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  • Originally published 08/15/2014

    'History wars' erupt in India

    India is witnessing a renewed battle to win the hearts and minds of the next generation of students.

  • Originally published 05/14/2014

    Harvard historian runs for parliament in India

    Mr. Bose began his campaign by dozens of meetings with party workers, where his aim was to dispel the notion that he was, as he put it, “an academic living in an ivory tower.”

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Saving Lahore’s fabled walled city

    Down the muddy monsoon-soaked path and through the towering red brick Delhi Gate of Lahore’s fabled walled city, there is an ambitious project to turn back decades of neglect and unchecked commercialization and save the city’s remaining treasures.The area is abuzz with labourers digging up the roads. Already, workers for the conservation project have demolished a cloth market and a line of shops that was built against a 17th-century mosque, damaging its facade and structure.For a city more than 1,000 years old, a powerful conservation effort of this kind – backed by political will, money and restoration expertise is critical....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Potent memories in the Indian 1947 Partition Archive

    BERKELEY, Calif. — Growing up, Guneeta Singh Bhalla heard a terrifying story from her grandmother. In August 1947, as British India was being partitioned into independent India and Pakistan, her grandmother fled Lahore, in what was soon to become Pakistan, for Amritsar, in what was soon to become India. All around her was carnage. Clutching her three young children, she looked out the train window to see bodies strewed along the tracks. The memory haunted her until she died.For years afterward, Ms. Bhalla regretted not recording her grandmother’s story, and it spurred her to begin recording other people’s memories of that time. The project, known as the 1947 Partition Archive, has grown far bigger, far quicker than she ever imagined. Since its inception here two years ago, its dozens of volunteers have video-recorded 647 oral histories from more than seven countries and stored them digitally. It describes itself as “a people’s history” of that wrenching time.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    The Trouble with Indian Air Force’s MIG-21 Fighter Jets

    On July 15, a Russian-made MIG-21 “Bison” fighter jet, operated by the Indian Air Force, crashed while attempting to land at the Uttarlai air base in the Barmer district of Rajasthan. This was the second MIG-21 crash, at the very same air base, in two months. However, unlike in the previous accident, which had no casualties, this time the pilot was killed. The crash has been attributed to pilot error.Only a day after the second accident in Rajasthan, a serving officer of the Indian Air Force, Wing Commander Sanjeet Singh Kaila, who himself is a MIG-21 crash survivor, petitioned the courts for the scrapping of the entire fleet. Wing Commander Kaila has contended that flying the aircraft has violated his right to work in a safe environment. The wing commander was involved in a crash during a flight exercise in 2005 after his aircraft caught fire. He delayed in ejecting to safety from his burning aircraft because he was flying over a populated region. His accident also took place in Rajasthan.

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Princesses in north India become owners of palaces, vast fortune after court verdict

    NEW DELHI—It has all the makings of a bestselling novel. An Indian maharaja crowned as a toddler and rich beyond imagination falls into a deep depression in old age after losing his only son.After his own death a few months later, his daughters, the princesses, don’t get the palaces, gold and vast lands they claim as their birthright. Instead, they are given a few dollars a month from palace officials they accuse of scheming to usurp the royal billions with a forged will. The fight rages for decades.On Saturday, an Indian court brought this chapter to a close, ruling that the will of Maharaja Harinder Singh Brar of Faridkot was fabricated. His daughters will now inherit the estimated $4-billion estate, instead of a trust run by his former servants and palace officials....

  • Originally published 07/21/2013

    Remembering telegram's rich history

    The closure of India's 163-year-old telegraph service has sparked a feeling of nostalgia in newspapers.The government on Sunday night ended the service, triggering a last-minute rush at telegraph offices as people came to send a "nostalgic last telegram" to their loved ones."Curtains came down on Sunday night on the 163-year-old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians - amid a last minute rush of people thronging telegraph offices to send souvenir messages to family and friends," the India Today website reports....

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Rare Buddhist manuscript Lotus Sutra released

    A rare Buddhist manuscript, discovered by cattle grazers in 1931, has been released in book form in India.The Lotus Sutra was found in Gilgit region, now in Pakistan.The document, which dates back to 5th century, is perhaps the only Buddhist manuscript discovered in India.Believed to be one of the most revered Buddhist scriptures, it represents the discourse delivered by Buddha towards the end of his life.The Gilgit Lotus Sutra is kept at the National Archives of India in the capital, Delhi....

