POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENTS

POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENTS : The polities that emerged late during the first millennium bce were chiefdoms known  as  janapadas,  and  named  after  the  land  tracts  they  occupied. Their rulers were scions of the dominant clans of such communities, whose author- ity  derived  partly  from  the  support  of  subordinate  rajanyas  (kshatriyas)  and partly from the … Read more

FROM AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES TO URBAN CONFIGURATIONS

FROM AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES TO URBAN CONFIGURATIONS- Mehrgarh’s  seventh  millennium  bce  occupants  made  buildings  of  several rooms for habitation and storage out of mud-brick; they made stone tools for harvesting  the  barley  and  wheat  they  cultivated  and  for  shaping  ornaments out of local as well as imported substances; they buried their dead and interred tools and … Read more

THE ‘MESOPOTAMIAN CONNECTION’

THE ‘MESOPOTAMIAN CONNECTION’- The microlithic tool-makers who settled at a place now called Mehrgarh,   in the Bolan River basin in Baluchistan, initiated a new phase of human organization in India which has shattered all previous beliefs about early society there. From the first forays by European scholars into Indian prehis- tory during the late nineteenth … Read more

THE PRE-FORMATION OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION

Human communities are thought to have inhabited the Indian subcontinent for 500,000 years, according to stone age sites found scattered between the far south of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Soan and Beas river valleys in northern Punjab, and from one coast to the other; estimates of dates for some of these range between … Read more

STATES WITHOUT COMMUNITIES; COMMUNITIES AS COMMUNALISM

By the later nineteenth century, after the great Mutiny of 1857, British policy was set to undermine the territorial basis of communities. This was accom- plished partly by converting erstwhile locality chieftains into dependent land- lords, breaking any that resisted the change; partly by atomizing previous territorial unities; partly by legal changes to individuate what … Read more

THE ROLE OF RELIGION AND IDEOLOGY

Hinduism and caste relations must be situated within some general social context to provide them with useful ideological content rather than an unde- fined and vague global explanatory privilege. Caste, religion and values were defined by and to a degree fell under the custodianship of India’s massive petty bourgeoisie, and caste and Hinduism were adopted … Read more

COMMUNITIES WITHOUT STATES

The idea of complex communities persisting over an extended period of time and space forced itself upon me some years ago when, in Paris, I visited the superb exhibition devoted to the microlithic site of Mehrgarh, near the Bolan Pass. This site had completely overturned previous beliefs about the pre- and proto-history of the subcontinent. … Read more

RESITUATING COMMUNITIES AND STATES

In the evolution of political forms in India, environmental factors, economic complexity and religious ideology all played important and interlinked roles. As a first step in delineating the long conjoined history of states and com- munities in the subcontinent, I propose the following chronological scheme: Communities without states from bce 7000 to 800. Communities as … Read more