This book has clearly a primary and a secondary target audience. The primary audience are the pandits of India, Hindu scholars who have worked on subjects of Hindu and Sanskritic learning for the better part of their active lives; the secondary audience are social scientists, Indian and western, who are concerned with India's written traditions and their impact on Indian life-not as panegyricists and poets, but as scientists.
Since about 1950, the acquisition of books and other learned material from hard-currency and other western countries has become increasingly difficult in India for a number of reasons, Indian scholars had to rely on he somewhat antiquated holdings of Indian university libraries which, due to fiscal and currency exchange regulation, could not keep up with the enormous output in the social sciences in western countries. And the less then a dozen university libraries in India that do carry much of the salient recent literature published in America and Europe, have one copy of each of these publications, and the large number of prospective users have to wait for inordinately long periods to gain access.
Mutatis mutandis, this holds for the books by this author, all of which were published in Britain and in the U.S.A., so far with no Indian editions in sight. During the past year or so, I have received a very large quantity of mail asking me to make my findings available to the audiences about which these findings were written : a highly justified claim which should be made by all people about whom anthropologists write. Since I straddle the fence between Hindu orthodoxy and orthopraxis, and western cultural anthropology, and since my original training was in Indology rather than in the social sciences, ( I did minor in Voelket kunde, which is roughly ethnology or cultural anthropology, over a quarter of a century ago in Vienna), the indology done by Indian scholars has been one of my chief critical and participatory involvements.
My aim here has been to familiarize the pandit and the Indian scholar of Sanskritic lore with the ways in which western social scientists, i.e., cultural anthropologists and the occasional sociologist, view the bearers of the Sanskritic love, view the recipients of this lore-the millions in the village-and view the interrelation between these uneven groups.
A caveat to the western readers of this book : it is just and only just what I said it is-it is not an anthropology of Indian society; it is an attempt to introduce a vocal segment of Indian society to the way this segment is studied by we tern social scientists and their Indian students. Anthropological literature on India in enormous; full-size books about aspects of Indian society must run into thousands, articles into tens of thousands, in western languages, mostly English. The Hindu myth that Indian studies are strongest in Germany is precisely that : a myth; I would guess that the proportion of English language writings to all other European language writing (French, German, Italian, and the Slavonic languages) is about ten to one, in the fields of cultural anthropology and sociology (it is, of course, less stridently disparate in the study of the Indian antiquities).
Some of the topics used in this book are methodologically obsolescent in the West- I am particularly referring to "culture and personality" or psychological anthropology; yet I found it appropriate to use them here so as to guide pandits and other Indian scholars hitherto unfamiliar with western social science through some of the salient phases of the anthropological study of India. On the other hand, some techniques used here are quite new in North America and either not or not yet used in Britain, and certainly not in continental Europe.
Like Max Muller, this author was raised in German, inspired is Sanskrit, and produced in English; like Max "moksa-mula," close to a century later, this author is deeply concerned with a scholarly, yet empathetic representation of India's best to the best of the West-this latter is an entirely non-anthropological value judgment, but it is philosophically permissible : a scholar must state his axioms.
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