim.  Unsuspecting guests chat around the chest, little knowing that a dark deed has just taken place and that they are part of a great design of the murderers. 

“The Room” looks at pressing social issues of violence amongst the privileged class, exploding the myth that economic wellbeing naturally leads to emotional contentment.  The play dispels popular notions of education and upbringing as factors which mitigate crime and violence.  Eishaan and Rohit typify bored privileged youth who bring about excitement in their lives by willingly entering into a dangerous liaison simply to feel more alive. 


saturday 9th june
1 – 2 pm Food Meditation # 23 

Participation is by registration on payment only. Call The Attic 23746050 or email: mina@theatticdelhi.org.

Organized by Anaam, food cooked by Sangita.

Charges:  Rs 150.


saturday 16th june
6.30 pm “Robber of The Heart'' The Esraj – a recital by Arshad Khan  

 The Attic presents today its first recital on the “esraj” (the Indian harp) - a string instrument closely related to the dilruba. The esraj is more popular in the Central and Eastern regions of India where it is the accompanying instrument of choice for Rabindra Sangeet. The dilruba is more popular in the North and was created and promoted by the Sikh Gurus in the singing and playing of the hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs.  

Both instruments were almost extinct. The esraj is being revised due to the continuing popularity of Rabindra Sangeet and the dilruba by the popularity of Gurmat Sangeet which seeks to revive the original instruments (including Rabaab, Saranda, Jori, Sarangi) and music of the Guru Granth Sahib. A. R. Rahman also used the Dilruba, in the songs "Dil Se" and "Vande Mataram.  

The structure of both instruments is very similar, each having a medium sized sitar-like neck with 20 heavy metal frets and 12-15 sympathetic metal strings. The dilruba has more strings and a differently shaped body. The soundboard is a stretched piece of goatskin similar to what is found on a sarangi. Sometimes the instrument has a gourd affixed to the top for balance or for tone enhancement.

Arshad Khan is a classical musician of the Delhi gharana . The “Dilli gharana” seems to keep adding more instruments and musicians to its repertoire. It is  not restricted to Delhi, there are many Pakistani singers who claim to sing in the style of the dilli gharana known mainly for its  “gayaki ang”.  

Arshad Khan is the son and disciple of Esraj maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan .   He started learning and even performing at a very early age.   He has performed at all the prestigious music festivals in India. He has performed in Europe, the Middle East and China and has accompanied great ghazal performers Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan, Shafqat Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Ustad Tari Khan. Arshad has also played some of the music in the movies My Name is Khan, I Hate Luv Story and Chandni Chowk to China and played in the television serials Balika Vadhu, Bhagya Vidhta, Badhe Achche Lagte Hai, Na Ana Is Des Lado



tuesday 19th june
6.30 “A Prayer for Aliyah” a film by Zorawar Shukla
(27 minutes)

 In a remote corner of North East India, 7,500 tribal Kuki-Chin-Mizo believe that they are the descendants of the Lost Tribe of Menasseh. Having lost all written records of their history, they are faced with the considerable task of having to prove themselves as Jews before being allowed to migrate to Israel. Relentlessly determined and eternally hopeful, they dream to end their 2,500-year exile and return to the Promised Land of their forefathers. 'A Prayer for Aliyah' gives an insight into the lives of three Manipuri Jews living in a turbulent, neglected part of the country where their steadfast belief and strict practice of Orthodox Judaism offer them a glimpse of a better life.

'A Prayer for Aliyah' is Zorawar Shukla's first film. A stage performer with New Delhi reggae group, Reggae Rajahs, his interest in film was born while he was working as an Assistant Director on the set of Deepa Mehta's 'Midnight's Children' in 2011. Zorawar holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies from Emerson College, Boston, USA, He has a keen interest in anthropological subjects and has worked at the Smithsonsian Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington DC.


wednesday 20th june
6.30 pm “Delhi: A World Heritage City” an illustrated talk by A.G. Krishna Menon



Prima facie, the case for nominating Delhi as a UNESCO World Heritage City is obvious. The area between the Ridge and the river Yamuna for example, has been settled since the stone age. Since medieval times, however, this area has been the site for what historians refer to as the seven cities of Delhi, with colonial New Delhi, constituting the eighth. The remains of this fecund past number over 1200 modest and monumental buildings, including three World Heritage Sites: the Qutab Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and the Red Fort. This extraordinary cornucopia is comparable to any ancient city in the world. The Master Plan of Delhi has identified six heritage precincts and three archaeological parks for special protection.  

