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India's Ancient Past

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Item Code: IDF079
Author: R.S. Sharma
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9780195687859
Pages: 398 (B & W Illus: 15, Maps: 10)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.8" X 5.6"
Weight 400 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket :

In this engaging narrative R.S. Sharma provides a comprehensive and accessible account of the history of ancient India. India's Ancient Past traces the the development of social formations, poolities, and cultures in India from the emergence of the first human beings to the advent of the early medieval period.

Beginning with a discussion on frameworks of the writing of history - approaches, sources, and significance - the book sheds light on the origins and growth of civilizations, empires, and religions. It covers the geographical, ecological, and linguistic backgrounds, and looks at specific cultures of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Vedic periods, as well as at the Harappan civilization. The author discusses the rise of Jainism and Buddhism, Magadha and the beginning of territorial states, and the period of Mauryas, Central Asian countries, Satavahanas, Guptas, and Harshavardhana. He highlights important phenomena such as the varna system, urbanization, commerce and trade, developments in science and philosophy, and cultural legacy. He also examines the process of transition from Ancient to Medieval India and addresses topical issues such as the origin of the Aryan culture and the communal approach to history and historical construction.

This insightful and lucidly written book, by one of the best-known scholars of ancient India, is a wonderfully readable introduction to India's early history for students, tourists, and the interested general reader.

About the Author :

R.S. Sharma is Emeritus Professor, Department of History, University of Patna. He is also the Founder Chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research.




