• The Issue of a Womens’ Past in India: an archaeo-historical perspective

    The Issue of a Womens’ Past in India: an archaeo-historical perspective

    By

    Ajay Pratap

    ...

    1 Introduction

    In this chapter I would like to focus on one specific aspect of women’s studies that appeals to me as a historian, the issue of a long-term past for women in India. In my view, at the very least, this endeavour, would involve a discussion of the following issues. First of all there is a good case that it is now opportune that we started writing a long-term history of women in India and the archaeological enterprise to the extent it may contribute toward such a worthwhile goal already stand defended as properly historical[ Hodder. I 1987. Introduction. Archaeology as Long-Term History. New Directions in Archaeology Series. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.]. The simple reason for this is that Gender Archaeology has already come of age elsewhere in the world however; its ripples to the shores of Indian archaeology are still distant and quite feeble as yet. Although we may not overlook the works of Deeksha Bhardwaj (2004), and Himashu Prabha Ray (2004) the very significant contributions of these two scholars are indeed just a beginning of a much larger enterprise.

    The rationale for this is not too far to find. Numerous excavations around the world, as in India, reveal that archaeologists today are able to locate artefacts in archaeological context that give us direct information about gender in the past. Such artefacts may range from hearths, food grains, specialized tools like awls, needles, pestles and querns and indeed very recently a new body of very exciting data, which is rock art, has been argued (Hays-Gilpin 2004?) as teeming in content with material related to gender in past societies. Do we then have the barest of evidence with which we may approach the archaeology of gender in the Indian context? I feel that the firm answer to this question is yes!

    The issue that women constitute an important segment of society, and that they have been marginalized is incontestable. However, it is here important to raise the question why after-all of a 150 years of Indian archaeology are we discussing an issue as important as that of gender archaeology so late. Is the answer that all Indian archaeology is andocentric? Is the question that throughout the phases of Indology and other types of colonial archaeology in India, people talked of society, an amorphous entity, in which women were present by implication, but not directly, as an especial category of agency? My view of this vexing problem and no doubt a real one at that is that we have to admit that a certain degree of andocentric did prevail as despite the presence of such artefacts, as mentioned above; we did not venture to reconstruct the roles and status of women in prehistoric communities of India. In such a circumstance history comes to play an important role for setting the course of women’s studies in the long-term. Today there are several examples of engagements in women’s history – we have already seen and heard of examples of such as the studies by Kumkum Roy and Uma Chakrabarti - the issue of women in epic literature, the Vedas, the Dharmasastras, and the Smritis. How about a longer-term past?

    What did women do before circa 3,000 B.C in the Indian context? This is the issue that archaeologists such as Spector (?), Conkey (?), Meskell (?), Gilchrist (?), and Gero (?), have already addressed, and as stated before in this chapter, in the Indian context, Ray, Bharadwaj, Misra have also written about. However, as at present these are but scanty efforts in what is apparently a much larger project, thus I too although differently from these authors, would in the Indian context like to address this subject. I am aware that some research has been carried out in India (Ray and Sinopoli 2004[ See Ray, H.P.2004. Gender and archaeology: an introduction. Pp. 464-480. In Ray, H.P. and Sinopoli, C. (Eds.) Archaeology as history in early South Asia. ICHR and Aryan.], Bharadwaj 2004, Misra 2005) studies that have engaged in finding women’s role in prehistory by engagement with archaeological sources. However, by far, till date, the expansion of knowledge in this field and constructive debates are of foreign origin. The work of Margaret Conkey, Janet Spector, Henrietta Moore, Joan Gero, Lynn Meskell, and others have broken new ground in trying to engage with the long-term human past and Womens’ past within it. This whole enterprise of constructing a long-term Womens’ past has been labelled gendering the human past. A good case in the point is also the Harvard-Kalahari project where anthropologists studied Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari desert of Southern Africa, and studied the per man/ woman hour inputs to domestic food-supply, among other aspects regarding the place and role of women in a Hunting –Gathering Society.

    To their surprise (see Lee and Irven De Vore 1968) they found that even in archetypical hunting-gathering groups, by far the largest contribution of food-supply came from gathering of seasonal fruits, nuts and other forest produce, than from the periodic large-game-hunting by the men. While hunting brought in high-proteins such a stock lasts usually for a few days, and for the rest of the time the society, that is men, women and children, depend largely on the food brought in by women.

    The least this find did was to have shaken the foundations of anthropological thought that man the hunter existed as the main food-supplier for thousands of years when human society was evolving through its first and elementary stages. It was an important break-through for women’s studies to know that it was woman the gatherer, instead, who was and has been the main mover.

    The other main study in this regard, in which ample evidence exists in India. To that within all forms of elementary production, hunting-gathering, pastoralism and shifting cultivation – and add to that small-time crafts production groups, indulging in pottery, metal-work and other activities that women have always also here been prime movers. The excavated remains from Chirand in Bihar are a good example. A large number of bone and antler awls (see photograph etc.) have been found, in conjunction with grains (wheat, barley, rice) along with hearths that all together form an important body of evidence for the significant role of women in early society.

    I have here cited just a few examples of contribution of women as may be gleaned from excavated archaeological data. The country over during the Mesolithic, Neolithic and later ages there is ample data to interpret and find the evidence for the great deal of burden of day to day living that was carried by women. Accordingly their status in those societies may be expected to be high (as is found in modern ethnographic situations). But how is that to be measured? It is common knowledge that matriarchal systems exist even today in the regions of the north-east of India where shifting cultivation is the mainstay of subsistence.

    Another breakthrough, although in the realm of ethnography, properly speaking, so far as Womens’ studies are concerned, is the work of Marjorie Shostak, and lately Sita Venkateswar, both working in relatively different domains. Marjorie Shostak wrote the book! Nisa: A Kung Woman’s story, in which for the first time the style of polyphony was used in the history of ethnographic studies. That is to say, that instead of, as is usual of ethnographers, by providing a meta-narrative of the lifestyle of women, among the Kung, Shostak, juxtaposed her observations in the text, with real-time reproduction of the narrative of !Nisa….thus bringing to the reader a first hand account of the life of Nisa.

    This style became very popular and is used by ethnographers of all calling today as this mode of narration is considered more real for purposes of reportage on ethnographic groups. The work of Sita Venkateswar Development and ethnocide: colonial practices in the Andaman Islands, uses Shostak’s technique of narratives of informants quite effectively, and she also succeeds in bringing to us a real-time understanding of the problems faced by the Onge, Jarawa and Sentinelise women.

