Cultural Pasts collects essays on a range of subjects in early Indian history. Its focus is on historiography and the changing dimensions of social and cultural history. The essays are divided into nine thematic groups: historiography, both current and from earlier periods; social and cultural transactions; archaeology and history; pre-Mauryan and Mauryan India; forms of exchange; the society of the heroes in the epics and the later tradition of venerating the hero; genealogies and origin myths as historical sources; the social context of the renouncer; and the past in the present--the use of the early past in current ideologies.
Scholars and students of early Indian history, as well as general readers interested in the culture and history of ancient India.
is a Professor Emeritus of History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has researched and written extensively on early Indian history including its historiography— both as written in those times and as in the present. In 2008 she was awarded the John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity.