History India From 8th to 15th Century (Set of 8 Books)

History India From 8th to 15th Century (Set of 8 Books)

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Item Code: NAG297
Publisher: Indira Gandhi National Open University
Language: English
Edition: 2010
Pages: 424 (102 B/W Illustrations and 4 Maps)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 11 inch X 8 inch
Weight 1.40 kg

About the Book


Book 1: Early Medieval Economy : 8th to 13th Century

Book 2: Society and Culture : 8th to 13th Century

Book 3: Indian Polity in its Regional Variation : 8th to 13th Century

Book 4: Establishment of Delhi Sultanate

Book 5: Indian Polity : The Sultanate

Book 6: Economy of Delhi Sultanate

Book 7: The Regional Powers : 13th to 15th Century

Book 8: Society and Culture : 13th to 15th Century


Book 1: Early Medieval Economy : 8th to 13th Century


Writings on the history of early India during the last few decades (since the early 1950s) have opened up a great many issues bearing on the economic structure of India since the beginning of Christian era in general and the post-Gupta centuries in particular. Broadly, the understanding of five centuries (8th - 13th) under discussion.' in terms of feudalism has been the most dominant strain of these writings. That feudalism is not simply a dispersal of "political" power but represents a total break in the socio-economic and ideological ethos of the people is now being widely recognised. In view of the fact that changed land relationships constitute the cornerstone of this new ethos, a detailed study of agrarian economy becomes absolutely indispensable:


Unit 1 of this Block discusses the agrarian economy. Here you will study about the expansion of cultivated area, agrarian settlements and rights in land. Technological improvements helped in increasing the agricultural production. This in turn, led to the commercial exchange in surplus agricultural produce and other craft production. Rural tensions also emerged in the society. Besides, the Unit also discusses the characteristics of' early medieval agrarian economy.


In Unit 2 of this Block we discuss about the urban settlements. The period between 8th to 12th centuries witnessed the third phase of urban growth. However, the process of urban growth did not have a uniform pattern for the whole of India. In this Unit we mention the factors that contributed towards the emergence of towns. The Unit also discusses the variations in different regions and the different types of towns.


Unit 3 of this Block will familiarise you with the trading and commercial activities of the period. For the convenience of study the whole period has been divided in two phases, The first phase (c. A.D. 700(900) is marked by relative decline of trade, metallic currency and urban centres. The second phase witnesses a revival in the above stated spheres. You will also learn about the commodities that were traded through land and maritime routes and how the trading activities helped in the revival of towns.


The fourth and last Unit of this Block familiarises you with the commercial practices and the persons involved in them. You will come to know how from an ordinary position during phase one (c. A.D. 700-900), merchants emerged as the most powerful social groups in phase two (c. A.D. 900-1300). We also discuss the role and functions of merchant guilds in north and south India. At the end of the Unit we will also provide you a brief discussion on the relationship between merchants and artisans.


Book 2: Society and Culture : 8th to 13th Century


For decades, nay almost a century, we have been swayed by the colonialist and imperialist notion about the Indian society being static through the millennia. This was just not true. This Block seeks to show that like any sensitive organism, Indian society and culture during the five hundred years under survey (8th-13t~ century) were extremely vibrant and responsive to changes taking place in the realms of economy, polity and ideas. The first Block in this course had surveyed the economic developments during the same time span. Here, in this Block, the impact of these developments on the socio-cultural patterns and ideological frame forms the main theme. Broadly, the Block attempts to outline interactions between changing land rights and their consequent economic development on the one hand and the manifestations of socio-cultural and ideological changes on the other. These have been worked out in the following three Units:


Unit 5 demolishes the myth of an unchanging social organisation with the help of copious literary and epigraphic material. It highlights leading features of the new social ethos such as the changing position of vaisbyas and sbudras, rise of a new literate class, multiplication of castes, weakening of the vama order, emergence of feudal ranks and increasing social tensions.


Unit 6 deals with the problem of ideology. Concerned with the complexities of defining it, the Unit takes note of various dimensions of ideology. Making adequate references to landmark contributions on varied aspects, the discussion revolves around the nature, role and functions of ideology. As a complement to the heoretical debate, specific religious developments in India through the millennia, but specially in the post-Gupta centuries, have been delineated with the objective of showing their potentialities to act as ideology. The overall thrust underlines the need to study ideology in its capacity to sway masses.


