Ram Sharan Sharma

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Ram Sharan Sharma
Ram Sharan Sharma portrait
Born(1919-11-26)26 November 1919
Barauni, Bihar and Orissa Province, British India
Died20 August 2011(2011-08-20) (aged 91)
Patna, Bihar, India
Alma materUniversity of Patna, School of Oriental and African Studies
Known forMarxist method in Indian historiography
AwardsVishwanath Kashinath Rajwade Award, H. K. Barpujari Award
Scientific career
FieldsAncient India, Early Medieval India
ThesisSudras in Ancient India (1956)
Doctoral advisorA. L. Basham

Ram Sharan Sharma (26 November 1919 – 20 August 2011[1][2][3][4]), more often referred to as R. S. Sharma,[5] was an eminent historian and academic who specialized in the history of Ancient and early Medieval India following Marxist historiography.[6] He taught at Patna University and Delhi University (1973–85) and was visiting faculty at University of Toronto (1965–1966). He also was a senior fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was a University Grants Commission National Fellow (1958–81) and the president of Indian History Congress in 1975. It was during his tenure as the dean of Delhi University's History Department that major expansion of the department took place in the 1970s.[7] The creation of most of the positions in the Department were the results of his efforts.[7] He was the founding Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and a historian of international repute.[5][8]

During his lifetime, he authored 115 books[9] published in fifteen languages. He influenced major decisions relating to historical research in India in his roles as head of the departments of History at Patna and Delhi University, as Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, as an important member of the National Commission of the History of Sciences in India and UNESCO Commission on the history of Central Asian Civilizations and of the University Grants Commission and, above all, as a practising historian.[10] At the instance of Sachchidananda Sinha, when Professor Sharma was in Patna College, he worked as a special officer on deputation to the Political Department in 1948, where prepared a report on the Bihar-Bengal Boundary Dispute.[11][12][13] His pioneering effort resolved the border dispute forever as recorded by Sachchinand Sinha in a letter to Rajendra Prasad.[11][12][13]

Early life[edit]

Sharma was born in Barauni, Begusarai, Bihar.[14] With great difficulty his father sponsored his education till matriculation. After that he kept on getting scholarships and even did private tuitions to support his education.[10] In his youth he came in contact with peasant leaders like Karyanand Sharma and Sahajanand Saraswati and scholars like Rahul Sankrityayan and perhaps from them he imbibed the determination to fight for social justice and an abiding concern for the downtrodden which drew him to left ideology.[10] His later association with Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha, a social reformer and journalist, broadened his mental horizon and firmly rooted him in the reality of rural India and thus strengthened his ties with the left movement and brought him into the front rank of anti-imperialist and anti-communal intellectuals of the country.[10]

Sharma was foremost among the Indian intellectuals who wanted historians to realise that the discipline of history was not just about what happened in the past but what its lessons were for imaginatively and intelligently responding to the challenges of the present.[15]

Education and achievements[edit]

He passed matriculation in 1937 and joined Patna College, where he studied for six years from intermediate to postgraduate classes.[11] He did his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London under Professor A. L. Basham.[16] His PhD thesis on the history of Sudras in Ancient India was published as a book by Motilal Banarsidass in 1958, with a revised edition in 1990.[17][18]

Sharma taught at colleges in Arrah[19] (1943) and Bhagalpur (July 1944 to November 1946) before coming to Patna College, Patna University in 1946.[11] He became the head of the Department of History at Patna University from 1958 to 1973.[11] He became a university professor in 1958. He served as professor and dean of the History Department at Delhi University from 1973 to 1978. He got the Jawaharlal Fellowship in 1969. He was the founding chairperson of Indian Council of Historical Research from 1972 to 1977. He has been a visiting fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (1959–64); University Grants Commission National Fellow (1958–81); visiting professor of history in University of Toronto (1965–66); President of Indian History Congress in 1975 and recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru Award in 1989.[11] He became the deputy-chairperson of UNESCO's International Association for Study of Central Asia from 1973 to 1978; he has served as an important member of the National Commission of History of Sciences in India and a member of the University Grants Commission.[11]

Sharma got the Campbell Memorial Gold Medal (for outstanding Indologist) for 1983 by the Asiatic Society of Bombay in November 1987; received the H. K. Barpujari Biennial National Award by Indian History Congress for Urban Decay in India in 1992 and worked as national fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research (1988–91).[11] He is a member of many academic committees and associations. He has also been recipient of the K. P. Jayaswal Fellowship of the K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna (1992–94); he was invited to receive Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri Birth Centenary Gold Medal for outstanding historian from Asiatic Society in August 2001; and in 2002 the Indian History Congress gave him the Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade Award for his lifelong service and contribution to Indian history.[11] He got D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) from The University of Burdwan and a similar degree from Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi.[11] He is also the president of the editorial group of the scholastic magazine Social Science Probings. He is a member of the board of Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library. His works have been translated into many Indian languages apart from being written in Hindi and English. Fifteen of his works have been translated into Bengali. Apart from Indian languages many of his works have been translated into many foreign languages like Japanese, French, German, Russian, etc.

