Although his discipline was mathematics, he was deeply interested in India’s history and culture and acquired a knowledge of the source materlal Which will bring credit to anyone. He accepted the theory of the dialectical materialism and applied it systematically to the study of Indian history. Even those who may not fully agree with his conclusions cannot but admire the brilliance of his ideas and the strength of his arguments. He is one of the pioneers in giving to the study of Indian history and culture a scientific basis. Professor Kosambi was no mere scholar-like a true intellectual he was deeply committed to the welfare of mankind and in particular to the cause of the common man. I had the privilege of learning a great deal from him when we discussed a t length the problems of interpreting the archaeological data obtained by the Aligarh Muslim University at Atranjikhera. Equally he was the first person to give me an indication as to how the enormous statistical data available in the revenue records of Rajasthan for the 17th and 18th Centuries could be interpreted.
I would like to congratulate Dr. LallanJi Gopal who was closely associated with Professor Kosambi in interpreting the socio-economic history in the medieval India, for bringing out this volume.
Earlier two Commemoration Volumes in honour of late Prof. D. D. Kosambi had been released, one entitled Science and Human Progress published by the Popular Prakashan, Bombay and the other with the title Indian Society Historical Probings planned by the Indian Council of Historical Research. But, to cover adequately the many-sided genius-of Prof. Kosambi and to pay befitting homage to his contributions towards the enrichment of human society and scholarship, we require many more such volumes, Hence our present volume does not require pleadings to justify itself.
Prof. Kosambi had very intimate connexions with the Banaras Hindu University and some of its teachers and students. His first assignment as a teacher was in the Mathematics Department of this University. Even after relinquishing this position he maintained his contacts and visited the University from time to time. I have very vivid memories of his busy schedules on these occasions from 1964 onwards. He was in hot demand in a number of departments. It was real intellectual feat when the Professor addressed the teachers and research scholars in the Department of Zoology on some problem of genetics and then rushed to the College of Indology to resume his series of talks on Indian prehistory. I had the privilege to meet him first in 1964. At that time I was holding the post of Reader in the Department of History. I had no information about the series of lectures Prof. Kosambi was giving in the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. Prof. Kosambi knew that I was in Varanasi and expressed his surprise at my absence. This was communicated to me and hence I attended his lecture the next day.
Our contacts grew closer. We had several occasions to share views on topics of mutual interest. Though I ventured to differ on certain points of vital historical significance. I always received his appreciative encouragement. Many young researchers in the country will confirm the patronising encouragement he gave to their researches and the almost parental interest he took in them. He would prefer to discuss the new researches of a young co-worker and stroll on the street rather than to accept the presonal invitation of some high dignitary for tea or dinner.
I have a photographic memory of Prof. Kosambi’s participation in the Seminar on the Chronology of Punch-marked Coins organised by the Department in the Hall of the Numismatic Society of India. Prof. Kosambi placed his views with absolute clarity. He brought his knowledge of many disciplines and languages to bear on the problem. It was difficult to match his skill in arguing. Scholars who approached the numismatic problem from their own particular point of view felt dwarfed in the presence of Prof. Kosambi who towered over them not only by his robust American personality but also by the heights of his intellectual attainments.
We learnt about the sudden and tragic death of Prof. Kosambi when we were in the midst of the editing of the discussions of the Seminar on the Chronology of Punch-marked Coins. I had a natural urge to dedicate the volume to Prof. Kosambi who had given a new direction to research studies on the Punch-marked coins and had also made useful contribution to the Seminar. But, for certain reasons it could not be implemented.
The recognition of the sterling contributions of Prof. Kosambi to science, Indology and humanism grew gradually in the country and, what is probably more momentous, in overseas countries. To pay our homage to this great intellectual of the country, who was also associated with the University, Dr. K. L. Shrimali, the then Vice-Chancellor, constituted Prof. D. D. Kosambi Commemoration Committee with renowned academicians representing different disciplines as its members. The Commemoration celebrations had a prestigious beginning being inaugurated by Prof. S. Nurul Hasan, Minister for Education, Government of India. The Committee arranged lectures by eminent scholars and educationists on several interesting problems of Indian history and culture.
In the present volume we have collected all these papers and also some others which we received from scholars who kindly agreed to associate themselves in paying homage to Prof. Kosambi. The other two Commemoration Volumes contain the tributes paid by some out of the numerous associates and admirers of Prof. Kosambi, his biographical sketch and a bibliography of his writings with his own pithy comments. We have avoided duplicating these in the present volume.
The articles in the Volume are not planned to cover any particular period or theme in Indian history. They generally concern topics in which Prof. Kosambi was interested. The articles are not arranged in any sequence. We have published them in the order they have been received. We offer the volume to our readers in the fervent hope that the academic values and disciplines for which Prof Kosambi stood may create interest in larger number of people so that they may be further studied and explored.
We are beholden to Prof. S. Nurul Hasan for kindly inaugurating our celebrations. We are grateful to Dr. K.L. Shrimali for fathering the programmes. Dr. M.L. Dhar, the present Vice-Chancellor of the University, has blessed the Commemoration programme with a paternal care and concern.
The contributors to the volume are to be thanked for their kind cooperation. Thanks are also due to the members of the Commemoration Committee. The proprietors of the Tara Printing Works have obliged us by undertaking the work at an extremely short notice. I have a word of special thanks to my colleagues Dr. J. P. Singh and Dr. Nisar Ahmad for supervising the printing of the volume.
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