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The Sukraniti - A Nineteenth Century Text (An Old & Rare Book)

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Item Code: UAL234
Author: lallanji gopal
Language: English
Edition: 1978
Pages: 112
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 230 gm
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The Sukraniti is a unique text full of refreshing views and unusual information on several aspects of society and administration. Like many other young researchers, I was tempted to study minutely the rich fund of data contained in it. But, my first thesis for the D. Phil. degree of the University of Allahabad did not concern the period beyond. A D. 700, and, because scholars were generally inclined to place the composition of the Sukraniti after this date, I did not make much use of it for my doctoral thesis. I merely noticed some of its interesting passages to bring out the contrast with other earlier sources of information. The situation was different when in October 1960 my wife Smt. Krishna Kanti Gopal and I commenced our research studies for the Ph. D. degree of the University of London. Both took up subjects covering the period. A. D. 700 to 1200 to which most scholars preferred to date the text. We made a very thorough analysis of the text, because we found that it contained much highly challenging references to the subjects of the research. But, Prof. A. L. Basham advised us not to proceed with any large scale use of the text in view of Prof. V. Raghavan's repeated per sonal communication that the text is a nineteenth century forgery. When we came to finalizing the thesis for formal submission, we found ourselves in an awkward position. Prof. Raghavan had not offered anything in print, and we could not afford to ignore such an important source without some valid excuse. We prepared a note pointing out the chronologically heterogeneous nature of the text.

During this period once I chanced to go to the India Office Library As the library assistant went to fetch the books I requisitioned, I noticed collected volumes of the East India Company Regulations lying on the adjoining table. Law is in my blood. I opened a volume and glanced through a Regulation. I was pleasantly surprised to find provisions for the employment of prisoners in repairing roads. This encouraged me to make a thorough comparative study of the Regulations of the three Presidencies of Bombay, Bengal and Madras. I still remember very vividly my journey from Earls Court area to the India Office Library for two long weeks in biting wind and freezing cold and the thrills I experienced at finding more and more parallels. Thus, chance does play a role in many cases of discovery of new facts and evidence.

I prepared the draft of the article and disclosed it with advantage with Smt. K. K. Gopal, Prof. A. L. Basham and Dr. J. D. M. Derrett; to them I offer my sincere thanks. Another person to whom I am obliged is Miss D. M. Johnson, Editorial Secretary, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies who ungrudgingly looked after the meticulous details of printing The present study appeared first in BSOAS, Vol. XXV, Part 3, 1962, pp. 524-56. When I sent an off print of the article to Dr. U. N. Ghoshal, he asked me to prepare a detailed summary of the article, which he got printed in the Modern Review, 1963 (May and June) pp. 401-8, 473-83 as "The date of Sukraniti", his plea being that many scholars in India, who would care to read it, may not have easy access to the volumes of the BSOAS

There have been diverse reactions to my article. A young researcher, with possibly an admiring faith in me, was sorry to learn that I date the text so late. My arguments have carried conviction to many. Prof A. L. Basham considerably revised the chapter on political life and thought in his The Wander that was Indie because the Sukrantti as a 19th century production is quite irrelevant'. Prof. R. S. Sharma also cut out from the second edition of his Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India all those details which occur in the Sukraniti. Dr. B. N. S. Yadava

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