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B.A.

Honours, History IInd Year


Course III

HISTORY OF INDIA, circa A.D. 750-1550


(A Bibliographic Guideline for Preparation)

(Please do not let yourself be overwhelmed by the ostensibly lengthy bibliography. If


you look carefully, there is in fact very little material. If it appears more lengthy, it is
because the references are detailed and at the end of the long titles of books and
names of specific chapters you will often discover that actually you are expected to
read very little. In fact the bibliography below is by no means comprehensive and you
are welcome to explore the library on your own.)

UNIT: I

I. Interpreting Early Medieval India, circa 750-1200

One can disaggregate this topic into three parts: [a] The discussion of sources would
involve a general survey of available evidence most frequently used by historians viz.,
epigraphic, numismatic and literary works; [b] Divergent ways in which modern
history writing for the period 750-1200 has developed and issues at stake in respective
traditions of historiography; and [c] Various perspectives on [non]existence of a
feudal phase in Indian history, especially with reference to early medieval India.

 Sources and Historiography

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 2003. The Study of Early India. In Studying


Early India by B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 3-25. Delhi: Permanent Black.

The essay discusses the relevance of the period designated ‘early India’
as well as ‘early medieval India’. In the process, it also surveys the
available sources and the varied directions in which historiography for
the period has developed.

• Jha, D.N. 2000. Introduction to The Feudal Order: State, Society and
Ideology in Early Medieval India, ed., D.N.Jha, 1-60. Delhi: Manohar.

D.N.Jha discusses the pros and cons of using the ‘feudalism


hypothesis’ for the early medieval period. The essay also carries
valuable references to the most commonly used sources for the period.

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• Singh, Upinder. 2008. A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India:
From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. New Delhi: Pearson
Education.

As the title suggests, this work is written in a textbook format covering


very wide time span. The last (tenth) section of the book titled
‘Emerging Regional Configurations c. 600-1200 C.E.’ deals with the
major historical trends of early medieval India. The chapter makes for
a good general survey for the whole of unit I in our syllabus. Relevant
for the topic under consideration here is the first section of this chapter.
Entitled, ‘Sources: literary and archaeological’, this section provides a
rare and critical survey of sources available for the early medieval
period.

• Sahu, B.P. 1997. Introduction to Land System and Rural Society in


Early India, ed. B.P.Sahu, 1-58. Delhi: Manohar.

This is by far the most comprehensive treatment of the historiography


of early Indian rural society (including that of early medieval). Varied
approaches to the sources of early Indian history are discussed at
length in the essay.

 Recent Debates (The Question of Feudalism)

• Kosambi, D.D. 1956. An Introduction to the Study of Indian


History. Bombay. 2nd edition, 1975. Bombay. Especially relevant are,
275-76.

Here, Kosambi, one of the first historians to apply the feudalism


hypothesis in the Indian context, discussed the idea of feudalism from
above and feudalism from below.

• Sharma, R.S. 1958. Origins of Feudalism in India. Journal of


the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 1: 297-328.

This was Sharma’s first attempt to apply the framework of ‘feudalism’


to understand the early medieval agrarian relations in India. It was later
elaborated as a full-fledged thesis (see below).

• Sharma, R.S. 1965. Indian Feudalism, c.300-1200. 2nd edition,


1980. Delhi: Macmillan.

Sharma’s seminal book, as is well known, was the first rigorous and
comprehensive application of the notion of Indian feudalism in the
context of early medieval period particularly where land rights,
economy and polity are concerned.

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• Sharma, R.S. 1974. Problem of Transition from Ancient to
Medieval in Indian History. Indian Historical Review, 1: 1-10.

This is primarily focussed on the problem of transition of Indian


history from ancient to medieval period with reference to the character
of change noticeable from 6th – 7th centuries in the subcontinent.

• Sharma, R.S. 1985. How Feudal was Indian Feudalism. The


Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 12, no. 2/3: 19-43. A revised and
updated version of this article is to be found in, The State in India,
1000-1700, ed., H.Kulke, 48-85. New Delhi: Oxford University Press,
1995. Paperback edition, 1997. The same essay is also reproduced in
The Feudalism Debate, ed., H.Mukhia, 82-111. Delhi: Manohar, 1999.

In this essay, Sharma responds to some of those who critique the use of
the term ‘feudalism’ in the Indian context. Mukhia’s essay, mentioned
below, is taken up for particularly detailed response.

• Mukhia, H. 1981. Was There Feudalism in Indian History? The


Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 8: 273-310. Also reproduced in The
State in India, 1000-1700, ed., H.Kulke, 86-133. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1995. Paperback edition, 1997.

This essay examines the (ir)relevance of the feudalism paradigm to


study early medieval Indian social formation. It carries elaborate
comparison of some elements early medieval Indian history with those
of medieval European feudalism.

• Sharma, R.S. 1982. The Kali Age: A Period of Social Crisis. In


The Feudal Order: State, Society and Ideology in Early Medieval
India, ed., D.N.Jha, 61-77. Delhi: Manohar, 2000. Originally published
in S.N.Mukherjea, ed., India: History and Thought. Essays in Honour
of Professor A.L.Basham. 1982.

This essay attempts to place the emergence of feudalism in early


medieval India in the context of a social crisis represented as Kali Age
crisis in the sources.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1983. Political Processes and the


Structure of Polity in Early Medieval India: Problems of Perspective.
Presidential Address, Ancient India Section, Indian History Congress,
44th Session. This is also reproduced in The State in India, 1000-1700,
ed., H.Kulke, 195-232. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Paperback
edition, 1997.

As the title of the essay suggests, it examines various approaches to the


study of early medieval India. This is a path breaking and very dense
article that offers a rich variety of insights into problems of different
paradigms deployed to understand aspects of the early middle ages in

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India. As such, the essay is useful for several topics listed under this
unit in the syllabus.

o Shrimali, K.M. 1993. Reflections on Recent Perceptions of Early


Medieval India. Social Scientist, 21, no. 12: 25-39.

The essay carries some interesting reflection of the application of


feudalism hypothesis as well as alternative constructs in the early
medieval Indian context. The essay is particularly marked in its
critique of the ‘integrative polity’ paradigm.

o Jha, D.N. 2000. Introduction to The Feudal Order: State, Society and
Ideology in Early Medieval India, ed. D.N. Jha, 1-58. New Delhi:
Manohar.

Jha provides a very good summary of the so-called ‘feudalism debate’


as it stood at the turn of the millennium, primarily from the point of
view of someone in broad agreement with the applicability of
feudalism to early medieval India.

II. Structure of Polities

 Evolution of Political Structures

• Sharma, R.S. 1965. Indian Feudalism, c.300-1200. 2nd edition, 1980,


63-90. Delhi: Macmillan.

(See above for comments)

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1983. Political Processes and the Structure of


Polity in Early Medieval India: Problems of Perspective. Presidential
Address, Ancient India Section, Indian History Congress, 44th Session.
This is also reproduced in The State in India, 1000-1700, ed., H.Kulke,
195-232.

(See above for comments on the article.)

• Kulke, Hermann. 1995. The Early and the Imperial Kingdom:


A Processural Model of Integrative State Formation in Early Medieval
India. In The State in India, 1000-1700, ed., Kulke, 233-262. New
Delhi: Oxford University Press. Paperback edition, 1997.

Working close to the perspective offered by B.D.Chattopadhyaya,


Kulke in this essay provides a framework (‘Integrative state
formation’) to understand the political changes taking place during the
period.

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• Chattopadhyay, B.D. 1976. Origin of the Rajputs: The Political,
Economic and Social Processes in Early Medieval Rajasthan. Indian
Historical Review, vol. 3, no. 1. Also reproduced in
B.D.Chattopadhyay, The Making of Early Medieval India, 1-37. Delhi:
Oxford University Press. 1994. Paperback editon, 1997.

Chattopadhyaya discusses the contentious problem of the origin of


Rajputs in a way that helps open up the whole issue of understanding
political changes in the period in rewarding ways. The essay also
examines the structure of Rajput polities.

• Stein, Burton. 1977. The Segmentary State in South Indian History. In


Realm and Region in Traditional India, ed., Richard Fox, 3-51. New
Delhi: Vikas.

This is one of the earliest attempts by Stein to apply the theory of


Segmentary State in the context of medieval Indian political and fiscal
history. Some of the arguments offered in the essay were later revised
by the author (see below).

• Stein, Burton. 1980. Peasant, State and Society in Medieval South


India, 254-365. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Reprint, 1994. Delhi:
Oxford University Press (Paperback edition).

This is the milestone monograph by the leading scholar of medieval


south India. It is a remarkable and controversial work that is sweeping
in its theoretical and chronological expanse as well as rich in empirical
detail. The chapter most relevant for a study of the relevant Chola
period is indicated above.

• Ramaswamy, Vijaya. 1982. Peasant, State and Society in Medieval


South India: A Review Article. Studies in History, 4: 307-19.

This is an extremely useful essay for a critical perspective on one of


the most influential work on Medieval South Indian politics (see
above, Stein: 1980).

• Stein, Burton. 1995. The Segmentary State: Interim Reflections. In


The State in India, ed., Kulke, 134-161. New Delhi: Oxford University
Press. Paperback edition, 1997. Originally published in Purusartha,
vol. 13 (1991): 217-88.

In this article, Stein responded to his critics and revised some of his
arguments offered earlier (see above).

• Sharma, R.S. 1989-1990. The Segmentary Theory and the Indian


Experience. Indian Historical Review, 16, nos. 1-2: 80-108.

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In this review article, Sharma mounts an elaborate critique of Burton
Stein’s theory of Segmentary state formation.

• Subbarayalu, Y. 1982. The Cola State. Studies in History, 4, no.2: 269-


306.

This is an interesting reflection on the nature of Chola state especially


vis-à-vis its institutional set up.

• Heitzman, James. 1987. State Formation in South India, 850-1280.


Indian Economic and Social History Review, 24, no. 1: 35-61. Also
reproduced in The State in India: 1000-1700, ed. H.Kulke, 162-94.

Heitzman attempts to capture the character of a continuously


expanding and changing Chola state by classifying the areas under its
control into five separate ecological/agrarian zones. He examines the
differential presence of the state in each of these zones at different
points of time.

 Forms of Legitimation; brahmans and temples; royal genealogies;


rituals of kingship

• Veluthat, Kesavan. 1993. Religious Symbols in Political


Legitimation: The Case of Early Medieval South India. Social
Scientist, 21, 1/2: 23-34.

• Heitzman, James. 1991. Ritual, Polity and Economy: The


Transactional Network of an Imperial Temple in Medieval South India.
Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, 34: 23-54.

Heitzman establishes interesting links between the ritual roles of the


temples in South India on the one hand and their economic and
political activities.

• Sharma, Sanjay. 2006. Negotiating Identity and Status:


Legitimation and Patronage under the Gurjara-Pratiharas of Kannauj.
Studies in History, 22, 2: 181-220.

The essay examines the epigraphic and other evidence to study the way
in which the Pratiharas transformed themselves and their
political/Legitimation strategies as their state expanded its territories.

• Nath, Vijay. 2001. From Brahmanism to Hinduism:


Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition. Social Scientist, 29, nos.
3-4: 19-50. Originally published in Proceedings of the Indian History
Congress, 2001 (Calcutta Session).

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The essay discusses the interface between religious and political by
examining the processes that marked the evolution of Brahmanism in
early middle ages.

• Sahu, B.P. 2001. Brahmanical Ideologies, Regional Identities


and the Construction of Early India. Social Scientist, 29, nos. 7-8: 3-
18.

This is a sweeping reflection on the ways in which Brahmanical


ideologies and political initiatives were linked to expansion of state
societies and assertion of regional identities in a dialogical context.

• Spencer, G.W. 1969. Religious Networks and Royal Influence


in Eleventh Century South India. Journal of the Economic and Social
History of the Orient, 12, no. 1: 42-56.

How did the elaborate networks of temples’ administration contend


with, benefited (and benefited from) vertically expanding Chola state?
This is the subject of Spencer’s extremely insightful essay.

• Ogura, Yasushi. 1999. The Changing Concept of Kingship in


the Cola Period: Royal Temple Constructions, c. AD 850-1279. In
Kingship in Indian History: Japanese Studies on South Asia No. 2, ed.
Noboru Karashima, 119-142. Delhi: Manohar.

The essay traces evolution of kingship in the context of changing


patterns of royal architecture and patronage of temples.

• Veluthat, Kesavan. 2000. The Role of Nadu in the Socio-


Political Structure of South India (c. AD 600-1200). In The Feudal
Order: State, Society and Ideology in Medieval South India, ed.
D.N.Jha, 179-96. Delhi: Manohar.

Veluthat analyses the place of ‘nadu’ in south Indian history to reflect


on nature of state and society under the Cholas.

• Kulke, Hermann. 2001. Royal Temple Policy and the Structure


of Medieval Hindu Kingdoms. In Kings and Cults: State Formation
and Legitimation in India and Southeast Asia, by Kulke, 1-16. Delhi:
Manohar.

In the specific context of Orissa, this article examines the state’s


changing patterns of patronage of temples. It also reflects on the ways
in which their interface with temples affected the kingdoms
themselves.

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III. Agrarian Structures and Social Change

 Agricultural Expansion

• Sharma, R.S.1987. Agrarian Expansion. Urban Decay in India, c. 300-


1000, by R.S.Sharma, 168-77. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

In this short and focussed chapter, Sharma traces agrarian expansion


during early medieval period as part of larger process of urban decay,
state formation and feudalisation.

• Nandi, R.N. 2000. Chapter 3-6: State Formation, Agrarian Growth


and Social Change in Feudal South India, c. 600-1200 A.D. Delhi:
Manohar.

In the context of early medieval south India, Nandi analyses the


problem of agrarian growth in relation with social changes and
horizontal expansion of state. Again, the study is located under the
broader rubric of feudalisation.

• Champaklakshmi, R. 1995. State and Economy: South India, c. A.D.


400-1300. In Recent Perspectives of Early Medieval India, ed. Romila
Thapar, 275-317. Delhi: Popular Prakashan in association with Book
Review Trust.

Another study of agrarian processes in south India, this essay departs


from the framework of feudalism and examines economic growth
within a set of political, fiscal and ideological variables.

• B.D.Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1973. Irrigation in Early Medieval


Rajasthan. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient,
XVI, parts II and III: 298-316. Reproduced in The Making of Early
Medieval India by B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 38-56. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1994. Paperback edition, 1997.

In this micro study of medieval Rajasthan, Chattopadhyaya focuses on


the patterns of artificial irrigation and its relationship with changing
agrarian structures and growth of the region.

