Coins and Culture of Early North India
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Coins and Culture of Early North India

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Item Code: NAY664
Author: Pranabananda Jash
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788177021737
Pages: 150 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details: 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 560 gm
About the Book
The present work strives to reflect through the prisms of coins - the forces at work in the realm of religion and culture in early north Indian history.

The extraordinary assimilated genius of India is imprinted on her coins struck throughout the ages, stretching from its genesis to the modern times. The study is primarily concerned with early north Indian coinage highlighting the religion-cultural scenario. It includes the history as reflected on the Punch-marked, Tribal or Local or Janapada, Indo-Greeks, Scythe- Parthian, Kushana, Gupta and Post-Gupta coinages and the Rama- Tankas. An in-depth analysis of beautiful and artistic tiny metallic pieces is bound to unveil a magic in the minds of the researchers.

In fact, the study of coins, by and large has concentrated on the chronology of coins, their relationship with political power and the geographical space of the fadings, but the work under review offers adequate light on the artistic form of the coins, both figurative and also abstract motifs.

A large number of relevant photographs of the coins have been illustrated inhale plates portraying the complex cultural and ethnic set- up of the space and time. Moreover, men and women of various social and economic strata of life - kings and aristocrats, courtly and fashionable ladies of high society, foreigners (Greeks, Parthians, Sakas, Kushanas, etc.) with their distinctive ethnic and/or facial features, costumes and dress, ornaments, hair decoration etc., are richly represented.

Besides historical information, these pieces disseminate an index of secularism where various races and ethnic groups holding apparently different religious faiths and beliefs, rites and rituals could maintain peaceful co-existence.

This idea is powerfully brought home while analyzing the bearings of the images and icons on the Rama tankas issued by the rulers as well as the religious or monastic heads of different ethnic groups.

About the Author
Professor Pranabananda Jash (b. 1943- ) was educated at Visva Bharati, Santiniketan (India).

Author of a number of research papers on various aspects of Indian and South Asian History and Culture, Dr. Jash received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy for his thesis entitled Saivism from the early Pauranic and Epigraphical Sources in 1971, and later, in 1984, earned the highest academic degree of the University, D. Litt., for his outstanding research work on the History and Evolution of Yaishnavism in Eastern India (1982). His other publications include Glimpses of Hindu Cults and Culture (1997); History of Parivrajakas :

Sankaracharya (1991); Some Aspects of lainism in Eastern India (1989); History of Saivism (1974); Banglor Sanskrit: Devi Bhavana (2004). He has also edited several volumes, noteworthy among them are - Society and Religion in Ancient India (Sudhakar Chattopadhyaya Commemoration Volume, 1984); Indology and Science: A Hermeneutical Coalition (1989); National Integration: Vision of a Poet (1995); National Integration: Problem and Perspective (1995); Perspective of Buddhist Studies (Giuseppe Tucci Birth Centenary Volume, 2002); Vanga Bhanga: ltihasa 0 Sanskrit Prekshap at (2006); Social Movements in North Bengal (2008).

He had occasions to deliver lectures at a number of Indian and foreign universities and/ or academic Institutions. Teaching at his alma mater since 1971, he has also been the Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology; Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (Vidya-Bhavana); Dean of the Faculty of Education (Vinaya Bhavana), Visva Bharati. He is presently the Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration, Visva Bharati.

Indian culture is the mosaic manifestation of a vibrant conglomeration of various cultures of different ethnic groups which came to India and used this sacred land for their habitation and loved it as the Mother Land. It is an established fact that people of various races that settled in India. forgot the land of their origin and came to love India as their own. The process of assimilation that has been going on among different races and ethnic groups of this country is a fascinating study .

. An analytical study of these tiny pieces portrays a vivid reflection of the religious and cultural impression of these different ethnic groups. The term "culture" has been defined in hundreds of ways over the years. Each of these definitions highlights different aspects of culture and some of these definitions even conflict with each other. The word is such a diverse and fluid concept that each one has a rough idea of what is meant by culture.

It is usually applied to a particular stage of advancement in civilization, although it is of wide significance. It covers the entire scenario of human activity, intellectual, aesthetic. moral. ethical, spiritual. social, political, so on and so forth. In fact. this comprehensive term incorporates man's relation to the beauty and glamour of nature. the creativeness of art. intrinsic and subtle values of human life, the zest of knowledge, the lure of power. peace. orogress, prosperity and others that civilized people value in mundane life.

It is. as defined by some. not just an ornament; it is the expression of a nation's character, and at the same time. it is a powerful instrument to mould character. The end of culture. according to them. is right living. It is in this comprehensive sense of the term- 'culture' that there is a real cultural synthesis in India, a synthesis that has been going on in the past and that is also going on even in the present day society. D.R. Bhandarkar (Some Aspects of Ancient Indian Culture) aptly throws light on peaceful reckoning and mutual assimilation of these people. People of different races and of diverse origin came to the country at different periods and they settled down side by side and built up the culture we are accustomed to associate with India. They built up a uniuqe 'Culture' - 'the Wonder that is India'. An overview of this cosmopolitan racial structure in Indian Culture is reflected in an outstanding poem of Rabindranath Tagore- Bharata- Tirtha (India as the Great Pilgrimage). In his poem Tagore beautifully expressed how different peoples came into India from the earliest times right down to the recent centuries and. 'have cooperated in building up a great culture which does not seek to exclude anything, but is all-inclusive and does not take up an attitude which would deny to any people its right of self-expression.

As a matter of fact. the great culture of India is basically a synthesis- a synthesis of not only blood and race, but also of speech and of ways of thinking as well as of cultures- material, intellectual and spiritual- which give ideologies and determine attitudes and actions.'

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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