About the Book
This book presents the most detailed mapping yet attempted of India during ancient times, from the arrival of man to c. AD 750. The text aims at providing substantiation, through adequate referencing, of what has been depicted on the maps. It also seeks to clarify many problems of archaeology and chronology that beset mapping of ancient India.
The character of the information varies, to a considerable extent, according to the nature of the sources available. While in the first four maps the atlas mainly delineates the areas of archaeological cultures, in subsequent maps it becomes possible to show approximate boundaries of dynastic states. Economic information is furnished for all periods; and linguistic changes are also traced to the degree possible.
Over 1075 sites and places are plotted on the maps, and precise coordinates for them are furnished in an index. There is a full bibliography, listing all sources used. The atlas is thus designed to serve both as a work of reference for the researcher and as an aid to the general reader in understanding the ever-changing human geography of our ancient land.
About the Author
Irfan Habib (b. 1931), Professor Emeritus of History at the Aligarh Muslim University, published his path-breaking work, Agrarian System of Mughal india, in 1963 (revised ed., 1999). His next major work, An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1983), was a unique effort to provide detailed mapping of individual regions of the time. His more recent works include Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception (1995), Medieval India:
The Study of a Civilization (2008) and (with collaborators) Economic History of Medieval India (1200-1500) (2010). He is the General Editor of the People's History of India series. He has co-edited Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. I, and UNESCO's History of Humanity, Vols. IV and V, and History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol. V. His publications cover a wide field, embracing practically all periods of Indian history and exploring diverse aspects of the past. He has also been the recipient of several national and international honours.
Faiz Habib (b. 1962), Cartographer at the Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, has specialized in the preparation of historical maps, since 1982. These have appeared in Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. 11, UNESCO's History of Humanity, Vol. V, the People's History of India series of the Aligarh Historians Society/tulika, and numerous other publications, including those of the Oxford University Press, National Book Trust and Indian Council of Historical Research. He has co-authored with Irfan Habib papers (with maps) on medieval Indian geography as also those on ancient India that have formed the basis of this atlas.
Particulars about how the present atlas (comprising maps, texts and indexes) has been compiled and about its sources, scope and limitations, are given in the Introduction; so these matters need not detain us here. This Preface is mainly concerned with grateful acknowledgements of help received by us from institutions and individuals.
Much, to begin with, is owed to the rich collection of maps at the Cartography Lab., which the late Professor S. Nurul Hasan, as Chairman of the Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, established within the Department. The second author, who is mainly responsible for the' drawing of the maps in this atlas, received his training (and much assistance in actual work on mapping for this atlas) from Mr Zahoor Ali Khan, his predecessor as Cartographer to the Department, with whom he worked for over two decades.
After the preparation of each map and the text for it, these were presented at the annual sessions of the Indian History Congress, and there drew helpful comments and criticisms from many colleagues. Away from these sessions, there were other opportunities too of our securing attention from scholars. Three stand out among those who have helped us: Professor B.N. Mukherjee, for the generosity with which he provided us with copies of his publications and papers, along with advice; Professor Wayne Begley, for a special favour we record in the Introduction; and Professor K.M. Shrimali, for not only a penetrating survey of the work done by us, as embodied in our original maps and texts, but also for the loan of books that we were in need of.
Among other scholars, who have kindly assisted us, by way of answering our queries, pointing out errors and omissions in our maps and giving us references and access to books, mention should be made (in an alphabetical order) of Dr Ishrat Alam, the late Professor Suraj Bhan, the late Professor A.H. Dani, Professor M.K. Dhavalikar, the late Professor R.C Gaur, Dr Shankar Goel, Professor D. . Jha, the late Professor A.R. Kulkarni, Mr G.K. Krishnan, Dr Makhan Lal, Mr Iravatham Mahadevan, Dr Jaya Menon, Professor Shireen Moosvi, Professor K. Paddayya, Professor Pus hp a Prasad, Dr K.Y. Ramesh, Professor Sreeramula R. Sarma, Dr Gautam Sengupta, Dr Prabhat K. Shukla, Dr Victor Sarianidi, Professor Y. Subbarayalu, and Professor Maurizio Tosi. Dr adeem A. Rezavi and Dr Jawed Akhtar gave us valuable assistance during our search for co-ordinates of a number of places.
We should like to express our special gratitude to the authorities and staff, past and present, of the Library of the Department of History, Aligarh, and the Library of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, for constant courtesy and readiness to help. The Centre of Human Sciences, Cultural Section of the French Embassy, New Delhi, let us consult their copy of W. Ball and J.C. Gardin's Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan.
Throughout the preparation of the atlas in its final form, we have had the benefit of counsel and criticism from Professor Sayera 1. Habib. She has closely scrutinized all our chapters and eliminated numerous instances of infelicity of language and reasoning. We are sure this has made our text far less intractable for the reader than it would otherwise have been.
Professor Tariq Ahmad, the present Chairman, Department of History, has placed us in his debt by his decision to improve immensely the conditions of work in the Cartography Lab.
When the text had to be prepared for the press, the Aligarh Historians Society undertook the necessary job of first getting the previous texts of papers word-processed, and then incorporating our endless changes and setting up the press copy. This work has been carried out, under Professor Shireen Moosvi's supervision, by Mr Muneeruddin Khan with his usual competence.
Mr Arshad Ali looked after the inescapable paper work at the Society's office, and Mr Idris Beg performed numerous chores on our behalf.
