Volume I (The Early Phases: Prehistoric, Vedic and Upanisadic, Jaina and Buddhist)
Introduction:Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
The Ramakrishna mission established this Institute of Culture in 1938 in fulfillment of one of the projects to commemorate the Birth Centenary of Sri Ramakrishna (1936). At the same time the institute was vested with the entire rights of The Cultural Heritage of India. This publication is thus one of the major responsibilities of the Institute; it also serves to fulfil a primary aim of the Institute, which is to promote the study, interpretation, and dissemination of the cultural heritage of India.
The first edition of The Cultural Heritage of India, in three volumes and about 2,000 pages, the work of one hundred distinguished Indian scholars, was published in 1937 by the Sri Ramakrishna Birth Centenary Publication Committee as a Birth Centenary memorial. This work Presented for the first time a panorama of the cultural history of India, and it was immediately acclaimed as a remarkable contribution to the cultural literature of the world. This edition was sold out within a few years, and the work had long been out of print, when considering the question of the second edition, it was felt that, instead of reprinting the work in its original form, advantage should be taken of the opportunity to enlarge the scope of the work. It was decided to make it more comprehensive, more authoritative, and adequately representative of different aspects of Indian thought, and, at the same time, thoroughly to revise the old articles to bring them up to date.
According to the new scheme drawn up on this basis, the number of volumes has been increased. The plan of arrangement has been improved by grouping the topics in such a way that each volume may be fairly complete and fulfil the requirements of those interested, with separate pagination, bibliography, and index. Since due regard will be paid to historicity and critical treatment, it is hoped that this work will provide a useful guide to the study of the complex pattern of India's cultural history.
The distinguished band of scholars who have co-operated so ably in this task have done their work as a labour of love in a spirit of service to scholarship and world understanding. Equally essential to the success of the undertaking was the assistance of Government of India who made a generous grant towards the cost of publication. Without this dual co-operation, it would have been impossible to set out on a venture of this magnitude; and to the contributors as well as to the Government of India the Institute therefore expresses its deepest gratitude.
Author:Ed. Dr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar
Volume II of this literary lour-de-force comprises studies in the Itihasas, Puranas, Dharma and other Sastras. This volume will be specially significant in the light of present-day Indian conditions and would be invaluable for a proper solution of the problem of national integration, which is now exercising the minds of Indian leaders. The conviction of the immanence of the Supreme Being in every all mate entity, leading to a realization of the dignity of each individual is the message taught by this volume and should be of crucial importance for creating those bonds of love and service, which are indispensable for today and tomorrow. From another point of view, the contributions contained in this volume would be of import, as they would put in proper perspective the values emphasized in modern civilization. India, while not disparaging economic advancement or social utility, has always stressed the importance of human personality against all challenges to it. Neither stark individualism nor collectivization can solve the problems confronting humanity today, and this lesson is specially conveyed by the Itihasas and the Puranas.
The Amarakosa, describing the main characteristics of the Puranas, specially points out that the commands of the Vedas are like those of a master (Prabhu Samhita) whereas the teachings of the Itihasas and Puranas may be compared with the advice and counsel of friends ( Suhrt Samhita).
The Epic Age during which the Ramayana and the Mahabharata received their final shape was a period of racial and ideological conflict; and, historically speaking, this period produced the two great Epics as well as the Manu Dharma-Sastra, the Codes of Yajnavalkya, Narada, and Parasara and the earlier Puranas.
THE PRESENT volume tells the story of the attempts made by India down the ages to grapple with the fundamental problems of life and thought. Philosophy in India began with a quest after the highest truth-truth not as mere objective certitude, but as being closely linked with the development of personally and leading to the attainment of the highest freedom, bliss, and wisdom. It demanded, therefore, not only a philosophical discipline of reasoning, but also a discipline of conduct and the control of emotions and passions.
THUS THE synthesis between deep philosophical analysis and lofty spiritual discipline is an abiding feature of Indian philosophy, and in this its outlook is entirely different from that of western philosophy.
