september 06 programmes
6.30 pm IIC Auditorium
‘Reflections on the Past and Present of Sufi
Shrines in Delhi’
is dotted with innumerable sufi shrines, from the
better known dargah of Nizam al-Din Awliya, to the
lesser known shrines of Bakhtiyar Kaki and Nasir al-Din
Chiragh. The individuals buried in these shrines were
all great teachers in the past, famous not just because
they discoursed on religion and mysticism, but because
they taught moral values of a more universal nature.
People in search of ‘truth’ congregated
in their daily assemblies. They listened with rapt
attention to their master and were impressed by his
understanding of the religion of Islam. It was often
quite distant from the legal formulations of jurists
and was guided instead by an introspective appreciation
of the religion’s larger meaning. The audience
could grasp how this interpretation came from a deeply
personal appreciation of God’s proximity, His
love, clemency, justice and majesty. As a result,
to his followers, the sufi master was not just a teacher,
he was one of the friends of God, awliya, whose intercession
was vital at the Day of Judgement. As the modern resident
wanders around Delhi he can see the grave shrines
of these sufis: some that are carefully tended, whitewashed
and lovingly covered by a ‘chadar’, others
that are forgotten and in ruins.
Sunil Kumar’s talk narrates the modern history
of two virtually unknown sufi shrines, both located
in Saket. Both are flourishing sites and yet very
different in character. In the older one, the mystical
charisma of the medieval saint has virtually disappeared;
in the other, and the less historical of the two,
the spiritual prowess of the saint led to its ‘discovery’
and prosperity. The contrasting history of these shrines
informs us about the ways in which the mystique of
sufi saints was created or declined. What are the
contingent factors that shape the sacred in our societies
and how is the present history of Islam and mysticism
touched by local politics?
Sunil Kumar was a graduate student at the University
of Chicago and has a doctorate from Duke University.
He is a Reader at the History Department, University
of Delhi and has written “The Present in Delhi’s
Past” and two forthcoming books: “The
Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate” (Permanent
Black) and ed. “Demolishing Myths or Mosques
and Temples” (Three Essays Collective).
monday 11th september
7.00 pm ‘9/11
What really happened’ a talk illustrated by
US made video “Loose Change"
by Come Carpentier de Gourdon
years, to the day have elapsed since the terrorist
attacks took place in New York and Washington D.C.
Every action or speech in any area of public life
refers in some way to the 9/11 events and their consequences.
Yet, despite the immense amount of publicity the real
facts remain mostly shrouded in obscurity. The FBI
has officially stated that there is no evidence of
any link between Osama Bin Laden and the September
11th attack, yet the U.S Government has consistently
refused to explain a very large number of suspicious
and troubling circumstances which invalidate its own
theory of "what really happened" on 9/11.
Independent investigation of the exact circumstances
is no longer confined to marginal "concerned
citizens" and dissident fringe-groups. It has
been taken up by high ranking civilian and military
officials , including Robert Bowman, the "father"
of the Star Wars Program, former Treasury Under-Secretary
Paul Craig Roberts and General Albert Stubblebine,
former Director of the US Army Intelligence and Security
Command. These officials and a host of profusely documented
allegations in dozens of investigative articles, books
and video presentations show a different and shocking
kind of truth. That 911 was an “inside job”.
Come Carpentier will show the video “Loose Change”
and present some of the evidence gathered from many
sources and demonstrate that 9/11 may have been an
elaborate para-military operation to transform the
US into a militaristic "national security"
state run by an Imperial executive.
Come Carpentier de Gourdon is currently the Convener
of the Editorial Board of the World Affairs Journal,
a quarterly publication dedicated to international
issues. In 1999 he co founded the Telesis Academy
in Switzerland dedicated to the study of the ancient
wisdom of East and West in the contemporary scientific
context. He has been associated with the Nuclear Disarmament
Forum and the Foundation for Global Dialog in Switzerland,
the Global Commission to Finance the United Nations,
the Business Council for Sustainable Development in
Paris amongst many others.
thursday 14th september
Morning session: 10
am to 12 noon
Lunch: 12 to 2 pm (Tibetan cuisine for all Dharma
Afternoon session: 2 to 4 pm
‘Teaching the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha’
by Chamtrul Rinpoche
Four Noble Truths is the central and pivotal Buddhist
teaching. In his Discourses, the Buddha formulates
The Four Noble Truths in medical terms.
The brilliance of this medical model is that the Buddha
offers a complete spiritual path that does not depend
on metaphysical speculation or belief. No leap of
faith is required. The Buddha would never enter into
a metaphysical discussion. He stated, "I teach
one thing and one thing only. “Suffering and
the end of suffering."
At an early age, Rinpoche has been recognized as the
reincarnation of the 3rd Chamtrul Rinpoche, Pema Nangsal
Dorje, one of the heads of the Tashi Choling monastery
in Eastern Tibet. He acquired his education in Tibetan
Buddhism in Serta Larhong one of the major monastic
universities. After receiving the title of “Khenpo”
(Doctor in Buddhist Philosophy) from his root Teacher
Kyabje Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, he returned to his
monastery, where he assumed the function of Abbot
and created a “Shedra” – Institute
of Buddhist Higher Studies.
