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Early Indian Feudal Society and Its Culture

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Item Code: NAK617
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Gian Chand Chauhan
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9788121512756
Pages: 236
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 400 gm
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Book Description

About the Book


Early Indian Feudal Society and Its Culture is based on the early Indian period which saw the “origin and growth of feudalism.” This book does not claim to present a general history of early India in the traditional manner, but the distinctive characteristic of this book lies in the fact that it presents a synthesis of social, economic and cultural similarities began to unite people of different religious and languages, as can be seen in the oral tradition and cultural life of the oral people living then.


The purpose of studying the early Indian is not simply to learn what it was like, but to have a better understanding of the present day India through investigation into our ancient roots. The history of early India is the history of bitter of early between peasants and the feudal lords. Early Indian Ages were not only a time of conservatism and ignorance, casteism, victimization of Sudras and feudal brutality, but also were a time of great cultural achievement in which magnificent works of literature, art and architecture were created as a fine testimony to the creative genius of the people. I hope this book will help reveal something of the complex, mysterious, but always interesting world of the Early Indian Ages.


About the Author


Dr. G.C. Chauhan is a scholar who has done much to reconstruct the social and economic institutions of early India. His book include: Economic History of Early Medieval Northern India (Delhi, 2003); Origin and Growth of Feudalism in Early India (Delhi 2004); Some aspect of Early Indian Society (Pittsburg, USA, 2012); Agrarian Economy of Ancient India (Delhi 2013); Indian Buddhism: A Historical Overview (Chandigarh, 2013); Light and Shades of popular Belief in Shimla Hill States (Chandigarh 2013); and the latest is what happened in Ancient India (Chandigarh 2013). Besides these the Author has published more than fifty research papers and articles in national and international journals.




ERLY INDIAN FEUDAL SOCIETY AND ITS CULTURE, the topic appealed to me and I took it up. But, it presented difficulties partly because I am not a Sanskritist and partly because the literature of ancient India is a store-house of human experience and wisdom gathered in course of ages, and ancient traitors are religious in nature. It is so vast, and scattered, there are scare material in them of social history. The chronology of these traditions literary as well as the epigraphical is uncertain. Another difficulty in studying the social formation of ancient India lies in the fact that in spite of many common features, early Indian society has regional variations and differentiations. Moreover, it has intimate linkages with other form of social formation like, Feudal Social Formation, Dasa-Visti Mode of Production, Feudal Relations between Donees and peasants. Traces of Feudal Culture as gleaned from Nirmand and Baijnath Land Charters, the Agnisnana: a Feudal Fashion, Subjugation of Women, the making of the Sudras, Classified Society and Social Thought of Kautilya. In view of paucity of early works on social formation, along with the predominance of official orientation of literary and epigraphical traditions and amorphous nature and regional variations, it is very onerous job to present the social formation of early India. The present work is a synthesis and summation of existing knowledge of early Indian society on the combined bases of archaeological and literary traditions of early India.


It was tremendous task to do full justice to this topic. I do not therefore, claim to have drawn a complete and finished portrait and I do not claim this to be pioneer work, and hope that the material that I have so far been able to lay my hand on, their systematic presentation, and the inferences that they have led me to draw, may form an interesting and attractive book on Early Indian Feudal Society.


Early Indian Feudal Society and its Culture is a comprehensive study of certain social institutions of early India based on literary and epigraphic traditions. It poses new questions on ticklish on certain of early Indian society.


The book consists of ten chapters followed by exhaustive Bibliography. The First chapter is a study of social feudal formation with reference to Asvamedha sacrifice, samanta as a feudal lord, feudalisation of educational institutions and subjugation of artisans. It depicts systematic presentation of social issues of early India.


The Second chapter deals with the Dasa-Visti mode of production. The slave and forced labour was employed on a fairly large scale in state-owned and privately owned fields. These features were inherent in the mode of production, the peculiar Indian way of development of Class society. So, an endeavour is made to link and piece together these scattered references to "Dasa-Visti Mode of Production" and present them into a historical and social perspective for their proper understanding.


