Sign In
  Forgot your username ? Click here !

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.

Displaying 2279 of 4221      Previous | Next

Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India

Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India


Item Code: IDE803

by Ram Sharan Sharma

Hardcover (Edition: 2005)

Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN 8120808274

Language: English
Size: 8.8" X 5.8"
Pages: 493
690 gms
Price: $31.50
Discounted: $23.62   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 25th Jan, 2014


From the Jacket:

The present work Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India discusses different views on the origin and nature of the state in ancient India. It also deals with stages and process of state formation and examines the relevance of caste and kin-based collectivities to the construction of polity. The Vedic assemblies are studied in some detail, and developments in political organization are presented in relation to their changing social and economic background. The book also shows how religion and rituals were brought in the service of the ruling class.

About the Author:

R.S. Sharma is Emeritus Professor of History in Patna University. He also taught in Toronto and Delhi Universities. He was the first chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. The Indian History Congress gave him the V.K. Rajwade Award for his lifelong service and contribution to Indian history. His books include Sudras in Ancient India, Ancient India, Perspectives in social and Economic History of Early India, Material Culture and Social Formations in Ancient India, Indian Feudalism, Urban Decay in India, and Advent of the Aryans in India, Early Medieval Indian Society in his latest work. Sharma's publications appear in fifteen languages, Indian and foreign.

Extracts From Reviews:

"This is a most useful handbook, as well as a most original and meticulous piece of research, on the political theories of ancient Indians and on some of the main political institutions."

A.K. Warder
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African studies

"…competently surveys many interesting aspects of the political thought and practice of ancient India on fresh and sometimes strikingly original lines. The author has a thorough grasp of the relevant sources and uses them with telling effect."

K.A. Nilakantha Shastri
Journal of Indian History

"The revised edition… is clear in exposition, up-to-date in method, and displays remarkable power in handling masses of material. It is by far the best summary of the present state of our knowledge of ancient Indian thought and institutions which is now available; … This is a first-rate book, which is as interesting as it is scholarly."

Times Literary Supplement

"This work is well researched and documented, and is especially useful in terms of the historical development of ancient Indian politics. Dr. Sharma's book has a better balance between theory and practice than most books on the subject. There can be no question, however, that this is one of the major publications in the field which no serious student of ancient Indian politics can ignore."

