The Marxist Historian “Marxism is a tool of analysis and not a substitute for thinking. ” Gambit’s writings urge today’s historians to also take an intellectual leap with the creative use of Marxism. He explored the essential relationship between faith and socio-economic factor, which gives us yet another facet of understanding Ancient Indian Religion and History. What set him apart from the others was his determination to maintain, indeed the increase in the standard of rigor in his factual and textual research.
He id not merely apply Marxism, but minutely scrutinized every situation by placing Marxist ideologies in perspective. Even though Kombi was a Marxist, he refused to be dogmatically so. It was for him a method, a tool of analysis’ and not ‘a substitute for thinking. ‘ His methods combined the use of variety of sources, disciplines and comparative techniques and a valid aim to understand the entirety of Indian History. His treatment of religion is a set of beliefs and practices of a particular time, fundamentally being related to production of material goods of that time.
Calling religious rituals, “ritual malpractices” clearly shows Gambit’s low opinion of Religion. Superstition and ritual malpractices is looking at Ancient Religion for mud and having no regard for the ideal. Whereas, the philosophical part of the religion makes him look at it with a mind which might be material biased. Kombi gave a very different paradigm for the others to follow. Stating that the foremost historical change in ancient India was not between dynasties but in the advance of village settlements, which snowballed tribesmen into peasant cultivators and craftsmen.
Highlighting specifically the urban Indus valley civilization. Taking the instance of this, he believed that there was an unequal sharing of surplus. He believed that religion played an integral part in creating a secure blanket around this civilization. Wherein they were critical of what they did as the eyes of region and rituals were always watching them. This was the reason one does not find weapons during that time. The weapons which were found were delicate, flimsy and nothing sharp like a sword had been discovered. This emphasized that they were belief driven.
The tagging tradition was broken and changed by the Aryan invasion. Kombi went on to describe the war-god Indri. He being the true essence of Orientation. They destroyed the agricultural system of the Harp. They followed “flood and harrow’ type agriculture. This was apparently disrupted by Indri, who in the Rig Veda was freeing the rivers from a demon. Kombi worked hard to cite the meanings of the demon Bavaria”to be ‘obstacle ‘or ‘barrage’. However the flood irrigation was the Indus practice, which made the land filled with mush making it impossible to graze over long reaches.
Towards the end, Indri had become this symbol of power and harshness. This was not considered suitable as an object of faith. From there came the rise of Vishnu- Marinara-Krishna. Even though the findings of Kombi are in great detail, they seemed too farfetched. Backing of substantial evidence is lacking. Some recent contrasting findings have cornered the possibility of Aryans having introduced the use to the plough. Anthropology is very dynamic. Ever changing. One cannot have a fixed definition or a right answer to anything. Everyone’s perspective and work is taken into account.
An individual that in command with his qualities as a historian, his analytical mind to look at things in a different light is evident through such a holistic and original work. New research and findings will always overhaul older conclusions. However Gambit’s different methods and insights have to be appreciated. This shows us a different spectrum of thoughts and ideas. Kombi made conclusions which have had basis on myths and superstitions. These may not be credible as one can never be completely sure of. His findings about the Dark Hero, painted a picture of love and belief.
On the basis of the deities and goddesses, people followed certain practices. For instance, marriages of gods implied human marriages as a recognized institution. He genuinely loved Krishna, who was described to be indefinable. Krishna was everything, in every sphere, in every form. From a lover to a mischievous shepherd boy to a divine and lovable infant. His popularity was on the basis of performance of a set of important socio-economic functions. The archaeological data and evidence about Krishna is the traditional weapon, the discus.
Kombi attributed weapons and other artifacts to infer from hem to make certain conclusions. Krishna dark skin is attributed to the recombination of the Aryans with the aborigines. Kombi goes on to make lots of references from the Inhabitant, wherein Krishna was not a single historical figure, but a mixture of many semi-legendary heroes. This helped in the formation of new food producing societies. Apparently this was the reason behind Baghdad Gait given to Krishna, as he had that much influence in the food processing societies. One of the things that Kombi was interested by was “backbit’ or personal devotion.
This hanged the new state to be feudal all the way. According to him a religion having backbit was the most ideal for such a state having such loyalty. However Kombi was criticized to be very assertive. This blinds ones Judgment as only one major point of view is read about. A neutral, objective type of analysis was missing. According to me, AD Kombi, a man with such a multi faceted personality, made inferences and conclusions from what was best available to him during his time period. Even though he has such an incredible, sharp historian, still he kept referring to tribes as savages.
One aspect which blinded his work was probably his view on anthropology. Thinking of it as a data base, and not as a method to collect and analyze information. Kombi was very structured and functioned well, however he was driven by few principles. Which made his work very one sided and biased. History was more highlighted in his work, than the ethnographic part of anthropology. Kombi was also picked on to deduce Gait in a highly subjective manner. Also the aspect of backbit was also found in various different contexts previously, and there was no such novelty which Kombi spoke about.
The more the number of people, the more difference in perspectives. One may disagree with a lot of findings of Gambit’s study, might pin downs points of differences too. However we can never take away the man’s efforts in giving a paradigm shift about Indian Religion. As a historian he possesses certain qualities like his analytical mind, his rigor to do something unusual will always be undeniable and undisputed. Maybe, that’s why everyone believes AD Kombi the name is the epitome of greatness, who gave the world certain landmark, ground- breaking perspectives. He was truly a man to Renaissance versatility.