About the Book:
Written in an eminently readable style this work of a devoted scholar traces the history of human fertility cults and rituals of Bengal from the earliest times to the present day. Mainly based on folklore materials and the data collected from field investigation, the author makes this study authentic, systematic and interesting. In this study many parallel rites, ceremonies and cults of other parts of India and of the world have been quoted for comparative Study and analysis. This new approach has not been followed earlier by any explorer of the popular religious cults of Bengal, nay India. This is a careful and well-documented study of a little-known topic of absorbing interest and therefore, an outstanding contribution to our knowledge. This work will be useful to the persons interested in social sciences especially of Folklore study.
About the Author:
Himself well-grounded in History and trained up in research under the able guidance of late Prof. A. L. Basham, P. K. Maity, M.A., Ph.D. (London) is a well-known name in scholarly world for his contributions to different branches of Socio-Religio-Cultural History of Bengal. He has to his credit a number of research papers. He also contributed papers in many collected works namely Tree Symbol Worship in India (1965), A Guide to Field Study (1965), Women in Indian Folklore (1969), The Patas and the Patuas of Bengal (1973), Indological Studies (1987), Studies in Orientology (1988) etc. His publications include: Historical Studies in the Cult of the Goddess Manasa-A Socio-Cultural Study (1966), The Goddess Bargabhima-A Study (1971), Popular Cults, Legends and Stories in Ancient Bengal (1971), Biyalliser Tamluk - O - Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar (1981), Tamralipta-Tamluker Samaj-O-Sanskriti (1987), Banglar Loka Dharma-O-Utsav Parichiti (1988), Folk Rituals of Eastern India (1988) and Some Aspects of Indian Culture (1988). He enjoyed U.G.C. research grant four times to carry out different research projects. He has also completed two other works: Social History of Mediaeval Bengal (1575-1765) and The Pir Cult of Bengal-An Aspect of Hindu-Muslim Religion, financed by U.G.C.
The present study which deals with the history of the human fertility cults and rituals of Bengal is the outcome of my research work for pretty long years. This is a new topic and not a single paper has been written on this topic as far as I know. Therefore, I have treated the subject as I understood. However, I am well aware of the various shortcomings of this work. But since no work similar to the present study is yet in view in any parts of our country, it may be helpful to the researchers of other parts of India to undertake similar work for understanding the total culture of India.
In the course of writing this monograph I have received encouragement from a few of my friends and relatives and I express my thanks to all of them. First of all I recall, on the eve of the publication of my work, with much reverence the inspiration of my beloved uncle who died while this work was inspiration of my beloved uncle who died while this work was in progress and who had gone through the major portions of the manuscript and suggested a few improvements. It is with deep respects, I dedicate this work to the memory of my uncle and father. I must also remember with gratitude late Prof. A. L. Basham, my revered research Guru for writing a foreword for this work. But unfortunately he could not see this work in printed form. I am thankful to my erstwhile students Sri K. K. Kundu, Sri M. Bhowmick and Sri A. K. Maity for much clerical assistance and encouragement. I am also grateful to my brothers Dr. S. K. Maity, Sri Prafulla Kr. Maity, Sri Satyamukul Maity, Sri Pijush Kanti Maity and Sri Pradip Kr. Maity for helping me in various ways. I am also indebted to my mother Sm. Pushpalata Maity, my wife Sm. Usha Maity, my sister Sm. Purabi Maity, my son Prasenjit and my daughter Dolan Chanpa who have given me encouragement from time to time. I am also thankful to Prof. A. K. Palai, Sri S. Sen Gupta, Editor, Folklore, Prof. T. N. Sarkar, Dr. T. Mukhopadhaya, Prof. M. Bhunia, Sri D. R. Khanra, Prof. S. N. Jana, Prof. B. Bhattacharya and Sri T. K. Roy for much encouragement and assistance.
I am grateful to the authorities of the University Grants Commission, New Delhi for a monetary grant to carry out research work on "Folk Religion of Bengal through the Ages" under the scheme "Financial assistance to the teachers of the colleges/universities for research/learned work". This grant which was sanctioned for field work and for purchasing books, has facilitated this study to a great extent at the initial stage.
I shall consider my labour sufficiently rewarded if this work of mine inspires the interest of scholars for further studies on the subject.
Department of History
P. K. Maity
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