The History and Culture of the Indian People

The History and Culture of the Indian People

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The History and Culture of the Indian People is a series of eleven volumes on the history of India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, from prehistoric times to the establishment of the modern state in 1947. Historian R.C. Majumdar was the general editor of the series, as well as a major contributor. The entire work took 26 years to complete. The set was published in India by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai.

The volume titles are as follows:
  • Volume 1: The Vedic Age [Prehistory to 600 B.C.]
  • Volume 2: The Age of Imperial Unity [600 B.C. to 320 A.D.]
  • Volume 3: The Classical Age [320-750 A.D.]
  • Volume 4: The Age of Imperial Kanauj [750-1000 A.D.]
  • Volume 5: The Struggle for Empire [1000-1300 A.D.]
  • Volume 6: The Delhi Sultanate [1300-1526]
  • Volume 7: The Mughul Empire [1526-1707]
  • Volume 8: The Maratha Supremacy [1707-1818]
  • Volume 9: British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance, Part 1 [1818-1905]
  • Volume 10: British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance, Part 2 [1818-1905]
  • Volume 11: Struggle for Freedom [1905-1947]

An overview

The first volume (1951) is about the Vedic period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

. It has 27 chapters by 11 contributors. Three chapters and part of a fourth were written by R.C. Majumdar. Other contributors to the first volume are V.M. Apte, A.D. Puslker and B.K. Gosh. The volume discusses the archaeology, geology, flora, fauna and other aspects of this period. It includes a chapter on the palaeolithic, neolithic and copper ages by H.D. Sankalia.

The sixth volume (1960) is on the sultanate period of medieval India. This volume consists of 19 chapters by 19 contributors. Six chapters and parts of four other chapters were written by R.C. Majumdar. Other significant contributors to this volume are S.Roy, A.K. Majumdar, P.M. Joshi, N. Venkataramanya, S.K. Chatterjee and S.K. Saraswati.

The seventh volume (1974) is on the Mughal era
Mughal era
The Mughal era is a historic period of the Mughal Empire in South Asia . It ran from the early 15th century to a point in the early 18th century when the Mughal Emperors' power had dwindled...

. This volume has 24 chapters by 28 contributors. Only parts of two chapters were written by R.C. Majumdar. The most significant contributors to this volume are J.N. Chaudhuri, G.S. Sardesai, A.L. Srivastava, Abdur Rashid and S. Roy.


Historian John Keay
John Keay
John Keay is an English journalist and author specialising in writing popular histories about India and the Far East, often with a particular focus on their colonisation and exploration by Europeans.-Life and career:...

 describes the work as :
Upon the appearance of the first volume in the series, in a review in the Isis
Isis (journal)
Isis is an academic journal published by University of Chicago Press. It focuses on the history of science, history of medicine, and the history of technology, as well as their cultural influences, featuring both original research articles as well as extensive book reviews and review essays.It was...

 journal M.F. Ashley Montagu
Ashley Montagu
Montague Francis Ashley Montagu was a British-American anthropologist and humanist, of Jewish ancestry, who popularized topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development...

described it as:

"...the first volume of the first genuine history of India.... [and that it] is likely to remain for many generations the most important of all histories of India, and, indeed, renders all others obsolete if not superfluous.

Further reading

  • R.C. Majumdar (general editor) and A.D. Pusalker (assistant editor). The History and Culture of the Indian People. Bombay [Mumbai], Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1951.