State, Power and Legitimacy: The Gupta Kingdom presents a comprehensive account of the Gupta state, with particular emphasis on its strategies of legitimizing its power. The political strategies that characterized this crucial juncture of early Indian history, termed 'threshold times' by Romila Thapar, employed certain features of ancient Indian polity even as new political mechanisms were emerging. This volume argues that this unique combination of political strategizing was a part of the process of legitimizing royal authority, in which religion, literature and art were essential tools. The volume also includes a large selection of pre-published essays which provide the reader with a comprehensive idea of how the Gupta state has been studied by earlier historians together with recent articles which help us to look at the Gupta state and the manner in which it exercised and legitimized its power. A substantive introduction suggests the need to move beyond the nationalist perspective that views the rule of the Guptas as the 'Golden Age' or the Marxist model of 'Indian feudalism'.
Kunal Chakrabarti is Professor of Ancient Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He had also been a Visiting Professor to Colorado College and to the University of Chicago. His research interests include social history of religion, regional histories with special reference to Bengal, history of the environment with special reference to the forest, early Indian political ideas and institutions, and early Indian textual traditions. He is the author of Religious Process: The Puranas and the Making of a Regional Tradition (2000) and Historical Dictionary of the Bengalis (2013).
Kanad Sinha is Assistant Professor of History, Udaynarayanpur Madhabilata Mahavidyala, Howrah. He has published several articles in important journals like Medieval Worlds, The Journal of Bengal Art, Studies in History, Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, and International Journal of Hindu Studies, on various aspects of social and cultural history of early India, especially early Indian historical traditions.
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