t is widely acknowledged that an idea expressed in one language, if translated into another, its meaning and its associated understanding undergo change. The English word history is ordinarily translated as itihasa in the Sanskrit-rooted Indian languages. In the Euro-American tradition history is traced to the Greek word historia, learning by "enquiry", narration of what is learnt. Words like narrative, story and account are closely linked to history. Itihasa literally means what indeed happened. Its cognates in Indian languages are itivrtta, upakhyana, tatha and purana. That these words are closely related to narrative, story and past events are obvious. Chattopadhyaya has tried to argue in this book that the modern scientific concept of history, though has its undeniable importance, should not be understood in a dehistorised manner. The modern concept of history should not be confused with the ancient or even the medieval concepts like purana, puravrtta, itihasa and upakhyana. Our modes of under-standing and action should not be telescoped into theirs. This distinction squarely rests on the difference between age-specific social conditions and their influence on human ideas, ideals, languages, rather modes of speech, and actions. An attempt has been made to show how literature in its wider sense, comprising epoch-bound beliefs, myths, customs, conventions, social movements and other forms of culture enter into historical narrative. In the name of contemporanity of history its very temporality or time-bound character can hardly be denied. Chattopadhyaya argues that history embodies a sort of inter-epochal dialogue (samtap) which, like different forms of science and arts, are endlessly updatable. The work will be of interest to historians, philosophers of history social scientists and Indologists.
D.P. Chattopadhyaya studied law, philosophy and history at Calcutta University and London School of Economics. For the last 46 years he has been researching, teaching and lecturing at different Universities in India and abroad. Former Professor of Philosophy at Jadavpur University and member of many learned bodies, national as well as international he was the Founder Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), New Delhi, and Chairman-cum-President of Indian Institute of Advanced studies (IIAS), Shimla. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Centre for Studies in Civilizations (CSC), New Delhi, and the General Editor and Director of the 50-Volume project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC). Among his 28 authored and edited books, mainly interdisciplinary, some have distinct bearning on the nature, diverse explanatory structures and varieties of history, viz. Individuals and Societies: A Methodological Inquiry (1967 & 1973); Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx (1973); Anthropology and Historiography of Science (1990 & 1992); Sociology, Ideology and Utopia (1997) and Societies, Cultures and Ideologies (1973 & 2001).