    By way of introduction, we may say, that the consideration of gender in archaeology today occupies an important place in archaeological studies and the field, although, very new, is consistently growing. As Conkey has aptly put it the effort is to “ use gender as a conceptual platform for re-imagining analytical frame-works for specific archaeological materials and technologies, or for reconsidering major cultural transitions of the human past” (pp. 17). Yet it is also important to assess how this view of the archaeological past of women may inform us about their role and status in the historical period.

    2 Assessing the significance of women in Ancient India: a textual analysis of P.V. Kane’s A History of the Dharmasatras

    It may not be denied that there are several passages in the Dharmasastras (See Kane, 1992, Vol. 1-5) where there are explicit references to women that lead us to some knowledge of that their role and status in ancient Indian society was regarded as significant, broadly speaking. But, most familiar with this text would know that the allusions to women, in this text, are such that they must be assessed at several levels of sociological analysis. The age of the Dharmasastras, unfold largely a rural society, such that the prescriptions given in the corpus, it would seem, are befitting - for women, in the folds of rural life. It is another matter, why for feminist interpretation, the prescriptions of the Dharmasastras have been regarded as eternal (as in irrevocable), and male-biased, at that. Recent workers in feminist studies argue that we must study these texts with the aim to understand the actual status accorded to women as enshrined in these texts and not on a part or partial reading of the texts (Chandrakala Padia Pers. Comm.)[ Here I am referring to the gist of a Lecture delivered by Professor Chandrakala. Padia, Director, Centre for women’s studies and development, BHU, (now Head of Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Banaras Hindu University), entitled Challenges for feminist theory, in which she took pains to outline that Indian feminism should root itself in the Indian milieu, for which it would be essential for us to study our ancient texts from an Indian perspective. What does this mean? Simply put, any westerner looking at some of the passages of the Dharmasastras, read from a dry text-is-fact sort of point of view; would need no great effort to say that there was male-bias in ancient Indian society. However it would need an Indian reading (how so ever we may define the latter!) to contextualise what has been said in these texts. This paper approaches the issue of significance of women in ancient India as discussed in the Dharmasatra corpus.]. It, is therefore, important, to assess what the Dharmasastras say about women in this light.

    We take the position that a proper reading of the corpus enjoins us not assess what has been said some two thousand years ago, by the yardstick of what we consider as andocentric today. In any case, from a historian’s point of view there are several preliminary tests a historical text or corpus must pass before we may assess it for any significance. With citations from the concerned volumes (1-5)[ We also intend to use secondary analyses like A.S. Alterkar's The Status of Women in Ancient India.] of the monumental work A History of the Dharmasatras, this paper dwells on how to utilize this text for understanding the status of women in ancient India. In a text that purports to discuss the mores of ancient Indian society from 4th century B.C. towards the Christian era, this feature should also be seen at a level that is commonsensical. How can a text of a period be written without any reference to women? The purpose of my paper, is to examine first of all how may we see Dharmasastras as a source? Whether, as it is, we may see ancient writing as modern writing? If so, then, how so? And if not, then why not? And, in general, how should we see ancient texts?

    I have elsewhere (see Pratap 2003), commented upon the nature of the corpus of our ancient Indian historical texts at length. In this paper, I shall only summarize some of the points made therein; that I hope should enlighten the endeavour of looking at ancient Indian texts with a view to see whether or not positive mention of women has been made therein. However, before that a short consideration of the question what is P.V. Kane’s History of the Dharmasastras? - is therefore in order.

    3 What is P.V. Kane’s History of the Dharmasastras?

    P.V. Kane, we understand was an Orientalist who took pains to study more than 100 of our ancient texts like Manusmriti, Yajnavalkya Smriti, Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana[ A list of such sources of ancient Indian law (or Dharma) are - Dharmasutras, Gautamadhrmasutra, Baudhyana Dharmasutra, Apastamba Dharmasutra, Hiranyakeshu Dharmasutra, Vashishtha Dharmasutra, Vishnu Dharmasutra, Harita Dharmasutra, Shankha-Likhita Dharmasutra, Manav Dharmasutra, Kautilya Arthasastra, Vaikhanasa Dharma-Prashna, Other Sutra Granthas related with Dharma are – Atri, Ushna, Kanva and Kaanva, Kashyapa and Kashyaapa, Gargi, Chyavana, Jatukarnya, Deval, Paithinasi, Buddha, Brihaspati, Bharadwaj and Bharadwaaj, Manu, Yajnavalkya, Parashara, Narada, Brihaspati, Katyayana, Harit and Madhavacharya. There are a total of 109 texts that Kane considers related with Dharma.] to cull from them the prescriptions with regard to accepted/acceptable social norms and customs, as prevailing in ancient India. In the introduction to each of his five volumes the following text is given as definitional of the term Dharma:

    “Dharma is that all encompassing term (word) which one is confronted with and seems to denote the social history aspects of any Jati-Caste and helps in providing the preamble to the life-history of that Jati or society” (Bhramar, 1976).

    The Dharmasastras by themselves take into account the development of religion and social behaviour/rituals position of individuals in reality and as reflected in symmetries or asymmetries of the pantheons of numerous gods and goddesses, their characteristics and philosophies and ideologies, methods of worship – as developed since the early Vedic period to the contemporary times.

    “The five volumes of P.V. Kane’s history of the Dharmasatras presents for us the rituals governing Indian social life from the earliest of Vedic times (c. 1500 B.C.) to the contemporary times” (Suman, 1976).

    At one level then P.V. Kane’s monumental work, in five volumes, addresses different aspects of acceptable social behaviour, and tries to cast light on what the Hindu Shastras say about norms of behaviour governing issues like marriage, descent, property, rites and rituals, and jurisprudence, as enshrined in these primary historical texts.

