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Marsh connection with the Near East. Beginning with the trading connections University of North Dakota arising between the Early Dynastic Sumerian city-states and the Harappan matthew. However, despite the culturally rich and politically dynamic civilisations which arose in Ancient India, it is frequently only mentioned in passing, or in reference to Alexander the Great.
A gap such as this in Near Eastern studies makes works like the one under review exceedingly helpful in introducing students in Ancient History or World History courses to a complex and dynamic civilisation. It was then revised and re-written for a second edition in , which would be reprinted nineteen times. Rounding out the book are a twenty page annotated bibliography and DOI: He emphasises that the foundations of Indology laid by the officers of the East India Company as they sought to understand and gain familiarity with the history, laws, and customs of India.
Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology No. While Orientalists found at the numerous archaeological sites. This massive brick structures that characterise Harappan cities , establishment saw India in a highly critical light, and their and wheel-turned mass-produced pottery. Harappans appear interpretation of Indian history would dominate scholarship to have used some form of irrigation to water their crops for nearly a century. John Mills work History of India would due to the large-scale nature of agricultural production.
In addition to their contacts late 19th and early 20th century. Jha emphasises that these with South India, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, land and British historians frequently wrote with a view of justifying sea routes connected the Harappans with the city-states of British rule in India.
However, in the early 20th century this Mesopotamia in the Early Dynastic and Akkadian periods. At this point, Jha turns to the puzzling question of the by the British historians, and build a national self-respect, decline and fall of the Harappan civilisation. He notes that Indian Nationalist historians came to regard the period as the consensus is that decline seems to have set in by about an era of prosperity and contentment.
At the same time they BC, when urban settlements began to shrink and decay, also began to make aspects of ancient Indian political thought while the cities themselves appear to be completely deserted and practise equate to the modern legislation and reforms of by BC. Reasons for the Harappan collapse include large- the European states. The Chapter 3: The Aryans and the Vedic Life final strand of historiographic tradition involves the debate After briefly looking at the main sources for the Vedic over periodisation and expansion of history to include greater period, the Vedas, Jha moves to a discussion of the initial attention to socio-economic and cultural factors linked with Indo-Aryan settlement.
Far from being an instantaneous political change. Jha holds the late D. Initial settlements were of Marxist historical interpretation, to be some of the most founded in eastern Afghanistan, the Panjab, and the western influential work on this historiographic trend. Holding Uttar Pradesh, otherwise known as the land of the seven to the periodisation established by Kosambi, Jha puts the rivers.
Only in the Later Vedic period BC did boundary between Ancient and Mediaeval India at the end settlement and conquest extended into the Gangetic river of the 6th century, not AD as has been in the past. For these Civilisation Jha begins his inquiry into Ancient India, launching natives the arrival and conquest by the Indo-Aryans meant a into a quick overview of the Palaeolithic and Chalcolithic reversion to a more primitive way of life. Far from being an settlements in India.
Using archaeological evidence Jha advanced civilisation, the Indo-Aryans were semi-nomadic provides a snapshot view of settlement and society during pastoralists whose only technological innovations were these periods, in which the major innovation would be the chariot and bronze technology, and were known for the beginnings of metalworking originally just copper to their destruction of towns and cities. Originally the Vedic make tools. These Chalcolithic settlements were primarily peoples were cattle raisers who practised a mixed pastoral rural in nature, held domesticated animals, and had begun and agricultural economy.
Jha notes that while cattle formed cultivating cereal crops. Jha emphasises that Chalcolithic the basis of wealth for the Vedic peoples, they were not yet settlements in India have an extremely long chronological considered sacred and were regularly sacrificed or used as timespan that in some cases overlays or post-dates the more food. Vedic political and administrative traditions were quite technologically advanced Harappan civilisation. From here, limited.
Kingship appears to have mostly been equal to a Jha shifts towards greater detail as he discusses the Indus tribal chieftainship, while tribal assemblies acted as a check River or Harappan civilisation. He notes that while more on their power. Initially society in the period structured than 2, seals have been found bearing Harappan script on itself around a three-way division into warriors Kshatriya , them, the script itself has not been successfully deciphered claiming to have deciphered the script.
As Vedic Jha moves from religious to political developments conquests expanded into Northern India a fourth class, with this chapter, discussing the growth of the Majanapadas the Shudras, appears to have emerged from the conquered large states who dominated 6th- 4th century BC India. While tribes incorporated. These social divisions would later be Jha notes that even at the end of the Later Vedic period given religious sanction, laying the foundation for the historians can begin to see a shift from tribal organisation practise of Varna or caste distinctions.
While the initial Vedic to territorial state, this process rapid accelerated after the 6th settlements were in the Indus river valley, by the later Vedic century BC. With the shift east the North India. Last and most important of the Magadhan Vedic economy began its move from one primarily pastoral, dynasties were the Nanda, who are sometimes credited to one primarily agricultural in origin.
Agricultural surplus with overthrowing all other contemporary royal houses in term prompted an expansion in crafts, technologies, and and incorporating them into the Magadhan state. Jha urbanisation. As Vedic life became more settled the social emphasises the favourable geographic and climatic position norms associated with the Varna system became more of Magadha, along with the rich mineral deposits as a key crystallised, strengthening the power of the Brahmana and factor in their success.
Nanda expansion coincided with Kshatriya classes at the expense of the lower orders. Ultimately, development. Jha then briefly looks at a curious feature of early for diversification in arts and crafts.
At the same time, Jha Indian statehood, the republics found particularly in the highlights the fact that the rise of a new wealthy class had long Panjab and Himalayan foothills. Emphasising the corporate lasting effects on Vedic society, causing a rise in inequalities nature of these states Jha sees them less as republics, and to develop.