 Peasants and Landlords with Reference to Regional Variations

• Sharma, R.S. 1985. How Feudal was Indian Feudalism?. The Journal
of Peasant Studies, 12, nos. 2/3: 19-43. A revised and updated version
of this article is to be found in The State in India, 1000-1700, ed. H.
Kulke, 48-85. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995. Paperback

8
edition, 1997. The same essay is also reproduced in The Feudalism
Debate, ed. H.Mukhia, 82-111. Delhi: Manohar, 1999.

Although this is a restatement of Sharma’s thesis of Indian feudalism,


this article focuses very sharply on the problem of peasant-landlord
relationship in early medieval India. It also attempts to deal with the
critique of feudalism paradigm by examining specific evidence from
various agrarian regions.

• Yadava, B.N.S. 1980. The Problem of the Emergence of Feudal


Relations in Early India. Presidential Address, Section I (Ancient
India), Indian History Congress, 41st Session, Bombay. Also
reproduced in The Feudal Order: State, Society and Ideology in Early
Medieval India, ed. D.N.Jha, 249-301. Delhi: Manohar, 2000.

Again, this essay examines the nature of agrarian relations with


particular reference to plight of peasants as indicated, among others, in
the astrological texts of early medieval age.

• Yadava, B.N.S. 1997. Immobility and Subjection of Indian Peasantry.


In Land System and Rural Society in Early India, ed. B.P.Sahu, 329-
42. Delhi: Manohar.

Another useful essay that analyses the conditions of the peasants


within the context of agrarian relations.

• Sahu, B.P. 1993. Aspects of Rural Economy in Early Medieval Orissa.


Social Scientist, 21, 1/2: 48-68.

As the title suggests, it is a study of the specific conditions of rural


economy in early medieval Orissa. Though a study of a ‘region’, it
helps us also in relating to the debate about the nature of early
medieval Indian history.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1973. Irrigation in Early Medieval Rajasthan.


Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, XVI, parts
II and III: 298-316. Reproduced in The Making of Early Medieval
India by B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 38-56. New Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 1994. Paperback edition, 1997.

(See above for comments)

• Sahu, B.P. 1997. Introduction to Land System and Rural Society in


Early India, ed. B.P.Sahu, 1-58. Delhi: Manohar.

In this fairly comprehensive and critical historiographic essay on early


historical and early medieval period, changes in scholarly approaches
towards early medieval history have been discussed at length. The

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author also provides a good survey of region-wise variations that have
been documented by scholars.

 Peasantisation of Tribes; Proliferation of Castes; Untouchables

• Sharma, R.S. 1969. Social Changes in Early Medieval India. The first
Devraj Chanana Memorial Lecture. New Delhi: People’s Publishing
House. Also reproduced (with slight changes) in Early Medieval
Indian Society by R.S.Sharma, 186-213. Kolkata: Orient Longman.
2001.

This is by far the most comprehensive survey of social changes in early


medieval India. It mostly deals with the issues of mobility,
differentiation and proliferation of castes and other social groups
within a largely localised context of kinship relations.

• Jaiswal, Suvira. 1998. Caste: Origins, Functions and Dimensions of


Change. New Delhi: Manohar.

This is a sociologist account of changes in the institution of caste since


the ancient through the middle ages. Useful and relevant insights are to
be found scattered through the book, especially in Chapters 2 and 5.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1990. Aspects of Rural Settlements and Rural


Society in Early Medieval India. Calcutta: K.P.Bagchi.

An alternative perspective on social changes that remain somewhat


similar but are understood differently is available in this book.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1994. Introduction to The Making of Early


Medieval India by B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 1-37. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press.

Although this is a general survey of historiography on early medieval


India, it carries relevant set of reflections on possible as well as
available social histories of the period.

• Jha, Vivekanand. 1975. Stages in the History of Untouchables. Indian


Historical Review, 2, no.1: 14-31.

The essay examines some evidence about untouchables in various


periods of Indian history. One of the very few works that deal with the
issue of untouchability in the historical context.

• Jha. Vivekanand. 1997. Caste, Untouchability and Social Justice: Early


North Indian Perspective. Social Scientist, 25, nos. 11-12: 19-30.

10
Another short piece that traces the history of untouchability within the
larger history of varna and jati.

• Karashima, Noboru. 1997. The Untouchables in Tamil Inscriptions and


Other Historical Sources in Tamilnadu. In Caste System,
Untouchability and the Depressed, ed. H.Kotani, 21-30. Delhi:
Manohar.

Karashima looks at evidence, chiefly epigraphic, on the untouchables


in the Tamil country during early medieval period.

• Aktor, Mikael. 2002. Rules of Untouchability in Ancient and Medieval


Law Books: Householders, Competence and Inauspiciousness.
International Journal of Hindu Studies, 6, nos. 3: 243-74.

Aktor provides an alternative frame, beyond the usual notions of purity


and impurity, to understand practices of untouchability both at present
and in historical times.

IV. Trade, Urbanisation and Forms of Exchange

 Inter-regional and Maritime Trade

• Malik, Anjali. 1998. Merchants and Merchandise in Early Medieval


Northern India, A.D. 600-1000. Delhi: Manohar.

This is a more or less descriptive account of trading activities in north


India during the period specified. The introduction also offers a
sweeping view of the state of historiography in the field.

• Hall, Kenneth R. 1980. Trade and Statecraft in the Age of the Colas.
New Delhi: Abhinav.

As the title promises, Hall provides an account of how trade could be


linked to statecraft under the Cholas. The strength of the work lies in
the manner in which it establishes linkages between commerce and
state formation.

• Jain, V.K. 1990. Trade and Traders in Western India (AD 1000-1300).
New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

Jain in this well-researched monograph argues for the existence of


vibrant trading activities in the first three centuries of the second
Christian millennium.

• Chakravarti, Ranabir. 2004. Introduction to Trade in Early India, ed.


Ranabir Chakravarti, 72-101. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

11
In his long introduction to the edited volume, Chakravarti outlines the
historiography of trade for the late ancient and early medieval period.
In the pages specified, he surveys the evidence for trade during the
early medieval period.

• Chakravarti, Ranabir. 1990. Monarchs, Merchants and a Matha in


Northern Konkan (c. AD 900-1053). Indian Economic and Social
History Review, 27, no. 2. Also reprinted in Trade in Early India, ed.
R. Chakravarti, 257-281. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Chakravarti studies the interactions between what he calls different


‘ensembles’ of activities like economic, political and cultural. The
essay may usefully be compared with another (Shrimali, 1996, listed
below) that also studies Konkan region for related though not identical
developments.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1985. Markets and Merchants in Early Medieval


Rajasthan. Social Science Probings, 2, no. 4: 413-40. Also reprinted in
The Making of Early Medieval India, by B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 89-119.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994. Paperback edition, 1997.

Chattopadhyaya provides very interesting study of not only thriving


markets and merchants in Rajasthan, but also of how markets grow
over a period of time and relate to their ‘hinterland’.

 Urban Processes and Monetisation

• Sharma, R.S. 1987. Urban Decay in India c. 300 – c. 1000. New


Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

This is probably the most influential major monograph that looks for
and fails to find enough evidence of urbanism in India during the
period between 4th to 10th centuries. With separate chapters on the
relevant epigraphic and literary sources and on each of the four major
regions (north; middle Gangetic and eastern; central and western; and
the south), the book makes sweeping arguments that have remained
contentious.

• Sharma, R.S. 2001. Paucity of Metallic Coinage (c. 500-c. 1000). In


Early Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation, by R.S.
Sharma, 119-62. Kolkata: Orient Longman.

This is another essay that follows up the ‘feudalism argument’ by


trying to establish the lack of evidence for enough coins for the period
before the 11th century in early medieval India. The essay makes for
interesting comparison with a major monograph on the topic produced
shortly after this (Deyell, 1990) listed below.

12
• Champakalakshmi, R. 1996. Developments within: Urban Processes in
the Early Medieval Period, c. A.D. 600-1300. Trade, Ideology and
Urbanisation: South India 300 B.C. to 1300, by R. Champaklakshmi,
203-310. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Moving on from her work on trade and trade guilds in South India,
Champaklakshmi looks at evidence for urbanism in South India during
the period specified.

• Heitzman, James. 1997. Gifts of Power: Lordship in an Early State,


82-89, 107-120. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Though Heitzman’s book is concerned about state formation under the


Cholas in the book, the pages specified talk about urban settlements
and their economic underpinnings during the period.

• Shrimali, K.M. 1996. How Monetised was the Silhara Economy? In


Society and Ideology: Essays in Honour of Professor R.S. Sharma, ed.
D.N. Jha, 95-123. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. A slightly
different version of the piece is also available with the changed title of
‘Monetization in a Coastal Economy: The Case of Konkan under the
Silaharas’, in The Feudal Order, ed. D.N. Jha, 345-82. New Delhi:
Manohar, 2000.

In this very focussed essay, Shrimali examines the evidence for/against


monetisation in the Konkan economy. The arguments put forth
contrasts interestingly with those offered in a similar context for a
slightly different time period by Ranabir Chakravarti (1990, see
above).

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1994. Urban Centres in Early Medieval India:


An Overview. In The Making of Early Medieval India, by
B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 155-82. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Paperback edition, 1997. Originally published in Situating Indian
History, ed. S. Bhattacharyya and Romila Thapar. Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1986.

In this study of a few urban centres, Chattopadhyaya tries to trace the


evolution and economic function of these townships from north India
during early middle ages.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1994. Trade and Urban Centres in Early


Medieval North India. In The Making of Early Medieval India, by
B.D.Chattopadhyaya, 130-54. Originally published in The Indian
Historical Review, 1 (1974), no. 2.

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Chattopadhyaya, in the same vein (see the reference above) examines
the ways in which trading centres could evolve into urban settlements
over a period of time.

• Deyell, John S. 1990. Living Without Silver: The Monetary History of


Early Medieval North India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Probably, the most well researched work on the state of monetisation


in the subcontinent during early medieval period, Deyell challenged
several orthodoxies in the field by bringing in focus personal hoards of
coins as against exclusively depending on numismatic reports and
museum collections of coins. Fascinating work that added several new
dimensions to the so-called feudalism debate.

 Merchant Guilds of South India

• Abraham, Meera. 1988. Two Medieval Merchant Guilds of South


India. New Delhi: Manohar.

The book provides detailed analysis of functioning of a merchant guild


of Manigramam in Tamilnadu and another of Ayyavole in Karnataka,
two of the most prominent medieval guilds in south India.

• Champakalakshmi, R. 2004. The Medieval South Indian Guilds: Their


Role in Trade and Urbanisation. In Trade in Early India, ed. R.
Chakravarti, 326-43. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Originally
published in Society and Ideology in India: Essays in Honour of
Professor R.S. Sharma, ed. D.N.Jha. New Delhi: Munshiram
Manoharlal, 1996.

Chmpaklakshmi studies the relevant evidence for delineating the


changing roles of mainly three south Indian guilds of early medieval
period.

V. Religious and Cultural Developments

 Bhakti, Tantrism, Puranic Traditions, Popular Religious Cults and


Buddhism and Jainism

Suggested Readings
• Sharma, R.S. 2001. Economic and Social Basis of Tantrism (Chapter
8) & The Feudal Mind (Chapter 9). In Early Medieval Indian Society:
A Study in Feudalisation, 235-282. Kolkata: Orient Longman. Original
but shorter versions of these articles are to be found respectively in (a)
Indian Society, Historical Probings: Essays in Memory of D.D.
Kosambi, ed. R.S. Sharma and V. Jha, 175-189. New Delhi: People’s
Publishing House, 1993. (b) Social Science Probings, 13 (1996). Both

14
of these essays in the (shorter version) are also reproduced in The
Feudal Order: State, Society and Ideology in Early Medieval India, ed.
D.N. Jha. New Delhi: Manohar, 2000.

In ‘The Feudal Mind’, Sharma stretches the argument of feudalism to


ideological and religious developments in early medieval times. In
somewhat similar fashion, though not that directly, he relates
popularity of Tantric practices to their socio-economic ‘base’.

• White, David Gordon, ed. 2001. Tantra in Practice. Delhi: Motilal


Banarsidass Publ.

This is a large collection of mostly short essays on Tantric practices


spanning a wide stretch of time (Ancient to Contemporary) and space
(from Nepal and India to China and Japan). Of some relevance are the
‘Introduction’ by David Gordon White (pp. 3-40); ‘A Parody of the
Kapalikas in the Mattavilasa’ by David N. Lorenzen (pp. 81-96);
‘Tantric Rites in Antal’s Poetry’ by D. Dennis Hudson (pp. 206-230);
and ‘Jain Tantra: Divinatory and Meditative Practices in the Twelfth
Century Yogasastra of Hemachandra’ by Olle Ovarnstrom (pp. 595-
604).

• Nandi, R.N. 1986. Social Roots of Religion in Ancient India, Sections


II and III. Calcutta: K.P.Bagchi.

Though this is primarily a book on ancient India, it does refer to early


medieval period and seeks to establish linkages between religious
processes and perceived material/social developments of the time.

• Nandi, R.N. 2000. Origin of the Virasaiva Movement. In The Feudal


Order: State, Society and Ideology in Early Medieval India, ed.
D.N.Jha, 469-86. New Delhi: Manohar. Originally the article was
published in Indian Historical Review, 2 (1975), no. 1.

Although this essay deals with Virsaiva movement that originated in


early 12th century, it is presumed to be part of the South Indian Bhakti
tradition and hence may be dealt with here.

• Chakrabarti, Kunal. 2001. Religious Process: The Puranas and the


Making of a Regional Tradition. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

In this pioneering work, Chakrabarti looks at the Puranic tradition as


an open scriptural tradition that could accommodate upcoming regional
traditions within expanding (and changing) Brahmanical canons.

• Chakrabarti, Kunal. Texts and Traditions: The Making of the Bengal


Puranas. In Tradition, Dissent and Ideology, ed. R.Champaklakshmi &
S. Gopal, 55-88. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

15
Here again, Chakrabarti studies the way the Bengal Puranas emerge to
assimilate a local tradition within a larger mythological / literary
corpus.

• Mahalakshmi, R. 2000. Outside the Norm, Within the Tradition:


Karaikkal Ammaiyar and the Ideology of Tamil Bhakti. Studies in
History, 16, no. 1: 17-40.

In an empirically grounded piece, Mahalakshmi traces the evolution of


Bhakti ideology and its location vis-à-vis ‘tradition’ in early medieval
Tamil region.

