September 09, 2008

Russell, R. V. : The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India

Shiva Temple

The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India by R. V. Russell is now available on Gutenberg Project from the last year.

It was one of the book coveted by me. I have read one volume by Ibbetson but when I reached this Volume, I developeKanvariasd some conflict with the library people. I did not return to the library. Since then, I was just repenting my decision. Now, along with J. Mills Book (that book is yet not available on Gutenberg Project but readily available from different sources), I have two books which I will read thoroughly.

The book was published in 1916. The project of such surveys had started by 1881 when the first Census of India was published. This book has been highly criticized by the nationalist historians. There is some valid arguments which Upnayan Yajna by Arya Samajisthey have used. By mere survey of the bibliography, it can be seen, that it was mere a work of civil servant. The very diction while discussing various castes, tribes, clans of different states, one can observe that the writer is giving mere opinion.

Further, it is only after 1920, that nationalist historians started writing about India. They started with criticism of the contents of the history. There was no serious research as such. There were many reasons for that. Even today we find that new titles are published in which totally untouched sources are used. However, the proximity of the time of publication of this book and the emergence of Nationalist HistoriographyShiv Devotees at Panchmari of Modern India, makes it an important book. One should remember that the Discovery of India, the books by Bhandarkar, R. K. Mokerjee, and later J. N. Sarkar, et al came later.

In addition to that I have plucked out some photographs. The photographs in itself are a treat to the eyes. In the hand of a research scholars, they can be very good source especially, the upanayan yagyana photograph by Arya Samajis whom Russell had treated with supportive terms.

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