Unit 7, the last one in this Block, takes a panoramic view of the making of Indian cultural traditions. The most arresting feature of these traditions is shown to be the emergence of the tendency of regionalism. This trend finds its manifestations in practically all components of culture. The growth of temple architecture, and other arts such as stone sculptures, metal images, paintings and terracottas; developments in the realms of education and learning, the rise of regional languages, scripts, eras, etc. and the new trends in religion-all are indicative of the impact of changes taking place in the material life of the people in the post-Gupta centuries. Also, these cultural manifestations underline the regional streak.


Book 3: Indian Polity in its Regional Variation : 8th to 13th Century


Five centuries encompassed between the eighth and the thirteenth centuries saw phenomenal changes in the/life style of the people of India. Their urges, aspirations accomplishments and no less deprivations were delineated in Block I of this course. The impact of these developments on the socio-cultural patterns and ideological frame formed the theme of the second Block. Since, polity cannot be studied in isolation from the questions as to how the power structure established its control over diverse socio-economic groups and how it mobilised, developed and distributed its resources so as to sustain its political control, this Block becomes a logical corollary to the preceding one.


The relations of power envisage relations at other levels in some form or the other. In conventional studies oil. Indian polity there has been a great stress on the genealogy and chronology of ruling dynasties. Changes in polity are mostly conceived as changes represented by dynastic shifts. In view of the inadequacy of this framework, recent studies on the polity have attempted to view the ancient and medieval polity from the perspective of possible processes which were in operation. There is marked emphasis now on themes such as state formation, structure of polity, nature of power and political control, etc. Owing to the fact, that regional political formations in various parts of India have not been studied fully, the generalizations at sub-continental level require further precision. This Block seeks to attempt that in the following five Units.


Unit 8 would enlighten you about the components of Indian polity through major political developments across major regions of the sub-continent. It also focuses on the nature of regional polity.


Unit 9 familiarises you with the nature of polity in northern and eastern India in the light of theoretical debate initiated in the preceding Unit. The overall reconstruction of the power structure in the region shows the limitations of the so-called centralised monarchies and argues for studying the distribution of administrative and fiscal powers in the light of new pattern of landholding. It concludes with the characterization of the polity under reference in terms of feudalism."


Unit 10 of this Block provides you with examples of fresh spurt in the emergence of local states in Western and Central India. Unlike Northern and Eastern India (Unit 9), the region discussed in this Unit, shows some influence of 'lineage' at least in some parts of the region. However, the commonality of the essential material basis, viz. the nature of landholding, brings Western and Central India closer to the regional polity discussed in the preceding Unit.


The next Unit (No. 11) you will find to be complementary to Unit 10. Beginning with the historical genesis of state society in the third century B.C. the Unit throws light on important strands in the political structure in the Deccan during the centuries covered in this Block. It attempts to show the operation of such factors as lineage and land-rights in the rise of states. The nature of the integration of numerous power levels has also been highlighted.


Finally, the 12th and the last Unit of this Block acquaints you with ,yet another regional variation of political set-up in early medieval India, Concerned with South India, this Unit shows the evolution of Tamil macro-region as a regional state with distinctive politico-cultural features between the days of the Pallavas (Sixth Century) and those of the Cholas (Thirteenth Century). The different tiers of administration have been identified with a focus on their social and economic bases. The nature of resource mobilisation and apparatus to regulate it have also been outlined. You will also notice suggestions about the ideological support of the South Indian polity.


Acknowledgement : We are thankful to the Archaeological Survey of India for permitting us to use photographs from their journal Indian Archaeology-A Survey.


Book 4: Establishment of Delhi Sultanate



You have read in Block 3 about the new political system in the wake of disintegration of the Gujara-Pratihara polity prior to Turkish invasions. The present Block is connected with the question of the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate. It contains three Units. The first recapitulates a part of Block 3 relating to the political and socio-economic condition of India on the eve of the Turkish advent. Then it offers you some geographical glimpses of the Turkish advent. Then it offers you some geographical glimpses of the region (Central Asia) inhabited by the Turks as well as the Mongols. This unit also dwells upon the nature of nomadism and tribal structure of the Turks and the Mongols. It further informs you how the migratory movements brought them to the frontiers of India. Which eventually led to confrontation with Indian states.