Preface v
Acknowledgements vi
List of Plates xii
List of Maps xiii
1. The Significance of Ancient Indian History
Unity in Diversity: The Relevance of the Past to the Present; Chronology
2. Modern Historians of Ancient India
Colonialist Views and their Contribution; Nationalist Approach and its Contribution; Move Towards Non-Political History; Communal Approach; Chronology
3. Nature of Sources and Historical Construction
Material Remains; Coins; Inscriptions; Literary Sources; Foreign Accounts; Village Study; Natural Sciences; Historical Sense; Constructing History; Chronology
4. Geographical Setting
Emergence of India; The Role of the Monstoon: The Northern Boundaries; Rivers; Natural Frontiers and Cultural Contacts; Minerals and Other Resources; Chronology
5. Ecology and Environment
Ecology; Environment and Human Advance; Surroundings and Settlements; The Rain and Human Effort; Ancient Attitudes Towards the Environment; Chronology
6. The Linguistic Background
Principal Language Groups; Austro-Asiatic; Tibeto-Burman; Dravidian; Indo-Aryan; Ethnic Groups and Language Families; Chronology
7. Human Evolution: The Old Stone Age
African Ancestors of Human Beings: The Early Man in India; Phases in the Palaeolithic Age: The Mesolithic Age: Hunters and Herders: Art in the Old Stone Age: Earliest Human Organization: Chronology
8. The Neolithic Age: First Food Producers and Animal Keepers
Earliest Rural Settlements in Baluchistan; Use of Bone Tools in the Sites of Burzahom and Chirand; Neolithic Settlements in South India; Farming and Cereals; Progress in and Limitation of the Neolithic Phase; Chronology
9. Chalcolithic Cultures
Chalcolithic Settlements; Importance of the Chalcolithic Phase; Limitations of Chalcolithic Cultures; The Copper Hoards and the Ochre-Coloured Pottery Phase; Chronology
10. Harappan Culture: Bronze Age Urbanization in the Indus Valley
Introduction; Town Planning and Structures; Agriculture; Domestication of Animals; Technology and Crafts; Trade and Commerce; Social Organization; Polity; Religious Practices; The Male Deity in the Indus Valley; Tree and Animal Worship; The Harappan Script; Weights and Measures; Harappan Pottery; Seals and Sealings; Images; Terracotta Figurines; Stone Work; End of the Indus Culture; Maturity; Post Urban Phase; Percolation of New Peoples; Problem of Origin; Was the Harappan Culture Vedic; Problem of Continuity; Chronology; Chronology of Harappan Archaeology
11. Identity of Aryan Culture
Texts for Traits of Aryan Culture; The Horse, its Domestication and Diffusion; The War Chariot; Spoked Wheels; Horse Remains in the Subcontinent; Pit-dwelling; Birch; Cremation; The Fire Cult; Animal Sacrifice; Horse Sacrifice; The Cult of Soma; The Svastika; Language and Inscriptional Evidence; Dispersal of the Indo-Aryans; Chronology
12. The Age of the Rig Veda
Arrival of the Indo-Aryans; Tribal Conflicts; Cattle Rearing and Agriculture; Tribal Chiefdom; Tribe and Family; Social Differentiations; Rig Vedic Gods; Chronology;
13. The Later Vedic Phase:
Transition to State and Social Orders
Expansion in the Later Period (c. 1000-500 BC); Use of Iron; Agriculture; Arts and Crafts; Settlements; Political Organization; Social Organization; Gods, Rituals, and Philosophy; Chronology
14. Jainism and Buddhism
The Causes of Origin; Vardhamana Mahavira and Jainism; Doctrines of Jainism; Spread of Jainism; Contribution of Jainism; Gautama Buddha and Buddhism; Doctrines of Buddhism; Features of Buddhism and the Causes of its Spread; Causes of the Decline of Buddhism; Significance and Influence of Buddhism; Chronology
15. Territorial States and the Rise of Magadha
Conditions for the Rise of Large States; The Mahajanapadas; The Rise and Growth of the Magadhan Empire; Causes of Magadha's Success; Chronology
16. Iranian and Macedonian Invasions
Iranian Invasion; Results of the Contact; Alexander's Invasion; Effects of Alexander's Invasion; Chronology
17. State Structure and the Varna System in the Age of the Buddha
Second Urbanization; Rural Economy; Administrative System; Army and Taxation; The Republican Experiment; social Orders and Legislation; Conclusion; Chronology
18. The Maurya Age
Chandragupta Maurya; Imperial Organization; Ashoka (273-32 BC); Ashokan Inscriptions; Impact of the Kalinga War; Internal Policy and Buddhism; Ashoka's Place in History; Chronology
19. The Significance of Maurya Rule
State Control; Economic Regulations; Art and Architecture; Spread of Material Culture and the State System; Causes of the Fall of the Maurya Empire - Brahmanical Reaction, Financial Crisis, Oppressive Rule, New Knowledge in the Outlying Areas, Neglect of the North-West Frontier and the Great Wall of China; Chronology
20. Central Asian Contact and Mutual Impact
I Political Aspects - The Indo-Greeks, The Shakas, The Parthians, The Kushans, The Indo-Sassanians; II Cultural Consequences - Structures and Pottery, Better Cavalry, Trade and Agriculture, Polity, New Elements in Indian Society, Religious Developments. The Origin of Mahayana Buddhism, Gandhara and Mathura School of Art; Language, Literature, and Learning: Science and Technology; Chronology
21. The Satavahana Phase
Political History; Aspects of Material Culture; Social Organization; Pattern of Administration; Religion; Architecture; Language; Chronology
22. The Dawn of History in the Deep South
The Megalithic Background; State Formation and the Development of Civilization; Three Early Kingdoms; The Purse and the Sword; Rise of Social Classes; Beginnings of Brahmanism; Tamil Language and Sangam Literature; Social Evolution from Sangam Texts; Chronology
23. Crafts, Commerce, and Urban Growth (200 BC - AD 250)
Crafts and Craftsmen; Types of Merchants; Trade Routes and Centres; Goods in Foreign Trade; Money Economy; Urban Growth; Chronology
24. Rise and Growth of the Gupta Empire
Background; Chandragupta I (AD 319-34); Samudragupta (AD 335-80); Chandragupta II (AD 380-412); Fall of the Empire; Chronology
25. Life in the Gupta Age
System of Administration; Trends in Trade and the Agrarian Economy; Social Developments; The State of Buddhism; The Origin and Growth of Bhagavatism; Art; Literature; Science and Technology; Chronology
26. Spread of Civilization in Eastern India
Signs of Civilization; Orissa and Eastern and Southern MP; Bengal; Assam; The Formative Phase; Chronology
27. Harsha and His Times
Harsha's Kingdom; Administration; Buddhism and Nalanda; Chronology
28. Brahmanization, Rural Expansion, and Peasant Protest in the Peninsula
The New Phase; States of the Deccan and South India; The Kalabhra Revolt; Conflict between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas; Temples Demands on the Peasantry; Land Grants and Rural Expansion; Social structure and Brahmanization; Chronology
29. Developments in Philosophy
Goals of Life; Samkhya; Yoga; Nyaya; Vaisheshika; Mimamsa; Vedanta; Charvaka and the Materialistic View of Life; Chronology
30. Cultural Interaction with Asian Countries
India's Relations with the Outside World; Buddhism in Sri Lanka; Myanmar, China, and Central Asia; Christianity and West Asian Relations; Indian Culture in Southeast Asia; Cultural Give and Take; Chronology
31. From Ancint to Medieval
Social Crisis and Agrarian Changes; Rise of Landlords; New Agrarian Economy; Decline of Trade and Towns; Changes in the Varna System; rise of Regional Identities; Tends in Literature; The Divine Hierarchy; The Bhakti Cult; Tantrism; Summary; Chronology
32. Sequence of Social Changes
Introduction; Tribal and Pastoral Phase; Agriculture and the Origin of the Upper Orders; The Varna System of Production and Government; Social Crisis and the Rise of the Landed Classes; Summary; Chronology
33. Legacy in Science and Civilization
Religion; The Varna System; Philosophical Systems; Crafts and Technology; Polity; Science and Mathematics; Medicine; Geography; Art and Literature; Strength and Weakness; Chronology
Chronology of Literature Sources 317
Bibliography 320
Index 363

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