The Idea of Ancient India: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Archaeology

The Idea of Ancient India: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Archaeology

By: Upinder Singh (author)Hardback

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A major contribution towards the different perspectives and issues central to understanding ancient India This book engages with some of the most important issues, debates, and methodologies in the writing of ancient Indian history. Thematically structured, the first section discusses religious and regional processes through a meticulous analysis of inscriptions and material remains. The second-based extensively on archival sources-connects ancient and modern India through a discussion of the beginnings of Indian archaeology and the discovery, interpretation, and reinvention of ancient sites in colonial and post-colonial times. The third underlines the importance of reconstructing the intellectual landscape of ancient India through a sensitive, yet, critical historicization of political ideas in texts and inscriptions. The final section makes a strong case for situating ancient India within a broader, Asian, frame.

About Author

Upinder Singh is Professor and Head of the Department of History, University of Delhi. After studying in St Stephen's College and the University of Delhi, she obtained her PhD from McGill University, Montreal. She taught in St Stephen's College from 1981 to 2004. She has been a recipient of the Netherlands Government Reciprocal Fellowship (1985-1986), Ancient India and Iran Trust/Wallace India Visiting Fellowship (2009), Daniel Ingalls Fellowship at the Harvard-Yenching Institute (2005), and Erasmus Mundus Fellowship at the University of Leuven (2010). In 2009, she was awarded the Infosys Prize in Social Sciences-History by the Infosys Science Foundation. She is the author of Kings, Bramhman. as, and Temples in Orissa: An Epigraphic Study (AD 300-1147) (1994); Ancient Delhi (1999); The Discovery of Ancient India: Early Archaeologists and the Beginnings of Archaeology (2004); and A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the Twelfth Century (2008). She has edited Delhi: Ancient History (2006); Ancient India: New Research (co-edited with Nayanjot Lahiri, 2009); Rethinking Early Medieval India (2011); Asian Encounters: Exploring Connected Histories (co-edited with Parul Pandya Dhar, 2014); and Buddhism in Asia: Revival and Reinvention (co-edited with Nayanjot Lahiri, 2016). She has also written a book for children, Mysteries of the Past: Archaeological Sites in India (2002). Her current research interests include ancient Indian political ideas and the connections between South and Southeast Asia.


Introduction I. Religion and Region Sanchi: The History of the Patronage of an Ancient Buddhist Establishment Nagarjunakonda: Buddhism in the `City of Victory' Cults and Shrines in Early Historical Mathura (c. 200 BC to AD 200) Early Medieval Orissa: The Data and the Debate II. Archaeologists and the Modern Histories of Ancient Sites Archaeologists and Architectural Scholars in 19th-Century India Amaravati: The Dismembering of the Mahacaitya (1797-1886) Buddhism, Archaeology, and the Nation: Nagarjunakonda (1926-2006) Exile and Return: The Reinvention of Buddhism and Buddhist Sites in Modern India III. The Intersection of Political Ideas and Practice Governing the State and the Self: Political Philosophy and Practice in the Edicts of Asoka Politics, Violence, and War in Kamandaka's Nitisara The Power of a Poet: Kingship, Empire, and War in Kalidasa's Raghuva?sa IV. Looking beyond India to Asia Gifts from Other Lands: Southeast Asian Religious Endowments in India Politics, Piety, and Patronage: The Burmese Engagement with Bodhgaya Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9789351506461
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 484
  • ID: 9789351506461
  • weight: 650
  • ISBN10: 9351506460

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