march 2013 programmes


saturday 2nd march

7 pm “ONE CRAZY RIDE” a film – a motor cycle journey across North East India. (directed by Gaurav Jani and produced by Dirt Track Productions)  (87 mins)


monday 4th march
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization

Lecture 35- The Chivalrous Society

Lecture 36- Medieval Political Traditions I


monday 18th march
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization

Lecture 37- Medieval Political Traditions, II

Lecture 38 - Scholastic Culture


monday 25th march
6.30 pm  “Kahan Kahan Se Guzre”( A Man Travelling Through Time) – a film on M.S. Sathyu by Masood Akhtar


thursday 28th march
6.30 pm “Why it Speaks to Me” - Mera Safar, a poem by Ali Sardar Jafri – a talk, recitation and discussion by Syed Muhammad Ashraf





saturday 2nd march

7 pm “ONE CRAZY RIDE” a film – a motor cycle journey across North East India. (directed by Gaurav Jani and produced by Dirt Track Productions)  (87 mins)


 This film is about a motorcycle expedition on uncharted roads across the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is a film on friendship, camaraderie and the "never say die" attitude of five motorcyclists in the face of unforgiving terrain and unfriendly locals.


Shot without a back-up vehicle or film crew, in parts of India hardly seen, filmed or explored, the documentary captures the interactions and experiences of the riders who are trying to chart a route, which according to everyone does not exist.

It has been shown in numerous International Film Festivals and won many awards.



  • Flagstaff Mountain film Festival, USA - JURY AWARD
  • Kendal Mountain Film Festival, UK - BEST MOUNTAIN CULTURE FILM
  • International Motorcycle Film festival, Slovakia - BEST FILM OF THE FESTIVAL
  • Asian Heritage Month Film Festival, Canada - INVITED ENTRY
  • Himalayan Film Festival, Netherlands - INVITED ENTRY
  • Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival, Nepal - INVITED ENTRY
  • Mumbai International Film Festival, India - INVITED ENTRY


Gaurav Jani started his career as a fashion choreographer in Ahmedabad, but after 2 years he moved to Mumbai to pursue film-making. He assisted the noted film maker Ram Gopal Verma for the feature-film, "Jungle". After finishing the film, he quit the industry, bought a motorcycle, and hit the

road; doing odd jobs in between to finance his travels. He also founded a

motor cycle travel club called 60kph (



Gaurav travelled to various parts of India for four years, often solo and also

with fellow 60kph members. But he missed being behind the camera and decided to combine his passions - filmmaking and travel. Unable to obtain financial help and with no experience of operating a professional camera or recording sound he set off on a solo motorcycle journey to one of the coldest and remotest deserts of the world, the Changthang plateau in Ladakh.

Learning from camera manuals, he functioned as a one-man film unit, filming

his travel experiences as he rode through some of the most difficult terrain

in the world. And finishing his first film, "Riding Solo to the top of the



 Gaurav continues to go on long solo rides with his equipment  recording his experiences and the thrills and spills of travel.


‘One Crazy Ride’ is his second film.



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.


The Foundations of Western Civilization

monday 4th march
6.30 pm

Lecture 35- The Chivalrous Society

King Alfred the great of England said in the late 9th century that the country needed men who fought, men who prayed and men who worked. The nobility of each country were the men who fought. The ethos of this aristocracy was ‘chivalry’. (cheval – horse, chevalier – Knight, ‘chevalerie’ – chivalry). This ‘horsiness’ was the code of conduct becoming of men who rode horses. This nobility, this warrior class were the rulers all over Europe.

Those who pray were the clergy of medieval Europe. Monks and bishops and which Christian orders stood closer to God. Clerical office brought prestige, a good education a decent diet and good housing. The clergy shared the culture, values and outlook of the nobility and were also involved in governance. The ‘Cistercians’ tried to create a purer Benedictine ideal. The begging orders of St. Francis tried to create a different Christian ethos.

Those who work were both peasant farmers and slaves who worked the land. The presence of water, wood, iron a church and a castle rooted people into village communities. This manorial system lasted for almost five hundred years till the French Revolution.


Lecture 36- Medieval Political Traditions I

 This lecture focuses on England and France and the ability or failure to safeguard the territorial integrity of the State and to develop its institutions of government.

