Author: Uma Chakravarti
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8189487043
This volume of essays moves the historiography of ancient India in the service of a history of the present. The cultural onslaught of a brahmanical saffron culture within popular discourse, and the fight against entrenched class and caste interests led by women, dalits and other marginalized groups, frame this battle for ancient India.
Through an in-depth analysis of myths and original sources, the author provides novel grounds fro contesting the foundations of such charged concepts as nation, civilization and womanly honour. Reading against the grain of canonical sources, she presents a distinctive reading of lesser known Buddhist Pali texts, the Jataka stories, and even contemporary texts like the television serials Chanakya and Ramayana, to demonstrate the stratifications in early Indian society.
The book brings to light several crucial concepts and categories that make possible a sensitive delineation of social alienation, class antagonism and gendered violence in ancient Indian society. The everyday histories of dasas, karmakaras, ‘a’grihinis, bhaktins and gahapatis provide an understanding of ancient India away from the clichéd invocations of ideal kings, brahmanas and pativratas.
NOTE ON SPELLING AND STYLE
HISTORY AS PRACTICE: INTRODUCTION
REPRESENTING ‘ANCIENT’ INDIA
Whatever Happened to the Vedic Dasi?: Orientalism, Nationalism and a Script for the Past
Inventing Saffron History: A Celibate Hero Rescues an Emasculated Nation
STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES
Towards a Historical Sociology of Stratification in Ancient India: Evidence from Buddhist Sources
Of Dasas and Karmakaras: Servile Labour in ancient India
In Search of the Peasant in Early India: Was the Gahapati a Peasant Producer?
The Social Philosophy of Buddhism and the Problems of Inequality
Conceptualizing Brahmanical Patriarchy in Early India: Gender, Caste, Class and State
Gender, Caste and Labour: Ideological and Material Structure of Widowhood
READING THE PAST
Renouncer and Householder in Early Buddhism
Women, Men and Beasts: The Jataka as Popular Tradition
The Development of the Sita Myth: A Case Study of Women in Myth and Literature
The Making and Unmaking of ‘Tradition’: The Ramayana Narrative in Two Moments
Exploring a ‘No-Conflict’ Zone: Interest, Emotion and the Family in Early India
The World of the Bhaktin in South Indian Traditions: The Body and Beyond