God’s Waters



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Water, State, and People in Princely Travancore

Indian Temple near a pond Copyright: © M. Sudhindranath of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple with the sacred Padmatheertham Pond on the front and the Palace complex

This research examines the hydrological relationship between state and society using the example of the princely state of Travancore (in south-west India, present-day states of Kerala and Tamilnadu) from the 18th to the mid-20th century. The princely states had a special position during the colonial period as they were not directly ruled by the colonial power. Each princely state had considerable autonomy in its internal affairs. Travancore was considered a "model state" where water management was organised in a very progressive way in cooperation between the government and temple communities. Here it can be exemplarily shown how (Hindu) religion and resource management influence each other and thus new forms of religious and local environmental knowledge emerge. In this project, Mahendranath Sudhindranath (IIT Madras) is working at the Institute of Catholic Theology until December 2023.

  Smiling Indian Copyright: © M. Sudhindranath Mahendranath Sudhindranath

Mahendranath Sudhindranath is the recipient of the Future Environmental Leader Scholarship 2023 from the DAAD-funded Global Water and Climate Adaptation Centre (ABCD Centre). He is a doctoral research scholar at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India. He holds a Bachelor's in History from Loyola College, Chennai, India, and Masters in History from the University of Delhi, India.