    4. Patak

    Patak in Sanskrit means sin. Kane’s Dharmasastras starts with a definition of Satya (Truth) and Rta (the movement of nature or being). He suggests that Satya derives from Rta. He also suggests that these principles both occur together in the Rg Veda in one mantra. Accordingly and from these sources Kane identifies the five or Pachmahapatak. These, according to the Shastras are: Brahmahatya (the murder of a Brahmin), Surapan (drinking alcohol), Steya (theft or thievery), Guruanganagaman (to dirty the seat of the guru) and, finally, Mahapatakisansarg (associating with a wrongdoer). These are followed by a number of Upapatak’s or lighter-sins. These include having sex with a drunk woman even if it is one’s wife, learning Vedas from a teacher who charges money, an elder brother remaining unmarried after this younger brother has married, killing a woman not of the Aatreyi type, killing Sudras, killing Kshatriyas or Vaishyas, making a type of living which is scoffed at by Samaj (society), non-believing (in god), not performing rituals, stealing animals, expelling father, mother or son, from home for no reason at all, not supporting relatives economically, and having sex with a low-caste woman.

    5. The Female Principle

    However, while the text discusses women and issues pertaining to them directly, it has also, in its own context, tried to put-forth rites and rituals that are in the Indian context clearly related with women and therefore there is (in Volume 5, pp.9) rather a detailed discussion of the Shakt principle, broadly translated as The Feminine Principle. P.V. Kane provides such indirect references by stating that (translation mine) “the word Shakt means Shakti or power (world-power) or as having influence over the whole cosmos. The devotees of Shakti are thus called Shakt (the followers of and this includes men). It seems that around 8th century A.D. Shaktism in India developed and spread mainly in Bengal and Assam. The goddess of Shakts, known variously as Tripura, Lohita, Shadashika and Kameshwari, were recognized as bearing the seeds of the universe and were therefore worshipped.

    One of the main texts of the Shakts is called Devimahatmiya (The Mahatmya or greatness or significance of the Devi). The main features of the Shakt Sampradaya (fraternity, School etc.) is that the supreme deity is one and one only; She is known as mother; and She is seen as the supremely destructive force. Here P.V. Kane observes that “as destruction is a feature associated with the Devi”, therefore “worship related (ritual) procedure is sometime nauseous” (pp.9) referring no doubt to the practice of blood-letting sacrifices (of goat, chicken, buffaloes etc.) that are continue in some parts of India today as a contemporary practice in worship. The Devi has also been called Mahamahishamardini (the destroyer of the Maha or Great Mahish the Bull), Anahata, Kundalini, Durga, Katyayani, Chandi, Bhadrakali etc. It is said the goddess becomes happy if she is worshipped with alcohol, meat (usually goat or chicken) and with other foods and she grants the wishes of the devotee.

    6. Rituals associated with the Shakt or Female Principle

    Navratra or Durgotsav: P.V. Kane’s volumes contain rather a lot of information on Durgotsav. As sources for tracking the development of this ritual P.V. Kane cites Kalikapurana where it is said that those who do not perform this Vrata, have all their sensibilities destroyed by Durga. Whereas, those who do are rewarded with Dharma Ritual Sanctity), Artha (Money), Kama (Worldy Benefits) and Moksha (Enlightenment). Again, (according to Kane) the Devipurana mentions that this is a great and very pure Vrata (worship, ritual) that gives great benefits; in that it helps destroy all enemies, it helps all peoples; it helps the Brahmins in performing all their Yajnas (worship, rituals); it helps Kshatriyas maintain their lands; Vaishyas or Merchants to preserve their cattle; The Sudras their sons, and luxuries, good luck for women, more wealth to the rich.

    These texts further state that Durgotsav is performed nine days and nights and therefore they are called Navratras or nine-nights (of worship). With reference to animal sacrifices prescribed for this occasion P.V. Kane states that according to the Kalikapurana among the animals that may be sacrificed on this occasion are: Birds, Tortoises, Graha, Fish, Nine Types of Deer, Buffaloes, Bulls, Goats, Mongoose, Pigs, Black Deer, Lions, Tigers, Humans, and the blood of a woman who is maintaining a fast of the Navratras (Vrati).

    However, the Kalikapurana also maintains that no females of any species are permitted to be sacrificed. The ears of an offering must not have been cut-off before its sacrificial offering. Normally a male-goat and buffaloes are sacrificed (Vol. 4, pp. 344). P.V. Kane mentions that the ancient text Varshakriyakaumudi (vol. 4 pp 397) mentions that (translation mine) “horses and elephants must not be sacrificed to the goddess. That makes her angry. If a Brahmin sacrifices a Lion, Human or Tiger then he goes to Hell”.

    Nagapanchami, Manasapuja, Rakshabandhan: The monsoonal months are very important for certain very important Vratas (or penances) – the Nagpuja (or Snake Worship) observed on The Fifth day of Shukla Paksha is very famous. In various parts of India the Nagapanchami Festival is observed in differing ways. The Akshyatritiya of Eastern India is one variant.

    According to P.V. Kane the Bhavishyapurana describes the rituals connected with Nagapanchami Puja in detail. On this day milk is offered to the various incarnations (of the eternal snake that winds itself around Shiva’s neck) Vasuki (Naga), Takshaka, Kalia, Manibhadra, Eiravata, Dritarashtra, Karkottakka and Dhananjaya.

    These are all names of snakes. These are bathed and in return they grant abhayadana or asylum to these clans that worship them. Bhavishyapurana, in this context, recounts the story of Kadru and Vinta both sisters and their legendary wager or bet. Kadru, the mother of snakes, wagered her sister Vinata that Indra’s favourite steed Ucchaishrava has a black-tail (needless to say Ucchaishrava was perfectly white from head to tail). Obviously this was a prank on Kadru’s part and to prove her hypothesis she asked the black ones amongst her snake-sons to wrap themselves around Ucchaishrava’s tail. In the event that Kadru’s sons ditched her they incurred her wrath. Kadru cursed her sons that they would all be burnt alive. As the story goes a later King Janmejaya performed a sacrifice in which all the snakes of the world were attracted as towards a magnet and were consumed in the fire of Janmejaya’s Yajna. Nagapanchami is thus performed by mothers to breathe back life into snakes or (Kadru’s) children (Vol. 4, Chapter 7, pp 51).

    Manasapuja: is most popular in Bengal. Brahmavaivratapurana deals with the birth of Manasa Devi, her worship procedure, eulogy (stuti) etc. This puja is also practiced to please snake-goddess and to gain asylum (abhyadana) from snake-bites. Here P.V. Kane mentions, with reference to contemporary India, that on this occasion snake-charmers move around neighbourhoods with snakes or Nagas (that is cobras) and are given rice, money etc. This puja is also prevalent in south India where red images of snakes are made.

