Ideas About Agrarian History
Understandings of the agrarian past have been most heavily imprinted with ideas that developed in policy debates and in the disciplines of political economy, whose histories have been well studied. For the Company period, the most useful monographs are S.Ambirajan, Classical Political Economy and British Policy in India (Cambridge: 1968), Ranajit Guha, A Rule of Property for Bengal (Paris: 1963), Burton Stein, Thomas Munro: The Origins of the Colonial State and His Vision of Empire (Delhi: 1989), and Eric Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford: 1959). On the later Raj, see V.C. Bhutani, The Apotheosis of Imperialism: Indian Land Economy Under Curzon (New Delhi: 1976), Sunil Kumar Sen, Studies in economic policy and development of India, 1848-1939 (Calcutta: 1972), and especially B.R.Tomlinson, The Political Economy of the Raj, 1914-1947: The Economics of Decolonization (New York: 1979). On nationalist thought, the foundational work is Bipan Chandra, The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism in India: Economic Policies of the Indian National Leadership, 1880-1905 (New Delhi: 1966), now supplemented Bipan Chandra’s editing of M.G.Ranade, Ranade's economic writings (New Delhi: 1990). For the evolution of post-1950s official thought, see A.M. Zaidi and S.G.Zaidi, The Foundations of Indian Economic Planning (New Delhi: 1979) and A. Moin Zaidi, editor, A Tryst With Destiny: A Study of Economic Policy Resolutions of the INC Passeed During the Last 100 Years (New Delhi: 1985). At least a dozen history books have “Indian economic thought” in the title and explore Indian (or loosely South Asian) economic ideas: good insights into agrarian issues appear in Joseph Spengler, Indian economic thought, a preface to its history (Durham: 1971) and Ajit K. Dasgupta, A History of Indian Economic Thought (London: 1993). The intellectual history of political economy in South Asia also includes social and cultural thought that is not covered in histories of economics. Radhakamal Mukerjee, for example, is typically assigned to sociology though his degree was in economics and he served as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology at Lucknow Unviversity for thirty-one years. See R.M.Loomba and G.R.Madan, Society and Culture (In honour of Late Dr.Radhakamal Mukerjee (Ahmedabad: 1987). His cultural approach has many variants and offshoots. Kusum Nair is perhaps the most consistently cultural theorist of agrarian political economy in the age of the green revolution: see Blossoms in the Dust (London: 1961), The Lonely Furrow (Delhi: 1969), In Defense of the Irrational Peasant: Indian Agriculture After the Green Revolution (Chicago 1979), and Transforming Traditionally: Land and Labour Use in Asia and Africa (Westwood: 1983).
The intellectual history of agrarian studies is emerging in bits and pieces. Colonial and national epistemologies play a broadly formative role: see C.A. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer, editors, Orientalism and The Post Colonial Predicament (Philadelphia: 1993); Jan Breman, editor, Imperial Monkey Business: Racial Supremacy in Social Darwinist Theory and Colonial Practice (Amsterdam: 1990); and Nicholas B. Dirks, editor, Colonialism and Culture (Ann Arbor: 1992). The continuing influence of ideas that cannot be consigned to the colonial past is also apparent in two important recent studies: Sumit Guha, “Lower Strata, Older Races, and Aboriginal Peoples: Racial Anthropology and Mythical History Past and Present,” Journal of Asian Studies, 57, 2, 1998: 423-441; and K.Sivaramakrishnan, “Colonialism and Forestry in India: Imagining the Past in Present Politics,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 37, 1, 1995: 3-40. Histories of historical writing, with reprints of scholarly classics, are appearing in the series entitled Oxford in India Readings: Themes in Indian History, from Oxford University Press, Delhi: see especially the volumes edited by Sugata Bose, Credit markets and the agrarian economy of colonial India (Delhi: 1994), Sumit Guha, Growth, stagnation, or decline? agricultural productivity in British India (Delhi: 1992), David Hardiman, Peasant resistance in India, 1858-1914 (Delhi: 1992), David Ludden, Agricultural Production and Indian History (Delhi: 1994), Gyan Prakash, The World of the rural labourer in colonial India (Delhi: 1992), Burton Stein, The Making of agarian policy in British India, 1770-1900 (Delhi: 1992), and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Money and the Market in India 1100-1700 (Delhi: 1994). The new Oxford series, Readings in Early Indian History has openned with a volume edited by Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Land System and Rural Society in Early India (Delhi: 1997), whose introduction is a history of relevant scholarship.
Four scholars have had the most profound personal impact on historical writing about agrarian history before 1800: D.D.Kosambi, Romila Thapar, R.S.Sharma, and Irfan Habib. D.D. Kosambi put ancient studies on a material footing that made agrarian issues prominent, and he integrated history with culture, myth, and archaeology: see An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (Bombay: 1956), Myth and Reality: Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture (Bombay: 1962), The Culture and Civilization of Ancient India (London:1965), and Ancient India: A History of Its Culture and Civilization (New York: 1966). Romila Thapar spans ancient and medieval history and her work centers on social history and society-state relations in the first millennium BCE: see especially Ancient Indian social history: some interpretations (New Delhi: 1978), From lineage to state: social formations in the mid-first millennium B.C. in the Ganga Valley (Bombay: 1984), Interpreting early India (Delhi: 1992), Recent perspectives of early Indian history (Bombay: 1995, and The Tyranny of Labels (New Delhi: 1997). R.S.Sharma also covers ancient and medieval history but his most important work is on feudalism and post-Gupta transitions: Material Culture and Social Formations in Ancient India (Delhi: 1983), Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India (New Delhi: 1983), Indian Feudalism (Delhi: 1980), and Origin of the State in India (Bombay: 1989). Irfan Habib, his students, and his colleagues at Aligarh Muslim University are the central intellectual force in Mughal history. His scholarship covers the second millennium and he is the central figure in debates about agrarian political economy during the early modern period. See The Agrarian System of Mughal India (1556-1707) (Bombay: 1963), An Atlas of Mughal Empire: Political and Economic Maps with Notes, Bibliography and Index (Delhi: 1982), Interpreting Indian History (Shillong: 1988), and Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception (Delhi: 1995).
Southern regions of medieval history have a distinctive literature, which is more centred on the social networks and on centres of power and authority that form agrarian territory. R.A.L.H. Gunawardana, Robe and plough: monasticism and economic interest in early medieval Sri Lanka (Tucson: 1979) remains the foundational study of Sri Lanka. Burton Stein, Peasant State and Society in Medieval South India (Delhi: 1980) and Vijayanagara (Cambridge: 1989) anchors recent debates on south India.
