Cultural Pasts - Essays in Early Indian History

Cultural Pasts - Essays in Early Indian History

Product ID: 11343

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Author: Romila Thapar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 1156
ISBN/UPC (if available): 019 5664876


This Collection of papers and lectures on early Indian history by one of India’s foremost historian focuses on historiography and the changing dimensions of social and cultural history.

The essays have been grouped thematically in nine sections: historiography; social and cultural transactions; archaeology and history; pre-Mauryan and Mauryan India; forms of exchange; the society of heroes in the epics and the later tradition of venerating heroes; genealogies and origin myths; the social context of the renouncer; and the present in the past, which looks at how current ideologies make use of the early past.

The collective publication of these important pieces-written over the last forty years and published in various journals-makes them newly accessible to Professor Thapar’s many readers. This volume will be indispensable to students and scholars of early Indian history.


These writings are significant not only for their widely appealing critique of communal interpretations of history, but also for their epistemological integrity…Written in elegant and powerful prose, the essays…are eminently readable.

-Rajan Gurukkal, The Book Reviews

This collection of…51 essays spanning over four decades (1955-1997) represents and enormously vast and rich canvas…These essays have created new conceptual vocabulary for the writing and study of early Indian history.

-Krishna Mohan Shrimali, Outlook


List of Illustrations


Social and Cultural Transactions

Archaeology and History

Pre-Mauryan and Mauryan India

Forms of Exchange

Of Heroes and History

Genealogies and Origin Myths as Historical Sources

The Renouncer in a Social Context

The Present in the Past