Southern Asia Seminar: Describing India – People’s Movements and Knowledge Production

September 27, 2023-5:00pm

Foster Hall 103

Ganesh N. Devy

Obaid Siddiqi Chair Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, and Professor of Eminence at the Somaiya University, Bombay

The lecture will outline three democratic popular movements towards a greater knowledge of India spread over the last three decades deeply impacting Anthropology, Sociology-Linguistics and History. The method of knowledge production in all three movements was common. The three movements followed the principle of collective action by scholars and stakeholders as a means of knowledge production. The first movement was for rights and justice for a large number of nomadic communities, branded as “criminal tribes” (known as Denotified and Nomadic Tribes – DNTs). The second movement relates to bringing back in discourse over 1500 “Mother Tongues” not really dead but wiped out in Government’s statistical records. The third movement emerged out of concerns for a partisan and tendentious representation of India’s past for the last 12000 years. All three movements were initiated and led by Ganesh Devy. They resulted in production of about 100 printed books. Ganesh Devy will present an analysis of the three movements and his observations on the links between knowledge production and social action.