Contents: Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Semotic break: the process of Adharottara in Chhattigarh. 3. Guru Ghasidasa and Satnam-Pantha. 4. The semiotics of Satnam. 5. The model of Jait Khambha. 6. Satnam paradigm of Satloka. 7. Satnami speech behaviour. 8. The forest of symbols. 9. The forest-songs. 10. Panthi: the sectarian dance and song. Appendices: 1. P. Vans Agnew: a report on the Subah or province of Chhattisghur. 2. E.M. Gordon: some notes concerning the people of Mungeli tehsil, Bilaspur district. 3. Charles Grant: the gazetteer of central provinces. 4. P.N. Bose: Chhattisgar: notes on its tribes, sects and castes. Glossary of Chhattisgarhi terms. Bibliography. Index.
"This book is an invitation to scholars to rediscover the past glory of Chhattisgarh--a little known but fascinating part of middle India. The purpose of this book is to present a new method to explore the 'hidden' meaning in the oral tradition of Chhattisgarh.
The book then presents a semiotic approach to the oral history of Chhattisgarh. It is the history from the bottom which betrays the anguish of a community, and demands the shaping of a just and realistic future for the under-privileged and outcasts in Indian society.
It is the use of mythology to present history. A new history has been filtered from the mythical data of Chattisgarh. Mythical thoughts of Guru Ghasidasa mediate the gaps between continuity and change, thereby authenticating the idea of 'total history' of Chhattisgarh.
The book expresses both the tradition and the actual. It is a combination of intra-cultural (Sastra and Loka) and intercultural relations: therefore intertextalism is connected not only with historic texts but also with folkgenre. It may thus give a broader dimension to the present-day realities and past happenings. It is hoped that the book will be a cause for collective action. It is also hoped that freedom and human dignity will continue to be the central concern of all the works of history." (jacket)
[H.L. Shukla also wrote Tribal Heritage of Madhya Pradesh, History of People of Bastar and Semiotic Indica.]