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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Elwin and Kamat Durable Link to this BLOG
The other day, a scholar called me from Nevada via telephone and said --"We must translate Kamat's books to English. Otherwise Indian tribals will always be studied from a foreigner's point of view, because of Elwin's books!"

Many scholars have compared studies of native people of India (a.k.a. tribals or scheduled tribes) conducted by Verrier Elwin and studies conducted by Bappa (my dad), some decades later. In one function that I attended, I have heard severe criticism of Elwin as a cheat, and an exploiter of poor tribals.

My dad himself didn't harbor such feelings about Elwin, and in fact he was full of admiration.

Today BBC reports on the destitution suffered by Elwin's widow.

You know, Elwin was a very respected leader of his time; he served in high offices, his books were published by famous publishers (so there's lot of recurring royalties) and there is no reason for me to believe that his tribal wife Kausalya (Kosi), featured in the BBC article must suffer the humiliation of such extreme poverty.

Makes me want to believe that (as accused by that speaker), Kosi was but an object of rejoice for Elwin. He neither cared nor provided for her, something even an illiterate and ignorant tribal man would do.

Update from Amma (via telephone): According to close associate of Elwin, Kosi was a spendthrift woman. Elwin couldn't reform her of primitive habits such as "living for the day without care for tomorrow", or "husband is one whom you are with". It is said that Elwin was utmost patient with her, but finally gave up.

See Also:
• Verrier Elwin and Peacock Dress
• Free Sex System of Tribals of Madhya Pradesh

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, May 4, 2006
Last Modified: 5/4/2006 10:26:05 PM

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