About the Book
Feudal Society and Its Culture is based on the early Indian period which saw
the “origin and growth of feudalism.” This book does not claim to present a
general history of early India in the traditional manner, but the distinctive
characteristic of this book lies in the fact that it presents a synthesis of
social, economic and cultural similarities began to unite people of different
religious and languages, as can be seen in the oral tradition and cultural life
of the oral people living then.
The purpose of
studying the early Indian is not simply to learn what it was like, but to have
a better understanding of the present day India through investigation into our ancient
roots. The history of early India is the history of bitter of early between
peasants and the feudal lords. Early Indian Ages were not only a time of
conservatism and ignorance, casteism, victimization of Sudras and feudal
brutality, but also were a time of great cultural achievement in which
magnificent works of literature, art and architecture were created as a fine
testimony to the creative genius of the people. I hope this book will help
reveal something of the complex, mysterious, but always interesting world of
the Early Indian Ages.
About the Author
G.C. Chauhan is a scholar who has done much to
reconstruct the social and economic institutions of early India. His book
include: Economic History of Early Medieval Northern India (Delhi, 2003);
Origin and Growth of Feudalism in Early India (Delhi 2004); Some aspect of
Early Indian Society (Pittsburg, USA, 2012); Agrarian Economy of Ancient India
(Delhi 2013); Indian Buddhism: A Historical Overview (Chandigarh, 2013); Light
and Shades of popular Belief in Shimla Hill States (Chandigarh 2013); and the
latest is what happened in Ancient India (Chandigarh 2013). Besides these the
Author has published more than fifty research papers and articles in national
and international journals.
ERLY INDIAN FEUDAL SOCIETY AND ITS CULTURE, the
topic appealed to me and I took it up. But, it presented difficulties partly
because I am not a Sanskritist and partly because the literature of ancient
India is a store-house of human experience and wisdom gathered in course of
ages, and ancient traitors are religious in nature. It is so vast, and
scattered, there are scare material in them of social history. The chronology
of these traditions literary as well as the epigraphical is uncertain. Another
difficulty in studying the social formation of ancient India lies in the fact
that in spite of many common features, early Indian society has regional
variations and differentiations. Moreover, it has intimate linkages with other
form of social formation like, Feudal Social Formation, Dasa-Visti Mode of
Production, Feudal Relations between Donees and peasants. Traces of Feudal
Culture as gleaned from Nirmand and Baijnath Land Charters, the Agnisnana: a Feudal Fashion,
Subjugation of Women, the making of the Sudras, Classified Society and Social
Thought of Kautilya. In view of paucity of early works on social formation,
along with the predominance of official orientation of literary and
epigraphical traditions and amorphous nature and regional variations, it is
very onerous job to present the social formation of early India. The present
work is a synthesis and summation of existing knowledge of early Indian society
on the combined bases of archaeological and literary traditions of early India.
tremendous task to do full justice to this topic. I do not therefore, claim to
have drawn a complete and finished portrait and I do not claim this to be
pioneer work, and hope that the material that I have so far been able to lay my
hand on, their systematic presentation, and the inferences that they have led
me to draw, may form an interesting and attractive book on Early Indian Feudal
Early Indian Feudal Society and its Culture is
a comprehensive study of certain social institutions of early India based on
literary and epigraphic traditions. It poses new questions on ticklish on
certain of early Indian society.
consists of ten chapters followed by exhaustive Bibliography. The First chapter
is a study of social feudal formation with reference to Asvamedha sacrifice, samanta as a feudal lord,
feudalisation of educational institutions and subjugation of artisans. It
depicts systematic presentation of social issues of early India.
chapter deals with the Dasa-Visti mode of production. The slave and forced
labour was employed on a fairly large scale in state-owned and privately owned
fields. These features were inherent in the mode of production, the peculiar
Indian way of development of Class society. So, an endeavour is made to link
and piece together these scattered references to "Dasa-Visti Mode of
Production" and present them into a historical and social perspective for
their proper understanding.
chapter presents the changing feudal-social scenario, new feudal obligation and
compulsion of the donees and peasants relationship. This chapter shows us that
how the holder of large estates claimed the superior right to the overlordship.