In the opinion of fellow historian Professor Irfan Habib, "D. D. Kosambi and R. S. Sharma, together with Daniel Thorner, brought peasants into the study of Indian history for the first time."[20] Prof. Dwijendra Narayan Jha published a book in his honour in 1996, titled "Society and Ideology in India: ed. Essays in Honour of Professor R. S. Sharma" (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1996).[21] In his honour, a selection of essays was published by the K. P. Jaiswal Research Institute, Patna in 2005.

Journalist Sham Lal writes about him, "R. S. Sharma, a perceptive historian of Ancient India, has too great a regard for the truth about the social evolution in India over a period of two thousand years, stretching from 1500 BC to 500 AD, to take refuge in a world of make-believe."[22]

Professor Sumit Sarkar opines: "Indian historiography, starting with D. D. Kosambi in the 1950s, is acknowledged the world over – wherever South Asian history is taught or studied – as quite on a par with or even superior to all that is produced abroad. And that is why Irfan Habib or Romila Thapar or R. S. Sharma are figures respected even in the most diehard anti-Communist American universities. They cannot be ignored if you are studying South Asian history."[23]

As an institution builder[edit]

Impatient with inefficiency and guided by his radicalism, Sharma had been a great builder of institutions.[10] Under his guidance the department of History, Patna University, drastically changed its syllabi and made a sharp departure from the communal and imperialist historiographical legacy of the colonial period.[10] He has the credit of activising the department which was suffering from an almost incurable inertia and of initiating academic programmes which gave a distinct character to the History department of Patna University and thereby bringing it into the vanguard of secular and scientific historiography.[10]

In Delhi, where he spent a smaller part of his teaching career, Sharma's achievements are no less significant. The development of the department of History, Delhi University, owes a great deal to the efforts of Professor Sharma who radicalised it by converting it into a citadel of secular and scientific History and waged an all out war against communalist historiography.[10]

It is largely because of his efforts that the largest body of professional Indian historians, the Indian History Congress, of which he was the general president in 1975 and which honoured him with H.K. Barpujari Award in 1989, has now become the symbol of secular and scientific approach to History.[10]

Sharma combined lifelong commitment to high-quality historical research on ancient India with equal commitment to high-quality teaching and imparting historical knowledge to several generations of students, a large number of whom grew under his care and guidance into serious scholars and researchers in their own right and enriched the profession.[15] Further, he was also engaged for a large part of his life in nurturing and building institutions engaged in the teaching of history and historical research.[15]


Sharma was known for his simplicity.[24] He was tall, fair and was always clad in dhoti-kurta.[24] Historian Suvira Jaiswal, Sharma's first PhD student, remembers her teacher not only giving a lesson in good writing but even mundane stuff like how to put a pin in papers so it did not hurt anyone.[25] In the opinion of his student, historian Dwijendra Narayan Jha,

A man of courage, conviction, utter humility and a strong social commitment, Professor Sharma is as unassuming as indefatigable in his academic pursuits. Full of compassion, he has been a constant source of inspiration to his pupils and other younger scholars. While he has been all warmth to his friends, he is extremely decent and generous to his detractors. His qualities of head and heart make him a truly great man.[10]

Writing style[edit]

Professor Sharma's mastery of epigraphic, literary and archaeological texts enabled him to demolish many myths created by imperialist-colonialist historiography as well as by the cultural chauvinists of more recent times, and made scientific study of the ever-changing Indian society in all its dimensions possible.[24] His humility had no limits – he was always ready to learn even from a novice working in the discipline of history and go to the extent of acknowledging him/ her in his works.[24] Such a combination of scholarship and humility is not seen easily today, when even toddlers in history writing prefer to blow their own trumpets in the din of the market.[24]

In his writings Professor Sharma has focused on early Indian social structure, material and economic life, state formation and political ideas and the social context of religious ideologies and has sought to underline the historical processes which shaped Indian culture and civilisation.[10] In his study of each of these aspects of Ancient Indian History he has laid stress on the elements of change and continuity.[10] This has significantly conditioned his methodology which basically rests on a critical evaluation of sources and a correlation between literary texts with archaeology and ethnography.[10] His methodology is being increasingly extended to the study of various aspects of Indian history just as the problems studied by him and the questions raised by him have generated a bulk of historical literature in recent years.[10]

