Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas Facebook page

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lessons from D D Kosambi

Lessons from D D Kosambi

By Victor Ferrao
‘Give us today our daily bread’ is already a highly developed prayer and  cannot have been prayed by humanity in the stone age as nothing like bread was known to us then writes Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi in his famous book Myth and Reality.
Indeed, the prayer could not be directed to God the father in that era, when Mother Goddess was predominant. All our beliefs today have evolved and gained in complexity. Scientist Newton recognised that he saw further because he stood on the shoulders of giants. Our past has a constitutive relationship with the present. Most of us in India accept this truth more radically through our belief in the law of karma.
Kosambi, being a great intellectual giant, drove home this plain truth effectively through his book. He demonstrated that some of our myths and rituals have primitive roots, opening a new widow to our understanding of our history and culture. He showed how these practices remain fossilised in the caste and religious practices of today.
We can  identify two dynamic processes in the religio-political past our country. Some ancient cults amalgamated with each other and consolidated their socio-political and even economic dominance while the quest for the same lead other cults to refuse merger with  others.
Kosambe maintained that it is not the cults that clash with each other,  but rather the people who follow them, who sometimes even take to violent paths. In this context, he presented the conflict between the followers of  Acharya  Shankara  and Acharya Ramanuja as model and asserted that nothing in the noble theology of the two could inspire such violence and  yet  it occurred.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Orgy of Myth making

The ignorance the three RSS leaders exhibit about a religion they publicly espouse is remarkable. They seem not to have read the Rg Veda, the source of numerous Hindu traditions and beliefs. The historian D.D. Kosambi had read it in Sanskrit, and according to The Oxford India Kosambi, compiled, edited and introduced by Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, the Rg Veda speaks of four major castes, tribes being outside the then localised caste scheme: “Brahmana was his (the Supreme Being’s) mouth, Kshatriya made of his arms; the Vaisya his thighs, and the Sudra generated from his feet (RV.X.90.12), says the particularly sacred Puru-sasukta hymn. Yet the four-caste system is not described as prevalent outside of India, where the earliest division into Arya and Dasa was known to persist.”

As far as animal sacrifice is concerned, Kosambi had this to say: “The function of Vedic ritual is the celebration of certain animal sacrifices at the fire-altar. The five principal sacrificial animals are in order of importance: man, horse, bull (or cow), ram, he-goat…, and their flesh was to be eaten as is seen from rubrics for the disposal of the carcasses….” Horse sacrifice is particularly significant, given the importance Aryans attached to horses.

Will Subramanian Swamy give a call now to burn Kosambi’s books along with the “Nehruvian books” of Bipan Chandra and Romila Thapar?
Full article:  Orgy of Myth making
HISTORICAL revisionism has attained a certain kind of urgency in the country today. The blurring of the lines between fact and myth is being expedited like never before. Sweeping generalisations about the past are being made publicly and repeatedly, not only by individuals but also by formal organisations. Conferences are being organised to rearrange facts and show “Hindus” as the true inheritors of the land and all “others” as foreigners or invaders. This is to build a narrative of a glorious Hindu Rashtra that negates the contributions of the Mughals, Buddhists, Christians and everybody else.