IT IS hoped that this volume will serve not only to make plain the spiritual aspirations of an ancient nation, but also to show the relevance of those aspirations to the modern world and thus forge a powerful link in the chain of human fellowship and universal concord.
Author: Ed.:Bhagavan Das
The Present Volume bears ample testimony to the great hospitality of the Indian mind in encouraging and inviting different points of view and different lines of approach to the great quest for the Ultimate Reality. It sketches the more important sects and living religions which India accepts as diverse expressions of religion itself.
Hinduism in its various ramifications derived from a common stock is an exceedingly interesting and instructive subject to pursue. It is not at all a single religion with a creed to which everybody must subscribe, although each individual cult offers its allegiance to the Vedas and the Upanisads as the source and origin of Indian religion and religious experience. Hinduism is thus a federation of different kinds of approach to the Reality behind life. That is the unique character of Hinduism, and that character is unfolded in the pages of this volume.
Autho:Ed.Suniti Kumar Chatterji
The Present volume attempts to make a systematic study of India's great literary heritage preserved in various languages of the country, old as well as modern. A perusal of the forty-nine articles in this volume enables one to appreciate the basic phenomenon that despite various diversities-geographical, political, ethnographical, and linguistic-the fundamental unity of India clearly shines forth, and India since time immemorial has formed a solid single unit not only on the cultural plane, but also on the intellectual and literary.
The Volume is indeed an encyclopaedia in its scope and range, and it will certainly provide an authentic and valuable contribution towards the study of Indian languages and literatures in their glory and grandeur; it will also afford a spectacular display of the genius of India reflected in various branches of knowledge. It is needless to add that the literary heritage of India constitutes a priceless possession covetable to any nation, however great it may be, by any standard.
The Present volume fifth of the celebrated series, The Cultural Heritage of India, published by the Ramakrishna Mission institute of Culture, attempts to make a systematic study of India's great literary heritage preserved in various languages of the country, old as well as modern. A perusal of the articles in this volume enables one to appreciate the basic phenomenon that despite various diversities-geographical, political, ethnographical, and linguistic-the fundamental unity of India clearly shines forth, and India since time immemorial has formed solid single unit not only on the cultural plane, but also on the intellectual and literary.
Indian life and thought and Indian literature in ancient, medieval, and modern times (until very recently) have remained imbedded in the Upanisads, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas. Without a knowledge and appreciation of these, no knowledge and appreciation of Indian literature, even for the modern age, is possible. These great works have exercised a tremendous fascination on the Indian mind for some 2,000 years and more, and left a profound influence on all Indian literatures. In fact, these works are India: and in all the languages of India and their literatures, it is the content and the spirit of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas, with the Upanisads and Dharma-sastras in the background, that have found and are still finding their full play and their natural abode. They have moulded the life and literature of India and constitute the greatest literary heritage of the country. The cultural unity of India, ancient, medieval, and modern, has been primarily nurtured through them. There is, besides, the huge corpus of literature in Sanskrit that has grown round the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy and various other aspects of human knowledge and interest, to which scholars and writers from different parts of India had contributed. This 'matter' of ancient India or of the Sanskrit world forms the bed-rock of the medieval and modern literatures in most of the modern languages of India. Even a brief perusal of the histories of Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada, and Telugu literature, as well as of those which have not been as yet recognized in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution (viz. Maithili, Magahi, Bhojpuri, Nepali and Rajasthani), will show that, looming behind all these literatures not only as their background but also as their perpetual inspirer and feeder, there are the towering mountains of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas (especially the Bhagavata Purana) and the philosophy of the Vedanta as in the Upanisads and the Bhagavad-Gita, the ideologies and the ritualism of the Yoga and Bhakti and of the Dharma-sastras, and the poetry of the classic writers of Sanskrit like Kalidasa, Banabhatta, and Bhavabhuti. (There is no lack of the 'matter' of the Sanskrit world in Sindhi, Kashmiri Urdu, and even Tamil, either; but it is there in a comparatively restricted measure.) There are of course the special gifts of the Jaina and Buddhist literatures, which are also regarded as priceless treasures of India, but the influence of the Brahmanical literature of ancient India remains supreme. The streams of the Jaina and Buddhist Literatures easily and naturally merged into the wider 'Hindu', i. e. Brahmanical-cum-Jaina and Buddhist atmosphere, bringing some of their own elements to extend and diversify as well as unify the whole. One of the salient features of almost all the modern Indian languages is that they follow more or less the same pattern in the process of their literary development and growth. Thus, it may be said that if one passes from one modern Indian literature into another, there will be no sense of entering into a different climate. And this will be still more true if one passes from Sanskrit literature into that of any modern Indian language.
