The baggage that we carry from the present into our studies of the past. Two kinds of interpretations come up now and again of the ancient Indus Valley civilization (2600 to 1800 BC). Was it a caste society? Did it lack confrontations, violence, and warfare?
In assessing these notions she tries to trace their origins.
They may reveal more about twentieth-century India than about the bronze-age past.
Shereen Ratnagar is an expert in Indus Valley, Mesopotamia and other cultures. Her insights were immensely interesting.
PS : This talk has no video.
Shereen Ratnagar was Visiting Chair Professor at the School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad.
Her training at the Universities of Poona (Deccan College) and London (Institute of Archaeology) was in archaeology . She wrote her PhD dissertation under the guidance of Romila Thapar on the trade of the Indus valley with cultures in the Gulf and Mesopotamia. She taught for many years at the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, then broke loose and worked on her own, researching and writing books, teaching at the tribal academy at Tejgarh (Gujarat), etc.
She was to do the Tagore National Fellowship to study the Mohenjo-daro clay figurines of women: were they really Mother Goddesses?
Amongst her publications are:
• Mobile and Marginalized Peoples, New Delhi: Manohar (2003)
• Trading Encounters: From the Euphrates to the Indus in the Bronze Age, Oxford University Press (2nd edition), ISBN 0-19-568088-X (2006)
• Understanding Harappa, New Delhi: Tulika, ISBN 81-85229-37-6 (2002)
• The End of the Great Harappan Tradition, New Delhi: Manohar, ISBN 81-7304-331-0. (2000)
• The Other Indians – Essays on Pastoralists and Prehistoric Tribal People, Three Essays Collective (2004)
• Ayodhya: Archaeology After Excavation, New Delhi: Tulika (2007)