These developments also helped to end tribal more as undemocratic oligarchies. Conflict between Vedic religious practises, with their to the Mauryan Empire, the first and largest of the Indian emphasis on animal sacrifices particularly cattle , and the empires. While Jha provides a sketch overview of the new social groups were responsible in part for the emergence reigns of Chandragupta, Bindusara, and Asoka Maurya, his of new religious and philosophical ideas during this period.
He Moving from economics to religion Jha briefly sketches the emphasises that Mauryan political supremacy was obtained beginnings of the two major alternative sects to appear out and maintained due to the enormous army, given as , of 6th century India: Jainism and Buddhism. Turning first to , in sources, the Mauryan emperors were able to field. He notes that the concept of into a number of provinces carefully regulated at national, God is nearly irrelevant to Jainism.
Instead, the sole focus of provincial, and local levels of government. With the need life is the purification of the soul through fasting, rigorous to support such as large army the Mauryan state became practise of non-violence, truth etc.
Jains were not only incredibly centralised, taking control of and regulating many forbidden to wage war, but also to farm, something that of the crafts and industries to make a profit.
Jha looks at would lead Jains to become involved in trade and mercantile how the main Indian source for the period, Kautilya, seems endeavours.
Also noted is the persistent tension between the salvation, regardless of social origin or birth. From here Vedic, Jain, and Buddhist sects, a fact Jha sees as a possible common features of Jainism and Buddhism are discussed, reason for Asoka Maurya to promote his policy of dhamma.
Buddhism Mauryan population, including measures relating to social in particular with its moderate emphasis on ahimasa non- welfare. While neither religion sought to the local language of the province. In his examination of the abolish the Varna caste system, they adapted a much more decline and fall of the Mauryan Empire Jha puts most of his liberal attitude towards the lower orders, and certainly emphasis on economic reasons for the collapse, rather than did not proscribe their ability to gain knowledge, as the military or political reasons.
Brahmana were wont to do. He explores the complicated political Jha notes that the period also saw a decline in long-distance history of the period first by looking at the immediate trade, particularly with the West.
In turn this led to a successors to the Maurya, the Shunga, followed briefly by shrinking of the coastal towns, and a reduction in population a succession of tribal states. However, the most important movement within the Gupta Empire.
While urban centres political development Jha sees in the period is the repeated did not disappear altogether, their size and wealth shrunk movement of people across the Hindu Kush mountains into considerably. The Varna caste system seems to have Northwest India, as it promoted active interaction with the expanded dramatically with a massive increase in Shudra and outside world and presented new cultural elements that untouchable caste members.
Overall Jha sees the Gupta period of Bactria, who overran much of Northwest India in the as one primarily of decline, and a transition to the primarily early 2nd century BC. Followed by the Saka, and the Indo- feudal period of the 6th — 12th centuries. Jha takes especial Parthians, the most important movement was that of the aim at Indian historians who see the Gupta period as a sort of Kushana in the early 1st century AD.
Under rulers such as Pax Guptana of Indian history, a Hindu renaissance. Instead Kadphises and Kanishka the Kushana incorporated not of a renaissance, the Gupta period was one of economic only Northwest India, but most of the Gangetic valley, decline, social stratification, and political decentralisation.
At its height, the The Epilogue represents what is essentially an all- borders of the Kushan Empire stretched not only from the new chapter for the book. While of China. Kushan rulers converted to Buddhism and were discussing the impact of the Achaemenids, Alexander, and responsible for Buddhist missions journeying to Central the wide-ranging contacts during the Mauryan Empire, most Asia and China.
On the economic side, Jha highlights the of his coverage is reserved for the Kushana. Jha effectively thriving trade that existed between Indian and the Western emphasises the two-way cultural contacts between India world through overland and seaborne trade routes.
He also and the Kushana, particularly their role in transmitting sees the expanding trade as being connected to the growth Buddhism to Central Asia and China. The bulk of the epilogue of a monetary economy in India, as the archaeological record is concerned with the legacy of Ancient India. Taking a reveals varying denominations of coinage being used in thematic approach Jha looks at a wide range of cultural, day-to-day transactions.
Following this Jha examines the religious, technological, and philosophical contributions main religious developments of the Post-Mauryan era. This made to Indian society during the Ancient period. A hallmark of the Mahayana was the Ancient India is a compact work, and given the evolution of the Buddha from a religious teacher to a mighty chronological span of time covered it is natural that there spiritual being through the Bodhisattva doctrine.
Within would be areas that could have received greater coverage. In Chapter 1 while Jha cults, leading to several important changes in beliefs.
Ancient India: in Historical Outline
Dwijendra Narayan Jha is an Indian historian , specialising in ancient and medieval India. Jha completed his BA Hons. Jha has repeatedly taken a position against Hindu nationalist ideology , arguing against what he claims is " communalism " and " saffronisation ", especially during the to Bharatiya Janata Party BJP government of the Republic of India. Jha has received death threats over his book The Myth of the Holy Cow in which he outlines the practice of eating beef in ancient India as documented in Vedic and Post-Vedic texts. Since Hindus traditionally consider the cow holy, his book caused much controversy. Jha was accused by Arun Shourie of deliberate distortion of the facts behind the destruction of Nalanda University by Islamic invaders in 12th Century AD. Shourie accused Jha of selective lifting of sources, obfuscation and intellectual compromise.
[Book Review] Ancient India in Historical Outline by D.N. Jha
Was ancient India really tolerant? DN Jha's book busts a few myths