Indian literature, like Indian civilization, is marked by its spirit of acceptance and assimilation. It has imbibed any features from other literatures over the centuries. In the modern period, many features of Western literature have found a welcome entry in the literature of this country. It may be asked to what extent the 'matter' of Islam has been assimilated in Indian literature, Sufistic Islam had many points in common with the Vedanta and Yoga and the essentials of higher Hinduism. The way of the Sufi (Sufiyana tariqa) was, therefore, easily successful in bringing to the Hindus a closer understanding of Islam and vice versa. Through Sufism we find a considerable amount of spiritual understanding between Hindus and Muslims all over the country. Thus in literature, although the divergences in religious practices of the Hindu and the Muslim, when each tried to be specially orthodox in his own way, have been noticed, there have been the spirit of laissez-faire and a broad spirit of tolerance and compromise and integration which have never been absent in Indian literature.
The real integration of India into one single entity, in spite of some basic and fundamental racial, linguistic, and cultural diversities has taken place through the Upanisads, the epics, the Puranas, the Dharma-sastras, and the philosophical literature in Sanskrit, in the ancient and medieval times; and on this integration stand the cultural oneness and the political unity of India.
This has been strengthened during the last one hundred and fifty years by the impact of the mind of Europe on the Indian mind through the literature of English; and the inestimable service of this last in modernizing the mind of India and making it once again conscious of its great heritage of the past and of its stupendous unity cannot be too highly rated. English has been one of the greatest gifts of the modern age to India. The results of this we find in all the modern Indian Literatures.
India is a multi-racial, multi-lingual, and multi-religious country, and in spite of this diversity in racial type, speech, and religious outlook, there has been all through history for the last 3,000 years a great tendency towards an integration of these diverse elements-integration into one single type, which can be called pan-Indian. Of course, there has not been in many cases a complete assimilation. But the various elements have had their interplay in the evolution of Indian life, culture, and religion, as well as to a large extent of a common Indian physical type as of a common Indian mentality.
The Indian people, composed of diverse racial elements, now speak languages belonging to four distinct speech families-the Aryan, the Dravidian, the Sino-Tibetan (or Mongoloid), and the Austric. It has been suggested by some that over and above these four groups, there might have been one or two more-there seems to be some evidence from linguistics for this idea. But nothing definitely has yet been found, and we are quite content to look upon these four groups as the basic ones in the Indian scene. People speaking languages belonging to the above four families of speech at first presented distinct culture groups; and the Aryans in ancient India were quite conscious of that. Following to some extent the Sanskrit or Indo-Aryan nomenclature in this matter, the four main 'language-culture' groups of India, namely, the Aryan, the Dravidian, the Sino-Tibetan, and the Austric, can also be labeled respectively as Arya. Dramida or Dravida, Kirata, and Nasada. Indian civilization, as already said, has elements from all these groups, and basically it is pre-Aryan, with important Aryan modifications within as well as Aryan super-structure at the top. In the four type of speech represented by these, there were, to start with, fundamental differences in formation and vocabulary, in sounds and in syntax. But languages belonging to these four families have lived and developed side by side for 3,000 years and more, and have influenced each other profoundly-particularly the Aryan, the Dravidian, and the Austric speeches; and this has led to either a general evolution, or mutual imposition, in spite of original differences, of some common characteristics, which may be called specifically Indian and which are found in most languages belonging to all these families: e.g. the cerebral or retroflex sounds of t, d, r, n, and l; the use of 'post-positions' in the declension of the noun; points of similarity in the structure of the verb; compound verbs; 'echo-words'; etc.
