Rajesh Kumar Singh, Ph.D.

rajesh-kumar-singh-art-historian
Dr Rajesh Kumar Singh, Independent Art Historian, Baroda
ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4309-4943

Professional Summary

Dr Rajesh Kumar Singh, an eminent Independent Art Historian from Baroda, specialises in South Asian archaeology and Buddhist art history, focusing particularly on India’s Buddhist cave heritage. He earned his PhD from M. S. University of Baroda and is noted for his substantial contributions to the study of the Ajanta caves and the development of the ‘Ajanta Mahāpiṭaka / Ajanta Great Basket Project’. As the founder of Cavesofindia.org, his aim is to establish this as a premier digital resource for these historical sites.

A prolific author, Dr Singh’s oeuvre encompasses 7 monographs and 17 articles in esteemed peer-reviewed journals, in addition to his work in art magazines and exhibition catalogues. His career is characterised by a commitment to academic rigour and the dissemination of knowledge about Buddhist India’s artistic legacy. Passionately dedicated to illuminating the historical significance of Buddhist India, often overshadowed post-6th century AD, Dr Singh advocates integrating basic science into historical research.

Education

  • Ph.D. in Art History – M. S. University of Baroda, 2015
  • UGC NET (Visual Arts) – 1997
  • M.A. in Fine Arts (Art History) – M. S. University of Baroda, 1993-95
  • B.A. in Fine Arts (Art History) – M. S. University of Baroda, 1989-93

Academic and Professional Experience

Teaching Experience

  • 2008–2010: Temporary Lecturer, Dept. of Art History, M. S. University of Baroda.
  • 2001–2004: Senior Lecturer, Institute of Fine Arts, Modinagar, Meeruth University.
  • 2023: Conducted a lecture and training session for In-Service Assistant Archaeologists at the Archaeological Survey of India.

Non-Teaching Experience

  • 2011-Present: Founder Director, Hari Sena Press Private Limited.
  • 2019–Present: Founder, CavesofIndia.org, a platform dedicated to the study and dissemination of knowledge on India’s Buddhist cave sites.
  • 2017–2019: Consulting Art Historian, Dharohar Foundation, Secure Meters Ltd., Udaipur.
  • 2014–2016: Advisor for the ‘Revisiting Ajanta’ project (PI: Prof. Sumant Rao), Industrial Design Centre, IIT-Bombay.
  • 2006–2007: Senior Art Historian, Kalakosh Pvt. Ltd., Zee Network, Mumbai.
  • 2005–2006: Editor, E-Learning, FCS Software Solutions Ltd., Noida, India.
  • 2003–2005: Instructional Designer, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Government of India, New Delhi.
  • 1996–2004: Assistant Archivist, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Government of India, New Delhi.

Member in Academic Bodies

  • 2022–present Editorial Board, Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies, Varanasi.
  • 2019–2021 Senior Fellow, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • 2019–present Member, International Association of Buddhist Studies, Switzerland.
  • 2017–present Member, British Association of South Asian Studies, London, UK.
  • 2008–present Member, Indian Art History Congress, N. Delhi, India.
  • 2008–present Member, Forum of Contemporary Theory, Baroda, India.
  • 2004–present Member, Indian Archaeological Society, N. Delhi, India.

Life Mission and Major Projects

Ajanta Mahāpiṭaka / Ajanta Great Basket Project (2012 – Present)

  • Leading the ambitious project aimed at compiling a comprehensive collection of research on the Ajanta caves.
  • The project is organized into ‘Madhyam Piṭakas‘ (medium-sized baskets) comprising ‘Kșudra Piṭakas’ (small baskets), each representing individual research contributions.
  • Formats include scholarly articles, monographs, digital publications, educational videos, and dedicated websites, offering diverse insights into the Ajanta caves.
  • Continuously developing and curating content to serve as an exhaustive resource for academics, researchers, and enthusiasts in South Asian archaeology.
  • Achievements: Successfully published 7 monographs, 17 articles, and produced 23 educational videos. Development of the ‘Ajantapaedia’ website is in progress.

Cavesofindia.org (2019 – Present)

  • Founder and editor of a platform dedicated to the study and promotion of India’s Buddhist cave heritage.
  • Currently developing ‘Ajantapaedia’, an in-depth online encyclopedia focused on the Ajanta caves, aimed at becoming a key resource for the global academic community.
  • Future Initiative: The Buddhist Indian Cave Encyclopedia Project (BICEP), planning to establish a comprehensive, multidisciplinary database for all Buddhist cave sites across India.

