Ranjana Sheel is Professor at the Department of History, Faculty
of Social Sciences, Banaras Hindu University. Her research and teaching
interests relate to modern Indian and East Asian social and intellectual
history with focus on gender issues.
Amit Kumar Upadhyay is Assistant Professor at the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University. His areas of interest include Numismatics, Epigraphy and Ancient Indian Culture.
Professor A.K. Narain (1925-2013), Manindra Chandra Nandi Professor of Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology at Banaras Hindu University, India, and Professor of History & South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, is most recognized for his path breaking work, The Indo-Greeks, and studies on Kushanas. His works in the area of numismatics and archaeology resolved many riddles of Indian history. He also enriched the field of ancient Indian history by founding several specialized academic societies and journals, among them most noteworthy are Indian Archaeological Society and its journal Puratattva, the Indian Epigraphy Society and its research journal, and International Association of Buddhist Studies with an annual journal of high repute. During the latter part of his illustrious career he devoted himself to the study of the history of Buddhism in India and to researches for an ambitious multi-volume work on Kurush to Kanishka. Unfortunately he did not live long enough to complete the work which was to be based on a thorough examination of Russian and Chinese primary sources besides the Indian. Some of the findings of the work were presented in various conferences and seminars as well as special lectures in India and abroad and published in various formats. As his writings were scattered far and wide, he was encouraged by the publishers of the present compilation Shri Praveen Mittal and Neeraj Mittal of B.R. Publishing Corporation in New Delhi to print all the major works in an omnibus for easier availability to students and researchers in his area of expertise.
We are happy to present "The A.K. Narain Omnibus: Writings on Ancient History, Culture, & Archaeology of South and Central Asia". The compilation was done earlier, but prolonged illness and subsequent passing away of Prof. Narain stalled its publication. Prof. Narain wanted to add a long introduction explaining, linking and tracing the shifts in his interests and approach as well as highlighting some of the areas in the field which he thought needs to be further explored and studied for better comprehension of the movement and interaction of people in this vast and important terrain leading to evolution of certain civilizational characteristics. A strong critic of valorizing national histories, he believed in "history without boundaries". "5000 years of Pakistan" was as meaningless to him as was "India as Land of Glories". Studies of dynamic movement of ideas, materials, and people over large terrain and their encounter and interaction with society contributed significantly to comprehend the flow of history. In a sense he looked at history from the point of view of connectedness instead of different and unrelated fragments. We hope that the present collection would enthuse readers to develop the agenda of "connected history" and take up problems and issues raised for further work in the area.
Donning in true sense the mantle of an Indologist with a difference in the age of super specialization, his writings have covered a broad spectrum in the area of ancient history. We have therefore divided his works in three general themes; i.e., History and Culture, Art & Archaeology, and Archaeology. Under each theme, articles are arranged chronologically in order to reflect development of his ideas and thoughts. In the end are three appendices. The first contains all the available reviews of his maiden work, The Indo Greeks, which was his doctoral dissertation, submitted under the supervision of Prof. A.L Basham at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The second contains reminiscences of Prof A.K. Narain and the third is on his contributions to Encyclopedia, Dictionaries etc.
Finally, we must thank his wife Mrs Usha Narain, his eldest son, Prof. Kamal Sheel, and others who helped us collect his works from the vast collection of his library now located at the BJK Institute of Buddhist & Asian Studies at Varanasi. We are also thankful to Shri Praveen Mittal of B.R. Publishing Corporation and his team for hurrying us to complete our job in the 90th year of Prof. Narain's birth and for doing a fine job of publication.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
Art & Culture (777)
Emperor & Queen (486)
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