Early Medieval Indian Society

The traditional view of feudalism, defined by scholars like Karl Marx and Marc Bloch, describes a system where a dominant social group controlled ownership of land and enjoyed the benefits of labor of servile serfs who toiled to generate produce from land. While this model was based on conditions in Europe, Marx felt that this did not apply to medieval India as most peasants were technically free land-owners.
R.S. Sharma goes beyond this traditional view of feudalism. In his Early Medieval Indian Society, he shows how dominant groups used techniques such as land-grants, control of common services, caste and religion to gain control over the means of production. R.S. Sharma explains how despite differences from the European model of feudalization, similarities in economic traits like decline of towns and long-distance trade, reduction in the usage of metal coins and the establishment of a subsidiary market economy made the feudal model a useful tool to understand this period. He uses feudalism to trace the emergence of early medieval India and to also understand developments in art, religion, literature, polity and society.
The Prologue to this edition is a fitting tribute to the author by Jaya Sinha Tyagi, a historian of ancient Indian history. Analyzing R.S. Sharma’s pioneering study, she charts this erudite historian’s contribution to the transformation of the study of early medieval India. She also explains why this book continues to serve as a critical resource material for tracing the economic changes in history.
R.S. Sharma’s seminal work will be invaluable for students, scholars and teachers of ancient and medieval Indian history. It will be useful to readers interested in studying transitions in socio-cultural ideologies and institutions from the early medieval times.
Key Features:
This is a well-established textbook.
This edition has a Prologue by Jaya Tyagi.
Karl Marx and Marc Bloch define feudalism as a system where a dominant social group controlled ownership of land and enjoyed the benefits of labor of servile serfs who toiled to generate produce from land.
This model was based on conditions in Europe and Marx felt that this did not apply to medieval India as most peasants were technically free land-owners.
R.S. Sharma explains how despite differences from the European model of feudalization, similarities in economic traits like decline of towns and long-distance trade, reduction in the usage of metal coins and the establishment of a subsidiary market economy made the feudal model a useful tool to understand this period in India.
Table of Contents:
Preface to the First Edition
Prologue to this Edition by Jaya Tyagi
Roman Equivalents of Nagari Letters
Abbreviations
Introduction
Transition from Ancient to Medieval
The Kali Age: A Period of Social Crisis
The Nature of Indian Feudalism
Paucity of Metallic Coinage ( 500-l000)
Aspects of Royal Land Charter (Ra-jas?a-sana) and Property Inheritance
Changes in Social Structure
Dimensions of Peasant Protest
Economic and Social Basis of Tantrism
The Feudal Mind
Summing-up
Appendices
Bibliography
Index (Sanskrit and other non-English words)
Index (General)

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Book Details

Pages

424

Authors

R. S. Sharma

Reading Period

21 Days

ISBN: 978-8125056119
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