A Text of Intellectual Depth and Critical Thought
Rajan Gurukkal
EARLY INDIA: FROM THE ORIGINS TO A.D 1300 by Romila Thapar Penguin Books, Delhi, 2004, 556 pp., 395.00
April 2004, volume 28, No 4

This up-dated and significantly expanded edition of Thapar’s most widely read book, Early India, is now available in paperback. Incorporating the essentials of new data and fresh explanations besides retaining the relevant among older arguments, the book is yet structured mostly within the original edition’s framework of worldwide recognition. A change that is conspicuous other than what the profusely added substance could make, is the shift of the terminus ad quem from AD 1526 to c. AD 1300. The book covers the Stone Age prehistory and Bronze Age proto-history, as antecedents while the formation of kingdoms, urban revival, integration of an empire and disintegration into regional kingdoms constitute the historical process that it recounts. What is central to the revised edition is the judicious absorption of viable alternatives of interpreting the past, thanks to the author’s conviction that history is not information passed on unchanged along generations.The book consists of thirteen chapters including two comprehensive ones, on ‘Perception of the Past’ and ‘Landscapes and Peoples.’

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