On the occasion of José María Arguedas’ Birth and the anniversary of Lima

These days in Peru we are carry out different festivities. Among the religious people, for example, are those of San Antonio and San Sebastian in Cusco and in different departments of the country.

On 18 January is commemorated the anniversary of the capital city Lima, This is a fact that the national news focuses on with reporting on all kinds of activities. To the great surprise of many, this year the most important news venues not only emphasized the anniversary of our capital, but also on the birthday of the Amauta José María Arguedas.

This recognition of the 106th anniversary of his birth was reflected even in international media. The name of José María Arguedas has been highlighted on January 18 (day of his birth) in the social network Twitter as well.

From this medium we also celebrate the author of “Todas las Sangres” (Every Blood) which recalls a curious historical fact that arose in the capital of Peru in the year 1962 when the British historian Eric Hobsbawn visited South America for the first time to carry out research on change in agrarian societies, a problem that would investigate in the province of the Convention in Cusco and publish years later.

The historian relates in his autobiography, as part of his memoirs in Peru, his encounter with the Amauta José María, where he praises him as a great writer, folklorist and indigenist. Arguedas then leads the historian very early on a Sunday tour of the national coliseum where people from the sierra congregated to listen to songs and jokes from the highlands. There the historian also appreciated the economic and cultural strength of the Andean migrants at that time. He even remembered that there were radio stations that broadcast in Quechua. As far as we know there is no record of a later encounter.

It is difficult to know if Hobsbawn and Arguedas maintained any kind of communication to cultivate their friendship, as Arguedas did with other important scholars such as Pierre Duviols and John Murra.

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