The ancient heritage of India is glorious indeed. The remarkable sculptures, paintings and architectural expressions, which had blossomed forth in different phases in our country in the past have been deemed as objects of great wonder in all parts of the world till today.
But it is unfortunate that we know very little of our ancient heritage. We have not yet taken as much care as is really needed of the records, evidence, manuscripts and inscriptions which are lying extant in the length and breadth of our country and also in many unknown and unexplored regions of this subcontinent.
It is again very strange that we happened to have learned about the ancient glory of our country mainly from the scholars of the western countries. We have not yet been able to mobilize all our resources, utilize all, our best available source to know all about the glories of our past days. If this country were America, our efforts and activities to know all about our ancient heritage would probably have been different.
An attempt has been made in this book to trace out a brief outline of the diversified sphere of fine, arts and aesthetics in ancient India. If the interested scholars would react favourably towards this humble effort, all my industry entailed in this little work would really be crowned with success.
I am extremely grateful to Shri Shakti Malik of Abhinav Publications, who has been kind enough to bring out this little volume in spite of the tight schedule of his own publications.
From the Jacket:
In this his latest work, Dr. A.B. Ganguly, who is a scholar of international repute (and noted for his researches in the religious cults of medieval India), projects a kaleidoscopic view of the highly developed fine arts of ancient India (that made this country the pride and envy of the whole world).
If you wish to know why Indian civilization and culture endured while the Greek and Roman decline, you must persue this wonderful book. It will tell you what lent physical vitality and spiritual strength to life and made it profoundly rich and deeply meaningful in days gone by, what made for the ancient indians' irrepressible zest for life, how almost everything was looked upon and developed as a fine art - and sixty four arts are justly renowned.
The famous sixty-four arts of ancient India have been dealt with briefly and entertainingly and enlivened by apt anecdotes where necessary by the erudite author. Also, we have a lively account of such subjects as music, dancing, histrionics, painting, decoration, culinary, engineering and horticultural arts which commanded popular acclaim.
Ancient India was notes, inter se, even for such arts as magic, thieving and gambling which were considered respectable fine arts. The education of a prince and a son of well-to-do parents was not considered complete unless these arts were also included in the curriculum.
There was a technique of devising emusements and making beds. Personal embellishment both of males and females was prized highly. It will probably come as a surprise to many that in olden days over two thousand years ago, the Indians had developed the physical and social arts to a remarkable degree. They included walking, ju-jutsu, gymnastics, games, sports, yogasanas, wrestling, boxing, hunting, chariot, horse, elephant races, etc.
The greatest merit possibly of this most unusual tome is that it is adequately documented, so that inquisitive students may pursue their chosen subject fruitfully with helpful guidelines.
About the Author:
Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in London and also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and a member of the Royal Society of Literature, London and a member of the International P.E.N. and a life-member of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta, Dr. Anil Baran Ganguly has done extensive research work in the British Museum, London, India Office Library, London and in the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London. He has got several books to his credit, of which his works entitled Sixty Four Arts in Ancient India and Ghadar Revolution in America are widely known. His book of English poetry captioned Plain of Flowers which was first published in England had been highly acclaimed in all parts of Europe and America. Dr. Ganguly had found out a very rare and till then unknown manuscript on the religious cult of Medieval India from the British Museum, London and his valuable work based on that rare Manuscript was published by the University of Calcutta in 1968. A recognized specialist on the Tantra Cult in Mahayana Buddhism he is attached to the Tarak Nath Das Foundation in the Southern Asian Institute of the University of Columbia, New York and to the Institute of Advanced Studies in World Religion in the State University of New York of Stony Brooke, USA.
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