The second Unit deals with the course of the establishment of the Turkish power in the form of Delhi Sultanate. It also examines the causes of the Turkish success in India


The third Unit proposes to describe the territorial expansion of the new kingdom and the processes of its consolidation.


Book 5: Indian Polity : The Sultanate


You have learnt in Block 4 about the growth of the Delhi Sultanate through conquests by the Turks, and also the initial processes of consolidation. However, to continue to hold on to the conquests for long is a complex problem, especially when the conquerors were aliens and not conversant with traditions of the government of the conquered territories. It was natural, then, that in sortie areas of the art of governance, previous practices were not substantially disturbed - at least in the early decades of the Turkish rule while in others, institutions from the Islamic East were introduced. The story of this mix is sought to be told in these three Units of our present Block.


Unit 16 deals with the administrative set up, including the personnel and their functions. Since the conquerors were Muslims, consequently they, as rulers, had to relate their sovereignty to the Khalija (Caliph) for validity. And yet, the basic nature of the Delhi Sultanate was never theological. This assertion finds substantiation when you read the working of the central and the provincial administration. We stress that you must take special notice of the revenue system and the institution of iqta, the two forming the backbone of the Sultanate.


In Unit 17, you will study the organization of the ruling class where the iqta system played a pivotal role. You will also realize that the ruling class was not something monolithic: dormant and explicit dissensions and rivalries that frequently emerged were due to the groups of nobles organised largely on racial and tribal lines. That is why you will see the varying composition of the ruling class under the different Sultans.


The third Unit (no. 18) seeks to examine the problems, crisis and decline of the Delhi Sultanate. Relations between the Sultans and nobles were not always smooth. Pressure tactics of the nobles emasculated the powers of the Sultan. Many regional states arose as a result of rebellions of the governors who for their own personal and tribal aggrandizement weakened the central government leading to the overthrow of the Delhi Sultanate by Babur.

Book 6: Economy of Delhi Sultanate


In Block 4 and 5, you have read about political and administrative history of the Delhi Sultanate. Now, in this Block no. 6, you are being introduced to the economy of the Sultanate. Some facts that you read in Block 5 will be repeated here, with a different emphasis.


You will learn from Unit 19 matters relating to "State and Economy". It deals with the revenue resources and the ways in which these resources were distributed. Naturally, then, this section looks at the institutions of iqta and khalisa afresh. Land grants, too, are taken note of. The next section takes up the question of land-revenue and its extraction. During this exercise, the agrarian measures of Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad Tughluq are taken especial care of. Other sections study the market control and price regulations under Alauddin Khalji, currency system, Muhammad Tughluq's 'token currency', slavery and slave trade.


Unit 20 introduces you to the agrarian structure. Themes like agrarian production, irrigation and its impact, and peasant economy are discussed. You will once again read about the rural intermediaries.


Glimpses of urban economy and commerce are offered in Unit 21. This tells you about growth of towns, urban manufactures and organisation of production. Other sections in this Unit describe inland trade, foreign trade (seaborne and overland) and means of transport of goods. One section identifies the personnel of trade, that is, the groups of mercantile classes and their functions.


In Unit 22, you are introduced to technology and crafts, bath indigenous and foreign, - that existed in the Delhi Sultanate. We have chosen a few of these - agricultural and textile technology, building construction, papermaking and bookbinding, military technology, tin coating, glass manufacture, shipbuilding and distillation and fermentation.


Book 7: The Regional Powers : 13th to 15th Century


As you have been Blocks 4, 5 and 6 were largely concerned with the political, administrative and economic aspect of the Delhi Sultanate. The present Block (no. 7) describes the emergence of regional kingdoms in India as a result of the weakening of the Central power located at Delhi.


All the Units in this Block are related to the evolution of regional powers in different parts of India-each Unit dealing with one part of the country. Thus, Unit 23 takes care of Central and Eastern India, Unit 24 of or the and Western India and Unit 26 of South India and the Deccan. In between, Unit 25 explains the nature of the regional kingdoms in north India as a whole, and also describes briefly their administration and economy.


