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

HISTORIAN’S CHOICE

As already implied by the notion that a book like this could and perhaps should be written or read from the present to the past, it should be taken not as a recording of events as they sequentially unfolded in real time but rather as an accounting. In the first instance, it is an account … Read more

FULL CIRCLE: THE OPPRESSED APPEAL TO RELIGION

Unnoticed until quite recently have been other voices who have also resorted to a religious idiom to press their appeals for justice. These groups were sub- ordinate to, and victims of, that petty bourgeoisie which had succeeded in making religious communalism their ideology, just as the professional bour- geoisie made secularism theirs. In an era … 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 AS STATES

Since the turn of the twentieth century, Indology and Indian history has rec- ognized a type of polity, dubiously and always within inverted commas denoted ‘republic’. These  so-called ‘republics’, or  janapadas, are  far  better  viewed  as ‘communities as states’. In some reckonings, they existed from about 800 bce to  the  time  of  Kautilya’s  Arthashastra, conventionally … 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