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Ganga in Legend and History

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About the Book River Ganga to an Indian mind is significant in more than one way. She is the foster mother nurturing man and his settlements, thus, ma Ganga; it is pure and pious, for its physical properties, as well as religious status, thus is a devi (deity). The spade of archaeologists and the narrations in the scriptures reveal that the valley of Ganga was also the cradle of Indian civilization. It is therefore not surprising that Ganga valley witnessed continuous growth o...
About the Book

River Ganga to an Indian mind is significant in more than one way. She is the foster mother nurturing man and his settlements, thus, ma Ganga; it is pure and pious, for its physical properties, as well as religious status, thus is a devi (deity). The spade of archaeologists and the narrations in the scriptures reveal that the valley of Ganga was also the cradle of Indian civilization. It is therefore not surprising that Ganga valley witnessed continuous growth of human endeavours right from the Stone Age to the modem times. Ganga plain, therefore, had to be examined in historical as well as cultural perspective. This was attempted twice by Jniana- Pravaha, the Centre for Cultural Studies and Research at Varanasi. The first seminar focused on Samskrit Sahitya mein Ganga, while the recent one, Significance of Ganga in Indian Culture (2017), had wider coverage. The present volume is based on the contributions of both of these academic meetings. This book incorporates learned deliberations of scholars on three themes-Ganga in literature, historical growth of the region as revealed by archaeology, and visual presentation of the river in art compositions.

The early cultures of Ganga valley reveal history of development of technologies, ideologies and institutions. Eminent practising archaeologists, Dr. Bhuvan Vikrama and Ms. Sushri Mishra Vikrama, Prof. Vidula Jayaswal, Dr. B.R. Mani and Prof. Durga Basu, have outlined the historical personality of the Upper, Middle and Lower Ganga plain.

The intangible manifestations of Ganga which has seeped deep in our society continue in the form of mythology and legends. Scholars per excellence, Prof. Reva Prasad Dwivedi, (late) Dr. RC, Sharma, Prof. Yugal Kishore Misra, Prof. Gangadhar Panda and Dr. Pranati Ghoshal, record and interpret textual narrations of Vedic texts, Epics, compositions of Kalidas, and Ganga- lahari (late medieval text).

The classical examples of pictorial depiction of legends related to this holy river have been discussed by (late) Rai Anand Krishna, Dr. S5. Biswas, and young scholars, Drs. Niraj Pandey, Chandraneel Sharma and Meera Sharma. The Presidential Address by Dr. Prithvish Nag deals with the international policies regarding Ganga water, which inspire of being of utmost significance, is less addressed.

In the present scenario, when there is much concern about cleaning and saving the lifeline of Indian culture-the river Ganga, this book would be useful to general readers as well as scholars, as it provides authentic information on the theme.

About the Author

An archaeologist and a teacher of repute, Professor Vidula Jayaswal, after superannuation from the Banaras Hindu University, where she served for more than four decades, is presently occupying the prestigious Prof. RC. Sharma Chair of Archaeology and Art History, at Jnana- Pravaha, Centre for Cultural Studies and Research, Varanasi. She has also served Archaeological Survey of India as Deputy Superintending Archaeologist for a short period. Recipient of various scholarships and fellowships, she received specialized training in archaeology and anthropology at the University of Berkeley.

Professor Jayaswal has not only carried out a number of archaeological and ethnological field studies, but has also been prompt in publishing the results. Author of over twenty books and research monographs, and about 70 research articles, Professor Jayaswal is known for her original contribution in Indian prehistory, ethnoarchaeology and interpretation of archaeological remains of the Historical Period of the Middle Ganga Plain. Besides, she could also infuse scientific temper to the study of archaeology, through some major projects financed by the Ford Foundation (USA), and the Department of Science & Technology (Government of India), of which she has been the Principal Investigator and Coordinator. Her recent publications include-The Buddhist Landscape of Varanasi; Early History of Varanasi: Recent Excavations at Rajghat (with B.R. Mani); Varanasi and Ganga: Geomorphological and Archaeological Investigations at Ramnagar (with Uma Kant Shukla & Meera Sharma) and The Sacred Landscape of Mundeshwari: The 'Oldest Living' Temple (with Arvind Kumar Singh & Meera Sharma). She has also edited several volumes including-Glory of the Kushans: Recent Discoveries & Interpretations and Varanasi: Myths and Scientific Studies.


Jnana-pravaha, the Centre for Cultural Studies and Research, at Varanasi, is nurtured by the serene and vibrant environment of the river Ganga. To offer academic tribute to this holy river, we organized two National Seminars entitled, Samskrit Sahitya mein Ganga, and Significance of Ganga in Indian CuLutre, in successive order with some interval. A number of scholars and experts in their respective fields, deliberated upon various facets of the lifeline of Indian culture, which is the river Ganga.

In the recently held seminar, Significance of Ganga in Indian Culture, the aim was to cover major facets, like physical composition, growth of socio-economic systems, portrayal of the river by the artists, and of course, the concepts and mythology which evolved in a way as to give this perennial stream, the status of a worshipping deity. It was heartening for us that Sanskrit scholars, geographers, geologists, archaeologists and art historians of repute shared one platform to discuss this multifaceted theme. Needless to mention that the seminar was a success and it was decided by the participants that the proceedings of it should be published. We are happy to record that most of the scholars who had participated in the seminar sent their papers well on time.

In the process of compilation of the proceedings, it was realized that if some papers of the earlier seminar, Samskrit Sahitya mein Ganga, are also included, its value would be further enhanced. Thus, some of the important articles of the earlier seminar have also been incorporated in this monograph.

I am happy to place the present volume to the scholars, students and interested readers, with the hope that this will be a useful addition to the Indology library of the individuals and the institutions.

I further hope that Ma Ganga will continue to bless us in our future endeavours.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Item Code: NAQ399 Author: Vidula Jayaswal Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 2019 Publisher: Aryan Books International ISBN: 9788173056215 Language: English and Hindi Size: 11.00 X 9.00 inch Pages: 203 (90 Color & 15 B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1 Kg
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