    Haritalika: is practiced in Maharashtra mainly. It is mentioned in medieval Sanskrit texts like Vratark, Vrataraj, and Ahalyakamdhenu. Legend has it that Shiva suggested this Vrata to Parvati as a means for their betrothal. This is a Vrata only for and to be performed by women. They must bathe with coconut oil and trifala, wear silk saris and then pray to Uma (Gauri, Parvati) and Shiva.

    The Dharmasastras in the context of ancient India are also necessarily juridical in nature – as they also discuss ethics, wherein lies its true value. Insofar as its mention of women is concerned a glimpse is provided here from the index citations pertinent to just one volume: there are no less than 68 index entries of issues pertaining to women in particular. These include issues of types of marriages, transgression of the law (Dharma) with regard to women including violence towards women, rites and rituals, property, widowhood, prostitution, widow remarriage, sati, Vishwadharama or the special rights of women, polyandry and rights and duties vis-à-vis marriage, separation or divorce.

    7. On Stri-Dhana

    According to Kane, there are three main issues with regard to Stri-Dhana. a) What is Stri-Dhana, b) What are the rights of Women on Stri-Dhana and c) The inheritance of Stri-Dhana and the rights of daughters in this regard? P.V. Kane suggests that Katyayana has described Stri-Dhana in 27 verses. According to Katyayana Stri-Dhana are of 6 types:

    1.Adhyagni: That which already belongs to a woman (before marriage).
    2.Adhyavahanika: That which the father has imparted to his daughter at the time of her wedding.
    3.Preetidatta: That which has been given her by her In-Laws, out of love, at the time of the wedding.
    4.Shulka: These, also given at the time of the wedding, and usually include – utensils, beasts of burden, milch-cows, ornaments and slaves.
    5.Anvadheya: This includes articles and objects given her after marriage by her husband and his friends
    6.Saudyika: Gifts given to her by other people at the time of the wedding.

    8. Strisangrahana

    This is a very short chapter (in Vol. 2, chapter 25, pp. 830-833) that discusses transgressive sexual practices between men and women. Rape (pp. 830) is condemned outright as is intercourse in which men use force with them or sexual intercourse with women through deception. There is one further category of prohibited type of sex that does not reflect the puritanical bent of the Mithakshara (Yajnavalkya) and Brihaspatisutra. This is Kamapipasa or excessive desire for sex. Various types of punishments (Prayaschita) are prescribed for such transgressions: death sentence, confiscation of all property. According to P.V. Kane Katyayana suggests death sentence as the penalty for rape. Total castration and expulsion from the village are also recommended. P.V. Kane suggests that according to Naradapurana intercourses with the following are also prohibited: step-mother (Vimata), maternal aunt (Mausi), mother in law (Saas), aunt -maternal or paternal uncle’s wife – (Chachi or Maami), Father’s sister (Bua), friends wife, student’s wife, sister, sister’s friend, dauther-in law (Bahu), daughter (Beti) guru or teacher’s wife, Sangotra (?) a woman belonging to the same Gotra, Sharanagata (a woman who has sought protection from somebody), Rani ( a queen), Pravrajita (an ascetic woman), Dhratri (Aya,), Sadhvi (female ascetic or one who does Sadhana), a high-caste-woman. Lighter sentences are also recommended like ordeal by fire, financial penalties like 24 Panas are also part of Prayaschit. Again penalties of 12, 24, 100 and 500 Panas are also mentioned. Kane suggests that according to the Vishnudharmottarapurana Manu has recommended that such offenders should be put amidst wild dogs (so as to be torn to pieces). Kane suggest that the Apastambasutra recommends shaving of the head as also a penalty for intercourse with a married woman and confiscation of all property for intercourse with an unmarried one. According to P.V. Kane Narada recommends that if such transgression occurs then the man concerned should present jewellery to the offended woman and propose to marry her. In this context, sentences seem to be lighter when such transgression takes place between a man of a higher-caste and a low-caste woman.

    9. Mention of Women in the Dharmasastras

    Mention of women in the Dharmasastras are extensive, since P.V. Kane’s History of the Dharmasastras, is published in no less than 5 volumes (see bibliography). For the purpose of this essay we have consulted selected portions of (Vol. 1-5) of the History of the Dharmasastras wherein according to the index; pages 318, 324 and 327 are the relevant pages in volume I. VOL II, VOL III, VOL IV, and VOL V…

    In this, the emphasis, according to Kane’s Index is on Stri-Dharma. My other colleagues in this book have ably commented upon the concerns of the other citations of the remaining four volumes.

    10. The Dharmasastras as a Text: some problems

    For a historian, the issue of what mention of women or any other group of people, have been made, in that text, presupposes that that particular text or corpus constitute a problem-free (in terms of the locus of writing in that context as well as in terms of its meaning) corpus from a historians’ point of view. This is the first point. In other words may we read the Dharmasastras or any other ancient text much as we read modern historical documents? In historical par lance I should say that we must not ascribe Writing Degree Zero to any ancient text[ In Writing Degree Zero Roland Barthes suggest that there are two types of texts: reader-ly and writer-ly. The first assumes that the author is writing only for him/herself and not necessarily to please the reader’s choices of what they wish to learn or read. The second case is one of writer-ly texts in which the author plays to the sentiments of the reader. In the latter (that is writer-ly type of texts) it is common that the reader of a text falls victim to reading the text and swallowing it word for word as if it epitomizes some eternal value. Roland Barthes then suggests, basically in a Marxist/deconstructionist way, that all texts should be dissected and analysed for their significances to become apparent.]. This is of course a notion introduced by Roland Barthes (see bibliography), the French Semioticist, who contributed much to our approach to studying texts. Writing Degree Zero basically means a situation where the reader of a text accords to the text ad hoc a complete transparency, or bias-free sort of legitimacy. Writing degree zero means any text that may be supposed to be free from biases arising either from the biases of the writer or that of the other circumstances surrounding the production of a text.

    The second problem, I think that is relevant to mention, is that the chronology of some of our ancient texts is an issue that is hanging fire. Whether it is the Rg Veda or the rest of the Vedic Corpus, The Epics, or the texts under consideration here; it would be fair to say that we do not have a very precise idea as yet, of what should be the exact chronological bracket into which we may fit each of these texts (See Pratap 2003). Here my indication of course is towards the date of the composition of a text. We are told by historians that these texts are lacking a single author, that they were composed over centuries. Do the observations of these texts, then, pertain to only one era or several ones telescoped into a single volume. If it pertains only to one era then again we are on surer grounds, but if it is time wise stratigraphically arranged text, that is the observations of several centuries are layered in it, and then the historiographic problem of interpreting which part of it refers to which period, within the same text, should be most obvious. If indeed the Arthasastra, Yajnavalkya and Narada have been composed over centuries, then the writings within them, pertains to which particular society and what particular time?

