This past week, beginning February 3rd, the Block was fortunate enough to have Dr. Siddiq Wahid, a historian of Central Asian and Tibetan political history and a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, visit our museum.
Wahid’s busy week began with coffee chats with the Block Museum faculty, Anthropology professor Robert Launay, visiting professor in Asian-American Studies Daniel Elam, and a small group of grad and undergrad students. Wahid than proceeded to lead a group discussion for an Asian Languages and Cultures class taught by visiting professor Timsal Masud. This was not the only teaching opportunity for Wahid. He also visited our exhibition Collecting Paradise with Professor Linrothe’s class to further explore the history of Buddhist art of Kashmir.
On February 4th, Wahid gave a lecture on the history of the Western Himalayas through the eye of his family’s experience. In front of an audience of 46, Wahid discussed the history of the region, describing nuances of the distinctions between regions. Wahhid than turned the presentation into a discussion about the specifics of his family. He described the way in which his family has dispersed throughout the regions of Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh. The lecture was dense with the complicated politics of the region, but it was also richly descriptive and peppered with anecdotes that kept it light and personal.
At the end of his presentation, Wahid invited the audience to ask questions about the history of the Western Himalayas, his family, and Ladakh. The audience was eager to participate and several individuals asked engaged questions and even shared their own connections to the region.