• Champakalakshmi, R. 1996. From Devotion and Dissent to


Dominance: The Bhakti of the Tamil Alvars and Nayanars. In
Tradition, Dissent and Ideology, ed. R. Champaklakshmi & S. Gopal,
135-63. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Champakalakshmi examines the Bhakti tradition of Alvars and


Nayanars of South India to trace their changing social and political
roles during the seventh to the twelfth centuries.

• Narayanan, M.G.S. and Veluthat, K. 2000. Bhakti Movement in South


India. In The Feudal Order: State, Society and Ideology in Early
Medieval India, ed. D.N. Jha, 385-410. New Delhi: Manohar. The
essay was originally published in Indian Movements: Some Aspects of
Dissent, Protest and Reform, ed. S.C. Malik. Simla: Indian Institute of
Advanced Study, 1978. The same was also reproduced in Feudal
Social Formation in Early India, ed. D.N. Jha. Delhi: Chanakya
Publications, 1987.

This is another piece that, from a slightly different perspective,


examines the changing ideology as well as social base of the South
Indian Bhakti movement.

• Prentiss, Karen P. 1999. Bhakti as a Movement. In The Embodiment of


Bhakti, by Karen P. Prentiss, pp. 25-42. New York: Oxford University
Press.

Should Bhakti in South India be considered as a social ‘movement’?


This is the theme of this essay that considers issues relating to religious
developments in early medieval India.

• Stein, Burton. 1968. Social Mobility and Medieval South Indian Hindu
Sects. In Social Mobility in the Caste System in India: An
Interdisciplinary Symposium, ed. James Silverberg, 78-94. The Hague:
Mouton. The article is also reproduced in Religious Movements in
South Asia 600-1800, ed. David N. Lorenzen, 81-101. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press, 2004. Paperback edition, 2005.

16
Stein in this rather focussed essay tentatively outlines the way certain
emerging ‘Bhakti’ sects, especially Srivaishnava sect, allowed for
social mobility among certain Sudra families during the period
beginning eleventh century.

 Regional Languages and Literature

• Majumdar, R.C. n.d. ed. History and Culture of the Indian People: The
Struggle for Empire. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Relevant part
is Chapter XV (‘Language and Literature’), 297-397.

Though largely descriptive, this long chapter on language and literature


helped collate some basic pieces of information on the development of
regional languages and literature. Its theoretical grid has since been
questioned but it is still useful for putting together so much relevant
information together.

• Sharma, R.S. 2001. Transition from Ancient to Medieval. In Early


Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation, by R.S. Sharma,
16-44. Delhi: Orient Longman.

Although the essay is a general reflection on the question of transition


from ancient to medieval, Sharma considers the issue of the emergence
of regional languages and literature, predictably from the vantage point
of processes of feudalisation, through several pages. The relevant
pages in the above mentioned edition are 35-38.

• Sheldon Pollock, ed. 1995. Social Scientist (Special Issue), 23, Nos.
10-12.

This is a collection of very interesting research papers on the issue of


language and literature in what Pollock in his introduction calls the
‘Vernacular Millennium’. Particularly relevant are the essays by S.
Nagaraju, V. Narayan Rao and Pollock.

• Pollock, Sheldon. 1998. India in the Vernacular Millenium: Literary


Culture and Polity, 1000-1500. In Early Modernities, ed. Shmuel
Eisenstadt, Wolfgang Schluchter and Bjorn Wittrock. Special issue of
Daedalus, 127, 3: 41-74.

• Pollock, Sheldon. 1998. The Cosmopolitan Vernacular. The Journal of


Asian Studies, 57, 1: 6-37.

 Art and Architecture: Evolution of Regional Styles

17
• Desai, Devangana. 1989. Social Dimensions of Art in Early India.
Presidential Address (Ancient India), Proceeding of the Indian History
Congress,50th session, Gorakhpur: 21-56.

The address treats the regionalization of art and architecture in early


medieval India against the backdrop of the feudalism hypothesis.
According to the author, numerous local centres of art emerged as
religious donations increased with the rise of proliferation of local
rulers and feudatories. In the closed economy and localism of the
feudal structure, art was increasingly conditioned by regionalism and
canonization. Folk elements and tantric iconography in temples is seen
against the background of a deprived urban milieu and patronage
coming mainly from a rural aristocracy.

• Desai. Devangana. 1974. Art under Feudalism in India (c. A.D. 500-
1300). In The Indian Historical Review,vol.1, no. 1: 10-17. Reprinted
in Jha, Feudal Social Formation in Early India. 1987. pp 391-401.

This is an earlier article by the same author. It discusses the socio-


cultural aspects of feudalism that influenced the function, nature and
character of art in early medieval India. It attempts to study art and
architectural developments under a specific social milieu (feudal),
where the chief function of art was to glorify the status of opulent
patrons, thereby failing to convey higher qualities (though apparently it
was in the service of religion).

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1993. Historiography, History, and Religious


Centers: Early Medieval North India, circa A.D.. 700-1200. In Gods,
Guardians, and Lovers: Temple Sculpture from North India A. D.
700-1200, eds, Vishakha Desai and Darielle N. Mason. New York and
Ahmadabad: The Asia Society Galleries and Mapin Publishing Ltd.
33-47.

An alternative approach to comprehend the regionalization of culture is


suggested in this article in terms of the historical processes of local
state formation leading to the changed character of art. It discusses the
political, social and cultural dimensions of early medieval India,
emphasizing on factor of legitimation of temporal authority as the most
significant ideological dimension of the period. The need to link one’s
royal origins to religious and divine forces led to extraordinary temple
building in this period. The article further explores the spatial contexts
and social linkages of the sacred spaces. It discusses the fluctuating
patterns of regional powers, their relationship to their spiritual mentors,
and their need for legitimation of their newly acquired power in the
form of temple building.

• Willis, Michael D. 1993. Religious and Royal Patronage in North


India. In Gods, Guardians, and Lovers: Temple Sculpture from North

18
India A. D. 700-1200, eds, Vishakha Desai and Darielle N. Mason.
New York and Ahmadabad: The Asia Society Galleries and Mapin
Publishing Ltd.: 49-65.

The essay discusses the nature of different levels of patronage of


temple sites of north India. It explores the local focus of temple
inscriptions, involving the nobility, officers and common people. The
essay is also concerned with issues of legitimation.

• Huntington, Susan. 1985. The Art of Ancient India: Buddhist, Hindu,


Jain New York and Tokyo: Weather Hill.
This book is very useful as a general survey of regional variations from
a purely architectural point of view. The following two works also
broadly fall in the same category:

• Harle, J. C. 1986. The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent.


New Zealand: Pelican History of Art, Penguin Books.

• Brown, Percy. 1971 (rpt). Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu


Periods. Bombay: D.B.taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd.

19
Unit II

VI. Interpreting the Delhi Sultanate, circa 1200-1550:

[a] Survey of Sources; Delhi-centred focus.

(This topic will include a general survey of available sources for writing the history
of Delhi sultanate with a special stock-taking of the Persian court chronicles. The
idea is to be familiarised with the nature, scope and limitations of these sources, and
to take a critical look at the manner in which historians have used these sources. The
discussion of the sources, however, will not be confined to this topic alone. In fact,
detailed discussion of the sources would be necessary with respect to the
historiography on the specific themes of the history of Delhi sultanate.)

• Kumar, Sunil. 2007. Appendix: Persian Literary Traditions and


Narrativizing the Delhi Sultanate. In The Emergence of the Delhi
Sultanate 1192-1286, by Sunil Kumar, 362-77. Ranikhet: Permanent
Black.

The author considers the Persian literary traditions to address


historiographic issues relating to the way the ‘story’ of Delhi Sultanate
is usually told by historians.

• Mukhia, Harbans. 1976. Historians and Historiography in the reign of


Akbar. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.

Although it is a book devoted to Akbar’s reign, its first chapter surveys


the Persian court literature under the Delhi sultanate for background.

• Hardy, Peter. 1961. Some Studies in Pre-Mughal Muslim


Historiography. In Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, ed.
C.H.Philips, 115-27. London: Oxford University Press.

In this rather general essay, Hardy considers trends in what he calls


‘Muslim’ historiography of the Pre-Mughal period.

• Hardy, Peter. 1966. Historians of Medieval India: Studies in Indo-


Muslim Historical Writing. London: Luzac and Company Ltd.

Here, the author considers the writings of some of the most influential
chroniclers of the Sultanate including, Minhaj Juzjani (the author of
Tabaqat-i Nasiri) and Zia Barani (the author of Tarikh-i Firuzshahi).

20
• Jackson, Peter. 1999. The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military
History, 44-60 (Sultan and Sources) and 151-70 (Sultans, Saints and
Sources). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In the sections specified, the author examines the nature (and


limitations) of the sources available for reconstructing the history of
the Delhi Sultanate.

• Day, U.N. 1971. Chapter 8: Some Chronicles and Chroniclers of


Medieval India. In Some Aspects of Medieval Indian History, by U.N.
Day, 143-81. New Delhi: Kumar Brothers.

In this collection of Day’s essays, the chapter specified above


examines general trends of Persian historiography, with separate and
useful notices on the life and works of Minhaj us-Siraj Juzjani, Amir
Khusrau, Ziauddin Barani, Shams Siraj Afif, and Ali bin Mahmud al
Kirmani, the 15th century chronicler of Malwa.

• Habib, Irfan. 1981. Barani's theory of the History of the Delhi


Sultanate. Indian Historical Review, 7: 99-115.

Habib outlines the theoretical grid within which, according to him,


Barani wrote the history of the sultanate. The essay is useful not just as
an interesting approach to Barani’s views about history but also as a
contentious attempt to reconstruct the history of Sultanate itself.

• Habib, Muhammad. 1950. Chishti Mystic Records of the Sultanate


Period. Medieval India Quarterly, 1: 1-42.

This is a very interesting and early attempt by Muhammad Habib to


assess a host of Chishti Mystic Records and their value as source
material for the historians of Sultanate period.

[b] Historiography
 Mahmud of Ghazni; nature of Turkish campaigns;
 The issue of “Indian” and “Foreign”;

(The first two subtopics are clubbed together here as they more closely overlap than
the rest and involve the same readings. The idea is to discuss how historians interpret
and characterise Ghazanavid invasions; how most of them treat them as a ‘foreign’
invasion, and how recent historiography has raised and examined some of these
issues.)

• Habib, Mohammad. 1927. Sultan Mahmud of Ghaznin. In Politics and


Society during the Early Medieval Period, Collected Works of
Professor Habib, vol. 2, ed. K.A.Nizami, 36-104. New Delhi: People’s
Publishing House. Reprint, 1981.

21
In this long essay on Mahmud, Habib dissociated the Sultan from what
he considered to be the essence of Islam and probably for the first time
located his invasions primarily in its financial and political context.

• Bosworth, C.E. 1966. Mahmud of Ghazna in Contemporary Eyes and


in Later Persian literature. In Iran, 4: 85-92. (Alternatively, see
MAHMUD b.SEBUKTIGIN, in Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed.
H.A.R.Gibb et al. Leiden: E.J. Brill.)

Mainly a historian of west Asia, Bosworth situates Mahmud in the


backdrop of West Asian and Afghan context and looks at the latter
Persian representations of the Turkish ruler as a great iconic empire
builder.

• Nazim, M. 1931. The Life and Times of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna.


Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is more of a general and descriptive account of the Ghazanavid


ruler, his achievements and failings and as the title says his ‘life and
times’ in a linear narrative.

• Richards, J.F. 1974. The Islamic Frontier in the East: Expansion into
South Asia. South Asia, 4: 91-109.

A focussed piece that views Ghazanavid invasions in north India as


part of a larger set of historical processes that saw a continuous (and
not episodic) expansion of the military, political and cultural frontier of
Islam in east.

• Ahmad, Aziz. 1963. Epic and Counter Epic in Medieval India. Journal
of the American Oriental Society, 83: 470-76. The essay is also
reproduced in India’s Islamic Traditions: 711-1750, ed. Richard
M.Eaton, 37-49. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

A short and controversial piece that ‘discovered’ two parallel and rival
narrative trends in the way Islam’s encounter with ‘Indian civilisation’
was represented.

• Davis, Richard. 1999. Lives of Indian Images, 88-112 and 186-221.


New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas Publishers.

Davis, an Art Historian, traces the way in which idols were (and are)
always treated as political trophies in the subcontinent. Chapter 3 and
Chapter 6 examine the official Ghazanavid narratives that were woven
in the wake of Mahmud’s alleged iconoclasm in India. They also
reflect on the ‘pre-history’ of desecration of idols in India.

• Thapar, Romila. 2004. Somanath: The Many Voices of History. New


Delhi: Penguin Books India.

22
This is arguably the most sophisticated and comprehensive work on the
multiple histories of Somanath temple. The work is particularly
fascinating for the fact that it looks at the manner in which the episode
of Mahmud’s desecration of the temple has, over the centuries, ceased
the imagination of a variety of people leading them to forge their own
narratives around it.

• Thapar, Romila. 1989. Imagined Religious Communities? Ancient


History and the Modern search for a Hindu Identity. Modern Asian
Studies, 23, 2: 209-31. Reproduced in Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early
Indian History, by Romila Thapar, 965-89. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 2000. Paperback edition, 2003.

Another interesting piece by Thapar who discusses the problems of


talking about religious communitarian identity in pre-modern times.
The essay helps in developing a critical perspective on much that were
written on the Ghazanavid invasion representing a clash of religious
communities.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1998. Representing the Other? Sanskrit Sources


and the Muslims (eight to fourteenth century). New Delhi: Manohar.

In a rare instance of a historian of ancient and early medieval India


venturing beyond the 12th century, Chattopadhyaya examines Sanskrit
texts of the period to map the multiple ways and contexts in which they
articulated the idea of the other. An extremely useful work that helps
complicate the question of ‘the Muslim Other”. The perspective
contrasts interestingly with those of Pollock (1993, below) and Ahmad
Aziz (1963, above). It also helps historicize the question of Indian and
foreign when understood in terms of self and the other.

• Pollock, Sheldon. 1993. Ramayana and Political Imagination in India.


Journal of Asian Studies, 52: 261-297. Reproduced in Religious
Movements in South Asia 600-1800, ed. David N. Lorenzen, 153-208.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004. Paperback edition, 2005.

In this controversial piece, Pollock tries to examine why the Ramayana


narrative (of conflict between good and evil) found favour in Indic
political iconography in north India after the establishment of
‘Muslim’ power in middle ages. The perspective contrasts starkly with
that of Chattopadhyaya (1998, above).

• Eaton, Richard M. 2002. Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States.


In Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in
Islamicate South Asia, ed. David Gilmartin and Bruce B.Lawrence,
246-81. New Delhi: India Research Press. The article can also be
accessed in Essays on Islam and Indian History, by Richard M. Eaton.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000.