  • Originally published 06/28/2013

    William Dalrymple: Indo-Pakistani relations at heart of Afghan war

    WASHINGTON - Arguing that hostility between India and Pakistan lies at the heart of the current war in Afghanistan, a British historian has stressed that realisation of peace can be possible if the two South Asian nuclear powers see Afghan instability as a common challenge to deal with.William Dalrymple, who has authored nine books on historical subjects including on India and the Muslim world, analyses reasons and implications of the 'deadly India-Pakistan-Afghanistan triangle' in an essay posted by Washington’s Brookings Institution.In the light of the three-way tension and the many incidents that have sparked this continuing conflict between New Delhi, Islamabad and Kabul, the historian looks to the future of Afghanistan after the US withdraws from the longest war in its history....

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Amartya Sen: Why India Trails China

    Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate, is a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard. He is the author, with Jean Drèze, of “An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions.”

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    History teachers decry Delhi University's course preparation

    NEW DELHI: Twenty history teachers from Delhi University's history department, including Shahid Amin, Nayanjot Lahiri and Prime Minister's daughter Upinder Singh, claimed in an open letter (read full text of the letter) that the public needs to know that the discussions on the new four-year-undergraduate programme were managed by the DU authority, not in a democratic and academic environment framed by university regulations, but in committees carefully screened by the administration. The signatories said the history department was distanced from the framing of the course structure of the FYUP and that it was kept in the dark during the making of the compulsory foundation courses. They said they weren't privy to the course contents until recently. The teachers made accusations of plagiarism in the foundation course on history. The letter started by saying that "since forums for academic discussion and debate in the university are no longer functioning, this letter from faculty members in the history department seeks to set the record straight on many details."...

  • Originally published 04/25/2013

    Janism founder in the news

    A stone idol of Jainism founder Mahaveer, dating back to the 8th century AD, was excavated from the bank of the Amaravathi River at Swaminathapuram village near the temple town on Tuesday.A team comprising archaeologist P. Narayanamurthy, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist Murtheswari and historian Raja conducted the dating of the idolThe five-foot-tall and four-foot-wide idol has been carved out in white granite stone. Mahaveer, with a halo around his head, is seen in a reclining posture. Two cobras are carved on either side of the figure....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Ancient Buddhist site discovered in SE India

    A Buddhist site, probably belonging to the Satavahana/Ikshvaku dynasties, has been unearthed by a freelance archaeologist Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao, near Pondugula village in Mylavaram mandal of Krishna district.Mr. Rao, who hails from Tenali, is also an ex-documentation officer with the Archaeological Survey of India. Among his recent discoveries was a megalith menhir with rock engravings near Karampudi in Guntur district. On trail of Buddhist remnants in Guntur and Krishna districts, Mr. Rao stumbled upon two marble pillars with engravings of Lotus Medallions and bricks used during the Satavahana period buried in a pit on a field at Pangadi village on the outskirts of Pondugula village, about 10 km from Mylavaram. The row of sitting bulls and lion motifs carved intricately on the huge Palnadu white marble stones, is strikingly reminiscent of the Amravati School of Art, says Mr. Rao. Similar pillars have been found at Buddhist sites at Jaggaiahpet, Ghantasala, Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda, and Chinaganjam....

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    ​2500-year-old city discovered in India

    After initial survey, archaeologists claim to have found remains of a 2,500-year-old city, buried at Tarighat in Durg district of Chhattisgarh where excavation work is to begin shortly.Talking to TOI, J R Bhagat, deputy director, archaeology department, said, "The ancient city located 30km away from the capital was found buried in 2008 in Patan tehsil of Durg district. Its remains indicate that it was a well-planned settlement dating back to 2nd and 3rd century BC."...

  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    Should British Politicians Apologize for Colonialism?

    On Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain appeared in Amritsar, in the Indian state of Punjab, where he laid a commemorative wreath at Jallianwala Bagh, the site of a 1919 massacre of Indian protesters by British forces that killed about 1,000, according to the Indian government....Here’s what a few historians and political science experts had to say:...Basudev Chatterji, professor of history at University of Delhi:It is something he is doing as a representative of a country. It is a diplomatic and human gesture.It is, of course, a shameful thing to fire at unarmed people.I personally don’t believe in correcting historical wrongs, but it is a perfectly decent thing to do on the part of the British prime minister....

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    PM Cameron visits Amritsar – but no apology

    David Cameron has been criticised for failing to meet the families of Indians killed by British troops as he tried to make amends for a "deeply shameful" Imperial massacre.The Prime Minister invoked Sir Winston Churchill as he lamented the "monstrous" killings in Amritsar in 1919.Mr Cameron flew to Amritsar at the end of a trade visit to Delhi and made a public show of British contrition over the massacre, which left at least 379 Sikh civilians dead.The Prime Minister visited a memorial in the Jallianwala Bagh gardens, laying a wreath and writing in a book of remembrance....

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