Volume I: Prehistoric Roots
Volume II: Protohistoric Foundations
Voume III: The Text Poltical History and Administration Till C.200 BC
Volume IV: Poltical History and Administration (C.AD 200 BC-AD750)
Volume V: Poltical History and Administration (C.AD 750-1300)
The present volume, i.e. Volume I, is about the genesis and the development of Stone Age cultures in the country. This is preceded by an examination of the historical diversity and richness of the Indian land and also of the various ideas pertaining to the physical elements of the people who inhabit this land. The prehistoric data available from the various parts of the country are scrupulously examined and they lead to the dominant impression of a seamless continuity through different prehistoric stages. What also emerges is the enormous hunting-gathering potential of the Indian landscape and the position of the Indian landmass in the general context of human evolution.
The present volume, i.e. Volume II, discusses the post-Stone Age development, dwelling on a vast array of interlinked themes such as the beginning of food-production, the phenomenon of the Indus civilization in all its regional diversities and features, and finally, the establishment of a ‘village India’ on the subcontinental level and its transformation into the phase of early historic urban growth. The volume is titled Protohistoric Foundations because these contain the seeds of what we see in the later contexts including the village India that we can still see, despite the impacts of modern socio-economic forces around us.
The present volume, third in the series, has to begin with the Aryan problem on which scholars have written for close to three centuries. Much of what has been written still clings like mill-stones to our necks, and we have argued why and how we should get rid of the general obsession with this notion. We have denied that the entire corpus of the Vedic literature is anything but an interconnected corpus of Indian texts and has to be viewed thus historically. A scholarly review of the Buddhist and Jaina literature features next with the issues such as the dates of the Buddha and Mahavira. Orthodox political history is introduced with the Mahajanapadas contemporary with the life of the Buddha and Mahavira and the subsequent emergence of Magadha as the leading political power of the country. The beginning and end of the Mauryan power along with the earlier political episodes of the Achaemenid and Greek invasions bring the political history part of the volume to conclusion. Following this, there are chapters on the urbanism, inscriptions and coins of the period and notes on 21 major archaeological sites.
The present volume, fourth in the series, picks up the thread between the end of the Mauryan dominance and the growth of major regional powers around AD 750. This includes, on the one hand, the phase of the Kushanas who represent in a way the significance of the Oxus-Indus orbit in the course of Indian history and the resurgence of the Gangetic region under the Guptas on the other. We discuss also the development of Sangam literature and the ruling dynasties like Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas. Within this frame there were other political developments, each important in their own domain.
The present volume, i.e. volume V, deals with the regional developments which have the added dimension of large-scale regional interactions. Each of the regional polities was strong on their own and shows awareness of areas far beyond the usual areas of their interaction.
From this point of view, the powers which grew up in the Ganga plains, central India, the northwestern part of India-Afghanistan, east India, the Deccan and the south give the political and administrative history of the land an aura of pan-Indian significance. The different stages through which Islam acquired power in India have been clearly outlined in this volume.
Dilip K. Chakrabarti is Emeritus Professor of South Asian Archaeology at Cambridge University and Dean, Centre for Historical and Civilizational Studies, VIF. He has a large number of research books and articles to his credit.
Makkhan Lal, taught at Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University. He was a Visiting Fellow in Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He was elected member of the Executive committee of World Archaeological Congress representing South Asia (1986-94) and also Academic Programme Co-ordinator and Treasurer of World Archaeological Congress -3 (1990-94). He is founding Professor-Director of Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management (established by the Government of Delhi) and a Senior Fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation. He has a large number of books and researches articles to his credit.
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