23
Eaton traces the history of temple desecration in India from early
medieval till almost the modern times. The essay provides rich
empirical evidence to capture patterns of temple desecration across
varied political contexts and by agents from diverse religious
backgrounds.

• Kumar, Sunil. ed. 2005. Demolishing Myths or Mosques and Temples?


Readings on History and Temple Desecration in Medieval India. New
Delhi: Three Essays.

All the four essays and the short introduction by the editor directly or
indirectly reflect on the history of temple desecration. All the essays
are reproductions of the respective authors’ earlier publications. They
include (i) Indian Art Objects as Loot by Richard H. Davis; (ii)
Somanatha: Narratives of a History; (iii) Temple Desecration in Pre-
Modern India by Richard M. Eaton; (iv) Islam, Iconoclasm and the
Early Indian Mosque by Fibarr B. Flood. The last one by Blood
examines the complex aesthetic and political context of Islamic
iconoclasm that is historically contingent.

• Inden, Ronald. 1986. Orientalist Constructions of India. Modern


Asian Studies, 20: 401-443.

Inden in a pithy restatement of his famous position seeks to


problematize the idea of ‘India’ in a pre-modern context. In so doing,
he adds another dimension to the debate about ‘Indian’ and ‘foreign’
around the issue of Turkish/Muslim invasions.

[b] Historiography (contd.)


 Islam and the question of social mobility.
 Continuity and Change: urban centres; technology; rural society.

(These themes will involve a discussion of classical Marxist position of Islam as an


egalitarian social ideology cutting across caste boundaries and creating opportunities
for social mobility as argued by Mohd. Habib, as well as the modification of this
argument by Irfan Habib, who focuses more on economic and technological change.
The attempt will be to examine these perspectives in the light of recent research by
Richard Eaton, Muzaffar Alam, et al.)

• Habib, Muhammad. 1974. Introduction to Elliot and Dowson's History


of India vol. II. Reprinted in Politics and Society during the Early
Medieval Period: Collected Works of Professor Habib, vol. 1, ed.
K.A.Nizami, 33-110. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

In one of the first attempts to write a social history of the advent of


Islam in India, Mohammad Habib linked the establishment of Delhi
Sultanate to what he thought to be essentially ‘emancipatory’ ideals of
the religion.

24
• Siddiqui, I.H. 1992. Social Mobility in the Delhi Sultanate. In
Medieval India1: Researches in the History of India 1200-1750, ed.
Irfan Habib, 22-48. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

This is a description of evidence for social mobility in north India from


13th century onwards which the author relates to the policies followed
by the rulers of the Sultanate. The overall orientation remains the same
that was followed by Mohammad Habib.

• Habib, Irfan. 1978. Economic History of the Delhi Sultanate: An Essay


in Interpretation. Indian Historical Review, 4, 2: 287-303.

Writing a general history of economic developments under the


sultanate, Irfan Habib challenged some of Mohammad Habib’s ideas
about egalitarian/emancipatory potential of Islam in India. Yet, he
elaborated on how certain policies of the sultans, followed in secular
interest, might in the long run have created new opportunities for
occupational advancement in the realm.

• Habib, Irfan. 1969. Technological Changes and Society, Thirteenth and


Fourteenth Centuries. Presidential Address, Section II. Proceedings of
the Indian History Congress, 31: 139-161. Reprinted in Studies in the
History of Science in India, vol. II, ed. D.P.Chattopadhyay, 1992.

This was one of the first attempts by Irfan Habib to write about how
sultanate was implicated in the introduction of new technologies in the
subcontinent in a way that could lead to changes in society including
newer avenues for upward mobility.

• Eaton, Richard M. 1974. Sufi Folk Literature and the Expansion of


Indian Islam. History of Religion, 14, 2: 117-27. Also reprinted in the
more recent Essays on Islam and Indian History, by Richard Eaton,
189-208. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Until very recently, few secular historians studied religious processes


under the sultanate beyond very general narratives about lives and
teachings of Sufi and Bhakti saints. Richard Eaton in this essay and
another (see below, Eaton: 1985) was one of those who did. In this
essay, Eaton linked Sufi’s interactions with local societies and its
implications for expansion of Islam.

• Eaton, Richard M. 1985. Approaches to the Study of Conversion to


Islam in India. In Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies, ed.
Richard C. Martin, 106-26. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Also
paraphrased in The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760,
by Richard M. Eaton, xxi-xxvii, 268-303. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1993. Reprint: New Delhi: Oxford University Press,
1997. The essay was reprinted again in Religious Movements in South

25
Asia 600-1800, ed. David N. Lorenzen, 105-127. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 2004. Paperback edition, 2005.

In this pioneering essay, Eaton critiqued existing theories of


conversion and sought to provide a secular framework for
understanding what he noted to be a protracted process of conversion
to Islam.

• Alam, Muzaffar. 1989. Competition and Co-existence: Indo-Islamic


Interaction in Medieval North India. Itinerario 13: 37-59.

The interactions of pre-Islamic Indic cultures with those of Islam were


more complex than most historians thought them to be. Elaborating on
this idea, Alam found evidence for both conflict as well as
reconciliation between them in medieval India.

• Kumar, Sunil. 2001. Qutb and Modern Memory. In Partitions of


Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India, ed. Suvir Kaul, 140-82.
Delhi: Permanent Black. Reprinted in The Present in Delhi’s Pasts, by
Sunil Kumar, 1-61. Delhi: Three Essays Press, 2002.

Focusing on the Qutb complex, Kumar examined how it remained a


contested space within the larger sphere of Sultanate politics. The
essay drew attention to fissures within Islamic communities and
highlighted the futility of writing a linear history of Delhi Sultanate as
if it was driven by a singular vision of ideology and power. This piece
is useful for several topics in the syllabus both as a critical reflection
on dominant trends of historiography and as an alternative framework
for setting up the problematic of complex relations between politics
and society.

VII: Changes in the Sultanate Political Structures

[a] Phases of the Delhi Sultanate: 1200-1290; 1290-1450;


Ruling Elites

(Under this head, the focus will be on the so-called ‘nobility’ under Delhi Sultanate,
and an examination of the categories of analysis [Turk/Tajik/‘Indian’ Muslim,
Freemen/Slave] deployed to understand its changing character. The idea is to tease
out the various implicit assumptions about the character of the Delhi Sultanate that
underpin various perspectives on its ruling elites.)

• Nigam, S.B.P. 1968. Nobility under the Sultans of Delhi 1206-1398.


Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

26
Probably the first historian to undertake a full length study of the
governing classes (studied as ‘nobility’), Nigam traced their history in
terms of factional strife within as well as in terms of relations between
crown and nobility. Many of his empirical details were challenged by
Irfan Habib later (see below, Habib: 1992). His characterisation of
Sultanate nobility as a ‘feudal bureaucracy’ has since been discredited.

• Habib, Mohammad. 1958. Life and Thought of Ziauddin Barani.


Medieval India Quarterly, 4: 197-252. Reproduced in Collected Works
of Professor Mohammad Habib: Politics and Society during the Early
Medieval Period, ed. K.A. Nizami, 286-366. New Delhi: People’s
Publishing House, 1981. The relevant section in this long essay is
entitled ‘The Governing Class’.

In examining Barani’s ideas about and portrayal of governing classes


under the Sultanate, Mohammad Habib also commented upon the these
classes especially in the light of certain principles of Islam, that he
thought, must have constituted and informed their character.

• Ali, Athar. 1981. Nobility under Mohammad Tughlaq. Proceedings of


the Indian History Congress 42: 197-202.

Athar Ali described the constitution of nobility under Muhammad


Tughlaq. Some of his observations were later questioned by Peter
Jackson in his book (see below, Jackson: 1999)

• Jackson, Peter. 1990. The Mamluk Institution in Early Muslim India.


Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, (1990) 340-58.

How did the institution of elite slavery leave its impact upon the
constitution of Sultanate governing class? This is the subject of
Jackson’s study of the Mamluk institution in early 13th century.

• Nizami, K.A. 1970. Bureaucracy of Muhammad bin Tughluq. In The


Comprehensive History of India: Vol. V, Part I: Delhi Sultanate, A.D.
1206-1526, ed. Mohammad Habib and K.A.Nizami, 561-65. Delhi:
People’s Publishing House. Reprint, 1996.

In this descriptive account of the ‘bureaucracy’ of Muhammad


Tughlaq, the author closely follows the account given by Zia Barani in
Tarikh-i Firuzshahi. For a more critical appreciation of the problem,
this description may be compared with that of Jackson (see below,
Jackson: 1999)

• Jackson, Peter. 1999. The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military


History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Writing a political and military history of the Sultanate, Jackson traced


the composition of Khalji nobility and the nobility under the Tughlaqs

27
(171-92). The author questions some of the evidence available in
Barani’s account by examining them closely for consistency as well as
by comparing the information with those in other contemporary
sources.

• Hambly, Gavin. 1972. Who were the Chihilgani, the Forty Slaves of
Sultan Shams al-Din Iltutmish of Delhi? Iran 10: 57-62.

Hambly tried to clear the confusion arising out of Barani’s enigmatic


reference to the Chihilgani during the later part of Iltutmish’s reign as
well as in the decades after his death. Later historians’ account
(especially Kumar’s: 1992) of the Chihilgani differed substantively
from Gambly’s treatment of the problem.

• Habib, Irfan. 1992. Formation of the Sultanate Ruling Class of the


Thirteenth Century. In Medieval India1: Researches in the History of
India 1200-1750, ed. Irfan Habib, 1-21.

In this study of the formation of the sultanate ruling class, Habib traced
the changing ethnic composition of this class mainly in terms of
factional strife, clash of ambitions and the ability of the crown to
contain these rivalries. Read with his understanding of iqta (see below:
Habib: 1982), this essay very nicely sums up his understanding of how
the sultanate was able to establish a strong and centralised state system.

• Kumar, Sunil. 1992. When Slaves were Nobles: The Shamsi


Bandagan in the Early Delhi Sultanate. Studies in History, 10: 23-52.

The piece traces the patterns, among other things, in the way Iltutmish
deployed his slaves (organised in a strict hierarchy) and ‘free amirs’ in
various sensitive positions. It also interrogates the manner in which
Juzjani reports this in Tabaqat-i Nasiri. Its conclusions differ
interestingly from those of Irfan Habib (see above, Habib: 1992) and
Hambly (see above, Hambly: 1972)

• Kumar, Sunil. 2007. The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate, 1192-


1286. Ranikhet: Permanent Black.

Tracing the complex process of the ‘emergence’ of Delhi Sultanate by


providing rich empirical details, this book makes for difficult but
rewarding reading. Its novelty lies, among other things, in the way it
foregrounds the period between the ‘great’ sultans (Iltutmish and
Balban) as the one when, equally if not more, substantive
transformations took place in the character of the state including the
composition of its ruling elites. In some senses the whole book is a
study of its ruling elites. Of particular relevance though is Chapter 5.

• Wink, Andre. 1997. Al Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World,


vol. II: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest, 11th – 13th

28
Centuries, 182-99. Leiden: E.J.Brill. Paperback edition, Oxford and
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

This is a summary but nuanced description of the changes in the


making of the governing classes. The section mentioned makes for
good elementary reading on the topic.

• Siddiqui, I.H. 1961. Rise of the Afghan Nobility under the Lodi
Sultans, 1451-1526. Medieval India Quarterly, 4 : 114-36.

Siddiqui’s is probably the only major work on the nobility under the
Lodi sultans. This essay reflects on the position of Afghan nobility in
the sultanate during the Lodi period.

• Siddiqui, I.H. 1977. The Composition of the Nobility under the Lodi
Sultans. In Medieval India: A Miscellany, 4 (1977): 10-66.

The author links the composition and character of the Lodi nobility to
what he considered to be the unique ideas of Lodi kingship.

Iqta

(This topic will occasion a critical survey of the historiography on the twin
institutions of iqta [revenue assignment/ territorial assignment] and kharaj [tax on
land produce] that apparently constituted the backbone of sultanate administration.
The focus will be on its changing character and flexibility.)

• Moreland, W.H. 1929. Appendix B: Provincial Governors in the


Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. In Agrarian System of Moslem
India, 216-223. Delhi: Kanti Publications. Reprint, 1988.

Though written in 1929, this short piece provides very valuable and
nuanced account of the problems in understanding the institution of
iqta. Reading this helps develop a critical perspective on more
elaborate later works on the topic.

• Habib, Irfan. 1982. Agrarian Economy. In Cambridge Economic


History of India, vol. 1, ed. Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib, 48-
75. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Especially relevant in the piece cited is the section titled, “Iqta’s:


Distribution of Revenue Resources among the Ruling Class”, pp. 68-
75. This is the only work by a major historian that seeks to trace the
history of iqta from the inception of the Sultanate till almost its demise
in a linear narrative. The importance of the institution in the making of
a strong state is underlined though it might appear to some that this
history is linked a little too closely to policies of ‘weaker’ and
‘stronger’ sultans.

29
• Jackson, Peter. 1999. The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military
History, 95-102. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In almost an aside in the page numbers mentioned, the book describes


different kinds of iqta without necessarily elaborating on where the
institution belonged in the scheme of his analysis of sultanate.

• Kumar, Sunil. 2008. Balancing Autonomy with Service: Frontier Military


Commanders and their Relations with the Delhi Sultans in the 13th and 14th Centuries.
Presidential Address, Medieval History Section, Proceedings of the Punjab History
Congress (Patiala), 39: 86-100.

Focusing on the frontier military commanders, Kumar highlights the


‘instability’ in the precise meaning of iqta and elaborates on his
argument that the character and function of iqta under the sultanate
cannot be understood except in terms of the very diverse and changing
positions of individual holders of the iqta.

• Wink, Andre. 1997. Al Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World,


vol. II: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest, 11th – 13th
Centuries, 212-64. Leiden: E.J.Brill. Paperback edition, Oxford and
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Wink provides another descriptive account of the institution and links


it up primarily with issues of military and fiscal administration.

• Kumar, Sunil. 1994. When Slaves were Nobles: The Shamsi


Bandagan in the Early Delhi Sultanate. Studies in History, 10: 23-52.

(See above for comments)

• Kumar, Sunil. 2007. The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate, 1192-


1286. Ranikhet: Permanent Black. Passim.

(See above for comments)

• Richards, J.F. 1965. The Economic History of the Lodi Period.


Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, 8: 47-67.

Though this work is not on iqta, there are interesting observations on


the institution under the Lodis to be found here. Some contrasts with
the views of Irfan Habib (see above, Habib: 1982) may be noticed.

