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Western India in Historical Transition: Seventeenth to Early Twentieth Centuries

Hiroyuki Kotani (Author)
Synopsis Nineteenth century onwards, when European thinkers started writing on India, the village community and caste system have loomed large as the most striking characteristics of Indian society. In spite of this preoccupation, however, studies of caste system and village community in pre-colonial India have been hampered by a dearth of historical documents in native Indian languages. The medieval Marathi documents utilized extensively in this volume are a rather rare exception to this general circumstance. In this volume the author proposes that the key concept that will help us understand the structure and function of local society in later medieval western India is the Vatan system. This system dictated the division of labour within the village community as well as the pargana (district) and prescribed the land rights of peasants over the lands they cultivated, the class relationships within local society and the hierarchical relationships at work in a caste community. British colonial rule precipitated far-reaching changes in the social fabric in western India. The most prominent was the gradual disintegration of the Vatan system. Structural changes were also affected in the caste community caused by the so-called caste autonomy policy formulated by the Bombay government. Finally, an ideological shift also appears to have been brought about primarily by the replacement of the local autonomous judicial system with the modern judicial system of the British. These socio-cultural changes are investigated mainly through legal documents prepared under the Bombay administration.
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About the author

Hiroyuki Kotani

Hiroyuki Kotani is Member of the Science Council of Japan and professor Emeritus of Tokyo Metropolitan university. His works include, Caste System, untouchability and the depressed (ed.), Manohar, 1997; and Western Indian in Historical Transititon: Seventeenth to eary Twentieth Centuries, Manohar, 2002.

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Bibliographic information

Title Western India in Historical Transition: Seventeenth to Early Twentieth Centuries
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173044457
length xii+308p., Maps; 23cm.
Subjects History