The rise in the online academia community led to the formation of the subunit of Indian academia that incorporates all the values of learning and knowledge of dark and light academia with an Indian spin. The subculture relishes in the journey of discovery, spirituality, history, and mystery of the famous brown culture with enlightenment and celebration of the diverse culture(s), festivals, and communities in the Indian subcontinent.
Pursuit of the Indian Academia Aesthetic
Running around in Havelis, buying second-hand books, waking up to bhajans playing in drawing rooms, lighting Jasmine incense sticks, reciting proses from the Bhagavad Gita, reading Gitanjali again over tea, taking an evening stroll in your village, littering peacock feathers all around the house, knowing every Akbar Birbal story by heart, and using turmeric for every problem are some brief activities that follow the appreciation of the Indian Academia aesthetic.
Indian Academia Fashion
The Indian Academia aesthetic revolves around Desi clothes with a slight contemporary twist and even a Gothic flavor akin to that of Dark Academia, such as sarees with a high turtleneck, Chikankari Kurtis with jeans, traditional cotton sarees with an unusual blouse pairing, golden jhumkaas with gold-rimmed glasses, long braids with laal bindi, pearl adornments, paired with matching shawls and gajra!
The Ambassadors of Indian Academia
The Indian academia aesthetic is embodied in the contemporary zeitgeist by Indian women with a Bollywood heart, aptly embodied in nonfiction and fiction works by Shakuntala Devi and Rani from the movie Queen as they go on to conquer the world in their respective lives in their desi style.
18th century, Bani Thani, Nihal Chand
Often famously known as the Indian Monalisa, this enigmatic portrait of Vishnupriya, famously known as Bani Thani, the wife of Raja Savant Singh has special features like an elongated nose, almond eyes, long neck, and fingers that made her and her artist, Nihal Chand, the most accomplished artist of the Mughal court, immortal in Indian art history.
20th century, Three Women, Jamini Roy
Known as the father of Modern Indian painting, Jamini Roy’s paintings that date back to the early 1920s exhibit the influences of the Bengal School of art. His works are identified by majestic Bengal indigo, large brush strokes, influences from miniature paintings, and his evident love for his Indian art.
20th century, Woman Holding a Fruit , Raja Ravi Varma
Raja Ravi Varma played a significant role in the Indian history of art by creating an amalgamation of European methods with a pure Indian artistic sensibility. By adopting realism in Indian art, he created detailed and abundant paintings that are filled with a play of light, nature, drapings, shadows, depth, shimmering of the gold adornments.
A Suitable Boy
Adapted from Vikram Seth’s 1993 novel, A Suitable Boy fuses romantic entanglements, political aspirations, personal yearnings, and religious conflicts in the newly independent India of the 50s. Coupled with snappy conversations, an array of kaleidoscopic colors, stellar actors, exquisite music, and regal BBC production, it makes for the epitome of Oscar-nominated Mira Nair’s direction.
Based on a short story by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore named Nastanirh, this movie is one of the most celebrated works of Satyajit Ray that is studied and appreciated all over the globe. Sophisticated acting along with Ray’s signature camerawork represent the subtle story of repressed emotions and moral dilemmas of human relations in 19th century Bengal.
A tender complex Indian rendition of the Shakespearean saga Hamlet, Haider is a cinematic thriller experience as it navigates through vengeance, guilt, and horrors of personal and political turmoils in 90s Kashmir. Sensitive outlandish acting, a sharp screenplay, harrowing visuals and well-crafted drama with emotional turmoils make Haider a gem of Indian Cinema under the direction of Vishal Bhardwaj.
Set on the holy banks of Ganges, Masaan is a rattling, powerful coming-of-age cinema that discusses the social constructs that divide Indians against their own. The complex narrative of this sensible drama leaves ambiguous questions about the societal conditions and rules in the rural Indian subcontinent presented elegantly by celebrated actors under the direction of Neeraj Ghaywan.
The man who knew infinity
An intricate poignant narration on the short life of genius S. Ramanujan and his contribution to the field of mathematics during the British raj era. Ramanujan’s story is a fascinating one, portrayed beautifully by the enigmatic Dev Patel as he embarks on the emotional journey to Cambridge packed with academic rivalries, systemic racism, religious obligations, and mathematic discoveries.
The God of Small Things
“He folded his fear into a perfect rose. He held it out in the palm of his hand. She took it from him and put it in her hair.”
A Booker prize winner, the debut novel of Arundhati Roy is a tale of twin children, Esthappen and Rahel as they grow up in a state filled with issues of the caste system, Keralite Syrian Christian life, and communism. Roy’s multi-layered prose deciphers the tragic lives of twins, a man and a woman denied of love due to the ancestral untouchable caste system, and the rise of political instability and riots that ruined what was once flourishing and full of life.
The Palace of Illusions
“Aren’t we all pawns in the hands of time, the greatest player of them all?”
The Palace of Illusions is a reimagined version of the epic Mahabharata, narrated from the point of view of the astounding Panchali. The tale is beautifully woven from the eyes of Drapudi tracing her life from the beginning of her birth from fire and balancing her life with five husbands as they embark on the quest to take back their kingdom from their loosed-moral cousins.
“Nothing in this world can be hidden or suppressed. All such attempts are like holding an umbrella to conceal the sun.”
The Guide is the most renowned novel of R.K. Narayan that won him the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy. Its beauty is in the simple storytelling technique that makes up for its classical themes with jumping timelines that follow Raju and his account of forgery, involvement in a murder, romance, and the art of dancing!