From the Jacket
The region of Orissa, from the point of view of studies in historical geography, has always remained a challenging area, not least owing to its vast and complicated history, varied geography and intriguing sources. Though the historical geography of this region has been considered for analysis in the past, it has only been featured as a chapter or in a section as part of a larger whole. Thus, this work is perhaps the first attempt to present a comprehensive research study of the historical geography of Orissa.
The Author, guided by long research experience, culls material from all available sources-literary, epigraphic etc. to subject the theme to a systematic analysis that leaves not a facet of the subject unexplored. He describes and delves into the ancient, medieval and modern periods of historical growth to underline the historico-geographical significance of various kingdoms and places of importance that emerged, flourished and disintergrated at different times-as Kalinga; South Kosala; Odri, Utkalaor Tosala; Trikalinga; and the many Mandala states. He studies the physical features of the area, the mountain system of the Orissa state and its rivers, with a view to showing how they have shaped its history. The transport and communication routes in the region since ancient times are retraced to reveal the region's strong cultural and economic foundations among other things.
This book, from first to last, unfolds a wealth of interesting and useful information. Complete with an exhaustive bibliography, index and maps of Orissa, the book can immensely aid further research works on the subject.
About the Author
J.K. Sahu a historian with profound knowledge of Sanskrit and epigraphy is a reputed name in the field of Orissan studies. He has taught in leading colleges in Orissa for more than three decades and authored about 25 books in his area of specialization. He has also published over 50 articles in various prestigious journals and magazines. Having guided about a dozen scholars for their dissertation on different topics, he is currently engaged in research on a project sponsored by the Orissa Sahitya Academy.
THE concrete shape this volume has taken is almost exclusively due to an extremely respectful invitation, early this year, to me from Professor Prafulla Kumar Mohapatra, Coordinator of the U.G.C. Special Assistance Programme in Philosophy, Utkal University, to accept a visiting assignment and deliver a series of lectures in his Department of Philosophy. Because of my stay at Muscat in the early part of 1998, the lectures were delivered in October-November, 1998. The volume contains the materials covered in those lectures with some modification and reorganisation of their content. It was Professor Mohapatra's gentle but insistant persuasion to give the volume in a publishable form at the earliest to him which did not let me delay its completion. My most affectionate thanks to him and good wishes for a still more creative career in philosophy. I am also thankful to his colleagues and post-graduate students for having reacted very constructively to the lectures.
The volume is a work in applied ethics, though the titles of some of the chapters may not bear on their faces any sign of being a piece belonging to this field. Even the classical Indian concepts discussed here have been analysed and assessed from the point of view of their applicability. A normative concept, or theory, to be viable, must be applicable to real social situations. In fact, metaethical distinctions too must be applicable in their own zone, and a few of them are of use even in some morally sensitive situations, as has been shown in the concluding chapter.
Over the problems discussed in the volume I have been thinking for some years, of course, in instalments and in a few cases I have also been making drafts and redrafts. Some of the groundwork was done in the period of my National Fellowship offered by ICPR for which I am thankful to the latter.
The methodology of the entire work is that of conceptual analysis. I have discussed classical Indian views, on the topics covered, in a philosophical, or logical, manner, and taken classical works as human, and not divine, documents, which can be evaluated as any human document can be. I have been critical of classical views and believe that to criticise a view is to show no disrespect to its propounder. It is rather to pay one's philosophical respect to him. I also believe that only after looking critically into classical views we can build on them, or with their help, any new conceptual or normative structure. We have not so far used classical Indian ideas creatively because almost all writers on them have been mostly reportive and not critical or reconstructive.
My primary motivation in examining classical views and concepts in Part I is to ascertain how far they can be used to provide us meaningful guidance in living a morally good life in today's world. It is my conviction that a logically indefensible or incoherent normative theory or concept cannot do that. In Parts II and III I have tried to analyse, and take a stand on, some substantive ethical issues, again, from the point of view of the applicability of the basic ethical concepts relevant to them.
Some of the ideas presented in chapter V appeared earlier in my 'Aurobindo on Reality as Value' in which I held a position very different from the one held here. Similarly, some of the ideas of chapter X appeared in my 'Applying Ethics: Modes, Motives and Levels of Commitment' (Ibid., XIV/2, 1997, my General Presidential address to the Seventieth Session of Indian Philosophical Congress). In the present work, too, I have not stuck to the position I held there, and the change in this case is drastic. I am thankful to the editor of JICPR for not objecting to my using them in this work.
Before I conclude, I would like to sincerely thank Utkal University authorities, particularly those connected with DSA, and Messers D.K Printworld, New Delhi for publishing this volume. I also thank my friends Professors KS. Murty, Daya Krishna, D.P. Chattopadhyaya, P.K Sen and Bhuvan Chandel for having given me the support which one friend can give to another. My ex-student Prof. Ramesh Chandra and his wife, Dr. Vijayalakshmi, have been of immense help to me not only in academic matters, but also in many other ways to my family. My affectionate blessings for both of them and the dear kids.
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