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The Indus Civilization (A People's History of India - 2)

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  From the Jacket:   The Indus Civilization by Irfan Habib is the second monograph in the People's History of India series. It continues the story from the point reached in the earlier monograph, Prehistory. The dominant theme here is provided by the Indus civilization. In addition, other contemporary and later cultures down to about 1500 BC, and the formation of the major language families of India, are discussed. The Indus Civilization seeks to maintain uniform...

 

From the Jacket:

 

The Indus Civilization by Irfan Habib is the second monograph in the People's History of India series. It continues the story from the point reached in the earlier monograph, Prehistory. The dominant theme here is provided by the Indus civilization. In addition, other contemporary and later cultures down to about 1500 BC, and the formation of the major language families of India, are discussed.

The Indus Civilization seeks to maintain uniformity with Prehistory in style and framework, except relaxation of the commitment to conciseness. It contains more detailed exposition of certain topics, and the explanatory notes on technical and controversial subjects at the end of each chapter are somewhat longer. Illustrations, maps and tables are included to serve as aids to understand the subject better.

The time with which this monograph deals is often called Protohistory, since it is close to the period when history can, at least partly, be reconstructed from literary texts. Since modern territorial boundaries make little sense when we deal with the past, India here means pre-partition India, and the area covered includes Afghanistan south of the Hindukush mountains. A sub-chapter is accordingly devoted to the Helmand civilization, whose study is indispensable for putting the civilization in a proper perspective.

 

About the Author:

 

Irfan Habib, formerly Professor of History at the Aligarh Muslim University, is a well-known historian and the author of The Agrarian System of Mughal India (1963), An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1982), and Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception (1995). He is currently working on a People's History of India to be published in the form of successive monographs under the auspices of the Aligarh Historians Society, each of which will be edited or authored by him.

Preface

This monograph forms the second instalment of the projected People's History of India, and continues the story from the point reached in Prehistory, published last year. The dominant theme here is provided by the Indus civilization; in addition, other contemporary and later cultures down to about 1500 BC, and the formation of the present major language families of India, are also treated.

In style and framework The Indus Civilization seeks to maintain uniformity with Prehistory. Perhaps, the commitment to conciseness has been relaxed a little, as room has had to be found for a more detailed exposition of certain topics, and the explanatory notes on technical and controversial subjects suffixed to each of the three chapters are somewhat longer.

The reader is reminded that, as in Prehistory, so here too, India means pre-partition India, though in certain contexts it may carry the more restricted sense of the present-day Indian Union. Since modern territorial boundaries make little sense when we deal with the past, the area covered in this monograph includes Afghanistan south of the Hindukush mountains. A sub-chapter is accordingly devoted to the Helmand civilization, whose study seems indispensable for putting the Indus civilization in a proper perspective.

The time with which this monograph deals is often called Protohistory, since we are now getting close to the period when history can, at least partly, be reconstructed from literary texts. Words from such texts or reconstructed words attributed to early languages occasionally occur in the present monograph in the discussion of certain matters, though their number is necessarily small. The quoted words are still too few to merit troubling the reader with separate explanations of the standard systems of transcription and transliteration. Since, without such explanations, diacritical marks as well as the additional characters used by historical linguists drawing on IPA might not be understood, I have employed the English letters closest to the original sounds. I have, therefore, spelt 'Rigveda', not 'Rgveda': and 'Ashoka', not 'Asoka'. This practice may not be followed in the succeeding monographs, depending on the decision of their authors.

I am grateful for the generally favourable reception given to Prehistory, and for the many suggestions offered for improvements in presentation. A sympathetic reviewer raised the problem of references. It would be appreciated that in a work like this, meant for a wide readership, it is not possible to encumber it with references in footnotes for the various statements made, nor is it possible to convert the bibliographical notes into exhaustive lists of the books, reports and papers consulted by me. The purpose of the notes themselves is chiefly to guide the reader to the works where substantive or updated detailed information is available. Many earlier, even pioneering, works have had to be ignored in order to make the selection meaningful. I sincerely regret such omissions, but I fear I can see no solution.

In respect of this monograph, I should like to acknowledge the great kindness of Professor Suraj Bhan, the eminent archaeologist, who agreed to vet the manuscript at short notice. All the maps (except Maps 2.2A and B) have been drawn by my son, Faiz Habib. Amber Habib spoilt a holiday in going over the text with me. Mr Ghulam Mujtaba took photographs for the figures in the book. Mr Muneeruddin Khan spent many hours in processing the text, and he deserves my thanks for this, as well as for his patience in incorporating changes made in the text over and over again.

On behalf of the Aligarh Historians Society, Professor Shireen Moosvi has been responsible for all the organizational work that the project has entailed. Dr Rajendra Prasad and Ms Indira Chandrasekhar of Tulika Books have given me guidance and help, and done much to ensure that presentable volumes emerge from this enterprise.

CONTENTS

 

  Preface ix
1 Early Bronze Age Cultures of the Indus Civilization and the Borderlands 1
1.1 Towards 'Urban Revolution' 1
1.2 The Helmand Civilization 4
1.3 Early Indus Cultures 9
1.4 Onset of the Indus Civilization 13
  Note 1.1: The Methods of Archaeology 17
  Note 1.2: Bibliographical Note

 

21
2 The Indus Civilization 22
2.1 Extent and Population 22
2.2 Agriculture and Subsistence 24
2.3 Craft Production 28
2.4 The Cities and Towns 37
2.5 Trade 45
2.6 Culture: Writing, Art, Religion 50
2.7 People, Society, State 57
2.8 The End of the Indus Civilization 62
  Note 2.1: The Indus Script 67
  Note 2.2: The Indus Civilization and the Rigveda 71
  Note 2.3: Bibliographical Note

 

74
3 Non-Urban Chalcolithic Cultures, till 1500 BC: Language Change 77
3.1 After the Cities 77
3.2 Chalcolithic Cultures of the Borderlands and the Indus Basin 83
3.3 Other Chalcolithic Cultures, to c. 1500 BC 88
3.4 Language Change Before 1500 BC 93
  Note 3.1: Reconstructing Language History 102
  Note 3.2: Bibliographical Note 105
  Index 107

 

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Item Code: IDE330 Author: Irfan Habib Cover: Paperback Edition: 2018 Publisher: Tulika Books ISBN: 9789382381532 Language: English Size: 9.5" X 6.3" Pages: 121 (B & W Figures: 48, Map: 7) Other Details: Weight of Book 185 gms
Price: $17.00
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