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Romila Thapar, "Time As a Metaphor of History: Early India"



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Romila Thapar, "Time As a Metaphor of History: Early India"
Publisher: OUP | 2011 | ISBN: 0195637984 | English | PDF | 53 pages | 19.4 Mb

This essay examines the link between time and history through the use of cyclic and linear concepts of time. While the former occurs in a cosmological context, the latter is found in familiar historical forms. The author argues for the existence of historical consciousness in early India on the evidence of early texts. ...

This essay examines the link between time and history through the use of cyclic and linear concepts of time. While the former occurs in a cosmological context, the latter is found in familiar historical forms. The author argues for the existence of historical consciousness in early India on the evidence of early texts.

It has long been maintained that the only concept of time known to early India was cyclic. This in part accounts for the Indian denial of history, since a sense of history is based on linear time. This study sets the argument in the context of links between time and history. It indicates the existence of linear time in Indian texts, such as genealogies, biographies, and chronicles, where time-reckoning was recorded through generations, regnal years and eras. It is suggested that cyclic and linear time were both used, but that their functions differed. Cyclic time occurs frequently in cosmological contexts and linear time in historical sources. The author argues that historical consciousness existed in early India.

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