 Territorial Changes

[It is very often assumed that a victory in the battlefield automatically resulted in the
‘annexation’ of the vanquished ruler’s territories. This subtopic will provide an
opportunity to examine such stereotypes and try to look at the historiography on the

30
question of various levels of control in different parts of the kingdom, especially with
reference to the rural/urban as well as settled/rebel (mawas) divide.]

• Kumar, Sunil. 2007. Territorial Changes and the Political Geography


of the Sultanate. In The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate, 1192-1286,
by Sunil Kumar, 278-86. Ranikhet: Permanent Black.

In the short section mentioned, the author tries to problematize the idea
of territorial changes by moving beyond a simple understanding of
expansion and contraction of sultanate control. The idea of rebel
territories (mawas) in the contemporary chronicles is interrogated with
interesting implications.

• Habib, Muhammad. 1974. Introduction to Elliot and Dowson's History


of India, vol. II. Reprinted in Politics and Society during the Early
Medieval Period: Collected Works of Professor Habib, vol. 1, ed.
K.A.Nizami, 84-91. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

In this seminal piece cited at very places in this bibliography,


Mohammad Habib also sought to take note of how the territorial
fortunes of Delhi Sultanate fluctuated.

• Habib, Irfan. 1997. Political Geography of Northern India, first half of


the 13th century. Proceedings of Indian History Congress, 58: 206-17.

As the title suggests, Habib traced the changing political geography of


northern India at a time when the control of the Sultans over ‘their’
territories were beginning to be stabilized for the first time.

• Hodivala, S.H. 1957. He proceeded into Mawas. In Studies in Indo-


Muslim History. Supplement = Vol. II, 226-229. Puna and Bombay:
R.S. Hodivala and The Popular Book Depot.

In this meticulously researched text, Hodivala offers interesting


insights into how the mawas (usually translated as ‘rebel territory’ or
‘territory under unruly elements’) was mentioned in Persian sources
and the problematic ways in which most historians and translators
understood it. These comments help develop a critical perspective on
how the sultanate chroniclers, especially Juzjani, used the idea of
mawas.

• Jackson, Peter. 1999. Raid, Conquest and Settlement. In The Delhi


Sultanate: A Political and Military History, by Peter Jackson, 123-47.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is a rather conventional and descriptive narrative of territories


‘won’ and ‘settled’ under the sultanate.

31
Mongol Threat

[The threat the Delhi sultanate faced in the 13th century from the newly established
Mongol empire in the erstwhile ‘central Islamic lands’ is seen to be an important
influence on the sultanate revenue, military and defence policies. Indeed the threat
constitutes an important factor in most major studies of the Sultanate politics (Kumar,
Jackson, Wink, et al.) and even Sultanate economy (Habib). The following list,
however, is only of those readings that consider the Mongols and their activities
squarely.]

• Jackson, Peter. 1999. The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military


History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Relevant pages are,
103-122.

This is by far the most direct tracing of the character and magnitude of
Mongol threat to the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th and 14th centuries.

• Siddiqui, I.H. 1983. Politics and Conditions in the territories under the
occupation of Central Asian Rulers in N.W. India in the 13th-14th
centuries. Central Asiatic Journal, 27: 288-306.

Though this is a general account of politics under Mongol occupation


in the region of Afghanistan, it helps gauge the nature of threat it held
out to the sultanate.

• Zilli, I.A. 1995. A Rare Farman of Ulugh Beg—New light on Timurid


Relations with the Delhi Sultanate”, Proceedings of Indian History
Congress, 55: 214-19.

This is a brief note on the relationship of the Delhi Sultanate with the
Timurids during the Sayyid period.

• Siddiqui, I.H. 1980. The Qarlugh Kingdom in N.W. India During the
13th century. Islamic Culture, 54: 75-90.

For a slightly earlier period this piece by Siddiqui is very similar to


the one cited above.

Relations with Rural Chieftains

• Moreland, W.H. 1929. Chapter II: The Thirteenth and Fourteenth


Centuries and Appendix C: Some Fourteenth Century Passages. In
Agrarian System of Moslem India by Moreland, 18-65 and 224-35.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reprint, Delhi: Kanti
Publications, 1988.

32
The chapter mentioned is a general account of fiscal history under the
sultanate while the appendix is a set of excerpts from Persian
chronicles with comments by the author. The latter helps situate the
problem of writing a history of Sultanate’s changing relations with the
rural chieftains.

• Habib, Irfan. 1982. Rural Classes. In Cambridge Economic History of


India, vol. 1, ed. Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib, 53-60.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Irfan Habib looks at evidence for a stratified class of peasants from


those with privileges to those with the status practically of semi-serf.

• Hardy, Peter. 1978. Growth of Authority over a Conquered Political


Elite: Early Delhi Sultanate as a Possible Case Study. In John F.
Richards, Kingship and Authority in South Asia, ed. J.F. Richards, 216-
241. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Reprint, 1998. Delhi: Oxford
University Press.

Hardy in the essay examines the problem of the extension of


sultanate’s authority over the rural ‘hinterland’.

• Jackson, Peter. 1999. The Sultans and Their Hindu Subjects. The Delhi
Sultanate: A Political and Military History by Jackson, 278-95.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Although the section specified discusses the relationship of the


sultanate with the Hindus, the latter is mostly understood by Jackson as
tax-paying subjects. Historiographically, Jackson’s narrative appears
quite conservative in this instance.

• Kumar, Sunil. 2001. Qutb and Modern Memory. In Partitions of


Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India, ed. Suvir Kaul, 140-82.
Delhi: Permanent Black. Relevant pages are, 157-62. Reprinted in The
Present in Delhi’s Pasts, by Sunil Kumar, 1-61. Delhi: Three Essays
Press, 2002.

(See above for comments)

• Kumar, Sunil. 2007. The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate, 1192-


1286. Ranikhet: Permanent Black.

It is difficult to specify places in the book where the problem is


‘separately’ discussed. In fact, the theme of Sultanate’s relations with
locality chiefs runs through the book as an extremely important aspect.
Interestingly, the author traces a very wide range of relations between
diverse political agents in the context of Rana-Malik interactions
where not all maliks necessarily acted on behalf of the Sultanate.

33
[b] Legitimation of Political Authority and Resistance

Theories of Kingship in Chronicles and Normative Literature

• Tripathi, R.P 1956. .Some Aspects of Muslim Administration.


Allahabad: Central Book Depot. Reprint, 1978. Relevant pages are, 33-
38.

In this brief ‘aside’ in the book, Tripathi traced some normative aspects
of Turkish kingship.

• Hardy, Peter. 1966. Historians of Medieval India: Studies in Indo-


Muslim Historical Writing. London: Luzac and Company Ltd.
Especially relevant pages are, 20-39.

Peter Hardy discussed Barani’s ideas of kingship and how, according


to him, his normative ideas often found its way into his history in the
shape of a theory that was attributed to historical players, most notably
Balban.

• Habib, Irfan. 1981. Barani’s Theory of the History of Delhi Sultanate.


Indian Historical Review, 7: 99-115.

Along side considering Barani’s ideas on the theory of history the


sultanate, Habib also examines Barani’s theory of kingship and its
impact on his historiography. The treatment differs considerably from
that of Hardy (see above, Hardy: 1966).

• Habib, Irfan. 1999. Zia Barani’s Vision of the State. Medieval History
Journal, 2: 19-36.

The ideas discussed in the 1981 article on Barani’s theory of the


history of Delhi Sultanate were elaborated here by Habib.

• Mukhia, Harbans. 1976. Historians and Historiography during the


Reign of Akbar. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House. Relevant pages
are, 1-40.

This is a descriptive account of Barani’s theory and history. Later


accounts by Habib and most remarkably Alam (see below, Alam:
2002) contrasts with Mukhia’s treatment in interesting ways.

• Marlow, Louise. 1977. Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Islamic


Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Relevant pages are,
117-142.

34
The pages specified in the reference above discuss certain
historiographical issues in tracing history of Islamic political
ideologies.

• Kumar, Sunil. 1985. The Value of Adab al-Mulk as a Historical


Source: An Insight into the Ideals and Expectations of Islamic Society
in the Middle Period (945-1500). Indian Economic and Social History
Review, 22: 307-27.

Focusing on the early thirteenth century text, the author examines


articulation of certain normative ideals in Islamic societies and its
specific historical context at a time when Delhi Sultanate was yet to
find its feet.

• Alam, Muzaffar. 2002. Sharia and Governance in the Indo-Islamic


Context. In Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in
Islamicate South Asia, ed. David Gilmartin and Bruce Lawrence, 216-
45. New Delhi: India Research Press.

Alam in this article, studies the diverse literary and political contexts of
a variety of political ideologies within the Indo-Islamic societies. The
essay is extremely useful in setting into perspective the problem of
writing a singular history of Islamic thought or an essentialist
reconstruction of Turkish kingship.

• Alam, Muzaffar. 2004. Chapter 2: Sharia, Akhlaq and Governance. In


The Languages of Political Islam in India c. 1200-1800 by Muzaffar
Alam, 26-61. Delhi: Permanent Black.

The pages specified above examine the political ideas of important


political thinkers of Islamic world in the 13th through the 15th centuries
and highlights the diversity of norms and ideals within the Islamic
world.

[b] Legitimation of Political Authority and Resistance (contd.)

Imperial Monuments and Coinage

• Meister, Michael W. 1972. The Two-and-a-half-day Mosque. Oriental


Art, 18: 57-63. Reproduced in Architecture in Medieval India: Forms,
Contexts, Histories, ed. Monica Juneja, 303-314. New Delhi:
Permanent Black, 2001.

The essay is concerned with how invading cultures interact. Doing a


case study of the iconic evidence of the mosque at Ajmer (built by
Aibak, 1199), Meister elaborates on the use of tradition within the
historical processes of conquest and interaction of politically
antagonistic cultures.

35
• Hillenbrand, Robert. 1988. Political Symbolism in Early Indo-Islamic
Mosque Architecture: The Case of Ajmer. Iran, 26: 105-117.
Reprinted in Piety and Politics in the Early Indian Mosque, ed. F. B.
Flood. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008.

This is another study of the Ajmer mosque focusing chiefly on the


location, aesthetic elements and form of the structure. Hillenbrand
interprets the decision to build the mosque on an elevation as a
deliberate part of a general policy to exalt the structure and thus the
new faith and polity. In this essay the mosque is designated as ‘a
metaphor of domination’. Monica Juneja provides a critique of this
argument in the introduction to Architecture in Medieval India. (see
below, Juneja: 2001, p. 63)

• Welch, Anthony. 1985. Quran and Tomb: The Religious Epigraphs of


Two Early Sultanate Tombs in Delhi. In Indian Epigraphy: Its
Bearings on the History of Art, ed. F.M. Asher and G.S. Ghai, 257-67.
New Delhi: Oxford and IBH Publishing Co., American Institute of
Indian Studies.

This is an analysis of early Sultanate religious epigraphy on the two


tombs of Prince Nasir al-din Mahmud and Sultan Iltutmish.

• Mujeeb, Muhammad. 2001. The Qutub Complex as a Social


Document. In Architecture in Medieval India: Forms, Contexts,
Histories, ed. Monica Juneja, 290-300. Delhi: Permanent Black.
Originally published in Islamic Influence in India on Indian Society, by
M. Mujeeb, 114-27. Meerut/Delhi: Meenakshi Prakashan.

As the first royal architectural assemblage, comprising Delhi’s first


congregational mosque, the Qutb complex is the most studied structure
of the Delhi sultanate. Mujeeb sees in this essay a beginning of a
movement towards unity and fusion of two different architectural
traditions of the conqueror and the conquered. What crystallized into
Indo-Islamic is seen in the harmonious balance of Islamic architectural
traditions of purity of line and form and the indigenous sculptural
quality of architecture.

• Flood, Finbarr B. 2007. Islam, Iconoclasm, and the Early Indian


Mosque. In Demolishing Myths or Mosques and Temples? Readings
on History and Temple Desecration in Medieval India, ed. Sunil
Kumar, 141-74. Delhi: Three Essays Collective.

Flood examines the aesthetic implications of iconoclasm in the first


mosques constructed after the ‘Muslim conquest’ of north India in the
late twelfth century.

36
• Welch A. & Howard Crane. 1983. The Tughlaqs: Master Builders of
the Delhi Sultanate. Muqarnas, 1: 133-66.

This is a typological survey of Tughluq architecture with added


information on architects and pattern of religious epigraphy under
various rulers of the dynasty.

• Juneja, Monica. 2001. Introduction to Architecture in Medieval India:


Forms, Contexts, Histories, ed. Monica Juneja, 1-84. Delhi: Permanent
Black. Especially relevant are the pages, 76-84.

Laying stress on the iconic, spatial and functional aspects of the Qutb
mosque, Juneja sees the complex as a lived social space. Her concern
here is how the visual and architectural evidence followed its own
logic and the edifice carries a whole host of plurality of meanings to
different modes of viewing and perceiving.

• Thomas, Edward. 1967. The Chronicles of the Pathan Kings of Delhi.


Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

This is a useful reference for understanding the sigilla on coins of the


period as imperial statements of authority.

• Wright, H. Nelson. 1936. The Coinage and Metrology of the Sultans of


Delhi. London and Delhi: Oxford University Press. Reprint, Delhi:
Oriental Books Reprint Corporation, 1974.

This is a relatively comprehensive survey of the coins of Delhi


Sultanate for their weight, composition and general character.

• Kumar, Sunil. 2001. Qutb and Modern Memory. In Partitions of


Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India, ed. Suvir Kaul, 140-82.
Delhi: Permanent Black. Reprinted in The Present in Delhi’s Pasts, by
Sunil Kumar, 1-61. Delhi: Three Essays Press, 2002.

Kumar looks at the Qutb complex as a site where rival claims to


authority were made and where several successive sultans tried to erase
the imprint of earlier rulers and to inscribe a claim of their own. The
essay is also useful as a study of very different statements that the
sultans made through different mediums: architectural, epigraphic,
numismatic and chronicles.

• Brown, Percy. 1943. Indian Architecture: The Islamic Period.


Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co.

37
This old classic is still useful as an early and general survey of
architectural trends in what the author called the Islamic period of
Indian history. The following works, though not that old, also fall more
or less in the same category.

• Grover, Satish. 2002. Islamic Architecture in India. New Delhi: CBS


(2nd edition). 1st edition, 1996.

• Nath, Ram. 1978. A History of Sultanate Architecture. New Delhi:


Abhinav.

[b] Legitimation of Political Authority and Resistance (Contd..)