Historical studies of the period after 1800 are more scattered and conflicted. A bibliographic essay that I wrote in the early 1980s ("Productive Power in Agriculture: A Survey of Work on the Local History of British India," in Meghnad Desai, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, and Ashok Rudra, Agrarian Power and Agricultural Productivity in South Asia, Berkeley, 1984, pp.51 99) considers about 375 titles published before 1981 (some before 1947) in terms of themes, methods, and schools of thought; it remains useful as a guide to the entanglements of local power relations and agricultural production in zamindari and ryotwari tracts of British India. But today, modern agrarian history seems more coherent than it did then. Six scholars represent the most influential intellectual trends. Bipan Chandra represents national, political history that carries Irfan Habib’s mode of class analysis into the twentieth century. See his Modern India (New Delhi: 1971, 1976), Nationalism and colonialism in modern India (New Delhi: 1979), India's struggle for independence, 1857-1947 (New Delhi: 1988), Essays on contemporary India (New Delhi: 1993), and Essays on Indian nationalism (New Delhi: 1993). Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri is a historian of Bengal Presidency who exemplifies scholarly work on linguistic regions that combines economic, social and political history, and describes systems and trends of commercial production. See The Growth of Commercial Agriculture in Bengal (Calcutta: 1964), "Agricultural Production in Bengal, 1850-1900: Coexistence of Decline and Growth," Bengal Past and Present (88, 1969: 152-206), "The Story of a Peasant Revolt in a Bengal District," Bengal Past and Present (92, 2, 1973: 220-78), "The Process of Depeasantization in Bengal and Bihar, 1885-1947," Indian Historical Review (21, 1, 1975: 105-65), "The Land Market in Eastern India, 1793-1940, part I: The Movement of Land Prices, and part II: the Changing Composition of Landed Society," Indian Economic and Social History Review (12, 1 & 2, 1976: 1-42, 133-67), "Movement of Rent in Eastern India, 1793-1930." Indian Historical Review (3, 2, 1977: 308-90), "Tribal Society in Transition: Eastern India 1757-1920" in Mushirul Hasan and Narayani Gupta (editors) India's colonial encounter: essays in memory of Eric Stokes (New Delhi, 1993: 65-120) and "The Process of Agricultural Commercialisation in Eastern India During British Rule: A Reconsideration of the Nations of 'Forced Commercialisation' and 'Dependent Peasantry'," in Peter Robb (editor), Meanings in Agriculture: Essays in South Asian History and Economics (New Delhi, 1996: 71-91). A.R.Desai is a sociologist who has pioneered studies of changing social structure and attendant agrarian conflict and peasant struggles, from the nineteenth century to the present: see The Social Background of Indian Nationalism (Bombay: 1948) and his edited volumes, Rural Sociology in India (Bombay: 1961), Peasant Struggles in India (Delhi: 1979, 1981, 1985) and Agrarian Struggles in India After Independence (Delhi: 1986). Ranajit Guha has led the movement of Subaltern Studies into the realm of power and resistance in everyday life: see Elementary Aspect of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (Delhi: 1983), the six volumes of Subaltern Studies: Essays on South Asian History and Society he edited between 1982 and 1989, and David Arnold and David Hardiman, editors, Subaltern Studies VIII: Essays in Honour of Ranajit Guha (Delhi: 1994).2 Dharma Kumar concentrates on the economic history of Madras Presidency and specialises in the empirical critique of propositions about agrarian class structure: see Land and Caste in South India, Cambridge: 1965, and Colonialism, Property, and the State (Delhi: 1998). She has also led the historical study of the market economy and development as editor of the Indian Economic and Social History Review and The Cambridge Economic History of India, Volume 2: C.1750-c.1970 (New Delhi: 1983). Eric Stokes focused on the northern basins in the nineteenth century and positioned himself at the intersection of class-structure and market-economy. He set the standard for detailed empirical research that integrates agrarian social structure, social change, and political economy in British India: see The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in Colonial India (Cambridge: 1978) and C.A.Bayly (editor) The peasant armed: the Indian revolt of 1857 (Oxford: 1986).
Studies that influence the direction of historical studies often appear in collections that cover a range of related subjects. The most influential anthologies are those edited by Hamza Alavi and John Harriss, South Asia (Sociology of 'Developing Societies') (New York: 1989); Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and Romila Thapar, Situating Indian History, for Sarvapalli Gopal (Delhi: 1986); Sugata Bose, South Asia and World Capitalism (Delhi: 1990); Terence J. Byres and Harbans Mukhia, Feudalism and Non-European Societies (London: 1985); K.N.Chaudhuri and Clive Dewey, Economy and Society: Essays in Indian Economic and Social History (Delhi: 1979); Alice Clark, Gender and Political Economy: Explorations of South Asian Systems (Delhi: 1993); Desai, Rudolph, and Rudra, Agrarian Power and Agricultural Productivity in South Asia; Clive Dewey and A.G.Hopkins, The Imperial Impact: Studies in the Economic History of Africa and India (London: 1978); Tim Dyson, India's Historical Demography: Studies in Famine, Disease, and Society, (Westwood: 1989); Francine R.Frankel and M.S.A. Rao, Dominance and State Power in Modern India: Decline of a Social Order, 2 volumes (Delhi: 1989, 1993); R.E. Frykenberg, Land Control and Social Structure in Indian History (Madison: 1969) and Land Tenure and Peasant in South Asia (New Delhi: 1977); Kathleen Gough and Hari P. Sharma, Imperialism and Revolution in South Asia (New York: 1973); Mushirul Hasan and Narayani Gupta (editors) India's colonial encounter: essays in memory of Eric Stokes (New Delhi: 1993); Douglas Haynes and Gyan Prakash, Contesting Power: Resistance and Everyday Social Relations in South Asia (Delhi: 1991); Kapil Kumar, Congress and Classes: Nationalism, Workers and Peasants (New Delhi: 1988); Morris D. Morris and others, Indian Economy in the Nineteenth Century, a Symposium (New Delhi: 1969); Utsa Patnaik and Manjari Dingwaney, Chains of Servitude: Bondage and Slavery in India (Delhi: 1985); Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib, The Cambridge Economic History of India, Volume 1: c. 1200 - c.1750 (Cambridge 1983); Peter Robb, Rural India: Land, Power and Society Under British Rule (London: 1983) and Meanings in Agriculture: Essays in South Asian History and Economics (New Delhi: 1996); Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History (Delhi: 1989); and Anand Yang, Crime and Criminality in British India (Tucson: 1985).
Histories of ideas that influence agrarian knowledge outside government and academic circles have also begun to emerge in fragments. Shahid Amin, Event, Metaphor, Memory: Chauri Chaura, 1992-1996 (Berkeley: 1996) reconstructs some elements of one local sub-culture. Mentalities of agrarian subalternity preoccupy Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects and many authors in the volumes of Subaltern Studies. Ann Grodzins Gold and Bhoju Ram Gujar have produced a wonderful ethnography of ecological memory in “Wild Pigs and Kings: Remembered Landscapes in Rajasthan,” American Anthropologist (99, 1, 1997: 70-84). Walter Hauser has documented one intellectual who changed popular thinking in Sahajanand on agricultural labour and the rural poor: an edited translation of Khet mazdoor (Delhi: 1994) and Swami Sahajanand and the peasants of Jharkhand: a view from 1941, an edited translation of Jharkhand ke kisan (Delhi: 1995). William R. Pinch, Peasants and Monks in British India (Berkeley: 1996) analyses local ideas about the historical process of agrarian social mobility. Gyan Prakash, Bonded Histories: Genealogoies of Labour Servitude in Colonial India (Cambridge: 1990) finds oral epics of worker subordination. David Ludden recovers old discourse on land and property in Peasant History in South India (Princeton: 1985; Delhi: 1989) and on farming in “Archaic Formations of Agricultural Knowledge,” in Peter Robb (editor), Meanings of Agriculture: Essays in South Asian History and Economics (Delhi: 1996). Surprisingly, little has been done on the history of popular thinking about scarcity and famine, but David Arnold, "Famine in Peasant Consciousness and Peasant Action: Madras, 1876-8," in Subaltern Studies III (Delhi, 1984: 62-115) and Paul R. Greenough, Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: The Famine of 1943-1944 (New York: 1982) make a start. Mythology and folklore encode the past in Indigenous Vision: Peoples of India, Attitudes to the Environment, edited by Geeti Sen (New Delhi: 1992). Scientific ideas about farming have their own kind of history: see M.S.Randawa, A History of Agriculture in India, four volumes (Dehli: 1986), and also Robert Evenson and Carl Pray, Research and productivity in Asian agriculture (Ithaca: 1991).
Three books present the basic data: Joseph E. Schwartzberg, Historical Atlas of South Asia (Chicago: 1978), O.H.K. Spate and A. T. A.Learmonth. India and Pakistan: A General and Regional Geography (London: 1967), and Daniel Thorner, Ecological and Agrarian Regions of South Asia Circa 1930 (Karachi: 1996). Other useful volumes that cover South Asia and a range of interconnected agrarian themes are Roland J-L.Breton, Atlas of the Languages and Ethnic Communities of South Asia (New Delhi: 1997), Ashok K. Dutt and M. Margaret Geib, Atlas of South Asia, Fully Annotated (Boulder: 1987), R.Huke and E. Huke, Rice-Wheat Atlas of South Asia (Los Banos: 1992), and Gordon Johnson, Cultural atlas of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka (New York: 1996).
