KU is hosting an international conference titled
KU is hosting an international conference titled "Human Population Histories in South Asia," and Union Minister of State Meenakshi Lekhi is the keynote speaker

Saturday, June 7th, Srinagar: On Wednesday, Meenakshi Lekhi, Union Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs, opened a three-day international conference at the University of Kashmir titled “Reconstructing the Human Histories of South Asia using Archaeology and Genetics,” which brings together academics and experts from a variety of fields to generate “fresh perspectives” on the theme.

Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow and the Centre for Central Asian Studies at the University of Kansas (KU) have collaborated to host the Conference, which has received funding from the Union Ministry of Culture as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.


Meenakshi Lekhi, in her presidential speech, remarked on the conference as an excellent chance to “build a comprehensive and complete narrative” of the development of human history in South Asia.

“When people from different disciplines like archaeology, economics, genetics, culture, DNA, etc. work together, we are able to build a complete narrative because the gaps get filled by people from other disciplines through evidence which needs to be collaboratively brought together,” the Union minister said.

Meenakshi Lekhi, the Chief Guest at the opening session, bemoaned that history “gets to be written not by the people who actually made that history,” in reference to India’s ancient past, which includes the “Sarasvati Harappan Civilisation.”

What has occurred to Indian history is just like this. She went on to remark, “Usually people would say that we haven’t preserved our history, but that’s not true,” citing Kashmir’s long history as a centre of intellectual inquiry and spiritual inquiry.

While everyone is familiar with Greek theatre, how many are familiar with Abhinavagupta, who also wrote on dance, theatre, and music?The original books are stashed away someplace. The electronic versions are being withheld from the public. That’s why we have the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ programme,” she explained, “to decolonize minds, decolonize history, and create history from a new Indian viewpoint.

The Union minister also suggested including scientists in the conversation by stating, “Science is unbiased and goes by facts and scientists are not averse to being challenged.”

As part of India’s G20 Presidency, she noted that the University of Kashmir hosted sessions of the Y20 and C20 working groups.

Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Secretary Sanjeev Sanyal claimed that “peopling of the world is a great miracle where South Asia has played a great role” in his keynote presentation. He also elaborated on the evolutionary background of South Asia and the ancient migrations of its people, both on land and at sea, as well as their mixing and mingling.

In her keynote address, KU Vice Chancellor Professor Nilofer Khan praised the conference as a fantastic opportunity for young students and research scholars to learn about India’s rich cultural history, ancient art, and spiritual and intellectual contributions from Indian scholars.

According to her, the goals of the National Education Policy-2020, which emphasises the importance of universities playing a leading role in fostering interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, will be advanced thanks to this conference.

The keynote speech, titled “Genetic Structure of Contemporary Populations in South Asia: Learning from Ancient DNA Research,” was given by Prof. Partha Prathim Majumder, Founder Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kalyani.

The director of Hyderabad’s Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnosis, Dr. Kumarasamy Thangaraj, also spoke at the conference.

The dignitaries also published a book named “Excavation Report on Burzohom” and a collection of abstracts from the conference called “Souvenir of Conference Abstracts.”



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