V.29: No.3-4 March-April 2001 #334-335

Editorial Note, p. 3-4.

"Imperialism and the Diffusion of Development," Prabhat Patnaik, p. 3

"From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition," Vijay Nath, p. 19

"Female Images in the Arthasastra of Kautilya," Suvira Jaiswal, p. 51

"Pre-Colonial Cultural Legacy and Colonial Intervention: An Historical Appraisal," P.K. Shukla, p. 61

An Unforgettable Teller of Tales," Anwer Azeem, p. 75

REVIEW ARTICLE, p. 89. Sudhir Chandra's review titled "A Figure of Paradox" of Julius Lipner's "Brahmabandhab Upadhyay: The Life and Thought of a Revolutionary," Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1999, pp. xxiv+409 Rs. 425.

Editoial Note

In the previous issue of Social Scientist we had published three papers presented at the 61st session of the Indian History Congress, including the inaugural address by Amartya Sen. In the current number we are publishing three more papers presented at the same Congress. The reason for our apparent obsession with History Congress papers has nothing to do either with any partiality on our part towards this particular discipline, or with any paucity of publishable material at our disposal, or with any apprehension that these papers would otherwise not see the light of day (the History Congress no doubt has its own programme of publication). The reason lies in the fact that at this juncture in our national life, debates on history have assumed a crucial significance. With the Sangh Parivar using the State machinery (and the gigantic patronage system that the State machinery places at its command) to push aggressively a communal-fascist interpretation of Indian history, it becomes essential for us to use our journal to combat this project. This does not simply mean publishing articles that oppose the Sangh Parivar's point of view; it entails above all promoting rigorous scientific historical research. The Sangh Parivar's history is not just communal-fascist; it fails to meet rigorous standards of scientific scholarship.

The three papers from the History Congress which we are motivated by these considerations to publish in the current number are by Suvira Jaiswal, Vjay Nath and P.K.Shukla. Suvira Jaiswal's paper on female images in the Arthasastra, while painting a vivid picture of a patriarchal society, also provides an idea of the various options available to women at the time. One striking option, according to Arthasastra evidence, which appears to have been exercised by many women is to become wandering ascetics.

Vijay Nath's paper is the text of his Presidential address to the Ancient India section of the History Congress. He draws a distinction between Brahmanism and Puranic Hinduism, the latter entailing a masive process of acculturation through which the pre-existing tribal population was assimilated. It is not only the assimilation of tribal deities, but the institutionalisation of a whole range of familiar practices - from the puja form of worship, to the erection of temples, to the sanctification of certain places as tirthas, to collective readings


of the Puranas under the guidance of a guru - which lead to the popularisation and spread of "Hinduism" of this form at the expense of other competing religions. The need to get tribal labour for agricultural work on lands granted to Brahmins in outlying regions inhabited by tribes may have been the stimulus behind the emergence and promotion of this Puranic Hinduism.

P.K.Shukla underscores the social harmony and sense of togetherness between the Hindus and the Muslims that characterised the medieval period of our history. An interesting index of this is the fact that over a span of hundred years, i.e. during the eighteenth century, there were only four recorded cases of communal "commotion" which could not even be called "riots". He traces the role of colonial historiography, starting from James Mill, in painting our history in communal colours.

The rest of the issue is made up, apart from Sudhir Chandra's fascinating review article on a biography of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay, of Prabhat Patnaik's Ansari memorial lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia, and of the renowned Urdu author Anwer Azeem's obituary tribute, written in 1955, on Manto. Patnaik takes up the proposition, first articulated at the Sixth Congress of the Comintern and subsequently developed by Paul Baran, that a successful diffusion of industrial capitalism from the first to the third world is not possible. While the experience of East and South-east Asia appeared for a while to have discredited this proposition (and the proponents of globalisation under the aegis of imperialism keep asserting this), a new phase of capitalism is upon us, according to Patnaik, whose inner logic once again validates this proposition. In other words, not only are no more South Korean or Malaysian "miracles" possible, but even those countries would not be able to retain the positions they had attained in their respective periods of prosperity.

Anwer Azeem the progressive Urdu writer was in Moscow during the mid- 50s when he wrote this tribute in the wake of Manto's death. In it, while defending Manto against conservative attacks, he provides a critical evaluation of Manto's work that is of great interest. This valuable document has not been available till now in English translation. We publish a translation essayed by his wife and son after his death on October 20, 2000.

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