Major works[edit]

  • Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India (Motilal Banarsidass, Fifth Revised Edition, Delhi, 2005)
  • Sudras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa AD 600 (Motilal Banarsidass, Third Revised Edition, Delhi, 1990; Reprint, Delhi, 2002)
  • India's Ancient Past (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • Looking for the Aryans (Orient Longman Publishers, 1995, Delhi)
  • Indian Feudalism (Macmillan Publishers India Ltd., 3rd Revised Edition, Delhi, 2005)[26]
  • Early Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation (Orient Longman Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, 2003)
  • Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Ancient India (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 2003)
  • Urban Decay in India c. 300- c. 1000 (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1987)

Theory of Feudalism[edit]

The publication of his monograph Indian Feudalism in 1965 caused almost a furore in the academia, generating intense debate and sharp responses both in favour of and against the applicability of the model of "feudalism" to the Indian situation at any point of time.[13] The concept of "feudalism" was initially used by D. D. Kosambi to analyse the developments in the socio-economic sphere in the late ancient and medieval periods of Indian history.[27] Sharma, while differing from Kosambi on certain significant points, added a great deal of depth to the approach with his painstaking research and forceful arguments.[13] The work has been called his magnum opus.[13] Criticism goaded Sharma into reinforcing his thesis by producing another work of fundamental importance, Urban Decay in India (c.300-1000), in which he marshalled an impressive mass of archaeological data to demonstrate the decline of urban centres, a crucial element of his thesis on feudalism.[13] It won him the H.K. Barpujari award instituted by the Indian History Congress.[13] However, the redoubtable professor was unstoppable, and in his Early Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation (Orient Longman, 2001), he further rebutted the objections of his critics point by point.[13]

Sharma applied the tool of historical materialism not only to explain social differentiation and stages of economic development, but also to the realm of ideology.[13] His investigations into the "feudal mind" and "economic and social basis of tantrism" are thought-provoking, opening up new lines of inquiry.[13] In an earlier article, he examined "the material milieu of the birth of Buddhism", which now forms a part of his Material Culture and Social Formations in Ancient India (Macmillan, 1983).[13] The monograph, full of seminal ideas, has been translated into several Indian and foreign languages and has had 11 editions.[13]

Other writings[edit]

Sharma wrote two books, Looking for the Aryans (Orient Longman, 1995) and Advent of the Aryans in India (Manohar, 1999), "to demolish the myth assiduously cultivated by Hindu communalist h"istoriography that the Aryans were the original inhabitants of India and Harappa culture was their creation."[13] After that, Sharma was part of a Government of India appointed committee to examine the historical veracity of claims made regarding Ram Sethu by certain devout Hindus- specifically, that Ram Sethu was made by the Hindu God Ram and not a result of natural formation (the result of continuous wave action).[13] Sharma, who was the historian on the committee, submitted his report in December 2007 and thus helped in defusing the crisis.[13] Incidentally, work on the report occasioned his last visit to Delhi.[13]

Views on communalism[edit]

Sharma has denounced communalism of all types. In his booklet, Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya, he writes, "Ayodhya seems to have emerged as a place of religious pilgrimage in medieval times. Although chapter 85 of the Vishnu Smriti lists as many as 52 places of pilgrimage, including towns, lakes, rivers, mountains, etc., it does not include Ayodhya in this list."[28] Sharma also notes that Tulsidas, who wrote the Ramcharitmanas in 1574 at Ayodhya, does not mention it as a place of pilgrimage.[28] After the demolition of Babri masjid, he along with historians Suraj Bhan, M. Athar Ali and Dwijendra Narayan Jha came up with the Historian's report to the nation on how the communalists were mistaken in their assumption that there was a temple at the disputed site and how it was sheer vandalism in bringing down the mosque.[29]

Political controversies[edit]

His 1977 Ancient India was banned by the Janata Party government in 1978, among other things for its criticism of the historicity of Krishna and the events of the Mahabharata epic, reporting the historical position that

"Although Krishna plays an important role in the Mahabharata, inscriptions and sculptural pieces found in Mathura dating back to 200 BC and 300 AD do not attest to his presence. Because of this, ideas of an epic age based on the Ramayana and Mahabharata have to be discarded..."[30]

He has supported the addition of the Ayodhya dispute and the 2002 Gujarat riots to school syllabus calling them 'socially relevant topics' to broaden the horizons of youngsters.[31] This was his remark when the NCERT decided to include the Gujarat riots and the Ayodhya dispute besides the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the Class XII political science books, arguing that these events influenced the political process in the country since Independence.[31]


