This unique work in four volumes by J. G. Frazer the renowned anthropologist, provides encyclopaedic knowledge about the social advancement of the primitive savage from the crudest from of religion described by social scientists as Totemism to the present day enlightened forms of religion. The four volumes provide what may be taken as a corpus of Totemism and Exogamy the two earliest institutions of primitive man. In a thought-provoking Introduction to this remarkable work, Dr. T.K. Venkatasubramanian, says, "Fetishism and Totemism represent two stages of development in primitive society. Fetishism was a form of primitive religion in which primitive man worshipped natural things. It had nothing to do with Exogamy. Totemism developed out of the sense of weakness and limitation of power on the part of the primitive people. They had recourse to some 'outside agency' A totemism is generally a species of animals such as Bear, Cow, Buffalow, Eagle, Parrot, Snake, Tiger etc. Totemism and Exogamy provide subjects of deeper and perennial study to the students of History and Anthropology. How did the primitive society start Practising Exogamy? The primitive men and women generally married within their tribe but the marriage relations excluded blood relations such as father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister and this practice of marrying within one's group is known as Endogamy. But the tribes abandoned Endogany and practised Exogamy which was the practice of marrying outside one's Tribe. Dr. Venkatasubramanian has rightly said that the thoroughness of Frazer, his picturesque description and balanced remarks tempt us to read the volumes over and over again. His grasp of the subject is amazing. The Todas of India, the Maseis of Africa, the primitive tribes of Africa and Asia and all other parts of globe come within the sweep of his powerful pen. In the last volume he discusses theories of origin of the institutions which have since been branded as archaic in approach and unscientific in method, but still of great significance for the students of history. Such a remarkable work is certain to prove an asset to all pubic and private libraries not only in India but all over the world, besides being a virtual praradise for historians, anthropologists, enthnographers and in fact to all social seientists.
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