Over-taxation was a terrible plight of the peasant. The exorbitant taxes were
imposed by the donees which resulted in that were forced to sell their
ploughshares, yokes and all other requisites of cultivation.
chapter proposes to discuss the traces of feudal culture in Nirmand and
Baijnath land charters. My attempt here is to briefly discuss and examine the
feudal culture through the lenses of Epigraphical traditions. This chapter
presents the plight of widows in early medieval times in India, particularly
among the Rajputs. During this period women were reduced to the level of
chapter throws light on the question of feudal fashion of widow-burning among
the Rajputs in early medieval times.
chapter deals with "feudal relations and obligations in early India as
gleaned from the literary and epigraphic traditions." It encompasses
within it the feudal obligations of vassals to their overlords in return of
certain privileges. Here we have dealt with the Asvamedha sacrifice and its
natural corollaries which made the feudal system strengthened, inter-state
relation existing during the feudalistic pattern of society and matrimonial
alliance have also attracted full attention in order to depict the real state
of affairs during the period of our study.
The Seventh chapter
talks about the debatable and unsettled issue of the status of women and their
subjugation as reflected in early Indian traditions. The question regarding
women subjection and degraded status in early India have already received due
notice of scholars and the subject has been treated from different angles.
Period-wise treatment of the subject, on the basis of specific texts, has also
been discussed. The Dharmasastras prescribe almost complete subordination and
subjection of women in different spheres of life. Along with this, the views of
social thinkers of ancient India have been discussed on the problems of their
low status and subjection in early India.
chapter talks on the piquant issue of the creating of Sudra and its
transformation as Peasants and couple of question, which bother the inquisitive
scholars of Indian history on the issue of its creation and subjection.
creation of Sudra is colour-centric?
Sudra was an Aryan or pre-Aryan tribe, and if Aryan, when did they come to
questions are reinvestigated and revisited.
which consisted of the lower ring of early
society. It is implied in early literary traditions that the Sudra constituted
the senior class. The making of the Sudra is quite illuminating. It offers some
explanation at least, regarding the considering attitude of the three upper varna of the Aryan dominated society
towards the Sudras. The terms sudra, though
originally a tribal name, came to be applied to anybody who did not follow the
social and religious customs of the Aryan society whether he is foreigner or a
primitive inhabitant of India.
of this book deals with the much vexed problem of varna system, which has a special bearing on the Brahmanical
social order. The close survey of the Vedic traditions and Dharmasutras
revealed us that the peoples of different varna had a well defined place in social set-up in early Indian
society. The Brah man a varna had
consolidated its position at the top of the social hierarchy; the next place
went to the Ksatriyas and next to them were the Vaisyas while at the end stood
chapter deals with the social thought of Kautilya, probably the first one of
its kind to discover the essential of the Kautilya's social thought and its
book necessarily owes much to the works and research of scholars who have
worked on the social history of ancient India, but some of the ideas put
forward are my own and derived from my independent research. Since my aim is to
place at the disposal of the educated people a brief history of some of the
social institution of ancient Indian history from feudal perspective, as it
appears in the light of most recent research.
Lastly, I do
not have enough words to express what I owe to my wife Mrs Shakila Chauhan for
her constant encouragement, good wishes of my daughter Malvika Chauhan, and son
Arush Chauhan for the accomplishment of this book.
Key to Transliteration
Social Formation in Early India
Mode of Production in Early India
Relation between Donees and Peasants
Traces of Feudal
Culture as Gleaned from Nirmand and Baijnath Land Charters
Agnisnana: A Rajput Feudal Fashion as Reflected in Inscriptions
Relations and Obligations
Subjugation of Women
The Making of the Sudras
Social Thought of Kautilya
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