Dublin, during my secondment period (May-August 2016) was full of commemorative mood, celebrating a hundred years of the Easter Rising of 1916. The site of the rebellion, General Post Office in the heart of the city, was renovated and a brilliant year long exhibition of 1916 had been set up inside to recreate the stages of the Rising.
The colours of patriotism – green and the orange brightened the waters of River Liffey at night and reminded the onlooker of Ireland’s commitment to Catholic and Irish unity. The internationalization of the city is amazing. Apart from the American citizens (who come in search of their Irish roots), people have begun flocking in from different parts of the world.
I was conveniently housed by the Cultural Trauma project director and a generous host, Dr Jennifer Edmond, inside Trinity College Dublin. This gave me access to the National Library of Ireland next door at Kildare Street. The library of the Trinity College helped me prepare for a course on Irish Women’s History. After I returned to Delhi, I framed the course, got it formally passed and it is now officially placed in the JNU course list. This will enable more exchange of JNU with Irish University teachers as they can come to teach in the course from two weeks to two months.
As part of my field work in Ireland, I visited Boyle (County Roscommon); Carrick On Shannon District Historical Society invited me to give a lecture on my ongoing work on the life of an Irish suffragette – from Boyle Margaret Cousins(1878-1954). She had made a significant political contribution to the women’s and freedom movement in India (photo with members of the Society is attached). I am grateful to Dr John Feely, Ms Mary C Dolan, Dr Heather Laird and Bush Hotel owner, Ms Rosie Dolan for their warm hospitality. This region of the Protestant West had many Churches of Ireland. I also visited the very well preserved Killmainham jail in Dublin. My visit to Cork jail further enhanced my interest in the anti colonial memorabilia. Ancient celtic graveyards, Churches and towers form a very significant landscape of countryside Ireland.
Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, an outstanding historian of Ireland and director of the Long Room Hub, also organised a two day workshop on India – Ireland (23-24 June 2016). The workshop explored the theme of the anti colonial movements across Ireland and India; memories of partition; Irish presence in India as both colonial and anti colonial. The conference was also enriched by papers from the other visiting faculty from JNU.
I very much appreciate the time and support given to me by Prof Ohlmeyer, Prof Eunan O’ Halpin, Prof J. Lee, Prof John Horne and Prof Barbara Wright. Without the support of Ms Deirdre Byrne and Sarah Dunne at LRH, I could not have run my life smoothly during my Secondment.