Ashoka University on Sep 6 launched The Edict Project in collaboration with Carnatic musician and author TM Krishna. Nayanjot Lahiri, Professor of History at Ashoka University and historian and Krishna came together to talk about the possible relevance of the teachings contained in Ashoka’s public writings and decrees. TM Krishna also sang verses from Ashoka’s edicts to mark the launch .
The Edict Project has been conceived in four parts. This edition is based on the theme ‘Ashoka and Memory’. In this, apart from Krishna’s renditions of the edicts, there is a conversation between Krishna and Lahiri and a short film by MK Raina that reimagines Ashoka’s words in the context of Kashmir. It included collaborations with artists from the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Subsequent editions will represent the southern, eastern and western regions.
Nayanjot Lahiri remarked, “Emperor Ashoka is the most powerful, prominent, and impressive king ever to rule ancient India, whose words advanced the notion of a fundamentally new kind of political and social community. This idea of fellow feeling and empathy is as relevant now as it was then, and is integral to the reimagination and remembrance of Ashoka that lies at the heart of The Edict Project.”
On collaborating with Ashoka University, Carnatic musician and author TM Krishna said, “The Edict Project reflects upon Ashoka’s words honestly and critically. Hence, this collaboration is but natural. Ashoka’s words give us an opportunity to revisit our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with the outer world. Through this project we also hope to bring into public discourse a more compassionate understanding of governance and coexistence.”
Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Chancellor, Ashoka University and eminent historian, said, “The teachings of Ashoka loom large over India’s social and cultural imagination. His edicts on ruling and polity are seminal for understanding both social and political evolution of the subcontinent. Nayanjot’s scholarship augmented by TM’s mellifluous rendition brings forth the emperor’s timeless teachings and their relevance in guiding contemporary socio-political discourse.”