The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300 – Romila Thapar

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Winner of the Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement 2008

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he Penguin History of Early India–a complete rewrite of Romila Thapar’s A History of India (Vol. 1)–brings to life thousands of years of India’s precolonial history: its prehistoric beginnings; the great cities of the Indus civilization; the emergence of mighty dynasties such as the Mauryas, Guptas and Cholas; the teachings of the Buddha; the creation of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana; and the evolution of regional cultures.

In exploring subjects as diverse as marriage, class, art, erotica and astronomy, Thapar provides an incomparably vivid and nuanced picture of India, creating a rich mosaic of diverse kingdoms, landscapes, languages and beliefs. As she explains how the interpretations of early Indian history have changed in the last half-century, Thapar offers fresh readings and raises new questions.

About the Author

Romila Thapar is Emeritus Professor of History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has been General President of the Indian History Congress. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and holds an Hon D.Lit. each from Calcutta University, Oxford University and the University of Chicago. She is an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and SOAS, London. In 2008 Professor Thapar was awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize of the US Library of Congress, which honours lifetime achievement in studies such as history that are not covered by the Nobel Prize.

Her other publications include Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social HistoryHistory and Beyond, Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History, Sakuntala, Cultural Pasts, The Past as PresentIndian Cultures as HeritageGazing Eastwards: Of Buddhist Monks and Revolutionaries in China as well as a children’s book, Indian Tales.


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