Apart from very small textual emendations, all the matter of this book is identical with the first edition of 1938. there have been, however, two excisions made. Professor J. H. Hutton, the William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at Cambridge, my old university, very graciously wrote an introduction to sponsor me with my English colleagues; this did not appear relevant to this new edition, and it has been removed. Secondly, I wrote a final chapter under the title 'Social Evolution and Aggression: Some Suggestions,' in which I attempted to apply the data derived from my study of the Lepchas to wider problems, to the question of why the Lepchas had failed to develop a centralized state when their neighbours had done so, and to relate this absence of a state to the individual inhibition of aggression among the Lepchas. This chapter contains so many postulates and hypotheses which I now consider inaccurate or inadequate that it seemed more sensible to suppress it. Even had the question been a legitimate one-and too little is known of the tribes answered-the hypotheses I accepted about the unidirectional nature of social evolution, indirectly adapted from Lewis H. Morgan's Ancient Society, are much too schematic and simplified. I also shared the delusion-widespread at the period, and still not completely abandoned-that there was a direct correlation between individual aggressiveness and the waging of war as a state policy.
Although I do not think today that this study of the life of a small Himalayan tribe has any direct relevance to the political preoccupations of the great nation-states of the second half of the twentieth century, I believe that the data still have implications wider than the people or the area from which they are derived.
In particular, I think some wider psychological implications can be drawn from the Lepcha method of rearing children and the resultant adult characters. There are very marked parallels between.
Back Of The Book
High in the Himalayas between Nepal and Bhutan is the small Kingdom of Sikkim. In these lofty isolated foothills live a people who have developed a unique way of life. These are the clans of the Lepcha people.
But who are they, and what are their special characteristics and traditions?
This story takes place in 1937, when the author Geoffrey Gorer lived amongst these hardy mountain folk. His lively and engaging observations and comments make an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of these remote communities.
Where man and nature are at their closest, the Himalayan foothills provide a distinct backdrop for the Lepcha cultural heritage. Disturbed only by festivals, marriages, religious celebration and nature's occasionally angry retorts, life has a timeless quality in a Himalayan village.
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