South India underwent a process of tremendous social change in the period between the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. This was characterized by transformation of landholding and production systems; emergence of new jÃ¢tis; development of maritime trade, merchant guilds, and towns; and birth of new religious ideas and beliefs. Mapping this shift from ‘ancient' to ‘medieval', this volume offers a new understanding of the emergence of medieval state and social formation in south India.
Combining his fifty year experience of studying Tamil inscriptions with a nuanced historical rigour, Noboru Karashima rejects the ‘segmentary state' model as a category for understanding the Chola state. He argues that the Chola kings tried to build a centralized state apparatus taking control of the East—West trade which in turn triggered widespread social change. The author examines Chinese ceramic shreds recently discovered in south India and also translates the description of the Chola state in Chinese dynastic annals to present a new picture of the south Indian state.
The book also reviews debates surrounding land relations, caste, and commerce in south India and surveys the socio-political conditions leading to the establishment of the Vijayanagar rule.
Illustrated with maps and figures, it will be invaluable for scholars, teachers, and students of ancient and medieval south Indian history.
‘This collection brings together Karashima's analyses of societies and economies particularly of Chola times… It is in many ways an exemplar in using inscriptions for historical reconstruction. Apart from focusing on a valuable body of data, it also refers to many of the major debates on land relations, caste and commerce, three of the key factors in the change.'—Romila Thapar, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
'Karashima's recent essays are based on an in-depth analysis of inscriptions and throw a fresh light on the process of social and economic change in south India. The present collection will certainly add new dimensions to the on-going debate on periodization.... It [also] contains the first-ever English translation of the section of a fourteenth century Chinese text dealing with the kingdom of the Cholas.' —D.N. Jha, Former Professor of History, University of Delhi
Noboru Karashima Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo, Japan. He also serves as Professor Emeritus at the Taisho University, Japan. Former President of Epigraphical Society of India, he is currently the President of the International Association of Tamil Research. His publications include South Indian History and Society (Delhi, 1984); Towards a New Formation (Delhi, 1992); History and Society in South India (Delhi, 2001); A Concordance of Nayakas (Delhi, 2002).