The History and Culture of the Indian People

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The History and Culture of the Indian People is a series of eleven volumes on the history of India, from prehistoric times to the establishment of the modern state in 1947. Historian Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, popularly called the 'dean of Indian historians', was the general editor of the series, as well as a major contributor. The entire work took 26 years to complete. The set was published in India by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai. The series is regarded as one of the best and one of the most detailed books on Indian history.[according to whom?]

An overview[edit]

The volume titles are as follows:

  • Volume 1: The Vedic Age [Prehistory to 600 B.C.]
  • Volume 2: The Age of Imperial Unity [600 B.C. to 320 A.D.]
  • Volume 3: The Classical Age [320-750 A.D.]
  • Volume 4: The Age of Imperial Kanauj [750-1000 A.D.]
  • Volume 5: The Struggle for Empire [1000-1300 A.D.]
  • Volume 6: The Delhi Sultanate [1300-1526]
  • Volume 7: The Mughul Empire [1526-1707]
  • Volume 8: The Maratha Supremacy [1707-1818]
  • Volume 9: British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance, Part 1 [1818-1905]
  • Volume 10: British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance, Part 2 [1818-1905]
  • Volume 11: Struggle for Freedom [1905-1947]

The first volume (1951) is about the Vedic period. It has 27 chapters by 11 contributors. Three chapters and part of a fourth were written by R.C. Majumdar. Other contributors to the first volume are V.M. Apte, A.D. Puslker and B.K. Gosh. The volume discusses the archaeology, geology, flora, fauna and other aspects of this period. It includes a chapter on the palaeolithic, neolithic and copper ages by H.D. Sankalia.

The sixth volume (1960) is on the sultanate period of medieval India. This volume consists of 19 chapters by 19 contributors. Six chapters and parts of four other chapters were written by R.C. Majumdar. Other significant contributors to this volume are S.Roy, A.K. Majumdar, P.M. Joshi, N. Venkataramanya, S.K. Chatterjee and S.K. Saraswati.

The seventh volume (1974) is on the Mughal era. This volume has 24 chapters by 28 contributors. Only parts of two chapters were written by R.C. Majumdar. The most significant contributors to this volume are J.N. Chaudhuri, G.S. Sardesai, A.L. Srivastava, Abdur Rashid and S. Roy.

Opinions[edit]

Historian John Keay describes the work as:

… a standard work of many volumes commissioned in the 1950s to celebrate India's liberation from foreign rule and foreign scholarship.[1]

Upon the appearance of the first volume in the series, in a review in the Isis journal M.F. Ashley Montagu described it as:

… the first volume of the first genuine history of India.... [and that it] is likely to remain for many generations the most important of all histories of India, and, indeed, renders all others obsolete if not superfluous.[2]

Historian D. N. Jha however describes the book as

… revivalist and Hindu chauvinist in approach.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York, United States: Grove Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0. 
  2. ^ M.F. Ashley Montagu, Review in: Isis, Vol. 43, No.1 (Apr., 1952), pp. 75-76.
  3. ^ D. N. Jha (1977). Ancient India: In Historical Outline. New Delhi, India: Manohar. p. 176. ISBN 81-7304-285-3. 


Further reading[edit]

  • R.C. Majumdar (general editor) and A.D. Pusalker (assistant editor). The History and Culture of the Indian People. Bombay [Mumbai], Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1951.