Christopher Minkowski: Epic Kings in the Wilderness

Christopher Minkowski delivered the 2nd C R Parekh Memorial Lecture on ‘Epic Kings in the Wilderness’ on 16 September 2016 at India International Centre, New Delhi. The lecture was organized by Institute of Indian Thought, CSDS.

How did heroic Sanskrit literature mark out the limits of human, civil power and the dangers of its excess?  In the Mahabharata and Ramayana, adventures begin when royal figures leave their settled domains for the wild lands. In the wilderness, the smooth progress of their princely lives is overturned by wonders or calamities. Unexpected events in the wild are the engine of epic narratives, but serve more than the story line, and suggest that moral instruction is hemmed in by the workings of uncontrolled forces. The lecture focussed on hunting accidents, which highlight the risks of forgetting one’s duties to the wild and unseen worlds, and those who inhabit them.

Christopher Minkowski is Boden Professor of Sanskrit in the University of Oxford. He has been a member of the teaching staff of the University of Iowa, Brown University, and Cornell University, and has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and the Humboldt Universät in Berlin.

Kunal Chakrabarti is Professor of Ancient Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Friday, 16 September 2016
6 pm, Lecture Room II, Annexe    
India International Centre, New Delhi