Indian Ink: Read, Watch, Listen, Look

Posted on: September 3rd, 2014 by Olivia O'Connor

Immerse yourself in the world of Indian Ink with our recommended reading, watching and listening and looking lists!

What to Read

In the Native State by Tom Stoppard

First aired on BBC Radio 3 in 1991, this radio play by Tom Stoppard was the origin of Indian Ink. Though the structures of the radio and stage plays differ, their subject matter is similar. Actress Felicity Kendal played poet Flora Crewe in both In the Native State’s radio premiere and in Indian Ink’s 1995 London premiere.

Up the Country by Emily Eden

This book referenced in Indian Ink is a collection of letters from the travels of Emily Eden, an upper-crust member of English Society. Eden arrived in India in 1836 and stayed (with her brother, a Governor-General) for six years, spending two of them traveling the country. Her letters to her sister in England provide a glimpse into Imperial India from an English perspective.

Hobson Jobson Dictionary by Colonel Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell

Published in 1872 and subtitled “A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms etymological, historical, geographical and discursive,” this dictionary traces the lineage of English words to their Indian roots. The original version of the book is closer to a reference book than a typical dictionary, with narrative definitions (and a strongly Imperial point of view).

Rasa: Performing the Divine in India by Susan L. Schwartz

In Indian Ink, Flora and Das talk about the concept of “rasa.” Das explains, “Rasa is juice. It’s taste. It’s essence. A painting must have rasa… which is not in the painting exactly. Rasa is what you must feel when you see a painting, or hear music; it is the emotion which the artist must arouse in you.” This book explores the etymology and importance of the term, as well as its influence and significance in Indian performing arts.

What to Watch

“Witness: The end of British Rule in India.”

In this BBC News Magazine clip, Anne Wright, the daughter of an official of the British Empire, briefly recounts her childhood growing up in India near the end of British rule in the nation.

“The British Empire in Colour.”

This Acorn Media-produced documentary covers the history of the British Empire around the world, in both power and decline. The documentary is narrated by Art Malik, who appeared as Nirad Das in Indian Ink’s London (Aldwych Theatre) and U.S. (American Conservatory Theater) premieres.

What to Listen To

Archive of Indian Music

This collection of recordings (searchable by genre, artist name, or musical characteristic) provides a glimpse into the sounds of India. Each artist profile includes both sound clips and a biography section.

What to Look At

National Museum, Delhi

This online exhibit of items from Delhi’s National Museum, available through the Google Cultural Institute, provides a glimpse into various Indian artifacts and art styles. 165 items are available for viewing, from coins to tapestries to paintings to swords.

“Ragamala: Picturing Sound”

This exhibit, running through December 14, 2014 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, features paintings which celebrate music (and the mood/quality of music, known as “raga”). Many of the paintings are bordered with poetry, making the exhibit an especially appropriate companion to Indian Ink, in which two modes of artistic expression collide.


A Musician Charms a Mrig (Antelope)


Indian Ink
 begins previews on September 4 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Centre for Theatre. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

Related Categories:
2014-2015 Season, Indian Ink, Roundabout Recommends

1 Comment
  1. Barbara Backus

    September 11, 2014

    I am delighted to have a ticket for the September 27th Saturday matinee. In my blog post The British Are Coming (To Broadway), I mention having seen Romola Garai in many British dramas but look forward to finally welcoming this lovely actress to the New York stage.



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