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Author: Uma Chakravarti
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8189847213
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 and in-depth analysis of myths and original sources, the author provides novel grounds for 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?
Inventing saffron History
STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES
Towards a Historical Sociology of Stratification
In Ancient India
Of Dasas and Karmakaras
In Search of the peasant in Early India
The social Philosophy of Buddhism and the
Problem of Inequality
Conceptualizing Brahmanical Patriarchy in
Gender, Caste and Labour
READING THE PAST
Renouncer and Householder in
Women, Men and Beasts
The Development of the Sita Myth
The Making and Unmaking of
Exploring a ‘No-Conflict’ Zone
The world of the Bhaktin in
South Indian Traditions