More specialized volumes cover regions. For Bangladesh, see Nafis Ahmad, A New Economic Geography of Bangladesh (New Delhi: 1976) and Haroun Rashid, Geography of Bangladesh (Dhaka: 1977). S.P.Chatterjee, Bengal in Maps: A Geographical Analysis of Resource Distribution in West Bengal and Eastern Pakistan (Bombay: 1959) has brilliant maps of 1931 census data. Rais Akhtar, Environment, Agriculture and Nutrition in Kumaon Region (New Delhi: 1980) is a model of thematic geography that merits emulation. For Nepal, P.P.Karan and W. M. Jenkins. Nepal: A Cultural and Physical Geography (Lexington: 1960) is good. Sri Lanka is well endowed: see J.R.Desaunettes, Guidelines for land development of the districts of the wet zone of Sri (Peradeniya: 1974), C.H. Fernando, Ecology and biogeography in Sri Lanka (The Hague: 1984), and Ceylon Department of Census and Statistics, The Ceylon economic atlas (Colombo: 1969). For Pakistan and Bangladesh, I use the Oxford economic atlas for Pakistan (Oxford: 1955). For India, there are many specialized sources: see Moonis Raza and Aijazuddin Ahmad, An Atlas of Tribal India: With Computed Tables of District-Level Data and Its Geographical Interpretation (New Delhi: 1990); India, 1951 Census, Paper No.2, Population Zones, Natural Regions, and Sub-Regions and Divisions (New Delhi: 1952); India, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Atlas of India (Delhi: 1971); P.C.Patil, The Crops of the Bombay Presidency; Their Geographical Statistics (Bombay: 1922); J.L.D. Sehgal, K. Mandal C. Mandal and S. Vadivelu, Agro-Ecological Regions of India (Nagpur: 1990); Jasbir Singh, An Agricultural Atlas of India: A Geographical Analysis (Varanasi: 1974) and An Agricultural Geography of Haryana (Kurukshetra: 1976); Surendra Singh, Agricultural Development in India: A Regional Analysis (Shillong: 1994); and Terence Woodhead, Rice-Wheat Atlas of India (Delhi: 1994).
Studies in historical geography that influence my own work appear in the Cambridge Series in Historical Geography and especially important is volume seven, Robert David Sack, Human territoriality: Its theory and practice (Cambridge: 1986). I have learned most from the work of David E. Sopher and his colleagues: see A.L. Kosinski and R.M.Prothero, editors, People on the move: studies on internal migration (London: 1975); D.E.Sopher, editor, An Exploration of India: geographical perspectives on society and culture (Ithaca: 1980); R.L..Singh and P.B Rana, editors, Trends in geography of pilgrimages: homage to David E. Sopher (Varanasi: 1987); David Ley and Marwyn S. Samuels, editors, Humanistic geography: prospects and problems (Chicago: 1978); and J.A. Agnew, J.Mercer, and D.E. Sopher, editors, The City in cultural context (Boston:1984).
Approaches to Agriculture
Most literature on farming is technically narrowed by disciplines and policy debates. Older literature is more descriptive and also evokes the intricate history of agrarian discourse. See especially Harold H. Mann, Land and Labor in a Deccan Village (London: 1917), Famine and Rainfall in the Bombay Deccan 1865-1938 (Bombay: 1955), and The Social Framework of Agriculture: India, Middle East, England (New York: 1967); William H. Moreland, The Agriculture of the United Provinces, and Introduction for the Use of Landholders and Officials (Allahabad: 1904), and Notes on the Agricultural Conditions and Problems of the United Provinces, Revised Up to 1911 (Allahabad: 1913); and C.W.B. Zacharias, Madras Agriculture (Madras: 1950) and Studies in the Economics of Farm Management in Madras (New Delhi: 1957). Ranjan Kumar Gupta, The economic life of a Bengal district, Birbhum, 1770-1857 (Burdwan: 1984) harks back to James Charles Jack, The economic life of a Bengal district : a study (1916; reprinted Delhi: 1975). For the romance of agrarian Bengal, see Arthur Geddes, Au pays de Tagore. La civilisation rurale du Bengale occidental et ses facteurs géographiques (Paris: 1927).
Seasonality is a pervasive theme. A good place to begin is Bina Agarwal, "Social Security and the Family in Rural India: Coping With Seasonality and Calamity," The Journal of Peasant Studies 17, 3, 1990: 341-412. The best volumes are Robert Chambers, et al. editors, Seasonal Dimensions to Rural Poverty (Montclair 1981) and Martha Chen, Coping With Seasonality and Drought (Newbury Park, CA: 1991). Technical but broadly useful studies include David W. Hopper, "Seasonal Labour Cycles in an Eastern Uttar Pradesh Village." Eastern Anthropologist 8, 1955: 141-50; A.S.S. Kahlon, S. Miglani and Harwant Singh, "A Comparative Analysis of Dry and Irrigated Farming in Ferozpur District, Punjab," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 26, 4, 1971: 318-26; M. Malya, M. and R. Rajagopalan, "The Nature of Risk Associated With Rainfall and Its Effects on Farming -- A Case Study of Kurnool District, A.P.," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 1, 19, 1964: 76-81; Indra Munsh Saldanha, "The Political Ecology of Traditional Farming Practices in Thana District, Maharashtra (India)," The Journal of Peasant Studies, 17, 3, 1990: 433-43; Kasturi Rajan Sampath and Jayalakshmi Ganesa, Economics of Dry Farming in Tamil Nadu (Madras: 1972); and M.N.Vasantha Devi, "Some Aspects of the Agricultural Geography of South India (Pt. 2)," Indian Geographical Journal 39, 3-4, 1964: 59-122.
Development is the most broadly integrative theme. Studies always treat technology and productivity and usually attend to questions about the rise and evolution of capitalism. A small portion of work describes farming in its local environment, primarily to argue against paradigms that promote aggregate generalizations. Explorations of the particularity of agriculture and of particular agrarian environments generate the best agrarian history. In this vein, Susan Mann, Agrarian Capitalism in Theory and Practice (Chapel Hill: 1990) argues that farming is fundamentally different from industry as a capitalist enterprise. A.V.Chayanov argued that peasant family farms thrive in a market economies without being torn into classes, as Marx and Lenin described, or being turned into family businesses, as neo-classical theorists assume: see Aleksandr Vasilevich Chayanov, The theory of peasant economy, edited by Daniel Thorner, Basile Kerblay and R.E.F. Smith (Homewood: 1966) and also E.Durrenberger, editor, Chayanov, peasants, and economic anthropology (New York : Academic Press, 1984). Putting Marx’s ideas into specific agrarian settings enables scholars to theorize a diversity of modern agrarian transformations. See particularly Ashok Rudra, Political economy of Indian agriculture (Calcutta: 1992); "Pre-Capitalist Modes of Production in Non-European Societies." The Journal of Peasant Studies 15, 3, 1988: 373-94; "Local Power and Farm-Level Decision Making," in Desai, Rudolph, and Rudra, Agrarian Power and Agricultural Productivity, pp. 251-80; Agrarian relations in West Bengal: results of two surveys (Bombay: 1983); Indian agricultural economics: myths and realities (New Delhi: 1982); Studies in the development of capitalism in India (Lahore: 1978); and (with Pranab Bardhan), On the interlinkage of land, labour, credit relations in agriculture: an analysis of village survey data in east India (Calcutta: 1978). Rudra’s essay, "Emergence of the Intelligentsia As a Ruling Class in India." Economic and Political Weekly (January 21, 1989: 151-5), put historians themselves into agrarian history by arguing that, “In the last two decades, the intelligentsia has emerged as a member of the ruling class coalition in India, the other two classes being the big industrial capitalists and big land owners.”
The state is always lurking in development studies. A useful approach locates the state in complex entanglements with society. See Joel Migdal, Atul Kohli, and Vivienne Shue, editors, State power and social forces: Domination and transformation in the Third World (Cambridge: 1994). I have also been influenced by the model of dispersed state institutions and powers presented by Tim Mitchell in his article, “The Limits of the State: Beyond Statist Approaches and Their Critics,“American Political Science Review 85, 1, 1991:77-96. Amartya K. Sen’s entitlement approach in Poverty and Famine: An Essay in Entitlement and Deprivation (New York: 1981) provides a good way to connect markets, states, and social power in agriculture.
