This volume is rooted in my Colonial Indology: Sociopolitics of the Ancient Indian Past
(1997) and demonstrates in the context of Indian archaeology how the grip of "colonial
Indology" is still an intellectual force cutting across the national boundaries. Among the
archaeologists at least this trend of thought has been more visible in the post-1947 period
than in period preceding it. This book also shows how the various current debates regarding
Indian archaeology and ancient history end up by being an issue of "progress versus
reaction" or "secularism versus communalism" and how such assertions are only a reflection
of the political expediency of the concerned scholars.
In its quest to underline the various sociopolitical subtexts of opinions in the
field of modern Indian archaeology, the book clearly focuses on how these opinions have
taken birth and evolved and what exactly is their academic basis. Unless we are aware of the
socio-political ramifications of our archaeological opinions, it is unlikely that we shall
be able to form our own conclusions about them.
This book was written in September-December of 2006, and I am deeply thankful to Dr.
Rakesh Tewari and Professor Nayanjot Lahiri for kindly going through the manuscript and
offering suggestions. The responsibility of all shortcomings rests with me. I am especially
indebted to my colleague Dr. Cameron Petrie who kindly procured for me a copy of S.K.
Chatterji's Modern Review article. It is dedicated to my wife and daughter, both of whom
have always striven hard to make my academic life smooth and even. My daughter also took
upon herself the duty of taking down my field dictations and doing photography in the
From the Jacket
A number of issues regarding the study of ancient India have recently emerged in the public
domain. The most important of them are the Sarasvati Project, Aryan invasion theory, the
textbook controversy in India and California and the language of the Indus civilization. The
intensity of debate on each of these issues is reminiscent of religious clashes. Much of
this debate is also not limited to professional historians and archaeologists. The mass of
data and opinions, which are currently available on the internet and have frequently been
published in the media, can no longer be ignored by anybody interested in ancient India.
Some professional analysis of this development has long been called for. This book is in
response to this need. It first states the author's position on each of these issues, but
more importantly, critically examines their rationale. By studying the socio-political
implications of some of the current assumption of Indian archaeology and by noting their
associations with different scholars and scholarly groups, it demonstrates that even the
apparently remote conclusions about India's prehistoric, protohistoric and early historic
past have sub-texts of various kinds and that these sub-texts have different socio-political
implications and agendas.
Dilip K. Chakrabarti is Professor of South Asian Archaeology in the
Department of Archaeology of Cambridge University. He has been awarded D.Litt. (Honoris
Causa) by M.J.P. Rohilkhand University, Bareilly, where he delivered the University's
Convocation Address in 2006. The Asiatic Society (Calcutta) awarded him its S.C. Chakrabarti
Memorial Medal in 2007.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend