Predicting Wind and Rain: Lecture by Sarah Carson

Sarah Carson delivered a lecture on ‘Predicting Wind and Rain: The Search for a Sanskrit Meteorology in North India’. It was chaired by Awadhendra Sharan. 


ZOOM ID: 82586483418   PASSCODE: csdsdelhi

Throughout the twentieth century, weather prediction periodically became a site for debates on the distinctiveness of India’s environment and society and the limits of modern science. This lecture outlines the India Meteorological Department’s uneven successes with forecasting in this period. It then compares two major Hindi-language efforts to establish a comprehensive system of Indian meteorology grounded in Sanskrit verses and Rajasthani proverbs: Mithalala Vyasa’s Vāyu Śāstra (Ahmedabad, 1908) and Jayashankar Devashankar Sharma’s Prakṛti se Varṣā Jñāna (Bikaner, 1965). While each project reflected its authors’ specific professional aims and historical moment, both argued that modern meteorology was inauthentic to India and insufficient to serve the needs of its people.

Sarah Carson (Lecturer, Dartmouth College) is a historian of modern South Asia who studies the intersections of weather, the sciences of forecasting, and modern governance. She is at work on her first book Weather Reasons, which tracks the dynamic interplay between multiple traditions of weather prediction and explanation across South Asia from the 1860s to the 1960s.

Awadhendra Sharan is Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Friday, 4 November 2022, 7 pm, Zoom