Of these linguistic and cultural groups, the Aryan is the most important, both numerically and intrinsically. As a matter of fact, Indian civilization has found its expression primarily through the Aryan speech as it developed over the centuries-through Vedic Sanskrit (Old Indo-Aryan), then Classical Sanskrit, then Early Middle Indo-Aryan dialects like Pali and Old Ardha-Magadhi, then Buddhist and Jaina Sanskrit and after that the various Prakrits and Apabhramsas, and finally in the last phase, the different Modern Indo-Aryan languages of the country. The hymns and poems collected in the four Vedas, probably sometime during the tenth century B. C., represent the earliest stage of the Aryan speech in India, known as the Old Indo-Aryan. Of these again, the language of the Rg-Vedic hymns gives us the oldest specimens of the speech. From the Punjab, the original nidus of the Aryans in India, Aryan speech spread east along the valley of the Ganga, and by 600 B. C., it was well established throughout the whole of the northern Indian plains up to the eastern borders of Bihar. The non-Aryan Dravidian and Austric dialects (and in some places the Sino-Tibetan speeches too) yielded place to the Aryan language, which, both through natural change and through it adoption by a larger and larger number of people alien to it, began to be modified in many ways; and this modification was largely along the lines of the Dravidian and Austric speeches. The Aryan speech entered in this way into a new stage of development, first in eastern India (Bihar and the eastern U. P. tracts) and then elsewhere. The Punjab, with a larger proportion of born Aryan-speakers, remained true to the spirit of the older Vedic speech-the Old Indo-Aryan-to the last, to even as late as the third century B. C., and possibly still later. This new stage of development, which became established during the middle of the first millennium B. C., is known as that of Middle Indo-Aryan or Prakrit. The spoken dialects of Aryan continued to have their own lines of development in the different parts of North India, and these were also spreading over Sind, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and northern Deccan, as well as Bengal and the sub-Himalayan regions. The whole country in North, East, and central India was thus becoming Aryanized through the spread of the Prakrit or Middle Indo-Aryan dialects.
While spoken forms of the Aryan speech of this second stage were spreading among the masses in this way, a younger form of the Vedic speech was established by the Brahmanas in northern Punjab and in the 'Midland' (i.e. present day eastern U. P.) as a fixed literary language, during the sixth-fifth centuries B. C. This younger form of Vedic or Old Indo-Aryan, which was established just when the Middle Indo-Aryan (Prakrit) dialects were taking shape, later came to be known as Sanskrit or Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit became one of the greatest languages of Indian civilization, and it has been the greatest vehicle of Indian culture for the last 2,500 years (or for the last 3,000 years, if we take if we take its older form Vedic also). Its history-that of Vedic-cum-Sanskrit-as a language of religion and culture has been longer than that of any other language-with the exception possibly of written Chinese and Hebrew. It may be noted that Vedic and later (Classical) Sanskrit stand in the same relation to each other as do Homeric and Attick Greek. Sanskrit spread with the spread of Hindu or ancient Indian culture (of mixed Austric, Mongoloid, Dravidian, and Aryan origin) beyond the frontiers of India: and by A. D. 400, it became a great cultural link over the greater part of Asia, from Bali, Java, and Borneo in the South-East to Central Asia in the North-West, China too falling within its sphere of influence. Gradually, it acquired a still wider currency in the other countries of Asia wherever Indian religion (Buddhism and Brahmanism) was introduced or adopted. A great literature was built up in Sanskrit-epics of national import, belles' letters of various sorts including the drama, technical literature, philosophical treatises-every department of life and thought came to be covered by the literature of Sanskrit. The range and variety of "Sanskrit literature is indeed an astonishing phenomenon, unmistakably testifying to the uniquencess of the wisdom and genius of the ancient Indian masterminds and the expressiveness of the language in a style which has been universally acclaimed as one of the richest and the most elegant the world has ever seen.
