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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Moynihan / South Asia Center

Classroom Resources

Below are some resources that have been created here at the South Asia Center or borrowed from other organizations that might be helpful to those preparing South Asia related curriculum. In addition to these resources, we also encourage you to visit our Media Library, which has documentaries  and films that address many different aspects of South Asian cultures, histories, languages, and politics.

Afghanistan and Pakistan Resources

The University of West Florida and the US Navy have put together a web resource that address Afghan culture, history and politics.

Homeland Afghanistan
Learn about the history and culture of Afghanistan on this website presented by the Asia Society.

Teach Afghanistan Using Primary Sources
The Asia Society has put together a companion piece to their "Homeland Afghanistan" website (listed above) to help instructors teach about Afghanistan using primary sources.

Teaching Pakistan
This website has materials used in a introductory college course on Pakistan. The instructor includes short films found for free on the internet which may be used at the middle and high school level as well.


Dancing Ganesha 
The Art Institute of Chicago presents the story of Ganesha, the Elephant-headed Hindu deity. It also gives ideas for classroom activities. 

Ganga: River and Ritual in Hinduism
This lesson plan with supporting resources examines the ways in which the Ganges River (or Ganga) is sacred for Hindus.
Manas: The Religions of India
A website the provides background on the sacred text and practices of a number of Indian religions, including Hinduism.

The Legend of Ponnivala
A medieval Hindu epic that has been reinterpreted for a modern audience.

The Ramayana
This webpage has several versions of the Ramayana story, which is a very important Hindu epic, and corresponding teaching materials. 

Smith Art Collection
The Smith Collection is comprised of numerous images and accruements for ritual (puja objects), scrolls of Indian epics and stories, and sixty paintings from the Mithila region of northern India.

South Asian Cultures

Global South Asia
This website is a companion to the textbook, "South Asia in the World: An Introduction" (Wadley 2014). It has information and pictures on a number of different case studies that look at contemporary cultures in South Asia.

How to wrap a Sari
Have you always wanted to know how to wrap a sari? Click here for step by step illustrated instructions. 

Karimpur: Slide-show
 A slide show about the village of Karimpur, located in North India. This village has been the subject of anthropological inquiry since the early 20th century until today.

Teaching South Asia through Books
The following lesson plans were prepared by the South Asian Book Award (SABA) committee to be used with books the have been honored for presenting South Asian cultures in a clear, considerate and useful manner.

Following My Paintbrush
The Rumor
The Wooden Sword

South Asian Folk and Visual Arts

SAC/Syracuse Symposium Event: Merasi Musicians of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Reading list: Rajasthani Manganiyar/Mirasi (Merasi) Musicians

Bharucha, Rustom.  “Muslims and Others: Anecdotes, Fragments and Uncertainties of Evidence.  Economic and Political Weekly, 38: 40 (Oct 4-10, 2003), 4238-4250.  [Note the section, “Identifying Subaltern Performers,” pp. 4241-4243.  [post-modern, post-colonial, but hits on current issues, especially the meaning of the term “Mirasi”]

Jairazbhoy, Nazir A.  “Music in Western Rajasthan: Stability and Change.”  Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, 9 (1977), 50-66. [“Old and dated, but it explains who these musicians are /were in very straightforward terms"]

Merasi, website for the organization promoting this particular group from the Jaisalmer area in western Rajasthan:

Natavar, Mekhala Devi.  “Rajasthan.”  South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent, vol. 5 of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music.  New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc, 2000.  Pp. 639-649.  [also available through the SU Library database “Grove Music Online”]

Neuman, Daniel, Shubha Chaudhuri, with Komal Kothari.  Bards, Ballads and Boundaries: An Ethnographic Atlas of Music Traditions in West Rajasthan.  Oxford, UK: Seagull Books, 2006.  [the book contains more color photos relative to text; the writing can get technical, and there is no glossary; on order for SU Library]

            Ethnographic Overview (pp. 27-50)

            Musical contexts (pp. 51-90)

            Musical Concepts and Musical Instruments (pp. 91-152)

Sherinian, Zoe.  This is a Music: Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum.  An ethnomusicological documentary. DVD, 70 mins.  2011.  [Available at the South Asia Center]

SAC Event:  Nautanki residency and performance, dir. Dr.  Devendra Sharma, Oct. 24-Nov. 1



“Sultana Daku” Nautanki at UC Berkeley directed by Dr. Devendra Sharma

“Sultana Daku” Nautanki directed by Dr. Devendra Sharma (7 videos, Portland, OR, June 2013)


Hansen, Kathryn.  (1983) “Sultana the Dacoit and Harishchandra: Two Popular dramas of the Nautanki Tradition of North India,” Modern Asian Studies 17: 2, 313-331.  [Available through JSTOR and Summon] 

Hansen, Kathryn.  (2009) “Staging Composite Culture: Nautanki and Parsi Theatre in Recent Revivals,” South Asia Research 29: 2, 151-168.

Hansen, Kathryn.  (2014) Grounds for Play: The Theatre of North India.  University of California Press.  [Available online through SU Libraries; SAC also scanned Chapter 1 for use by faculty and students.]

“Nautanki”. (2000). In M. Banham (Ed.), The Cambridge Guide to Theater. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from  [brief intro, available online through Summon]

Sharma, Devendra.  (2006)   Performing Nautanki: Popular Community Folk Performances as Sites of Dialogue and Social Change, Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 2006.  ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.  3230516.  [Available online through Summon]

University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for South Asia.  Ajuba Dance and Drama Company.  DVD, 20 mins, 1979.  The film follows a nautanki troupe through their everyday lives, rehearsals, makeup, and a performance.  [on order, SU Libraries]

Beneath the Banyan Tree

Mithila Painting

We have a number of resources for teachers interested in teaching Indian culture through the tradition of Mithila painting:

Mithila Painting, Lesson Plans for K-5 Art Classrooms

Mithila Art Unit Lesson Plans (K-5)

Common Core Unit K-5

PowerPoint K-2

PowerPoint 3-5




Lesson Plan for Following My Paintbrush, a story of a Mithila artist

Mithila Artists Discuss their Work (film excerpts)

Bengali Scrolls (Patua)

Bengali Scroll Lesson Plan (Grade 5)

Bengali Scroll Rubric (Grade 5)

Bengali Scroll PowerPoint

Rajasthani Puppets

Puppets with a Purpose

Ruth Reeves Art Collection

Smith Art Collection 
The Smith Collection is comprised of numerous images and accruements for ritual (puja objects), scrolls of Indian epics and stories, and sixty paintings from the Mithila region of northern India.

Smith God Poster Archive

South Asian Languages

Hindi Language
Click here to see a Hindi language teaching website complete with audio guides. 

Water in South Asia

Water Resource Conflicts: An Interactive Approach using South Asia examples

Ganga: River and Ritual in Hinduism
This lesson plan with supporting resources examines the ways in which the Ganges River (or Ganga) is sacred for Hindus.

PBS Newshour, “In India's Crowded Capital, Crisis Looms Over Limited Water”