Presentations by DHARMA members at the GREI symposium ”Regards sur l’autre, regard de l’autre” (November 2022)

Three talks presented during the symposium « Regards sur l’autre, regard de l’autre »

On 28 and 29 November 2022, several members of the ERC-DHARMA project had the opportunity to present the progress of their research during the two-day symposium organised by the GREI (Groupe de Recherches en Études Indiennes). The theme of the symposium — “the gazes at the other, the gaze of the other” — enabled them to examine the notions of points of view and of alterity.

On the morning of Monday 28 November, in the conference room of the stately Richelieu site at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF), a session devoted to Indian epigraphy and chaired by Emmanuel Francis brought together the papers of Samana Gururaja and Amandine Wattelier-Bricout (co-organiser of the symposium). Being committed to the theme of the symposium, both were able to deepen the research they had presented at the DOT symposium in September by focusing no longer on the self-representation but on the presentation of the other, on the way he is seen and the way he sees others.

Amandine Wattelier-Bricout in her paper entitled “The legitimating Strategies used by the Somavaṁśin kings: equaling, praising, blaming, ignoring or inventing the other” set out to reassess the hypothesis that King Mahābhavagupta Janamejaya was the founder of the Somavaṁśin dynasty. To this end, she first defined the way in which this king presented himself within his own land donations, and then, analysed how he was seen by each of his successors. The findings of this comparative study reveal the legitimisation strategies used during branch changes in the dynastic lineage. For example, it can be observed that after one of these changes, while Janamejaya’s mention as founder had disappeared, it reappears in force in the copper plates of Mahābhavagupta Uddyotakesarin, in order to reinforce the legitimacy of his lineage. In the same time, this king introduced a new ancestor, previously unknown, making his genealogical account flow better (slideshow available on HAL).

In her paper, Samana Gururaja examined how the Hoysaḷa Family was seen in the inscriptions of their subordinates between 1120 and 1235 C.E.  After outlining the genealogical accounts of the Hoysaḷa dynasty and the exploits attributed to them, she compared them to genealogical accounts from several subordinate families found in stone and copper plates inscriptions. The results of these comparisons point out an interesting evolution : the references to familial links outside the Hoysaḷa dynasty became less and less useful as the position of this dynasty became dominant. Thus, the views of the Hoysaḷa family by their subordinates changed depending on their power relations and on their sense of security felt thanks to the increasing Hoysaḷa domination. The comparative study of genealogies can thus be a useful tool for assessing the power relations in a regional political situation and its stability.

Monday afternoon opened with Vincent Lefèvre‘s paper entitled “The Invention of the Other: the Archaeological Construction of the Ancient Indian World – some Case Studies”. This offered a thorough retrospective from the beginnings of the archaeology to the present day. Such as archaeologists, the audience was able to discover the successive strata leading to the construction of the Indian other through the different discoveries and excavations from the 19th century to the present day. In addition to this journey through time, this presentation pointed out the stereotypes having scattered across the first Western representations of Ancient India. Then, using examples from his current excavation field in Mahasthan (Bangladesh), Vincent Lefèvre illustrated how archaeology can shed light on written sources and even challenge the knowledge built on these written testimonies alone. He also underlined the necessity to share archaeological discoveries by publishing excavation reports in order to advance our knowledge. He concluded by showing that the Ancient Indian history could no longer be written without the collaboration of archaeologists, historians, epigraphists, philologists but also climatologists, geologists, geomorphologists and so on. The progress of our knowledge should now be based on a multidisciplinary work.

Other members of the ERC-DHARMA project attended the symposium and their comments and questions also contributed to enrich the papers presented. Proceedings of this symposium in Open Access are envisaged by the organising team. In the meantime, you can visit the event website :

Photos : Amandine Wattelier-Bricout

Speakers’ introduction by Emmanuel Francis.

Localisation of Stone inscriptions issued by he Hoysaḷa’s subordinates (Samana Gururaja).

Presentation of some archaeological discoveries at Mahasthan by Vincent Lefèvre.

DHARMA team members (from left to right : Amandine Wattelier-Bricout ; Dominic Goodall ; Samana Gururaja ; Chloé Chollet ; Emmanuel Francis)






























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