The various Prakrits or Middle Indo-Aryan dialects continued to develop and expand. Some of these were adopted by Buddhist and Jaina sects in ancient India as their sacred canonical languages, notably Pali among the Buddhists (of the Hinayana school) and Ardha-Magadhi among the Jains. The Literature produced in these languages particularly in Pali (and also Gandhari Prakrit) migrated to various Asian countries where original contributions in them came into existence. The process of simplification of the Aryan speech, which began with the Second or Middle Indo-Aryan stage, continued, and by A. D. 600 we come to the last phase of Middle Indo-Aryan, known as the Apabhramsa stage. Further modification of the regional Apabhramsas of the period A. D. 600-1000 gave rise, with the beginning of the second millennium A.D., to the New Indo Aryan or Modern Indo-Aryan Languages, or bhasas, which are Current at the Present day.
The New Indo-Aryan languages, coming ultimately from Vedic Sanskrit (or 'Sanskrit', in a loose way), are closely relate to each other, like the Neo-Romanic languages derived out of Latin. It is believed that in spite of local differences in the various forms of Meddle Indo-Aryan, right up to the New Indo-Aryan development, there was a sort of pan-Indian vulgar or koine form of Prakrit or Middle Indo-Aryan. But local differences in Middle Indo-Aryan grew more and more pronounced during the centuries round about A. D. 1000, and this led to the provincial New Indo-Aryan languages taking shape and being born. Taking into consideration these basic local characteristics, the New Indo-Aryan speeches have been classified into a number of local groups, viz. (i) North-Western group, (ii) Southern group, (iii) Eastern group, (iv) East-Central or Mediate group, (v) Central group, and (vi) Northern or Himalayan group. The major languages of the New or Modern Indo-Aryan speech family are: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Urdu. Kashmiri, one of the major modern Indian languages, belongs to the Dardic branch of the Indo-Iranian group within the Aryan family. Although Dardic by origin, Kashmiri came very early under the profound influence of Sanskrit and the later Prakrits which greatly modified its Dardic bases. Most scholars now think that Dardic is just a branch of Indo-Aryan.
Dravidian is the second important language family of India and has some special characteristics of its own. After the Aryan speech, it has very largely functioned as the exponent of Indian culture, particularly the earlier secular as well as religious literature of Tamil. It forms a solid bloc in South India, embracing the four great literary languages, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu and a number of less important speeches all of which are, however, overshadowed by the main four. It is believed that the wonderful city civilization of Sind and South Punjab as well as Baluchistan (fourth-third millennium B. C.) was the work of Dravidian speakers. But we cannot be absolutely certain in this matter, so long as the inscribed seals from the city ruins in those areas like Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, etc. remain undeciphered. The art of writing would appear to have been borrowed from the pre-Aryan Sind and South Punjab people the beginnings of the Brahmi alphabet, the characteristic Indian system of writing connected with Sanskrit and Prakrit in pre-Christian centuries, may be traced.
The Dravidian speech in its antiquity in India is older than Aryan, and yet (leaving apart the problematical writings on the seals found in Sind and South Punjab city ruins) the specimens of connected Dravidian writing or literature that we can read and understand are over a millennium later than the oldest Aryan documents. Of the four great Dravidian languages, Tamil has preserved its Dravidian character best, retaining, though not the old sound system of primitive Dravidian, a good deal of its original nature in its roots, forms, and words. The other three cultivated Dravidian speeches have, in the matter of their words of higher culture, completely surrendered themselves to Sanskrit, the classical and sacred language of Hindu India. Tamil has a unique and a very old literature, and the beginnings of it go back to about 2,000 years from now. Malayalam as a language is an offshoot of Old Tamil. From the ninth century A. D. some Malayalam characteristics begin to appear, but it is from the fifteenth century that Malayalam literature is almost as old as Tamil; and although we have some Telugu inscriptions dating from the sixth/seventh century A. D., the literary career of Telugu started from the eleventh century. Tamil and Malayalam are very close to each other, and are mutually intelligible to a certain extent. Kannada also bears a great resemblance to Tamil and Malayalam. Only Telugu has deviated a good deal from its southern neighbours and sisters. But Telugu and Kannada use practically the same alphabet, which is thus a bond of union between these two languages.
