MR. VERRIER ELWIN has made notable contributions to anthropology in India. In his remarkable monograph on the Baiga, he has shown that he can get deeper into the life of a primitive tribe than any of his predecessors in that field, while his second monograph, on the Agaria, has shown that he is as well able to present the life of a primitive craftsman and iron-smelter as that of the primitive hunter, agriculturist and poet which makes a Baiga. It must be confessed, however, that his presidential address to the Section of Anthropology and Archæology at the Indian Science Congress at Delhi last January is far from being the happiest of his efforts. He calls it "Truth in Anthropology"; but the matter that follows the title puts one in mind at once of jesting Pilate, for it fairly bristles with controversial opinions stated dogmatically as truths. Worse than that, to allege, for example, that Frazer, Wester-marck and Briffault have been influenced in any way by the political bias of their sources of information is a very improper and unjust imputation on the scientific integrity of three great men, of whom two at any rate are no longer alive to defend their reputations. To suggest of Briffault, of all people, that his "only standard of judgment appears to be political1 respectability", shows an ignorance of his work so profound as to make Mr. Elwin's strictures as worthless as they are deplorable. Let him take and read "Reasons for Anger" before he talks further of Briffault and political respectability. To decry the value of 'Frazer's work is, of course, rather the fashion, and those who do so rarely seem to have read what he wrote or to realize that, had he not written, it is doubtful whether they would ever have written either. Mr. Elwin adds nothing to his stature by swelling their numbers.
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HUTTON, J. Truth in Anthropology. Nature 153, 624–625 (1944). https://doi.org/10.1038/153624b0