D D Kosambi's books

We list below D D Kosambi's books, four of which were published in his lifetime. We also list a further three books published after his death containing papers written by Kosambi. There is, in addition, one book of critical essays about Kosambi's contributions. For each of these eight works we give information such as the publisher's description, extracts from prefaces and extracts from reviews.

Click on a link below to go to information on that book

An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (1956)

Myth and Reality: Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture (1962)

The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline (1965)

Ancient India: A History of Its Culture and Civilization (1965)

Indian Numismatics (1981)

Science, Society and Peace (1986)

The Many Careers of D D Kosambi: Critical Essays (2011), by D N Jha

D D Kosambi - selected works in mathematics and statistics (2016), edited by Ramakrishna Ramaswamy

1. An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (1956), by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi.
1.1. From the Preface.

This book does not pretend to be a history of India. It is merely a modern approach to the study of Indian history, written in the hope that readers may be impelled to study that history for themselves, or at least be enabled to look at the country with greater sympathy and understanding. To this end, the examples given have been intensive rather than extensive, from my own (necessarily restricted) experience and reading. They are the simplest examples, such as anyone could derive from honest field-work, though each of them illustrates some general point. Better illustrations may undoubtedly be found by the reader from the lives and manners of his own neighbours, and the remains of antiquity in his particular locality. Going over to the common people is not easy work. Psychological barriers raised by many generations of the grimmest poverty and exploitation are strengthened by the heat, dust or mud, and unhygienic conditions. But, properly done, the task can nevertheless be exhilarating even for one whose patience has worn thin and whose joints have stiffened painfully with age. Such field-work has to be performed with critical insight, taking nothing for granted, or on faith, but without the attitude of superiority, sentimental reformism, or spurious leadership which prevents most of us from learning anything except from bad textbooks.

The subtle mystic philosophies, tortuous religions, ornate literature, monuments teeming with intricate sculpture, and delicate music of India all delicate music of India all derive from the same historical process that produced the famished apathy of the villager, senseless opportunism and termite greed of the 'cultured' strata, sullen uncoordinated discontent among the workers, the general demoralisation, misery, squalor, and degrading superstition. The one is a result of the other, the one is the expression of the other. The most primitive implements produced a meagre surplus which was expropriated by a correspondingly archaic social mechanism. This maintained a few in that cultured leisure which they took as a mark of their innate superiority to the vast majority living in degradation. It is necessary to grasp this in order to appreciate the fact that history is not a sequence of haphazard events but is made by human beings in the satisfaction of their daily needs. To be more attractive, history must reflect man's progress at satisfying his needs in cooperation with all his fellow men, not the success of a few at satisfying them at the expense of most of their fellow men. The supposed achievements of other countries have been paid for by their down-at-heel 'ragged-trousered philanthropists'. In India, their counterparts have not achieved so much as trousers or shoes for themselves.

To maintain that history has always been made by such backward, ignorant, common people, and that they, not the high priest, glittering autocrat, war-lord, financier, or demagogue, must shape it better in future, seems presumptuous formalism. Nevertheless, it is true. The proper study of history in a class society means analysis of the differences between the interests of the classes on top and of the rest of the people; it means consideration of the extent to which an emergent class had something new to contribute during its rise to power, and of the stage where it turned (or will turn) to reaction in order to preserve its vested interests.

Some readers will insist that man does not live by bread alone, that history and society both depend upon the individual's mastery of his eternal soul, that materialism destroys all human values. Unfortunately, man cannot exist without bread or the equivalent, which is necessary to keep the soul (if he can afford one) in his body. An aggregate of human beings constitutes a society when, and only when, the people are in some way interrelated. The essential relation is not kinship, but much wider; namely, that developed through production and mutual exchange of commodities. The particular society is characterised by what it regards as necessary; who gathers or produces the things, by what implements; who lives off the production of others, and by what right, divine or legal - cults and laws are social by-products; who owns the tools, the land, sometimes the body and soul of the producer; who controls the disposal of the surplus, and regulates quantity and form of the supply. Society is held together by bonds of production. Far from destroying human values, materialism shows how they are related to contemporary social conditions, and to the prevalent concept of value. Like value, language itself (without which the idealist cannot even conceive of his soul) arose from material exchange relations which led to the exchange of ideas. The philosophic individual cannot reshape a mechanised world nearer to heart's desire by the "eternal" ideologies developed over two thousand years ago in a bullock-cart country.

The class that rules India today, the paramount power, is the Indian bourgeoisie. This class has some peculiar characteristics, due primarily to the course of history. The Indian bourgeoisie is technically backward. Its production (and mentality) is overwhelmingly that of a petty bourgeoisie as yet. A glance from the air at the hopelessly inadequate communication system over the interminable spread of roadless villages suffices to prove this. Its government has a unique position as by far the greatest owner of capital assets, and a monopolist wherever it chooses to be. This seemingly absolute power is under compulsion of reconciling the real needs of the country, and its professed socialist goal, with the rapacity of both petty-bourgeois and tycoon sections of the ruling class. Finally, this class came to power too late, in a world where the international bourgeois failure and crisis had already manifested itself. An eleventh chapter commenting on these points and their probable effect on future historical developments had reluctantly to be deleted.

Official figures give the following daily food requirements per Indian adult, in ounces (bracketed figures give the quantity actually available); Cereals 14 (13.71); pulses 3 (2.1); milk 10 (5.5); fruits 31 (1.5); vegetables 10 (1.3); sugar 2 (1.6); fish and meat 3 (0.3); eggs (number) 1 (-); vegetable oils and ghee 2 (1). (1954 data.) Recent official declarations state that Indian food consumption continues to decline. This grim tale of a diet so miserably deficient in every single particular is made still more tragic by the fact that it is a rare Indian who can afford to buy even the food assigned to him by the statistical averages. The question is, whether this situation of a populace doomed to hunger and disease is permanent, or whether Indian society is about to rid itself of such basic evils. How long can any country remain a democracy with this little sustenance for the average man? The answer has to be worked out by correct thinking, for which the study of history is quite indispensable. But the solution has then to be made a reality by correct action, which means a step beyond mere study of the past. Control over history is not to be attained by the passive suffering that has perpetuated Indian life from generation to generation. The time has now come to make history, to a seriously thought-out, conscious design in order to preserve the peace of Asia and of the world.

I hereby express my gratitude to all those who encouraged and helped me during the preparation of this book.

D D Kosambi
Deccan Queen
7 December 1956

1.2. Contents.

Scope and Methods

1. Special methods needed for Indian history
2. Available materials
3. The underlying philosophy

The Heritage of Pre-class Society

1. Prehistoric archaeology
2. Tribal society
3. Tribal survivals
4. The Vetala cult
5. Higher local cults
6. Festival and rites

Civilization and Barbarism in the Indus Valley

1. The Indus cities
2. Indus trade and religion
3. Maintenance of class structure
4. Food production

The Aryans in the Land of the Seven Rivers

1. Aryans outside India
2. Rigvedic information
3. Panis and new tribes
4. Origins of caste
5. Brahmin clans

The Aryan Expansion

1. Aryan as a mode of living
2. Study of legend and myth
3. Yajurvedic settlements
4. The eastward drive
5. Tribes and dynasties
6. The mark of primitive tribes
7. The new brahminism
8. Beyond brahminism; ritual, food production and trade
9. The need for radical change

The Rise of Magadha

1. New institutions and sources
2. Tribes and kingdoms
3. Kosala and Magadha
4. Destruction of tribal power
5. New religions
6. Buddhism
7. Appendix: Punch-marked coins

The Formation of a Village Economy

1. The first empire
2. Alexander and the Greek accounts of India
3. The Asokan transformation of society
4. Authenticity of the Arthashastra
5. The pre-Asokan state and administration
6. The class structure
7. Productive basis of the state

Interlude of Trade and Invasions

1. After the Mauryans
2. Superstition in agrarian society
3. Caste and the village; the Manusmriti
4. Changes in religion
5. The settlement of the Deccan plateau
6. Commodity producers and trade
7. The development of Sanskrit
8. Social functions of Sanskrit literature

Feudalism from Above

1. Early feudal developments
2. Growth of villages and barbarism
3. The India of the Guptas and Harsa
4. Religion and the development of village settlement
5. The concept of property in Land
6. Maryurasarman's settlement in the west coast
7. Village craftsmen and artisans

Feudalism from Below

1. Difference between Indian and English feudalism
2. The role of trade in feudal society
3. The Muslims
4. Change to feudalism from below; slavery
5. Feudal prince, landlord and peasant
6. Degeneracy and collapse
7. The bourgeois conquest

1.3. Review by: F R Allchin.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 22 (1/3) (1959), 374-376.

This book was published three years ago and has already received the attention of a number of reviewers: among these two have written at considerable length and with considerable detail. Professor Kosambi does not claim to have written a history of India, but rather a modern approach to the study of Indian history, introducing new methods and standpoints. These arise from two main causes: first his acceptance of dialectical materialism, and second his own peculiar intellectual equipment. For Professor Kosambi casts down the barriers of specialisation which today so often confine the scholar's mind, and disports himself in many different fields. Nor is the written word his only source: he draws much from his personal observations, whether it be of the tribal groups who still live 'beyond my house on the boundary of Poona city', or of the Buddhist caves along the routes from Bombay to Poona. For his purpose the Belsare family of potter craftsmen are no less valuable than more orthodox sources of historical information.

