National Seminar on History and Traditional Technology of Storage and Agrarian Systems

27th October, 2013

National Seminar

on

History and Traditional Technology of Storage and Agrarian Systems

First Circular

 

Dear

You will be happy to learn that we have planned to organise a national seminar on History and Traditional Technology of Storage and Agriculture under the auspices of Sahitya Sansthan (Institute of Rajasthan Studies, JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University, Udaipur and Indian Council for Historical Research, New Delhi between 27th and 28th October, 2013. 

 

The history of storage and its technology and science goes back to the dawn of early man in South Asia. Storage implies to a variety of things e.g., fire, cereals, water and so on. One may trace the history of agricultural and storage technology back to the Neolithic period or what has been termed in some areas as Proto-Neolithic phase.  It is during the Bronze Age we realise that the society had produced food surplus, which perhaps allowed germination of a variety of crafts, medicinal knowledge, long distance trade and diffusion of ideas and technologies among the diverse cultures or civilizations. This multifaceted development of the first urban people of South Asia could happen simply because they were able to store and preserve surplus food round the year. One may of course find the innovation of certain technologies right in the first urbanisation e.g., textile, civil engineering, metal technology, double cropping, fermentation!, weights and measures, lapidary, storage, glazed pottery technology and so on.

 

The history of agriculture in South Asia goes back to the beginning from 6th millennium BCE both in semi arid ecology and monsoonal zone. In fact Agriculture has much longer history than storage. As the country is composed of diverse climatic zones, we have several agrarian systems. For example, within the state of Rajasthan we have three broad zones of agriculture such as makka (corn), wheat and jowar. We have a variety of foreign introduction in our entire food regime e.g., in fruits, vegetables, cereals and so on. In the agricultural history of course, two introductions e.g., African millets during the Bronze Age and Latin American corn during the Medieval times are well known. The diversity of climate may be proportionate to agriculture and storage techniques used through millennia across the landscape. In fact certain areas having rich bio-diversity, the local knowledge of natural preservative may be quite rich. Such knowledge of storage and preservative will be quite beneficial for generations to come.

 

Considering the archaeological record, we have scores of sites ranging from Neolithic to Medieval Age e.g., Burzahom, Paimpalli, Piklihal, Sangankallu, Tekkalkotta, Banawali, Kalibanga, Bhagwanpura, Daimabad, Daulatpur, Dholavira, Mirzapur, Mitathal, Padri, Rangpur, Kanmer, Rojdi, Sanghol, Ahar, Balathal, Chandoli, Gilund, Kaothe, Kaytha, Mahisdal, Navdatoli, Nevasa, Pandu Rajar Dhibi, Savalda, Songaon, Walki, Rajghat, Varanasi and so on where either silos, underground storage, storage bins, storage jars, remains of cereals have been discovered. Scores of early settlements such as Mehrgarh, Kile Ghul Mohmmad, Rana Ghundai, Harappa, Kunal, Bhirrana, Farmana, Kanmer, Koldihwa, Chirand and so on have evidence of agriculture.

 

The early Sanskrit text also record underground and over ground storage besides agriculture. It seems that both these technologies have a very long history in the country as their tradition system is still prevailing across the landscape. This means that the knowledge of required temperature in the underground and over-ground storage and technique of making storage including natural preservative is still surviving in the form of traditional wisdom. We need to look into the history of techniques of various things such as fire, water, cereals, vegetables, spices, and so on. Unless we understand the history and science of storage and natural preservatives we shall not be able to address the issue in a holistic approach. Perhaps we will have to take into account different climatic zone to study the history of storage. It is an important technology for our sustainable development, which has been miserably ignored.

 

Due to unplanned urbanisation or modernization many of our traditional technologies are disappearing very fast and we are loosing our time tested heritage of traditional wisdom. Unfortunately none of them is part of our curricula. There is therefore an urgency to document the crafts and science (s) that were innovated/ identified by ancient Indians otherwise we will very soon loose all of it. The correct and foolproof idea of sustainable development can emerge only when we learn from the past and preserve the wisdom of forefathers. With this background we propose to hold a national conference on History and technology of traditional storage and agricultural technology at Udaipur The outcome of the seminar, we think, should be essentially for the benefit of common reader and students rather than for the professionals.

 

As you have been interested on History of Science and Technology and have made very important contributions, we request you to send your consent to participate in this seminar.

 

We propose the following themes for seminar: 

1.                            Archaeological record of Storage and Agriculture

2.                            Textual Record of Storage and Agriculture

3.                            Storage in Historical perspective in different climatic zones of the country. 

4.                            Traditional preservatives, purifiers

5.                            Storage making techniques.

6.                            Scientific aspects of different storage systems and techniques

7.                            Agrarian systems and techniques in different climatic zones in the country

8.                            Beginning of domestication of plants in South Asia

9.                            Agricultural tools,

10.                         Seed showing techniques

11.                         Irrigation

12.                         Rituals and rights 

13.                         Any aspect related to storage, natural preservative and Agriculture.

 

Venue : Sahitya Sansthan (Institute of Rajasthan Studies) JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur 313001

 We eagerly look forward to receive your consent and title of the paper.

 M.S. Ranawat                                                                                               J.S. Kharakwal

President                                                                                                  Organising Secretary

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