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The Myth of Indian Feudalism

Sima Yadav (Author)
Synopsis This work of Dr. Sima Yadav attempts systematic refutations of R.S. Sharma’s theory of Indian Feudalism after subjecting a rigorous reassessment of land/village grants of Gurjar Pratihars, Pala, Parmara and Chandela dynasties and consolidating the observations of this reassessment in tabular form. The conclusion is that nor more than 33 villages were granted by kings of these dynasties ruling the whole of northern India from 700 to 1100 A.D., out of which only two were secular land grants, the rest being religious/educational in character. If the period is extended from 1200 to 14100 A.D. i.e. by 200 years more, the total number of village grants reach to a figure of 59 out of which only six villages were granted for secular purposes. As against this 82% of Mughal revenue went to 1671 mansabdars of Akbar’s India and yet Mughal Empire was not a feudal structure. Then how can with less than 0.001% of secular/administrative land grants, early medieval India go feudal? This is the main line of argument in this book. The form and spirit of European feudalism has been contrasted with the early medieval polity in order to show that the latter was not feudalism in European sense of the term and there is hardly any solid basis to call it Indian feudalism. Points raised by R.S. Sharma in favour of his arguments for the decline of trade, deurbanization, paucity of coins and emergence of a closed rural economy with a dependant exploited peasantry as necessary concomitants of Indian feudalism, as in Europe, has also been set aside. The positive meaning and purpose of the land/village grants as propounded in last three chapters have been held as corresponding to what has been traditionally proclaimed about them. The work is commendable in so far it boldly challenges one set of explanation of India land grants and is attempting another. Is contributing by way of reassessing the epigraphic material and highlighting the limitations and other implications of it, which the pioneers in the field were not able to detect. The book is characterized by laboriously made new observations and fact-based alternative interpretation of a very important source material.
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About the author

Sima Yadav

Dr. Sima Yadav was born in a himble family of a farmer in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. After doing her M.A. (Ancient History) and standing First in order of Merit from the department of history, Aligarh University in 1996 she qualified for UGC Research Fellowship in the same year. She completed her Ph.D. from M.J.P. Rohilkhand University, Bareilley. In 1988 she joined Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management where she is currently Reader in Ancient History, culture and Archaeology. Her major areas of interests are social and economic history of ancient India.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Myth of Indian Feudalism
Author Sima Yadav
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8176464651
length xxvi+326p., Tables; Notes; References; Index; 25cm.
Subjects History