Asking the question: What is India?

“The modern Indian is influenced deeply by ideas of learning that are based on a western model of liberal education. She / He is also deeply influenced by ideas of autonomy and individual freedom which were the stuff of our freedom struggle. The modern Indian is thus socialised in a peculiar mixture of the traditional Indian way and the modern. She /He is also constantly in touch with global movements in thought and literature. The anchors of his identity are a mixture of uprooted location, modern vocations and a search for belief that satisfies a rational enquiry. The modern Indian is thus a person with fragmented anchors of identity living in a global context and imbued with ideas of nationhood.”

Raghu Ananthanarayanan,
The Uprooted and the Entrenched.

The question of Identity and Indianness holds great importance for many. It is a question that has resonated through history, whether it be in the subjugation of peoples by the British Raj or in the hearts of those on the cusp of freedom. It is a question that is perhaps never meant to be totally answered, for only in the sharing of our ideas and responses can we begin to fathom the significance of the question itself.

Over 6 days in August of 2017, we shall engage with this question at Ritambhara Ashram. Our guide on this journey is the beloved and prolific director Bala Kailasam, who passed away in 2014. This event honours Kailasam by sharing several of his prominent films as the lens through which we shall begin to explore What is India?