गुरुवार, 23 सितंबर 2010

Ram Sharan Sharma

Ram Sharan Sharma is Professor Emeritus of History at Patna University. He has earlier taught at Delhi (1973-85) and Toronto Universities He belongs to Barauni flag village of Begusarai district of Bihar.Ram Sharan Sharma (born 1919) is Emeritus Professor, Department of History, Patna University and a historian of Ancient India. He has taught at Delhi (1973-85) and Toronto Universities.It was during the tenure of Professor R.S. Sharma as the Delhi University Dean of History Department in the 1970s that major expansion of the Department took place. The creation of most of the positions in the Department owes to Professor Sharma's efforts. He was the first (founding) Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). The Indian History Congress gave him the V.K.Rajwade Award for his life-long service and contribution to Indian history. Prof. Dwijendra Narayan Jha published a book in his honour in 1996 titled "Society and Ideology in India: ed. Essays in Honour of Professor R.S. Sharma" (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1996) His books include Sudras in Ancient India, Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, Ancient India, Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India, Material Culture and Social Formations in in Ancient India, Indian Feudalism, Urban Decay in India and Advent of the Aryans in India. Early Indian Medieval Society is his latest work. Sharma's publications appear in fifteen languages, Indian and foreign.

Major Works

Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India

Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India (Motilal Banarsidass, Fifth Revised Edition, Delhi, 2005) It discusses different views on the origin and the nature of the state in Ancient India. It also deals with stages and processes of state formation and examines the relevance of caste and kin-based collectivities to the construction of polity. The Vedic assemblies are studied in some detail, and developments in political organization are presented in relation to their changing social and economic background. The book also shows how religion and rituals were brought in the service of the ruling class. Extracts from reviews "This is a most useful handbook, as well as a most original and meticulous piece of research, on the political theories of ancient Indians and on some of the main political institutions." A.K.Warder, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. "...competently surveys many interesting aspects of the political thought and practice of Ancient India on fresh and sometimes strikingly original lines. The author has a thorough grasp of the relevant sources and uses them with telling effect." K.A.Nilakantha Shastri, Journal of Indian History "The revised edition...is clear in exposition,up-to-date in method, and displays remarkable power in handling masses of material. It is by far the best summary of the present state of our knowledge of ancient Indian thought and institutions which is now available; ... This is a first rate book, which is as interesting as it is scholarly." Times Literary Supplement "This work is well researched and documented, and is especially useful in terms of the historical development of ancient Indian politics. Dr. Sharma's book has a better balance between theory and practice than most books on the subject. There can be no question, however, that this is one of the major pulications in the field which no serious student of ancient Indian politics can ignore." J.W.Spellman, University of Windsor

India's Ancient Past

India's Ancient Past (Oxford University Press, 2005) In this engaging narrative the author provides a comprehensive and accessible account of the history of early India. Beginning with a discussion on frameworks of the writing of history the book sheds light on the origins and growth of civilizations, empires, and religions. It covers the geographical, ecological, and linguistic backgrounds, and looks at specific cultures of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Vedic periods, as well as at the Harappan civilization. The author discusses the rise of Jainism and Buddhism, Magadha and the beginning of territorial states. The period of Mauryas, Central Asian countries, Satvahanas, Guptas, and Harshavardhana are also analyzed. He highlights important phenomena such as the varna system, urbanization, commerce and trade, developments in science and philosophy, and cultural legacy. He also examines the process of transition from Ancient to Medieval India and addresses topical issues such as the origin of the Aryan culture.

Sudras in Ancient India

Sudras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A D 600 (Motilal Banarsidass, Third Revised Edition, Delhi, 1990; Reprint, Delhi, 2002) Prof. Sharma's preface(part) to the first edition- "I took up the study of this subject about ten years ago, but the pressing duties of an Indian university teacher and lack of proper library facilities prevented me from making any appreciable progress. The major part of the work was done in two academic sessions (1954-56) at the School of Oriental and African Studies, made possible by the generous grant of study leave by the Patna University. This book, therefore, substantially represents my thesis approved for the degree of Ph.D. at the University of London in 1956." Extracts from Reviews "This is an outstanding piece of research and an authentic history of Sudras in ancient India. Professor Sharma has made use of all published sources, literary as well as archaeological, bearing on the social and economic position of Sudras. It gives a lucid and comprehensive account of all aspects of the anguished career of Sudra community. L.M.Joshi, Journal of Religious Studies, Vol 10, No. I & II, 1982.

Political controversies

His 1977 'Ancient India' was banned by the Janata Party government in 1978, among other things for its criticism of the historicity of Krishna and the events of the Mahabharata epic, reporting the mainstream position that

    "Although Krishna plays an important role in the Mahabharata, inscriptions and sculptural pieces found in Mathura dating back to 200 BC and 300 AD do not attest to his presence. Because of this, ideas of an epic age based on the Ramayana and Mahabharata have to be discarded."

He has supported the controversial addition of the Ayodhya dispute and the 2002 Gujarat riots to school syllabus calling them 'socially relevant topics'.[1] Sharma's opponents allege that he is of a "Marxist" persuasion.[2]


Andre Wink, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison in Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World (Vol. I) criticizes Sharma for drawing too close parallels between European and Indian feudalism. But in the revised edition of Prof. Sharma's work the criticisms have been proved to be biased and frivolous. Prof. Sharma's work on Indian Feudalism has stood the test of times and has remained as the most authentic and acceptable account of the same.


    * Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, (Motilal Banarsidass, Fifth Revised Edition, Delhi, 2005), ISBN 8120808983.
    * Sudras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A D 600(Motilal Banarsidass, Third Revised Edition, Delhi, 1990; Reprint, Delhi, 2002).
    * Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India, paperback edn., (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 2003).
    * Material Culture and Social Formations in in Ancient India,(Macmillan Publishers, Delhi, 1985)
    * Urban Decay in India (c.300-1000), (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1987)
    * Advent of the Aryans in India
    * Early Indian Medieval Society
    * Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India, ISBN 8121506727
    * Higher Education, ISBN 8171693202.
    * Looking for the Aryans,(Orient Longman, Madras, 1995, ISBN 8125006311).
    * India's Ancient Past, (Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0195687859).
    * Indian Feudalism, (Macmillan Publishers India).
    * Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya, People's Publishing House (PPH), 2nd Revised Edition, September, 1999, Delhi.
    * Social Changes in Early Medieval India (Circa A.D.500-1200), People's Publishing House, Delhi.
    * In Defence of "Ancient India", People's Publishing House, Delhi.

Edited Works

    * Indian Society: Historical Probings (In Memory of D.D.Kosambi); Sponsored by Indian Council Of Historical Research; Fourth Edition:December, 1993; People's Publishing House (PPH)

See also

    * NCERT controversy


    * http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1815/18150930.htm

Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India (Motilal BanarsidassISBN 8120808983), 

Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India (ISBN 8121506727), 

Urban Decay in India c. 300-c. 1000 (ISBN 8121500451), 

Sudras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A D 600 (ISBN 8120808738), 

Higher Education (ISBN 8171693202), 

Looking for the Aryans (ISBN 8125006311), 

'Indian Feudalism' and many other scholastic works.

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