A History of India by Peter Robb

By Peter Robb

A historical past of India explores the crucial subject matters that unify Indian historical past and provides the reader a worldly and available view of India’s dynamics from precedent days, the Mughal Empire, and the British Raj via post-1947 India. The ebook examines Indian politics, spiritual ideals, caste, atmosphere, nationalism, colonialism, and gender, between different matters. It additionally discusses long term monetary improvement, the influence of worldwide alternate, and the origins of rural poverty. Peter Robb’s transparent, fluent narrative explores the interaction among India’s empires, areas of rule, customs, and ideology, and is a perfect place to begin for people with an curiosity in India’s earlier and current.

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Given this pre-eminence, caste has also been variously characterized. The fact that caste status could persist independently of actual occupation and wealth or power led some to believe that it was a solely ritual or ideal system. Others noted that it could adapt itself to changing economic and political standing, leading to the suggestion that it was after all ultimately pragmatic and material, and that there was no unchanging hierarchy of castes. More recently, it has become increasingly common among scholars to deny the very existence, before the nineteenth century, of caste as defined by Dumont.

In India as in other early agrarian cultures, social divisions (like land rights) were almost certainly organized and preserved over time through households, groups of real or notional kin that specialized in certain social functions or items of production. The division of labour was backed by the city-states and by moral sanctions, quite possibly needing to be reinforced among nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples during sustained periods of settlement and expanding production. The varna theory, as recorded in the texts that have come down to us, was arguably an abstraction from such practical needs, as the agricultural frontier advanced, and cities and elites developed.

Thirdly, the Vedas recognize traders, craftsmen and other workers. At some stage these roles ceased to be necessarily occupational but became hereditary. 1 The basis of this differentiated society may also be guessed from the texts. A warrior model is compatible with the polity of military clan or migratory tribe; there is evidence of so-called republican systems, with clan assemblies. An emphasis upon domesticated animals and animal products suggests pastoralism: reliance on horses, cows, goats and sheep.

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