Sufis, Bhaktas and Political Authority

• Habib, Mohammad. 1950. The Chishti Mystics Records of the


Sultanate Period. Medieval India Quarterly, 1: 1-42.

Mohammad Habib surveyed and provided critical comments on


different genres of Chishti texts of the Sultanate period in this early
study. He was probably the first person to point to the need for caution
in using the texts as sources.

• Digby, Simon. 1990. The Sufi Shaykh and the Sultan: A Conflict of
Claims to Authority in Medieval India. Iran, 28: 71-81.

This is an extremely important historiographic intervention in the way


history of Sufism was written in the subcontinent. Departing from the
usual tendencies to look at the Chishti mystics of the 13th and 14th
centuries as merely pious souls, the essay examined their claims to
authority and situated the conflicts between them and the rulers in the
context of these claims.

• Digby, Simon. 1986. The Sufi Shaykh as a Source of Authority in


Medieval India. Purshartha, 9: 57-78. Reprinted in India’s Islamic
Traditions, 711-1750, ed. Richard M. Eaton, 234-62. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press, 2003.

Digby traces how the Sufis Shaikhs could be a source of authority not
only for their successors but also for several political agents. The essay
opened up interesting ways in which link ‘political’ and ‘cultural’
histories.

• Eaton, Richard M. 1984. The Political and Religious Authority of the


Shrine of Baba Farid. In Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of
Adab in South Asian Islam, ed. Barbara D. Metcalf, 333-56. Berkeley:
University of California Press. Reprinted in India’s Islamic Traditions,

38
711-1750, ed. Richard M. Eaton, 263-84. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press.

The essay seeks to examine how a host of political and religious agents
could try to draw legitimacy from Baba Farid’s shrine

• Kumar, Sunil. 2000. Assertions of Authority: A Study of the


Discursive Statements of Two Sultans of Delhi. In The Making of
Indo-Persian Culture: Indian and French Studies, ed. Muzaffar Alam,
N.Delvoye & Marc Gaborieau, 37-65. Delhi: Manohar.

Kumar studied the history of conflict of claims between Alauddin


Khalji and Nizamuddin Auliya. Here, instead of focusing on who was
right and who was wrong, he tried to examine the texts on either side
in terms of their discursive and rhetorical content to underline an
ideological contest.

• Kumar, Sunil. 2007. Chapter 4: The Ulama and the Emergence of


Delhi as the Sanctuary and Axis of Islam in North India. In The
Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate, 1192-1286, by Sunil Kumar, 192-
237. Ranikhet: Permanent Black.

By focusing on the problems of ethnic diversity and ideological


differences, the chapter examines the problems of establishing some
degree of homogeneity within Islamic community of Delhi Sultanate.

• Habib, Irfan. 1994. The Historical Background to the Rise of the


Popular Monotheistic Movements of the 15th and 16th Centuries.
Reading Material-3 of Course 6, M.A.(Final), Medieval Indian
History, ed. Jyotsana Tyagi, 24-28. Delhi: School of Correspondence
Courses and Continuing Education, University of Delhi.

This article tried to establish direct link between the policies of Delhi
Sultanate and the rise of monotheistic movements in north India as
several new agrarian communities emerged by the late 14th and 15th
centuries.

VIII: Society and Economy in North India

[a] Geographical Factors; Agricultural Production, Technology

• Habib, Irfan. 1982. The Geographical Background. In The Cambridge


Economic History of India, vol. I, ed. I.Habib and T.Raychaudhuri, 1-
13. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reprint: Orient
Longman, 1991.

39
This is a general description of geography of the subcontinent,
especially north India, as a backdrop to study its history in medieval
India. Ideally, it should be read before one starts with unit II in the
syllabus.

• Moreland, W.H. 1929. Chapter 2: The Thirteenth and Fourteenth


Centuries. In Agrarian System of Moslem India, by Moreland, 21-66.
Delhi: Kanti Publications. Reprint, 1988.

This is more or less a fiscal history of the sultanate in the period


specified. It also carries some observation on patterns of agriculture
and occasionally state of technology.

• Habib, Irfan. 1982. Agricultural Production. In The Cambridge


Economic History of India, vol. I, ed. I. Habib and T. Raychaudhuri,
48-53. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reprint: Orient
Longman, 1991.

Habib traced the patterns of agricultural production primarily as seen


and documented by the sultanate chroniclers and from the point of
view of a tax collecting state.

• Habib, Irfan. 1969. Technological Changes and Society, Thirteenth and


Fourteenth Centuries. Presidential Address, Section II. Proceedings of
the Indian History Congress, 31: 139-161. Reprinted in Studies in the
History of Science in India, vol. II, ed. D.P.Chattopadhyay, 1992.

(see above for comments)

• Singh, Chetan. 1985. Well Irrigantion Methods in Medieval Punjab:


the Persian Wheel Reconsidered. Indian Economic and Social History
Review, 22: 73-87.

Though focusing on Punjab, the essay examines the state of irrigation


technology and the way state was implicated in its development.

• Khan, Iqtidar Alam. 1977. Origin and Development of Gunpowder


Technology in India: 1250-1500. The Indian Historical Review, 4, no.
1.

Khan traced the history gunpowder in India and comments upon the
state of military technology during the period specified in the title of
the essay.

[b] Changes in Rural Society: Revenue Systems

40
• Habib, Muhammad. 1974. Introduction to Elliot and Dowson's History
of India vol. II. Reprinted in Politics and Society during the Early
Medieval Period: Collected Works of Professor Habib, vol. 1, ed.
K.A.Nizami, 33-110. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

(see above for comments)

• Habib, Irfan. 1978. Economic History of the Delhi Sultanate: An Essay


in Interpretation. Indian Historical Review, 4, 2: 287-303.

(see above for comments)

• Habib, Irfan. 1982. Agrarian Economy. In The Cambridge Economic


History of India, vol. I, ed. I.Habib and T.Raychaudhuri, 48-76.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reprint: Orient Longman,
1991.

(see above for comments)

• Habib, Irfan. 1984. Price Regulations of Allauddin Khalji – A Defence


of Zia Barani. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 21, no. 4:
393-414. Also reprinted in Money and the Market in India: 1100-1700,
ed. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, 85-111. New Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 1994. Paperback edition, 1998.

In this celebrated essay, Irfan Habib stood by most of the elements in


Barani’s portrayal of Allauddin Khalji’s strict regime of market
regulations and price control. The essay is also useful in understanding
Habib’s analysis of rural-urban relations as well as fiscal policies under
the Khaljis.

• Ashraf, K.M. 1934. Life and Conditions of the People of Hindustan,


1200-1550. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1988 (Reprint). Relevant
pages are, 113-124.

This was one of the first full length secular history of ‘people of
Hindustan’ in medieval India where both the rural and urban society
was dealt with.

• Moreland, W.H. 1929. Chapter II: The Thirteenth and Fourteenth


Centuries. In Agrarian System of Moslem India, by W.H.Morland, 21-
78. Delhi: Kanti Publications. Reprint, 1988.

(see above for comments)

[c] Urbanisation: Technology and Non-agricultural Production

41
• Habib, Muhammad. 1974. Introduction to Elliot and Dowson's History
of India vol. II. Reprinted in Politics and Society during the Early
Medieval Period: Collected Works of Professor Habib, vol. 1, ed.
K.A.Nizami, 33-110. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

This was the piece where Mohammad Habib first gave his theory of
urban revolution in the wake of the establishment of Turkish power in
India. (Also see above for further comments on the essay).

• Habib, Irfan. 1978. Economic History of the Delhi Sultanate: An Essay


in Interpretation. Indian Historical Review, 4, 2: 287-303.

(see above for comments)

• Verma, H.C. 1986. Dynamics of Urban Life in Pre-Mughal India.


Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

The book provides information on the extent, pattern and magnitude of


urban development under the sultanate, relating urbanism to the
policies of the state.

• Habib, Irfan. 1969. Technological Changes and Society, Thirteenth and


Fourteenth Centuries. Presidential Address, Section II. Proceedings of
the Indian History Congress, 31: 139-161. Reprinted in Studies in the
History of Science in India, vol. II, ed. D.P.Chattopadhyay, 1992.

(see above for comments)

• Habib, Irfan. 1982. Non-Agricultural Production and Urban Economy.


In The Cambridge Economic History of India, vol. I, ed. I.Habib and
T.Raychaudhuri, 76-92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reprint: Orient Longman, 1991.

As the title of the essay suggests, it traces patterns of non-agrarian


production especially under the patronage of the sultanate and
examines certain aspects of the urban economy.

[d] Monetisation: Market Regulations; Trade

• Habib, Irfan. 1984. Price Regulations of Allauddin Khalji – A Defence


of Zia Barani. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 21, no. 4:
393-414. Also reprinted in Money and the Market in India: 1100-1700,
ed. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, 85-111. New Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 1994. Paperback edition, 1998.

42
(see above for comments)

• Jackson, Peter. 1999. The Military, the Economy and the


Administrative Reform. In The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and
Military History, by Jackson, 238-54. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

This is a summary treatment of economic and administrative policies


mostly of Allauddin Khalji. Though not worked out in details, its
conclusions differ very little from those of Irfan Habib (see above,
Habib: 1984).

• Day, U.N. 1971. Chapter 4: Market Regulations of Alaud-din Khalji.


In Some Aspects of Medieval Indian History by U.N.Day, 71-87. New
Delhi: Kumar Brothers.

Apart from Habib’s, this is one of the most elaborate treatments of


Allauddin’s market regulations as provided by Barani. Day’s
conclusions however are different from Habib’s and together they
make for interesting comparison.

• Subrahmanyam, Sanjay. 1994. Introduction to Money and the Market


in India 1100-1700, ed. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, 1-56. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press. Paperback edition, 1998.

The relevant sections in the long introduction critically examine the


historiography and provides rich theoretical and comparative
perspective for understanding the monetary and commercial aspects of
Sultanate economy.

• Ashraf, K.M. 1934. Life and Conditions of the People of Hindustan,


1200-1550. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1988 (Reprint). Relevant
pages are, 136-48.

This is an interesting and early Marxist attempt to understand fiscal


policies of the Sultanate. The summary treatment, though short, is a
useful historiographic entry into the problem.

• Wink, Andre. 1997. Nomads, Cities and Trade. In Al Hind: The


Making of the Indo-Islamic World, vol. II: The Slave Kings and the
Islamic Conquest, 11th – 13th Centuries by Andre Wink, 8-42. Leiden:
E.J.Brill. Paperback edition, Oxford and New Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1999.

This is an empirically rich account of urbanism and trade during the


sultanate period. Again, it is primarily understood in the light of
policies followed by the sultans of Delhi.

43
• Qaisar, A.J. 1974. The Role of Brokers in Medieval India. Indian
Historical Review, 1: 220-61.

In an increasingly monetised economy with a state that claimed the


larger share of the primary producers’ surplus, the brokers played an
important role both as facilitators of trade as well as the last resort for
peasants. This is the subject of the study by Qaisar.

• Digby, Simon. 1971. War Horse and Elephant in the Delhi Sultanate:
A Study of Military Supplies. Karachi: Orient Monographs. Particularly
relevant pages are, 23-49.

Digby in this unusual monograph looked at the evidence for trade in


military equipments, especially war horses. It is one of the few studies,
apart from Wink’s, that linked Delhi Sultanate very critically to its
involvement in commerce.

IX: Religion, Society, Culture

[a] Sufism: Doctrines, Silsilas and Practices

[In addition to the ones cited under VII-B (iii) above]

• Rizvi, S.A.A. 1978. A History of Sufism, vol. 1. Delhi: Munshiram


Manoharlal.

Chiefly a study of the teachings and practices of Chishti and


Suhrawardi Sufis, this is arguably the most influential work on Sufism
during medieval period in India. Rich in details and anecdotes, the
study uses a range of Sufi texts to cull out information about the Sufi
saints and their activities.

• Trimingham, J.S. 1971. The Sufi Orders of Islam. London: Oxford


University Press. Particularly relevant pages are, 1-30.

Trimingham provided a broad and general framework for studying Sufi


orders. This study has since influenced many works on Sufism in as
well as outside of India.

• Nizami, K.A. 1948-50. Early Indo-Muslim Mystics and Their Attitude


towards the State. Islamic Culture, 22 (1948): 387-98; 23 (1949): 13-
21, 162-70, 312-21; 24 (1950): 60-71.

44
In this lengthy essay, Nizami traced sharply opposed attitude of Chishti
and Suhrawardy Sufis towards state. The study however was
uncritically and entirely based on Chishti sources and that leaves its
marks on his conclusions.

• Digby, Simon. 1986. The Sufi Shaykh as a Source of Authority in


Medieval India. Purshartha, 9: 57-78. Reprinted in India’s Islamic
Traditions, 711-1750, ed. Richard M. Eaton, 234-62. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press, 2003.

(see above for comments)


• Eaton, R.M. 1978. Sufis of Bijapur: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval
India 1300-1700. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Especially
useful is the introductory chapter.

In this pioneering work, Eaton investigated the Bijapur Sufis’


interactions with local societies. The study marked a departure in the
way it treated its sources and differentiated amongst them. The
introduction provides interesting insights on the historiography of
Sufism as it stood then.

• Ernst, Carl. 1992. The Interpretation of the Sufi Biographical Tradition


in India. In Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History and Politics at a South
Asian Sufi Centre by Carl Ernst, 62-93. Albany: State University of
New York Press.

Interrogating the medieval genre of tazkira literature in Sufic literary


tradition, Ernst provided useful insights into how different genres
worked within accepted norms and structures. He also commented
upon how it must be an important consideration in the way these texts
were to be used by historians.

• Alam, Muzaffar. 2004. Chapter 3: The Sufi Intervention. In The


Languages of Political Islam in India c. 1200-1800 by Muzaffar Alam,
81-114. Delhi: Permanent Black.

Alam studied Sufi interventions as diverse and broke away from the
historiography that always portrayed Sufis as essentially non-political
and benign/otherworldly. Sufi relations with the state appear in this
account to be complex and multivalent with many different stories to
be told.

[b] Bhakti Movements: Nathpanthis; Kabir, Nanak and the Sant


Tradition

[In addition to the ones cited under VII-B (iii) above]


• Vaudeville, Charlotte. 1999. Myths, Saints and Legends in Medieval
India, especially, pp. 199-257.

45
The novelty of Vaudeville’s study lies in her attempt to look at a wide
variety of sources that include epic, Puranic and kavya tradition in
Sanskrit as well as vernacular and oral literary traditions to examine
the vibrancy of religious processes in middle ages. Particularly useful
for the topic at hand is the Part II of the book titled, The Sant Poets of
Maharashtra.

