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Nationalism in the Study of Ancient Indian History

Dilip K. Chakrabarti (Author)

It has long been alleged that the pioneer Indian scholars of ancient Indian history were ‘nationalists’, ‘Hindu revivalists’ and unhappy with the fact that the Muslims invaded and took possession of India. ‘Pernicious’ is also an adjective thrown at them. The present volume examines the evolving research scenario and concludes that these pioneer historians never wilfully distorted any historical evidence and thus their nationalism did not stand in the way of objective historical investigations. The allegations levelled against them by communists roughly since the 1960s were nothing but propaganda ploys to draw attention to themselves as ‘progressives’ and thus capture with governmental support the country-wide institutions in the field of history . The volume shows that the period of communist dominance in this arena is about the darkest period in the history of ancient Indian historical research in the country since the late nineteenth century when Indian scholars began to research ancient India in increasing numbers. Further, the author argues that no commitment to a particular ideology with its obsession with the Aryans and the Sarasvati can be a substitute for rigorous professional research on ancient India with clear assessment of the sources and their chronology.  The volume also contains a detailed discussion on Rabindranath Tagore's and Sister Nivedita's ideas of Indian history.

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About the author

Dilip K. Chakrabarti

Dilip K. Chakrabarti is currently Professor of South Asian Archaeology at Cambridge University. He taught at the universities of Calcutta (1965-77). He taught at the universities of Calcutta (1965-77), Delhi (1977-90), Visvabharati (1980-1) and Jahangirnagar (1988-90), before moving to Cambridge in 1990. He participated in a number of Indian excavations and did some fieldwork in Iran before 1980, but the major focus of his fieldwork since 1980 has been a series of surveys: Kangra Valley (1980), Chotanagpur plateau (1981-7), Bangladesh (1988-90), the Ganga-Yamuna plain from the mouth of the bhagirathi to the hills of Uttaranchal (1991-2001 and 2002-5), the routes linking the Ganga plain with the Deccan (1999-2002) and the ancient routs of the Deccan and the south (2004-6). He is perhaps the only archaeologist to have surveyed the Chotanagpur plateau as a whole. His historical geographic survey of the Ganga plain is the first survey of its kind after the nineteenth century surveys by Alexander Cunningham and his associates. He has also opened up the study of the ancient routes as a branch of enquiry in Indian archaeology. He has published widely on each of these areas and on a host of key issues of south Asian archaeology. India: An Archaeological History (2001), The Archaeology and Ancient Indian Cities (1995), Ancient Bangladesh (1992), and The Early Use of Iron in India (1992) are some of his works published by OUP. His forthcoming publication is Archaeological Geography of the Ganga Plain: The Upper Ganga (Oudh, Rohilkhand and the Doab).

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Bibliographic information

Title Nationalism in the Study of Ancient Indian History
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2021
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788173056482
length xvi+398., 15cm x 22cm.