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A Cultural History of Telangana: From the Earliest Times to 1724 AD

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Item Code: UBI832
Author: Bhangya Bhukya
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9789354421112
Pages: 342
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 330 gm
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Book Description
About The Book

The national historical narrative in India has largely been Brahminic and centred around the Gangetic region. Regional histories often do not match such a narrative, or the Indo-Aryan economic and political system they describe. Social history, constructed from puranic texts, further homogenises the diversities of the Indian subcontinent.

A Cultural History of Telangana takes a longue durée approach to understanding the socio-economic, cultural and political movements in the region, delineating the broad trends and themes in Telangana's history, while correcting the imbalance that led to Telangana's marginalisation in the history of the Telugu-speaking region. Moving away from the dynastic perspective commonly deployed in conventional history writing, the author follows significant developments in the fields of agriculture, urbanisation, architecture, trade and commerce, religion, and the arts to reconstruct the unique history of Telangana from ancient times up to the early eighteenth century.

Telangana, with its rocky terrain, thick forests, hilly landscapes and red sandy soils, has produced a diverse social, economic and political system. This diversity has led to intense cultural assimilation over the centuries, producing a new culture known as Deccani, which is markedly different from both the cultures of the north as well as the other regions of south India. This book will be valuable for graduate and undergraduate students of history, aspirants of public service examinations, and interested readers.


This book is set to provide a broad understanding of the socio- T economic and political culture of Telangana from the earliest times up to the early eighteenth century. While I was working on my book, History of Modern Telangana (2017), I realised the need for stretching the developments of the modern period further, in reverse. But the question in history is: how far can one go in reverse, given that historical studies are compartmentalised as ancient, medieval and modern? More importantly, historical developments are largely viewed from a dynastic perspective. Historical studies are conducted in a specific space and time in order to get to the deeper meanings of those historical developments. The longue durée approach is also equally well established, and used to study the broader historical phenomenon. However, when it comes to regional history, this approach is hardly applied. I have attempted here to provide a coherent understanding of the various socio-economic and political developments of the Telangana region cutting across dynasties and historical periodisation.

When we think of regional histories, we are often struck by multiple issues as, many a time, regional history does not match with the national historical narrative. In the Indian context, national history is largely Brahminic and Gangetic region-centric; the socio-economic and political system of that region was mainly built on the Indo-Aryan or Brahminic tradition. Many of the developments of that region hardly matter to the Deccan and south India. South India, lying south of the Narmada, is mentioned as 'Daksinapatha' in puranic literature, but there is no substantial evidence whether the political dynasties of the Gangetic region impacted south India. The great empires of the Gangetic region, such as the Mauryan and Gupta empires, are hardly relevant to south India. There is no sufficient evidence that these empires ruled south India, but many of the developments of these periods are attributed to south India. Kautilya's Arthasastra and puranic literature produced during the Gupta period are used to generalise the socio-economic and political system of south India. The Gupta period is celebrated as a golden age by nationalist historians, but they have no clue as to how this period matters to south India. Even the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals in the south was a short one. The empires of the Gangetic region did have an indirect impact on the south, but they cannot be taken as the foundation for every development in the region.

The Gangetic varna model, as a social system, hardly exists in the south. Particularly, there is no Kshatriya varna in south India. Even the south Indian Vysya varna is in no way related to the north Indian Arya Vysyas. However, the varna system is generalised to the whole of India. Varna and caste practices in India vary from region to region. In south India, caste was never a fixed category; it was constantly being made and remade. Part of the problem is with the practice of history-writing itself. In India, modern history-writing started from the early nineteenth century by the orientalist scholars, using the Brahminic literature. Particularly, the early Indian social history is largely based on Indological studies. The same history has been reproduced even after British decolonisation, in order to reinforce Brahminic domination in newer ways on those regions which were historically outside the orbit of the culture of the Gangetic region. Archaeological studies, too, did not develop effectively in India, to correct the misinterpretation of Indian history. In countries like India, social history is imperative to resolve many contradictions in society, but it badly suffers from the influence of puranic literature. The main danger with history based on puranic literature is that it homogenises the diversities of the Indian subcontinent.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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