England survived several conquests, foreign entanglements and dynastic instability to create a well defined state. Beginning at the end of the 8th century England had a long encounter with the Danish Vikings. Alfred the Great and his successors kept trying to push the conquerors back north. But in 1066 the English were defeated by Duke William in 1066, considered the beginning of the “Norman conquest” of Britain. For 3 centuries France and England squabbled over various bits of France.  Despite this turmoil the core of England was well and consistently governed. By 1215 the Barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. (the great charter)  

Magna Carta was the first document forced onto a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. In 13th century England the discussions of how decisions could be made without violence and who gets to  make the decisions led  the French speaking aristocracy to gather together in a parliament (parler = to talk)

In France one dynasty ruled for over 400 years and was less feudal than the English system. It kept extending its territories beyond the ile de France (the Paris basin). The royal government was stronger than in England. But France was larger and more ethnically, socially and economically diverse and therefore less cohesive.

These 2 models of government with fixed territorial boundaries and a cohesive central government should not be assumed be the norm for other parts of Europe.


monday 18th march
6.30 pm

Lecture 37- Medieval Political Traditions, II

The English and French examples of centralization were not the norm in the rest of Europe. Iberia (Spain and Portugal ) is an interesting example. An Islamic state based in Cordoba was part of the Abbasid Caliphate of Iraq. Starting around the 9th century the ‘Reconquista’ (re conquest) started by the Christian kings of northern Spain and lasted till the Muslim kings were finally defeated in 1492. One of the dynamics of this culture was the extraordinary blend of Christian, Islamic and Jewish peoples. 

Ireland was a different case. While fighting the Vikings the Irish King asked for help from English mercenaries. They’re still there!

In Eastern Europe, Poland was initially well governed specially after embracing Roman Catholicism but became weaker and divided. Rus ( the remote ancestor of Russia) was occupied by the Vikings, entered into trade  and accepted Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium but was destroyed  by weak leaders, factionalism, repeated attacks by the Steppe peoples and finally by Mongol invasions. 

Italy never existed till the mid 18th century. There was Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. Southern Italy with its external influences, Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Germans, Central Italy dominated by the Pope and the Papal State and the communes a remarkable political innovation.

Germany had its own variations. It was outside the Roman Empire and lacked the towns, roads and institutions of the empire. It was divided into 5 main ‘Duchies’ who were never able to centralize. They were in constant conflict with the Pope.

In the high middle ages the Roman Catholic Church was the most important state- like entity. It developed the most sophisticated legal system and the College of Cardinals became like the ‘senate’ of the Church Council. Disciplinary mechanisms included ex-communication, interdiction and the infamous inquisition.

The great lesson of high medieval political development is that an astonishing array of entities, all drawing on Roman, Christian and ethnic traditions  created a bewildering spectrum of political possibilities.


Lecture 38 - Scholastic Culture

 Scholasticism is the convenient term for the dominant Latin intellectual culture of high medieval Europe. These range from the literary letters of the lovers Abelard and Heloise or letters written by scholars just keeping up with their friends. Satire was revived as a literary form and there existed a vast corpus of poetry.

The economic and geographic expansion of the age brought the Latins in contact with the learning of Arab and Jewish culture. Aristotles works were translated into Arabic and brilliant thinkers such as Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd began to explore the old questions about the relationship between things and to try to understand the truths that could be acquired by human reason and those that depended on divine revelation.

The first great change in western intellectual life was the elevation of logic to paramount status among the disciplines. Logical reasoning came to be seen as equal to or even superior to authority when settling controversial issues. The 12t century saw a progression from the great monastic schools to the great cathedral schools to the beginnings of the great universities. Scholasticism came to refer to a particular method of reasoning based on dialectical analysis.

Peter Lombard taught in Paris and wrote the Four Books of Sentences. “A sentence is a conclusion reached at the end of a process of logical reasoning. One first poses a problem; then argues through the problem making cases for and against various propositions; and finally one reaches a conclusion. This conclusion can then serve as a new question.”

The increasing sophistication of life gave rise to a new institution, the stadium generale, now known as a university.In the normal pattern the university would have four faculties: Arts, Theology, Law and Medicine. Paris had the best Arts and Theology faculties followed by Cologne and Oxford. Bologna was the greatest  of the Law schools and Montpelier in southern France and Salerno in Italy had the best medical faculties of the middle ages. One of the outstanding theologians of the age was Thomas Aquinas. His exposition of the Catholic faith was always influential but in the 19th century was made the basis of official catholic theology.

The intellectual culture of scholastic Europe is now referred to as “a renaissance of the 12th century.



"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?







monday 25th march
6.30 pm  “Kahan Kahan Se Guzre”( A Man Travelling Through Time) – a film on M.S. Sathyu by Masood Akhtar

(English with subtitles. 70 minutes )

Mysore Srinivasan Sathyanarayan (better known as MS Sathyu) is a well known film maker and a theatre designer/director. His ancestors were Brahmins but MS Sathyu was not academically inclined and left college in Bangalore  to join the world of theatre specially to learn set and dress designing, music and kathakali dance.