Peoples of Mongoloid origin, speaking languages of the Sino-Tibetan family, were present in India at least as early as the tenth century B. ., when the four Vedas appear to have been compiled. The Sino-Tibetan languages do not have much numerical importance or cultural significance in India, with the exception of Manipuri or Meithei of Manipur. Everywhere they are gradually receding before the Aryan languages like Bengali and Assamese. The Austric languages represent the oldest speech family of India, but they are spoken by a very small number of people, comparatively. The Austric languages of India have a great interest for the student of linguistics and human culture. They are valuable relics of India's past, and they link up India with Burma, with Indo-China, with Malaya, and with Indonesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Their solidarity is; however, broken as in most places there has been penetration into Austric blocs by the more powerful Aryan speeches with their overwhelming numbers and their prestige. Speakers of Austric in all the walks of life (they are mostly either farmers, or farm and plantation, or colliery labourers) know some Aryan language. In some cases they have become very largely bilingual. Their gradual Aryanization is a process which started some 3,000 years ago when the first Austrics (and Mongoloids as well as Dravidians) in North India started to abandon their native speech for Aryan. But in the process of abandoning their own language and accepting a new one, namely the Aryan, the Austrics (as well as the Dravidians and the Sino-Tibetans) naturally introduced some of their own speech habits and their own words into Aryan. In this way, the Austrics and other non-Aryan peoples helped to modify the character of the Aryan speech in India, from century to century, and even to build up Classical Sanskrit as the great culture speech of India. As the speakers of the Sino-Tibetan and Austric languages had been in a backward state living mostly a rather primitive life in out-of-the-way places, their languages do not show any high literary development excepting, as already said, in the case of Meithei or Manipuri belonging to Sino-Tibetan, which has quite a noteworthy and fairly old literature. They had, however, some kind of village or folk-culture, connected with which there developed in all these languages an oral literature consisting of folk-songs, religious and otherwise, of folk-tales, and of their legends and traditions. And a literature, mainly of Christian inspiration, has been created in some of these speeches by translating the Bible in its entirety or in part. Songs, legends, and tales of the Austric languages have been collected and published, particularly in Santali and Mundari, and in Khasi. Munda and Santali lyrics give pretty, idyllic glimpses of tribal life, some of the Munda love poems having a rare freshness about them; and a number of Santali folk-tales are very beautiful. A few of the folk-tales prevalent in the Sino-Tibetan speeches are also beautiful (e.g. the Mikir tale of a young man who had a god's daughter as his bride, and the Kachari story of a young man who got a swan-maiden as his wife), but they do not appear to compare favourably with the Santali and Mundari languages in the matter of both lyric poems and stories. A systematic study of these languages started only during the nineteenth century when European missionaries and scholars got interested in them. I have discussed in detail the speeches of the Sino-Tibetan and Austric families prevalent in the country in my contribution to this volume, entitled 'Adivasi Languages and Literatures of India.
There is, as already said, a fundamental unity in the literary types, genres, and expressions among all the modern languages of India in their early, medieval, and modern developments. The reason of this unique phenomenon is that there has been a gradual convergence of Indian Languages belonging to the different linguistic families, Aryan, Dravidian, Sino-Tibetan, and Austric, towards a common Indian type after their intimate contact with each other for at least 3,000 years.
This volume of The cultural Heritage of India is indeed an encyclopaedia in its scope and range, and it will certainly provide an authentic and valuable contribution towards the study of Indian languages and literatures in their glory and grandeur; it will also afford a spectacular display of the genius of India reflected in various branches of knowledge. It is needless to add that the literary heritage of India constitutes a priceless possession covetable to any nation, however great it may be by any standard.
Author:Ed.Priyadaranjan Ray and S. N. Sen
THE PRESENT volume is devoted to a study of India's work in the filed science and technology. Readers will find with surprise that her achievements in this field are by no means negligible. There are thirty-two articles on the subject, all written by competent scholars. The articles, if not exhaustive, give a fair idea of how the Indian genius, not content with the subjective quest, has also turned its gaze on the objective world.