Certainly the new history of India which he envisages, the history of the successive developments of her means and relations of production, is a marked departure from all previous versions, from James Mill's History down to the History and culture of the Indian people. It is not only the accepted political history which must give way but also much of what has been generally regarded as India's peculiar glory, her particular contribution, the history of her richly varied metaphysical and religious speculations. To the Westerner who is not already an Indologist and who is baffled by a proliferation of strange polysyllabic names and seemingly sterile subtleties of reasoning (sterile if only because their connexions with his own main streams of knowledge are so tenuous), this new approach may not be as distressing as it is likely to prove for those who have been brought up in the established way. Indeed, it may even recommend itself on these grounds, for, while it is possible to fill a shelf with the copious modern exegesis of, for example, the Bhagavadgita, there has been a notable absence of books which attempted to interpret India's past upon objective lines and to account for the phenomenon of her civilisation and her place in world history. For the Indologist it may serve as a cathartic for some outworn stereotypes, or at least provoke him to consider problems in a new light.

It is to be hoped that this important and provoking work, which contains so many new and controversial ideas, and which, however much it may be objected to, is bound to stimulate fresh thinking, may be rewritten, enlarged, and more fully documented. There are many places where the need for more extensive treatment and further deliberation can be felt. This reviewer has been somewhat perplexed by Professor Kosambi's ingenuity in extracting totems from most unlikely circumstances and feels that recent research has done nothing to bolster the earlier expectations of exclusively matriarchal periods. He has also been worried by the new importance of the Brahmin's role, which Professor Kosambi stresses more than once. He cannot see the story of Baka Dalbhya as showing 'how brahmins could penetrate non-Aryan tribes, take over new cults, and so ultimately help food-gatherers turn into food-producers'. Nor can he altogether accept the very interesting suggestion that the manipulation of the almanac gave Brahminism a peculiar function in the early means of production. Finally there are some places which require major correction, notably the repetition of the old hoax which accompanied Speke's discovery of the Nile headwaters, a hoax which is fully discussed by Professor Ingalls in the review quoted.

1.4. Review by: Brijen K Gupta.
The Journal of Asian Studies 19 (4) (1960), 482-483.

In the last decade an amazingly large number of volumes, monographs as well as compendiums, on Indian history have appeared. Unfortunately a majority of them are monuments to a pathetic ill-digestion of historical method. Among the contemporary Indian historians there seems to be a conscious attempt to glorify India's past, and if this orientation continues Indology may very well become a meaningless panegyric.

Kosambi's book is a welcome relief in this atmosphere of intellectual obscurantism. The author is not a historian by profession; he is a mathematician on the faculty of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He has at his command a knowledge of several Indian and European languages. As a disciplined natural scientist he knows the value of brevity and facts. He confesses to being a Marxist, but he rejects Marxist orthodoxy. India, he says, never passed through a stage of slavery, nor did Marx quite understand the Asiatic mode of production. By combining imagination with ethnographic, epigraphic, numismatic, and literary evidence he has given us a volume which is at once profound and provocative.

European historical tradition, declares Kosambi, is hardly of benefit in reconstructing Indian history. India has no histories, no chronicles, but many myths. The only chronicle worth its salt is Rajatrangini, which tells very little about events prior to the seventh century. Unsystematic digging being carried out by various Indian colleges and universities has worsened the state of Indian archaeology. Epigraphic and numismatic findings, though valuable at places, are not sufficient in themselves.

In these circumstances the Indian historian must "concentrate upon successive developments, in chronological order, in the means and relations of production". And since cultural change is a reflex of economic development we must add the dimension of ethnography to our historical methods. In India stone age rubs elbows with atomic age. Primitive social and economic clusters survive side by side with all the civilised institutions of the Hindu society. This can be seen in the technique of the Poona potters which is identical with the technique used by the Indus Valley people 4000 years ago, and the social system of the Pardhis which has undergone very little, if any, change.

This reviewer accepts Kosambi's reconstruction of the Indus Valley history. The civilisation grew in the desert; it used dam irrigation, and harrow cultivation. The question may be asked that if it did grow in a desert climate what the necessity was for burnt-bricks, how the bricks were fired, and why some of the seals depict animals which could have been seen only in forests. Kosambi argues that the bricks were fired upstream and then floated down the river. This is quite probable. Deodhar beams were, indeed, brought from upstream. And the absence of burnt-brick houses at places away from the course of the river strongly suggests that bricks may have been fired upstream. Kosambi's assumption that the depiction of tigers, rhinoceros and water-buffaloes, usually found in well-watered forest regions, on the Indus seals was the result of totems of preagricultural level is arguable, if not acceptable. ...

Kosambi's book, however, is most challenging. It will be criticised by specialists and lay readers alike, but no one will fail to be fascinated by what he has to say. The book deserves the widest possible distribution. It is regrettable that only a dozen libraries in this country have this book. Kosambi has initiated a great dialogue on the course of Indian history. It is the duty of students of Indian history to contribute to this dialogue.

1.5. Review by: Daniel H H Ingalls.
Journal of the American Oriental Society 77 (3) (1957), 220-227.

Kosambi's book is the first Marxist approach to the history of India written in a western European language from which the non-Marxist can gather anything of worth. Indeed, your non-Marxist, if he will have the patience to select the good from the bad, can find here a great deal of valuable material. On this account it may be well to devote to the book a more searching criticism than a traditional history of India would deserve. I shall try to follow in general Kosambi's order of presentation, devoting my chief care to two sorts of items, those which seem to me new contributions to Indian history and those which seem to me wrong. It will lead to a more dispassionate judgment if I postpone a criticism of Kosambi's general view of history until after furnishing these details.

On the first page of the book Kosambi defines his terms:

For the purpose of this work, history is defined as the presentation, in chronological order, of successive developments in the means and relations of production.

Of these, the means is considered to regulate the relations of production, that is to say, within the civilised period, the class organisation. From these basic strands of history springs the superstructure: religion, the arts, perhaps language (cf. p. 108). All this is Marxism of an orthodox sort. From this orthodoxy Kosambi departs only in differing from Marx's opinion of the "unchangeableness of Asiatic societies"; he claims that considerable changes have occurred in Indian society even by a materialistic yardstick. His claim results from the labour of more than ten years, during which time he has addressed himself to a multitude of specific problems: punch-marked coins, brahmin gotras, Rigvedic myths, classical Sanskrit literature to name but a few. The present book attempts to sum up the results of these inquiries and to fill in a number of gaps. It consists of ten chapters, two of them introductory, the last eight ranging chronologically from the Indus River Civilisation to the breakdown of Indian feudalism under the British Raj. ...

So much scorn is heaped on what fails to meet a utilitarian test that of the whole literary production of a thousand years Kosambi can say, "At its best [it] is exquisite ... it does not give ... depth ... grandeur of spirit, the real greatness of humanity." This is a narrow view indeed.

I would go a step farther, to the real heart of the matter. In truth, materialism comes strangely from the Marxists, who hold so passionately to a set of non-materialistic ideals, to the progress, for example, and perfectability of man through classlessness. The explanation is that these ideals are cut to a peculiar nineteenth century pattern, so narrow that whatever else has been recognised as an ideal in other schools and other cultures appears to your Marxists as hypocritical or derivative. Here is their abiding error, in which Kosambi for all his merit falls with the rest: not that they are materialists themselves - indeed if they were, much of their theory of history and all their political power would vanish - but that materialism, which opens on only an arc of man's full circle, is all their aperture for the understanding of anyone else.

1.6. Review by: Luciano Petech.
Rivista degli studi orientali 35 (1960), 207-208.

It is no exaggeration to say that this work is one of the most intelligent books ever written on Indian history. The author, who is a mathematician, not a professional historian, has approached his subject from a new angle, with a freshness and unscrupulous reasoning and with a lively and lucid style that make the reading book even fascinating, even if (indeed, precisely because) it sometimes provokes the negative reactions of the reader. His method, not quite new indeed, consists in the application of the canons of historical materialism, essentially Marxist even if not strictly observed, to a history which, due to the poverty and unsatisfactory nature of its sources, has not yet emerged from monographic research of a pragmatic nature. Not that traditional work tools are ignored; far from it. The author at every step he reveals his profound knowledge of literary and epigraphic texts and above all of numismatics (cf. the magnificent study on the oldest Indian coinage); but he places them at the service of an ever brilliant and often profound research into the modes of production and social structure of India through the ages. Another peculiarity of the author is the continuous use of ethnographic and folkloric-religious facts of the present to illuminate and explain the past.

1.7. Review by: W Rau.
Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 108 (2) (1958), 418-419.

In this work the author sketches his witty and idiosyncratic view of the entire history of India up to almost the present day: he has suppressed the 11th chapter, probably because his theoretical analysis of the current development is not wanted in some places. For him history is "defined as the presentation, in chronological order, of successive developments in the means and relations of production", i.e. he regards himself as Marxist without, however, being orthodox. Just what Marx himself said about India, the author must quote as a single misjudgement, although, in his opinion, this does not affect the fundamental teachings of Marx, and W Ruben, a scholar of a kindred spirit, is stated without proof to have badly digested Marxism; [regarding W Ruben's Introduction to Indian Studies]. The Marxist interpretation of Indian history does not seem to be so unanimous: the dogma is obviously still in the making.

1.8. Review by: A K Warder.
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1958 (1/2) (1958), 94-95.

Professor Kosambi's book is inspired by science and empiricism, not by dogma and prophecy. It is a collection of essays and empirical inquiries spaced out at roughly equal intervals over the millennia, not a systematic introduction to Indian history ("Study" is the operative word in the title). Kosambi certainly has not gone far enough in his chapter on " Scope and Methods ", and some students may find his partial criticism of Marx confusing because not sufficiently elaborated. We must note Kosambi's statement that his studies "have been intensive rather than extensive ". Immense labour on the details of Indian history must precede generalisations. Meanwhile, the research worker must proceed to test such working hypotheses as he thinks useful. Kosambi has contributed to the understanding of particular episodes, and by his example he has made an essential contribution to the great debate on writing Indian history. He has also given what seems to be the most serious and interesting attempt so far to apply Marxist theory to the study of history outside Europe.

