Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Discovery of Kosambi

I am not sure I am comfortable with the term 'Marxist approach to Indian History', primarily of the idelogical images the word brings. It makes me feel like I am seeing a small labelled box locked with limitations.

But thanks to reader's words and the D.D.Kosambi blog,it is almost like I am looking at history with new eyes. History is not about looking at a series of events but it is also about power, economics and other interconnected elements. When I read Kosambi's versions, texts like The Discovery of India seem to pale and full of lifeless verbiage. Kosambi's history and accounts seem to be filled with living breathing real people and I find these accounts full of life.

The man is brilliant and original,in say his interpretation of the Urvashi myth. However, in one of his writings he equates the need of land-ownership with the origin of patriarchy. My contention is that there were always matrilinear groups but never truly matriarchy. Also many of the matrilinear families in Kerala did have land ownership.So beyond that nitpicking, his views on the economy, power and class struggles, structures are spot on. The videos of Arvind N Das linked on the blog are also a must watch.


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