Material Culture and Social Formations in Ancient India

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Material Culture and Social Formations in Ancient India is a book by Professor Ram Sharan Sharma, published in 1985. The author surveys theories of social change and underlines the key role of production techniques together with climatic conditions in shaping ancient social formations. Several questions are raised: What was the extent of cattle pastoralism in early Vedic times and how was it linked with tribalism and booty capture? Why could the later Vedic people not develop a full-fledged state and class system? What part did iron play in war and production in northern India? Why did Buddhism appear around 600 BC and why did this happen in the middle Gangetic plains? How many forms of society are reflected in the epics? Rural relics of ancient life and its glimpses in terracottas are also discussed. To tackle these problems, Vedic, epic and Buddhist texts are examined in the light of material remains, tribal studies and archaic social survivals.

It has been published by Macmillan Publishers.