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By Sugata Bose, Ayesha Jalal

The South Asian subcontinent is domestic to almost one billion humans and has been the location of fierce historic contestation. it's a panoply of languages and religions with a wealthy and intricate heritage and culture.
Drawing at the most up-to-date and so much refined old study and scholarship within the box, Modern South Asia is written in an available kind for all people with an highbrow interest in regards to the sector. After sketching the pre-modern historical past of the subcontinent, the e-book concentrates at the final 3 centuries from c.1700 to the current. together written via best Indian and Pakistani historians, it bargains a unprecedented intensity of ancient knowing of the politics, cultures and economies that form the lives of greater than a 5th of humanity.

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MODERNITY AND ANTIQUITY 19 Asia, as well as the quiet and peaceful assertion of Indian cultural influence in places like modern-day Thailand and Kampuchea. The process of empire building from the Magadhan base was renewed by the Gupta dynasty which lasted from AD 320 to the early decades of the sixth century. The early emperors, Chandragupta I and Samudragupta, undertook the conquests while the consolidation of the empire and the major cultural achievements took place during the reign of Chandragupta II.

For example, Richard Eaton’s portrayal of Bengali peasants as a ‘single undifferentiated mass’ with a uniform ‘folk culture’ neatly erases the problem of difference. With the major historiographical challenge conveniently out of the way, a fanciful cultural argument can then be erected on quicksand-like material evidence from Bengal’s agrarian frontier. Any historical interpretation of the spread of Islam in the subcontinent needs to be attentive to regional specificities in the domains of economy and culture as well as the great variety of Muslims — Turks, Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Afghan, and so on — who came from abroad.

The early views of Mughal despotism emphasized material factors as much as ideological ones. The Mughal state was said to extract huge amounts of revenue from the agrarian sector. The proportion most commonly mentioned by generations of economic historians until very recently was forty per cent, or the entire moveable surplus. There can be little doubt that, as in other contemporary agrarian empires, the revenue demand on the peasantry was high, perhaps as much as a third of the product. But recent research suggests that the Mughals did not deploy a centralized bureaucratic administration as an engine to pump out revenues from villages.

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