The city in Indian History covers the entire span from the emergence of cities in pre-historic times to the processes of urbanization in modern India. While one historian takes up conceptual and another histographical issues, fourteen contributors from different disciplines address themselves to urban patterns, demography, morphology, economic, social life, and politics, demography, morphology, economy, social life, and politics in a single centre or a major region of the subcontinent. Some of the articles contain important implications for the problem of de-urbanization, particularly during the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries in the context of the decline of the Muhal empire and the rise of the British.
Founded initially as ‘Urban History Group’ in 1978 at the conclusion of a UGC sponsored seminar on ‘Urban History in India’ at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, the Urban History Association of India has endeavoured since 1979 to promote urban studies by organising seminars and symposia and through the publication of its News-letters, occasional papers and proceedings of seminars. Though mostly from the discipline of history, the members of the Association belong also to the disciplines of geography, economics, sociology, political science and town-planning. The Association has welcomed collaboration with other institutions for the attainment of its objectives, notably with the Indian History Congress, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, besides a number of universities. It has received financial support from the Indian council of Historical Research for some of its Programmes.
The city in Indian history is based on papers presented to a seminar on ‘urban demography, economy and social structure’, organized by the Association in 1987 jointly with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, and occasional papers published by the Association from time to time. The main body of this book, thus, consists of sixteen papers which cover the city in Indian history from pre-historic to modern times. These papers re;ate to conceptual, methodological and historiographical problems inthe study of urbanisation, urban morphology, demorgraphy, society and politics on pan-Indian, regional and local levels. The bibliography entries spublished in the News-letters of the Association from time to time.
These volumes also contains three short pieces on the late professor Satish Chandra Misra by Professor S. Nurul Hasan, Professor J.S. Grewal and Professor Dwijendra Tripathi: Professor Grewal wrote his note soon after the passing away of professor Misra who was associated with the founding of the Urban History Group and the Urban History Association of India from the very beginning till his untimely demise in 1984, and made a very substantial contribution to all the programmes of the Association as a member, a vice-president and a president. In fact, he symbolized the close association between the universities at Amritsar and Baroda in pursuit of new areas and new methods of historical research. This volume is dedicated to his memory.
In the publication of this volume as much as in pursuing the programmes of the Association, I have received much help from a number of individuals and institutions, and I would like to take this opportunity of acknowledging our debt to them. Among the institutions I may repeat the names of the Indian History congress, the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Nehru memorial Museum and Library as among the foremost institutions which have helped the Association as well as the publication of this volume in one way or another. The Manohar Publications have been extremely accommodating and helpful in seeing the publication of this volume through: Shri O.P. Sarna has prepared the maps with great care. I am thankful to all the contributors to this volume for revising their papers in the light of editorial suggestions. It is sad to mention that two of the contributors are no longer with us: professor G.D. Sharma and Dr Kanchan Jyoti. Several of my colleagues at Amritsar and Chandigarh have been helpful to me at all stages of the preparation and publication of this volume, and I would like particularly to mention Dr Harish Chandra Sharma, my colleague at the Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Above all, I feel happy to thank professor J.S. Grewal who has been helpfully associated with the publication of this book as much as with all the programmes of the Association from its very inception.
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