India, for historical reasons, has been a land of harmony of cultures evolved through centuries together at a multi-racial set up. Eastern and North-Eastern regions of this sub-continent are still peculiar in this that Austric, Dravidian, Mongoloid and Aryan clans did co-exist here and were enriched substantially by each other’s association. Predominantly inhabited by non-Aryan peoples, Vedic culture penetrate these regions at a later date. With indigenous cultural pushed to the substratum level in some areas in consequence of victory of the Aryan and domination of their culture at the superstratum level, Aryanization gained ground to a large extent bringing thereby the subjugated classes under the Aryan fold itself. A peep into this socio-cultural transformation in proper perspective is sure to yield good dividend even today.
Tracing development of Vedic literature and participation in and contribution to studies therein have been an important academic enterprise in various parts of India for long. Bengal’s contribution hereto deserves our special notice in this respect. Vedicism in Bengal too has been an interesting area of study. It need not be overemphasised that Halayudha authored a commentary on the Vedic text centuries ago. A survey of such studies in the Veda in Bengal was published in the Sanskrit Sahitya Parishat Patrika. The setting up of the school of Vedic Studies at Rabindra Bharati University in 1980’s came as a booster to the earlier efforts in this direction. It is a pleasure to note that the School has been engaged in organizing seminar, workshop and colloquium every year on relevant topics with subsequent publication of research articles placed and discussed in appropriate fora. The present volume entitled Bengal’s Contribution to Vedic Studies projects the results of one such academic event organized in 2006. With twenty articles book encompasses the whole spectrum of Vedic studies in Bengal in different perspectives. I congratulate the editor and his colleagues on bringing out this collection of meaningful contributions to exploring the cultural heritage of Bengal and wish that the world of scholarship shall welcome such endeavours.
It is with great pleasure that we could publish the volume entitled Bengal’s Contribution to Vedic Studies on the basis of the papers presented at a National Seminar organized by the school of Vedic Studies of Rabindra Bharati University from March 23 to 24, 2006, under the auspices of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratisthan, Ujjain. It took almost three years to collect majority of papers read on the occasion and great difficulty was felt o edit them because of different style and method of writing and diction of the authors. As a result, I regret, uniformity in respect of editorial principals and methodology could not be maintained everywhere in spite of our best efforts. Notes, references, bibliography, etc. as received by the editor in the papers have also been retained. There may be overlapping in regard to supply of information about Bengal’s contribution to Vedic Studies. The names of persons born in and after the period of British rule in India are generally written in English roman character without diacritical mark according to local style of pronunciation. This principal has been adopted here.
We are happy that this volume is dedicated to the sacred memory of the great late lamented Pandit Satyavrata Samasrami. It is ordinarily believed that contribution of Bengal to Vedic Studies is not so remarkable but after going through this publication one will surely shun this wrong notion. We hope, this volume will cater to the need of reading a comprehensive book on Bengal’s advent and achievement in various studies and researches of the Vedas.
I am thankful to the authorities of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratisthan, Ujjain and the Department of Higher Education, Govt. of West Bengal, for the financial assistance with view to organising the said seminar and to the authorities of Rabindra Bharati University for granting administrative and financial approval regarding publication of this volume. I take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the valuable assistance rendered by Prof. Samiran chandra Chakrabarti, former Director, Dr. Bhaskarnath Bhattacharyya and Soma Basu, Readers of the School, in the matters relating to editing, preparing press copy and correcting proofs. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Project Assistants of the school (Shri Subrata Mandal, Smt. Ishita Chakraborti, Smt. Sanjukta Basu, Smt. Indira Datta Gupta, and Smt. Ranu Ghosh) for their assistance in organising the seminar, collecting and processing the papers presented, and seeing the book through the press. I also crave for the indulgence of the learned readers for the printing mistakes, if any, and am looking forward to their valued opinion for improvement in the next edition.
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