Ecological approaches to agriculture and development regimes are critical. In development studies, wheat-rice farming zones have attracted attention to environments within which state-farmer interactions occur. See Ramesh Chand and T. Haque. "Sustainability of Rice-Wheat Crop System in Indo-Gangetic Region," Economic and Political Weekly 32, 13, 1997: A26-30; and R.S.Paroda, R. S. Terence Woodhead and R. B. Singh. Sustainability of Rice-Wheat Production System in Asia. New Delhi: 1993. The interface of ecology, environmentalism, anthropology, and history is the most promising academic site for history that attends to the cultural as well as material features of farming. For an overview of environmental history, see B.L.Turner, et. al. editors, The Earth as Transformed by Human Action: Global and regional changes in the biosphere pver the past 300 years (Cambridge: 1990). For provocative case studies, see Anil Agarwal and others, The Fight for Survival: People's Action for Environment (New Delhi: 1987), Arun Agarwal and K.Sivaramakrishnan, editors, Agrarian Environments: Resources, Representations, and Rule in Inda (Durham: forthcoming), and David Arnold and Ramachandra Guha, editors, Nature, Culture, Imperialism: Essays on the Environmental History of South Asia (Dehli: 1995). For technical knowledge on ecologies of farming, I recommend the publications of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Centre for Science and Environment (Delhi). World Bank Technical Papers are often good, such as No.221, Conserving Soil Moisture and Fertility in the Warm Seasonally Dry Tropics, by Jitendra P. Srivastava et al. (1993). Literature on sustainability is essential, and see especially Kartik C. Roy, Raj Kumar Sen, Clement A. Tisdell, editors, Environment and sustainable agricultural development: concepts, general issues, constraints and strategies (Calcutta: 1996), and D.L. Deb, editor, Natural resources management for sustainable agriculture and environment (New Delhi: 1994). Ecology is an especially strong theme in the study of mountain regions: see Narpat S.Jodha, “Mountain Agriculture,” in B.Messerli and J.D. Ives, editors, Mountains of the World: a global priority (London, 1997: 313-335), and N.S.Jodha, “The Nepal middle mountains,“ in Jeanne.X.Kasperson, Roger E. Kasperson, and B.L.Turner II., editors, Regions at Risk: Comparisons of threatened environments (Tokyo 1995: 140-185).
There is some research on cultural aspects of farming but we need much more. Sitakant Mahapatra, Modernization and Ritual: Identity and Change in Santal Society (Calcutta: 1986) is an ethnographic account of ritual in farm life. Amita Baviskar extends this model brilliantly into the realm of politics: In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley (Delhi: 1995). Tuk-Tuk Kumar, History of rice in India: mythology, culture, and agriculture (Delhi: 1988) is a cultural history of one crop. L.S. Kandasamy, Tamilar velanmai marapukal (Koyamuttur: 1987) describes the agricultural heritage of the Tamil cultural region. Shamsuzzaman Khan, Folklore of Bangladesh (Dhaka: 1987) presents folklore, as do many compilations of the same kind, which contain primary sources for historians. Forest environments -- particularly sacred groves -- have attracted attention from scholars interested in land use, ecology, and culture; and the Institut Francais de Pondichery has sponsored a number of projects: see M.A.Kalam, Sacred Groves in Kodagu District of Karnataka (South India): A Socio-historical Study (Pondichery: 1996).
Reconstructing past agrarian environments is not a major activity among historians of South Asia. We have no Marc Bloch, George Duby, or Leroy Ladurie; and local history is not a professional speciality in South Asia, as it is in Britain. Yet in the same way that southern France and the southern US have inspired agrarian literature that reflects their own cultural heritage, so has Bengal. Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Maharashtra are well served by agrarian historians, but not nearly so well as the old Bengal Presidency, whose intelligentsia has demonstrated a pronounced rural orientation going back to the days of Romesh Chrandra.Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, and Radhakamal Mukerjee. Agrarian Bengal has its own excellent volume in the New Cambridge History -- Sugata Bose, Peasant Labour and Colonial Capital: Rural Bengal since 1770 (Cambridge: 1993) -- and research is particularly dense for the early period of British rule. Recent work includes Sushil Chaudhuri, From Prosperity to Decline: Eighteenth Century Bengal (Dehli: 1995), John R.McLane, Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal (Cambridge: 1993), Chandra Prakash N. Sinha, From decline to destruction: agriculture in Bihar during the early British rule, 1765-1813 (New Delhi: 1997), Aditee Nag Chowdhury-Zilly, The vagrant peasant: agrarian distress and desertion in Bengal, 1770 to 1830 (Wiesbaden: 1982), and Datta, Rajat. "Agricultural Production, Social Participation and Domination in Late Eighteenth-Century Bengal: Towards an Alternative Explanation," The Journal of Peasant Studies 17, 1, 1989: 68-113; "Crises and Survival: Ecology, Subsistence and Coping in Eighteenth Century Bengal" The Calcutta Historical Journal 18, 1, 1996: 1-34; and "Peasant Production and Agrarian Commercialism in a Rice-Growing Economy: Some Notes on a Comparative Perspective and the Case of Bengal in the Eighteenth Century" in Peter Robb (editor) Meanings of Agriculture, pp. 92-131. A new cluster of research is also emerging at the intersecting histories of tribal societies, forest environments, and state development policy: see Mark Poffenberger, “The Resurgence of Community Forest Management in the Jungle Mahals of West Bengal,” in Arnold, David and Ramachandra Guha, editors, Nature, Culture, Imperialism (Delhi, 1995: 336-69) ; K.Sivaramakrishnan, “A Limited Forest Conservancy in Southwest Bengal, 1864-1912,” Journal of Asian Studies, 56, 1, 1997: 75-112, and “Forests, Politics, and Governance in Bengal, 1794-1994,” PhD Dissertation, Yale University, 1997 (forthcoming from Oxford Unversity Press, Delhi). The only compilation of local studies within a region of South Asia is Shapan Adnan, Annotation of Village Studies in Bangladesh and West Bengal: A Review of Socio-Economic Trends over 1942-88 (Kotbari Comilla, 1990).
Among short surveys, now the best is Burton Stein, A History of India (Oxford: 1998), which also has excellent maps. Romila Thapar, A History of India ( New York: 1978) is still valuable, and so is Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India (New Delhi: 1987). For prehistoric ecology, see Ecological backgrounds of South Asian prehistory, edited by Kenneth A.R. Kennedy and Gregory L. Possehl (Ithaca: 1975); and for the Indus Valley age, see Gregory L. Possehl, Variation and change in the Indus civilization; a study of prehistoric Gujarat with special reference to the post urban Harappan Harappan civilization: a recent perspective (New Delhi: 1993), Harappan civilization and Rojdi (New Delhi: 1989). Romila Thapar, From Lineage to State is the best general view of ancient transitions within agrarian societies, and M.S.Randhawa, A History of Agriculture, has good details on farming issues. For medieval history, first see Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, The Making of Early Medieval India (New Delhi: 1995), B.P.Sahu, Land System and Rural Society, and Herman Kulke, editor. The State in India, 1000-1700 (Delhi: 1995); then see these important collections: R.Champakalakshmi and S. Gopal, editors, Tradition, Dissent, and Ideology: Essays in Honour of Romila Thapar (Delhi: 1996); Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib, editors, The Cambridge Economic History of India; Irfan Habib, editor, Medieval India 1: Researches in the History of India, 1200-1750 (Delhi: 1992);. For comparative perspectives on the state, see Henri J.M. Claessen and Peter Skolnik, editors, The Study of the State (New York: 1981); and Henri J.M.Claessen and Pieter van de Velde, editors, Early State Dynamics (Leiden: 1986), and Early State Economics (New Brunswick: 1991).
Important specialised studies of issues that apply across regions include D. N. Gupta, Changing Modes of Production in India: an Historical Analysis (New Delhi: 1983); Stephanie W. Jamison, Sacrificed Wife/Sacrificer's Wife: Women, Ritual, and Hospitality in Ancient India (New York: 1996); D.N. Jha, Studies in Early Indian Economic History (Delhi: 1980); D.N. Jha, editor, Society and Ideology in India: Essays in Honour of Professor R.S.Sharma (New Delhi: 1996) and Feudal Social Formations in Early India (Delhi: 1987); Charles Malamoud, Cooking the World: Ritual and Thought in Ancient India (Delhi: 1996); Sheldon Pollock, "Ramayana and Political Imagination in India," Journal of Asian Studies 52, 2, 1993: 261-97, and "The Sanskrit Cosmopolis, 300-1300: Transculturation, Vernacularization, and the Question of Ideology," in Jan E. M. Houben, editor, Ideology and Status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit Language (Leiden, 1996: 197-247); A.Rashid, Society and Culture in Medieval India, 1206-1556 A.D. (Calcutta: 1969); Savitri Saxena, Geographical Survey of the Puranas (Delhi: 1995); Kumkum Roy, The Emergence of Monarchy in North India, Eighth--Fourth Centuries B.C.: As Reflected in the Brahmanical Tradition (Delhi: 1994); and Brian K. Smith, Classifying the Universe: the Ancient Indian Varna System and the Origins of Caste (New York: 1994).