Chapters 6-10 are more successful, or more interesting, than the earlier part of the book. With his research on the coinage of Kosala and Magadha Kosambi is more sure of his ground and more "intensive". We have room to note here only the pioneering contribution to the question of "feudalism" in India. The characterization of European "feudalism" attempted by Maurice Dobb (Studies in the Development of Capitalism, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1946.): (not by Marion Gibbs as erroneously stated by Kosambi) is used to test Indian developments. The question remains open as to what is a useful definition of "feudalism", if indeed it proves possible to retain the term (and here we glance at Needham on Chinese feudalism", in two stages: Science and Civilization in China, Vol. i). The distinction of both "slaveholding" and "feudal" societies as stages in the development of civilisation seems now inadequate, and we feel the need for some deeper analysis. After all, Marx began his analysis of capitalism with the commodity, not with the wage-earner or with the capitalist.

If some readers find Kosambi too terse and outspoken, they should be mollified by the charming examples of domestic and military (elephant) economy and of religious cults recorded in and around his home in Poona.

1.9. Review by: J Tomas.
Archív Orientální Praha 48 (1980), 70.

This author is noted both for the extensiveness at his specialised interest and for the ideal concept of his work. Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi (1907-1968) was a scientist who combined in an unusual way an interest in various scientific spheres - mathematics (pure and applied, probability, statistics), philology (the editing of Sanskrit texts) and history (another important work by him is The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline, London 1966).

Kosambi's is a Marxist view of India's history; this is how he characterises his concept of history in the first chapter of his book reviewed here: "... history is defined as the presentation in chronological order of successive changes in the means and relations of production." Kosambi tried to present this conception with respect to concrete questions of Indian history. He was always an original thinker who was concerned with a logical elaboration of his conclusions. He always formed his own viewpoint and did not hesitate to criticise other Marxist authors. The basic idea of the pre-eminence of production in human history is thoroughly observed in his interpretation of Indian history. His book dwells mainly on that country's ancient and medieval history, while touching on modern times more or less only for the sake of completeness.
2. Myth and Reality: Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture (1962), by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi.
2.1. From the Publisher.

This book is based on a profound study of literary sources and carefully planned fieldwork which throw fresh and novel light on the origins and development of Indian culture. Professor Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi has raised, analysed and solved questions of vital importance to all those interested in the study of Indology such as the data of Karle Caves; the background of Kalidasa's plays; the significance of the great Pandharpur pilgrimage; and the economic, cultural and historical basis of the Goan struggle for union with India and others.

The work is most refreshing in its range of material as presented for the first time. The author makes an impressive use of scientific methods in many fields - archaeology, ethnography, philology and others. The logically consistent and intensely stimulating analyses and conclusions are often startling but always convincing and undeniably important as a landmark in the study of Indian tradition.

Key Features

1. Essays in this volume are based upon the collation of field-work with literary evidence.

2. Fresh data and logical interpretation cast fresh and novel light on the origins and development of Indian culture.

3. The work is most refreshing in its range of new material presented here for the first time Original discoveries of megaliths, microliths, rustic superstition and peasant customs.

4. Author's masterly analysis is logically consistent and profoundly stimulating.

2.2. Review by: H Goetz.
Journal of the American Oriental Society 83 (3) (1963), 373-375.

This book is a collection of five studies in Indian religious and socio-economic history, four already published in Enquiry, The Journal Asiatic Society Bombay, Indian Studies Past and Present, and The Journal Royal Asiatic Society, here re- edited in a revised form, chapter 4 however appearing for the first time. They represent a continuation and elaboration of the ideas already outlined in his revolutionary Introduction to the Study of Indian History, 1956. For with Myth and Reality the author refers to the contrast between the religious and social pretences proclaimed - as truth - in the Puranas and other Brahmanical scriptures, and the real facts and developments revealed by local folklore and archaeological evidence, as interpreted in the light of modern sociological and ethnological methods.

In his introduction Kosambi evolves his basic thesis of acculturation, of the stepwise transformation, by the Brahman priests, of the jungle demons into the gods of the Hindu pantheon, in the measure in which the tribes venerating them were integrated into Brahmanical society, switching over from primitive food gathering to hoe agriculture, stock farming, the plough and, at last, urban occupations. ...

The material collected by Professor Kosambi is most impressive, and the problems raised by him of the greatest interest. Both go much farther than could be outlined in this brief survey. It is, thus, impossible here to venture upon a detailed critical analysis, the more as they cover the fields of several disciplines generally dealt with separately. However, to the reviewer this seems to be rather a virtue of the book. For life, also that of the past, does not know such specialisation and has to be approached from every useful angle. From my own fieldwork in Rajasthan, Central India and the Himalaya I might quote, lot of evidence similar to that adduced by Kosambi. There may, of course, be differences of opinion about details (e.g., his carbon-dating of the Karla Caves into ca. the 3rd-2nd century B.C., which may be correct for the examined timber fragment, perhaps even for the original monastic establishment, but not for the present chaitya hall). But I concur with his conclusion that the combined philological-archaeological-ethnological approach is the only one that can lead us through the hitherto hopeless jungle of Hinduism. Pretence and reinterpretation have played an immense role not only in Indian politics and social struggles and thus also in such historical documents and records as still survive, but even more in religious matters, in fact they have been the means by which diminutive. minorities have always ruled, developed and also ruined this immense country, the majority of whose population - the lower castes - until recently have preserved much more of their tribal past than generally is admitted. However, it seems to me that the conflict between myth and reality is, in varying degrees, a phenomenon characteristic for cultural evolution everywhere, also in the occident.

2.3. Review by: Raglan.
Man 63 (1963), 167-168.

This is a collection of five essays, four of which have been previously published. Professor Kosambi begins by seeking to explain certain aspects of the history of Hinduism, but these explanations do not always carry conviction. Thus he says of the licentious Holi festival that 'when food gathering was the norm, with a most uncertain supply of food and meagre diet, a considerable stimulus was necessary for procreation. Obscenity was the essential in order to perpetuate the species'. It is more probable that, in the words of Dr R Patai, 'the general union of the sexes at the seasonal fertility feasts may be regarded as a democratisation of the originally aristocratic representation of the sacred marriage.'

It is with the sacred marriage that he is concerned in Chapter II, in which he puts up a good case for regarding the myth of Urvasi and Pururavas as an account of a sacred marriage followed by the sacrifice of the bridegroom. He holds that the last item is evidence for a matriarchal society such as that postulated by Briffault and Robert Graves, both of whom he cites with approval. It is unlikely, however, that there ever was such a society.

In the district of Poona there are many ancient trackways. These are strewn with microliths, which are in places so numerous that in the author's view they must have taken thousands of years to accumulate. Beside these trackways are many shrines of aniconic stones which represent mother goddesses, and which are still worshipped, and painted red, by the villagers. The villagers also worship gods, whose cult is, in some instances at least, associated with hook-swinging and traditions of human sacrifice. The author holds that these gods came in with the Aryans and that the marriage of a god to a previously unmated goddess indicated a fusion of cults. But a sacred marriage cannot be at the same time a form of prehistoric ritual and the reminiscence of an historical incident.

Professor Kosambi is a native of Goa, and in the last chapter gives an account of the archaic system of land tenure which obtained there. In the course of it he says: 'Being the first male child in the direct line after the death of my grandfather, I automatically inherited his soul, nickname, was given his actual name on the twelfth day and though my widowed grandmother's favourite grandson, had to be addressed by her in the indirect discourse necessary for every modest woman of the class, so real was the transmigration of the soul'.

Though some of his theories are open to criticism, Professor Kosambi's book is very well written and interesting. It is also well produced: I noted but three trivial slips.
3. The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline (1965), by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi.
3.1. From the Publisher.

This is a strikingly original work, the first real cultural history of India. The main features of the Indian character are traced back into remote antiquity as the natural outgrowth of a historical process. Did the changes from food gathering and pastoral life to agricultures make new religions necessary? Why did the Indus cities vanish with hardly a trace and leave no memory? Who were the Aryans - if any? Did the caste system ever serve any useful purpose? How did it happen that slavery of the type seen in ancient Greece and Rome never appeared in India. Why should Buddhism, Jainism and so many other sects of the same type come into being at one time and in the same region? How could Buddhism spread over so large a part of Asia while dying out completely in the land of its origin? What caused the rise and what led to the collapse of the Magadhan empire? Was the Gupta empire fundamentally different from its great predecessor, or just one more "oriental despotism"? These are some of the many questions handled with fresh insight, yet in the simplest terms, in this stimulating work.

3.2. Review by: F R Allchin.
Man, New Series 1 (2) (1966), 255.

That Professor Kosambi sees himself as an irritant in the body of Indological studies is suggested by the title of his recent collection of Exasperating essays (1957): the book under review would seem to fit the same role. It is a restatement of his Introduction to the study of Indian history (1956), following in general the same plan and often in closely similar terms. The later volume, however, omits the more detailed arguments of the earlier. Both books open with the same definition of history as the presentation in chronological order of successive changes in the means and relations of production', and both use comparisons with different levels of modern society to infer back to earlier stages. The archaeologist, anthropologist and historian will doubtless find fuel for exasperation. For example, the second chapter discusses prehistoric man in India, but somehow makes almost no reference to the great body of data collected there by archaeologists during the past two decades. Instead the author draws most of his material from his own, often highly controversial, observations. The third chapter discusses the Indus valley civilisation, but seems to find nothing worth consideration in the often excellent excavations of the past fifteen years at such sites as Lothal, Kalibangan, Kot Diji, Rupar or Alamgirpur, which are not even deemed worthy of a place on the distribution map!