J. W. Spellman
University of Windsor


Preface to the Fifth Editionvii
Preface to the Third Editionviii
Preface to the Second Editionix
Preface to the First Editionx
Roman equivalents of Nagari lettersxv
IHistoriography of Ancient Indian Polity up to 1930 Imperialist approach verses nationalist ideology 1; Merits and limitations of the nationalist approach 121
IISources and Method
Vedic texts 15; Dharmasutras and Smrtis 16; Epics and Puranas 18; Kautilya and Kamandaka 20; Buddhist and Jain texts 23; Coins and inscriptions 25; Greek and Chinese accounts 28; Comparison and coordination 30
IIIThe Saptanga Theory of the State
Analysis of the seven elements 31; Comparison with Greek and modern concepts of the state 38; Calamities affecting the elements 41; Relative importance of the elements 43; The "organic" theory of the state 47
IVTheories of Property, Family and Varna Regarding the Origin of the State
Main features of the state of nature 49; Origin of the social institutions and state 51; Kingless society 55; Duties of the king and the Origin of the State 57
VThe Contract Theory of the Origin of the State: An Historical Survey
Evidence of the Brahmanas 63; Evidence of the Digha Nikaya 64; Kautilya's views 68; Evidence of the Mahavastu69; Evidence of the Santi Parva 71; Buddhist and Brahmanical attitudes 75
VITheory of "Oriental Despotism": A Socio-Economic Critique
Ecological and psychological explanations 77; Role of irrigation 78; Royal ownership of land 79; Self-sufficiency of village 82; Presence of the exploiting class; Motivated generalizations 86
VIIVidhata: The Earliest Folk-Assembly of the Indo-Aryans
References and interpretation 87; Woman membership 88; Deliberative and distributive functions 91; Military nature 93: Religious functions 94; Collective nature of sacrifice 98; Composition and antiquity 101; Earliest assembly 103
VIIISabha and Samiti
I Sabha: Constitution 105; Function 107; Sabha and the king 109
II Samiti: Composition 111; Function 112
III Relation between the Sabha and the Samiti: Similarities 116; Differences 117
IXThe Vedic Gana and the Origin of the Post-Vedic Republics
Variations in the meaning of the term gana 119; Tribal and military character of the Vedic gana 120; Functions of the Vedic gana 122; Nature of the composition and functions of the Vedic gana 126; Origin of the post-Vedic republics 130; Reaction of the deprived chiefs 131
XThe Early Parisad
Vedic references 133; Epics and Puranic evidence regarding the military character of the parisad 135; Size and composition of the parisad137; Changes in later Vedic and post-Vedic times 139
XIRatnahavimsi Ceremony
Analysis of the ratnin lists 143; Specificities of the Satapatha Brahmana list 151; Political organization as known from the ratninlists 153
XIITribal and Primitive Aspects of the Later Vedic Polity
Social and political implications of the rajasuya 159; DevasuhavimsiCeremony 159; Other rituals of the rajasuya 161; Cow-raid and game of dice 163; Chariot-race and other vajapeya rituals 164; Review of the coronation rituals 164; Review of the coronation rituals 167
XIIIKin-conflicts and Rise of Hierarchy in Later Vedic Times
Conflict between the chief and his kinsmen 171; Help from the brahmanas 173; Conflict and the rise of the varna system 175; Increasing power of the ruling chiefs 177; Lineage and tributes 179; Kin-based fighting hosts 181; Erosion of the kinship and rise of the proto-state 182
XIVFrom Gopati to Bhupati: Changing Position of the King
Meaning of rajan 185; Vispati and other terms used for the chief 187; Post-Vedic terms for the king 190; Gupta and post-Gupta terms for royal ownership of land 191
XVTaxation and State Formation in Northern India in Pre-Maurya Times
Relative place of treasury and coercion in the state 197; Material conditions and the availability of surplus 199; Regular collection of land revenue 203; Machinery for revenue collection 209; Rajabhogagam and bhogagama 212; Increasing taxes and growth of non-kin state apparatus 217; Taxes and professional soldiers in different kingdoms 223; Advent of taxation and emergence of the state 226
XVIVarna in Relation to Law and Politics (C. B.C. 600-A.D. 500)
Varna and the origin of the state 233; Varna in relation to kingship 235; Varna in relation to army and bureaucracy 237; Varna element in the parisad, the paura and janapada 241; Varna justice and legislation 243; Dominance of the two upper varnas 247; Exclusion of the two lower varnas 250
XVIIReligion and Politics in the Arthasastra of Kautilya
I Influence of religion on the policy of the state: Internal and external policy 253; Attitude towards the brahmanas and brahmanical religion 255; Ideas on the divinity of kingship 259; Attitude towards the heterodox sects 261; Non-and anti-religious aspects of the state 263
II Superstition and Politics: Raising money through superstitious devices 266; Superstitions and external policy 268; Deliberate use of superstitions 271
XVIIIThe Satavahana Polity
Background of state formation 275; Traces of the Asokan system 276; Amatyas and other officers 277; Financial system 278; Artisans and merchants in local administration 279; Matrilineal traces in polity 281; Rural administration 284; Fiscal and administrative immunities 287; General appraisal 289
XIXThe Kushan Polity
Background of the polity 291; Grandiloquent titles of the king 291; Feudatory political system 294; Dual governorship 295; Military system 296; Village administration 299; Forms of land tenure 300; Devaputra, devakula and divinity of the king 301
XXKusana Elements in the Gupta Polity
Introductory 311; Divinity and royal titles 312; Use of cavalry 313; Continuity of Kusana officials 315; Guild system 317; Feudatory practices 318
XXIThe Gupta Polity
Economic and political background 321; Features of kingship 322; Ministers and high officers 323; Military system 327; Taxation 328; Provincial and district administration 330; Town administration 334; Law and Justice 336; Feudal elements 339
XXIIStage in Ancient Indian Polity: Vedic and Post-Vedic
I The Rg Vedic Phase: Tribal Military Democracy
Material and social background 349; Tribal kingship 352; Tributes and lack of regular army 355; Few officers 356
II The Later Vedic Phase: Transition to Class and Territorial Government
Material and social setup 357; Rise of territorial kingship 359; Tributes, officers and kin-based army 361; Towards the state system362
III The Pre-Maurya Phase: Territorial Monarchies and Tribal Oligarchies
Material developments in eastern U.P. and Bihar 363; Officials, taxes and army in monarchies 364; Nature of oligarchies/republics 367
XXIIIStages in Ancient Indian Polity: Maurya and Later
I The Maurya Phase: Centralized Bureaucratic Interlude
Economic and political background 371; Exaltation of state power and elaboration of bureaucracy 372;Army and criminal administration 374; Urban and rural administration 375; Central control in a large area 377
II The Post-Maurya phase: Divinity and Decentralization
Material and social setting 378; Elements of decentralization 379: Autonomous towns 380; Fiscal and military system 382; Divine aspects of the kingship 384
III The Gupta Phase: Proto-Feudal Polity
Economic and political 371 background 386; Army and taxes 387; Local Administration 388; Administration of justice 389; Feudatories 390; Landed beneficiaries 391-392
Appendix to Chapter XXIII: I
Pooling of resources 392; Provision for controlling departmental heads 393; Mandala theory not typical of Maurya times 394; Extent of state control as known from Megasthenes and Asokan inscriptions 395; Material background of the state control 399; Concepts of empire and bureaucracy 401
Appendix to Chapters XXII and XXIII: I (a)
From Jana to Janapadanivesa
Jana 403; Janapada 403; Janapadin 404; Mahajanapada 405; Janapadanivesa 405; Evidence from Asokan Inscriptions 408; Conclusion 408
Ancient India's contribution to the theories of the state 411; Vedic communal assemblies 411; Varna and polity 412; Main phases in ancient Indian polity 413
General Index431
A Pali, Sanskrit and Allied Terms446
B Authorities456

Displaying 2279 of 4221      Previous | Next

Customer Comments

Post a Comment

Post Review
My Gallery
You can keep adding items you like to this gallery as a Wish List. If you Sign In we will remember your Gallery for your future reuse.
Delete | Add to Cart
Sign In | Register to save to My Gallery
Related Links
Related Items
TRUSTe online privacy certification
We accept PayPal  VISA  MasterCard  Discover  American Express
Site Powered by