ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Statement of Historians

Concerned at the highly vitiated atmosphere prevailing in the country, characterised by various forms of intolerance, we, as academic historians and as responsible citizens of a democracy that has greatly valued its inherited traditions of tolerance, wish to express our anguish and protest about...

Silencing a Critical Voice

The murder of M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in Karnataka is a part of an intensifying war against critical thinking by social forces that use obscurantist belief in the quest for political hegemony. The eminent Kannada writer, scholar, educationist and social campaigner was for long associated with...

Celebrating Irfan Habib

Excursus in History: Essays on Some Ideas of Irfan Habib edited by Prabhat Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika Books), 2011; pp xvi + 377, Rs 790 (HC), Rs 450 (PB).

A 'Scientific' Historian

R S Sharma, historian, teacher and founder chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research was a Marxist who was averse to the mechanical application of Marx's ideas to the Indian situation. He also used his considerable scholarship on ancient India to fight communal propaganda and actions.

Statement on Ayodhya Verdict

The judgment delivered by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on 30 September has raised serious concerns because of the way history, reason and secular values have been treated in it. First of all, the view that the Babri Masjid was built at...

Social Change in Ancient India

Social Change in Ancient India D N Jha Ancient Indian Social History by Romila Thapar; Orient Longman, NEARLY three decades ago Arnaldo Momigliano observed: ''When a man writes in chronological order, but without explaining the facts, -we call him a chronicler; when a man collects all the facts available to him but does not order them systematically, we set him aside as muddle-headed". Unfortunately a major bulk of historical writing produced so far on early India does not rise above the level of mere chronicling of events, or "muddle-headed" history based on uncritical reliance on the, sources. Not surprisingly, works on ent Indian social history have often achieved academic prestige and recognition by no more than providing dry descriptions of the food habits, entertainment, status of various varna groups and position of women, primarily on the basis of literary references unrelated in time and space. Most of the Indian historians have thus failed to go beyond the traditional Anglo-Saxon notion of social history and the corpus of literature on the subject has therefore remained bogged down largely to the visible and surface manifestations of the country's social system without going into its inner dynamics.
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