The Indian Village Community

The Indian Village Community

The Indian Village Community

The Indian Village Community

Excerpt

No apology will be needed for the publication of a book devoted to an account of the 'Village Communities' as found in the several provinces of India. In this department, at any rate, there is a distinctly vacant place. But an apology is very much needed for the imperfect manner in which the attempt to supply the want has now been made. That there are mistakes of detail I cannot but fear; that there are other defects will be only too evident. But the errors will at least be such as admit of ready correction by superior knowledge.

There is another matter for apology. The accounts of the Indian village which have hitherto appeared are either brief and generalised, or they represent an ideal rather than an actual form of the institution. There has been no means of testing such accounts; and it is small wonder that a particular theory of the Indian village has become accepted -- and, indeed, sometimes taken for granted -- by the ablest authors when discussing the rules of Hindu law, or tracing the history of institutions. It is impossible for any later writer wishing to give a faithful account of village-tenures to avoid pointing out the errors which an abstract and unified conception of 'the village' can hardly fail to produce. But, to borrow a phrase of Professor Ashley's, the piety of the disciple takes a controversial form' solely with regard to this theory of Indian villages; and he intends neither to undervalue the works alluded to nor to show any want of respect for their authors.

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