Andre Wink, professor of history at University of Wisconsin–Madison criticises Sharma in Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World (Vol. I) for drawing too close parallels between European and Indian feudalism. Wink writes that R.S. Sharma's "Indian Feudalism has misguided virtually all historians of the period."[32]


On his death, at a function organised by the Indian Council of Historical Research and hosted by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, eminent historians Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, D N Jha, Satish Chandra, Kesavan Veluthat and ICHR Chairperson Basudev Chatterji paid rich tributes to Sharma and emphasised his influence.[33] Professor Bipan Chandra considered him to be "greatest historian of India", after D.D. Kosambi.[34] Irfan Habib said, "D. D. Kosambi and R.S. Sharma, together with Daniel Thorner, brought peasants into the study of Indian history for the first time."[35]


Select bibliography of works in English[edit]

  • Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, (Motilal Banarsidass, Fifth Revised Edition, Delhi, 2005), ISBN 81-208-0898-3. Translated into Hindi and Tamil.
  • Sudras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A D 600 (Motilal Banarsidass, Third Revised Edition, Delhi, 1990; Reprint, Delhi, 2002). Translated into Bengali, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu and Marathi (two volumes).
  • Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India, paperback edn., (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 2003). Translated into Hindi, Russian and Bengali.
  • Material Culture and Social Formations in Ancient India, (Macmillan Publishers, Delhi, 1985). Translated into Hindi, Russian and Bengali.
  • Urban Decay in India (c.300-1000), (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1987). Translated into Hindi and Bengali.
  • Advent of the Aryans in India (Manohar Publishers, Delhi, 2003)
  • Early Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation (Orient Longman Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, 2003)
  • Higher Education, ISBN 81-7169-320-2.
  • Looking for the Aryans, (Orient Longman, Madras, 1995, ISBN 81-250-0631-1).
  • India's Ancient Past, (Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-568785-9).
  • Indian Feudalism (Macmillan Publishers India Ltd., 3rd Revised Edition, Delhi, 2005).
  • The State and Varna Formations in the Mid-Ganga Plains: An Ethnoarchaeological View (New Delhi, Manohar, 1996).
  • Origin of the State in India (Dept. of History, University of Bombay, 1989)
  • Land Revenue in India: Historical Studies, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1971.
  • Light on Early Indian Society and Economy, Manaktala, Bombay, 1966.
  • Survey of Research in Economic and Social History of India: a project sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research, Ajanta Publishers, 1986.
  • Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya, People's Publishing House (PPH), 2nd Revised Edition, September 1999, Delhi. Translated into Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Two versions in Bengali.
  • Social Changes in Early Medieval India (Circa A.D.500–1200), People's Publishing House, Delhi.
  • In Defence of "Ancient India", People's Publishing House, Delhi.
  • Rahul Sankrityayan and Social Change, Indian History Congress, 1993.
  • Indo-European languages and historical problems (Symposia papers), Indian History Congress, 1994.
  • Some economic aspects of the caste system in ancient India, Patna, 1952.
  • Ancient India, a Textbook for Class XI, National Council of Educational Research and Training, 1980. Translated into Bengali, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Revised and enlarged book as India's Ancient Past, (Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-568785-9).
  • Transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages in India (K. P. Jayaswal memorial lecture series), Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, 1992.
  • A Comprehensive History of India: Volume Four, Part I: the Colas, Calukyas and Rajputs (AD 985–1206), sponsored by Indian History Congress, People's Publishing House, 1992, Delhi.
  • Economic History of Early India, (Viva books, 2011, ISBN 978-81-309-1012-3).
  • Rethinking India's Past, (Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-569787-2).

Select bibliography of works in Hindi[edit]

  • Vishva Itihaas ki Bhumika, Volume I & II Patna, 1951–52.
  • Vishva Itihaas ki Bhumika, (new revised edition in single volume), Rajkamal Prakashan, 2010.
  • Bharatiya Samantvaad, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
  • Prachin Bharat Mein Rajnitik Vichar Evam Sansthayen, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
  • Prachin Bharat Mein Bhautik Pragati Evam Samajik Sanrachnayen, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
  • Shudron Ka Prachin Itihaas, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
  • Bharat Ke prachin Nagaron Ka Patan, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
  • Purva Madhyakalin Bharat ka Samanti Samaj aur Sanskriti, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
  • Prarambhik Bharat ka Parichay, Orient Blackswan, Delhi, 2004, ISBN 978-81-250-2651-8.
  • Vishva Itihaas ki Bhumika, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi 2010.

