On November 1, 2018, the Department of English & Humanities at ULAB invited Dr. Shashanka S. Sinha, Head of the Routledge India Originals (RIO) to a talk titled “Preserving (Hi)stories.” It was an engaging session based on preserving historical monuments in India. Dr. Sinha’s focus was different from typical historical assessments of such relics; he focused on the gap between popular and academic history. He picked up one or two popular myths surrounding each of six monuments and traced the authenticity of the tales to provide a new dimension for history. Such a focus can certainly offer fresh perspectives to age-old ideas and bring history closer to people. History, after all, is not a dead thing, but a continuation through interpretations. Dr. Sinha brought in some very interesting tales about the famous Qutub Minar, Gates of Somnath, Humayun’s Tomb, Jodhabai’s Palace, Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal. For example, the tale of the proposed black Taj Mahal is indeed intriguing and interesting. The fact that history is often created through popular tales was proven once again. There are so many such monuments scattered in Bangladesh and this might be a suitable time to uphold and showcase them to the outer world.
The session concluded after a lively Q/A session. Participants at the talk included faculty members of DEH and GED who had much to ask and offer.