Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations
Romila Thapar
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Drawing on textual and archaeological sources, most of the essays in this edition are on the early history of India upto the end of the first millennium A.D., suggesting some fresh interpretations of the data.

This revised edition has four new essays. The tradition of historical writing that earlier received little attention is now becoming a subject of interest in relation to pre-modern India. The cliche that Indian civilization lacked a sense of history is open to question and is discussed more fully in one of these essays. The functions of institutions associated with the presentation of history, such as museums are considered in another essay. A further discussion relates to the need for the historian to be aware of the political exploitation of history. The final essay reminds us of the debate generated by such a threat in recent years.

This seminal work by one of India’s most eminent historians will be of invaluable use to scholars interested in the study of ancient societies, tradition and culture in the context of social formations, and broadly history.

Romila Thapar is Professor Emeritus in History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Acknowledgements / vii
Introduction to the Second Edition  / ix

  1. Interpretations of Ancient Social History / 1
  2. Society and Law in the Hindu and Buddhist Traditions / 23
  3. Ethics, Religion and Social Protest in the First Millennium B.C. in Northern India / 36
  4. Renunciation: The Making of a Counter-culture / 56
  5. Dana and Daksi?a as Forms of Exchange / 94
  6. Social Mobility in Ancient India with Special Reference to Elite Groups / 109
  7. The Image of the Barbarian in Early India /  137
  8. The Historian and Archaeological Data / 173
  9. The Study of Society in Ancient India / 189
  10. Puranic Lineages and Archaeological Cultures / 214
  11. The Tradition of Historical Writing in Early India / 237
  12. Origin Myths and the Early Indian Historical Tradition / 259
  13. Genealogy as a Source of Social History / 286
  14. The Scope and Significance of Regional History / 317
  15. Great Eastern Trade: Other Times, Other Places (Maritime Trade in the First Millennium A.D.) / 332
  16. The Museum and History / 351
  17. The Future of the Indian Past / 369
  18. Recognizing Historical Traditions in Early India / 398
Index / 424
3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad,
500 029 Telangana
Phone: (040) 27662849, 27662850
Follow us on
Copyright © Orient BlackSwan, All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Terms and Conditions
Frequently Asked Questions