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Title : On the Interpretation of Some Doubtful Words in the Atharvaveda and Other Essays
Author : Tarapada Chowdhury
Edition : HardBack
ISBN : 9789388540926
Pages : 200
Year of Pub : 2021 ( 1st Published in 2020 )
Price : Rs 975.00
Counted among the foremost vedic scholars and philologists of his
time, Tarapada Chowdhury taught Sanskrit at Patna University for
close to a quarter of a century. This volume presents his landmark treatise On the Interpretation of Some Doubtful Words in the Atharvaveda, first published in 1931, along with six other classic essays on the Vedas, Ramayana, Linguistics of Bengali and the poetics of Kalidasa: ‘Theism in Āyurveda’ (1934); ‘The Vedas’ and ‘Ramayana’ first published in History of Philosophy: Eastern and Western edited by S. Radhakrishnan (1952); ‘The Unādisūtras: A Review’ (1936); ‘Some Phonetic Peculiarities of the Bengali Dialect of Manbhum’ (1951) and ‘Linguistic Aberrations in Kālidāsa’s Writings’ (1951).
The volume will be of immense interest to scholars of Sanskrit,
Vedic linguistics, Kalidasa and Hindu philosophy.

About the Author
Tarapada Chowdhury (1906-59) M.A., B.L., Ph.D (London) was Head of Department Sanskrit, Patna College, Patna University. He also
taught Linguistics, German, French and Bengali at the University. Among his major works is Unādisūtrani (1940), Avyayaviveka (1946), and the critical editions of Śaiśiriya-Śiksā (1935); Paryāyaratnamālā (1946) and Paryāyamuktāvali (1946).

Publisher’s Preface

At the time of his untimely demise, around the middle of the twentieth century, Tarapada Chowdhury was rated among the foremost scholars of Vedic philosophy and philology in India, by scholars as diverse as R.R. Diwakar, Nalin Vilochan Sharma and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Chowdhury in fact would contribute two chapters to S. Radhakrishnan’s landmark History of Philosophy: Eastern and Western (2 vols.) brought out by George Allen and Unwin in 1952. One on ‘The Vedas’ and the other on ‘Ramayana’. Both are represented in our volume. We start the volume with ‘On the Interpretation of Some Doubtful Words in the Atharvaveda’, Chowdhury’s 1930 PhD thesis from University of London. A classic treatise, it is in Chowdhury’s own words ‘an attempt to find the value of a certain number of obscure words in the Atharvaveda. The suggested readings and meanings are by no means absolutely certain; they are to be taken for what they are worth. The main criteria (besides context) in determining them have been the following: (1) text criticism, (2) linguistics principles holding in the Indo-European or Indo-Aryan languages or in Sanskrit itself, (3) uses, remarks, or parallel passages in later literature and (4) facts otherwise known’. It is dedicated to Mahāmahopādhyāya Rāmāvtāra Śarmā, his guru at Patna University. In a singular recognition of its exellence, the thesis was published in full in JBORS in 1931.
Tarapada Chowdhury was also my grandfather. I never met him as he passed away 15 years before my birth. But stories of his polymath erudition and panditai were the staples of my childhood and growing up years in Patna, and I must admit I looked at them with the twin lenses of pride and scepticism. Not anymore. Now only the pride remains.
The volume also contains his short essay on ‘Theism in Āyurveda’, first published in Kalyanakalpataru in 1934. His long review article on ‘The Uṇadisūtras’ in its various recensions, looks at its importance as an authoritative guide to the position of the accent and the right sequence of sounds in a large number of nominal stems. Apart from being Head of Department, Sanskrit, Tarapada Chowdhury was also the first Head of Dept. Bengali at Patna University. His essay ‘Some Phonetic Peculiarities of the Bengali Dialect of Manbhum’ shows his lifelong love for the Bengali language, in particular the sweet yet robust variation spoken in his native Purulia, erstwhile Manbhum district of undivided Bihar.
The long essay, ‘Linguistic Aberrations in Kālidāsa’s Writings’ brings the volume to a close and is a testament to his vast and eclectic scholarship. It is dedicated to his other great patron and mentor at Patna, Kashi Prasad Jayaswal. This volume brings together these classic essays (most of them out of print) on Vedic philosophy, linguistics and Indology for the first time under one cover. The essays have not been altered in any manner and have been reproduced in its original style when first published. We are grateful to the estate of
Dr. Chowdhury for providing the essays and facilitating the curation of the volume.
I also wish to convey my profuse thanks to Dr. Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, who read ‘On the Interpretation’ at short notice and pronounced it ‘. . . very good for its date, based on a thorough review of previous literature (including French and German), philology of the text and linguistic observations.’ His validation firmed up my resolve to publish the volume under our own imprint. And in the end my heartfelt gratitude to Sri Ramesh Jain who agreed to bring out the volume in this, the golden jubliee year, of Manohar.
New Delhi Siddharth Chowdhury
8 October 2019 Editor
(Vijay Dashami) Manohar


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