Water and Sacred Spaces: A Case Study from India

Water is an essential resource for the evolution of human settlements throughout history. The illustrated lecture, with Dr. Yaaminey Mubayi '90, will explore the relationship between water and human history in a culturally-rich region of western India known as Marathwada, home to the Ellora Caves and Daulatabad fort and Hindu and Muslim sacred shrines.

Dr. Yaaminey Mubayi '90 is the Director, Culture and Community Development, New Delhi, India and holds M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and an MSc in Social Policy from the London School of Economics

Marathwada also includes numerous small temples, pilgrimage centers, and shrines to Hindu and Muslim saints built around streams, rivulets, man-made reservoirs, tanks and other water- works. Mubayi's explores the role of the region’s ecological features in the development of political, socio-economic and cultural systems as well as built environments.

Students interested in discussing internship opportunities in India in these fields with Dr. Mubayi between March 21 and 24 should contact Aliyah Sahqani ('17) and Raabia Malik ('17), co-chairs of the Mount Holyoke South Asian Students organization, AWAZ.

A widely published historian (her most recent book is Altar of Power: The Temple and the State in the Land of Jagannatha (Delhi, 2005)), Mubayi has been working for over 20 years in the field of cultural heritage. She has lectured and taught (including training courses) in universities in India and U.K. She has consulted and worked on a number of projects for the Archeological Survey of India and the Ministry of Culture, as well as international organizations such as UNESCO and the World Bank, and private foundations such as the Nabha Foundation.

Her work is devoted to engaging with issues surrounding cultural heritage sites in India, and preserving India’s crafts and intangible heritage and documenting India’s syncretic multi-faith culture. The current project —sponsored by the Indian Council for Historical Research— on water and shared spaces is a fine example of Yaaminey Mubayi’s interdisciplinary interests and contributions.

Sponsored by the Art History Department and the Amy M. Sacker Memorial Lectureship Fund and co-sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment.