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Read Ö PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Î Romila Thapar Every society has its cultures the patterns of how people live and express themselves and how they value objects and thoughts What constitutes Indian heritage and cultures has been much discussed Romila Thapar begins by explaining how the definitions of the concept of culture have changed since the last three centuries and hence re. In her book Indian Cultures as Heritage Romila Thapar talks about the phenomena called culture and what constitutes the Indian culture Her focus is on those things that are generally not considered when talking about Culture Heritage As such her take on Culture Heritage in this book is an unusual oneShe starts with a rather extensive introduction to the subject And then she begins analysing certain aspects of Indian culture in each of the chapters She goes back into the past as back as she can and then she moves across the horizon as far as she can Her approach is such that hardly anything can escape the field of her visionShe conjures up a new image of Cultures Heritage in front of us an image that clearly brings forth those aspects that have remained obscure for a long time She probes into the objects and ideas and makes us uestion what we have so far considered to be Indian Cultures Unlike the Indian society the dominant and the marginalised both share the same space in her bookBesides two chapters of general nature there are five chapters that focus on one thing at a time These include Time Science Women Discrimination Education These might not be the essential constituents of Cultures but Romila Thapar manges to convey the essence that makes it Indian And she is clear about her intention in the beginning itselfA little attention is to be paid to the subtitle of the book that is Contemporary Pasts One has to bear in mind while reading this book that Culture and Heritage are not just a thing of the past These are dynamic concepts and it is through the contemporary lens that Romila Thapar views Culture and Heritage and it is this same view that she presents in this book Amongst other things that she does in this book she accounts for the shift from ‘Indian Culture’ to ‘Indian Cultures’The book definitely appears to be a promising read And there are some thought provoking passages in the book But my reading experience has not been a good one I struggled to finish this book There’s something deterring in her writing style What it is exactly I cannot point out If anything her writing is not reader friendly There was about just 20% of this book that I really enjoyedI wanted to appreciate this book so much that I kept on reading it with the hope that I get into it at some point But that didn’t happen Several passages seemed irrelevant to me I was so much frustrated that I just skimmed through those passages looking for some narrative from the mythology much like a child would scan a book looking for colourful picturesMy Rating 255

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Indian Cultures as Heritage characters ì 104 ¶ Every society has its cultures the patterns of how people live and express themselves and how they value objects and thoughts What constitutes Indian heritage and cultures has been much discussed Romila Thapar begins by explaining how the definitions of the concept of culture have changed s Uire added attention Cultures when defined by drawing on selected items and thoughts from the past remain relatively unknown except to a few Yet each has a context and meaning relating them to the past and to their significance as a contemporary presence Contexts often regarded as unconnected to culture can to the contrary be uite. No item of heritage is an island in itself Thapar begins with introducing culture and heritage She demands that culture be seen as a verb rather than a noun Culture involves activities around it that goes on to give it a form Similarly heritage is what is inherited It is recognised in various ways from genes to geometrical structures from the ways in which a territories were organised to how people belonging to various strata of society were treated from property to economic activities This goes in making of our cultures and our civilisation linking the past to the presentOnce the understanding of culture and heritage is established Thapar goes ahead to categorise the elite culture then the other kind that never gets a mention Dominant cultures backed by wealth leave the maximums traces on a society They have texts describing their ideas icons in stone and metal their architectural forms indicate their religious preferences Subordinate groups leave no such traces Hence what we decipher as our heritage is actually representation of only the elite crowd of the country However we all agree that culture and heritage are not static They keep changing Therefore if heritage is not a fixed item and can be added to or subtracted from then we have the opportunity to argue over its representationRomila Thapar has divided her chapters talking about the culture that we have inherited through different mediums In Heritage The Contemporary Past Thapar introduces the heritage from different era for example Maurya and Chola period The religions that were prevalent then and the different branches of these religions that spread across the world This the religions today have a distant intermingling that has resulted in their forms today She explains how different religions came about and how the intermingling has caused a great mix of cultures within religions as well Territorial understanding of different cultures and spread of the same is understood with special dialogue on the relics left behind by each Further in Time Before Time time as a concept is seen as a part of heritage As per Hindu traditions Time is both linear and cyclic The Purans come after one another hence they showcase the forward movement however the different Yugas are cyclic One Yuga comes after the other and repeats as a cycle Time has been a very evident part of our heritage with different epics narrating itself in accordance with the time In Mahabharata Krishna proclaims Kalo’smi I am Time There could be understood about the history when the different patterns of time is explored Time again becomes an intangible heritage In Science as Culture Thapar insists the importance of including science in heritage She however differentiates between the science based on experiments and observation versus the science that is propagated by religions without any experimental data Early scientific ideas need to be correlated with different heritage and observed with greater perspective For example did Aryabhatta’s geocentric theory of the earth rotating around the sun influence in any way the description of universe as described in contemporary puranas if not why not Did it have any impact on philosophical thoughtFurther comes the culture of discrimination that talks about the initiation of caste in the Indian social context The coming together of different varanas and those who were not a part of the system called avaranas are talked about in detail Statues of women in the society has often been a topic of much discussion There indeed were class divides in amongst the women also which however were depended on what the men of the house did for living or the absence of them altogether The loss of dialogues that com

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Indian Cultures as HeritageIlluminating Thapar touches on a few of these ranging from objects that identify cultures to ideas that shape cultures such as social discrimination the role of women and attitudes to science and knowledge Thought provoking books such as this spark debate and the debate may lay to rest some current shibboleths about India’s cultu. This is a short book yet it is not to be confused with a book that is a zippy uick read Romila Thapar belongs to that rare breed of historians who can write in a manner that is accessible The fact that she is one of the best living historians adds to the credibilityThe book is laid out into neat sections The introduction points the way right in to definitions of culture and how it is indeed influenced by the stories and propaganda of the current times She is uncomfortable with the state of India's politics and this showsShe ends with a chapter on Culture As Knowledge and this sums up the state of the nation very neatly The conclusion far from being a formality is rich It is a book that deserves to be read nay must be read by a wide audience in India and globally