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By D.D. Kosambi

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The sole practical test of his success has been, in the past, comparatively sudden increase in the human population with every important basic discovery in the means of production. 2] ARCHAEOLOGY AND ETHNOGRAPHY 7 than the instruments of production will allow, particularly when man has progressed from the food-gathering quasi-animal stage to that of food production, which definitely raises him above the animal. Our definition has the merit of forcing us to notice and to account for certain features peculiar to Indian society and history, such as caste, or the remarkable lack of historical sense among all but a few of the most recent intellectuals.

Generally, the immediate purpose in settled producing society is profit for the priest class, which insists that certain observances are necessary ; at a deeper level, the unwieldy mass of ritual serves to petrify the later society, to discourage innovation, to help preserve the class structure and the status quo. This is also the reason why some communities still remain atrophied as food-gatherers. In the earlier stage, the priest was either the tribal chief, head of a clan, or a specially dedicated medicine man, for patriarchal groups ; a goddess-chief-priestess or member of a sisterhood, with matriarchy.

We have to go much deeper than this for the grasp of Indian tradition. It is not the primitive tribes of other countries that are of primary interest here, nor primitive Indian survivals in marginal territory such as the Khasias, Nagas, Oraons, Bhils, Todas, Kadars. 3 survival as backward groups also furnishes the real problem for explanation in the light of historical development. India is a country of long survivals. People of the atomic age rub elbows with those of the chalcolithic. The vast majority of countryside gods are still daubed with a red pigment that is a palpable substitute for long-vanished blood sacrifices — which also survive in a few cases, although the very idea of blood sacrifices would now come as a shock to many devotees.

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An Introduction to the Study of Indian History by D.D. Kosambi

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