However, only two heritage precincts are being nominated: Shahjahanabad and Imperial New Delhi. Together and individually, they possess the “outstanding universal value” necessary for the UNESCO tag. It is a complex criterion to address, and our case hinges on convincing the UNESCO interlocutors of the universal significance of the syncretic heritage they represent: the unique brand of Indo-Islamic architecture and town planning in Shahjahanabad and as far as Imperial New Delhi is concerned, besides its iconic architecture, it is widely acknowledged as the finest example of urban design combining principles of the Garden City Movement and the City Beautiful Movement, wholly conceived and built anywhere in the world. While each precinct is unique, together they contribute to the extraordinary aura of Delhi as the historic capital of India.  

The nomination not only expects to celebrate Delhi’s heritage, but also use it as a tool to create a more legible and enjoyable city. For example, scores of lesser known monuments have already been conserved and inducted into the public domain; about 20 heritage walks have been developed to enable citizens to understand the diversity of their cultural patrimony; the Delhi Transport and Tourism Development Corporation has initiated the Hop-on-Hop-off  bus service to provide convenient access to heritage sites and is planning to include heritage havelis  in their bed-and-breakfast scheme; and several tourist hubs like Purana Qila, Ferozeshah Kotla, Hauz Khas, the Mehrauli Archaeological Park and the bye-lanes of Shahjahanabad are slated for renewal. Considering the scale of the city, it is perhaps a modest beginning, but the process of transformation has been initiated.  

A G Krishna Menon is an architect, urban planner and conservation consultant practicing in Delhi for over 40 years. He has been simultaneously teaching in Delhi and in 1990 co-founded the TVB School of Habitat Studies in New Delhi. In 2007 this private School became the teaching department of the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. He is actively engaged in research and his contributions have been extensively published in professional journals and several academic books. He has also been actively involved in urban conservation and in 2004 drafted the INTACH Charter for the Conservation of Unprotected Architectural Heritage and Sites in India. Recently he has been associated with the formulation of The Delhi Master Plan–2021, The National Capital Region Master Plan–2021 and is a Member of several statutory Committees set up by the Government. Currently, in addition to his professional consultancy work, as the Convenor of INTACH’s Delhi Chapter, he is advocating the case for inscribing Delhi as a World Heritage City. This project seeks to transform the urbanscape of Delhi and align it to the architectural heritage of the city.

thursday 21th june
6.30 pm Zubaan Talkies, Take #5: Why Did the Feminist Cross the Road? An Evening of Feminist Stand-Up Comedy


wednesday 27th june
6.30 pm Moonweavers – Chaand ke Julaahe 5th Poetry Open Mic


A poem takes off from and reaches those messy recesses of the subconscious that we dare not meddle with in our day to day lives. Whatever it is you do for a living; accounting, door-banging, throat banging or even pen banging for that matter, you always float on the surface. And mere living life prevents you from experiencing the music of chaos within. Poetry lets you refashion that chaos for yourself and perhaps for others....

 The 5th  Moonweavers Poetry Open Mic at the Attic would begin with a short reading by the guest poet of the evening. The guest poet would be a literary figure in English, Urdu or Hindi literature. And then the open mic shall follow as usual.

The rules are simple. Each participant can read one self-composed poem. The poems could be in English, Hindi or Urdu. (or other language accompanied by a translation) You could read out poetic text, poetic drama, improvise something poetic on the spot, anything as long as it’s poetic in its essence. No standup comedy or long-winding stories please.  

If time permits and all participants have had a chance to read, we can do subsequent rounds. Please arrive early and list your name for the readings.