Author: Swami Medhasananda
Publisher: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187332182
Varanasi, widely acclaimed as the ‘Eternal City’, is as old as history itself. Mention of ‘Kashi’ is found even in the Vedas, the oldest books of the world. Its holy shrines, the picturesque environs of the sacred river Ganga and with all, the City’s long, unbroken traditions and comprehensive coverage of all aspects of human life have imparted to it a character which is unique. These elements are missing in many other ancient cities of the world and what little of them that does survive are in ruins.
In the Modern age most cities in Asia have undergone tremendous changes – physical and otherwise – as a consequence of contact with the West. Naturally, the question arises: how did Varanasi stand the onslaught of western Culture through British rule under which it passed in the late eighteenth century? Did it retain its traditional character without succumbing to this Western challenge? And, if so, to what extent? And with what consequences?
Varanasi is also regarded as the main seat of traditional Hindu culture and the religious headquarters of Hinduism. Are such claims justified?
Based on an objective evolution of available materials, as far as possible, this work is a welcome addition to the growing corpus of regional history, especially that of cities, and provides the reader with an example of a devoted study derived more from a serious quest to identify the ‘personality’ of a chosen area than from mere intellectual curiosity.
Varanasi through the Ages
Topography and Growth of the City
Transport and Communication
Fairs and Festivals
Towards a Modern Municipality
The Pursuit of Learning and Literature
Printing and the Press
The Bengalees and Varanasi
Law and Order
Varanasi in the Eyes of Travellers
The City of Cities