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The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India

The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India



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Published by: ABID H on Sep 05, 2008
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The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient Indiain Historical Outline
D. D. Kosambi
Preface1. THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE1.1. The Indian Scene1.2. The Modern Ruling Class1.3. The Difficulties Facing the Historian1.4. The Need to Study Rural and Tribal Society1.5. The Villages1.6. Recapitulation2. PRIMITIVE LIFE AND PREHISTORY2.1. The Golden Age2.2. Prehistory and Primitive Life2.3. Prehistoric Man in India2.4. Primitive Survivals in the Means of Production2.5. Primitive Survivals in the Superstructure3. THE FIRST CITIES3.1. The Discovery of the Indus Culture3.2. Production in the Indus Culture3.3. Special Features of the Indus Civilisation3.4.
The Social Structure4. THE ARYANS4.1. The Aryan Peoples4.2. The Aryan Way of Life4.3. Eastward Progress4.4. Aryans after the Rigveda4.5. The Urban Revival4.6. The Epic Period5. FROM TRIBE TO SOCIETY5.1. The New Religions5.2. The Middle Way5.3. The Buddha and His Society5.4. The Dark Hero of the Yadus5.5. Kosala and Magadha6. STATE AND RELIGION IN GREATER MAGADHA
6.1. Completion of the Magadhan Conquest6.2. Magadhan Statecraft6.3. Administration of the Land6.4. The State and Commodity Production6.5. Asoka and the Culmination of the Magadhan Empire7. TOWARDS FEUDALISM7.1. The New Priesthood7.2. The Evolution of Buddhism7.3. Political and Economic Changes7.4. Sanskrit Literature and Drama
IT is doubtless more important to change history than to write it, just asit would be better to do something about the weather rather than merelytalk about it. In a free parliamentary democracy every citizen is supposedto feel that he, personally is making history when he elects representativesto do the talking and to tax him for the privilege. Some have now begun tosuspect that this may not suffice, that all history may terminate abruptlywith the atomic age unless a bit more is done soon.Much that has been talked about India's glorious past, unhampered byfact or common sense, is even more free than Indian elections. Discussioneddies around obscure dates and deservedly obscure biographies of kingsand prophets. It seems to me that some something more might be achievedin the way of charting the main currents of Indian history, notwithstandingthe lack of the kind of source material which, in other countries, would beconsidered essential by the historian. That, at any rate, is what this book attempts to do, with the minimum of scholarly display.I am especially grateful to Mr. John Irwin for special advice in makingthe book fit its avowed purpose, in choice of illustrations, and in seeing thework through the press. To him and to Professor A. L. Basham, mygratitude is also due for initiative in finding an English publisher. Mr.Sunil Janah was kind enough to permit the inclusion of a few of his brilliant photographs of Indian tribal and rural life, My thanks are due also to MissMargaret Hall for her painstaking revision of maps and drawings; and toMr. Semyon Tyulaev for tracing and photographing illustrative materialin the USSR.Any claim this book may have to originality rests on fieldwork done asa free agent. To those friends and pupils who have shown faith in mymethods and supported them with heart warming enthusiasm, I owe morethan can be expressed in a few lines.
House 803,D. D. KOSAMBIPoona 4, India,July 31, 1964.
CHAPTER ONEThe Historical Perspective
The Indian Scene
A DISPASSIONATE observer who looks at India with detachment and penetration would be struck by two mutually contradictory features:diversity and unity at the same time.The endless variety is striking, often incongruous. Costume, speech, the physical appearance of the people, customs, standards of living, food,climate, geographical features all offer the greatest possible differences.Richer Indians may be dressed in full European style, or in costumes thatshow Muslim influence, or in flowing and costly robes of many differentcolourful Indian types. At the lower end of the social scale are other Indiansin rags, almost naked but for a small loincloth. There is no national languageor alphabet; a dozen languages and scripts appear on the ten-rupeecurrency note. There is no Indian race. People with white skins and blueeyes are as unmistakably Indian as others with black skins and dark eyes.In between we find every other intermediate type, though the hair isgenerally black. There is no typical Indian diet, but more rice, vegetables,and spices are eaten than in Europe. The north Indian finds southern foodunpalatable, and conversely. Some people will not touch meat, fish, or eggs; many would and do starve to death rather than eat beef, whileothers observe no such restrictions. These dietary conventions are notmatters of taste but of religion. In climate also the country offers the fullrange. Perpetual snows in the Himalayas, north European weather inKasmir, hot deserts in Rajasthan, basalt ridges and granite mountains onthe peninsula, tropical heat at the southern tip, dense forests in laterite soilalong the western scarp. A 2,000-mile-long coastline, the great Gangeticriver system in a wide and fertile alluvial basin, other great rivers of lesser complexity, a few considerable lakes, the swamps of Cutch and Orissa,complete the sub-continental picture.Cultural differences between Indians even in the same province,district, or city are as wide as the physical differences between the various parts of the country. Modern India produced an outstanding figure of world literature in Tagore. Within easy reach of Tagore's final residence

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