The Feudal Order

State, Society and Ideology in Early Medieval India

D.N. Jha

Edited by D.N. Jha


Manohar Books, 2016

Language: English

538 pages

Price INR 795.00
Book Club Price INR 675.00
The book containing fifteen articles presents substantial new data to demonstrate the emergence of feudal social formation in early medieval India.
INR 795.00
In stock

Whether or not Indian society in the early medieval period was feudal has remained an important issue of animated debate in Indian historiography for nearly four decades. The hypothesis of Indian feudalism has been criticised by traditional as well as by 'radical' historians, though both categories of scholars often seem to share a neo-colonialist perception of early Indian society as static. This volume brings together a vast mass of empirical data which shows the fallacy of their arguments.

The book is divided into three parts, each devoted to an important aspect of the feudal phenomenon. The first part deals with the problem of transition from pre-feudal to feudal society and the second with the nature of state shaped largely by the growth of new classes as a result of agrarian changes, sluggish trade and the limited role of money in society. The third part explores the linkages between the socio-economic changes and the ideological trends noticeable in early medieval times. A collection of articles by eminent historians with an unquestionable grasp of the primary sources, the work underlines the heuristic value of the feudal construction for a meaningful understanding of historical processes at work in early medieval India. The editor's introduction convincingly refutes the arguments of the critics of the feudal model by drawing comparable material from European as well as Asian countries, and adds new dimension to the feudalism debate by relating it to developments in the field of religion, literature and art.

D.N. Jha

Dwijendra Narayan Jha (1940-2021), popularly known as D.N. Jha, was educated at the Presidency College, Calcutta, and Patna University where he taught history for more than a decade. He was professor of History at the University of Delhi until his retirement in 2005. He has authored several books including The Myth of the Holy Cow (London, 2002) and Rethinking Hindu Identity (London,2009) which have not gone well with India’s Right Wing establishment. Professor Jha was elected sectional President of Andhra Pradesh History Congress (1987) and General President, Punjab History Conference (1999). A UGC National lecturer (1984-5) and Honorary Research Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, he was secretary, Indian History Cogress (1986-9) which elected him its General President in 2005-6. A recipient of the prestigious H.K. Barpujari Award in 1995, he was honoured by the Asiatic Society of Calcutta in 2011 for his significant contributions. (2004).