Volume VII -The Arts (Part One)
The Present volume adheres to a study of Arts in India, here more specifically Architecture, Sculpture. Epigraphy and Numismatics. There are forty-one articles contributed by 32 authors. A large portion of these articles were written 30 to 50 years ago. These articles by renowned scholars stand on their own merit and reflect the state of scholarship at the time they were written. These articles acquire a historical importance as they reflect the perception of a generation of pioneers in the field. The selection of the authors was largely determined from the point of view of those who continue to follow in some measure the approach of the earlier writers. Indian art history has taken many pioneers and those others who continue to subscribe to the validity of the earlier approach. This was necessary in order to maintain a measure of continuity and overall 'unity'. Hopefully it has been possible to place together the writings of a generation of scholars who laid the foundation of art history, as distinct from Indian archaeology. It will be proved from this volume that India's contribution in the field of Arts is not negligible and it will give a fair idea of how it influenced the other countries also. The volume will serve as a most useful reference tool for both the educated man or scholar and also the lay man in this field to know this particular subject.
Work on this volume was started about thirty years ago with Professor S. K. Saraswati, Bageswari Professor of the University of Calcutta, as the chief editor. After his death on 22 September 1980, work on the volume was set back. Later, professor Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta took up the work, but he passed away in 1996. He was succeeded by Professor Kalyan Kumar Ganguly, who died on 6 November 1997. In 1999 we approached Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, and she kindly agreed to edit Volume VII. The most difficult part of editing this volume was that after so many years the illustrations as well as some of the manuscripts could not be found. To locate illustrations for those old articles, as also to acquire them, was an uphill struggle. However, we are fortunate that Dr. Vatsyayan could bring a her knowledge and experience to bear on this work to maintain the standard of this valuable series.
Volume VII -The Arts (Part Two)
About the Book
The Present volume deals with study of Arts in India, here more specifically Painting; Music, Dance and Theatre; and Art and Life. There are forty-four articles contributed by 35 authors. The attempt in this volume is to place before the readers writings of a generation of scholars who laid the foundation for identification of schools and genres and their stylistic characteristics.
The Articles in the section on Painting present a panoramic view of the painting traditions of India from pre-historic times to the early nineteenth century. A reading of these articles is a convincing proof of the continuity and vibrancy of the painting traditions in different historical brackets and regions and sub-regions.
The Seven articles on Music, authored by eminent musicians and scholars, reflect the thinking on different aspects of music over a period of four decades. The articles on Dance cover many styles of Indian classical dance.
The Group of articles on handicrafts, dress and personal ornaments represents the Indian concern with the creative hand, more, with the relationship of utility and beauty.
The Sheer joy of life is intrinsic to culture, sports and recreations. The arts of attack and defence in play are typical. The Sanskrit literature is characterized by not only wit and humour but also sharp satire.
The Cultural Heritage of India series of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture has become a collector’s item, indispensable for any library or for scholars in different disciplines who wish to know about diverse aspects of the cultural heritage of India as also Asia. Volumes I to VI cover a broad range of subjects from philosophy to science. Volume VII deals with Arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, paintings and music and dance. Volume VIII is devoted to modern India.
Volume VII Part I of the series was published in 2006. It was hoped that Part II of Volume VII would be published soon after. However, for variety of reasons, it was not possible to adhere to the original schedule. In the meantime, Volume VIII has been published. Now, with the publication of Part II of Volume VII, the monumental enterprise of The Cultural Heritage of India series of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture will come to a closure.
Part I of Volume VII was divided into four sections: Architecture; Sculpture; Epigraphy and Numismatics; and Indian Art and the East. Part II of Volume VII is divided into three section, viz., Indian Painting; Music, Dance and Theatre; and Art and Life. This was the original schema envisaged by the late Professor S. K. Saraswati, followed by subsequent editors, viz., Professor Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta, Professor Kalyan Kumar Ganguli, Shri Pradyut Kumar Ganguli and Dr. Amitabha Mukherjee.
