Dr Surinder Mohan Bhardwaj is Professor Emeritus, Geography, Kent State University, Kent, OH (USA). In February and March 2012, he was in India on a private visit. However, being the kind of geographer that he is, he did engage with geographical work also. Geography is the kind of discipline that you don’t switch on and off!

During this trip, he visited Bangalore for one day, on 22 March 2012. While here, he graciously consented to an interview with his former student, Dr Chandra Shekhar Balachandran (now Founder & Director, The Institute of Geographical Studies). The chat at the premises of the Army Public School, Bangalore was videographed.

In this chat, he touched upon what drew him to becoming a geographer. He also shared the interesting intellectual journey that brought him to his PhD dissertation topic, Hindu places of pilgrimage (a seminal contribution to Indian and pilgrimage geography).

He spoke about how he then became a life-long seeker of the knowledge and experience of a wide variety of pilgrimages and pilgrimage places. He talked about what makes a pilgrimage place a pilgrimage place. But then, he described how any place can be a sacred place.

He also shared his take on the status of the discipline of geography in India. He traced out some lines of thought that may contribute to uncovering an Indian geography paradigm.

This video may be useful in many contexts. For example:

  1. Undergraduate/Post-Graduate/Graduate course in development of geographic thought, specifically Indian geographic thought.
  2. Parents and young students — on why geography study is important. (Their child becoming a doctor or engineer is still the obsession for most parents in India!)
  3. Teachers and students in PUC, BSc, MSc, and PhD geography programs.
  4. Anyonewho is curious to know:
    • how a geographer looks at the world, especially sacred places and pilgrimages;
    • how study of geography can be useful in Indian society, indeed any society; and
    • what geography has meant to the personal life of this eminent geographer.

The interview has been uploaded to YouTube in four (4) parts:

Part 1 of 4

(A small error in Part 1: the video states the date of the interview as Wednesday 22 March 2012. It was a Thursday, not Wednesday. The error is regretted.)

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4

Part 4 of 4


Featured image: Dr Surinder Mohan Bhardwaj, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography, Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA. © The Institute of Geographical Studies, 2012.


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