    As a historian after perusing the Stri-dharma passages I would like to make the following observations: I would suggest that the safest chronological bracket into which to place the Dharmasastras corpus is from 6th c. B.C. till 3rd c. B.C. The DS does refer to women, but only in the context of discussing Dharma more generally:

    1. “Pathak” (or Infringement or Sin or Paap) and “Prayschit’” (redemption or repentance) are the over-arching themes of this work.
    2. This is so because from the 6th century BCE till 3rd century BCE, a largely rural society was undergoing transformation, due to agricultural and industrial intensification and greater economic output, into a semi-urban or urban form. This was the age of the 16 great republics or the Sodasamahajanapadas and it is estimated that at the core of each there was a city (In all Jha and Shrimali, 2007 estimate over 60 cities to be existing at this time). City and state-administration was emerging and the Dharmasastras among other texts were intended to provide Jurisprudence from which ever point of view for a society now urban-dwelling and much transformed in the course of these odd three hundred years.

    11. Conclusion

    In my view, then, as a historian, at least these two problems, confront us, when we set about looking to the Dharmasastras or any other ancient Indian historical text for what they have to say about women. We have made some suggestions as to how then to view them as a source, for there proper reading to understand the position of women in ancient India.

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    Conkey, M. and Gero, J. 1991. Engendering archaeology. Balckwell, Oxford.

    Conkey, M.W. and J. Spector 1984. Archaeology and the study of Gender. In Archaeological Method and Theory, 7, pp 1-38.

    Fuller, D.Q., Boivin, N. 2002. Looking for post-processual theory in South Asian archaeology. Settar and Korisettar (Eds.) Indian Archaeology: A Retrospect. Volume IV. New Delhi. Manohar.

    Gilchrist, R. 1994. Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women, Routledge, London.

    Jha, D.N. and Shrimali, K.M. 2007. Pracheen Bharata Ka Itihaas. Delhi University Hindi Madhyam Karyanvan Nideshalaya, Delhi.

    Kane, P. V. 1992-2003. History of the Dharamasatras. Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan. Lucknow. 5 volumes.

    Omveldt, G. 1990. Violence against Women. New Delhi, Kali for Women.

    Sangari, K and Vaish, S. 1989. Recasting Women (Essays in Colonial History). New Delhi. Kali for Women.

    Shanks, M and Tilley C. 1987. Re-constructing Archaeology: theory and practice. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

    Sharma, R. S. 1996. The State and Varna Formation in the Mid-Ganga Plains--An Ethnoarchaeological View. New Delhi. Manohar.

    Sharma, R.S., Shrimali, K.M (Eds). 2008. A Comprehensive History of India, Vol. IV, Part II. New Delhi, Manohar.

    Suman, S. S. 1976. Foreword to P.V. Kane’s History of the Dharmasastras (second edition). Rajarshi Purushottamdas Tandon Hindi Bhavan, Lucknow.

    Venkateswar, S. 2004. Development and Ethnocide: Colonial Practices in the Andaman Islands. International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). Document No. 111. Copenhagen.

  • Stats Time!

    Friends,

    Herewith for your reckoning the payoffs of blogging!

    The stats for February.

    Month Total Pageviews Total Visitors
    February 2015 2290 1188
    January 2015 2937 982
    December 2014 2275 832
    November 2014 2647 957
    October 2014 3546 1319
    September 2014 2580 1191
    August 2014 2909 1226
    July 2014 1991 826
    June 2014 1874 749
    May 2014 4097 1080
    April 2014 3124 1062
    March 2014 2058 1031
    February 2014 1895 890
    January 2014 3453 1358
    December 2013 4242 1734
    November 2013 3071 1428
    October 2013 1785 773
    September 2013 1072 590
    August 2013 731 335
    July 2013 288 144
    June 2013 335 147
    May 2013 377 236
    April 2013 623 307
    March 2013 369 256
    February 2013 215 130
    January 2013 471 197
    December 2012 510 216
    November 2012 459 268
    October 2012 327 207
    September 2012 171 128
    August 2012 189 140
    July 2012 239 180
    June 2012 394 229
    May 2012 464 248
    April 2012 598 310
    March 2012 556 301
    February 2012 592 302
    January 2012 570 299
    December 2011 1235 241
    November 2011 603 273
    October 2011 580 326
    September 2011 511 284
    August 2011 671 363
    July 2011 367 234
    June 2011 256 188
    May 2011 377 222
    April 2011 342 197
    March 2011 476 245
    February 2011 328 194
    January 2011 225 162
    December 2010 279 191
    November 2010 327 206
    October 2010 719 247
    September 2010 464 240
    August 2010 607 303
    July 2010 308 188
    June 2010 223 116
    May 2010 307 166
    April 2010 336 183
    March 2010 659 412
    February 2010 408 234
    January 2010 423 207
    December 2009 286 142
    November 2009 311 167
    October 2009 342 225
    September 2009 384 195
    August 2009 386 251
    July 2009 216 146
    June 2009 164 122
    May 2009 462 301
    April 2009 450 297
    March 2009 559 373
    February 2009 510 218
    January 2009 611 306
    December 2008 671 372
    November 2008 799 386
    October 2008 1251 386
    September 2008 1658 518
    August 2008 791 377
    July 2008 601 369
    June 2008 770 423
    May 2008 1420 581
    April 2008 3467 1103
    March 2008 5547 1908
    February 2008 5414 2098
    January 2008 2678 1225
    December 2007 1681 831
    November 2007 571 382
    October 2007 283 203
    September 2007 337 258
    August 2007 707 374
    July 2007 540 345
    June 2007 817 246
    May 2007 320 170
    April 2007 186 88
    March 2007 9 6

    Happy Blogging!
    ...

    Thank you.

    Ajay

  • Learn Your English Here

    Learn Your English Here

    By

    Ajay Pratap

    ...

