The book under review is another addition to the People’s History of India Series;concise and lucidly written, this series is marked by the principled allegiance to historical evidence and a secular, scientific approach to Indian history. Written for scholars and students, they provide a succinct survey of the latest historical trends, and provide directions for further research in Indian history. The bulk of the volumes in the series have been written by Irfan Habib, and bear the imprint of his deep and committed scholarship.
Habib looks at the economic developments in the Sultanate and the Vijayanagar empire, and in line with his well-known position, he presents the Sultanate period as marked by processes of economic growth and social change. Even as Habib is a recognized Marxist, his work demonstrably brings out the inadequacies of Marx’s perception of an unchanging, a historical India in the period before colonialism. In his study of the Sultanate economy, he unravels crucial developments in technology, agrarian relations, urbanization, trade and commerce occurring in the period.