Edited works[edit]

Contributions in edited volumes[edit]

  • "Feudal Elements in Rashtrakuta Polity". Journal of Bihar Research Society (Dr. T.P. Choudhary Volume, XLVI, 1960, pp. 241–52)
  • "Historiography of the Ancient Indian Social Order", Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, ed., C. H. Philips, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1963, pp. 102–14.
  • Articles on Town in Northern India (In alphabetical order from A to L) W.Grolier's International Encyclopedia, New York, 1963.
  • "Land Grants and Early Indian Economic History", Readings in Economic History, ed., B.N. Ganguli, Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1965.
  • "Early Indian Feudalism (c.AD 400–1200)" Historical Writings in India, ed., Sarvepalli Gopal and Romila Thapar, India International Centre, New Delhi, 1963, pp. 70–75 also in Kunwar Mohammad Ashraf Memorial Volume, ed. Horst Krüger, Berlin, 1966.
  • "Communication and Propaganda in Indian Civilization", Communication and change in the developing countries, ed., Daniel Lerner et al., Honolulu, East-West Centre Press, 1967.
  • "Material Background of the Origins of Buddhism", Das Kapital Centenary Volume, eds., Mohit Sen and M.B. Rao, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1968, pp. 59–66.
  • "Post-Gupta Polity in Bihar (c. AD 550–750)", Ramanath Jha Abhinandan Granth, Patna 1968, pp. 329–35.
  • "Ancient Values and Modern Reform in the 19th Century Society", Ideas in History, ed., Bisheswer Prasad, Bombay, 1969.
  • "Feudal Elements in Pala and Pratihara Polity", Studies in Asian History (Proceedings of the Asian History Congress 1961), ed., K. S. Lal, Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1969.
  • "An Approach to Astrology and Divination in Medieval India", New Indology, Walter Ruben Volume, Berlin, 1970.
  • "Central Asia and Early Indian Cavalry (c.200 BC-AD 1200)", Central Asia, Amalendu Guha, ICCR, New Delhi, 1970.
  • "Material Milieu of Tantricism", Indian Society, Historical Probings (in memory of D. D. Kosambi), ed., R.S. Sharma and Vivekanand Jha, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1974.
  • "Economic and Social Conditions under the Guptas", The Comprehensive History of Bihar, ed., B.P. Sinha, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, 1974.
  • "Government and Political Institutions (550–1200 AD)", The Comprehensive History of Bihar, ed., B.P. Sinha, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, 1974.
  • "Gupta Administration", The Comprehensive History of Bihar, ed., B.P. Sinha, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, 1974.
  • "Social and Economic Conditions (500–1200 AD)", The Comprehensive History of Bihar, ed., B.P. Sinha, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, 1974.
  • "Stages in the Evolution of Early Indian Society", Man and Scientist: Essays in Honour of Professor Balbhadra Prasad, ed., G.P. Sinha et al., People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 205–14.
  • "The Social Economic Bases of 'Oriental Despotism' in Early India", Essays in Honour of Dr. Gyanchand, ed., S.K. Bose, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1981.
  • "How Feudal was Indian Feudalism?", Feudalism and Non-European Societies, ed., T. J. Byres, Harbans Mukhia, Routledge, London, 1985.
  • "The Kali-Age: A Period of Social Crisis", Indian History and Thought (Essays in Honour of Arthur Llewellyn Basham), ed., S.N. Mukherjee, Calcutta, 1992, pp 186–203.
  • "Material Progress, Taxation and State Formation in the Age of the Buddha", History and Culture (Dr. B.P. Sinha Felicitation Volume), ed., Bhagwant Sahai, Ramanand Vidya Bhawan, Delhi, 1987.
  • "Rare Example of Dedication, A Tribute paid to Professor Radha Krishna Choudhary", Journal of Bihar Puravid Parishad (Chaudhary Commemoration Issue), VI and VIII, ed., Bhagwant Sahai, The Bihar Puravid Parishad, Patna, 1989.
  • "A Tribute to Liugo Pio Tessitori", Liugo Pio Tessitori, ed., Carlo Dello Casa et al., Bresacisa, Paideia editrice, 1990.
  • "Keynote Address" at the National Seminar, Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta, in Historical Archaeology of India (A dialogue between Archaeologists and Historians), ed., Amita Ray and Samir Mukherjee, Books and Books, New Delhi, 1990, pp. 1–11.
  • "A Tribute to Professor J.N.Sarkar", Studies in Cultural Development of India (Collection of Essays in Honour of Professor Jagdish Narayan Sarkar), ed., N.R. Ray and P.N. Chakrabarti, Punithi Pustak, Calcutta, 1991, pp. 12–13.
  • "Urbanism in Early Historic India", The City in Indian History, ed. Indu Banga, Manohar Publications, New Delhi, 1991, pp. 9–18.
  • "Freedom Struggle in Barauni in 1930", Alok Purush: Dr. A.K.Sen Smriti Grantha, ed., D.N. Sharma et al., Lekshakti Prakashan, Patna, 1989, pp. 73–81.
  • "A.K.Sen: A Tribute", Alok Purush: Dr. A.K.Sen Smriti Grantha, ed., D.N. Sharma et al., Lekshakti Prakashan, Patna, 1989, pp. 73–81.
  • "Basawon Sinha; A revolutionary patriot" Commemorative Volume, "He Humbled Pride", ed., Rita Sinha and R. Manikaran, Delhi (1999).