    Friends,

    Now that the cold weather seems to be receding and one may venture to say that this does feel like the Holocene again, onward with learning some fantastically interesting and good words and phrases in academic English.

    a) Navel gazing: navel-gazing. noun. self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view. "he lapsed into his customary navel-gazing." Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=hXjbVL-7K6vV8geruYGICA#q=what+is+the+meaning+of+navel+gazing%3F

    b) Pugnacious: adjective. eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight. "the increasingly pugnacious demeanour of right-wing politicians." synonyms: combative, aggressive, antagonistic, belligerent, bellicose, warlike, quarrelsome, argumentative, contentious, disputatious, defiant, hostile, threatening, truculent. Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/search?output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=meaning+of+pugnacious&btnK=

    c) Loquacious: adjective. tending to talk a great deal; talkative. "never loquacious, Sarah was now totally lost for words." synonyms: talkative, garrulous, voluble, over-talkative, long-winded, wordy, verbose, profuse, prolix, effusive, gushing, rambling. Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=cX7dVOXjFKLV8gfKsoD4BA&gws_rd=ssl#q=what+is+the+meaning+of+loquacious

    d) Buffoonery: noun. behaviour that is ridiculous but amusing. "the film is full of wordplay and buffoonery." Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=x_rdVK-uKKXV8gfpoIHYCg&gws_rd=ssl#q=what+is+the+meaning+of+buffoonery

    e) Intrepid: adjective, fearless; adventurous (often used for rhetorical or humorous effect). Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/search?output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=what+is+the+meaning+of+intrepid&btnK=

    f) Fastidious: adjective. very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail. "she dressed with fastidious care" Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/search?output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=what+is+the+meaning+of+fastidious&btnK=

    g) Intolerant: adjective. not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own.
    "as a society we are more intolerant of certain types of violence than we were in the past." Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=A_3nVPqNHMnM8gfr-oDABA&gws_rd=ssl#q=what+is+the+meaning+of+intolerant%3F

    h) Obstinate: adjective. stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so. “"her obstinate determination to pursue a career in radio." Courtesy URL: https://www.google.co.in/?gws_rd=ssl#q=what+is+the+meaning+of+obstinate%3F

    (Cont'd.)

    ...

    Thank you.

    Ajay

  • A Potpourri of Art Lectures

    Friends,

    For those who wish to learn more about art!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/36433/art-philosophy-of/36256/The-interpretation-of-art

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j42MjZwm5v4

    (Cont'd.)

    ...

    Thank you.

    Ajay

  • Rosemary Marlowe and the Mystery of the Golden Buddha (Cont'd.)

    The children squeal their delighted approval and as quickly as their hands are washed they queue-up behind Ihlok to lead them to the mystery.

    Ihlok, "I shall be leading you to some dungeons but rest assured there aren’t any dragons here for dragons were used by our spiritual masters to instill a sense of fear from which good behavior arises. So there is nothing to fear, but do watch-out for spiders. This is a jungle after-all."

    Soon they leave the refectory and are led down a hallway quite different to the one which conducted them from the observatory to the refectory. Pale shafts of yellow light filter down from hollows cut into the ceiling-rock and Ihlok guides them past several other twists and turns and other routes through the subterranean passage-ways to a series of steps which they must descend. The steps lead into a pond into which a torrent of water cascades from a hollow above.

    Ihlok, "That pond is our main water-supply. The senior priests have cut many channels into the hills above the monastery and rain-water is thus channeled here and elsewhere in the monastery such as the kitchen and the shower-rooms, to give us our year round stock of water. We must descend into the very pond itself and there is a secret passageway from under the water. Do not worry. No one will drown, but we will enter a tunnel from under the water where lies a beautiful secret."

    The Children's apprehensions are thus quelled and they follow Ihlok Dorbu with their clothes on right into the pond and like him dive under the frothing and very cool and sweet water. A few strokes and paddles underwater, they see a vague black opening in the wall of the rocky sides of this pond. They then follow Ihlok Dorbu into it. Here there are a few further steps to climb which brings them all above the level of the water and here, very gratefully, they heave as many breaths as they require, of which there are many. They also rest for awhile.

    Ihlok Dorbu then lights a match. It had been folded in some parchment and goat's gut, to keep it from getting wet. Then, and then, very very slowly they arise from their slumbers, and look this way and that. There was not much to look at what existed there, except rock hollows, and caverns. In match-light they perceived that the walls of this dimly lit cavern were densely filled with some very strange paintings inscribed upon them, these were in all sorts of colours. Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, Red and White. This sight of these wonderfully coloured images on the rocks had the children completely in a daze. A hopeless proposition. Children however are curious to the limit and hence they quite forgot the mystery that Ihlok Dorbu was to lead them to. And, instead, they got busy looking at these painted images on the walls of the rock hollows and the caverns to try to understand what they indeed were.

    Rosemary, "Ah. I see a Squirrel."

    Emily, "Yes, yes, and isn't it eating nuts?"

    Pinkie, "No. That is not it at all, it is actually a Rat."

    Ihlok, "Holy Mother of God. It is neither a Squirrel, nor a Rat, it is a Bat."

    Rosemary, "A Bat? What sort of bat is that?"

    Emily, " A Bat?"

    Pinkie, "Next?"

    Ihlok, "Next? What do you mean by Next?"

    Rose, "Dear Ihlok. Are you sure that Pinkie was addressing you, specifically? Eh, Pinkie?"

    Ihlok, "Does that matter?"

    Emily, "Yes, it does."

    Ihlok, "Well, then, here you are. It is still a hundred years for Enid Blyton to be born."

    Pinkie, "Who? What?"

    Ihlok, "Rest your tiny minds."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Hello there. Hello children. And how are you all this morning?"

    Rose, "Daddy? Good heavens. How on earth this you manage to reach here? And, it is morning still?"

    Monty, "Yes, dear Rose I am your Daddy still. I am not very certain at all that this is still morning, but that is a very different story, innit?"

    Rose, "Now that is funny."

    Pinkie, "Sir, sir. How is my daddy Kalicharan Bharadwaj? Why didn't he come with you? And what indeed of Mr. Lansdowne or was it Linlithgow?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Yes. That is Henry Linlithgow. And, he is well too. Indeed so is Kali Babu as he gives company to Mahanth Ji in his observatory, Innit?"

    Emily, "Uncle Monty. Would you care to take a look at this very strange painting on the wall here?"

    Montgomery, "Yes. Most certainly."

    Here Rosemary and Ihlok Dorbu take Uncle Montgomery up to the very many paintings on the walls of the cavern. And then.

    Rose, "Well?"

