Trying to craft a personal journey for DH (especially in India) is difficult since from Day Zero, I have seen it as a collective journey. If pressed for a year, I would say that my journey with Indian DH began in 2013 when as a PhD student from the US, I was part of a UKERI funded tricontinental (US-UK-India) symposium on “Gaming Across Cultures.” During the Indian leg of the project at JNU, I was privileged to meet many of my current DHARTI colleagues and realized the thriving (if nascent) nature of DH work in my country. The second major signpost would be in 2016, when after my PhD I had just taken up a faculty position at IIM Indore, and Padmini (Ray Murray) organized an informal congregation of DH enthusiasts at Srishti Institute of Design. The engaging (yet fun) online and offline conversations that started there led to the first iteration of our DH collective: DHAI or Digital Humanities Alliance of India. In a few months old bonds got solidified and new connections were made, at the 2017 Internet Researcher’s Conference organized by the Center for Internet and Society, through the wonderful facilitation of Sumandro (Chattopadhay) and (PP) Sneha. I have also been fortunate to have Nirmala (Menon) a short distance away at IIT Indore, which allowed us to take a leap of faith and organize the first DHAI conference in June 2018.
Since then, under the umbrella of the newly constituted DHARTI, I have worked with our fabulous executive committee on India’s first twitter conference and am so proud of the connections and conversations forged everyday on the DHARTI whatsapp and social media channels. I look forward to collectively remediating many of these digital conversations into analog spaces because that is what the rhizomatic nature of Indian DH demands, in my opinion.
My personal journey, working with Indian DH (and DHARTI) has been like tending as a gardener to a furiously fertile, if uneven, landscape. We are all working hard to till the land and plant new seeds while acknowledging the rich existent flora. The growth is incremental (and maybe sometimes slow) but very steady!