Papers and articles[edit]

  • "Economic position of the Sudras in the Dharmasutras", Patna University Journal, vol. I, 1950.
  • "Social position of the Sudras in the Dharmasutras", Current Studies, I, no. 1.
  • "Prachina Bharatiya Sahitya mein Stri aur Shudra ke Sammilita Ullekha", JBRS, XXXVI (iii–iv), 1950, pp. 183–91.
  • "Manu aur Yajnavalkaya mein Sudron ki Rajnitika aur Kanuni avastha", Sahitya, Journal of the Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, no.1, 1950.
  • "Manu aur Yajnavalkaya mein Sudron ki Samajik avastha", Sahitya, Journal of the Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, no.2, 1950.
  • "Manu aur Yajnavalkaya mein Sudron ki Arthik avastha", Sahitya, Journal of the Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, no.3, 1950.
  • "Role of Property, Family and Caste in the Origin of the State in Ancient India", PIHC, 14th session, Jaipur, 1951, pp. 45–52, Also in JBRS, XXXVIII (i), 1952, pp. 117–133.
  • "The Vidhatha", PIHC, 15th Session, Gwalior, 1952, pp. 85–91. Also published as "Vidhatha: The Earliest Folk Assembly of the Indi-Aryans", JBRS, XXXVIII (iii–iv), 1952, pp. 429–48.
  • "Politico-Legal Aspects of the Caste System (600 BC – 500 AD)", JBRS, xxxix (III), 1953, PP. 306–330.
  • "Superstition and politics in the Arthashastra of Kautilya", JBRS, XL (iii), 1954, pp. 223–231.
  • "The Vedic Gana and the origin of the Post-Vedic Republics", JBRS, XXXIX(iv), 1953, pp. 413–426.
  • "Caste and Marriage in Ancient India" JBRS, XXI(i), 1954, pp. 39–54.
  • "Ideological background of research works on Ancient Indian Polity", Patna University Journal, VII, 1954.
  • "Traces of promiscuity in Ancient Indian Society", PIHC, 19th Session, Agra, 1956, pp. 153–157.
  • "Some Economic aspects of the Caste system in Ancient India", correspondence with Dr. D.C. Sirkar, Current Studies, no.3.
  • "Irrigation in Northern India during the post-Maurya period c. 200 BC – C. AD 200", PIHC, 20th Session, Anand, 1957.
  • "Notes on land revenue system in pre-Maurya period (600–300 BC)", Proceedings of the All India Oriental Conference, 1957, also in the Bulletin of the G.D. College, Begusarai.
  • "Kusana Polity", PIHC, 21st session, Trivendrum, 1958. Also in JBRS, XLII (iii–iv), 1957, p. 188f.
  • "The Origins of Feudalism in India (AD 400–650)", JESHO, 1, 1958, pp. 279–328.
  • "A survey of land system in India from c. 200 BC to AD 650", JBRS, XLIV(iv), 1958, pp 225–34.
  • "Gaps in non-political history of northern India (500–1200)", JBRS, XLV(iv), 1959, pp. 261–264, Hindi translation entitled "Uttara Bharat ke Rajnitikettar itihas mein antaral" by Rajendra Ram in Parishad Patrika, Varsha 7, Anka 4 (1968), pp. 30–36.
  • "La Vie Et L' Organisation economiques Dans L' inde Ancienne", Cahiers D'histoire Mondial (Journal of World History), UNESCO, VI, 1960, pp. 234–64, English version published as "Stages in Ancient Indian Economy", Enquiry, no. 4, 1960, pp. 12–45.
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  • "Material Background of the Vedic Warfare" (Review of Ancient Indian Warfare with special reference to the Vedic Period by Sarva Daman Singh), JESHO, IX, 1966, pp. 302–7.
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  • "Rajsasana: Meaning, Scope and Application", PIHC, 37th Session, Calicut, 1976, pp.76–87.
  • "The Socio-Economic Bases of 'Oriental Despotism' in Early India", paper presented at the 30th International Congress of the Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa, Mexico, 1976. Later published in S.K. Bose, ed., Essays in Honour of Dr. Gyanchand (1981).
  • "Conflict, Distribution and Differentiation in Rigvedic Society", PIHC, 38th Session, Bhubaneshwar, 1977, pp.177–91. Also in IHR, Vol.IV, No.1, July 1977, PP.1–12.
  • "From Gopati to Bhupati (a review of the changing position of the king)", Studies in History, (Old Series), Vol.II, No.2, July–December 1980, pp.1–10.
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  • "L.P.Tessitori – A Centenary Tribute", IHR, Vol. XIII, Nos.1–2, July 1986 and January 1987, pp. 323–30.
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  • Yuga Purana by D.R. Mankad, JBRS, XXXIX, 1953, pp. 219–20.
  • Sacrifice in the Rig Veda, by K.P. Potdar, JBRS, XL, 1954, pp.83–85.
  • History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol.III, The Classical Age, ed., R.C. Majumdar, JBRS, XL, 1954, pp.195–98.
  • "Transactions of the Archaeological Society of South India", JBRS, XL, II.
  • Studies in the Origins of Buddhism by G.C. Pande, JBRS, XLII, 1956.
  • The cult of Brahma by T.P. Bhattacharya, JBRS, XLII, 1957.
  • Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, 10 Sargas, Baroda edn., JBRS, XL, II.
  • A Comprehensive History of India, II, ed., K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, Calcutta, 1957, JBRS, XLV, 1959, pp. 235–40.
  • Socio-Economic History of Northern India (c 1030–1194 AD) by B.P. Majumdar, Calcutta, 1960, JBRS, XV, 1959, p. 520.
  • Early Chauhana Dynasties by Dasharatha Sharma, Delhi, 1961, JBRS, XLVI, 1960, pp. 370–72.
  • The Economic Life of Northern India in Gupta Period by S.K. Maity, JESHO, II, 1959, pp. 342–47.
  • L'esclavage dans L'inde Ancienne d'apres Les Texts Palis et Sanskrits by Dev Raj Chanana, JESHO, II, 1959, pp. 347–49.
  • An Introduction to the Study of Indian History by D.D. Kosambi, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1956, Enquiry, no.1, pp. 121–124.
  • Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas by Romila Thapar, Oxford, 1961, JBRS, XLVI, 1961, pp. 372–73.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Noted historian R S Sharma passes away". The Indian Express. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  2. ^ Press Trust of India (21 August 2011). "Historian Sharma dead". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Historian Ram Sharan Sharma passes away in Patna". The Times of India. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011.[dead link]
  4. ^ Akshaya Mukul (22 August 2011). "R S Sharma, authority on ancient India, dead". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  5. ^ a b "The man who made history". The Times of India. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  6. ^ Thapar, Romila (17 September 2011), "Ram Sharan Sharma (1920–2011)", Economic and Political Weekly, 46 (38): 22–25, JSTOR 23047327
  7. ^ a b History Department (13 August 2008). "History of Department of History". University of Delhi. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  8. ^ T.K. RAJALAKSHMI (26 November 1999). "Agendas and appointments". Frontline. 16 (24). Archived from the original on 24 November 2002. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  9. ^ Prashant K. Nanda (31 December 2007). "Ram lives beyond history: Historians". The Tribune. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Jha, D.N. (1996). Society and Ideology in India: Essays in Honour of Prof. R.S. Sharma. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-8121506397.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Srivastava, N.M.P. (2005). Professor R.S. Sharma: The Man With Mission; Prajna-Bharati Vol XI, In honour of Professor Ram Sharan Sharma. Patna, India: K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute.
  12. ^ a b Chaudhary (edited), Valmiki (1988). Dr. Rajendra Prasad Correspondence and Select Documents. XX. New Delhi, India. pp. 68–73.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Suvira Jaiswal (23 September 2011). "Secular historian". Frontline. 28 (19). Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  14. ^ "PUCL Begusarai Second District Conference Report". People's Union for Civil Liberties. July 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  15. ^ a b c P.C. Joshi (10 September 2011). "Remembering R.S. Sharma : Some Reflections". Mainstream, VOL XLIX, NO 38, 10 September 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  16. ^ K. M. Shrimali (13 September 2002). "The making of an Indologist". Frontline. 19 (18). Archived from the original on 4 January 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  17. ^ Jaini, P. S. (1960), "Review: Śūdras in Ancient India (A Survey of the Position of the Lower Orders down tocirca A. D. 500) by Ram Sharan Sharma", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 23 (2): 426–427, doi:10.1017/S0041977X00150402, JSTOR 609743
  18. ^ R. V., Book review: Sudras in Ancient India: by R. S. Sharma, The Times of India, 23 May 1982, p. 8
  19. ^ Krishna Mohan Shrimali (2 February 2012). "Ram Sharan Sharma: The People's Historian". The Marxist. Communist Party of India (Marxist). Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  20. ^ Habib, Irfan (2007). Essays in Indian History (Seventh reprint ed.). Tulika. p. 381 (at p 109). ISBN 978-8185229003.
  21. ^ "State and Ideology in Ancient India: Essays in Honour of Professor R.S. Sharma" – D.N. Jha Google.Books.com Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  22. ^ Lal, Sham (23 July 1983). Indian Realities in bits and pieces. Rupa & Co. p. 524 (at p 14). ISBN 978-81-291-1117-3.
  23. ^ "Not a question of bias". Frontline. 17 (5). 17 March 2000. Retrieved 23 June 2009.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ a b c d e K.M. Shrimali (23 August 2011). "A historian for everybody". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  25. ^ Akshaya Mukul, TNN (22 August 2011). "R S Sharma, authority on ancient India, dead". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  26. ^ Irfan Habib (22 August 1997). "History and interpretation". Frontline. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  27. ^ Suvira Jaiswal (23 September 2011). "Secular historian". Frontline. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  28. ^ a b Sikand, Yoginder (5 August 2006). "Ayodhya's Forgotten Muslim Past". Counter Currents. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  29. ^ "Tuesday, LETTER". The Toronto Star, December 15, 1992. 15 December 1992. p. A16. Retrieved 2 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "BJP angry over "twisted" Ayodhya history". The Hindu. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  31. ^ a b "Historian sees no wrong in NCERT move". The Times of India. 19 August 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  32. ^ Wink, A. (1991) Al- Hind: the Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Brill, page 221.
  33. ^ T.K. Rajalakshmi (23 September 2011). "Man of the people". Frontline. 28 (19). Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  34. ^ Neena Vyas (22 August 2011). "R.S. Sharma's works reflected the larger struggle to keep India secular; After D.D. Kosambi he was the greatest historian of India: Bipan Chandra". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  35. ^ Habib, Irfan (2007). Essays in Indian History (Seventh reprint). Tulika. p. 381 (at p 109). ISBN 978-81-85229-00-3.

