About the Book :
Thisvolume of essays moves the historiography of ancient India in the service of ahistory of the present. The cultural onslaught of a brahmanical saffron culturewithin popular discourse, and the fight against entrenched class and casteinterests led by women, dalits and other marginalized groups, frame this battlefor ancient India. Through an in-depth analysis of myths and originalsources, the author provides novel grounds for contesting the foundations ofsuch charged concepts as nation, civilization and womanly honour. Readingagainst the grain of canonical sources, she presents a distinctive reading oflesser known Buddhist Pali texts, the Jataka stories,and contemporary texts like the TV serials Chanakya and Ramayana, todemonstrate the stratifications in early Indian society.The book brings tolight several crucial concepts and categories that make possible a sensitivedelineation of social alienation, class antagonism and gendered violence inancient Indian society. The everyday histories of dasas,karmakaras, agrihinis, bhaktins and gahapatis providean understanding of ancient India away from the clichinvocations of idealkings, brahmanas and pativratas.
About the Author :
Uma Chakravarti taught history at Miranda HouseCollege, University of Delhi. Her publications include Delhi Riots: Three Days in the Life of aNation (joint editor, 1987), TheSocial Dimensions of Early Buddhism (1987), Rewriting History: The Life and Times ofPandita Ramabai (1998), FromMyths to Markets: Essays on Gender (joint editor,1999) and Gendering Caste: Through aFeminist Lens (2003).