A People’s History of India Series 4

The Age of Iron and the Religious Revolution c.700 – c.350

Krishna Mohan Shrimali


First published in 2007


xiv +162 pages

9.5 x 6.25 inches

ISBN: 978-81-89487-87-4

Rs 230

This monograph deals with a very important phase of Indian history, spanning c. 700 and c. 350 BC. During the period iron technology diffused, transforming and multiplying tools; cities arose and commerce spread; the caste system assumed practically all its essential features; powerful states were formed, with armies and bureaucracies; and, finally, Jainism and Buddhism brought about a veritable Religious Revolution. All this is described in four chapters with clarity and precision, but with no attempt to conceal points of controversy. Special notes are furnished on punch-marked coinage, the Northern Black Polished Ware, problems of chronology, and the arrival of writing. Nine extracts from source give the reader a taste of the textual sources. There are twelve illustrations and seven maps, and a chronological table at the end. Each chapter is provided with a bibliographical note, indicating sources and suggesting further reading.

Krishna Mohan Shrimali (b. 1947), Professor of History at the University of Delhi, is the author of A History of Pañcala, 2 vols (1983, 1985); Agrarian Structure in Central India and the Northern Deccan: A Study in Vakataka Inscriptions (1987); and Dharma, Samaj aur Sanskriti (2005). He has edited Indian Archaeology since Independence (1996) and Reason and Archaeology (1998). He has published widely in academic journals, on ancient Indian history and archaeology. He is currently working on a projected Dictionary of Social, Economic and Administrative Terms in Indian Inscriptions. He presided over the Ancient Indian History Section of the Indian History Congress in 1988, and was the Secretary, Indian History Congress, 1992–95.


Professor Shrimali …has written a commendable account of a period marked by an intellectual ferment and which had profound implications in the centuries that followed.

-The Book Review

The extracts from primary sources, problems of chronology of this period and on the arrival of writing, bibliographical notes along with the maps and illustrations as well as the explanatory sections on the Pali and brahamical texts will also be useful for students, for whom this book has been written.

– Supriya Verma, The Book Review


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