M. Abul Fazl Pallavas, whose dynasty ruled long in Indian Tamil Nadu, had to first justify their presence in South Asia and especially in the Peninsula. They did not care to answer the first question. But about the second, they say a young prince fell in love with a Naga princess of the Neth-erworld. When he was leaving her, he told her that if she set their child adrift with a young twig or creeper tied to its body, he would find it. The mother did so and the father found the child, who founded the Pallava dynasty. Fine. But which mot-her would abandon her newborn, with or without a twig, to the mercy of a river. Things were easier in the primitive community with its free love. The mother usually did not know the father of the child, and did not need to, because the whole community was responsible for feeding and protecting it. It was everyones child. So there was no need to float it in any river. Well, not exactly. Free love existed only during the early and the high period of the primitive community. It had changed into group marriage with the appearance of property, group property but still property and that much before the formation of classes and states. So the explanation for the Pallava dynasty is pure myth. But myths are not invented for fun. As Malinowski says: They were essentially charters of validation in which the aim was very often to provide a sanction for current situations. Thus, myths with similar lessons tend to appear together in large numbers to denote major social changes, e.g. from the matrilineal to the patrilineal society. Romila Thapar quotes the legend of Pururavas and Urvashi in this connection, whose earliest version, according to her, is in the Rig Veda. Urvashi is an Apsara or divine nymph. She is expelled from the paradise for a period and King Pururavas falls in love with her. She agrees to live with him on condition that she never sees him naked. But when the gods decide to recall her, they arrange to have her rams stolen in the middle of the night. The king runs after the thieves. But there is a flash of lightning. So Urvashi sees him naked and disappears. He searches long for her. When he finds her, she refuses to return to his house but bears him many sons. The moon lineage of rulers starts from their eldest son and from another is descended Parsu-ram, the destroyer of Khatris. Thus, the principle of primogeniture is established. (Cultural Pasts, Pub by OUP, New Delhi, 2005, p 763). All these events illustrate the passage to patriarchy, which came when hunting-gathering was succeeded by the production of food, through the cultivation of land and the rearing of animals. But the myths were only an ideological version of what happened. The talk of kings and queens in these stories is also meaningless. In the early stages of food production, the villages had to appoint guards for the fields, cattle etc and the chief of the guard gradually became the king, who, as Marx said, lived little better than his servants. But when production became stable and the rulers could create dynasties, that had to be codified. There even celestial bodies were called in for help. Hence, the Moon and Sun dynasties in the Gangetic Valley. Even now, we have an emperor descended from the sun. A rising system needs no justification. It conquers. Myths romanticise its triumph. As the Sanskrit poet Bhavabhuti puts it: From him, as from the eastern mountain, Full and shining in the splendour of merit, A joy to all in this world who are blessed with sight, Sprang like the moon an only child. The writer is a former ambassador.