Also refer[edit]


  • Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Kesavan Veluthat (eds.), History and Theory: The Study of State, Institutions and the Making of History, Orient Blackswan, 2019 ISBN 978-9352874644 (Papers presented at a Seminar 'History and Theory: a Seminar in Memory of Professor R.S. Sharma', sponsored by the Indian Council of Historical Research and hosted by the University of Delhi on 2–3 December 2013).
  • Kesavan Veluthat, Obituary: Professor R.S.Sharma (1920–2011), Indian Historical review, Vol. 39, Number 2, December 2012, Indian Council of Historical Research.
  • Dwijendra Narayan Jha (ed.), The Complex Heritage of Early India: Essays in Memory of R.S.Sharma, New Delhi, Manohar, 2014, ISBN 978-93-5098-058-3
  • Dwijendra Narayan Jha (ed.), The Evolution of a Nation Pre-Colonial to Post-Colonial: Essays in Memory of R.S.Sharma, New Delhi, Manohar, 2014, ISBN 978-93-5098-059-0
  • Dwijendra Narayan Jha (ed.), Society and Ideology in India: Essays in Honour of Prof. R.S. Sharma, New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1996, ISBN 9788121506397
  • N.M.P. Srivastava, "Professor R.S. Sharma: The Man With Mission", Prajna-Bharati Vol XI, In honour of Professor Ram Sharan Sharma, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, India, 2005
  • Vinay Lal, The History of History: Politics and Scholarship in Modern India, 2005, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195672442
  • E. Sreedharan, A Textbook of Historiography, 500 B.C. to A.D. 2000, 2004, Orient Blackswan
  • Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, Studying Early India: Archaeology, Texts and Historical Issues, 2006, Anthem Press
  • Frank Allchin, The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: The Emergence of Cities and States (Paperback), 1995, Cambridge University Press
  • Antoon De Beats, Censorship of Historical Thought: A World Guide, 1945–2000 (Hardcover), 2001, Greenwood Press