This book is eminently readable and will give the outsider a dramatic view of Indian history. The introductory chapter on scope and methods is a brilliant statement of the problems confronting the student and one which every student of Indian civilisation should read. One regrets the omission of arguments before conclusions are given, as this means that readers unfamiliar with Kosambi's earlier books and papers cannot evaluate his more startling conclusions for themselves. The hook will no doubt serve as a corrective for the often over-sentimentalised accounts of ancient India produced by other writers, but one may feel that it errs in the opposite direction. Rightly or wrongly Indologists, whether native or exotic, have come to regard a pre-occupation with religion as a special feature of Indian civilisations; and certainly a great pan of artistic and literary activity of all periods cannot be understood unless the religious content is recognised. From Kosambi's point of view Buddhism is more understandable because it is the 'most social of religions'; but later sectarian Hinduism is largely a nonsense. Thus he claims that the bhakti movement, which appears to have provided a remarkable stimulus to artistic and literary creative activity during almost two millennia, and certainly encompassed the spiritual aspirations of a great part of the population throughout the subcontinent, owes its success to the fact that it 'suited the feudal ideology perfectly'. The parallel history, and occasional rivalry, of Saivism and Vaisnavism are seen to resolve themselves into a 'real underlying struggle' between great feudal landlords and smaller but more enterprising entrepreneurs!. ...

3.3. Review by: A L Basham.
The English Historical Review 82 (322) (1967), 141-143.

Students of Indian history, and of its earlier phases in particular, long known the work of Professor D D Kosambi. This eminent mathematician has since the War devoted more and more of his attention to historical studies and has by now become famous in two fields. His research is mostly to be found in learned periodicals and in two books (An Introduction to the Study of Indian History, 1956, and Myth and Reality, 1962), both published in Bombay and not easily obtainable in the West. Moreover much of his work is far too recondite for the Western reader who does not possess the special knowledge which it assumes. In his latest book The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965) he gives to the general European and American reader with no specialist background a lucid explanation of his own very original interpretation of the course of early Indian history. A convinced Marxist, the author commences his study with a review of contemporary India, in which he finds unique survivals of very primitive cultural patterns in the midst of a modern industrialised society. He then traces his country's history from Palaeolithic times through the first prehistoric civilisation of the Indus Valley and the incursions of the Aryans to what, for the author, is the crucial period of Indian history - the sixth to the third century B.C., from the time of the Buddha to the end of the reign of Asoka, the most powerful and famous of ancient Indian rulers. ...

Professor Kosambi's prose style is direct and forceful; few studies of ancient India in English are as well written as this. The exposition is elucidated by numerous historical parallels with the ancient and medieval West and with China; these show the enormous range of the author's reading. The illustrations, like the text, are unconventional. We are shown the inevitable fine examples of ancient Indian art, mostly chosen to illustrate the everyday life of the times, but about half the plates portray the life and work of contemporary tribal peoples and those aspects of Indian village life which have not greatly changed with the centuries. The book is beautifully produced, but it contains a few misprints.
4. Ancient India: A History of Its Culture and Civilization (1965), by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi.
4.1. Review by: Vimala Begley.
Archaeology 21 (3) (1968), 236-237.

In recent years several attempts have been made to rewrite and reinterpret the history of ancient India by placing isolated events within a broad cultural context. Considering the nature and limitations of the source material for the study of Indian history and the complexity of Indian civilisation, producing a coherent synthesis of this material is a difficult task indeed and one which specialists in Indian history rarely attempt alone. In the book under review, D D Kosambi has made this attempt. His study covers a wide range of time - from the prehistoric up to the Moslem invasions - and incorporates material from a variety of archaeological, literary and anthropological sources. The preface gives the impression that, rather than discussing "obscure biographies of kings and prophets," the author aims at "charting the main currents of Indian history." Later in the text, he asserts that he intends firstly, to state whatever is known about prehistoric man and secondly, to trace primitive survivals as the contribution of prehistory to modern Indian society. Thus chapter one attempts to provide an "historical perspective," while chapters two to seven are devoted to the interpretation of evidence for early India and the relation of this evidence to the "primitive" and tribal cultures of contemporary India.

Unfortunately, the information presented by the author is not well organised; much is irrelevant and the illogical blend of myth and fact is rather bewildering. Many of the author's conclusions - frequently highly speculative and subjective - will misinform the reader who is unaware of the controversial character of the evidence. Under the circumstances the lack of notes (one exception on page 25) or even a bibliography is highly regrettable.

At several places in the book archaeological evidence has been misunderstood, or reinterpreted in a highly subjective way. ...

It is also difficult to accept the author's method of dating. Some objects and monuments of controversial origin and antiquity are arbitrarily assigned dates and then cited in support of generalisations about cultural and economic growth in certain periods of history. ...

Although the book, on the whole, is not intended to be a scholarly work, it leaves much to be desired even for the general reader who will innocently accept the author's generalisations, being unacquainted with the numerous special problems connected with this field of research. ...

4.2. Review by: Philip B Calkins.
The Journal of Asian Studies 29 (1) (1969), 188-189.

Professor Kosambi's book will be valuable for teachers of survey courses and for the general reader, as well as for the specialists. In a field of history where kings and dynasties abound, populations shift, religious and ideological developments and transformations appear to be almost endless, and where the historical evidence comes from a wide variety of sources, it is quite easy to miss the forest for the trees. Professor Kosambi's achievement is that he shows us patterns in the forest. The work reviewed here, although somewhat less sophisticated and complete than his earlier Introduction to the Study of Indian History. provides a stimulating and informative overview of the history of India up to the Muslim conquest.

Professor Kosambi's book is not intended as a reference work, nor as an account of the rise and fall of dynasties. Rather the author attempts to explain the most significant events and concepts in a manner which will give them meaning in relation to each other and to later developments in Indian history. In addition, comparisons drawn from other cultures, and concepts developed by other disciplines are used effectively. Thus, a tribe-caste continuum is clearly delineated, and its significance is repeatedly explained. On another level, the Krishna legend is presented as evidence of the union of Aryans with certain non-Aryan tribes.

Professor Kosambi's Marxism is very much in evidence in this book: "History is the presentation in chronological order of successive changes in the means and relations of production." An uncompromising statement, certainly, but, as is often the case in this book, the statement is followed by qualifications which tell us that the author's economic determinism. is far from rigid. In fact, his emphasis is upon the total culture and cultural forms, rather than upon means and stages of production alone. Nonmaterial culture is important as well as material culture, and ideology can be a cause of changing cultural forms as well as a result. Dogmatism is there, but often it turns toward the unorthodox, and usually it is used imaginatively. ...

This book is bound to create controversy, but the controversy should lead to creative thinking and better understanding on the part of students, as it has already stimulated better scholarship by those who have made use of the author's concepts and theories. The ninety-eight plates and sixteen figures add considerably to the text, and include not only such conventional material as portraits of kings, but also illustrations of wet and dry farming methods (slash and burn cultivation) and of techniques for making pottery.

4.3. Review by: B G Gokhale.
The American Historical Review 72 (2) (1967), 672.

Professor Kosambi first ruffled the complacent serenity of the academic historians of India with the publication of his An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (1956). That work differed from the common run of histories of ancient India in two respects: it was the first serious and sophisticated attempt to interpret Indian history along generally Marxist lines; Kosambi was the first Indian historian systematically to press into the service of historical writing materials from anthropological observations. These two factors, however, tended to become over- compensated when the exigencies of Marxist theory led to the forcing of facts into the dialectic materialistic mould, and anthropological data were overworked to explain historical phenomena separated from observations by a chasm of centuries, if not of millenniums. But Kosambi's work proved to be a much-needed corrective to prevailing trends in Indian historical writing which, until then, had generally ignored social and economic factors affecting the structure of history. The present work substantially reproduces the contents of the work of a decade ago under a new title.

The first chapter makes general observations on the importance of anthropological data in interpretations of ancient Indian history. This history, for Kosambi, is largely social and economic wherein theories on changes in the means and relations of production crowd the canvas to the extent of elbowing out dynastic and political history. He has nothing but contempt for political history as written by academic historians, and this contempt is his undoing. His book, without the benefit of a chronological or political matrix, breathlessly meanders through centuries. His best chapters are on Magadha and the Maurya Empire; his last chapter is rather a disappointing attempt to chronicle the history of post-Maurya ancient India, a period of nearly twelve hundred years, in thirty pages. Entire periods of intellectual and social history are dismissed in a few pages. The academic historian will fail to be impressed with the "historical" content of the book; the general reader, for whom it was presumably prepared, may find the work frustrating at times. Like its predecessor of ten years ago, Kosambi's present work will be found provocative by those who will read him for the first time. To others, it is an old thesis.

4.4. Review by: M Naidis.
The Historian 29 (1) (1966), 87.

One must say to begin with that this is a fascinating interpretation, even though those familiar with the author's An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (Bombay, 1956) will find much of the general conceptual framework and some specific ideas repeated. As in the earlier work Kosambi takes the view that "history is the presentation in chronological order of successive changes in the means and relations of production." Despite this Marxian frame of reference, the book is not particularly doctrinaire or dogmatic.

