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Ambastha Kayastha (The Evolution of a Family and Its Socio-Cultural Dimensions)

K.N. Sahay, Commonwealth, 2001, xxi, 344 p, ISBN : 8171696600, $45.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Ambastha Kayastha (The Evolution of a Family and Its Socio-Cultural Dimensions)/K.N. Sahay

Contents: Introduction. 1. The Ambastha Kayastha. 2. The founding ancestor : origin and migrations. 3. Second generation : the main family trunk. 4. Third generation : the four branches. 5. Fourth generation : six main sub-branches. 6. Fifth generation and onward : withering and growth. 7. Marriage ceremonials and traditions. 8. Socio-cultural aspects and some life-styles. Conclusion. Notes. Appendices. References cited. Index.

"The Ambasthas constitute one of the twelve sub-castes of Kayasthas of the country. They are numerically small and mostly confined to the erstwhile state of Bihar. However, many people do not know the history that the Ambastha Kayasthas were found at various parts of the country but perhaps they have got assimilated with the local people.

This study deals with the search of the genesis and development of a particular branch of Ambastha Kayastha family with Puraiyaras Khasghar, which is a family (lineage) of the founding ancestor, Sri Mangal Singh of village Nejatpur under Nawadah district in Bihar. It covers seven generations from the end to eighteenth century to the present time. It is a journey from the rural to the urban way of life. The events of the intervening period have a large range of interesting and penetrating socio-cultural aspects, decadant Kaithi script of the Kayasthas, some fascinating life-styles and dynamics.

Anthropology has a tradition of life-history but this study covering about two hundred years is certainly unique. It was narrated by Sri Sheo Nandan Sahay (Lawyer) and completed over a prolonged period (1952-75) but his long indulgence was well worth as he could go into the depth very leisurely and retrieve valuable materials. The author helped in the narration and subsequently he reorganized the script, modified it, abridged at some places, added supplementary and fresh information, comments and finally reinterpreted it on an anthropological level.

This book has bearing with sociological, historical and psychological dimensions of the study and Ambastha Kayastha family in particular and Kayasthas in general." (jacket)

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