Workshop on ‘Multidisciplinary Approach to Indian History’ – A Report

On 17 August 2019, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) organised a one-day workshop for educators and teachers on ‘Multidisciplinary Approach to Indian History: Scientific Validation of Narratives on Indian History’. The workshop was attended by a total of 72 participants from schools across South India – Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Saraswathi Vidyaniketan, Chettinad Vidyashram, Mahindra Technical Academy, St. Antony’s Public School, Amritha Vidyalaya, Aravinda Vidyamandiram School, Vivekanada Vidyalayam, Sree Narayana College, NSS Hindu College, Ramakrishna Mission and VIAS Academy.

The programme commenced with the lighting of the lamp and a prayer invoking the gods’ blessings, by our CVV students (Sradha, Deekshitha and Shivam). Dr. Vinod R R, faculty coordinator for the workshop, welcomed the gathering. The Dean, Prof. Dr. Gauri Mahulikar, delivered the inaugural address. Swami Advayananda, Trustee of CVV, blessed the function with a message. He opined that across the globe, no other economies can take a claim that their civilization is the oldest as well as the richest. However, there has been umpteen attempts to tarnish the real identity of Indian history. In this context, he stressed, it is extremely important to understand the truth. This was followed by the official video launch of Swami Ramakrishnananda’s spiritual discourses titled ‘Krishna the CEO’. Dr. Raj Vedam did the honours and Dr. Gauri Mahulikar accepted the first copy from him. Dr. Arundhati Sundar thanked all the faculty, staff, and students of CVV who had worked relentlessly for the smooth conduct of the programme. The inaugural function ended with a melodious rendering of the CVV kulageetam by our students (Sradha, Deekshitha and Shivam). Mr. Navamohana Krishnan, a second year B.Com. student, compered the event.

Dr. Raj Vedam, through four sessions, addressed three main themes that are central to the narration of Indian history. In the first session, he examined the Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory (AIT) and its claims and implications in the light of various evidence from different fields. In the second session, he examined the knowledge systems of ancient India, a much-neglected topic in the current narratives of Indian history. Dr. Vedam highlighted the contributions of Indians in fields such as medicine, math, astronomy, cosmology, philosophy, and music. In the third and fourth sessions, Dr. Vedam examined the impact of Indian knowledge systems on the rest of the world, from ancient Egypt, Greece, and China to the medieval world, the Muslim world, and colonial Europe. Dr. Vedam concluded his workshop with a strong argument for a new narrative on the pre-history of India, based on a non-partisan evaluation of the supporting scientific facts. Through this workshop, the participants gained deep insights into the narration of Indian history and on the use of scientific methods to validate claims. The updating of NCERT and State Board history textbooks to include multidisciplinary approach and the tools for the school students that would equip them in critical examination of colonial and post-colonial narratives was felt to be urgently needed by all participants.

The workshop drew to a close with a valedictory function where Dr. Gauri Mahulikar, Dean of CVV, distributed certificates to all the participants. The overall programme was very well appreciated by all the participants and ended at 3.30 p.m. with the singing of the shanti mantram.