Kosambi bids fair to be the Henri Pirenne of ancient Indian history. Every page sparkles with some original idea or hypothesis, and if nine-tenths of them have to be discarded in the light of evidence, the net gain is considerable. He traces the development of Indian society from primitive origins as a food gathering culture to the grimly impressive Indus Civilisation. According to Kosambi the Harappa culture was under the control of a reactionary priest-hood which prevented all innovation since its own material interest was identified with the status quo. About 1750 B.C. an invasion of Aryan-speakers ruined this theocracy and trampled the surrounding tribes into a more or less homogeneous culture. These Bronze Age warriors became settled agriculturalists and were able to make serfs of some of the indigenous people with the help of a growing class of Brahman priests. The early Mauryas were able to clear the land and establish a great empire based on the polity of the Arthasastra. Under what Kosambi calls the Kautalyan state, the crown was the greatest landowner, the principal owner of industry, and the greatest producer of commodities. Ashoka, the great Mauryan emperor, gave up some of the efficiency of this state for the principle of equity. But the civilising work of the Buddha and Ashoka were subsequently discarded in favour of a caste exclusiveness which sacrificed the possibility of finding some common denominator of equity for all. The old state control withered and village production became the norm. A kind of feudalism then took over in which the noble collected revenue in kind and passed on a portion in the form of cash to the state. Kosambi ends his discussion with a coda on Indian art and literature.

Frequently the author presents theory as if it were fact, and the general reader or tyro student of Indian history should be warned that these are swift waters and it would be best to keep an eye on the firm ground of A L Basham's more cautious The Wonder That Was India. Whatever else he is - mathematician, archaeologist, and numismatic expert - the versatile author is no literary stylist. One gets the impression that he could produce a more graceful prose (some individual sentences are gems) but does not consider it really worth while. But when all is said, the literature is greatly enriched by Kosambi's vigorous and knowledgeable comment.

4.5. Review by: A K Narain.
Journal of Asian History 2 (1) (1968), 72-73.

The book has rightly been described on the jacket as a "strikingly original combination of history, archaeology and anthropology." It consists of seven chapters entitled respectively "The historical perspective," "Primitive life and pre-history," "The first cities," "The Aryans," "From tribe to society," "State and religion in greater Magadha" and "Towards Feudalism."

It is clear from the chapter and section headings that Kosambi has selected them arbitrarily and with a bias. But this does not detract from the importance of the book. The book is certainly a valuable and significant contribution to Indological studies. It is stimulating and unconventional. After reading the book one can understand the remark of the author in the preface that, "much that has been talked about India's glorious past, unhampered by fact or common sense is even more free than Indian elections. Discussions eddies round obscure dates and deservedly obscure biographies of kings and prophets. It seems to me that something more might be achieved in the way of charting the main currents of Indian history, notwithstanding the lack of the kind of source material which in other countries, would be considered essential by the historian. That at any rate, is what this book attempts to do, with a minimum of scholarly display." It is true, the questions Kosambi has asked in writing the book are most vital for any study of Indian history and culture, and he undoubtedly brought fresh insight to the treatment of these problems. But the real handicap is admittedly the sources. They just do not reveal so much as Kosambi would like them to. But since the book provokes thinking the sources will have to be re-examined. And even if the re examination does not substantiate Kosambi's conclusions, the questions raised by him remain a challenge to scholarship. Thus Kosambi's book is not so important for its answers but for the questions he has asked. The general reader and the student must read the book but with caution. Naturally, whereas almost every page is full of ideas which compel one to think, one also gets statements which are unwarrantedly bold and unnecessarily speculative; there are some factual mistakes too. ...

It however goes to the credit of the late Professor D D Kosambi that in spite of his professional discipline in mathematics and statistics, and his acknowledged contribution in genetics, he could be so up-to-date in such fields of study as the history, archaeology and anthropology of India. I have had the good fortune of knowing personally both him and his father, the well known scholar of Pali and Buddhism. A dynamic personality, a hardworking and robust man, a brilliant scholar, Prof D D Kosambi has left his impress on whatever he touched and whomsoever he came in touch with. With his death, in July 1966, more than one field of scholarship has lost an active member. I take this opportunity to pay my homage to his memory.

4.6 Review by: R Morton Smith.
Journal of the American Oriental Society 87 (3) (1967), 339.

This book deals with the Hindu portion of Indian history, with emphasis on its early and formative periods. Professor Kosambi speaks as one having authority, and not as the scribes. One is impressed with the resourcefulness of his mind, and his willingness to take an original and above all synthetic approach; no single technique can recover early Indian history. The book is full of illuminating suggestions (given as facts), and perhaps its greatest ultimate use will be to prod scholars into asking new questions and seeking new methods. Our admiration does not permit us to say that this book gives the final word, but it offers many interpretations well worth sympathetic discussion. The style is attractive, forceful, often humorous, and impatient. Professor Kosambi is most impatient with his own people, and is so as a Marxist materialist, however unorthodox. A satisfactory review of this book would need a very long article; many interesting and alluring assertions are made without the actual evidence being given. Part of the charm of the book is its authoritative style, from which excessive footnotes would detract, and we have a good deal of sympathy for a protest against their modern proliferation. But though the book is written for a general public who do not want footnotes, still one cannot take what is novel solely on authority: one wants to be able to concur rationally.

Even when not right in detail or particular, the author is stimulating; the faults and errors are those of exaggeration rather than fundamental mistake. The chief exaggeration is the immediate reduction of phenomena to facets of production; Buddha and his social consciousness are idealised. This is necessary to explain the degeneration of Indian society, for which Marxism with its inevitable stages has no room. There is also the Marxist tendency to regard society as a consciously concocted plot, but unbridled cynicism is not likely to be commonplace before Mahapadma Nanda - it is too individual for Indian society.

On almost every page of Professor Kosambi's book there is something that merits discussion or elaboration, and unfortunately it too often happens that the evidence is slow in getting out of India by delays in publication or book- and periodical-distribution. We are glad to record our admiration of this book.

4.7. Review by: J P Sharma.
Asian Perspectives 11 (1968), 198-200.

There have been numerous notable interpretations of ancient India, such as those of Max Weber, R C Majumdar, Amaury de Riencourt, S A Dange, Albert Schweitzer, K A Nilakanta Sastri, Louis Renou, Jean Filliozat, Charles Drekmeier, Dale Riepe, A L Basham, and others. They vary in quality and are written from different points of view. But none of these works is so fresh and original as the book under review. The Kosambi book is strikingly fresh and original. Better known as a mathematician, Kosambi was endowed with a truly Renaissance versatility. He made contributions in the fields of classical genetics, numismatics, archaeology, and Sanskrit textual criticism. Kosambi wrote with rare graceful style. He was witty, logical, ruthless, frankly critical, and thoroughly consistent in his treatment of a subject.

Kosambi's book contains seven chapters. The Introduction, "Historical Perspective," presents a revealing critique of contemporary Indian society and makes a strong plea for the reader to study rural and tribal society in order to gain a proper understanding of ancient Indian history and civilisation. The following six chapters deal with primitive life and prehistory: "The First Cities," "The Aryans," "From Tribe to Society," "State and Religion in Greater Magadha," and "Towards Feudalism."

Kosambi, the anti-Brahman Marxist, admired Buddhism, but showed contempt for any authority except that of reason. He was highly critical and possessed an unusually constructive historical imagination. But Kosambi was first an intellectual who had lost no love on the ruling class, whether British or Bharatiya. Nor did he faithfully adhere to the historical dialectic. He was a critical Marxist. It will be foolish for one to go to Kosambi's book - a summary of all his previous writings on Indian history and culture - with any preconceived notions, for his wit, sarcasm, and vast range of historical imagination is staggering.

Some Western archaeologists and historians have failed to appreciate the value of Kosambi's work. His interpretations and conclusions are often at odds with their long-cherished theories. Often, Kosambi's work on Ancient India has been derided because he was not recognised as a full-time archaeologist and a trained historian. He did not hold a chair in either of these disciplines at any recognised seat of learning. But does knowledge become valid only when pronounced from an academic chair? Such criticisms of Kosambi seem petty and perhaps are inspired by personal envy and jealousy. He himself clearly anticipated some of these criticisms. As the New Statesman put it, "For him history must explain, not merely describe or narrate ... Kosambi's book will enrage many readers, at home and abroad." ...
Kosambi is must reading for all intelligent and thoughtful students and scholars of Indian civilisation. I would also like to record my great sorrow upon learning of the recent death of this unique man and scholar.
5. Indian Numismatics (1981), by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi.
5.1. Extract from the Introduction.

The fascinatingly wide range which the historical studies and generalisations of D D Kosambi cover is known to all his readers and it is indeed a measure of his great versatility that in no other area was the relationship between his 'basic' discipline and history as direct as in the study of coins. A Professor of Mathematics all through his teaching career and an acknowledged original contributor to statistical and genetical studies, Kosambi did not, however, let statistics alone dominate his numismatic research; his papers on the subject show him to be equipped with not only the basic rigours of physically handling coins but also his capacity to use, in his attempts to buttress his statistical findings, an impressive mass of literary data, and his familiarity with the latest research on coins, Indian and non-Indian.

Despite the fact that Kosambi personally examined more than 12,000 coins of 'all periods', his focus, during the twenty-six years that he spent in studying different hoards and also in elaborating the methods of his study, remained all through on 'punch-marked' coins. Reasons for it may be read through his repeated pleas for scientific numismatics, which require, as is clear from the following specifications which he laid down, a set of precise data: "The coins must have been cut with sufficient accuracy at the beginning so that their initial variation is not much greater than the changes caused by circulation. This excludes copper, pewter, and even billon coins of the ancient period.... Again, the circulation must be regular enough to have the proper effect, which excludes gold coins in general, almost always hoarded with the minimum handling, but liable also to be clipped or, in India, rubbed on the touchstone. Finally, the groups must have sufficiently large members with comparable history, i.e. should be members of the same hoard."

