A SCHOLAR is the product of his time, environment, the prevailing“ ideas and above all, what he chooses to be. This is especially true in the case of a social scientist, because he oscillates between two worlds, one a world of ideas and the other a world of methods in understanding these ideas, reflected in the culture in its multifaceted forms. In the evaluation of the products of any social scientist both these factors have to be considered concurrently to understand the strength and weaknesses in his work. Verrier Elwin not only belonged to the two worlds of ideas and methods, but also to two differing physical worlds of West and East, looking for the universals of the human mind in literature, history, religion and folklore. In order to understand and evaluate his work I propose here to portray the highlights of his career and orientation, which will corroborate my discussion in the following chapters and ‘prove not only his eclectic methods and scientific ambivalence, but also substantiate my contention that the personality of a social scientist shapes and colors his findings.
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