Trade and Traders in Early Indian Society

1st Edition

Ranabir Chakravarti

July 7, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 328 Pages - 4 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367529789 - CAT# K465567

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Highlighting diverse types of market places and merchants, this book situates the commercial scenario of early India (up to c. ad 1300) in the overall agrarian material milieu of the subcontinent. The book questions the stereotypical narrative of early Indian trade as exchanges in small quantity, exotic, portable luxury items and strongly argues for the significance of trade in relatively inexpensive bulk commodities – including agrarian/floral products – at local and regional levels and also in long distance trade. That staple items had salience in the sea-borne trade of early India figures prominently in this book which points out that commercial exchanges touched the everyday life of a variety of people. A major feature of this work is the conspicuous thrust on and attention to the sea-borne commerce in the subcontinent. The history of Indic seafaring in the Indian Ocean finds a prominent place in this book pointing out the braided histories of overland and maritime networks in the subcontinent. In addition to three specific chapters on the maritime profile of early Bengal, the third edition of Trade and Traders in Early Indian Society offers two new chapters (14 and 15) on the commercial scenario of Gujarat, dealing respectively with an organization of merchants during the early sixth century ad and with the long-term linkages between money-circulation and overseas trade in Gujarat c. ad 500-1500). A new preface to the Third Edition discusses the emerging historiographical issues in the history of trade in early India. Rich in the interrogation of a wide variety of primary sources, the book analyses the changing perspectives on early Indian trade by taking into account the current literature on the subject.

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