By Peter Robb

ISBN-10: 0333691288

ISBN-13: 9780333691281

A background of India explores the valuable subject matters that unify Indian historical past and provides the reader a cosmopolitan and obtainable view of India’s dynamics from precedent days, the Mughal Empire, and the British Raj via post-1947 India. The ebook examines Indian politics, non secular ideals, caste, atmosphere, nationalism, colonialism, and gender, between different concerns. It additionally discusses long term fiscal improvement, the impression of worldwide exchange, 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 previous and current.

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These did not wholly remove overlapping rights but tended to standardize all land into a few general types, governed by scientific measurement or a legal definition which overrode differences of use or ownership: not only distributing what had been common among separate owners or to the state, but also attributing the same legal incidents to a temple or a corporation’s estate as to the land of an individual. Going further than most of their predecessors, the British also clamped down on ‘vagrants’, using military campaigns, legal and economic force, and ethnographical typing.

KINGSHIP It used to be supposed that kingly authority was weak in India because priestly authority was strong. This seems to give undue weight to the priestly origin of so many of the sources. Read differently, the sources imply that political power had to be accommodated in the priestly theories. The king’s religious functions were vital – even if not necessary to the performance of ritual, kings had a sacred quality in their persons that was often seasonally and periodically reinforced by ritual, and they had practical importance for Brahmans 36 A HI STORY OF INDIA or other religious orders, especially as the priestly role came to be regarded as properly distinct from the role of the warrior.

But we should not take this too far. The European observers invented the term ‘caste’ and undoubtedly affected Indian practice and understanding; but they did not imagine caste ab initio. They applied a misleading term, compounding at least two different concepts, but they did so to describe social behaviour which they had generally encountered. Thus, over the millennia, social and political authority and behaviour have been influenced by recurrent ‘caste-like’ ideas. The ‘civilizational’ character of caste lies in the persistence of varna and jati over time and space within the Indian region.

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A History of India by Peter Robb


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