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A History of Indian Culture

N. Jayapalan, Atlantic, 2001, x, 397 p, ISBN : 817156982X, $39.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A History of Indian Culture/N. Jayapalan

Contents: Preface. 1. The meaning of history. 2. Culture. 3. The discovery of ancient India. 4. The Harappa culture. 5. The culture of the Vedic Aryans. 6. Political life and thought in ancient India. 7. Social organisation in ancient India. 8. Life in ancient India. 9. Religion in ancient India. 10. Jainism and Buddhism. 11. Popular Hinduism. 12. Early Christianity in India. 13. The arts in ancient India. 14. Language and literature in ancient India. 15. Impact of Islam on India. 16. Impact of the West on India. 17. India’s contribution to world culture. 18. Social reform movements in the second half of the 19 century. 19. Impact of the British on Indian economy. 20. Indianisation of architecture, painting, music and dancing. Index.

"This book delves deeply into the major cultural streams that made an impact on India during the ancient and modern times. The cultural spheres created by Harappans, Aryans, Jainism, Buddhism, early Christianity, Islamic invaders and the West have been discussed with amazing finesse. The resultant culture of the Indian subcontinent was an amalgamation of these vital cultural components.

India’s contribution to world culture has been discussed with reference to Buddhism and India’s cultural impact on the European culture. The stalwarts of social reform movements made their contributions during the second half of the nineteenth century. Their biographies and key activities have been discussed, which proved to be decisive while shaping the cultural edifice of India.

The fag end of the volume deals with the impact of the British rule on Indian economy. The chapter devoted to this topic delineates how agriculture was commercialized and handicraft industries were systematically demolished by foreign rulers. The growth of modern industrial and capitalist class paved the way for a new culture that defied the British rule and supported the independence movement.

The last few pages of the book discuss various facets of Indianisation of architecture, painting, music and dance forms. The author has discussed each topic with an excellent style that has been supported by facts. The resultant culture of the Indian subcontinent was an amalgamation of all these cultural components.

The book is a must for the bookshelves of students and lovers of Indian history and culture." (jacket)

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