Hoards of punch-marked coins were available for study to many a scholar before Kosambi's time, and what primarily distinguishes him from his predecessors is not his use of a statistical method as such but a set of entirely different assumptions which led him to such a method. In dealing with the weights of coins, particularly of coin-groups, variations in which have important chronological implications, Kosambi did not proceed from a theoretical standard: "I submit the opinion that the rati was not used, even in ancient times, to weigh the coins, but rather the coins determined the choice of the seed, exactly as at present". When actual weights in a group are carefully analysed, variations in them cannot be easily explained away as aberrations from a theoretical standard, and Kosambi found in statistics - in the method suggested by the 'homogeneous random process' - a way of tackling the problem. The statistical part of Kosambi's studies may be incomprehensible to many of us, but the assumptions underlying it will not. In considering the weight-standards represented by coin-groups Kosambi started by pointing out that, although the possibility that in antiquity the weight-standard of a group was more homogeneous than the percentage of alloy, there was an 'unavoidable variation' even in coins newly minted; that the rate of such variation, among individual coins would go up, because of the wear caused by handling, after they had been put into circulation; and that in the coin-group as a whole "the decrease in the average weight and the increase in the variation are each strictly proportional to the length of time the coinage has been in circulation". A hoard does not necessarily consist of a single group, but the above assumptions would apply as effectively to disparate groups represented in a hoard as to a single group for the purpose of determining the chronological history of each group. In fact the hoards studied by Kosambi were all of composite character, where demarcation between the groups led him at a subsequent stage to speculate on their absolute chronology.

5.2. Review by: S Gokhale.
Bulletin of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute 42 (1983), 172-173.

This monograph on 'Indian Numismatics' is a collection of twelve essays by the late D D Kosambi who was the eminent scholar in the field of Numismatics, He had directed his outstanding genius as a statistician towards the studies of Ancient Indian Punch-marked coins. He has shown that a mathematical approach only can make Numismatics, an exact science. He has stressed the necessity of studying hoards of coinage as a whole if we are to reconstruct the lost economic and political history of our country from our unusually meagre and conflicting records. 'Just as a race has to be studied by taking a fairly large sample of its representatives, so also the coins left by a vanished age must be studied by looking at their weight and chemical composition.'

The punch-marks on old silver coins have been studied by eminent scholars like Durgaprasad, Walsh and Allan. Kosambi has mainly studied Taxila hoard Bodenayakanur hoard, Paila and Amaravati hoards. On the basis of Taxila hoard the author could show that the Taxilians enjoyed comparative economic stability for two centuries. The stability of the Taxilan economy for more than two hundred years is suggested by a regularity of circulation revealed through curves of weight-loss and absorption. 'This favourable trade-balance led to Magadhan conquest of Taxila but a rigid bureaucratic control strangled the long-established trade and brought its ruin'.

The author has made a close scrutiny of the symbols on the Punch-marked coins. He has interpreted various symbols on coins very intelligently. According to him young elephant on punch-marked in the group of five symbols is the symbol of 'Shishunagas'. The humped bull would be taken as the symbol of Nandivardhana. The hare on a crescent could certainly be read as 'Shashanka'. The crescent on arches could be interpreted as the royal symbol of Chandragupta. The author has shown that out of five-marks on Punch- marked coins, the first four marks represent king, the fifth one stands for the issuing authority such as crown prince or provincial governor. He has interpreted some symbols as initials of the names of kings. He not only tried to establish the chronology of the Punch-marked coins but the author took that every hoard of coins bears the signature of its Society. He has further stated that among abverse marks there might exist some symbols that specify the date of issue of the coins. The marks on the reverses indicate a system of regular checking of the coinage.

Kosambi saw philogical relation between Paņa-coin with Pani, Vaņik and tried to link up some relationship between the coin-system of Mohenjodaro and Punch-marked coins. On the basis of identity between the Mohenjodaro D class weight and the weight system of the Punch-marked coins, it is pointed out that even after the destruction of Mohenjodaro which is entirely a trade city as shown by its fine weights and poor weapons, the traders persisted and continued to use the very accurate weights of the period. The author has further shown that in the coins in active circulation, the loss of average weight is proportional to the age. This observation is resulted into the law of wear which could be applicable to all coins and all periods. While reading these interpretations readers feel the intelligent tone of the book.

The book based on meticulous research is really a distinguished contribution to the field of Numismatics.

5.3. Review by: R Vanaja.
Current Science 52 (15) (1983), 743-744.

At a time when conventional methods in the study of history were hard to break away from D D Kosambi, was the lone researcher, who attempted to introduce a scientific basis for the study of history in general and numismatics in particular. That his works represented a great advance over the then existing researches in numismatics is amply borne out by the present work which brings together his more significant contributions, with an able introduction by Dr B D Chattopadhyaya, stressing the validity of Kosambi's new approaches and their relevance to numismatic studies even today.

The present collection has twelve articles published before the sixties dealing with important hoards of punch marked coins, statistical study of their weights and above all Kosambi's "Scientific Numismatics". A Professor of Mathematics, with outstanding contribution to statistical and genetical studies, Kosambi's focus has always been on hoards of punch marked coins rather than individual finds, even stratified finds being denied priority over hoards. Based on a mathematical approach his "Scientific Numismatics" would hardly be applicable to any kind of data other than hoards deposited at more precisely determinable points of time. All his writings on Indian numismatics, represent attempts to vindicate the above method by a statistical and genetical study of coins through what he calls "The Homogeneous Random Process" a method which helped in his assessment of the relative positioning of groups of coins within a hoard, with common symbols and common weight standards. Such a study would be impossible as Kosambi had shown, without a careful recording of the weight of each coin in a hoard. Kosambi's emphasis on metro logy however is more on variations in weight, for determining the position of coin groups in a hoard. In short, classification based on correct understanding of metrology would help to explain changes due to circulation or absorption of coins, particularly of higher metal currencies.

Kosambi's "Scientific Numismatics" is not the mere use of statistical method as such but was dictated by a set of entirely different assumptions, relating to the use of numismatic evidence. Many of Kosambi's assumptions, are backed up by his sound reasoning as well as meticulous study, of coins through a physical handling of over twelve thousand coins and correlating them with evidence from a mass of literary data.

While making use of previous researches in Numismatics like those of Walsh, Durga Prasad, Chakravarti and others, Kosambi's significant departure was in the method of using weight standards followed in the punch marked series. His emphasis was on the accurate weighing of coins and the variances both at minting and due to wear in the weights of the coins, the effect of circulation upon the weight of metal currency and the relation between weight and punch marks, all of which can be dealt with by the "Homogeneous Random Process". Kosambi at the same time did not fail to lay down the conditions to be met, if these mathematical principles are to be applied successfully. Hence the importance is attached to hoards of coins, sufficient number in each hoard being available. For example the Taxila hoards met all these conditions. In fact Kosambi built up the economic history of this region mainly on the basis of these two hoards, pointing out the favourable balance of trade in Taxila in the Pre Mauryan times.

One of the major assumptions, that he made was that the reverse marks, represented periodic or regular checking marks, an assumption which has proved to be of considerable validity. On the basis of this observation, Kosambi attempted the chronological order of the coins, assigning them to early rulers of Magadha namely the Saisunagas and the Nandas with the help of Pargiter's excellent collation of Puranic texts and the Aryamanjusrimulakalpa.

Kosambi offered some interpretations of the Punch marks more as "neglected possibilities" than as con firmed results as for example, their associations with a ruler's accession or birth or names of Kings ('Sunga' = fig tree) or astronomical or Zodiacal signs etc. Certainly more acceptable is his acceptance of the crescent on arches as the monogram of Chandragupta Maurya and the Shadarachakra as the dynastic emblem of the Mauryas. However he certainly goes off the mark when he assigned the oldest coins of the Paila hoard from Uttar Pradesh to the last of the real ancient Iksvakus. Similarly in assigning the Bodenayakanur hoard from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, to a late Mauryan king of the Peninsula, Kosambi missed the significance of the fish symbol on the reverse, which in all probability, indicates a local issue of a Pandyan ruler.

Of great historical value are many of Kosambi's observations based on his study of these coins ...
6. Science, Society and Peace (1986), by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi.
6.1. From the Preface.

Professor D D Kosambi was one of the best-known scientists of our country endowed with a truly renaissance versatility. Shunning the limelight of publicity, he made outstanding contributions in various fields of knowledge, which included Mathematics, Statistics, Numismatics, Indology, History as well as contemporary social problems.

He was one of the few great Indians who had grasped the nature of twentieth century science and technology and its implications for humanity. He showed genuine awareness of the interaction between the social processes particularly in the context of the under0developed countries. His approach to science and its applications was always an integrated one and was not purely technical.

He devoted a great deal of his time to the Peace Movement and the campaign against nuclear weapons.

This collection of 15 essays brings together for the first time Prof Kosambi's contributions on science, society and peace. It is relevant today in that it deals with many of the themes which have come to the forefront of discussion in last few years. Some of the questions explored are: What is science? Do social systems make any difference to the nature of science and its progress? What should be the appropriate direction of development of science and technology in under-developed countries? Why is research on solar energy rather than atomic energy more important to India? What is the real character of the nuclear danger? How should we judge the greatness of a scientist and his work from the perspective of the future of mankind?

