Exhibition on Indian Civilisation at National Museum

The Minister of State for Culture(I/c) and Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma inaugurates the Exhibition ‘India and the World: A History in Nine Stories’ -an extensively collaborative effort of the British Museum, London; National Museum, New Delhi; and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai with the active support of the Culture Ministry. The Exhibition will be inaugurated at 5.00 PM, at the National Museum auditorium, New Delhi.

The exhibition chronologically encapsulates the evolution of Indian civilization since antiquity and its interconnectedness with the outside world through a raft of exquisite artefacts from India and abroad. ‘India and the World: A History in Nine Stories’ offers insights into two million years of history. It was planned as part of commemoration of 70 years of India’s independence and a year of major cultural exchange between India and the UK (UK/India 2017).

Over 200 objects from British Museum, London and 20 museums and private collections from India are on display.Major lenders to the Exhibition are The British Museum, ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharajVastuSangrahalay, Mumbai, ASI, Aurangabad Circle, ASI, Kolkata Circle, Central Antiquity Collection, PuranaQilla, New Delhi, MumtazMahal Museum, Red Fort, New Delhi, QutbMinar, New Delhi, Crafts Museum, New Delhi, Indian Museum, Kolkata, Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, Bihar Museum, Patna, Department of Museums and Archaeology, Government of Telangana, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Haryana, Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh, India International Centre, New Delhi, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa, Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, Naman P. Ahuja, New Delhi, Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, Chennai, Museum of Christian Art, Goa, Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge.

Conceived over a period of two years of intense planning and curatorial brainstorming, ‘India and the World’ has been jointly curated by a team in the UK and India. The Exhibition has been conceptualised by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS. Curators Jeremy David Hill and Beatriz Cifuentes Feliciano, from the British Museum, joined efforts with Naman P Ahuja, Associate Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and his curatorial assistant, AvaniSood to develop this unique exhibition

The exhibition is spread over nine sections, each representing a pivotal moment in history: Shared Beginnings (1,700,000 years ago to 2000 BC), First Cities (3000–1000 BC), Empire (600 BC – AD 200), State and Faith (AD 100–750), Picturing the Divine (AD 200–1500), Indian Ocean Traders (AD 200-1650), Court Cultures (AD 1500–1800), Quest for Freedom (1800–Present), and Time Unbound.

Beginning with the Indus Valley Civilisation and coming down to the present, the artefacts range from stone sculptures, terracotta, coins, tools, inscriptions and manuscripts to textiles, jewellery, Mughal miniatures and contemporary paintings, demonstrating the common threads of human history.

A striking feature of the show is not only its linear and chronological depiction of Indian civilization, but also its exploration of ideas across time periods, and a profound insight into confluence of the ancient and the modern. Essentially, it highlights the strong connections India has shared historically with the rest of theworld, impacting each other through a gamut of activities that helped evolve a global culture.

The nine-gallery exhibition is staggering in several respects: in the number of rare objects that it brings together, the time period and styles that it covers, the exquisiteness of each object and the rich stories that it tells us about our ancestors. Overall, there are 104 important works of art from the Indian subcontinent in dialogue with 124 iconic pieces from the British Museum.

Curatorial walks and talks, besides educational activities like stone tool, Harappan seal and bead making, currency design, scroll painting, clay moulding, blindfold photography and sculpture making will be held on the sidelines of the event. In addition, there will be theatre workshops, guided tours, thematic walks for kids and interesting events like treasure hunt and online weekly quiz on the event’s website (

The Exhibition, is travelling to the national capital from Mumbai andis supported by the Ministry of Culture, Tata Trusts, the Getty Foundation and the Newton Bhabha Fund. It will run for two months till June 30 and is available for public viewing on all days from 10 am to 6 pm, except on Mondays and public holidays.