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Early medieval Indian society : a study in feudalisation

Author: Ram Sharan Sharma
Publisher: Kolkata : Orient Longman, 2003.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ram Sharan Sharma
ISBN: 8125025235 9788125025238
OCLC Number: 77538061
Language Note: Includes passages in Sanskrit
Description: x, 374 pages ; 22 cm
Contents: Introduction. Marx's views on feudalism ; Dominance of landlords and servitude of the peasantry ; Military fief not essential to feudalism ; Difference between origin and structure of feudalism ; Land grants and issues of fragmentation, integration and regionalism ; Comments on 'feudalism from below' ; Problem of models ; Approach to early medieval developments ; Introducing the chapters --
Transition from Ancient to Medieval. Problem of social and cultural transformation ; Turkish rule and the beginning of medieval India ; Raychaudhuri and periodisation ; Impact of the rise of landlords on polity ; Changes in the varna system ; Decline of trade, towns and metallic coinage ; Asiatic mode of production ; Spurt in agrarian expansion ; Changes in the social organisation ; Rise of regional and linguistic units ; Trends in art and architecture ; Bhakti and tantrism ; New types of conflicts and contradictions --
The Kali age: a period of social crisis. Concept of four yugas ; Dating the Puranic account of the Kali ; Traits of the Kali age ; Description of the Kali disorder ; Causes of the Kali crisis ; Measures to tackle the crisis ; Territories affected by the crisis ; Migration in the Kali period ; Consequences of the Kali disorder --
The nature of Indian feudalism. Universalism of tribalism ; Variations in feudalism ; Feudalism not identical with serfdom ; Constraints on peasant autonomy in production ; Beneficiaries' control over production resources ; Surplus collection and production pattern ; Extent of early medieval serfdom ; Emergence of a new socio-economic formation ; Large yield and agrarian expansion ; The feudal versus the segmentary state ; Leftism and Indian feudalism ; Concluding observations --
Paucity of metallic coinage (c. 500-c.1000). Advantages of metal money ; Considerable monetisation in c.200 BC-c. AD 300 ; Coinage in c. AD 300 and AD 500 ; Gold coins not issued by Pālas, Pratīhāras and Rāṣṭrakūṭas ; Lack of dies and moulds in AD 500-AD 1000 ; Use of cowries ; Metal mony in Bangladesh and in the northwest part of the subcontinent ; Shortage of coinage in 500-1000 in the Lucknow Museum ; Deyell and the Pratīhāra coins ; Gadhaiya coins ; Foreign coins ; Numismatic evidence from erstwhile Soviet Central Asia ; Volume of population and money circulation ; Why no gold coins in AD 650-AD 1000? ; Rekha Jain on the paucity of coinage ; D.C. Sircar on the paucity of coinage ; The paucity of metallic coinage and loss of trade ; Importance of c. AD 1000 ; Coin tables. Aspects of Royal Land Charter (Rājaśāsana) and property inheritance. Part I. Rājaśāsana and its legal aspects. Kauṭilya on the legal supremacy of royal charter ; Meaning, form and content of the rājaśāsana in the Smṛtis ; Rājaśāsana as a decisive proof in a lawsuit ; Land disputes and the application of the rājaśāsana ; Forged and authentic charters ; Nature of the sabhā or royal judicial court --
Part II. Property and inheritance laws: social and economic implications. Sources and types of property and conditions for its possession ; Āgama (title) more important than possession in Gupta and post-Gupta law books ; Provisions regarding partiton of inheritance ; Partition of landed property not allowed by the dāyabhāga ; The Mitākṣarā on property partition ; Partition of vidyādhana and śauryadhana not permissible --
Changes in social structure. Closed economy ; Loss in the mobility of artisans, peasants and merchants ; Land and power as base for social ranking ; Outer symbols and insignia of power ; Rise and growth of the kayastha community ; Emergence of mahattaras (village elders and headmen) ; Relative position of the vaishyas and sudras ; Social polarisation in Bengal and south India ; Differentiation in the sudra community ; Proliferation of the brahmana, kayastha and kshatriya castes ; Multiplication of the sudra castes ; Effects of multiplication of sects on the caste ; Nature of kinship ; Conclusion --
Dimensions of peasant protest. Unequal distribution of land ; Land disputes and lawsuits ; Violent land conflicts in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka ; Rural revolts in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring areas ; The Kalabhra revolt in south India ; The Kaivarta rebellion in eastern India ; Religion as a mobiliser of peasants ; Issues involved in the Kalabhara and Kaivarta revolts ; Impact of peasant protests on socio-economic formation ; Problem of calming peasant discontent ; Role of religion and ideology in containing peasant revolts ; Conclusion --
Economic and social basis of Tantrism. Meaning and social purpose of tantrism ; Views on the origin of tantrism ; Economic and social background ; The cult of the mother goddess ; Distribution of the tantric shrines and pīṭhas in the outer areas ; Association of Śabaras and other tribes with tantrism ; Dates and provenance of tantric texts ; Forms of tantrism ; Tantric brahmanas ; Feudal influence on tantrism ; Conflict between different tantric sects ; Tantric rituals and practices ; Why no tantrism in Vedic and post-Vedic times? ; Acceptability of the new sect --
The feudal mind. Landed hierarchy ; Social inequality and hierarchy reflected in art and architecture ; Hierarchy in tantric and Jain organisations ; 'God and king' vis-a-vis 'lord and vassal' ; Medieval mythologies on hierarchy ; Agriculture valued most ; Emphasis on male domination ; Practice of dāna ; Land gift called meritorious ; Bhoga and the ideas of gratitude and submission ; The guru as an intermediary ; Feudal mind, a localised and closed mind ; Land grants attributed to the favour of the prabhu ; Kṛpā or prasada more important than puruṣārtha ; Belief in destiny ; Idea of ranking and rural ethos ; Social distancing through use of language ; Notion of subservience in land charters ; Show of vanity and ostentation by landed magnates ; Bhakti cult in feudal times --
Summing-up. The Kali crisis and the coming of the early medieval period ; Land grants and changes in the socio-economic set-up ; Continuity in feudalisation --
Appendices. I. Developments in material culture (c. AD 300-c. AD 700) ; II. Marx and Kovalevsky on Indian feudalism.
Responsibility: R.S. Sharma.

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