On the evolution of cuisine, Jack Goody, Cooking, cuisine, and class : a study in comparative sociology (Cambridge: 1982) is essential. Two studies of France indicates future possibilities: see Jean Francois Revel, Culture and cuisine: a journey through the history of food, translated from the French by Helen R. Lane (New York: 1984) and Amy B. Trubek, “The empire of the senses : French haute cuisine and the rise of the modern culinary profession, 1870-1910” (University of Pennsylvania dissertation: 1995). For South Asia, the most useful study is K.T.Achaya, Indian food: a historical companion (Delhi: 1994). See also Ceturamalinkam Namacivayam, Tamilar unavu (Chennai: 1981), for Tamil Nadu, and also Om Prakash, Food and drinks in ancient India, from earliest times to c. 1200 A.D. (Delhi: 1961). M.S.Randawa, History of Agriculture has lots of information on the introduction of new crops. The most important monograph that we have now explores the broader meanings of food in agrarian cultures: Francis Zimmerman, The Jungle and the Aroma of Meats: An Ecological Theme in Hindu Medicine (Berkeley: 1987).
On the Eurasian context, see Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony the World System A.D. 1250-1350 (New York: 1989); K.N.Chaudhuri, Asia Before Europe: Economy and Civilisation of the Indian Ocean From the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge: 1990) and Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History From the Rise of Islam Until 1750 (Cambridge: 1985); Richard M. Eaton, "Islamic History As Global History," in Islamic and European Expansion: The Forming of a Global Order, editor Michael Adas (Philadelphia: 1993: 1-36); Andre Gunder Frank, "The Centrality of Central Asia." Studies in History 8, 1, 1992: 43-98, and "The World Economic System in Asia Before European Hegemony." The Historian 56, 2, 1994: 260-76; Jos Gommans, “The Silent Frontier of South Asia, c.A.D. 11-1800,” Journal of World History, 9, 1, 1998: 1-23, and “The Eurasian Frontier After the First Millennium A.D.: Reflections along the Fringe of Time and Space,” The Medieval History Journal, 1, 1, 1998: 125-45;Andre Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World (Leiden: 1990); Liu Xinru, Ancient India and Ancient China: Trade and Religious Exchanges, AD 1-600. Delhi: 1988; and Kikoichi Yajima, "Maritime Activities of Arab Gulf People and the Indian Ocean World in the 11th and 12th Centuries," Journal of Asian and African Studies 14 (1977): 195-208.
On pastoralism, the most important reading is in the special issue of Studies in History (7, 2, 1991) edited by Shereen Ratnagar. Lawrence Leshnik and Günther-Dietz Sontheimer, editors, Pastoralists and nomads in South Asia (Weissbaden: 1975) is still valuable; and the most insightful monograph is surely Gunther-Dietz Sontheimer, Pastoral Deities in Western India (Delhi: 1989), which covers much more than religion. Good work to consult includes Michael J.Casimir, Flocks and food: a biocultural approach to the study of pastoral foodways (Köln: 1991), R.R.Prasad, Pastoral nomadism in arid zones of India: socio-demographic & ecological aspects (New Delhi: 1994), Ram Parshad Khatana, Tribal migration in Himalayan frontiers: study of Gujjar Bakarwal transhumance economy (Gurgaon: 1992), Paul Charles Rissman, Migratory pastoralism in Western India in the Second Millennium B.C.: the evidence from Oriyo Timbo (Delhi: 1985), and Sadashiv Ambadas Dange, Pastoral symbolism from the Rgveda (Poona: 1970).
We need more monographs on many pre-modern territories, especially in Assam, Gujarat, Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Nepal, Orissa, and Sri Lanka. For Assam, see N.N.Acharyya, The History of Medieval Assam, From the 13th to the 17th Century; A Critical and Comprehensive History of Assam During the First Four Centuries of Ahom Rule (Gauhati: 1966) and Amalendu Guha, Medieval and Early Colonial Assam; Society, Policy, Economy (Calcutta: 1991). For early Gujarat, I have found only Ali Muhammad Khan, Medieval Gujarat: its political and statistical history (based on Mohammed Ali Khan´s Mirat-i-Ahmadi transcribed in 1822 by Narsain Dass of the Kait tribe at Ahmedabad), traslated by James Bird (New Delhi: 1980) and A.K.Majumdar, A. K. Chaulukyas of Gujarat; a Survey of the History and Culture of Gujarat From the Middle of the 10th to the End of the 13th C. (Bombay: 1956). On Kashmir: M.L.Kapur, A History of Medieval Kashmir, 1320-1586 A.D. (Jammu: 1971), Krishna Mohan, Early medieval history of Kashmir: with special reference to the Loharas, A.D. 1003-1171 (New Delhi: 1981), and K.S. Saxena, Political History of Kashimir, B.C.300 - A.D.1200 (Upper India: 1974). On Nepal, I know only D.R.Regmi, Medieval Nepal. (Calcutta: 1965-1966) and Ancient Nepal (Calcutta: 1969). On Orissa, we have more: see B.S.Das, Studies in the Economic History of Orissa From Ancient Times to 1833 (Calcutta: 1978), Kailash Chandra Dash, Legend, history, and culture of India: based on archaeology, art, and literature (Calcutta: 1997), Hermann Kulke, Kings and cults: state formation and legitimation in India and Southeast Asia (New Delhi: 1993), Shishir Kumar Panda, The state and statecraft in medieval Orissa under the later eastern Gangas (A.D. 1038-1434) (Calcutta: 1995) and Medieval Orissa: a socio-economic study (New Delhi: 1991), and Lakshmi Narayan Raut, Socio-economic life in medieval Orissa, 1568-1751 (Calcutta: 1988). On Sri Lanka, see Gunawardana, Robe and plough, and W.I. Siriweera, A study of the economic history of pre-modern Sri Lanka (New Delhi: 1994).
Bengal and the northeast are well covered: see R.G.Basak, History of Northeast India, Extending From the Foundation of the Gupta Empire to the Rise of the Pala Dynasty of Bengal (c. AD 320-760) (Calcutta: 1967), Richard M.Eaton, The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760 (Berkeley: 1994), Abdul Karim, Social History of the Muslims in Bengal (Down to A.D. 1538) (Dacca: 1959), R.C.Majumdar, Expansion of Aryan Culture in Eastern India (Imphal: 1968), Barrie Morrison, Political Centers and Cultural Regions in Early Bengal (Tucson: 1970), M.A. Rahim, Social and Cultural History of Bengal, 1201-1576 (Karachi: 1963), M.Tarafdar, Husain Shahi Bengal, 1494-1538 A.D.: a Socio-Political Study (Dacca: 1965) and Trade, Technology, and Society in Medieval Bengal (Dhaka: 1995). The expansive borderlands of Bengal and its mountain surroundings are not adequately covered in the above-cited literature, however. A place to begin their exploration is with Surajit Sinha, editor, Tribal Polities and State Systems in Precolonial Eastern and North Eastern India, (Calcutta, 1987), which is a real gold mine.
