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Exploring India's Rural Past: A Gujarat Village in the Early Nineteenth Century

A.M. Shah (Author)
Synopsis This book explores India’s rural past through an intensive analysis of the vernacular records of Radhvanaj village in central Gujarat, dating back to the early nineteenth century. Though the principal focus of the study is land, caste and occupation, it also dwells on other important aspects –the village as a community; the caste system, with particular attention to the service castes; household, family and marriage the lineage structure; and the village as a fiscal unit. In addition, the book traces the history of the village back to the thirteenth century, throwing light on numerous facets of Gujarat during the intervening period. A.M. Shah provides a vivid, holistic description of traditional Indian society untouched by the forces of industrialization and modernization, and only just beginning to be influenced by British colonialism. Using his experiences of fieldwork in the village in recent times, the author reconstructs the social structure prevalent in the early nineteenth century. Thus, while the data is historical, the theoretical and conceptual apparatus used to interpret the data is sociological and anthropological. This rigorous and substantial study questions, if not demolishes, many accepted notions about traditional Indian society and culture. This unique book will be indispensable to those interested in the history and sociology of India’s rural society.
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About the author

A.M. Shah

A.M. Shah (b. 1931), a student and later a colleague of M.N. Srinivas at the universities of Baroda and Delhi, is well known for his studies on the family, caste, village community, and historical sociology. He has held visiting fellowships at a variety of universities and institutes within India and abroad.

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Bibliographic information

Title Exploring India's Rural Past: A Gujarat Village in the Early Nineteenth Century
Author A.M. Shah
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195657322
length xiii+245p., Tables; Plates; Maps; 22cm.
Subjects History