Indian Plant Humanities

Project Team: Sumana Roy
Researchers: Tanita Abraham

Project start: 2022

Focus Areas:

The aim of the Indian Plant Humanities project is to create an archive of thought on plant life by writers, artists, philosophers and scientists from the Indian subcontinent over the last two millennia. Apart from collecting and curating this material into an accessible anthology (or the format of what is called the ‘Reader’ in academia), it also involves translation from the Indian languages into English. It is common to equate plant life only with botanical knowledge. This archive gathers creative and critical thinking on the botanical from different genres of literature, including music and spiritual philosophy, to remind us of our ancestry in thought on what has come to be called the non-human, a nomenclature based on a distinction that would not have existed in precolonial societies such as ours.

Encountering this forgotten or half-remembered tradition of thought can help us to reorient our ways of thinking and living as humans. The aim of this project is to help facilitate such a process by supplying thinkers and writers and artists and teachers and institution-builders with resources that help them to acquaint and familiarise school and university students with this inherited living archive.