On Rajasthan, Rajputs, and Rajputisation, see M.S.Ahluwalia, Muslim Expansion in Rajasthan: The Relations of Delhi Sultanate With Rajasthan, 1206-1526 (Delhi: 1978), J.N.Asopa, Origin of the Rajputs (Delhi: 1976); B.D.Chattopadhyaya, “Origin of the Rajputs: The Political, Economic and Social Processes in Early Medieval Rajasthan,” Indian Historical Review, 3, 1, July 1976:59-82, and “Irrigation in early medieval Rajasthan, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 16, 2-3, 1973: 298-316); Richard Fox, Kin, Clan, Raja and Rule (Berkeley: 1971); Satya Prakash Gupta, The agrarian system of eastern Rajasthan, c. 1650-c. 1750 (Delhi: 1986) and Mughal documents: taqsim c. 1649-c. 1800 (Jaipur: 1996); D.Sharma, Early Chauhan Dynasties: a Study of Chauhan Political History, Chauhan Political Institutions, and Life in the Chauhan Dominions, From 800 to 1316 A.D. (Delhi: 1975) and Lectures on Rajput History and Culture (Delhi: 1970); G.C.Sharma, Administrative System of the Rajputs (New Delhi: 1979); G.D.Sharma, Rajput Polity: A Study of Politics and Administration of the State of Marwar, 1638-1749 (New Delhi: 1977); G.N.Sharma, Social Life in Medieval Rajasthan, 1500-1800 A.D., With Special Reference to the Impact of Mughal Influence (Agra: 1968); Dilbagh Singh, The State, landlords, and peasants: Rajasthan in the eighteenth century (New Delhi: 1990); R.B.Singh, Origin of the Rajputs (Gorakhpur: 1975); Surajit Sinha, "State Formation and Rajput Myth in Tribal Central India" in Kulke, The State in India, 100-1700, pp.304-42; and N. Ziegler, N. P. "Some Notes on Rajput Loyalties During the Mughal Period," in Kingship and Authority in South Asia in South Asia, edited by J.F. Richards (Madison, 1978: 215-51).
On the Maratha territories, Sumit Sarkar’ forthcoming book, entitled Environment, Ethnicity and Politics in Western India 1350-1991 (Cambridge) will be the fullest monographic study, but Maratha records have sustained many good books. See especially R.A.Alavi, Studies in History of the Medieval Deccan (New Delhi: 1977), D.K.Dhekane, Agrarian system under Marathas (Bombay: 1996), Hiroshi Fukazawa, The Medieval Deccan: Peasants, Social Systems and States (1500-1700) (New Delhi: 1991), Stewart Gordon, The Marathas 1600-1818 (New Delhi: 1993) and Marathas, marauders, and state formation in eighteenth-century India (Oxford: 1994); A.R. Kulkarni, Maharashtra in the Age of Shivaji (Poona: 1969), A.R.Kulkarni, M. A. Nayeem and T. R. de Souza, editors, Mediaeval Deccan History: Commemoration Volume in Honour of Purshottam Mahadeo Joshi (Bombay: 1996); T.T. Mahajan, Aspects of agrarian and urban history of the Marathas (New Delhi: 1991); H.H.Mann, "A Deccan Village Under the Peshwas," in H.H. Mann, The Social Framework of Agriculture (Bombay, 1967: 123-38); S.Sardesai, House of Shivaji: Studies and Documents of Maratha History (Bombay: 1979), S.N.Sen, Administrative System of the Marathas (Calcutta: 1976), and Andre Wink, Land and sovereignty in India: agrarian society and politics under the eighteenth-century Maratha svarajya (Cambridge: 1986).
For the Indo-Gangetic basin, Punjab, and adjacent mountains, see Muhammad Taqi Amini, The agrarian system of Islam (Delhi: 1991); Satish Chandra, "Some Institutional Factors in Providing Capital Inputs for the Improvement and Expansion of Cultivation in Medieval India," Indian Historical Review 3, 1, 1976: 83-98; Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, Aspects of rural settlements and rural society in early medieval India (Calcutta: 1990), and "State and Economy in North India: Fourth Century to Twelfth Century ," in Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History, editor Romila Thapar (Bombay, 1995: 309-46); Upendra Nath Ghoshal, The agrarian system in ancient India (Calcutta:1973), L.Gopal, The Economic Life of Northern India, C. AD 700-1200 (Delhi: 1965), Iqbal Husain, The Ruhela Chieftaincies: The Rise and Fall of Ruhela Power in India in the Eighteenth Century (Delhi: 1994), Sunanda Kar, Agrarian system in northern India from the seventh to the twelfth century (Bombay: 1990), Narendra Nath Kher, Agrarian and fiscal economy in the Mauryan and post Mauryan age (circa. 324 B.C.-320 A.D.) (Delhi: 1973), A.R.Khan, Chieftains in the Mughal Empire During the Reign of Akbar (Simla: 1977), Iqtidar Alam Khan The Political Biography of a Mughal Noble: Mun'Im Khan Khan-i Khanan, 1497-1575 (New Delhi: 1973), Dirk H. A.Kolff, Naukar, Rajput, and Sepoy: The Ethnohistroy of the Military Labour Market of Hindustan, 1450-1850 (Cambridge: 1990), B.P.Majumdar, Socio-Economic History of Northern India 1030-1194 AD. (Calcutta: 1960), B.N.Mukherjee, The Economic Factors in Kushana History (Calcutta: 1970), Harbans Mukhia, Perspectives on Medieval History (New Delhi: 1993), Lokesh Chandra Nand Women in Delhi Sultunate (Allahabad: 1989); Robert Nichols, “Settling the Frontier: Land, Law, and Society in the Peshawar Valley, 1500-1900,” Ph.d dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1997; S.S.Nigam, Economic Organisation in Ancient India, 200 B.C.-200 A.D. (New Delhi: 1975), P.Niyogi, Contributions to the Economic History of Northern India; From the Tenth to the Twelfth Century A.D. (Calcutta: 1962), Khaliq Ahmad Nizami, On History and Historians in Medieval India (New Delhi: 1983), W.R.A. Pogson, A History of the Boondelas (Delhi: 1974), M.C.Pradhan, The Political System of the Jats of North India (Bombay: 1966), Jadunath Sarkar, Glimpses of Medieval Bihar Economy: Thirteenth to Mid-Eighteenth Century (Calcutta: 1978), Jagadish Narayan Sarkar, Some Aspects of Military Thinking and Practice: Medieval India (Calcutta: 1974), Iqtidar Husain Siddiqui, Mughal Relations With the Indian Ruling Elite (New Delhi: 1983), Jares Muhammad Siddiqui, Aligarh District; A Historical Survey (From Ancient Times to 1803 A.D.) (New Delhi: 1981), Bhagat Singh, A History of Sikh Misals (Patiala: 1993), R.C.P. Singh, Kingship in Northern India, C. 600 A.D.-1200 A.D. (Delhi: 1968), and O.P.Verma, The Yadavas and Their Times (Nagpur: 1970).
For the peninsula, the most important studies are L.B. Alayev, Socio-Economic Structure of Southern India in the 15th and 16th Centuries (Moscow: 1963), A.Appadorai, Economic Conditions in South India (1000-1500 AD. (New York: 1981), B.N.Chaturvedi, "The Origin and Development of Tank Irrigation in Peninsular India." Deccan Geographer 6, 2, 1968: 57-86; Nicholas B. Dirks, The Hollow Crown:Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom (Ann Arbor: 1993), Kenneth R. Hall, Trade and Statecraft in the Age of the Cholas (New Delhi: 1980), B.S.L.Hanumantha Rao, Socio-Cultural History of Ancient and Medieval Andhra (Hyderabad: 1995), K. Jayasree, Agrarian economy in Andhra under Vijayanagar (New Delhi: 1991), A.P.Ibrahim Kunju, Studies in Medieval Kerala History (Trivandrum: 1975), Noboru Karashima, Towards a New Formation: South Indian Society Under Vijayanagar Rule (Delhi: 1992), A.Krishnaswami, The Tamil Country Under Vijayanagar (Annamalainagar: 1964), David Ludden, Peasant History in South India (Princeton: 1985), T.V.Mahalingam, South Indian Polity (Madras: 1955); M.G.S. Narayanan, Reinterpretations of South Indian History (Trivandrum: 1976), K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The Cholas (Madras: 1955), K.S.Shivanna, The Agrarian System of Karnataka (1336-1761) (Mysore: 1992) and A Critique of Hoysala Polity (Mysore: 1988); K.Sundaram, Studies in Economic and Social Conditions of Medieval Andhra (1000-1600) (Madras: 1968), K.G. Vasantha Madhava, K. G. Western Karnataka, its agrarian relations, 1500-1800 A.D.(New Delhi: 1991), Kesavan Veluthat, Brahman Settlements in Kerala: Historical Studies (Calicut: 1978) and The Political Structure of Early Medieval South India (New Delhi: 1993); A.V.Venkata Ratnam, Local Government in the Vijayanagar Empire (Mysore: 1972), and R.Tirumalai, Land grants and agrarian reactions in Chola and Pandya times (Madras: 1987).
