Ever since man’s journey began on earth, development over the past centuries underlined the relativity of the notion of various stages of human endeavour in its history and evolution. Despite the fact that change is inevitable and evolutionary, and thus radical, one has to look backward and forward at the same time between the past and the present in order to move ahead in time to build a meaningful future. Especially now as we step into the new millennium, it becomes all the more appropriate to introspect the past, in order to understand its significance in the present so that we step into a better tomorrow. In the previous issuesVihangama presented an array of IGNCA’s concern in rethinking and redefining the fundamental concepts that has led it to deliver on the deep issues dealing with culture as an artefact of human nature and thought. Linkages between cosmic and the human is viewed in a way in which we advance our knowledge of the natural world around us. The primeval sound of creation speaks of traditional science, a universal experience of the reality. Timeless creation of tribal cosmogony in preservation and dissolution of the world of matter, water cosmology, all relate to the multiplicity and variety of the artistic traditions of India found in classical literature and multi-faceted indigenous heritage represented by timeless tradition of pictorial, histrionic and oral expression, dissemination and transmission and the people’s artistic aspirations and skills, transcending geographical boundaries to grow elsewhere as a cultural whole. Moving forward on firm footing, Vihangama delves into the cultural realms acquainting the reader with programmes and activities of the centre, providing a forum for dissemination of ideas.
The fundamental insight brought forth by the present volume, concerns itself on the scattered and fragmented remnants of the San artists, popularly known as the Bushmen of the Kalahari deserts. The distant past of the fast diminishing San people lie manifest in their artistic and cultural treasures. The tremendous ability to locate events and objects on the basis of symbols, footprints, direction of wind and cloud formation is aptly described by Dr. Sudha Satyawadi in Art and Craft of Botswana, throws light into the lives of the San people who still cling to their distant past and live a simplistic life of the primitive man in modern era.
In the present times when knowledge is confined to the text books, Dr. Aruptharani Sengupta gives an insight into the nomadic lifestyle and wisdom of the Kattu-Nayakars of Tamil Nadu, their power to tranform, create new realities and offer solution and recourse through divination; they heal, soothe and cure with deftness the ailments and misfortunes of the mankind engaged in chasing their materialistic goals.
The IGNCA, through its specific programmes and collaborative projects encourages researches in the field of arts and other forms of cultural expressions between diverse regions and inter-relationship of tribal, rural and urban as well as the literate and oral traditions that are investigated and documented. This volume focuses on South India, a part of Indian sub-continent responsible for the earliest known civilization and cultural transformation. South India has contributed a lot in shaping up Indian culture and tradition by bringing forth various aspects of historical and cultural heritage, religious and social life, art, architecture, literary and linguistic traditions. A report on K‹etrasampadå of Guruvayur Temple in Kerala by Prof. PRG Mathur presents the paradoxical example of a nucleus of old belief system surviving in the present conflicting trends of modernization where humanity unites to communicate with the divine. Dr. Jan Brouwer in Pa¤cabhµuta as an Expression of the Self, focuses on the Visvakarma caste of artisans of Karnataka, who narrate the origin of their tools. They transcend the very world they have created, and view the process as a transcendent act, employing material skills and tools as the machanism to do so. The Tradition of Teyyam by Dr. Chandran T.V. presents divergent forms of various cultic practices which came under the configuration of its very definition where the performer represents the God. On the other hand the Syrian Christian Orthodox Church of Kerala by Dr. Jose George, originated through the missionary activities of the followers of the Christ, occupies an important place among the ancient independent churches of the world. Embracing of local terms and customs has made it unique and different from the rest. In the Unesco Forum, the focus is on the Village India project, launched in 1998 with an aim to challenge and address itself to the development alternatives. An attempt is made to prepare new materials for determining development parameters and to formulate a practical guide for the management of development.
We introduce a series on Quest for Knowledge Paths of Life, which will henceforth be presented as a memoir elucidating the intellectual experiences and interactions of scholars belonging to various fields of knowledge as an expression of their thoughts and sentiments. Prof. B.N. Saraswati voices the concern in safeguarding folklore by acknowledging it as the fundamental experience of the human life responsible for re-construction of the new world order.
Our regular features encompasses the IGNCA news, Prof. N.R. Shetty joining the institute as new Member Secretary; reviews of books affirming man’s faith in religion, nature, the primal elements and the fundamental concepts of the arts; lecture; and the exhibition of paintings by Mother and Daughter, a tribute to the Brunners. We also present a report on seminar, Documentation of Central Asian Antiquities, which hopes to provide an operational framework in preserving the Central Asian civilization and cultures.
Vihangama, thus concludes its journey of the year 2000 by making the past available through the experiences of the diverse traditional cultures into the present and generate an essence of change and continuity of the glorious past and valued future.