Author: A M Shah
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195657322
This book explores India’s rural past through an intensive analysis of the vernacular records of Radhvanaj village in central Gujarat, dating back to the early nineteenth century. This unique study will be indispensable to those interested in the history and sociology of India’s rural society.
Though the principal focus of the study is land, caste and occupation, it also dwells on other important aspects-the village as a community; the caste system, with particular attention to the service castes; household, family and marriage; the lineage structure; and the village as a fiscal unit. In addition, the book traces the history of the village back to the thirteenth century, throwing light on numerous facets of Gujarat during the intervening period.
A M Shah provides a vivid, holistic description of traditional Indian society untouched by the forces of industrialization and modernization, and only just beginning to be influenced by British colonialism.
Using his experiences of fieldwork in the village in recent times, the author reconstructs the social structure prevalent in the early nineteenth century. Thus, while the data is historical, the theoretical and conceptual apparatus used to interpret then data is sociological and anthropological. This rigorous and substantial study questions, if not demolishes, many accepted nations about traditional Indian society and culture.