In my Preface to Part I of Volume VII, I had outlined the historiography of completing the work of my predecessors. I consider it appropriate to include this Preface in this volume. In it I have used the metaphor of Kantha, i.e., stitching together pieces of great but incomplete writing so as to make a reasonable whole. It is my earnest hope that the readers will peruse the Preface to Volume VII Part I which not only narrates the history of editing but also attempts to give an overview of the history of scholarship on Indian architecture, sculpture, numismatics and India’s relationship with the East. It is necessary to take account of this when perusing the contents of Part II of Volume VII. The articles in this volume by and large are also the writing of scholars of the decades ranging from 30s to the 70s. It is necessary to take note of the time frame.
Preface to Part One
Pre-Historic Rock Art
The Indian Painter and his Art
Indian Painting: Early Phase
Mural Paintings of the Colas
Early Jaina Art
Cave Temple and Paintings of Sittannavasal
Painting in lepaksi
Indian Painting: Later Phase
East Indian Manuscript Painting
Eastern School of Medieval Indian painting
Manuscript Painting: Jaina Tradition
Painting in the Sultanate Period
An Illustrated Avadhi Ms. of Laur-Canda in the Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras
Painting of Malwa
Mewar Painting in the Seventeenth Century
The Origin and Development of Pahari Painting
The Regional Styles of Assam Miniatures
The Cultural Aspects of Indian Music and Dancing
Theory of Indian Music
Music: Aesthetic Versus Spiritual
The Music of India
Indian Culture and Music
Development of Indian Music (South India)
Indian Musical Instruments
Indian Classical Dance
Classical Dance Tradition in Assam
History and Development of Kathak
Aesthetic Theory and Kathak Dance of India
The Old Indian
Art and Life
Handicrafts of India
Dress and Decorations
Sports and Recreations
Wit, Humour and Satire in Ancient Indian Literature
Food, Drink and Cooking
Town-Planning in Ancient India
Author:Ed.Dr. Sukumar Bhattacharyya and Dr. Uma Das Gupta
The present volume attempts to narrate the events of the Indian Renaissance, the advancement of learning and the-reawakening of our own heritage during the years 1765-1947,ie. From the grant of Diwani to the East India Company till India Independence.
An Attempt has also been made in this volume to relate to the past through Indological studies of the excavations of monuments, as well as epigraphically, paleographical and numismatic material. Historiographical studies have also been included. The influence of Indian culture on foreign countries has also been discussed. Study of Indian Culture abroad, influence of the West on our society and how the Eastern peoples viewed India have also been dealt with. Great men of that time, e.g. Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranatha Tagore, Mahatma Gandi, sister Nivedita and others, showed the right way to proceed-their ideas an impact on Indian society have been treated in detail.
The Purpose of this volume is to make its readers acquainted with the broad features and phases of development that characterize the history of this period. A perusal of the 67 articles by 61 eminent scholars in this volume enables one to know about the epoch-making changes that happened in India in the modern period.
The work for the present volume was begun more than four decades ago. /a sub-comitttee was formed in 1964, consisting of (1) Dr. R. C. Majumdar, (2) Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, (3) Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray, (4) Dr. Asim Datta, (5) Dr. Gouri Nath Sastri, (6) Dr. Bhabatosh Datta and (7) Shri Bireswar Mazumdar. The progress of the work under the direction of the eminent historian Dr. R. C. Majumdar was halted with his demise. Over the years that followed other scholars like Dr. Pratima Bowes gave their time and energy but the work could not be finished. In 2000 Dr. Tapan Raychaudhuri was requested to join this project as adviser and an editorial board was formed, consisting of Dr. Nemai Sadhan Bose, Dr. Amitabha Mukherjee and Dr. Uma Das Gupta. After the sad demise of Dr. Amitabh Mukherjee in July, 2002 Dr. Sukumar Bhattacharyya was appointed one of the editions. Unfortunately Dr. Neami Sadhan Bose passed away in July, 2004.
It is important to note that the majority of the articles in the present volume were assigned and written during the initial period. As those contributions to the volume were seminal, the present editorial committee which finalized the eighth volume decided to honors those contributions and includes them in this volume. However, wherever possible, those articles written during the initial period of this volume
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