Date(s) - September 7, 2021
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Late Vice Admiral Manohar Prahlad Awati was the Founder of the Maritime History Society. He last served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command. During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, he was awarded the Vir Chakra for his command of the Arnala-Class Anti-submarine corvette. In lieu of his birth anniversary on 07 Sep 2021, we at MHS would like to dedicate our Monsoon Musing III to this timeless legend.

The Digital Symposium shall be conducted on 07 Sept 2021 at 1630 hrs.

Symposium Theme

The theme of this monsoon musing brings Underwater Cultural Heritage and Archaeology under the spotlight. It has been neglected for a long time and now is one of the up-and-coming academic fields of studies. The Symposium explores the study of Underwater Archaeology with the insights of professionals & young experts in the field in terms of recent developments. The Symposium comprises a panel discussion which is a conversation with young maritime archaeologists working in the field bringing a fresh perspective.

Symposium Schedule

Session Speakers


Welcome Address Director MHS
Tribute to Founder  MHS Mr Kedar Awati
Thematic Address Dr Alok Tripathi


Panelist I Dr Zeeshan Shaikh
Panelist II Ms Madhumathy Chandrashekaran
Panelist III Ms Tiya Chatterjee
Moderator Ms Saba Purkar


Closing Address Patron MHS

Speaker Bio

Dr. Zeeshan Shaikh

Dr. Zeeshan Shaikh is a maritime archaeologist and ethnographer with a special research interest in maritime and underwater cultural heritage, seafaring, navigation, and nautical technologies of the Indian Ocean. His research interests also include spatial studies, maritime spaces, communities, networks, and their relationships.

His journey towards maritime studies begins with his Master’s dissertation that involved recording traditional boats of Goa in India. He completed his Masters’s in Archaeology from Deccan College Pune. As a recipient of the Goa Education Trust (GET) and British Council Award, he also holds another Master’s degree in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton, the UK where he also completed his Ph.D.

His experience involved participation in exploration, survey, and excavation at different maritime and terrestrial sites located in India, UK, and Egypt. He has also led independent projects of his own as a Principal Investigator. His recent international project was funded by the Honor Frost Foundation that involved understanding the role of navigation land/seamarks within the maritime space of the Egyptian Red Sea.

He has published widely in both national and international journals. His article Re-sewing the Sewn: An Ethnographic Record of Repair and Reuse of Sewn-plank River Boats in Goa, India published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology was the journal’s one of the top-cited papers in 2019.

He has also participated and presented papers and posters at different maritime theme international conferences like the International Symposium for Boat and Ship Archaeology held in Amsterdam in Netherlands and Gdańsk in Poland and the Red Sea Conference held in Lyon in France.

He is an avid traveler, explorer, and a qualified PADI diver. He invites all those who share similar interests as his to collaborate as he believes ‘collaboration is a key to success in the modern world that may result in interesting research projects. 

Ms Madhumathy Chandrasekaran

Ms. Madhumathy is an avocational sailor, windsurfer, tennis player, swimmer and singer, and a professional PADI SCUBA Diving Instructor since 2015. She has worked as a diving Instructor in places like the Cook Islands in the Pacific, Cambodia, Australia, and various parts of India. The days she spent visiting temples, beaches, museums, and other places of cultural heritage as a child had irrefutably attracted her towards archaeology and history. Hence, combining that interest with scuba diving, she undertook studies in Maritime Archaeology. During the course of her degree, she took part in internships with the Central Cultural Fund in Sri Lanka, the Naval History and Heritage Command in the US, and undertook fieldwork in Australia and Vietnam. She also worked as a Maritime Archaeological Research Associate with Maritime History Society in 2020, for which she identified a place of archaeological potential and significance and proposed a project.


Ms. Tiya Chatterji

Tiya Chatterji likes being known as a Maritime Enthusiast. She has a background in History, Archaeology, and Museology. She is passionate about Underwater Archaeological studies and is an advanced-level PADI certified scuba diver. She has authored the book Underwater Archaeology in India-The Lost Enigma. She is currently working as a Research Associate in the Indian Naval History Division, New Delhi, and as a Content Manager for a travel start-up. She also works as a freelance writer and editor for many academic and non-academic platforms.


Mr. Kedarnath Awati

Kedarnath Awati, son of the late Vice-Admiral Manohar Awati, and Mrs. Sandhya Manohar Awati served at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune since March 1992 as the Professor of Music.  He retired at 60 in 2017 after having served as the Dean (Faculty of Films) for some years.  In the course of his tenure at the FTII, he took time off between 2003 and 2007 in order to do a Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor Dr. David Felder.

Although he started learning the piano at the age of eight, most of his formal degrees were all in Pure Mathematics.  He taught Maths at the NDA, Khadakwasla between 1979 and 1983 and completed his MPhil in Mathematics in early 1986 with the help of a fellowship from the Department of Atomic Energy.

He has worked on background scores for over a dozen student films while at the FTII.  The scores of some of his stand-alone pieces have been published while his Elegy for large orchestra was given a debut performance by maestro Ms. Zoe Zeniodi with the Vietnamese National Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi in October 2016 during the course of a festival dedicated to Asian and European composers.

He enjoys playing Scrabble (which he occasionally plays at an international level), doing crosswords, reading, and taking long walks, an activity whose pursuit has suffered significantly on account of the current pandemic.


Professor Alok Tripathi

Professor Alok Tripathi is a distinguished archaeologist and pioneer underwater archaeologist in India. With his long experience in field archaeology, heritage management, higher education, and research he is a renowned authority on history, archaeology, and heritage management. He has directed several archaeological excavations in different parts of the country as well as in the Indian Ocean. He founded the Underwater Archaeology Wing in the Archaeological Survey of India. Several underwater archaeological excavations conducted under his direction in the Arabian Sea as well as in the Bay of Bengal earned international recognition. The most experienced underwater archaeologist in the country, he has worked as a resource person in UNESCO Asia-Pacific field schools for training underwater archaeologists from several countries. He holds equal authority in museology, art history, heritage management, art and architecture, remote sensing, and laws.

Widely traveled in several countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia he is the only social-scientist, listed among the ten brightest young scientists in the country. Presently he is a Professor at Assam University (a Central University), Silchar, and the Director at Centre for Archaeology and Museology. He is also the Additional Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India. He is now engaged in critical analysis of policies for heritage management, archaeological researches, and understanding of itihasa.

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