He went to Bombay where he met Habib Tanvir and K.A. Abbas and worked with them in theatre and film.

His name started being discussed after the production of the play “Bakri” and  “Sufaid Kundali” (based on Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle) . His fame however is based on the epoch making film Garam Hawa for which he won several national and international awards.

The film is a combined tribute to Sathyu by Vijay Mehta, Habib Tanvir, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benagal, Shabana Azmi and others. The film is based on an interview where Sathyu himself narrates the story of his life.

Masood Akhtar is a well known actor/director. He has been actively associated with IPTA (Mumbai) since 1980. He has assisted  M.S Sathyu in films and TV production since 1981 as well as Satyajit Ray and Sandip Ray, Roland Joffe during the making of ‘The City Of Joy’ in Kolkata and London,  Shama Zaide in the making of a full length documentary, ‘The Heritage of Islam in India’ and handled production for Berlin TV for a documentary on the works of Satyajit Ray.

He was Associate Director--‘Krishnakant Ka Wasihatnama’ for Delhi Doordarshan and Associate Director for Bimal Mitra’s – ‘Sahib Biwi Gulam’ for sahara TV 2003.

He has also directed documentaries on The Rickshaw Pullers of Calcutta,  Mother Teresa, Kathakali dance of Delhi and Jaipur Gharana and Birju Maharaj amongst others including the present film on MS Sathyu





'Monthly Monologue: Why it Speaks to Me?'

Urdu, the language of Delhi (Zaban-e- Dehli) had its origins in the Sultanate period of the 13th century and its magnificent flowering in the courts of the Mughals in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Known at different as Dehlavi, Hindavi, Rekhta, Hindi and finally Urdu it produced the cultural high point in Literature, Music and Poetry of the Mughal Empire including the cultured elites of Delhi, Hyderabad, Rampur, Bhopal and hundreds of cities in the Deccan and the Punjab. 

Trade between the Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Persians and the local merchants speaking Punjabi, Khadi Boli, Sindhi and other local languages  at the large sarai’s (inns)  resulted in the birth of a new language, a fusion of the languages of Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The Ghazal, the Qawali and the masnavi became the language of music and poetry with the likes of Meer, Ghalib, Momin and Zauq but Urdu also became the language of rebellion against British rule and the demand for freedom and the creation of a just society with authors like Iqbal, Josh, Firaq and Manto.

Hindustani Awaaz, in collaboration with The Attic, presents a monthly series of monologues: Poetry, literature, short stories, plays, essays, nazms, ghazals. A series of eclectic speakers will present/sing/recite their favourite Urdu text and explain why the text ‘speaks’ to them the way it does. We hope this series will highlight a neglected aspect of the Delhi cultural scene.


thursday 28th march
6.30 pm “Why it Speaks to Me” - Mera Safar, a poem by Ali Sardar Jafri – a talk, recitation and discussion by Syed Muhammad Ashraf

This second talk in the series ‘Why it Speaks to Me’ introduces Mera Safar, a poem by Ali Sardar Jafri  by short story writer Syed Muhammad Ashraf.

Ali Sardar Jafri was one of the pioneers of the Progressive Writers’ Movement which was founded in 1936. He was the most potent critic and theorist of the progressive school. He was also a skilled literary journalist and edited the magazine Guftgu, which was a leading organ of the Progressive Writers’ Movement.

He liked to experiment with form and quite a few of his poems are in free verse a couple being counted among the best poems in Urdu literature. His poetry also contained freshness of imagery, commitment to the man-on-the-street, and intense love for this country and its diverse cultures. His poetry though was not limited or imprisoned within the ideals of Marxism but Jafri encompassed the great humanistic traditions and compassion of the Sufi and Bhakti movements, the love of nature found in the works of Kalidas, and an assimilative vision of India's composite culture.


Phir ek din aisaa aaega

Aankhon ke diye bujh jaaenge

Haathon ke kanval kumhalayenge

Aur barg-e-zabaan se nataq-va-sadaa kii

Har titlii udd jaaegii.

Syed Muhammad Ashraf belongs to a family of devout scholars and Sufi saints of Marehra Shareef, district Etah, UP. Presently posted as Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi, he has steadfastly pursued his career as a senior officer in the Indian Revenue Service as well as his literary and academic interests His major work includes two collections of short stories: 1994 Daar Se Bichchre (1994) and Baad-e Saba Ka Intizar (2000) for which he received the Sahitya Akademi Award; and a novel Number Dar ka Neela (1997).