For seven years, Rinpoche taught Buddhist Philosophy
in Tibet. During the last eight years, he has been
teaching Dharma in India to thousands of students
from all over the world; he is currently residing
Experience the teachings of one of Tibet’s great
saturday 16th september
7.00 pm ‘A Jewelled
Splendour, The Tradition of Indian Jewellery’
tradition of Indian jewellery goes down from the Mohenjodaro
dancing girl bronze 2500 B.C with her arm covered
with bangles through an almost unbroken 5000 year
history to the prize winning gold jewellery designs
of Sangeeta Dewan. It is not only a story of ornamentation
but of meaning. Each stone is imbued with mysterious
powers to ward off evil or create auspicious auras.
It is not only a story of personal wealth but of poetry.
the moonstone beauty of her face,
her sapphire – black tresses,
her hands the ruby of red lotuses,
she glowed with the magic of gems.”
poem of Bhartrihari.
talk recounts the tradition of Indian goldsmiths and
lapidaries worked in an astonishing variety of materials
and techniques creating gemstones for ritual and sacramental
purposes and an overview of the historical context
in which royal, folk and tribal jewellery were used.
A discussion on the business of jewellery leads to
aspects of contemporary design and the influences
that are shaping modern choices.
AshaRani Mathur is a freelance writer and editor.
She has worked with inflight magazines, edited and
produced books on aspects of Indian life and culture
as well as art catalogues, and written on subjects
as far apart as food, travel and ancient India. At
different times, she has been music producer for the
label Music Today and also scripted documentaries
for television. Her book on jewellery was one of a
series done for publishers Rupa and Co in Delhi. Other
books include those on carpets, shawls, textiles and
friday 22nd september
7.00 pm ‘The
Sexuality Discussion’ a conversation with Rana
Dasgupta, Shohini Ghosh, Ruth Vanita and Gautam Bhan
co sponsored by
woman's sexual revolution of sorts started in the
West with Kate Millet's "Sexual Politics"
(1969) and Germaine Greer's "The Female Eunuch"
(1970) Millet's stated "sex is a status category
with political implications" and Greer said "women
have somehow been separated from their libido, from
their faculty of desire, from their sexuality".
….. Like beasts who are castrated in farming……..
– to be fattened or made docile - women have
been cut off from their capacity for action. It's
a process that sacrifices vigor for delicacy and succulence,
and one that's got to be changed."
This change and the dialogue on sexuality is just
beginning to emerge in India and in Indian writing
, with the publication of many titles on sexuality,
sexual politics, queer and alternative sexualities,
amongst them Narrain and Bhan's “Because I Have
a Voice: Queer Politics in India”, Ruth Vanita's
“Same-sex Marriage in India and the West”,
and Brinda Bose's (ed) “Translating Desire”,
amongst many others.
Join us as we attempt to map the intersections of
sexuality and the written word. Many questions lie
before us: how have Indian writers written about,
understood, and grappled with sexuality? How does
one write about desire, sexuality, and sexual identity?
What are the differences among them? How is writing
on sexuality received in India and by publishers,
booksellers and the public itself? Why does the non-fiction
narrative genre dominate so much of writing on sexuality?
How do fiction and non-fiction writers see sexuality?
Where is the space for writing on sexuality outside
English, and what does this space look like? What
should it look like? These questions and many more
with a panel comprising people from publishing, academia,
fiction writing, and activism.
Rana Dasgupta, writer and author of the best-selling
novel, Tokyo Cancelled. Shohini Ghosh, film maker,
film scholar, and Lecturer, MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia
Ruth Vanita, Historian and co-editor of Same-Sex Love
in India and author of Same-Sex Marriage in India
and the West Gautam Bhan, Series Editor, Sexualities,
at Yoda Press, and co-editor, Because I Have a Voice:
Queer Politics in India.
6.30 pm Lecture Room
IIC Annexe ‘Nehru's Delhi - post Independence
architecture in Delhi’
a talk by
walled city of Shahjahanabad was built for a few hundred
thousand people as was Lutyens Imperial Delhi to reflect
British political power. Independent India’s
capital , Delhi suffered an influx of refugees from
West Pakistan that almost tripled its population within
10 years. The problems faced for housing this influx
was the problem faced by the new government. As an
emergency measure some settlements came up at the
site of refugee camps - Lajpat Nagar and others clustered
around existing villages , notably Hauz Khas and were
gradually absorbed in their midst. Institutional architecture
also faced challenges requiring a vocabulary that
would be sufficiently indigenous and yet dovetail
with New Delhi’s British buildings. The Supreme
Court (1952), Krishi and Udyog Bhawans (1957), Vigyan
Through Nehru's project of modernity and his vision
grew Delhi's new symbols of democratized power and
an architecture that spoke a modernized yet Indian
language. The multiple cross-border affiliations and
moralized political stances of the new democracy drove
the production of the city in many layers. In the
Fifties and the Sixties, an entirely new Nehruvian
Delhi was added to the pre independence Delhi that
simultaneously echoed the romanticized vision of a
socialist India and prevalent international trends
in contemporary urbanism.
K.T Ravindran outlines this evening the finer nuances
of Nehru's urban vision and how it affected the cultural
landscape of Delhi.
K.T. Ravindran is Professor of Urban Design and the
Dean of The School of Planning and Architecture, New
Delhi. He is active in many public forums, has written
numerous articles and books and is a regular contributor
to the media on urban issues in Delhi.