Publications

Monographs

  1. In press. Ajanta’s Evolution: From Sāvakayāna to Bodhisatvayāna Amid Hunnic Turmoil (Oxford: Archaeopress Publishing).
  2. 2021. Early Hunnic Invasions and Abandonment of Buddhist Temples in India. = Ajanta Mahāpiṭaka I.4 (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers). Hardcover, B&W, 6 x 9 in, pp. 110, pl. 1.
  3. 2020a. Khīṅgīla vs. Buddhist Caves: A Synchronised Chronology of the Early Alchon Hūṇs, Early Guptas, Vākāṭakas, Traikūṭakas, and Buddhist Caves (ca. 451-480 CE). = Ajanta Mahāpiṭaka I.2 (Baroda: Hari Sena Press). Hardcover, B&W, 6 x 9 in, pp. 114, plates 11.
  4. 2020b. Periodisation of Rock-cut Monuments of India. = Ajanta Mahāpiṭaka I.3 (Baroda: Hari Sena Press). Hardcover, B&W, 6 x 9 in, pp. 106, plates 11.
  5. 2019. Ajanta Paintings: A Compilation of 84 Abridged Narratives. 2nd ed. (Baroda: Hari Sena Press). Hardcover, colour, 6 x 9 in, pp. 172.
  6. 2017. Ajanta Cave No. 1: Documented According to the Ajanta Corpus of Dieter Schlingloff = Photographic Compendium of Ajanta Narrative Paintings. Vol. 1 (Baroda: Hari Sena Press). Hardcover, 8.27 x 11.27 in, colour, pp. 218.
  7. 2012. An Introduction to the Ajanta Caves: With Examples of Six Caves (Baroda: Hari Sena Press). Softcover, 6.14 x 9.21 in, colour, pp. 260. [Out of Print/Out of Stock/has outdated contents–RKS]

Articles

  1. 2021. ‘Circa 465 CE and the Stupa-Shrine of the Ajanta Cave 11.’ In: Myth, Image, Metaphor in the Cultures of Asia and Africa. Proceedings of the 6th All-Polish Conference of Oriental Studies, ed. by Marek M. Dziekan, Sylwia Filipowska, and Ewa Siemieniec-Gołaś (Warsaw: Elipsa), pp. 301–373.
  2. 2021. ‘Astronomy of the Ajanta Caves 26 and 19.’ In: Prof. Ratan Parimoo Felicitation Volume, ed. by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan, and Raghavendra Rao Kulkarni (Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan), pp. 25–35.
  3. 2020. ‘The Earliest Two and a Half Shrine-Antechambers of India.’ Rocznik Orientalistyczny / The Yearbook of Oriental Studies LXXIII (1): 119–153.
  4. 2019. ‘Devil in the details-1, Spink’s imaginations: Did the Aśmakas really destroy the front cells of Ajanta Cave 19?’ Berliner Indologische Studien / Berlin Indological Studies 24: 257–264.
  5. 2018. ‘Rock-cut architecture of Western India 1. Momentum I: origins of leṇa cetiyagharas, ca. 120-300 CE.’ History Today, the journal of the Indian History & Culture Society, 19: 216–231.
  6. 2016. Ajanta: An Overview. In: Sahapedia.org, an Encyclopaedia of the Indian Arts, Culture, and Heritage. http://sahapedia.org/ajanta-caves . Accessed on 2 May 2017.
  7. 2016. The Ajiṇṭhā Caves, Part I: Aspects of Historical and Political Background. In: Sahapedia.org, an Encyclopaedia of Indian Arts, Culture, and Heritage (New Delhi: Sahapedia.org). Accessed on 1 May 2017. https://www.sahapedia.org/aji%E1%B9%87%E1%B9%ADh%C4%81-caves-part-i .
  8. 2016. The Ajiṇṭhā Caves, Part II: Aspects of Anthropological and Sociological Background, http://www.sahapedia.org/aji%E1%B9%87%E1%B9%ADh%C4%81-cavespart-ii . In: Sahapedia.org, an Encyclopaedia of Indian Arts, Culture, and Heritage (New Delhi: Sahapedia.org). Accessed on 1 May 2017.
  9. 2014. With Singh, M. ‘Ajanta.’ In: Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, 3rd ed. Ed. Helaine Selin. (Verlag Berlin Heidelberg: Springer).
  10. 2012. ‘The Early Development of the Cave 26-Complex at Ajanta,’ South Asian Studies 28.1 (London: BASAS and Routledge), 37–68.
  11. 2012. ‘Buddhabhadra’s Dedicatory Inscription at Ajanta: A Review.’ In: Pratnakirti: Recent Studies in Indian Epigraphy, History, Archaeology, and Art, Professor Shriniwas S. Ritti Felicitation volume. 2 vols. Ed. Shriniwas V. Padigar and Shivanand V. (Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan), vol. 1, pp. 34–46.
  12. 2009. ‘Enumerating the Sailagrhas at Ajanta,’ Journal of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai 82, 122–26.
  13. 2009. ‘Ajanta Cave 8: Historiography and Fresh Look at the First Mahayana Sailagrha,’ Jnana-Pravah Research Journal (Varanasi) 12, 68–80.
  14. 2008–2009. ‘Some Problems in Fixing the Date of Ajanta Caves.’ In: Kalā, the Journal of Indian Art History Congress 14, Ed. R. D. Choudhury (Guwahati and Delhi: Indian Art History Congress and Sharada Publishing House), pp. 69–85.
  15. 2005. ‘The Writings of Stella Kramrisch: A Review of Reviews,’ Lalit Kala 30 (New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi), 41–54.
  16. 2004. Anonymous [author’s name not given]. Ajanta: A Digital Encyclopaedia and Virtual Walkthrough, CD-Rom (New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts).
  17. 2003. ‘The Writings of Stella Kramrisch with Reference to Indian Art History: The Issues of Object, Method and Language within the Grand Narrative,’ East & West 53.1/4 (Rome: Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente), 127–48. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/29757575 .

