Ancient Games And What They Teach Us About Modern People. Raamesh Gowri Raghavan. July 1, 2023

In his Talk, "Ancient Games And What They Teach Us About Modern People", Raamesh Gowri Raghavan will use game boards and pieces unearthed in excavations, games etched on monument floors, heirlooms, depictions in literature, and ethnological reports, to present a a rich culture of games and the consequent opportunities to be had by historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and museologists in the study of games to complete the picture of historical societies.

About the Speaker:

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan is marketer by profession, scientist by training, epigraphist by choice and poet by night. He is a Director at Ioncure Tech Pvt Ltd, Editor of the literary e-journal Narrow Road; and a member of the editorial board of Café Haiku. His literary publications include poems, short stories, haiku and haibun in several magazines and anthologies; while his academic publications span the Ethnoarchaeology of the Bene Israel; Ancient Board Games, the Archaeology of Ballistic Weapons and Fortifications, Ancient Indian Trade and Shaiva Iconography. He has taught Buddhist archaeology, epigraphy, manuscriptology, linguistics, archaeozoology, palaeobotany, evolutionary biology and genetics, Dravidian linguistics and haikai at the University of Mumbai's Centre for Extra Mural Studies, KJ Somaiya Institute of Dharma Studies, Sathaye College, Wilson College, INSTUCEN Trust, Mumbai Research Centre of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, Shri. M. D. Shah Mahila College of Arts & Commerce, and Speaking Archaeologically. He organized "Distilled Images", a national conference on haikai literature in India. With the INSTUCEN Trust, he organized the first National Conference on Ancient and Medieval Indian Games "Playing with the Past", sponsored by the Indian Council of Historical Research. He co-wrote a column in the Marathi weekly Lokprabha on ancient games in 2018-19. He has also helped organize the Explorations in Maharashtra Workshops and Archaeology of Maharashtra Conferences from 2015 to 2019 at the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, including publishing their Proceedings. Currently, he is coordinating the Diploma in Buddhist Studies at the India Study Centre (INSTUCEN) trust. Mail: Website: facebook:

Inviting nominations for the THT-Prof S Swaminathan Heritage Award 2023

As a lover of Indian heritage, you will have come across someone who is doing great work in this area. He or she may be contributing in one or more of the following ways:

a. Preserving our heritage - through conservation, documentation, etc.
b. Disseminating knowledge and information about our heritage - through writing books, articles, blog posts, giving lectures, conducting heritage walks, etc.
c. Deepening our understanding of our heritage through academic research, fieldwork, etc.
In 2020, Tamil Heritage Trust instituted the THT-Prof S Swaminathan Heritage Award to recognize the contributions of such "heritage heroes".
If you know someone who you believe should be considered for such recognition, we invite you to nominate them for the Award.
Please visit for details of the Award, who is eligible, and how to nominate.
The last date for receiving nominations is July 2, 2023.
Nominations that were not considered for the Award in previous years can be sent again this year.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
With regards,
THT-Prof S Swaminathan Heritage Award Committee
PS:  For any clarifications, please send a mail to or contact one of the following:

Ashwin Prabhu: +91 98407 18533
Kishore Mahadevan: +91 9940025869

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 7 (Final day), 11th June 2023

Dr A S Gaur shares his experiences and the findings of marine archaeology expeditions along the coast of India in his Talk "Maritime Archaeology in India". 

Dr Lakshmi Subramanian shows us how one nation's sea-faring adventurer is another's pirate in her talk "The Politics of Piracy and Predation in the Indian Ocean".


Dr A S Gaur, obtained a Master's degree in Archaeology from Gwalior University and his Ph.D. on ‘Maritime Archaeology of Gujarat coast’ from Tamil University, Tanjavur. At present, he works for the Marine Archaeology Centre of the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. He has carried out extensive research in the field of Maritime Archaeology; important projects include the underwater explorations along the Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamilnadu coasts. He has dived over 600 hours all along the Indian, Southern Sri Lankan and Thai coasts. He has authored a book on Harappan Maritime Legacies of Gujarat and co-authored three books Archaeology of Bet Dwarka Island, Underwater Archaeology of Dwarka and Somnath and Maritime Archaeology around Porbandar. He has also co-edited 3 books and published over 150 research papers in National and International reputed Scientific and Archaeological journals.

Dr Lakshmi Subramanian is currently visiting professor of history at BITS Pilani, Goa. She has had a long and distinguished research and teaching career. She has taught at various levels from undergraduate to post graduate and beyond in India and overseas. She has charted important sub-fields of research, namely maritime history and the social history of music. She has also curated an exhibition and has intervened in designing curriculum, developing methodology workshops and expanding international academic collaboration.


