Mauryan India

A People’s History of India Series 5


(First published in 2004)


x + 190 pages

9.5 x 6.25 inches

ISBN: 978-81-89487-83-6

Rs 260

(In association with Aligarh Historians Society)

All rights available

Irfan Habib & Vivekanand Jha

Mauryan India, as part of the People’s History of India series, covers the period from about 350 bc to about 185 bc, thereby encompassing the invasion of Alexander (327–325 bc) and the history of the Mauryan Empire (c.324–185 bc). There is a detailed account of the inscriptions of Ashoka and their significance. A picture of the economy, society and culture of the time follows, constructed out of the varied sources available, epigraphic, textual and archaeological. An effort is made throughout to keep the reader abreast of recent discoveries, and to share with him the reasons for all conclusions and inferences. There are special notes on Mauryan chronology, the date of theArthashastra, the science of epigraphy, and the dialects of Ashokan Prakrit. As many as fifteen excerpts from Indian and Greek sources, including ten full edicts of Ashoka, are provided. There are nine maps (five of them exceptionally detailed) and twenty illustrations (black-and-white).

The volume is addressed to both the general reader and the student, and attempts to cover all topics that conventional textbooks include besides much other material that a ‘people’s history’ needs to be concerned with, such as economic life, technology, social structure, gender relations, modes of exploitation, language, varied aspects of culture, etc. It is hoped that it will be considered a readable addition to what has so far been written on the Mauryan Empire.

Irfan Habib, formerly Professor of History, Aligarh Muslim University, is author of The Agrarian System of Mughal India 1556–1707 (1963, 2nd rev. edn, 1999), An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1982) and Essays in Indian History:Towards a Marxist Perception (1995). In the present series he has authored Prehistory (2001), The Indus Civilization (2002) and Indian Economy, 1858–1914 (2006), and been the co-author of The Vedic Age (2003). Tulika Books has published the following volumes edited by him: Confronting Colonialism: Resistance and Modernization under Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan (1999), State and Diplomacy under Tipu Sultan (2001) and A Shared Heritage: The Growth of Civilizations in India and Iran (2002).He has co-edited the Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. I (1982), and unesco’s History of Humanity, Vols IV and Vand History of Central Asia, Vol. V.

Vivekanand Jha, former Director, Indian Council of Historical Research, edited the Indian Historical Review (20 vols, 1974–94), making it India’s most substantive historical journal. He also edited Itihas (Hindi), Vols I–III (1992–94), and co-edited Indian Society: Historical Probings (1974), as well as the Journal of Studies on Ancient India (1998) of the World Association for Vedic Studies. One area of his scholarly interest has been the early history of the untouchables (the theme of his doctoral thesis, 1972), on which he has published several papers. He has also published studies of the Bhagavadgita. In 1990 he presided over the Ancient India section of the Indian History Congress.


…remarkable for its comprehensive coverage and competent handling of contentious issues on the basis of available epigraphic, textual and archaeological material, and the latest research.

– Social Scientist


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