Author: D D Chattopadhyaya
Publisher: Centre for Studies in Civilizations/Motilal
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187586052
In this work, the author has tried to argue that the modern scientific concept of history, though has its undeniable importance, should be understood in a dehistorised manner. The modern concept of history should not be confused with the ancient or even the medieval concepts.
It is widely acknowledged that an idea expressed in one language, if translated into another, its meaning and its associated understanding undergo change. The English world ‘history’ is ordinarily translated as ‘itihasa’ in the Sanskrit-rooted Indian languages. In the Euro-American tradition history is traced to the Greek words like ‘narrative, story’ and ‘account’ are closely linked too history. ‘Itihasa’ literally means what indeed happened. Its cognates in Indian languages are ‘itivrtta, upakhyana, gatha’ and ‘purana’. That these words are closely related to ‘narrative, story’ and past events are obvious.
Chattopadhyaya has tried to argue in this book that the modern scientific concept of history, though has its undeniable importance, should not be understood in a dehistorised manner. The modern concept of history should not be confused with the ancient or even the medieval concepts like ‘purana, puravratta, itihasa’ and ‘upakhyana’. Our modes of under-standing and action should not be telescoped into ‘theirs’. This distinction squarely rests on the difference between age-specific social conditions and their influence on human ideas, ideals, languages, rather modes of speech, and actions. An attempt has been made to show how literature in its wider sense, comprising epoch-bound beliefs, myths, customs, conventions, social movements and other forms of culture enter into historical narrative. In the name of ‘contemporanity’ of history its very temporality or time-bound character can hardly be denied. Chattopadhyaya argues that history embodies a sort of inter-epochal dialogue (samtap) which, like different forms of science and arts, are endlessly updateable.
The work will be of interest to historians, philosophers of history, social scientists and Indologists.
2. 'Itihasa' and Epics
3. History as Art: Indian Context
4. History as Science: Indian Context
5. History as Practical Dialogue: A Passage from Past to Future