The Third chapter presents the changing feudal-social scenario, new feudal obligation and compulsion of the donees and peasants relationship. This chapter shows us that how the holder of large estates claimed the superior right to the overlordship. Over-taxation was a terrible plight of the peasant. The exorbitant taxes were imposed by the donees which resulted in that were forced to sell their ploughshares, yokes and all other requisites of cultivation.


The Fourth chapter proposes to discuss the traces of feudal culture in Nirmand and Baijnath land charters. My attempt here is to briefly discuss and examine the feudal culture through the lenses of Epigraphical traditions. This chapter presents the plight of widows in early medieval times in India, particularly among the Rajputs. During this period women were reduced to the level of non-living being.


The Fifth chapter throws light on the question of feudal fashion of widow-burning among the Rajputs in early medieval times.


The Sixth chapter deals with "feudal relations and obligations in early India as gleaned from the literary and epigraphic traditions." It encompasses within it the feudal obligations of vassals to their overlords in return of certain privileges. Here we have dealt with the Asvamedha sacrifice and its natural corollaries which made the feudal system strengthened, inter-state relation existing during the feudalistic pattern of society and matrimonial alliance have also attracted full attention in order to depict the real state of affairs during the period of our study.


The Seventh chapter talks about the debatable and unsettled issue of the status of women and their subjugation as reflected in early Indian traditions. The question regarding women subjection and degraded status in early India have already received due notice of scholars and the subject has been treated from different angles. Period-wise treatment of the subject, on the basis of specific texts, has also been discussed. The Dharmasastras prescribe almost complete subordination and subjection of women in different spheres of life. Along with this, the views of social thinkers of ancient India have been discussed on the problems of their low status and subjection in early India.


The Eighth chapter talks on the piquant issue of the creating of Sudra and its transformation as Peasants and couple of question, which bother the inquisitive scholars of Indian history on the issue of its creation and subjection.


Was Sudra aborigines?

Whether the creation of Sudra is colour-centric?

Whether the Sudra was an Aryan or pre-Aryan tribe, and if Aryan, when did they come to India?

These questions are reinvestigated and revisited.

The Sudra, which consisted of the lower ring of early


Indian society. It is implied in early literary traditions that the Sudra constituted the senior class. The making of the Sudra is quite illuminating. It offers some explanation at least, regarding the considering attitude of the three upper varna of the Aryan dominated society towards the Sudras. The terms sudra, though originally a tribal name, came to be applied to anybody who did not follow the social and religious customs of the Aryan society whether he is foreigner or a primitive inhabitant of India.


Ninth chapter of this book deals with the much vexed problem of varna system, which has a special bearing on the Brahmanical social order. The close survey of the Vedic traditions and Dharmasutras revealed us that the peoples of different varna had a well defined place in social set-up in early Indian society. The Brah man a varna had consolidated its position at the top of the social hierarchy; the next place went to the Ksatriyas and next to them were the Vaisyas while at the end stood Sudras.


The Tenth chapter deals with the social thought of Kautilya, probably the first one of its kind to discover the essential of the Kautilya's social thought and its systematic presentation.


The present book necessarily owes much to the works and research of scholars who have worked on the social history of ancient India, but some of the ideas put forward are my own and derived from my independent research. Since my aim is to place at the disposal of the educated people a brief history of some of the social institution of ancient Indian history from feudal perspective, as it appears in the light of most recent research.


Lastly, I do not have enough words to express what I owe to my wife Mrs Shakila Chauhan for her constant encouragement, good wishes of my daughter Malvika Chauhan, and son Arush Chauhan for the accomplishment of this book.








Key to Transliteration




Feudal Social Formation in Early India




Dasa-Visti Mode of Production in Early India




Feudal Relation between Donees and Peasants




Traces of Feudal Culture as Gleaned from Nirmand and Baijnath Land Charters




The Agnisnana: A Rajput Feudal Fashion as Reflected in Inscriptions




Feudal Relations and Obligations




Subjugation of Women




The Making of the Sudras




Classified Society




Social Thought of Kautilya







Sample Pages

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