Her most important publications include "Singing Gandhi’s India: Music and Sonic Nationalism", "The Sovereign and the Pirate: Ordering Maritime Subjects in India’s Western Littoral", "Three Merchants of Bombay: Business Pioneers of the Nineteenth Century", "A History of India 1707-1857", "Veena Dhanammal: The Making of a Legend", "Ports, Towns and Cities: A Historical tour of the Indian Littoral", "New Mansions for Music: Performance, Pedagogy and Criticism", and "From the Tanjore Court to the Madras Music Academy: A Social History of Music in South India".

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 6, 10th June 2023

Dr Y Subbarayalu, will distill his decades of research on South Indian and especially Chola history in his talk "Epigraphical Evidence for Maritime Relations of South India and Rajendra Chola's Expeditions".

Dr Gauri Parimoo Krishnan then takes us on a voyage across the Indian Ocean with her talk "The Story of India's Textile Trade from Cairo to Malacca".

Dr Y Subbarayalu is an authority on South Indian Archaeology and Epigraphy, Historical geography, Social and Economic History of medieval South India.  He has an MA in Ancient History and Archaeology, an M.Litt and a Ph.D for his thesis on “State in Medieval South India” .

He has taught History, Epigraphy and Archaeology at the Madurai Kamaraj University and the Tamil University, Thanjavur. He was a Visiting Professor for South Indian History, Dept of Oriental History, University of Tokyo and at EPHE, Paris. He has been associated with French Institute of Pondicherry over two decades as Researcher and as Head of the Department of Indology. 

He directed Archaeological Excavations at Vallam, Kodumanal and Periyapattinam and was a distinguished member of the Indo-Japanese project for Archaeological Exploration in Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Kampuchea and Sri Lanka to study South India – Southeast Asia trade and cultural contacts

Notable among his books are A Concordance of the Names in the Chola Inscriptions (with Noboru Karashima and Toru Matsui),  Palm-leaf Documents of Tiruchirappalli District, A Glossary of Tamil Inscriptions, and South India under the Cholas.  Dr. Y Subbarayalu was awarded the Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri Birth Centenary Gold Medal for the year 2014 by The Asiatic Society, Kolkata.  He is also the recipient of the first V Venkayya Award for Epigraphy.

Dr Gauri Parimoo Krishnan, is an art historian, independent curator and museum consultant who has dedicated 30 years to the arts and heritage sectors. She has conceptualised and developed the Indian Heritage Centre and South Asia galleries of the Asian Civilisations Museum from their inception to fruition in Singapore. She has curated major international exhibitions of Asian and Indian art. She has taught museum studies and curatorship at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She was the inaugural chief curator of the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, New Delhi. Dr Krishnan’s research and publications include the Arts of India, the Asian Ramayana, the Buddhist Art of Asia, the Indian Diaspora, and Indian Trade Textiles to Southeast Asia. Gauri is a recipient of the Commendation Medal and Public Administration Medal (Bronze) for her contribution to the arts and heritage sectors in Singapore. 

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 5, 9th June 2023

Dr Andrea Acri, in his talk "Spread of Sanskritic Buddhism by Sea" will discuss the the spread, in two 'waves', of Sanskritic, especially Tantric, Buddhism across maritime Asia during the medieval period. He will show how the sponsorship by royal elites of itinerant Buddhist monks led to the adoption of forms of Mahāyāna Buddhist Tantra in the region.


Dr Rila Mukherjee in her talk "The Maritime World(s) of East Coast India" will focus the disparate nature of maritime circulations from the coastlines of Bengal, Odisha and Andhra, examining the lesser-known networks that were operating in these regions.

Dr Andrea Acri (PhD Leiden University) is Assistant Professor/Senior Lecturer in Tantric Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, PSL University), and Adjunct Researcher at the École française d’extrême-Orient (EFEO) in Paris. Prior to joining the EPHE in 2016 he has held various research and teaching positions in India, Singapore, Australia, and the Netherlands. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Journal of Yoga Studies. His main research and teaching interests are Śaiva and Buddhist Tantric traditions in South and Southeast Asia, Yoga studies, Sanskrit and Old Javanese philology, and Balinese Hinduism. His publications include the monographs Dharma Pātañjala and Dari Siwaisme Jawa ke Agama Hindu Bali, as well as various edited volumes and peer-reviewed articles in international academic journals.


