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A new look at the past

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

Book of essays on history released


NEW DELHI: "There is a past in the present. Learning from history helps us to understand the present better,'' said former Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Deepak Nayyar while releasing a new book, "India: Historical Beginnings and the Concept of the Aryan'', at India International Centre here on Wednesday.

With essays by Prof. Romila Thapar, Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Madhav M. Deshpande and Shereen Ratnagar, the book provides fresh insights into the beginnings of Indian history.

It argues for a comparative study of various societies that co-existed during the period and their mutual interactions.

Introducing the book, Prof. Thapar said: "In the last 20 years, there has been an increase of public interest regarding the concept of `Aryan'. Intellectually challenging and occasionally volatile, it has been used by colonial and Indian writers of various hues in locating and legitimising identities.''

Setting out the parameters of the problem involved, Prof. Thapar emphasised the need to look at it through new evidences from the fields of archaeology, linguistics, anthropology and history.

Others who participated in the discussion included eminent archaeologist Prof. Suraj Bhan, former Archaeological Survey of India director M.C. Joshi and Dr. Purnendu Kavoori from the Institute of Development Studies in Jaipur.

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