Temples have their own literature, mostly for the peninsula, with the notable exception of Hitesranjan Sanyal, “Social Aspects of Temple Building in Bengal: 1600 to 1900 A.D.,” Man in India, 48, 1968: 202-224. For a general model of temple operations, see Carol A. Breckenridge and Arjun Appadurai. "The South Indian Temple: Redistribution, Honor and Authority," Contributions to Indian Sociology 10, 2, 1977: 187-211. Important studies can be found in Burton Stein, editor, South Indian Temples: An Analytical Reconsideration (Delhi: 1978). Others include Noboru Karashima, "South Indian Temple Inscriptions: A New Approach to Their Study." South Asia 19, 1, 1996: 1-12; A.K. Prasad, Devadasi System in Ancient India: A Study of Temple Dancing Girls of South India (Delhi: 1990), David Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths: Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition (Princeton: 1980), George W. Spencer, "Temple Moneylending and Livestock Redistribution in Early Tanjore," Indian Economic and Social History Review, 5, 3, 1968: 277-93, "Religious Networks and Royal Influence in Eleventh Century South India." Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 12, 1969: 42-56, and "The Sacred Geography of the Tamil Shaivaite Hymns." NUMEN: International Review of the History of Religion 17, 1970: 236-7; Burton Stein, "The Economic Functions of the Medieval South Indian Temple," Journal of Asian Studies 19, 1960: 163-76; and Cynthia Talbot, "Temples, Donors, and Gifts: Patterns of Patronage in Thirteenth-Century South India." Journal of Asian Studies 50, 2, 1991: 308-40. Studies of particular temples provide local detail, for instance T. K. T. Viraraghavacharya, History of Tirupathi (Tirupati: 1953) and The Srivilliputtur Temple of Sudikkodutta Nachchiyar (Tirupati: 1955).
Early Modern Themes
The imperial Mughal administration is well studied: see M.Athar Ali, The Apparatus of Empire: Awards of Ranks, Offices and Titles to the Mughal Nobility, 1573-1658 (New Delhi: 1985) and Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb (Bombay: 1968); Stephen Blake, "The Patrimonal-Bureaucratic Empire of the Mughals," Journal of Asian Studies 39, 1, 1979: 77-94 (reprinted in Kulke, The State, pp.278-304); Neelam Chaudhary, Labour in Mughal India, 1526-1707 (New Delhi: 1996); Shireen Moosvi, The Economy of the Mughal Empire, C.1595: A Statistical Study (Delhi: 1987), and (editor and translator) "Aurangzeb's Farman to Rasidas on Problems of Revenue Administration, 1665," in Habib, editor, Medieval India (1992) pp 198-208; Tapan Raychaudhuri, "The Mughal Empire," in The Cambridge Economic History of India, Volume I, pp.172-92; John F.Richards, The Mughal Empire (Cambridge: 1993), and John F. Richards, editor, The Imperial Monetary System of Mughal India (Dehli: 1987); Athar Abbas Rizvi, Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar's Reign (New Delhi: 1975), Jagdish Narayan Sarkar, Mughal Economy: Organization and Working (Calcutta: 1987), and Douglas E. Streusand, The Formation of the Mughal Empire (Delhi: 1989).
Histories of Mughal regions have more agrarian detail. Irfan Habib, An Atlas of Mughal Empire has the most comphensive data. In addition to the excellent books on Rajasthan cited above, good regional studies include Anil Chandra Banerjee, The Agrarian System of Bengal 1582-1793 (Calcutta: 1980), M.A.Nayeem, Mughal Administration of Deccan Under Nizamul Mulk Asaf Jah (1720-48 AD) (New Delhi: 1985), B.S.Nijjar, Panjab Under the Great Mughals, 1526-1707 A.D. (Bombay: 1968) and Panjab Under the Later Mughals, 1707-1759 (Jullundur: 1972); Tapan Raychaudhuri, Bengal Under Akbar and Jahangir (Delhi: 1969); John F. Richards, Mughal Administration in Golconda (Oxford: 1975), and S.N.Sinha, Subah of Allahabad Under the Great Mughuls, 1580-1707 (New Delhi: 1974).
Histories of Mughal disruption and fragmentation consider propositions about agrarian dynamics originally presented by Irfan Habib. See Muzaffar Alam, The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India, Awadh and the Punjab, 1707-1748 (Delhi: 1986), Satish Chandra, Medieval India: Society, the Jagirdari Crisis and the Village (Delhi: 1982), Chetan Singh, Region and Empire: Panjab in the Eighteenth Century (Delhi: 1991); and Wink, Land and Sovereignty.
Current approaches to early modernity in South Asia have emerged from the connected histories of overseas trade, inland economies, agrarian societies, and regional polities, as studies of the eighteenth century have forced a reconsideration of transitions between Mughal and British periods. For trends in historiography, see Athar Ali, "The Eighteenth Century -- An Interpretation." Indian Historical Review 5, 1, 1978: 175-86, and "Recent Theories of Eighteenth Century India," Indian Historical Review 13, 1-2, 1986-1987: 102-8; Irfan Habib, Interpreting Indian History (Shillong: 1988); and Sugata Bose, South Asia And World Capitalism. M. Athar Ali gives a good account of the inland geography of early modern South Asia in his "Political Structures of the Islamic Orient in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," in Habib, Medieval India, pp.129-40; and for a wider view, see David Ludden, "History Outside Civilisation and the Mobility of Southern Asia," South Asia 17, 1, June 1994, 1-23. For an Asian perspective, see Emporia, commodities, and entrepreneurs in Asian maritime trade, C. 1400-1750, edited by Roderich Ptak and Dietmar Rothermund (Stuttgart: 1991). For a global view, see Alan Smith, Creating a World Economy: Merchant Capital, Colonialism and World Trade, 1400-1825 (Boulder: 1991)
Most work on early modernity concerns connections between world trade and the agrarian interior. The linkages between overseas traders and port city hinterlands are best documented, which imparts a distinctive historical identity to the coastal regions. See Sinnappah Arasaratnam, Indians in Malaysia and Singapore (Kuala Lumpur: 1979), Merchants, companies and commerce on the Coromandel coast, 1650-1740 (Delhi: 1986), Ceylon and the Dutch, 1600-1800: external influences and internal change in early modern Sri Lanka (Brookfield: 1996), Maritime India in the seventeenth century (Delhi: 1994), Maritime trade, society and European influence in South Asia, 1600-1800 (Brookfield: 1995), and Masulipatnam and Cambay: a history of two port-towns,1500- 1800 (New Delhi: 1994); Ashin Das Gupta, Indian merchants and the decline of Surat: c. 1700-1750 (Wiesbaden: 1977) and Merchants of maritime India, 1500-1800 (Brookfield: 1994); Ashin Das Gupta and M.N. Pearson, editors, India and the Indian Ocean: 1500-1800 (Calcutta: 1987); Indu Banga, editor, Ports and their hinterlands in India, 1700-1950 (New Delhi: 1992); and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500-1650 (Cambridge: 1990), and "Rural Industry and Commercial Agriculture in Late 17th Century South Eastern India," Past and Present 126, 1990: 76-114. On the overland trade, Stephen F. Dale, Indian Merchants and Eurasian Trade, 1600-1750 (Cambridge: 1994).
Networks connecting agrarian regions with the world economy over centuries before 1800 are explored in Baskarjyoti Basu, "The Trading World of the Southern Coromandel and the Crisis of the 1730s,” in Proceedings of the Indian Historical Congress, 1981, 332-39; Stephen P. Blake, "The Urban Economy in Premodern Muslim India: Shahjahanabad, 1639-1739." Modern Asian Studies 21, 3, 1987: 447-72; R.Champakalakshmi, Trade, ideology, and urbanization : South India 300 BC to AD 1300 (Delhi: 1996); V.K. Chavda, editor, Studies in trade and urbanisation in Western India (Baroda: 1985); Stewart Gordon, "Buhanpur: Entrepot and Hinterland, 1650-1750." The Indian Economic and Social History Review 25, no. 4 (1988): 425-42; Grover, B. R. "An Integrated Pattern of Commercial Life in the Rural Society of North India During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" (Proceedings of the 37th Session of Indian Historical Records Commission, 1966, Vol.37), reprinted in Subrahmanyam, Money and the Market in India, pp.219-55; Frank Perlin, Invisible City: Monetary, Administrative, and Popular Infrastructures in Asia and Europe, 1500-1900 (Aldershot: 1993), and Unbroken Landscape: Commodity, Category, Sign and Identity: Their Production As Myth and Knowledge From 1500 (Alderhsot: 1994); Prasannan Parthasarathy, “Weavers, Merchants and States: The South Indian Textile Industry, 1680-1800,” PhD dissertation, Harvard University, 1992, and “Rethinking Backwardness in the Eighteenth Century: Wages and Competitiveness in Britain and South India Before the Industrial Revolution, Past and Present, 1997; John R. Richards, editor, Precious Metals in the Later Medieval and Early Modern Worlds (Durham: 1983); Sanjay Subrahmanyam, editor, Merchants, Markets, and the State in Early Modern India (Delhi: 1990); Sanjay Subrahmanyam and C. A. Bayly. "Portfolio Capitalists and the Political Economy of Early Modern India," The Indian Economic and Social History Review 25, 4, 1988: 401-24; and Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System III; The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World -Economy, 1730-1840s (San Diego: 1989).