Dr Rila Mukherjee (PhD, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1985), author of India in the Indian Ocean World, retired from the University of Hyderabad as Professor in History in October 2022. Apart from English and French, she is fluent in Bengali, Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish. Since 2015 she has been Chief Editor of the Brill journal Asian Review of World Histories. Visiting Professor in Paris, Aix en Provence, Shanghai, Kolkata, Santiniketan and Uppsala, Visiting Scholar in Tokyo, Berlin, and Madrid, and project reviewer for the European Science Foundation, the Slovenian Research Agency and the Danish Humanities Research Council, Mukherjee partnered the European Science Foundation project on Dynamic Cooperative Networks [DynCoopNet]; the ANR project L’Ocean Indien et la Mediterranee: Deux Mondes en Miroir (2009-13); the Murdoch University project on History and Natural Hazards (2016-2019).

Mukherjee’s recent edited publications include Order/Disorder in Asia, Indian Ocean Histories: The Many Worlds of Michael Naylor Pearson, From Mountain Fastness to Coastal Kingdoms: Hard Money and ‘Cashless’ Economies in the Medieval Bay of Bengal World, and Cross-Cultural Networking in the eastern Indian Ocean Realm. She is currently under contract with Springer Global Publishing to work on a book on global history, provisionally titled Europe in the World 1350 to 1650. 

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 4, 8th June 2023

Swati Chemburkar, an Architectural Historian, traces the spread of "Saiva Networks Across Maritime Asia" with a focus on Pasupata Saivism and the sect's involvement in the Khmer temple building in Cambodia.

Dr Anirudh Deshpande, in his talk "Forgotten Naval Histories of Early Modern India" explores the nature, scope and influence of Indian naval prowess in the early modern period and explains its local context in the Indian Ocean World. 

Swati Chemburkar is an architectural historian whose work focuses on Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia. She has been part of the Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme (SAAAP) at SOAS, London University since 2016. She directed a postgraduate diploma course on Southeast Asian Art and Architecture at Jnanapravaha, Mumbai for ten years.

She is the editor of Art of Cambodia: Interactions with Cambodia, MARG, 2016. Some of her recent publications include, 'Khmer Empire and Southeast Asia (8th to 14th centuries); 'Prañāpāramitā and Khmer Esoteric Buddhism in the 10th to 13th centuries',  'Dancers, Musicians, Ascetics, and Priests: Performance- based Śaiva worship and its development in the Temple Cults of Angkor' and 'Libraries or Fire Shrines? Reinterpreting the Function of “Annex Buildings” in Khmer Śaiva Temples from Prism of Early Śaivism' with Shivani Kapoor, Andrea Acri and Olivier Cunin.

Anirudh Deshpande is Professor of Modern History, Department of History, Delhi University. He has been a Teen Murti Fellow, ICCR Guest Professor at the Vienna University, Austria, Visiting Professor at the NBU Siliguri and History Department AMU.

He has authored several books, including:  The British Raj and its Indian Armed Forces, British Military Policy in India 1900-1945: Colonial Constraints and Declining Power, Class, power and consciousness in Indian cinema and television, The First Line of Defence-Glorious 50 Years of the Border Security Force, The Rise and Fall of a Brown Water Navy: Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre and Maratha Seapower on the Arabian Sea in the 17th and 18th Centuries and an edited volume of sixteen essays Social Science Perspectives and Indian Cinema.

Since 1992 he has published regularly in the EPW, IESHR, Studies in History, Social Scientist and The-Inclusive-Online and the Gordon Martel (ed.) Encyclopaedia of War  and David Ludden (ed.) Oxford Online Research Encyclopaedia (2019). He has also published short stories in English and Hindi. Most of his fiction can be read on the multilingual online journal MatruBharati.

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 3, 7th June 2023

Dr V Selvakumar gives us a rare glimpse of the "Ships and Watercraft of Ancient and Medieval India".

Dr Pius Malekandathil, who literally wrote the book on this subject, speaks on 'The Maritime History of Malabar', a region that has had a long and infuential maritime presence in Indian and world history.

Dr V Selvakumar is a faculty member in the Department of Maritime History and Marine Archaeology, Tamil University, Thanjavur. Earlier he was a faculty member in the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology. He completed his doctoral research and post-doctoral research from Deccan College, Pune. He was a faculty member at Centre for Heritage Studies, Tripunithura, Kerala and a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology, Southampton University. His research interests include archaeology of India, prehistory, heritage management, maritime history and archaeology, archaeological theory, heritage management, history of science and technology, Indian Ocean Cultural interactions, and ecocriticism.

