From the Grass-roots
Vijaya Ramaswamy
TRADE AND STATECRAFT IN THE AGE OF THE COLAS by Kenneth R. Hall Abhinav Publications, 1980, 238 pp., 70.00
Nov-Dec 1980, volume 5, No 11/12

In 1980 two outstanding books have appeared on South Indian History or more specifically Cola history. One is of course by Burton Stein, the veteran Indologist (‘Peasant State and Society in Medieval South India’, Oxford Univer­sity Press, 1980). The other is the book under review. The traditional approach has been to study the so-called ‘village republics’ and the Chola ‘Byzantine’ State at two different levels without sufficient conceptualization thereby overlooking the obvious contradiction. But some recent historians like Subbarayalu (Poli­tical Grography of the Cholas, Madras, 1973) and Stein have endeavoured to break out of the narrow empiricist framework of the pioneering scholars. The task of Kenneth Hall has been to provide further linkages in the understanding of Chola history. He traces aspects of Chola trade and commerce, especially the growth of the market, town, the nagaram and the trading cor­porations and links these to the develop­ment of villages, nadus and mahanadus on the one hand and international trade and Chola diplomacy on the other.

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