Guru Padmasambhava


The Arts, Knowledge, and Critique in the Digital Age in India:
Addressing Challenges in the Digital Humanities

A two-day inter-disciplinary conference organized by the Department of Liberal Arts, IIT-Hyderabad and Sahapedia

November 28 & 29, 2019

Concept Note

As technology has transformed the relation between information and everyday life in the Indian subcontinent, scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities are exploring how digital content is reconfiguring the nature of knowledge, its production and representation, and the effect digital ways of knowing have upon historiography, aesthetics, language, culture and heritage, and human life, contemporaneity and thought. This conference is conceived as a dialogue between different disciplines, towards integrating emerging strategies into the production of digital content and its information architecture.

Sessions are devoted toassessing the affordances and the limitations of digital media and online platforms in making knowledge production a reflexive and collaborative enterprise, archiving contemporary art, and a more inclusive social history of knowledge. Bringing together experts in conservation, community building, environmental sustainability and education, the conference is envisioned as a platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices based on region-specific case studies. 


The full programme of the conference is available here.

Conference on the Life and Legacy of Guru Padmasambhava

In January 2019, Sahapedia collaborated with India International Center and the Centre for Escalation of Peace to organize a 2 day conference and a 5 day exhibition on Guru Padmasambhava.

Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche (Precious Master) or the Sage of Himalayas, is believed to have lived in the 8th century BCE and spread the message of Gautam Buddha across the Himalayan belt, including Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in India, and Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet further north. One of the foremost figures of Vajrayana Buddhism and considered by many to the Second Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava is revered for spreading the message of Dharma and for the rich legacy of monuments, relics, myths and folklores associated with his spiritual and religious work.

With speakers from Nepal, Bhutan, India and Thailand, the conference papers highlighted practices associated with Padmasambhava’s teachings and the academic work of tracing the history of legacy of the figure venerated as Guru Rinpoche. Session themes included Buddhism and its Local Contexts, Texts and Commentaries and Iconographies of Guru Rinpoche. Dasho Karma Ura gave the keynote address and opened the conference—which also marked the 50th year of Indo-Bhutan relations. The event was open to all and over 300 people attended sessions over the two days of the conference. The conference came to a close with a valedictory session by the most venerable Samten Dorji.

The conference was accompanied by an exhibition of thangka paintings, sculptures and photographs associated with the sage. Exhibits were generously loaned by both private individuals and collections, including the Tibet House, the Palpung Sherabling Monastery, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Tsurphu Labrang and His Majesty’s Secretariat, Bhutan. The exhibition, mounted at the IIC art gallery, was on display between January 29 and February 3, 2019.


The full program of the conference is available here.


Conference on Malayalam - Streams of Aesthetic Thought: 

Between October and December 2018, Sahapedia collaborated with Uru Art Harbour and Sri Sankaracharya Sanskrit University (Kalady) to organize a conference exploring traditions of aesthetic thought in Malayalam. The conference was curated by Dr. C Venkiteswaran. The event, open to all, was held over four days and over fifty college students participated. The first round of the Conference was held on October 20-21, 2018 and the second round was held on November 10-11, 2018, at Uru Art Harbour, Mattancherry, Kochi. The Conference covered a wide range of topics related to aesthetic thought in Malayalam and its roots in both ancient Indian aesthetic philosophy and western thought. 

Speakers in the first round of the conference, in October, included eminent scholars from Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University such as Dr P.V. Narayanan on Indian Aesthetic Thought, Dr N. Ajaykumar on Art Forms of Kerala and Indian Aesthetic Traditions and Dr. Sunil P. Elayidam on Art and ‘the new world’.  Dr P.S. Radhakrishnan from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, delivered a talk on Kuttikrishna Marar and Literary Criticism in Malayalam. 

During the second round in November 2018, Dr C. Rajendran delivered a lecture about the Contributions of M.P. Shankunni Nayar Towards Aesthetic Thinking. Other speakers and talks included Dr T.T. Sreekumar on M. Govindan and Dialogue on Malayali Modernity, Dr K.G. Poulose on Performance Arts in Kerala and Dr T.V. Madhu on the Leftist Journeys in Aesthetic Thinking in Malayalam.

The full program of the conference is available here.