Educational Videos

YouTube Channel: @AjantaVideoPitaka

  • Content: Educational series on Ajanta caves, aimed at students and advanced learners. Each video addresses specific queries about various aspects of the caves.
  • Current Production: Developed with volunteer student contributions, focusing on content quality over production value.
  • Future Development: Plans to upgrade to professional production for enhanced educational value, subject to obtaining necessary permissions and potential funding.
  • Background: Initiated as a pilot to test the in-situ Q&A format effectiveness, with consideration of filming restrictions at the site.

Sahapedia Videos:

  1. 2016. ‘Built spaces: Ajanta Caves: In conversation with Rajesh Singh.’ [Video interview] Sahapedia.org. <https://youtu.be/ig3KzpW-sww?si=JsIWan7IaatUGU1N>. Accessed on 6 May 2017.
  2. 2016. ‘Built spaces: Monika Zin in conversation with Rajesh Singh on Ajanta cave paintings.’ [Video interview] Sahapedia.org. <https://youtu.be/D-HPu8VgraM?si=FNE9sJIh7k09vkvb>. Accessed on 6 May 2017.
  3. 2016. ‘Built Spaces: Dr. Rajesh Kumar Singh in Conversation with Padmashree M. K. Dhavalikar.’ [Video interview] Sahapedia.org. <https://youtu.be/jVMdttx4aTg?si=N9ueHdoEiWOgByJa>. Accessed on 6 May 2017.
  4. 2016. ‘Built Spaces: Dr. Rajesh Kumar Singh in Conversation with Naomichi Yaguchi.’ [Video interview] Sahapedia.org. <https://youtu.be/AMWWPYIgaZ0?si=QtJ-RayAUToXBMQh>. Accessed on 6 May 2017.
  5. 2016. ‘Built Spaces: Ajanta and the Vakatakas: Rajesh Kumar Singh in Conversation with Hans Bakker.’ [Video interview] Sahapedia.org. <https://youtu.be/crvEuOs19lQ?si=CQUf6FA0gNw9y2MC>. Accessed on 6 May 2017.

Reviews of Publications

  1. 2021. Willemen, Charles. Book review. ‘Rajesh Kumar Singh, Khiṅgila vs. Buddhist Caves: A Synchronised Chronology of the Early Alchon Huns, Early Guptas, Vākāṭakas, Traikūṭakas, and Buddhist Caves. Hari Sena Press, Baroda, 2020a.’ Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies 21, pp. 173–174.
  2. 2021. Willemen, Charles. Book review. ‘Rajesh K. Singh, Periodisation of Rock-Cut Monuments of India (2020b). Hari Sena Press, Baroda, 2020b,’ Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies 21, pp. 171–172.
  3. 2021. J., Manuel. ‘Book Review of Periodisation of Buddhist Rock-cut Monuments of India by Rajesh Kumar Singh (2020b),’ Berliner Indologische Studien / Berlin Indological Studies 25.
  4. 2021. Spink, Walter M. ‘The View from the Sikhara: Rejoinder to Rajesh Kumar Singh’s Article,’ Berliner Indologische Studien / Berlin Indological Studies 25.
  5. 2016. Bhalerao, Manjari. ‘An Introduction to the Ajanta Caves by Rajesh Singh,’ Journal of Asiatic Society of Mumbai 87, 141–42.
  6. 2013. Bisvas, Anamika. ‘Book Review of An Introduction to the Ajanta Caves by Rajesh Kumar Singh,’ Purātattva 43 (New Delhi: Indian Archaeological Society).
  7. 2013. Raghu, G. ‘Spinkam-Singham,’ Mathrubhumi, Weekend Supplement, newspaper in Malayalam (2 June), Kochi.

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