Stories of Delhi : Heritage, Memory, Politics
An Online Weekend Course
Kanika Singh is a historian who works on museums, heritage and Delhi’s history. She is the founder of the group, Delhi Heritage Walks, which works on the history of Delhi, organising walks and training personnel on different aspects of the city’s heritage. Her work on Delhi’s heritage has been extensively featured in international and national media. She has taught at CEPT University, Ahmedabad; Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management, NOIDA and AUD. She is presently, Director, Centre for Writing & Communication at Ashoka University.
William Dalrymple is one of Britain’s great historians and the bestselling author of the Wolfson Prize-winning White Mughals, The Last Mughal, which won the Duff Cooper Prize, and the Hemingway and Kapuściński award-winning Return of a King. His most recent book, The Anarchy, was long-listed for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2019, and shortlisted for the Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History, the Tata Book of the Year (Non-fiction) and the Historical Writers Association Book Award 2020. It was a Finalist for the Cundill Prize for History and won the 2020 Arthur Ross Bronze Medal from the US Council on Foreign Relations.
A frequent broadcaster, he has written and presented three television series, one of which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA. He has also won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, The Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the Foreign Correspondent of the Year at the FPA Media Awards, and been awarded five honorary doctorates. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and has held visiting fellowships at Princeton, Brown and Oxford. He writes regularly for the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and the Guardian. In 2018, he was presented with the prestigious President’s Medal by the British Academy for his outstanding literary achievement and for co-founding the Jaipur Literature Festival. He was named one of the world’s top 50 thinkers for 2020 by Prospect.
William lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.
About The Course
This course discuses some of the most popular stories of Delhi’s past and examines how they came to be part of popular memory and became recognisable as the city’s heritage. Prithviraj Chauhan who famously defied Mohd. Ghori and had his capital at Qila Rai Pithora; Quwwat ul Islam or the ‘might of Islam’ mosque in the Qutb Complex built by destroying Hindu and Jain Temples; the Sikh conquest of the Red Fort and establishment of gurdwaras by Baghel Singh and the Khalsa army; the Djinns at Firuz Shah Kotla and the memories of Partition, to name a few. Each session brings together a discussion of architecture, oral traditions, historical texts, popular culture and archaeological material to understand the multiple layers of Delhi’s heritage. Using stories from the city’s history we analyse our conception of Delhi as a heritage city, how our ideas of heritage are shaped by contemporary concerns, what is included in this heritage and what is left out, and how does our past shape our present?