• Schomer, Karine & W.H.McLeod, ed. 1987. The Sants: Studies in a


Devotional Tradition of India. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

This book has a number of useful essays by prominent scholars.


Particularly relevant are (i) Karine Schomer, "The Sant Tradition in
Perspective", pp. 1-17; (ii) Charlotte Vaudeville, "Sant-Mat: Santism
as a Universal Path to Sanctity", pp. 21-40; (iii) J.S. Hawley, “The Sant
in Surdas”, pp. 191-211; (iv) W.H.McLeod, "The Development of the
Sikh Panth", pp. 229-49; (v) Bruce B. Lawrence, “The Sant Movement
and North Indian Sufis”, pp. 359-373.

• Sharma, Krishna. 2002. Bhakti and the Bhakti Movement: A New


Perspective. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. Chapter I: Towards a New
Perspective, pp. 1-38.

In this longish introduction, the author examines the state of


historiography on medieval Bhakti and attempts to provide a new
perspective.

• Grewal, J.S. 1993. Contesting Interpretations of Sikh Tradition. New


Delhi: Manohar.

The book is one of the most influential study of Sikh traditions that
also reflect upon its multiple legacies and varied historiography.

• Lorenzen, David N. 2004. Religious Movements in South Asia 600-


1800. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Paperback edition, 2005.

Apart from the editior’s Introduction that examines the historiography


in the field, the book also carries two essays on Kabir and the Sants by
two of the pioneers in the field, namely P.D. Barthwal and
Hazariprasad Dvivedi.

46
UNIT: III

X: The "Regions" in Indian History, circa 1200-1550

[a] Historiographical Issues

• Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi. 1997. Reflections on the Concept of


Regional History: Kameshwar Singh Memorial Lecture, 1997.
Darbhanga: Maharajadhiraja Kameshwar Singh Kalyani Foundation.

This is a good elementary introduction in the problems of


conceptualising different types of ‘region’ and writing their history. It
helps situate the problem as worth academic consideration and departs
from the convention of taking a ‘region’ as given.

• Pollock, Sheldon. 1995. Literary History, Region, and Nation in South


Asia: Introductory Note. Social Scientist, 23, 10-12: 1-7.

In this short but useful introduction, Pollock relates historical


constitution of a region to the emergence of its own language and
literature. He also related it to the idea of a ‘regional community’,
aesthetic choices and political patronage.

• Stein, Burton. 1980. South India: The Region. In Peasant, State and
Society in Medieval South India, by Burton Stein, 30-62. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press. Paperback edition, 1994.

Stein discussed the processes of emergence of South India as a ‘region’


and the problems historians need to watch out for therein.

• Chattopadhyaya, B.D. 1983. Political Processes and the Structure of


Polity in Early Medieval India: Problems of Perspective. Presidential
Address, Ancient India Section, Indian History Congress, 44th Session.
This is also reproduced in The State in India, 1000-1700, ed., H.Kulke,
195-232. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Paperback edition, 1997.

In this famously dense and complex paper, Chattopadhyaya also


reflected on the question of ‘region’ and the need first to examine the
processes whereby a region comes into being before one ventured into
regional history. He also pointed to the questionable tendency to resort
to regional history only when there is no imperium in sight.

• Gokahle-Turner, Jayshree. 1980. Region and Regionalism in the Study


of Indian Politics: The Case of Maharashtra. In Images of
Maharashtra: A Regional Profile of India, ed. N.K. Wagle. London:
Curzon Press.

47
The author studies the emergence of Maharashtra as a region and its
varied trajectories in history.

• Schwartzberg, Joseph. 1977. The Evolution of Regional Power


Configurations in the Indian Subcontinent. In Realm and Region in
Traditional India, ed. Richard G. Fox. Durham: Duke University
Press.

Schwartzberg was probably one of the first persons to reflect on the


complexity of the idea of ‘region’ in Indian history though regional
histories were written in India since much before.

[b] Evidence: Regional Chroniles; bardic narratives; sufi and bhakti


texts; travelogues.

• Digby, Simon. 1994. Anecdotes of a Provincial Sufi of the Delhi


Sultanate, Khwaja Gurg of Kara. Iran, 32: 99-109.

This is a study of the anecdotes about a ‘provincial’ Sufi saint, Khwaja


Gurg. Digby notes how Kara (in the present day Uttar Pradesh) and its
own maverick Sufi saint are central to the lives of people in the small
township wherein even the developments in Delhi are seen to flow
from the wishes of this provincial mystic.

• Fuer-Haimendorf, C. Von. 1961. The Historical Value of Indian Bardic


Literature. In Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, ed. C.H.
Philips. London: Oxford University Press.

A study of the bardic literature chiefly from medieval Rajasthan that


seeks to elaborate on how these eulogistic texts could be used by
historians.

• Lordrick, Deryck O. 2001. Rajasthan as a Region: Myth or Reality. In


The Idea of Rajasthan: Explorations in Regional Identity, ed. Karine
Schomer, Joan L. Erdman, Deryck O. Lordrick and Lloyd I. Rudolph.
New Delhi: Manohar.

The author discusses the historical constitution of Rajasthan as a


geopolitical and cultural unit. The essay is also useful as a general
reflection on the issue of region and regionalism, and hence is useful
for the topic X (a) as well.

• Ziegler, Norman. 1976. Marvari Historical Chronicles: Sources for the


Cultural History of Rajasthan. Indian Economic and Social History
Review, 13: 219-50.

48
Although this essay deals mostly with the period after 15th century, it is
still useful as an attempt to understand literary genres peculiar to
Rajasthan, such bat, khyat, etc. as historical sources.

• Eaton, Richard M. 1984. The Political and Religious Authority of the


Shrine of Baba Farid. In Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of
Adab in South Asian Islam, ed. Barbara Metcalf, 333-56. California:
Berkeley University Press. Also reprinted in Essays on Islam and
Indian History, by Richard M. Eaton, 203-24. New Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 2000.

The essay traces how Baba Farid’s shrine at Ajudhan in the Punjab
emerged as an institution that made a transcendental religion
meaningful to the local Islamic community both in theory and in
practice.

XI. Regional Societies and Political Formations – Continuity and


Change:

[a] Local Societies; Clan Solidarities, Confederations and “Rajput”

• Kapur, Nandini Sinha. 2002. State Formation in Rajasthan: Mewar


during the Seventh-Fifteenth Centuries. Delhi: Manohar.

Kapur traces the historical rise of a Mewar clan from being ordinary
chieftains to sovereign monarchs. Rich in empirical details, the study
helps understand the varied trajectories of state formation and the
making of clan solidarities in Rajasthan.

• Eaton, Richard M. 2002. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier
1204-1760. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Though this is a study of how eastern Bengal came into contact with
Islam and eventually adopted that religion, it may also be read as how
a local society is ‘constituted’ through its creative dialogical
interaction with a fully grown religious system.

• Talbot, Cynthia. 2001. Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region


and Identity in Medieval Andhra. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

This is another study that looks at the processes whereby a local


society comes to acquire a regional identity through varied cultural and
political encounters with multiple ‘others’.

49
• Kolff, Dirk H.A. 1990. Naukar, Rajput and Sepoy: The Ethnohistory
of the Military Labour Market in Hindustan, 1450-1850. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Kolff’s study of purabia Rajputs (eastern Rajputs) examines the social


processes whereby an occupational group (soldiery) evolves into a
status group and eventually constitutes itself as a caste (Rajput). The
book is useful for understanding the dynamics of a local peasant
society but it is equally relevant as a study of relationship between
warfare and society (topic XI-c, below).

• Khan, I.A. 1999. Re-examining the Origin and Group Identity of the
so-called Purbias, 1500-1800”, PIHC, 60, (1999), pp. 363-371.

This article may be read as a critical reflection on the question of the


Purabia Rajput that Kolff examined in a slightly different context (see
above, Kolff: 1990).

[b] Vijayanagar: City, Kingdom, Super-regional Power; nayaks,


amaram

• Karashima, Noboru. 2006. Nayakkattanam and Sirmai in the


Vijayanagar Inscriptions in Tamilnadu. In Recent Advances in
Vijayanagar Studies, ed. P. Shanmugam and Srinivasan. Chennai: New
Era Publication.

This is a close examination of inscriptions of Vijayanagar with a view


to throw light on the institution of nayaks and amaranayaks, an issue
that has become quite controversial in recent historiography.

• Karashima, Noboru. 2002. A Concordance of Nayakas: The


Vijayanagar Inscriptions in South India. Delhi: Oxford University
Press.

The book is divided into two parts: Studies and Concordance, with the
latter listing the inscriptions. The first two chapters (Importance of
Nayaka Studies and Their Development: A Critique of Burton Stein, 9-
28; and Nayaka Rule in North Arcot and South Arcot Districts:
Nayakas as Feudal Lords, 29-55) in the first part are of direct relevance
for the theme under study.

• Mahalingam, T.V. 1940. Administration and Social Life under


Vijayanagar. Madras: University of Madras. Reprint, 1975.

This is a conventional administrative history of the Vijayanagar state.


Though now dated it is useful for certain basic pieces of information
that later historians in their work assume to be understood, unless of
course they are challenging such information.

50
• Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. 1955. A History of South India from Pre-
historic Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar. Madras: Oxford University
Press.

Probably the most influential of early historians of Vijayanagar,


Nilakanta Sastri’s conclusion held sway for a long time. The book is
written in a general textbook format and is a useful entry point into the
topic since most of the later works trace their historiographic journey
by referring the Sastri’s work.

• Sewell, Robert. 1900. A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar): A


Contribution to the History of India. London: Swan Sonnenschein and
Co. Ltd.

As the first historian to have ‘discovered’ Vijayanagar Empire and


undertaken a full-length study, Sewell’s work has acquired the status
of a classic. As such it carries all the charms and lapses of a classic
work!

• Stein, Burton. 1980. Chapter VIII: The Vijayanagara State and Society.
In Peasant, State and Society in Medieval South India, by Burton
Stein, 366-488. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Paperback
edition, 1994.

This long chapter in Stein’s pioneering book was his first major
attempt to make a paradigmatic departure on the study of Vijayanagar.
Arguably the most influential of all historians on medieval South India,
his study of Vijayanagar as another version of segmentary state has
also become controversial.

• Stein, Burton. 1993. Chapter 3: The City and the Kingdom. In The
New Cambridge History of India: Vijayanagar, by Burton Stein, 31-
71. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. South Asian edition. New
Delhi: Foundation Books, 1994. Reprint, 1999.

Though the whole book is relevant, the chapter specified seeks to


elaborate on the place of the Vijayanagar city in the larger scheme of
the kingdom. The chapter chiefly explores the city’s architectural lay
out and certain public rituals conducted therein that microcosmically
represented and sanctified the ideological regime.

• Wagoner, Phillip B. 1996. Sultan among Hindu Kings: Dress, Titles,


and the Islamicization of Hindu Culture at Vijayanagara. Journal of
Asian Studies, 55, no. 4: 851-80. A new approach to the sultanate
aspects of life at the capital.

51
In this fascinating study of Vijayanagar rulers’ ceremonial wardrobe
and titles, Wagoner examines the state’s selective appropriation of
certain cultural practices associated with the Islamic world.

• Sinopoli, Carla M. 2000. From the Lion Throne: Political and Social
Dynamics of the Vijayanagar Empire. Journal of the Economic and
Social History of the Orient, 43, no. 3: 364-98.

[c] Warfare and Society

• Gommans, Jos J.L. and Dirk H.A. Kolff, ed. 2001. Warfare and
Weaponry in South Asia, 1000-1800. New Delhi: Oxford University
Press.

Though some articles in this collection deal with military technology,


the first two sections, viz. ‘Conquest and Society’ and ‘Military
Labour Market’ explore the relationship between warfare and society.

• Kolff, Dirk H.A. 1990. Naukar, Rajput and Sepoy: The Ethnohistory
of the Military Labour Market in Hindustan, 1450-1850. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

(See above for comments)

• Khan, Iqtidar A. 2004. Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in


Medieval India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Again, this book primarily deal with a history of firearms, it does offer
useful insights on varied aspects of warfare including its dialogical
relationship with changing contours of society.

• Khan, Iqtidar A. 1997. The Indian Response to Firearms (1300-1750).


Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Banglore, Presidential
Address, 59th Session. A revised version of the article is published in
Gunpowder, Explosives and the State: A Technological History, ed.
Brenda J. Buchanan, 51-66. Aldershot: Ashgate Publications Ltd.,
2006.

Another essay that looks at the ‘Indian’ brush with firearms in the long
duration and seeks to explore its implications for political formations
and to some extent the subject population.

XII. Society and Economy:

[a] Expansion of Agrarian Structures, Social Stratification and the


Vijayanagar Empire

52
• Morrison, Kathleen B. 2000. Fields of Victory: Vijayanagara and the
Course of Intensification. Reprint. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

This is an analysis of the development of agriculture in the region


based on an archaeological survey of the capital’s hinterland. Although
the whole book is interesting, chapter one (Agricultural
Intensification), two (Agricultural Production in the Vijayanagar
Region), and three (Vijayanagar Agriculture in Context) are
particularly relevant for the topic under consideration.

• Stein, Burton. 1993. Chapter 4: Political Economy and Society: the


sixteenth century. In The New Cambridge History of India:
Vijayanagar, by Burton Stein, 72-108. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. South Asian edition. New Delhi: Foundation Books,
1994. Reprint, 1999.

This is a seminal work wherein the specified chapter deals specifically


with the relationship between state and society under the Vijayanagar
state within the familiar paradigm of ‘segmentary state’.

• Karashima, Noboru. 1992. Towards a New Formation: South Indian


Society under Vijayanagar Rule. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Notwithstanding the subtitle, ‘Society under Vijayanagar’, this is


primarily a work on Vijayanagar state. Yet, it does offer insights on the
state’s attempt to relate to the complex society it sought to rule. It is
based on Karashima’s pioneering effort to classify a large number of
Vijayanagar inscriptions across time and space.

• Verghese, Anila. 1995. Religious Traditions at Vijayanagar: As


Revealed Through Its Monuments. New Delhi: Manohar.

This book provides an analysis of the history of religious beliefs and


practices during Vijayanagar period. Makes for interesting comparison
with Wagonar’s work (see above, Wagoner: 1996).

[b] Peasants, Pastoral and Tribal Communities: the Deccan and


Rajasthan

• Sinha, Surjit. 1962. State Formation and Rajput Myth in Tribal Central
India. Presidential Address: Section of Anthropology and
Archaeology. Forty-Ninth Indian Science Congress, Cuttack. Man in
India, 42: 35-80. Reprinted in The State in India 1000-1700, ed.
Hermann Kulke, 304-342. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Paperback edition, 1997.

