Notwithstanding the remarkable progress in the realm of historical enquiry in our country, ancient India still remains a mysterious domain where the extant source-materials have proved to be inadequate and dubious. This explains why so many topics of ancient India history and culture have raged unending controversies among the historians. The present work mostly revolves around a few such controversial issues which have been objectively studied afresh in the light of the available data, literary and archeological.
The book comprises eight chapters: the Imperial Mauryas: Some Problems’, The Pala kings of Bengal and Bihar’, Side-Lights on the Religious Life of Ancient Orissa’, ‘The Satamana metallic Currency’, ‘Some Disquieting Features of Indian Archeology’, ‘Different Categories of the Brahmin Donees’, ‘Historical Researches in West Bengal’ and professor Dines Chandra Sircar’.
Dilip Kumar Ganguly, born in 1939 at Kirtipasha in Barisal district, Bangladesh, took Master’s degree from Calcutta University, standing first in Class I in order of merit. He joined Visva-Bharati University as a Lecturer in the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archeology in 1963. He obtained his doctorate from the same University in 1970, and the same year he was appointed a Reader in Visva-Bharati University and is at present professor and Head of its Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. He presided over a section of the VIIth World Sanskrit Conference in Leiden, Holland, in 1987 and visited the universities of Berlin, Heidelberg and Tubigen in West Germany in 1990 as a Visiting Scientist. Among his important publications are The Historical geography and Dynastic History of Orissa (Calcutta, 1957), Aspects of Ancients Indian Administration (New Delhi, 1984) and The Imperial Guptas and Their Times (New Delhi, 1987).
Notwithstanding the remarkable progress in the realm of historical-enquiry in our country, ancient India still remains a mysterious domain where the extant source-materials have proved to be inadequate and dubious. This explains why so many topics of ancient Indian history and culture have raged unending controversies among the historians. The present work mostly revolves around a' few such controversial issues which have been objectively studied afresh in the light of the available data, literary and archaeological.
The first chapter entitled 'The Imperial Mauryas: Some Problems', which is concerned with some aspects of history of the imperial Mauryas, contains an elaborate discussion about some such issues as the causes and nature of ASoka's conversion to Buddhism, delimitation of the eastern boundary of the Maurya empire and the role of the provincial governors in the con- temporary administrative system.
Chapter 2 deals with the knotty problems of the genealogy and chronology of the Pala rulers with special emphasis on the ascendancy and disintegration of the Pala power, extending over four centuries and a half.
The third chapter titled 'Side-Lights on the Religious Life of Ancient Orissa' focusses upon the state of Buddhism and Jainism in Orissa during the pre-Christian centuries and the Vaisnava affiliation of the Lingaraja cult in Bhubaneswar.
In the fourth chapter an endeavour has been ventured upon to review some important and yet unresolved issues relating to the Satamana metallic currency in the light of literary and archaeological data.
Chapter 5 highlights the limitations of the archaeological evidence, both prehistoric and historical, and shows how the vital issues like chronology, authorship, etc. of a given culture or civilization have often proved to be inconclusive.
The sixth chapter shows how the Brahmin donees, as known from the early Orissan inscriptions, admit of being divided into fivefold category comprising the tax-free-land-owning donees, tax-free-land-owning trustees, donees enjoying the revenue of tax-free holdings, trustees enjoying the revenue of tax-free holdings and finally, tax-paying donees.
Chapter 7 traces the progress of historical researches in West Bengal during the post-independence era.
Closely related to the preceding one is the concluding chapter which affords a glimpse into the unprecedented success in the study of the source-materials of ancient Indian history of Professor D.C. Sircar who reigns supreme as a colossus, bestriding the twin provinces of epigraphy and numismatics of his vast dominions.
The author expresses his obligation to Shri Shakti Malik of Abhinav Publications, New Delhi, for his keen interest in the publication of this monograph.
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