    Monty, "Well, well."

    Pinkie, "Well Uncle. What do you see?"

    Ihlok, "Sir. What do you see?"

    Emily, "Come on Uncle Monty. Be quick about it."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Yes, indeed Children. You always have trusted your elders to tel you what is what. That, indeed, is a good thing too as far as most things which concern children and need explaining. Art, Dear Children, however, is quite another matter."

    Ihlok, "Sir. You are a Lawyer. Matter. You say Art is another Matter. Does that mean that its interpretation would get bogged down into so many thousands of pages as usually matters legal do? Is there no ready answer for what we clearly see before us, etched on these walls?''

    Pinkie, "Uncle, Monty. Spare us a diatribe."

    Emily, "Uncle Monty. Go on. Tell us what these represent."

    Rose, 'Daddy. You please try to do better than you are. There is indeed a very long way to where we are headed and then a very very much of a longer way back. Hee....Heee."

    Montgomery, "Ho. Ho. Ho. Take it easy children. Complex problems have a way, at first glance, to make us feel a little funny in the head. However, as James Monstuart, the great philosopher of the Renaissance Europe has rightly said...where there is a will, there is a way..."

    So saying, Montgomery Marlowe without any further ado puts-on his monocles, and moves close to the painted images.

    Ihlok, "Its a Bat isn't it?"

    Rose, "Shingles. It is a Squirrel."

    Emily, 'It is a Squirrel eating nuts."

    Pinkie, "It's none of these its a Rat!"

    Montgomery takes out his magnifying glass to enlarge the perceived image more than his monocles are likely to and a very long long look maintaining a very long silence. And then, just as the children begin to squish and squirm and pushing each other around to try to see the images as Uncle Monty does. Monty swivels around a full ninety degrees and then another ninety degrees and looks the children firmly in their faces.

    Monty, "Well. Let's see. It is a long story. So I suggest we better eat something first. Here I have brought with me a lunch hamper of sorts."

    Ihlok, "How did this, Sir, lunch which you suggest, survive your dive through the clear waters of the pool through which we have all reached this place?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Cellophane and parchment! Tired as I am, young man, I would just now not at all want to wax eloquent about goat-gut about which no doubt you already know, Ihlok Dorbu."

    Pinkie, "Thank you very much, Uncle. I think we are all indeed very hungry and are therefore very very grateful that you brought some food for us."

    The lunch hamper contained some fresh and very warm poori-jilebis fresh from the Monastery's Kitchen, some butter-Scones, delicious crumpets to be had with guava-jelly, some fresh cheddar cheese, some bottles of full-cream milk, ham, eggs and sausages. Then some Bhel-Puri, Aloo Tikki Chaat, Rasmalai, Chicken Korma, Mutton Dopiaza, and fish-fry. Some rice, chapatis, and lentils, to go with very nice and spicy aloo-dum. Finally, the very famous Bombay Duck. And then, all the children did but tuck, tuck and tuck. Uncle Montgomery's eyes grew a little-bit moist as he watched the children savaging the hamper, both hands full of the goodies, their mouths full too, eyes nearly popping-out, at the look of the eats, and all eyes streaming profusely with tears. Profusely as this one bit a chilly, and then that one, as these had been spliced into the Indian eats at the behest of the Mahanth, the Lord and Master, of the Demba Monastery's Kitchen.

    ...................

    After a short nap, well within the cavern, Ihlok Dorbu, woke-up first and shouted his alarm that all, including Uncle Monty, should awake from their slumber as the underground tides were known to fill the tunnel which led to this cavern. Huff and puff. All, including Uncle Montgomery, were up in a jiffy, with Uncle taking a little longer on account of trying to find his monocles and the magnifying glass. Thereafter, while still sitting-down he cleared his throat in a rumbly sort of way, like public speakers of some eminence often do before setting out on an exegesis of this or that.

    Montgomery, "Dear Ihlok. You don't mind holding it there for a bit?"

    Ihlok, "No Sir, No Sir."

    Montgomery, "Right. Then, I shall attempt to answer your questions regarding the significance of these paintings."

    The children then scream their delight.

    Rose, "Yes Daddy do go on."

    Alerted by Ihlok Dorbu's warning regarding flash-tides, Montgomery Marlowe then spoke thus:

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Well Children. You see before you very early painted symbols of Buddha and symbols of Buddhist Iconography. You must have seen many sorts of picture books at school. These pictures, however, but similarly were in the past a medium to teach. And, Yes. That was a very very long time ago."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Very very Long Time Ago? Exactly how long ago, Sir, may I ask?"

    Montgomery, "Well your warning of flash-tides permitting, Sir, my calculations of exactly how long ago would indeed be affected by the probability of the time that that cataclysmic event strikes us here. Get it?"

    Ihlok, "Still. A few words, perhaps. Until we leave here and reach an adjoining but much safer cavern?"

    Montgomery, "Well, Young Sir. Logic. Indeed very elementary logic at that. Would suggest that these iconic representations of the Buddha must post-date the man himself, innit?"

    This discussion over the group hastened to leave the chamber they had been talking, eating, and reclining in, for an adjoining one, which was on an upward incline from this one. True to Ihlok Dorbu's predictions, even this next dark cavern bore paintings on its walls. These were as Montgomery Marlowe had explained clearly paintings of the Buddha. These done exclusively in red ocherous sort of paint. Their doubts dispelled once and forever, the children were quick to parry his explanation with a flood of questions till the cavern resonated with the sound waves pinging off its walls. A greatly contented smile then was writ very large upon The Chief Justice of the Indian Supreme Court at Calcutta who was also the Patron of the Society of Eastern Letters.

    Montgomery Marlowe, "By and By, Children. It does take a few life times to learn a little about anything. And then. You all, Ihlok Dorbu, you included, owe me an explanation, as to what indeed you all thought you were up to, in coming down here. Risking your lives, and, our anxieties, thus? Ihlok, would you care to explain?"

    Ihlok, "Sorry, Sir. I just thought the girls need to have some very native kind of adventure. Is that alright?"

    ..................

    Then and then, the Chief Justice of the Calcutta Supreme Court spake thus:

    "How do you mean mean adventure? And, Dear, boy, how indeed did you mean the term Native?"