The Academy of Political and Social Studies, Pune is proud to bring out its first publication consisting of 15 essays on 'Science, Society and Peace,' written by the late renowned scientist Professor D D Kosambi. These essays contributed to different periodicals over a period of more than two decades do not exhaust the entire list of his writings, in which as a socially conscious citizen of the world and of his own country Prof Kosambi showed acute awareness of the socio-political problems of his day. In this International Year of Peace when issues arising out of the development of science and technology and the dangers of nuclear holocaust are being widely discussed all over the world, readers will be struck by the foresight that this well-known mathematician showed several years ago. Even a quick recollection of his achievements in various fields will go to show what this remarkable scientist gave to the world before he passed away in his sleep at the early age of 58, on 29 June, 1966.

Kosambi's formula for chromosome distance occupies a significant place in classical genetics. His painstaking research on coins makes the numismatics of hoards into an exact science. A large collection of microliths and megaliths with rock-engravings, as also the discovery of Brahmi inscription at Karle form useful contributions to archaeology. His editions of the poetry of Bhartrihari and of the oldest known Sanskrit anthology - Subhashitara - are acknowledged land-marks in Indian text-criticism. Even those who disagree with the underlying philosophy in his works, admit that Prof Kosambi's research papers and books on the history of India, have broken new ground for further valuable research on the unique characteristics of the evolution of the social structure of India.

Profound insight combined with an acute sense of detail, complete grasp of the material under study, and creative use of the dialectical materialist method, enabled him to raise significant new questions and to offer original answers. ...

"Only in Science planned for the benefit of all mankind, not for bacteriological, atomic, psychological or other mass warfare, can the scientist be really free." D D Kosambi

6.2. Review by: Jaya Mehta.
Economic and Political Weekly 22 (1/2) (1987), 30.

The first publication of the Academy of Political and Social Studies, Pune, brought out in the International Year of Peace, is a compilation of writings and speeches of the renowned scientist D D Kosambi on science, society and peace.

In the recent past, issues related to the development of science and technology, dangers of nuclear holocaust and social and economic justice are being discussed so widely that the scientific community can hardly be expected to remain indifferent to them. However, one would agree that the degree of involvement is not sufficient. Most scientists pursue their research in their specialised field irrespective of its implications for the betterment of human society. In fact, the industry of war holds captive the greatest assembly of scientists ever gathered for one task in the history of humanity. Science departments in universities and other academic institutions are the major targets of the Pentagon's effort to promote research into space weapons. Recently 6,500 US scientists have pledged not to take part in the Reagan administration's space weapons programme.

In such a situation D D Kosambi's writings come to us as a refreshing reminder to reassess our performance not as experts in a narrowly defined specialisation, but as responsible citizens of our country and also as members of the world community.

The first essay is an autobiographical account, which is indeed very impressive. It seems Kosambi pursued his research with two motivating forces. One was the pleasure that he derived from the beauty and elegance of a scientific enquiry, mathematics in particular. The other was his conviction that research must aim at providing better understanding of the natural and social environment, so that human society may benefit from it. What is impressive is that in pursuing his research, guided by these motivations, he just did not accept the boundaries drawn between different disciplines. (Perhaps he was genuinely inspired by Einstein's unified theory of the universe!) He never seemed to have hesitated the slightest bit in plunging into a new field with which he had no earlier familiarity. Thus he travelled far and wide in the field of research from tensor analysis and path geometry to genetic engineering and numismatics, to Indology, social anthropology, archaeology and then Marxist interpretation of history.

After reading his autobiographical account, one would expect that a scientist with his gifts would have very definite views on the meaning of scientific progress and he would state them without any ambiguity. This is precisely what follows in the rest of the book.

There are seven essays on science and society. Kosambi has talked on the meaning of freedom for scientists, problems of science and technology in an underdeveloped economy, scientific attitude and religion and progress of science and technology in a post-revolution, planned society, namely, Russia (although some citations from China are also there). Kosambi was firmly convinced that development of science and technology would be at its best when it is planned in the broader socio-economic context. He also thought that the freedom of scientists in a free enterprise economy was not genuine.

One need not agree with all that Kosambi has said. For instance, progress in the Soviet economy in the 50s and 60s could have impressed anyone, whereas in the last decade the socialist economies have been facing certain genuine problems of efficiency. It is then possible that today one may differ from Kosambi's perspective regarding the potential of the existing socialist societies. However, the questions raised by him on various issues and the solutions offered undoubtedly deserve very serious consideration by every member of the scientific community.

The next two sections include two essays on the nuclear threat and peace and three on the energy question in India. Today his concern for the danger of nuclear catastrophe and his views on Indian planning may sound all too familiar, but considering that they were written in the 50s and early 60s, one gets surprised at the foresight shown.

In the end there are brief sketches of two great scientists Einstein and G D Birkhoff written with a special emphasis on their commitment to scientific enquiry, to their country and to humanity. The piece on Einstein is very beautiful, and I hear that it was appreciated a great deal when it appeared first in The Times of India in 1959.

One must admit that there are a number of repetitions in the volume. Perhaps these could not have been avoided as these are writings on interrelated issues presented on different occasions in different forums. The book is easy to read and certain illustrations given by him to substantiate his points are quite interesting. Considering the current costs of production, the book is priced moderately so as to enable intellectuals and activists to buy copies for themselves. A little more care in printing can perhaps be attempted in the next edition.
7. The Many Careers of D D Kosambi: Critical Essays (2011), by D N Jha.
7.1. From the Publisher.

The present volume brings together articles by scholars who access Kosambi's contributions to Indian historiography, Indology, philology, the study of religions, historical materialism, and our understanding of caste in Indian history. While most essays deal with Kosambi the historian, the final essay presents a detailed scientific, historical and political assessment of his mathematical work. The essays are neither allergic to, nor adulatory about, Kosambi's work, but seek to present a balanced and critical appraisal, as well as updating our knowledge with the current thinking in the field.

7.2. Review by: R Gurukkal.
Economic and Political Weekly 47 (35) ( 2012), 37-38.

This is an anthology on D D Kosambi aimed primarily at paying homage to genius of "Renaissance versatility". But there is also another objective behind it: to present "a balanced and critical appraisal" in contrast to some of the articles in the birth centenary special issue published by the Economic & Political Weekly (EPW), which were allegedly "far from being impartial and objective", "unduly critical", and with one of them "bordering on vitriol and vituperation". It is paradoxical for a scholarly volume to allege that the EPW special issue on Kosambi is seditious in order to justify its own publication. The EPW volume was indeed a critical appreciation, with a few articles being more academic than sentimental about showing Kosambi's attitudes, views and methodology as being amenable to criticism, a quality that only reaffirms the scientific nature of Kosambi's contributions. The present volume's avowed purpose of balancing goes against the scientific temperament that Kosambi embodied.

The volume consists of eight essays, of which those by D N Jha and Irfan Habib are revised versions of the original published in Marxist XXIV, October 2008. The essay by Prabhat Patnaik is a reprint from the same journal, and the one by C K Raju, a reprint from EPW (XLIV, 20, 2009). Jha's scholarly essay, the editor's tribute to Kosambi the extraordinaire, composed in eight units, starts off with a brief review of the academic career and achievements of the all-time genius historian who applied mathematics to the study of social sciences, explanatory history to the study of numismatics, and Marxist political economy to the study of history. Jha shows how Kosambi took off from the debasement issue of the post Gupta period by probing the paucity of coinage, the decline of trade and urban centres, and the growth of the self-sufficient village economy, and became an accomplished historian of "Indian feudalism" in particular and the characteristic features of the early medieval period of Indian history in general. His essay also shows how the political economy of coins led Kosambi to Sanskrit studies in class theory perspective and how he took to archaeology and went beyond antiquarianism of Indian archaeologists as well as the positivist obsession of western archaeology represented by Mortimer Wheeler, with stratigraphy that "serves as chronometer of culture sequences". Jha has lucidly analysed as to how Kosambi's astounding scholarship in varied fields and creative engagement with historical materialism enabled him to reach out to the roots of Indian culture and comprehend its history in a holistic perspective.

The last essay is by C K Raju, and it discusses Kosambi as a mathematician who as an undergraduate at Harvard began his research career with an argument about the applicability of simplified equations of hydrodynamics in describing an electron in a magnetic field, a proposition unbelievable to have come from a student just out of his teens. Raju's effort to draw contemporary lessons touches the politics of knowledge (something that most of our scientists are bereft of) which is one that Kosambi not only embodied but also boldly transmitted. Kosambi's critical remarks about the mode of post-independence science management, at the expense of inclusion among science policymakers, may be just one exemplar. The unKosambian agenda of the book apart, it is an eminently readable collection.
8. D D Kosambi - selected works in mathematics and statistics (2016), edited by Ramakrishna Ramaswamy.
8.1. From the Publisher.

This collection fills an important gap in studies on D D Kosambi. For the first time, his mathematical work is presented in a manner that is accessible to non-mathematicians as well. A number of his papers in the areas of statistics and mathematics, that are difficult to obtain, have been included. Also incorporated are some unpublished essays as well as some of his lesser known works. Each of the twenty four papers reprinted here is prefaced by a commentary on the context and significance of the work. Some of these are supplemented with technical reviews by other mathematicians.

8.2. From the Preface by Ramakrishna Ramaswarny.

Damodar Dhannananda Kosambi was a man of many parts: phi beta kappa scholar and Harvard graduate. mathematics professor, historian, archaeologist, epigraphist, polyglot, numismatist, Sanskritist, Indologist, and Marxist: the list of his identities and his personae is a long and varied one. Over a period of a little over 35 years. Kosambi built a reputation as a major (if somewhat maverick) thinker of modern India, and this reputation has largely remained intact over the years. Widely regarded as one of the founding figures of contemporary Indian historiography, Kosambi quantified numismatics and used statistical inference to inform the study of Indian history. His contributions to Indology and the study of prehistory have been fundamental, and his translations of the poetry of Bhartrhari are considered definitive.

