V.28: No.1-2 January February 2000 #320-321

Editorial Note, p. 1

"Problems of continuity and Interaction in Indus and Post-Indus Cultures," R.S. Sharma, p. 3

"Hafiz Shirazi (1312-1387/89)," Sardar Jafri, p. 12

"Contours of Our Composite Culture," Bhisham Sahni, p. 32

"Implications of Partition on Protohistoric Investigations in the Ghaggar-Ganga Basins," R.C. Thakran, p. 42

Footprints of the Colony: A.N. Anwer's review of Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Postcoloniasm, London and New York, 1998, pp. xviii+289; Rs. 275

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Editorial Note

A view is being assiduously propagated of late, with the active endorsement of the Hindutva forces, that the "Aryans" are the true authors of the Indus culture, that the movement of "Aryans" into India is a myth, that the Indus and Vedic cultures are identical, that the Vedas are the only source of the Indian culture, and that the Vedic age began in the fourth millennium B.C. Two of the articles in the current number of Social Scientist are devoted to a discussion of this whole range of issues. R.S. Sharma, in the lead article of this issue, is concerned with the relationship between the Indus and the Vedic cultures. He presents a host of evidence to question this claim of identity of the two cultures, and argues instead, taking the Harappan horse inter alia as his evidence, that there was a process of interaction between the late Harappan and the Vedic cultures. But even the claim that there was any substantial direct interaction between the main Indus and the Vedic cultures is problematical, owing to the fact that the important elements of the Indus culture had completely disappeared by 1500 B.C. Sharma makes fascinating use of linguistic evidence to argue that the Indo-Aryans learnt advanced agriculture from the chalcolithic people.

A parallel piece by R.C. Thakran takes up, among other things, the date of origin of the Vedic Age. The claim that the Vedic Age began in the fourth millennium B.C. runs contrary to all evidence relating to the migration pattern among the Indo Aryans. Besides, no archaeological support is available for the assertion that the technical knowledge required to fashion the Indo-Aryan chariot existed in the fourth millennium B.C.. Indeed even the horse, so closely associated with the Indo-Aryans, cannot be dated back to so early a period on any valid archaeological grounds.

Social Scientist has been publishing regularly the text of the Annual P.C. Joshi Memorial Lecture delivered in Jawaharlal Nehru University under the auspices of the Archives on Contemporary History. By a singular coincidence we are publishing in the current number the texts of two lectures delivered in successive years by two of the most outstanding creative writers of modern India, All Sardar Jafri and Bhisham Sahni.

All Sardar Jafri discusses the work of Hafiz Shirazi, the famous 14th century Persian poet, and brings out the democratic, humanistic, and indeed evolutionary, content of his poetry. Hafiz is often misunderstood as a mere pleasure-loving poet, but his celebration of the "Tavern"


is imbued with a deeper meaning. In its temporal aspect, the Tavern, in contrast to the courts of kings and other such places of privilege, is a public place, a democratic assembly, where the lowest and the highest can congregate; in its spiritual aspect it eliminates the religious bureaucracy standing between God and man. Hafiz's poetry is both a celebration of life and a rejection of bureaucratic privilege.

Bhisham Sahni celebrates the composite culture of our country which has faced repeated attacks from the forces of bigotry and orthodoxy throughout our history, and is even now under attack from the Hindutva forces. The period of the Bhakti-Sufi movement, which witnessed large-scale interaction at the level of thought as well as at the social level, shaped the contours of our composite culture, and bequeathed to us a liberal, tolerant and democratic outlook, which constitutes our most precious legacy. This legacy has to be defended to save India.

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