    "C'mon, Sir. You must be kidding me. When you swam through the pool with the lunch hamper, well, that was adventure. And the fact that the British are ruling our country just now makes us native. The two components of this linguistic construction make for the construct, as indeed, I did put it...a native sort of adventure. Sir. Let me ask you. Do you have subterranean Buddhist Caves like the Demba Monastery in the British Isles?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, 'Well young man.You would get ten upon ten for that question. Unfortunately, I'm not a school-master. So all i may tell you is this. yes, in Europe, like in India, although your subterranean cave is man-made, we do get miles and miles of chalky underground caves. No Buddhist there though, in this century."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Why?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Population Pressure, Young Man. Since prehistory Humans have been migrating eastward from Africa and central Asia, after their dispersal from Africa. A branch moved westward and populated Europe, and the British Isles, as you put it, and very much later the Americas. However, reverse-migrations from Asia to Europe, have been not heard of very much in this century."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Sir Montgomery Marlowe. I see. What else may be the cause?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, 'Well Well. What else? Well history has very strange lessons for us. Mainly, that to each people their destiny. The Industrial revolution taking place just now in Europe has just about changed the picture of inter-cultural relations and inter-civilizational relations round the globe. Whereas, the Europeans were very much the Barbarians up till this century on a world index and ancient civilizations flourished no doubt mainly in the countries south of the equator....in this century, leading from the developments in capital and capital-growth from 15th century onward the European Civilization is in fact in this century emerging as the front-runner of all contemporary civilizations. Not only that..."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "That sounds great. Do complete what you were saying. It is simply fascinating."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "There is one other point. But I wonder if you are old enough to understand this? How old are you Ihlok Dorbu?"

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Sir. I am all of twelve years old."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Good. Then you are old enough for to understand this hypothesis of mine regarding Indian History. I have often wondered how your ancient universities like Tilahara, Vikramashila, Nalanda and Takshashila all seem to have evaporated into the thin-air, so to speak, in the 11-13th centuries? Just as our oldest of universities, like Oxford and Cambridge, in the British Isles, were laying down their roots. It is quirky how certain historical co-incidences happen. Of course there was no truck whatsoever between the British Isles and India at that early period. That is a case in the point. However, both Europe and Asia had plenty of trucking with Central Asia from the earliest of times is also a fact which is in no doubt whatsoever!"

    Ihlok Dorbu, "What is quirky or co-incidental about this, Sir Marlowe? I'm just a very Junior Monk and have very less understanding of World History. Kindly elaborate."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Well, it seems to me that some one or some group must have paid good monies to Bakhtiar Khalji, and then later to Alauddin Khalji, to raze your Buddhist Universities to the ground, and for ours, then just being founded, to prosper! And so they did, as a matter of fact. What do you think, Ihlok Dorbu, about this hypothesis?"

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Well, Sir. As far as I may follow our Mahanth Ji may have a final say on this issue. But this such sounds surely evident that these crimes which you have just mentioned are those born of of passion or crimes caused thereof. No practicing Buddhist is likely to hold crimes of the past against contemporary peoples for simply for us the past does not exist! It is Chimera. Mirgamarichika. An illusion out and out. We imagine time to be cyclical. First the good cycle of time, then the bad, then again the good and then again the bad and so on an on time goes on like a wave. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Well, young man. That is surely very graphic and I have heard tell of the cyclical theories of time of the east. But, exactly how do you mean that? Do imagine there is no history, which ever way, up or down, she moves?"

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Well, Sir. If you had implied or indicated that we at this Demba Monastery should be compiling afresh a new history of the Buddhist-faith in India, then, surely that, Sir, is an implication, here well-taken."

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Well. Young man. Then that is that. And, by the way that is not an implication, that is a hypothesis which I suggested. It may be true, it may not be true. However, no hypothesis is proved correct or incorrect until it is tested."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Yes. I follow the hypothesis part of it, now. But what is this testing all about?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "It involves epistemology."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Yes. Theory of Knowledge. Do carry on, Sir."

    Montgomery, "Positivist Theory of Knowledge."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "You got me there. What on earth is that?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "As in Caravaka, Anumana is less reliable a basis for scientific deduction, than Pramana."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Yes. That is quite right. Caravaka suggested that only such knowledge of the material world which is gained through our sense-perception is valid, and the rest is conjecture and therefore there is no proof for it and that these other deductions may not be considered materially valid. Yet, Sir, do you not think that Anumana is sometimes the seed from which hypotheses spring and then we flesh them out with Pramana?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "That My Friend, squarely brings you to the purpose of our Society for Eastern Letters, which is to suggest that the human mind works everywhere in a similar fashion. For Anumana, in analytic philosophy is inductive logic and Pramana is deductive logic. All human minds are genetically programmed to exactly the same systems of inference and they use that faculty as widely to similar and very useful effect. However, it is culture which does sort of intervene. Not all things logically sound may be done by humans. Culture, of which there are a over a million existing types all over the world, proscribes the adopting of certain logical recourse to human action purporting to solve a problem."

    Ihlok Dorbu, "Sir. But first, what do you mean by culture? And, again, what do you mean by proscribe?"

    Montgomery Marlowe, "Two related concepts."

    Ihlok, "I see."

    Montgomery, 'One tells you what you must do, the other what you must not."

    Ihlok, "I see."

    Montgomery, "Do you?"
    .......................

    Mahanth Moolgandh, meanwhile, having chatted to a certain limit with Henry Linlithgow, suddenly rose with a flourish, and said rather tersely, "Where in the monastery are the children? What are they up to? And where indeed is Sir Montgomery Marlowe for that matter?"

    Henry, "Oh. Oh Mahanth Jee. Please do not worry. Just sit down. They must be somewhere around!"

    Mahanth, "Some where around indeed. Sir Henry, there are many secrets to this underground monastery of ours. And now that I have narrated to you and Sir Montgomery the reasons and causes for which this monastery was built...let me only indicate in the passing that there are some perils. We have had also necessarily to build some self-defense works which lie unknown to outsiders, are activated automatically when intruders are in here or around. Therefore, I must rush to see that they are all safe. I am leaving you to the safe custody of this library. Read some books for I shall be back in a jiffy. if you need food or drink, just pull that chord and it will bring the kitchen-monks over here. See you in a bit."

    So saying Mahanth Moolgandh Ji swung his robes as he turned and exited out of the library and Henry Linlithgow could well hear the pitter-patter of his footfalls for a few minutes, or so he thought. Not realizing at all that Buddhist concepts of time were quite another thing.

    (Cont'd.)

    ...

    Thank you.

    Ajay

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