may 2013 programmes



 Last 6 lectures and next series  - The Persian Empire


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 6th may
6.30 pm

Lecture 43- The Northern Renaissance 

 The renaissance of the ? centuries started in Italy and spread across most of Southern Europe. But this ‘’new learning’ also struck deep roots in the north. The north was less urban, literate and affluent but it is important to recognize that the church was more influential and the scholastic tradition was more deeply rooted.

Both north and south laid great stress on free will and also the conviction that reading and study were paths to improvement.

Some key figures of the Northern Renaissance were Erasmus from Paris, John Colet from London (who 1505 founded St. Paul school which is still one of the best schools in England) and most famously Thomas Moore, who became Lord Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII and was executed over his disagreement with the king about divorcing his many wives.  


Lecture 44- The Protestant Reformation-Martin Luther 

 The Protestant Reformation constitutes one of the watershed moments in Western civilization. The Protestant “reformers” did not see themselves as anti catholic but advanced positive teachings of their own.  

The first of th reformers was Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther’s path to reform was influenced both by Christian humanism and his own deep doubts and pessimism. He published his Address to the German Nobility which called for the reform of the church in their territories and asked for abolishing payments to Rome, banning clerical celibacy, masses for the dead, pilgrimages and religious orders. He maintained that only Baptism and the Eucharist were valid sacraments. For all this he was excommunicated by the Pope in 1521.


The Foundations of Western Civilization

monday 20th may
6.30 pm  

Lecture 45- The Protestant Reformation-John Calvin 

 This lecture explores the reformation within the Reformation. The “reformed tradition” is the form of Protestantism that derives from John Calvin. However he was preceded by Huldreich Zwingli from Switzerland where he was elected “peoples preacher” in Zurich in 1518. In his reforms he attacked purgatory, saints, monasticism, clerical celibacy, the mass, the authority of the pope and fasting.

Calvin, though a Frenchman had to flee from France to Switzerland.  There along with Farel they instituted their “Holy Commonwealth” where 4 groups – pastors, doctors, elders and deacons had power.  Calvin became a virtual dictator. Harsh penalties were imposed for skipping church services or talking in church. One could be executed for saying that the pope was a good man. All pleasures such as singing and dancing were forbidden.  


Lecture 46- Catholic Reforms and "Confessionalization"

It was common to divide the religious history of the 16th century into the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. But this is now considered a warped view.  The Catholic Church had begun a wide ranging programme of reform before the Protestant reformers had began their work.  

Both traditions drew on humanist scholarship and widely expressed critiques of the late medieval church. Catholic reforms had already started with Erasmus and Thomas More. In Spain it was Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros who founded the University of Alcala to promote the new learning in Spain as a basis of the clergy and church. 

The Catholic Church’s fundamental belief that reform in the institutional church would lead inevitably to reforms in the wider society produced a number of new religious orders. St. Filippo Neri who founded the oratorians who were dedicated to good preaching, inspiring worship (including music) and service to ordinary lay people.


The most famous of the new orders was the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) founded by St. Ignatius Loyola. There were many catholic women in the movement. Angela Mirici who created the ursulines, Teresa of Avila who revitalized the Carmelites.


wednesday 29th may

6.30 pm “Regarding India, Conversations With Artists” an illustrated talk by Kathryn Myers 

The United States India Educational Foundation in collaboration with The Attic presents a talk by Fulbright alum Kathryn Myers.  In 2011 initiated through a Fulbright Fellowship, Myers interviewed over 50 artists in various regions of India for a series of videotaped interviews. Created for a course she teaches on contemporary Indian art at the University of Connecticut, the videos have been made available for anyone to view through a website created for the project:  

Myers will show short clips from a range of videos in the series and feature full-length versions of her two most recent interviews with Delhi artists, photographer Dinesh Khanna and ceramicist Vineet Kacker.  

Kathryn Myers is a painter and professor of studio art at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.  She is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships to India, in 2002 and 2011.  In 2003 she was part of the creation of a new India studies program at the University of Connecticut, for which she developed a new course, “Indian Art and Popular Culture”.  She has curated many exhibitions of Indian Art and art of the South Asian Diaspora, including “Masala, Diversity and Democracy in South Asian Art at the William Benton Museum, University of Connecticut,  “Radiate” - Art of India and the Diaspora, at Gallery 400, The University of Illinois, and “Fellowship” Fulbright alumni artists from India and the US at the American Center, New Delhi. She is currently organizing an exhibition celebrating ten years of collecting contemporary Indian art at the Benton Museum at UConn, to open this fall.  

She has presented videos from Regarding India at CEPT University Ahmedabad, the M.S. University of Baroda, Dakshinachitra, Muttakadu, Chennai, The University of Illinois, Chicago, Claremont College, Los Angeles, The University of Iowa and The College of New Jersey, Ewing.. Her videos on the Delhi photographer and Environmental activist Ravi Agarwal and Bangalore based installation artist Krishnaraj Chonat are part of the Multicultural Video Screening at the Society of Photographic Education.  In 2012 she was awarded a fellowship in New Media for her video project by the Connecticut Office of the Arts.


thursday 30th may
6.30 pm Tarannum Riyaz will speak on 'Why Qurratulain Hyder and her epic novel, Aag ka Darya, speaks to me'.


'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.


 Qurratulain Hyder was an influential Urdu novelist, short story writer,  academic and a journalist. One of the most outstanding literary names in Urdu literature, she began writing at a time when the novel was yet to take deep roots as a serious genre in the poetry-oriented world of Urdu literature. She instilled in it a new sensibility and brought into its fold strands of thought and imagination hitherto unexplored. 

She graduated from IT College, Lucknow and moved to Pakistan in 1947, then lived in England before finally returning to India in 1960.  

She is best known for her magnum opus, Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire), a novel first published in Urdu in 1959, from Lahore, Pakistan, that stretches from the 4th century BC to post partition of India.  

She received the 1967 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for Patjhar Ki Awaz (Short stories), 1989 Jnanpith Award for Akhire Shab Ke Humsafar. She also received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 2005. 


Tarannum Riyaz is a Kashmiri novelist, poet, critic, columnist, short story writer and essayist; she writes in Urdu and Punjabi. Her works include Barf Aashna Parindey (novel, 2009); Mera Rakhte Safar (short stories, 2008); Fareb-e-Khitta-e-Gul (four novellas, 2008); Purani Kitaabon ki Khusbhu (poetry, 2005); Chashme Naqshe Kadam (critical essays, 2005); Beeswi Sadi Mein Khawateen Ka Urdu Adab (anthology, 2005); Moorti (novel, 2002); Yimberzal (short stories; 2002); Ababeelain Laut Aaengi (short stories, 2000); and Yeh Tang Zameen (short stories,1998). Tarranum Riyaz is the recepient of several awards.