In mankind's history, India is the longest literary tradition-so ancient that it cannot be illustrated either by contemporary books or from monuments. The Rgveda, indisputably the oldest literary work, was written at a time when many a great, old-world civilization lay in the wombs of futurity. And almost equal is the antiquity of the puranas which, considered as the fifth Veda, figure distinguished among the traditional sources: Vedic Samhitas, Brahmanas, Srutis and Smrtis, Dharmasastras, epics, Tantra manuals, and myriad Buddhist and Jaina texts, that have helped historiographers unravel the landmarks in the subcontinental civilization.
Bulky and often crowded with legendary, religious and philosophical matters of various kinds, the PURANAS record the genealogies of Hindu deities, the reigns of the Manus, and Chronicles of Solar, Lunar and other ancient dynasties. Professor G.P. Singh tries afresh to establish their historicity, surveying the whole extent of Itihasa-Purana the early Indian historical tradition, founded on the Puranic Literature.
Meticulously sifting facts from myths, legends, and philosophic reflections in this monumental corpus of yore, the book reconstructs millennia of ancient India's political and cultural history from the pre-Bharata War days to about 1200 AD with both genealogical and chronological details of all dynasties that rose and fell in different regions of the Indian subcontinent. Contextually, the author analyse threadbare the Puranic evidence to also review the date of the Mahabharata War.
In thematically exploring the historicity of all different Puranas, Dr. Singh is at pains to show how far the Puranic accounts are validated by other traditional writings on the one hand, and archaeological evidence on the other. With prolific bibliographic references and a number of chronological/ genealogical tables, his book will interest the scholars/researches of Indology, ancient Indian history and archaeology.
About the Author
Dr. G.P. Singh Prof. of history at the University of Manipur, Imphal has researched different aspects of ancient Indian history and culture over the past three decades. He has contributed numerous papers to national and international journals. His works that include The Kiratas in Ancient India: A Historical Study of their Life, Culture and Civilization; Political Thought in Ancient India; Republics, Kingdoms, Towns and Cities in Ancient India; Facets of Ancient Indian History and Culture; and Ancient Indian Historiography, have won the acclaim of scholars in the field. In 1989, Dr. Singh was elected the Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain's and Ireland, London. He has been recently nominated a member of Indian council of historical Research, New Delhi.
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