As it happens, while the historian, Indologist, and numismatist Kosambi has been written about and his articles and papers in those areas have been published in collections and celebrated, much less has been done with regard to his contributions to mathematics and statistics. This is surprising for at least two reasons. Kosambi was first and last a mathematician in that his first independent paper and his last-known academic contribution were both in mathematics. Indeed, mathematics was the one constant and consistent preoccupation of his professional life: he says as much in the epilogue to his posthumously published autobiographical essay. DDK's first paper was written when he, then 22 years of age, was temporarily at the Banaras Hindu University in 1930, and his final work, a monograph on prime numbers, was submitted to publishers very shortly before his death at the age of 59, in 1966. It can be argued that his major contributions in other areas were moulded by his knowledge and style of mathematics - whether the creation of numismatics as a form of historiography through the extensive statistical analysis of large hoards of coins or his deduction of the probable location of the Karasambhale caves through a combination of estimation and logic.

Most scholars who have been influenced by the historical writings of Kosambi are acquainted with a lesser extent with the nature and range of his mathematical contributions. This is mainly a domain issue: as a field, mathematics and history are perceived as separated by a major cultural divide, and there is a general (and reasonable) feeling that the mathematics would be too difficult to understand by any but a trained mathematician. Ironically, Kosambi had in his lifetime experienced the same reaction from the other side - his scientist colleagues at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research had also not appreciated the nature and the extent of his contributions to Indology and the study of Indian history.

Kosambi's intellectual legacy needs to be considered in its totality; the mathematics is integral to his thinking and analysis and cannot be seen as separate from the work in numismatics or, for that matter, history. DDK wrote about 65 papers that were of a mathematical or statistical nature. Some articles were pedagogic expositions rather than original contributions, and some were multidisciplinary in the sense that they integrated linguistics or numismatics along with the mathematics or statistics. Two were the same work in two languages, Chinese and English. In addition, there were original contributions in German and French, and one of his papers had been translated into Japanese. He wrote at least two mathematical monographs, but regrettably, these never appeared in print, and the manuscripts of both of them are lost. Towards the end of his life, he published two articles in the Journal of the Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics that tangentially implied that he had a proof of the Riemann hypothesis. These articles contained an incomplete and flawed approach to this very fundamental mathematical problem; the damage that they caused to his reputation as a serious mathematician was irreparable and irreversible.

Details of Kosambi's professional life are well known and bear only a limited retelling. On completing his BA (summa cum laude) at Harvard, Kosambi had, for a complex combination of reasons, to return to India in 1929. He took up a position at the Banaras Hindu University teaching mathematics and gave (optional) German classes on the side. Although he started doing some research in mathematics at BHU, he was soon persuaded to move to Aligarh Muslim University to join a department of mathematics headed by the French mathematician André Weil. It was here that Kosambi first earned a place in the history of mathematics. His paper, On a generalization of the second theorem of Bourbaki, was written at the provocation of Weil, as "a parodic note passed off as a serious contribution to a provincial journal", the Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences, U.P. The incident remains somewhat mysterious; according to Weil, Kosambi was having problems with a colleague, and he (Weil) suggested this prank, to name a theorem after a fictitious Russian author. Whether or not this paper deflated the recalcitrant colleague's ego is not clear, but nevertheless, this paper of Kosambi marks the first occurrence of the name of Bourbaki in the published literature.

Kosambi lasted 2 years in Aligarh before moving back to Pune, to Fergusson College where he stayed until 1945. In this time, he first built up a reputation as a serious mathematician, serious enough that he was elected to the Indian Academy of Sciences by C V Raman in 1935 who also probably nominated him for the Ramanujan Medal of the Madras University in 1934. He had started a study of the area he termed "path-geometry" that was to occupy him for several decades subsequently. A note on the trial of Socrates appeared in the magazine of Fergusson College in 1939, marking his initial professional foray outside mathematics. In 1940, this was followed by The emergence of national characteristics among three Indo-European people in the Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. By this time, he had also begun his careful analysis of the weights of ancient coins - the first publication on this topic also dates to 1940 - and marks the start of his use of quantitative methods in historical analysis.

The years of World War II saw DDK at his creative best. Between 1939 and 1944, he published 35 articles including two papers he wrote in 1943-1944 which brought him considerable renown. One that appeared in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society, Statistics in function space, is a method for decomposing an arbitrary signal into its significant components, a technique termed the principal value decomposition. Today, this is known as the Karhunen-Loeve expansion, although both Karhunen and Loeve did their work only later, in 1947 and 1948, respectively. It is regrettable that Kosambi's work was not followed up either by him or by others (although it was reviewed in Mathematical Reviews). The second contribution is in his 1944 paper in the Annals of Eugenics. This work in genetics, on what is termed the map distance, quantifies the genetic similarity in terms of the recombination frequency of linked genes. At the time when DDK did the work, his knowledge of genetics was probably minimal, and the structure of DNA was itself largely unknown. Nevertheless, Kosambi provided an interesting and useful method to estimate the map distances from recombination values and this work continues to be used and cited even to this day.

In 1945, DDK left Fergusson College to move to the newly established Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay following an invitation from the founding director, Homi J Bhabha, to help establish a School of Mathematics. This remained his address for the next 16 years, although his increasingly meandering intellectual interests, his personal politics, his mathematical obsessions, and his personal angularities all combined to make his tenure at the TIFR a fraught one.

The relationship between Bhabha and Kosambi started off on a cordial note. Bhabha was responsible for having DDK elected president of the Mathematics Section of the Indian Science Congress that was held in Delhi in early 1947 where he gave his presidential address on "Possible applications of the functional calculus", a summary of his ideas on function spaces and the proper orthogonal decomposition. Bhabha also helped arrange a year's visit to the USA for DDK. He gave a course of lectures on tensor analysis at the University of Chicago and also spent time at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton as well as Harvard and MIT in Cambridge.

As his interests in historical analysis increased in the 1950s, DDK's mathematics inevitably slowed down. He travelled to the Soviet Union and China during this period and wrote on a variety of social issues. All these activities were at variance with the TIFR ethos; Bhabha, who was attempting to build a first-class research establishment in nuclear science and mathematics, had little time to indulge DDK in these pursuits. Towards the end of the 1950s, Kosambi started working on the Riemann hypothesis. He published two papers offering a proof of this problem, in the Indian Journal of Agricultural Statistics. The motivation for his foray into this work remains unknown since his approach, a probabilistic one, does not evolve out of his earlier work. At any rate, his choice of the journal and the scale of his claim (since the Riemann hypothesis remains unproven today) exposed him to ridicule, both professionally and in person. Mathematicians who knew Kosambi speak of this phase of his life with a distinct air of embarrassment.

The relationship with Bhabha soured, and DDK's contract with the TIFR was not renewed after 1962, making Kosambi one of the very few people to have effectively been fired by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Between 1962 and 1964, DDK was without a formal position although he published papers both in and outside mathematics. Peculiarly, he wrote four of these under the pseudonym S Ducray. In 1964, he was appointed a CSIR emeritus professor attached to the Maharashtra Vidnyanvardhini in Pune, a position he held until his death in 1966.

There remain important gaps in writings by or on DDK that need to be filled in the order that an accurate picture of the evolution of his intellectual framework can be drawn. His extensive correspondence with Professor and Mrs R J Conklin between 1930 and 1948, friends of him from his undergraduate years at Harvard, is only partly available, The TIFR correspondence is on record, and the details of the relationship with Bhabha that started out so cordially and ended in so much acrimony that DDK could not bring himself to be generous even after Bhabha died are again well enough known but incompletely analysed. A series of letters exchanged between Divyabhanusinh Chavda and DDK in his final and very bitter years remain essentially unknown. Some of these gaps are being addressed, most recently in Unsettling The Past, a collection of essays by and on Kosambi.

The present volume brings together the complete bibliography of the mathematics papers of DDK, along with other essays on and by Kosambi. This preface gives a general background, summarising an earlier essay that was published in the Economic and Political Weekly. Part I of this book contains an introductory essay, A Scholar in his Time, which analyses the mathematical development of Kosambi and attempts to situate his contributions in context. This is a reproduction of with small modifications and is followed by selected essays by DDK that help give a perspective on the many strands of thought that he integrated into his work. The autobiographical Adventures into the Unknown has appeared in part in several collections as Steps in Science, but the essay, On Statistics, is not widely known. In the war years, when Kosambi was teaching at Fergusson College in Poona in his most intellectually fertile period, he made several interesting mathematical contributions that were in part responsible for his being invited in 1945 to the newly formed Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay, to help its director, Homi J Bhabha, to nucleate the School of Mathematics. Also around that time, he received a small grant from the Tata Trust, and the report that he submitted to them and which is reprinted here reveals a side of him that is not evident in his publications. He worked on a diverse set of problems more or less simultaneously, was meticulous in his accounts, and was frugal as well.

Reprinted in Part 1I are some of the most significant papers written by Kosambi between 1930 and 1964, in particular, those that contributed to his reputation as well as those that were responsible for its loss. The selection of papers and the essays that are reprinted in this book are each accompanied by an introductory paragraph . Part III contains a listing of DDK's papers in languages other than English. Three of these, in German, French, and Chinese, respectively, are reprinted. ...

New Delhi, India
June 2016

Last Updated March 2022