Regional histories tend to focus on political territory, but some also indicate the complexity of linkages between the agrarian interior and the world economy. Bernard S. Cohn provides a good framework for regional history in three essays that are reprinted in An Anthropologist among the Historians and Other Essays (Delhi: 1990): “Neworks and Centres in the Integration of Indian Civilization” (pp.78-87), “Regions Subjective and Objective: Their Relation to the Study of Modern Indian History and Society” (pp.100-136), and “Political Systems in Eighteenth-Century India: The Benares Region (pp.483-500).
Important regional histories, which substantiate early modern conditions, include the studies of Rajasthan, cited above; Indu Banga, Agrarian System of the Sikhs: Late 18th and Early 19th Century (New Delhi: 1978); Vasant Kumar Bawa. The Nizam Between Mughals and British: Hyderabad Under Salar Jang I (New Delhi: 1986); Philip B. Calkins, "The Formation of a Regionally Oriented Ruling Group in Bengal, 1700-1740," Journal of Asian Studies 29, 4, 1970: 799-806; Satish Chandra, The Eighteenth Century in India: Its Economy and the Role of the Marathas, the Jats, the Sikhs and the Afghans (Calcutta: 1986); Kumkum Chatterjee, Merchants, Politics and Society in Early Modern India: Bihar, 1733-1820 (Leiden: 1996); S.D.S.Charak,. Maharaja Ranjitdev and the Rise and Fall of Jammu Kingdom, From 1700 A.D. to 1820 (Pathankot: 1971); Sushil Chaudhuri, Trade and Commercial Organization in Bengal, 1650-1720 (Calcutta: 1975); A.I. Chicherov, Indian Economic Development in the 16th-18th Centuries: An Outline History of Crafts and Trade (Moscow: 1971); M.H. Gopal, Tipu Sultan's Mysore: an Economic Study (Bombay: 1971); S. Gopal, Commerce and Crafts in Gujarat, 16th and 17th Centuries; A Study in the Impact of European Expansion of Precapitalist Economy (New Delhi: 1975); Kenneth R. Hall, "Peasant State and Society in Chola Times: A View From the Tiruvidaimarudur Urban Complex." The Indian Economic and Social History Review 18, no. 3-4 (1981): 343-410, and "Price-Making and Market Hierarchy in Early Medieval South India ," in Subrahmanyam, Money and the Market in India, pp.57-84); A.P. Ibrahim Kunju, Rise of Travancore: a Study of the Life and Times of Martanda Varma (Trivandrum: 1976); Karen Leonard, "The 'Great-Firm' Theory of the Decline of the Mughal Empire," in Comparative Studies in Society and History 21, 2, 1979: 151-67, and "The Hyderabad Political System and Its Participants." Journal of Asian Studies 30, 3, 1971: 569-82; R. Mishra, History of Purnea, 1722-1793 (Calcutta: 1978), S.G. Mishra, History of Bihar, 1740-1772 (New Delhi: 1970); M.N.Pearson, Merchant and Rulers in Gujarat: The Response to the Portugese in the 16th C. (Berkeley: 1976), A.J. Qaisar, The Indian Response to European Technology and Culture, (AD 1498-1707) (Delhi: 1982); and Veena Sachdeva, Polity and Economy of the Punjab During the Late Eighteenth Century (New Delhi: 1993).
Pre-modern urbanism has its own literature. To begin, I recommend Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, "Urban Centers in Early Medieval India: An Overview," in Bhattacharya and Thapar, Situating Indian History, pp.8-33. For case studies, see Kenneth Ballhatchet and John Harrison, editors, The City in South Asia: Premodern and Modern (London: 1980); Indu Banga, editor, The City in Indian history: urban demography, society, and politics (New Delhi: 1991); Stephen P. Blake, Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India (Cambridge: 1991); R.E. Frykenberg, editor, Delhi through the ages: essays in urban history, culture, and society (Delhi: 1986); Kenneth Gillion, Ahmedabad; a study in Indian urban history (Berkeley: 1968); Balkrishna Govind Gokhale, Surat in the seventeenth century: a study of urban history of pre-modern India (London:1979) and Poona in the eighteenth century: an urban history (Delhi: 1988); J.S. Grewal & Indu Banga, editors, Studies in urban history (Amritsar: 1981); Ishwar Prakash Gupta, Urban glimpses of Mughal India: Agra, the imperial capital, 16th & 17th centuries (Delhi: 1986); Gavin Hambly, The Cities of Mughal India (New York: 1968); Kalpana Jha, Urbanisation in early medieval north India: an analysis of the Samaraichchakaha (Patna: 1990); Om Prakash Prasad, Decay and revival of urban centres in medieval South India: c. A.D. 600-1200 (New Delhi: 1989); Hameeda Khatoon Naqvi, Urban centres and industries in upper India, 1556-1803 (Bombay: c1968), Urbanisation and urban centres under the great Mughals, 1556-1707, an essay in interpretation (Simla: c1972), and Mughal Hindustan, cities and industries, 1556-1803 (Karachi: 1974); K.T.S. Sarao, Urban centres and urbanisation as reflected in the Pali Vinaya and Sutta pitakas (Delhi: 1990); R.S. Sharma, Urban decay in India (c.300-c.1000) (New Delhi: 1987); K.V. Soundara Rajan, Mechanics of city & village in ancient India (Delhi: 1986); Vijay Kumar Thakur, Urbanisation in ancient India (New Delhi: 1981); T.K. Venkata Subramanian, Environment and urbanisation in early Tamilakam (Thanjavur: 1988); Harish Chandra Verma, Dynamics of urban life in pre-Mughal India (New Delhi: 1986);
My discussion of early modern trends in this volume draws heavily on my own publications: "Archaic Formations of Agricultural Knowledge in South India," in Peter Robb, Meanings of Agriculture, pp. 35-70; “Caste and Political Economy in Early-Modern South India: The Case of Tinnevelly District,” in Stein and Subrahmanyam, Institutions and Economic Change, pp.105-133; "Urbanism and Early Modernity in The Tirunelveli Region," Bengal Past and Present, 114, 218-219, 1995: 9-40; "Patriarchy and History in South Asia: Three Interpretive Experiments," Calcutta Historical Journal, 17, 2, 1995, 1-18; "Orientalist Empiricism and Transformations of Colonial Knowledge, in Breckenridge and van der Veer, Orientalism and The Post Colonial Predicament, pp.250-78; "India's Development Regime," in Dirks, Colonialism and Culture, pp.247 87; "World Economy and Village India, 1600 1900: Exploring the Agrarian History of Capitalism," in Sugata Bose, South Asia and World Capitalism, pp.159 77; "Craft Production in an Agrarian Economy, India, 1750 1900," in Michael Meister, editor, Making Things in South Asia, Philadelphia, 1989, pp.103 13; "Asiatic States and Agrarian Economies: Agrarian Commercialism in South India, 1700 1850," Calcutta Historical Journal, 13, 1 2, 1989: 112 137; and "Agrarian Commercialism in Eighteenth Century South India: Evidence from the 1823 Tirunelveli Census," Indian Economic and Social History Review, 25, 4, 1988: 493 519, reprinted in Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Merchants, Markets and the State, pp.215 241. I have also used “The Economy of the Ceded Districts, 1800 1828,” an unpublished manuscript by Sourindranath Roy.