Dr Pius Malekandanthil is a former Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He completed his research in Lisbon and post-doctoral research at South Asian Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany. He has taught at St.Thomas College, Pala, Goa University and Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady-Kerala. He was the Sectional President of Maritime History and Historiography of South Indian History Congress, Anantpur. He was also the President of Economic History Section of Kerala History Conference. He has also been a Member of Academia de Marinha of Lisbon, Portugal and a former Syndicate Member of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady, Kerala. He is also an editor of Studies in History. He has won the prestigious KCBC Media Commission’s Vaijnanika Award (2021) for his philosophical and intellectual contributions.

He has several major publications to his credit, inluding The Germans, the Portuguese and India, Portuguese Cochin and the Maritime Trade of India, 1500-1663, Maritime India: Trade, Religion and Polity in the Indian Ocean and Maritime Malabar: Trade, Religion and Culture. 

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 2, 6th June 2023

The geographic locus of today's program is Gujarat.

Mr Yadubir Singh Rawat who has done extensive research on Harappan sites in Gujarat speaks on 'Harappan Coastal Settlements in Gujarat and Their Maritime Connections'. taking Indian maritime history way back in time.

Dr Chhaya Goswami then fast-forwards us a couple of millennia as she extols the entrepreneurial spirit of the "Merchants of Khachch in Arabia and East Africa" as they thrive on global trade well before the word globalisation was even invented.

Sri Yadubir Singh Rawat is the former Director, Gujarat State Archaeology & Museum, Government of Gujarat (2001-15), Competent Authority Gujarat, Under National Monument Authority, Govt. of India and the Director In Charge, Gujarat State Archives Government of Gujarat. He has also served as the CEO of the Vadnagar Heritage Society. He has participated in archaeological excavations in over a dozen sites, including Dholavira and Vadnagar. He has carried out the conservation of a large number of State Protected Monuments in Gujarat and published several papers and articles in reputed journals.

Dr Chhaya Goswami specializes in the maritime history of the west coast of India and the western Indian Ocean, with a focus on trans-regional and trans-oceanic commodity exchange, maritime trading networks, diaspora and community studies, business history, oral history and violence at sea. She is the author of The Call of the Sea, Kachchhi Traders in Muscat and Zanzibar c.1800-1880 and Globalization Before its Time: Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh. She has co-edited a volume with professor Edward Alpers- titled Transregional Trade and Traders: Situating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean (Oxford University Press- 2018). She has won awards from the Indian History Congress for her book and also for two research papers. She was an honorary University Fellow at Exeter University and a post-doctoral fellow with Warwick University. Currently, she is the head and assistant professor at the Department of History, S K Somaiya college, University of Mumbai.

Sagara Sangamam: India and the Sea: Day 1, 5th June 2023

Dr Himanshu Prabha Ray delivers the Keynote Address on "Commemorating India's Maritime Heritage" in which she will focus on India's coastal monuments and their interconnections across the seas, as also on the conceptualization of the waters in Indian literature.


Sri K R A Narasiah's talk on "World Maritime History With Special Reference To India" explores India's role in world maritime hsitory going all the way back to Greco Roman times.


Dr Himanshu Prabha Ray is Honorary Professor, Distant Worlds, Munich Graduate School of Ancient Studies, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich and Member, Board of Governors, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford.

She is also the former Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture, and former Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. As a recipient of the Anneliese Maier research award of the Humboldt Foundation in 2013, she is affiliated to Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich. She is also editor of Archaeology and Religion in South Asia in the Routledge Series and the Series Editor on the Archaeology and Religion in South Asia book series. 


Dr Ray's books on maritime history include Beyond Trade: Cultural Roots of India’s Ocean and The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia. She has also edited volumes, The Sea, Identity and History: From the Bay of Bengal to the South China Sea, Cross Currents and Community Networks: Encapsulating the History of the Indian Ocean World, Tradition and Archaeology: Early Maritime Contacts in the Indian Ocean.


Sri K R A Narasiah completed the Indian Navy's Marine Engineering course in INS Shivaji Lonavla and sailed in naval vessels for 10 years before joining the merchant navy.  He was the first Indian flight deck chief of INS Vikrant. He joined the Visakhapatnam Port in 1965 as a marine engineer and rose to the position of the Chief Mechanical Engineer and retired in 1991. After his retirement he was appointed consultant to the Indian Ports Association. Later he was invited by the World Bank to join a mission for the emergency rehabilitation of Cambodia.

Sri Narasiah has written a treatise on the Indian Sea Trade which won him an award from the Tamil Nadu Government. His book on history of Madras has also won the state award. He has also written on the history of Madurai on his Cambodian reminiscences. In addition, he has written over a 100 short stories in Tamil. Sri Narasiah’s autobiography ‘Through The Rear View Mirror’ was published in 2022.