53
This is a rare work on state formation in Tribal India during medieval
period. This work can be related to some of the arguments made by
B.D. Chattopadhyaya in his famous work on ‘Political Processes’ (see
Unit I above, Chattopadhyaya: 1983)

• Ziegler, Norman. 2001. Evolution of the Rathore State of Marwar:


Horses, Structural Change and Warfare. In The Idea of Rajasthan:
Explorations in Regional Identity, ed. K. Schomer, J.L. Erdman, D.O.
Lordrick and L.I. Rudolph. New Delhi: Manohar.

This is another work by a major historian of medieval Rajasthan that


explores processes of state formation in Marwar in relation, among
other things, with military practices. Also useful for the topic, ‘Warfare
and Society’ (see above).

• Stern, Henri. 1977. Power in Traditional India: Territory, Caste and


Kinship in Rajasthan. In Realm and Region in Traditional India, ed.
Richard G. Fox, 52-78. Durham, Duke University Press.

The essay throws light on the significance of caste and kinship in


territorial organization of authority in medieval Rajasthan.

• Eaton, Richard M. 2007. The Articulation of Islamic Space in the


Medieval Deccan. In Cultural History of Medieval India, ed.
Meenakshi Khanna. Delhi: Social Science Press.

Eaton discusses how medieval deccan came to terms with Islam


especially with regard to ‘places’ and people.

[c] Trade and Urbanisation with Special Reference to South India

• Stein, Burton. 1977. Circulation and the Historical Geography of


Tamil Country. Journal of Asian Studies, 27, no. 2. Also reproduced in
All the King’s Mana: Paper on Medieval South Indian History by
Burton Stein, 249-281. Madras: New Era, 1984.

This unusual essay by Stein is one of the earliest attempts to write the
history of ‘circulation’ of men and means in south India. The piece
offers interesting insight on trading practices and urban processes from
the interesting vantage point of a study of ‘circulation’.

• Shanmugam, P. 2006. Centres of Production and Market System in


Tamil Country. In Recent Advances in Vijayanagar Studies, ed. P.
Shanmugam and Srinivasan. Chennai: New Era Publication.

54
Shanmugam focuses exclusively on centres of production and
networks of exchange in Tamil region during the period of Vijayanagar
rule.

• Sinopoli, Carla M. and Kathleen D. Morrison. 2006. Land Use and


Settlement in the Vijayanagar Metropolitan Region: Results of the
Vijayanagar Metropolitan Survey. In Recent Advances in Vijayanagar
Studies, ed. P. Shanmugam and Srinivasan. Chennai: New Era
Publications.

[d] Indian Ocean Trade

• McPherson, Kenneth. 1993. The Indian Ocean. New Delhi: Oxford


University Press. The book was also reproduced in the compendium
volume Maritime India, ed. Sanjay Subrahmanyam. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press, 2004.

This book provides a very good overview of the Indian Ocean in the
centuries before c. 1500 C.E. The first three chapters outline the
regional variations with regard to markets, shipping technology and
trading communities. The second chapter provides an account of the
character of trade across the Indian Ocean. It highlights the activities of
south Asian merchants, the spread of Islam and the impact of Chinese
on the Indian Ocean. The third chapter gives as account of the impact
of the Portuguese on the existing networks of trade across the Indian
Ocean.

• Subrahmanyam, Sanjay. 1986. The Political Economy of Commerce:


Southern India, 1500-1650. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is an important reading because it shows the continuities in


commercial networks along the coast and the hinterland through the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that are crucial in understanding
the history of the European presence in the Indian Ocean and its impact
on south Asia from the sixteenth century onwards.

• Das Gupta, Ashin and M.N. Pearson. ed. 1987. India and the Indian
Ocean, 1500-1800. Calcutta: Oxford University Press.

This is an interesting collection of essays. Particularly relevant are the


third chapter (by Genevieve Bouchon and Denys Lombard) and the
fourth chapter (by M.N. Pearson). The former entitled ‘the Indian
Ocean in the Fifteenth Century’ is a systematic study of regions that
provides a brief overview of trading networks across the Indian Ocean.
Pearson’s piece provides an insight into the politics of trade in the
sixteenth century focussing on the impact of the Portuguese ‘estado’ in
Indian Ocean.

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• Digby, Simon. 1982. The Maritime Trade of India. In The Cambridge
Economic History of India c. 1200-c. 1750, Vol. I, ed. Tapan
Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. Indian Reprint. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1984 and 1991.

XIII. Religion, Society, Culture

[a] Religious Cults and Regional Identities: (i) Vaishnavite Movement in Eastern
India; (ii) Jagannath Cult in Orissa; (iii) Warkari Movement and Cult of Vithoba
in Maharashtra.

• Kulke, Hermann. 1993. Jagannath under Muslim Rule. In Kings and


Cults: State Formation and Legitimation in India and Southeast Asia,
by Hermann Kulke, 33-50. New Delhi: Manohar.

Though the so-called Muslim rule started in Orissa only in 1568 (i.e.
outside the period of our syllabus) this essay is useful as a secular
history of the complex relations the famous temple came to have with
the ‘Muslim’ regime.

• Kulke, Hermann. 2002. Jagannath Revisited: Studying Society,


Religion and the State in Orissa. New Delhi: Manohar.

This book has a large number of useful essays that explores various
facets of the history of Jagannath cult and temple.

• Vaudeville, Charlotte. 1999. Pandharpur: City of Saints. In Myths,


Saints and Legends in Medieval India, by Charlotte Vaudeville. New
Delhi: Oxford University Press.

The essay explores the history of the sacred pilgrimage site of


Pandharpur by analysing interesting and contending mythologies that
invest it.

• Ramaswamy, Vijaya. 1997. Chapter 6: Women ‘in’, Women ‘Out’:


Women within the Warkari Panths. In Walking Naked: Women,
Society, Spirituality in South India. Shimla: Indian Institute of
Advanced Study.

This is an extremely interesting chapter in a very well researched book.


The chapter explores the changing status of women within the Warkari
panths during middle ages.

• Bhattacharyya, N.N. 1989. Medieval Bhakti Movements in India.


Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

56
This is a collection of essays on medieval bhakti that deals mostly with
bhakti movements in various parts of the subcontinent. The relevant
ones are: Vaisnavism in Medieval Orissa (by Prabhat Mukherjee, 232-
40); Sankaradeva and Assam Vaisnavism (by Satyendranath Sarma,
241-70); The Bhakti Movement of Assam in Historical Perspective (by
N.N. Acharya, 310-14).

[b] Patriarchy, Gender Relations and Women Bhaktas: Mahadevi


Yakka, Laldey, Mira

• Ramaswamy, Vijaya. 1997. Walking Naked: Women, Society,


Spirituality in South India. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

The book examines gender inequality and examines issues of women’s


sexuality and salvation as well as emergence of spirituality as a
powerful form of female self-expression. Although the whole book is
useful, of particular relevance are Chaper 4 (Bride, Demoness, Other:
Women in the Early Devotional Movements in South India), Chapter 5
(Rebels-Housewives: Women in Virsaivism) and the epilogue.

• Sangari, Kumkum. 1990. Mirabai and the Spiritual Economy of


Bhakti. Economic and Political Weekly, 25, no. 27: 1464-1475.

This is a short and complex essay that looks at the ‘structures’ of Mira
bhakti in terms of its familiar and familial tropes and the limitations
that these might have put on the radical potential of her bhakti.

• Martin, Nancy. 1996. Mirabai: Inscribed Text, Embodied in Life. In


Vaisnavi: Women and the Worship of Krishna, ed. Steve Rosen. Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. (Originally published in the Journal of
Vaisnava Studies, Fall 1995.)

The essay takes a close look at the relationship between Mira’s


compositions and her life.

• Harlan, Lindsey. 1992. Religion and Rajput Women: The Ethics of


Protection in Contemporary Narratives. University of California Press,
Berkeley.

This is a general work on the politics of patriarchal protection for


women within Rajput culture. It helps set up the broader theoretical
framework for understanding Mira’s historical context.

• Hawley, John Stratton. 1988. Mirabai. In Songs of the Saints of India,


ed. John Stratton Hawely and Mark Juergensmeyer. New York: Oxford
University Press.

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Hawley’s work helps us get an intimate glimpse of Mira’s
compositions.

• Harlan, Lindsey. 1995. Abandoning Shame: Mira on the Margins of


Marriage. In From the Margins of Hindu Marriage, ed. Lindsey Harlan
and Paul B. Courtright. New York: Oxford University Press.

This is another essay that explores the issue of shame and protection
for a woman who dared to challenge the institution of marriage.

• Kishwar, Madhu. ed. 1989. Manushi: Women Bhakta Poets. 10th


Anniversary Special Volume. 1989. nos. 50-52.

Though this special issue of Manushi contains frequent typographical


errors, it carries valuable accounts of the life and works of some
outstanding rebel women in Indian history during the period 6th to 17th
century. These include Mirabai, Antal, Lal Dey and Akka Mahadevi.

[c] Sufis and Local Societies

• Eaton, Richard M. 2000. Who are the Bengal Muslims? Conversion


and Islamization in Bengal. In Essays on Islam and Indian History by
Richard M. Eaton. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

This is an extremely important work on expansion of Islam in Bengal,


and the role of Sufis whose close interactions with local societies is
shown to be dialogical.

• Khan, Muhammad Ishaq. 2000. The Rishi Movement as a Social Force


in Medieval Kashmir. In The Making of Indo-Persian Culture: Indian
and French Studies, ed. Muzaffar Alam, Francoise ‘Nalini’ Delvoye,
129-47. New Delhi: Manohar. The article was reproduced in Religious
Movements in South Asia 600-1800, ed. David N. Lorenzen, 128-49.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004. Paperback edition, 2005.

The confessional legacies of the Rishi movement have been famously


ambivalent. Khan explores the role of the Rishis/Sufis at the local
level, both as specialists in spirituality as well as in ‘ordinary’ matters
of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ conduct.

• Digby, Simon. 1994. Anecdotes of a Provincial Sufi of the Delhi


Sultanate, Khwaja Gurg of Kara. Iran, 32: 99-109.

(see above for comments)

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• Eaton, R.M. 1978. Sufis of Bijapur: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval
India 1300-1700. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

This is probably one of the earliest and most sophisticated work on


how in medieval deccan, the Sufis’ came to play an important role for
a variety of constituencies of non-Muslims as well as Muslims.

• Jha, P.K. 2008. A Table Laden with Good Things: Reading a


Fourteenth Century Sufi Text. In Book History in India: Moveable
Type, ed. Abhijit Gupta & Swapan Chakravorty, 3-25. Ranikhet:
Permanent Black.

The article explores the way a 14th century Firdausi Sufi came to
occupy a position of both spiritual and secular authority among the
Muslims of Bihar. It does so by examining the complex process of the
apparently social production of a Sufi text.

[d] Consolidation of Regional Identities:

(i) Regional Art and Architectural Forms

• Merklinger, E.S. 2005. Sultanate Architecture of Pre-Mughal India.


Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

This is a general survey of not only architecture of Delhi Sultanate


under various dynasties but also for various ‘regional’ sultanates.
There are separate chapters on Bengal, Gujarat, Sind and the Punjab,
Malwa, Chanderi and Khandesh, Jaunpur, Decann under the
Bahamanids, Deccan under the successors of the Bahamanids as well
as Kashmir.

• Yazdani, Ghulam. 1929. Mandu: The City of Joy. Oxford: University


Press.

• Michell, George. 1995. Architecture and art of Southern India:


Vijayanagar and the Successor States. The New Cambridge History of
India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is by far the most comprehensive treatment of the monuments of


Vijayanagar empire, rich both in empirical details as well as in
perspectives on how to read them.

• Michell, George and Mark Zebrowski. 1999. Architecture and Art of


the Deccan Sultanates. The New Cambridge History of India.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is a useful reference for a history of art and architecture under the
deccan sultantes including the Bahamanid and its successor states.

59
• Hasan, Perween. 2001. Temple Niches and Mihrabs in Bengal. In
Architecture in Medieval India: Forms, Contexts, Histories, ed.
Monica Juneja, 439-47. Delhi: Permanent Black. First published in
Anna L. Dallapiccola and S. Z. Lallemant eds. Islam and Indian
Regions, 1993, vol. 1. 87-94.

(ii) Beginning of Regional Literature

• Majumdar, R.C. n.d. ed. History and Culture of the Indian People: The
Struggle for Empire. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Relevant part
is Chapter XV (‘Language and Literature’), 297-397.

Though largely descriptive, this long chapter on language and literature


helped collate some basic pieces of information on the development of
regional languages and literature. Its theoretical grid has since been
questioned but it is still useful for putting together so much relevant
information together.

• Sheldon Pollock, ed. 1995. Social Scientist (Special Issue), 23, Nos.
10-12.

This is a collection of very interesting research papers on the issue of


language and literature in what Pollock in his introduction calls the
‘Vernacular Millenium’. Particularly relevant are the essays by S.
Nagaraju, V. Narayan Rao and Pollock.

• Sharma, R.S. 2001. Transition from Ancient to Medieval. In Early


Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation, by R.S. Sharma,
16-44. Delhi: Orient Longman.

Although the essay is a general reflection on the question of transition


from ancient to medieval, Sharma considers the issue of the emergence
of regional languages and literature, predictably from the vantage point
of processes of feudalisation, through several pages. The relevant
pages in the above mentioned edition are 35-38.

• Pollock, Sheldon. 1998. India in the Vernacular Millenium: Literary


Culture and Polity, 1000-1500. In Early Modernities, ed. Shmuel
Eisenstadt, Wolfgang Schluchter and Bjorn Wittrock. Special issue of
Daedalus, 127, 3: 41-74.

In this seminal work, Pollock famously outlined his idea of the second
Christian millennium as a ‘vernacular millennium’ wherein languages
that did not travel very far came to acquire their own grammar and
literature across Asia and Europe.

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• Pollock, Sheldon. 2000. Cosmopolitan and Vernacular in History. In
Cosmopolitanism, ed. C. A. Breckenridge, et at, Special Issue of
Public Culture, 12, 3: 591-625.

The article investigates the complex inter-relationship between the


‘cosmopolitan’ languages (Sanskrit, Persian, etc.) and the vernaculars
(Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, etc.) during the medieval period.

• Pollock, Sheldon. 1998. The Cosmopolitan Vernacular. The Journal of


Asian Studies, 57, 1: 6-37.

This essay qualifies some of the arguments made by Pollock in his


Daedalus article cited above, especially by way of problematizing the
binary juxtaposition of cosmopolitan and vernacular.

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