Deccan is Confluence of Cultures, says US experts

Islamic art curator Dr Navina Haidar spoke on opulence of the Deccan at MANUU.

Two international experts outlined the influences of the Deccan found in India and foreign shores and emphasized the need to bring the region into focus with a view to informing the world how it served as a confluence of multiple civilizations over the ages.

Prof. Patrick Manning, Andrew W. Mellon, Professor of World History at the University of Pittsburgh, traced the history of trans-migration between Africa and India, more specifically in the Deccan, over millennia and said the plateau, because of its rich natural resources, has been the center of attraction for numerous racial and ethnic groups.

On the other hand, Dr Navina Haidar, Curator of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, brought into focus the opulence of the Deccan showcasing rare paintings and other artifacts.

The duo delivered keynote addresses—Prof Manning on the wide array of networks of the Indian Ocean and Prof Haidar on Deccan’s Opulence — at the opening session of a symposium ‘Networks in the Deccan,’ a journey through historical, cultural and commercial connectivity of the region.

The symposium was organized by Haroon Khan Sherwani Centre for Deccan Studies, a unit of Maulana Azad National Urdu University.

Dr Haidar said that through the study of artifacts, especially the paintings, the Deccan plateau could be easily described as the confluence of numerous races, faiths and their cultures.

“A few centuries ago you have had the Bahmani rule in the north of Deccan and the Vijayanagara empire in the south.  The two lived and influenced the peoples and cultures of each other’s domains.  This factor is abundantly available in the study of artifacts of the region,” she said.

Prof. Rila Mukherjee, noted historian with the University of Hyderabad, explained the importance of the symposium subject and underscored the need to understand the region better.

Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, Pro Vice-Chancellor of MANUU who presided over the opening session of the symposium, said that studying the historical and cultural background of the Deccan is like trying to understand India as one unit.

“Today I have learnt a lot on the background of the Deccan from where Maulana Azad National University is operating,” he said.

Prof Salam Farooqui, Director HKS CDS, explained the works that has been undertaken by the Centre in the last few years while Mr. A. Subash, Assistant Professor, outlined the theme of the symposium.  The event was conducted by Mr. Abdul Majid, Assistant Professor, at the Centre.

Later, about two dozen globally known scholars from across the world have begun discussing different dimensions of linkages that connected the Deccan within its geographical boundaries and the world surrounding it.

Watch: Prof. Rila Mukherjee’s comments on Deccan seminar

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