Mankind: In Quest of the Self, Dr Sem Topno, Kalpaz Publications, Pp 320, Rs 750.00
Man has been perturbed over the riddle of how life began on earth and the author tries to answer this query in his own way, though using scientific data wherever applicable.
This book is based on issues of human origin and development. It begins with Darwin’s theory of evolution from the molecule or bacteria with life developing from the lower to the higher state, that is, from animal to human. Here not only Darwin’s theory but even those of Dobzhansky, Emest Mayr, Robert B Downs, Anthony West, Rene Dubois’s concepts are discussed. It says that though science and technology have made stupendous strides, knowledge regarding evolution of Homo sapiens or the modern man is still far from enough as neither the evolutionary theory nor the creation theory has given us concrete proof of how man originated. The evolutionary theory says that humans descended from the ape man or man ape where the missing link is not yet to be found. What differentiates man from apes is that men have more copies of an important brain gene in their genome than the apes.
The author continues to say that Darwin’s theory of evolution does not talk of human feelings of love and peace and for this shortcoming, Darwin had blamed the creator. He adds that the basic concept behind Darwin’s evolutionary theory is that the species by themselves have made improvement for the better in each generation in morphology, in mental capacity and behaviour, but no improvement has been seen in the behaviour of animals or in their mental capacity or morphology as anticipated by Darwin. Darwin’s notion of the survival of the fittest confirms that might is right and blames the creator for creating such behaviour. Darwin, however, hoped that an animal’s behaviour would change through the evolutionary process.
The author then talks of the planet Earth, the Continental Rift, the universe, the Big Crunch theory, the evolutional theory, the Black Hole, etc. and confirms that scientists confirm that modern humans no longer belong to the animal kingdom of ape, but have a separate and distinct species of their own and that all modern humans descended from an African woman. Today scientists are in search of the human predecessor of this African woman.
The author then presents the Indian concepts of earth, planet, humans, etc., particularly as viewed among the Vanvasis since the ages. He laments that apart from the Hindu histories, the Austic-speaking natural aborigines of proto-Australoid origins, “the Santhals, the Mundas and Ho tell stories with different backgrounds and styles of the origin of mankind” are treated as nothing here. He points out that these stories are still narrated during traditional ritual ceremonies and reproduces the stories that the Santhals tell of the flying horses and the Mundas tell of flying reptiles.
(Kalpaz Publications, C-30, Satyawati Nagar, Delhi-110 052, [email protected])