A largely rewritten version of a classic history of early India concerned not only with the past but also with the interaction of the past and the present.
Romila Thapar’s Penguin History of Early India brings to life many centuries of the Indian past. Dynastic history provides a chronological frame but the essential thrust of the book is the explanation of the changes in society and economy. The mutation of religious beliefs and practices, the exploration of areas of knowledge in which India excelled, its creative literature, are all woven into a historical context.
In this version, the opening chapters explain how the interpretations of early Indian history have changed. Further, although the diversity of sources and their readings are well known, nevertheless, this narrative provides fresh readings and raises new questions. Romila Thapar gives a vivid and nuanced picture of the rich mosaic of varied landscapes, languages, kingdoms and beliefs, and the interaction between these that went into the making of a remarkable civilization
About The Author
Romila Thapar was born in India in 1931 and comes from a Punjabi family, spending her early years in various parts of India. She took her first degree from Punjab University and her doctorate from London University. She was appointed to a Readership at Delhi University and subsequently to the Chair in Ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is now Emeritus Professor in History. Romila Thapar is also an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and has been Visiting Professor at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania as well as the Collège de France in Paris. In 1983 she was elected General President of the Indian History Congress and in 1999 a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
Among her publications are Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, From Lineage to State, History and Beyond, Sakuntala: Texts, Readings, Histories and Cultural Pasts: Essays on Indian History as well the children’s book Indian Tales
Table Of Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on the Bibliographies
Chronology: c. 1000 BC-AD 1300
1. Perceptions of the Past
2. Landscapes and People
4. Towards Chiefdoms and Kingdom: c. 1200-600 BC
5. States and Cities of the Indo-Gangetic Plain: c. 600-300 BC
6. The Emergence of Empire: Mauryan India; c. 321-185 BC
7. Of Politics and Trade: c. 200 BC-AD 300
8. The Rise of the Mercantile Community: c. 200 BC-AD 300
9. Threshold Times: c. AD 300-700
10. The Peninsula: Emerging Regional Kingdoms; c. AD 500-900
11. The Peninsula: Establishing Authorities and Structures; c. AD 900-1300
12. The Politics of Northern India: c. AD 700-1200
13. Northern India: Distributive Political Economies and Regional Cultures; c. AD 800-1300