Research Interests: Living Heritage of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Ritual and Performance, Sacred Geography, Pastoral Communities, Folklore and Heritage discourse
Molly Kaushal is former Professor and Head, Janapada Sampada Division at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi (IGNCA). She is a folklorist by training and obtained her PhD from Moscow State University, Moscow, in Russian and Indian Folklore. Before joining Ahmedabad University, she was the Mission Director for the National Mission on Cultural Mapping, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, housed at the IGNCA.
Professor Kaushal has a rich and varied experience in the field of research, documentation, and safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage of diverse communities of India. During her career span of more than 30 years, she initiated several research initiatives, conceptualised, and supervised many field studies, surveys, and research projects at the IGNCA and was the Principal Investigator and Project Head, Living Traditions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, an area where she has made significant contribution, building up a massive audio-visual archive, bringing out translations and publications, and creating a platform for a dialogue between the artists and scholars.
She has done extensive research among the Gaddi, a sheep herding community of Himachal Pradesh, exploring concepts of space and time and engaging with areas ranging from domestic to pastoral spaces, ritual and performance, oral epics, and daily lifestyle.
As a convenor of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) at the IGNCA, she engaged with several safeguarding projects in collaboration with UNESCO and was responsible for the preparation of nomination dossiers on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the 2nd and 3rd cycles. As part of this exercise, she rediscovered and revitalised the almost extinct tradition of Ramman, a ritual theatre of Garhwal Himalayas based on the Ramayana, establishing a community-run cultural resource centre in collaboration with community representatives and state stakeholders. She also initiated the compilation of the first web-based national inventory for ICH for the IGNCA. (ignca.nic.in).
She is the curator of many research based thematic exhibitions and cultural festivals. She has also directed and scripted several ethnographic films.
Books: Edited, co- edited and co-authored
Exhibition Catalogues: (Published)
Festival Catalogues (Printed)
Translations (Published in DVD format)
Films: Directed and Scripted
Exhibitions Curated (Selected list)
Cultural Festivals Curated (Selected list)
Some Major National/International Conferences organised (Selected list)