L'avventura Kosambi

In preparation for the Book Fair in Delhi starting Saturday, 9 January, this week Three Essays Collective, Gurgaon publishes an edited book of essays by D D Kosambi, Adventures into the Unknown. The title of this post is a nod to DDK's polygottology: he famously aced a summer course in Italian after being chided mildly by his father for having less than superlative in-semester grades.

As the essays in this collection testify, even half a century after  his death in  1966, D D Kosambi continues to be provocative, instructive, and contemporary. Many of the arguments that he makes in his two didactic and hitherto unpublished essays are insightful and incisive, and display, in a new setting, the range  of his scholarship and the breadth of his interests. The other essays that are included here are his passionate advocacy of solar energy, and his posthumously published  autobiographical essay that outlines his credo, and that lends its title to the book.

The essays have been put together with a preface by Ram Ramaswamy, Professor of Physics at the Jawaharlal Nehru  University in New Delhi. The historian (and Professor Emerita at the JNU)  Romila Thapar has this to say about the book: 

"The essays included in this volume, some published for the first time, demonstrate once again DD Kosambi’s impressive span of reading, and his amazing ability to make interconnections between scientific principles, creative literature and the world we live in. He claimed that he was primarily a mathematician but his vision clearly went far beyond that.

On reading the outline notes to his lectures on Dialectical Materialism one wishes that the text of the lectures had been available. He explains his understanding of Marxism both in theoretical terms as well as drawing from scientific examples and events of everyday life. For him Marxism was a tool of analysis best used by those capable of independent thinking. 

What he says on statistics when speaking of how statistics can be used, is sometimes humorous, but can also become extremely pertinent, as when he describes his application of it to his study of ancient coins. He endorsed solar energy rather than nuclear power, a view that would be supported by far larger numbers of people today. 

These essays, as adventures into the unknown, represent yet another facet of a remarkable man.” 

In our Essays and Nonfiction section, in paperback, ISBN: 9789383968114, 108 pages, Rs 295.






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