The last two Units 27 and 28 concentrate on the establishment and functioning of the Vijaynagar Empire and the Bahmani kingdom respectively.


The treatment of themes in all these U nits is by and large similar: they discuss the processes of the emergence of regional kingdoms, their territorial expansion, their relations with neighbouring states as well as with the Delhi Sultanate, and their administrative set-up.


At the end, you will find two important questions taken up for discussion: first, what were the factors that led to the formation of regional powers; and secondly, what were the reasons for the failure of the regional states to acquire a 'Pan-India' or an Imperial character. Since these questions do not form a part of any Unit, they have been presented separately. You may consider them as appendices to the Units. You must read them either before you study the regular Units, or after you have equipped yourself with some ba ic facts with the help of the contents in the Units of this Block.


Book 8: Society and Culture : 13th to 15th Century



You have already read how with the coming of the Turks a new political, administrative and economic structure emerged. Besides, you have also seen how the decline in the Sultanate power led to the emergence of regional states, In this Block (No. 8), we are going to discuss the society and culture during the 13th-15th centuries.

Units 29 and 30 cover the socio-religious movements that emerged during this period. In Unit 29, we have highlighted the factors for the rise of the bhakti movement, its characteristic features, various bhakti cults, their saints, etc. Besides, we 'have also taken note of how various other thoughts influenced the bhakti currents with special reference to Islam.


Unit 30 is also written on the same lines covering the Muslim religious movement: sufism. You will learn about salient features of sufism, its-growth in the Islamic world and also in India; various sufi silsilahs that flourished in India - with special reference to the Chishtis and Suhrawardis; the impact of the sufi movement on Indian society and the role of sufism in bringing about cultural synthesis in India.


Units 31 and 32 cover the art and architecture during the 13th-15th centuries. The' theme of the Sultanate art and architecture is covered in Unit 31 while Unit 32 relates to the developments of art and architecture in regional kingdoms. In these Units, an account has been given of structural forms, evolution of architectural features, certain public buildings and' monuments, painting, calligraphy, manuscript illustration and music.

Unit 33 deals with the development of language and literature during the 13th-15th centuries. In this Unit, the focus is on Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi, Awadhi and Tamil languages and literature.


The last Unit (No. 34) is on the lifestyle of the various groups and classes that is nobles, ulema, merchants, artisans and peasants, etc. Position of women in the contemporary society is touched upon. The ways and means for pastime and 'entertainment have also been studied briefly.





Block 1 Early Medieval Economy: 8th - 13th Century



Agrarian Economy



Urban Settlements



Trade and Commerce



Trading Communities and Organisations



Some Useful Books For This Block



Block 2 Society And Culture: 8th-13th Century



Social Organisation






Development of Regional Cultural Traditions



Some Useful Books for This Block



Block 3 Indian Polity In Its Regional Variations: 8th To 13th Century



Nature of Regional Politics



Northern and Eastern India



Western and Central India



The Deccan



South India



Some Useful Books for This Block



Block 4 Establishment of Delhi Sultanate



Rise of Turks and Mongols in Central Asia



Establishment and Consolidation



Territorial Expansion 35






Some Useful Books for this Block



Block 5 Indian Polity: The Sultanate



Administration of the Sultanate



Formation of the Sultanate Ruling Class



Problem, Crisis and Decline



Some Useful Books For This Block






Block 6 Economy of Delhi Sultanate



State and Economy



Agrarian Structure



Rise of Urban Economy Trade and Commerce



Technology and Crafts






Some Useful Books for this Block



Block 7 The Regional Powers: 13th-15th Century



Central and Eastern India



Northern and Western India



State, Administration and Economy in North India



Regional Powers in South India and Deccan



The Vijay nagar Empire



The Bahmanis



Some Useful Books for this Block



Block 8 Society And Culture: 13th-To 15th Century



Socio-Religious Movement: Bhakti Movement



Socio-Religious Movement: Sufi Movement



Art and Architecture of Delhi Sultanate



Art and Architecture of Regional States



Language and Literature



Lifestyle and Popular Cultures



Some Useful Books for this Block



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