Arbeit macht frei: Auschwitz and Birkenau

What disturbs me about this place seems an obvious answer on the face of it. A million human lives were destroyed here in a time which I can only read about and imagine. I live in its continuity. But I haven’t had the misfortune of being in the time when it happened, to have witnessed [...]

Social History and the City: A guided tour of Avenue Road

Heterodox is flavour of the season. This encourages me to make transgression into history, a discipline where I can only be described as a consumer of texts and accounts of places and events. Hobsbawm's collection of essays Uncommon People and his endearing essay on jazz music remains a favourite reading in history. I have enjoyed [...]

Knowledge of the past before us – History & Methodology

(For Isha) This morning, Romila Thapar, Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University delivered a talk on Knowledge of the past before us, at IISc. Having bought her recently published book The Past as Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History I was interested in her views on the methodological aspects of knowledge production. Also, that she [...]

Education in pre-colonial India: Dharampal’s The Beautiful Tree

In the school where I teach, the teachers hold a very diverse range of views about the role of a school in a child's life. What must school stand for and what areas of the child' s life must the school be concerned with. Those who run the school - the management folks, stand at [...]