A Multi-faceted Study of Coimbatore
Malvika Maheshwari
PERSPECTIVES ON A REGIONAL CULTURE by Brenda E.F. Beck Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1980, 211 pp., 65.00
Jan-Feb 1980, volume 4, No 1-2

The present volume, of which Brenda Beck is the editor as well as main contri­butor, is an interesting collection of seven essays on social anthropology, physical geography, demography and urban deve­lopment. All these aim at a multifaceted study of the Coimbatore area in Tamil­nadu. Consequently, one is exposed to new approaches to the study of ethnogra­phic and census data. The main thrust of the book is to identify different ways of perceiving the growth of a region. Well documented, with extensive maps, charts and maps, Perspectives on a Regional Culture is a good example of how inter­disciplinary approaches can and do work. The first essay by Brian J. Murton, a geographer from the University of Hawaii, is a historiographical account of the growth of the Kongu region which en­compasses Coimbatore district. Using primary data as varied as copper inscrip­tions, place names and revenue records, the author comes to the conclusion that while the villages of the area were perhaps never self-sufficient, trade and market centers developed early in order to aid integration and unity.

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