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India's Archaeological Heritage Since Independence: Challenges and Dilemmas


Nayanjot Lahiri, Ashoka University

India's archaeological heritage has continued to grow in many different ways since independence, even as the monuments and relics, sites and sculpture remain vulnerable and compromised. This lecture will look at the challenges and pressures on this heritage as a consequence of developments arising from the impact of accelerated industrialization and mega projects, the antiquity trade protected by mafias of various kinds, the state of government-funded institutions, and the adjudication of legal disputes relating to monuments. The lecture will also offer some possible solutions on how India's heritage can be made to matter more than it does at present.

Nayanjot Lahiri is a historian and archaeologist of ancient India and a professor of history at Ashoka University. Prof. Lahiri won the 2013 Infosys Prize in the humanities for her contribution towards the integration of archaeological knowledge with the historical understanding of India from the earliest times. She also won the 2016 John F. Richards prize for her book Ashoka in Ancient India. Her books includeThe Archaeology of India Trade Routes (1992), Finding Forgotten Cities (2005),Marshalling the Past -Ancient India and its Modern Histories (2012), Ashoka in Ancient India (2015) and Monuments Matter: India's Archaeological Heritage Since Independence (2017). She has edited The Decline and Fall of the Indus Civilization(2000) and an issue of World Archaeology entitled "The Archaeology of Hinduism" (2004).

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