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Pottery making cultures and Indian Civilization by Baidyanath Saraswati


This is an unusual exploration into India’s timeless civilization by an anthropologist who has devoted six years to extensive survey of the peasant potters of more than half of India. The author of this book, writes professor N.K. Bose, has applied some methods in the study of Indian culture which&. Have not been used by any other student of cultural anthropology in this country. His method of correlation of material culture with the total cultural system marks a departure from the conventional studies of cultural processes. He has suggested new methods of reconstructing history, and his data on contemporary pottery making afford a reassessment of Indian archaeological materials. The author s extensive experience with inter-disciplinary inquiry yields insight. From a detailed analysis of the ethnographic data on pottery making, he makes some significant observations: there is continuity in potter-craft tradition in India, traceable from the pre-historic times. The survival of the ethnic groups of potters, well within their respective technological zones of pre-historic pottery making, makes the aryanization of India doubtful. Different regions of India have evolved their own indigenous cultures providing extreme diversity to the material base of Indian society-their unity lies in the basic philosophy of life, in the higher forms of culture. To an average Indian, the diversity of cultures-food, dress, language, worship-does not really matter, so long as he believes that every way of life has its own contribution to humanity, and that before the inexorable law of nature, every being has an equal right to survive through the full course of its cosmic life. This idealization of diversity has helped India develop a tradition of tolerance, which is the soul of her civilization. Apart from its contribution to anthropology, the book will be of particular interest to historians of culture and philosophers of social history


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