We are grateful to Mr Manzar Khan, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (OUP), India, for agreeing to publish this atlas; to Dr Shashank Sinha, an old friend and Senior Commissioning Manager, for encouraging us to finish the work in time; to Ms Sutapa Ghosh, Publishing Editor, and Mr Aakash Chakrabarty, Editor, for agreeing to handle a text so beset with variations in style and littered with diacritical marks; and to Mr Susanta Mondal, Production Manager, for getting the atlas through the press.
On the maps, the original stencilled legends had to be replaced with clearer computer-set letters, and various colours too had to r be chosen and applied. Once this was done, we came up with still further corrections and changes: Mr Nitendra B. Srivastava, of Spatial Technologies, New Delhi, won our hearts by sitting at his computer in individual sessions with us for hours without end, cheerfully accepting the numerous alterations we wanted and skilfully setting right all kinds of other awkward problems on the maps.
Faiz Habib wishes also to thank Salman, Amber, Abha, Saman, and Amit for the affection he has received from them.
We had hoped that we would be able to present a copy of this atlas to Professor Ram Sharan Sharma, the doyen of Indian historians, who had taken so much interest over the years in our work. Since Professor R.S. Sharma passed away in August 2011, this hope, to our deep regret, remained unfulfilled. But a few months before he died, Professor Sharma had spoken to the first author on telephone, and graciously granted us permission to dedicate this atlas to him. We, therefore, now present it as a modest offering to his memory.
When in 1986 at the 47th session of the Indian History Congress (IHC), held at Srinagar, Kashmir, we presented a paper, 'The Economic Map of India, AD 1-300', we could hardly have imagined that this was the beginning of a long-drawn endeavour to map practically all the periods of prehistoric and ancient India. Yet, this was what it proved to be; and, as we pursued the enterprise, with varying degrees of persistence, our efforts resulted in thirteen papers in all, submitted at as many sessions of the IHC, until 2007, when, at its Delhi session the last one (accompanying Map 2) was presented. The IHC overcame, in later years, its earlier inability to print the maps we had previously simply displayed at its sessions; now, the maps (cur into parts) began also to be published in IHC's Proceedings in black and white, along with the texts of our papers. The texts and maps, after their initial publication, have been subjected to constant revision, during which two maps and the papers accompanying them have been consolidated into one (Map 11 and the text for it). Three geographical indexes (placed at the end of this volume) have been compiled in the final stage. Their compilation has necessitated a search for the co-ordinates of no less than 1075 places, this being the number of entries in the Place Index, counted by disregarding the occurrences of the same places on different maps, and the entries for variant names. The process has necessitated a checking, once again, of the map positions of practically all the places concerned. Even as we worked on what we thought were final touches, new information continued to become available, or sources, not previously consulted, imperiously beckoned, causing us repeatedly to correct and update maps and texts.
The fact that our atlas originated in maps and papers for audiences at the Ancient India and the Archaeology Sections of the Indian History Congress, makes it obvious that one object of the atlas is to serve as a work of reference for scholars and students of prehistory and ancient history. The maps are designed primarily to show, as accurately as possible, major archaeological and historical sites and places (with the Place Index offering a further aid to precision). Hopefully, however, the atlas is not just a work of reference. It aims at presenting through its maps the movements of the human species, formation of regional archaeological 'cultures', aspects and phases of language history, political boundaries and administrative centres, towns and ports, economic features and even technological developments, during various segments of time.
Such maps should be of use to a wide range of readers, who are interested in any of the varied aspects of our past, including, of course, historical geography, pure and simple.
Before we pass on to certain technical matters, a few words may be offered about the general plan of the atlas. The maps are arranged in chronological sequence, only three pairs of Maps, viz. Nos. 4-5, 8-9 and 11-12, being broadly synchronous. We begin with the evolution and diffusion of the human species (the theme of Map 1); and the rest of Prehistory (including 'Proto-history') is covered by Maps 2-4. All the first four maps are based, practically entirely, on archaeological evidence. Map 5 is constructed on the basis of linguistic and textual evidence, and Maps 6-12 draw on written (including originally orally transmitted) texts. Inscriptions form our major source for Maps 7 and 11; and Maps 8 and 10 rest entirely on them. Beginning with Map 6, we have also used numismatic evidence, especially for Map 9. Archaeological finds have also been put to use from Map 6 onwards.
The themes of the maps have been largely determined by the information available to us. We have exhibited economic data on our maps, two being exclusively devoted to them. We have, it must be confessed, not attempted to map art and religious history. The size and complexity of the data and the further time the undertaking would require have deterred us. For this, apologies are due, especially, to Professor K.M. Shrimali, who has specifically noted the non-fulfilment of our light-hearted promise made earlier in regard to the mapping of religious developments.
List of Abbreviations
The Indian Subcontinent-Physical
From Oxford Reference Atlas for India and the World, 2010
Evolution & Diffusion of Humankind
Archaeological Cultures, 1800-600 BC
Historical Geography of India, 1800-600 BC
India, 600-320 BC
India, Political, 200 BC-AD 300
Economic Geography, AD 1-300
India, Political, AD 300-550
Political Geography, AD 500-750
Economic Map of India, AD 500-800
Evolution and Diffusion of Humankind
The Indus Civilization and Atecedent and Contemporary Culture
Archaeological Culture. C. 1800-600 BC
The Political Geography of India, 200 BC-AD 300, from Inscriptions
India, Political, AD 300-550-Based on Inscriptions
Political Geography, c. AD 550-750
Index 1: Places
Index 2: Tribes, Territories, Kingdoms
Index 3 : Ancient River Names
The Atlas and the Authors
Art & Culture (744)
Emperor & Queen (484)
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend