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Kalidasa and His Times (An Old And Rare Book)

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Item Code: UAQ181
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
Author: K.C. Jain
Language: English
Pages: 372
Other Details 9.80 X 7.50 inch
Weight 900 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

This work gives the history and culture of the time of Kalidasa who is regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist of India. The author does not rely upon the traditions which regard Kalidasa as the court poet of Vikramaditya, the founder of Vikrama era dated 57 B.C. These traditions seem to have twisted and tainted the actual facts. He has tried to co relate the cultural data of Kalidasa's works with the archaeological evidence for determining the age. Kalidasa app ears to be the court-poet of Chastana, the founder of Saka era dated 78 A.D. He was married to Vasanti, daughter of Bhimasukala, King of Varanasi, who may be identified with the Kushana Emperor Wim Kadphises. He was sent as ambassador to the kingdom of Kuntala who seems to be Kuntala Satakarni. He might have helped Hala in writing the Prakrit work Gāthāṣaptasati.

First, the author discusses the literary background of Kalidasa. Then, he examines the different theories relating to his date. It is followed by the sources, both direct and collateral for reconstructing the history and culture of Kalidasa. He belonged to Avanti but his exact birth place is not known. Somehow, he remained associated with Ujjain for considerable time. Facts about the life of the poet have been inferred from his words. Kalidasa appears to be of Saka nationality for the practice of assuming names ending with 'dasa' was prevalent during his time among the Sakas and the Abhiras. His works in chronological order have also been briefly described in the present volume. Geographical, social and economic conditions of the time of Kalidasa have been dealt with, so also the religion, art, education, literature and sciences of his time.

This study, written in a lucid and expressive style, is appended with Bibliography, Maps and Illustrations.


Kalidasa is rightly regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist of India. Indian poets, commentators and critics are lavish in their praises of Kalidasa. Even orientalists like William Jones, H.H. Wilson, Lassen, M. Williams and M. J Fche have assigned him high place among the poets of the world. He is placed along with Shakespeare, Dante and Goethe in world literature.

In spite of so much research on the poet, nothing is known about his date, birth place or life. Anecdotes and folklore grew round the personality of Kalidasa. Indian tradition asserts that nine rainas including Kalidasa lived in Ujjain in the Court of Vikramaditya who founded the Vikrama era of 57 B.C.

Scholars have propounded different theories regarding Kalidasa's date, birth place, life and the chronological order of his works. They have also published articles on Geography, Political ideas and institutions, Economic conditions, Social conditions. Fine Arts, Art and Architecture, Education and Sciences as depicted in the works of Kalidasa.

Besides these articles, independent works were written on Kalidasa from time to time. Kalidasa A Study was written by G.C, Jhala in 1919. K.S. Ramaswami Sastri is the author of Kalidasa-His Period, Personality and Poetry published in 1933. The author supports the Indian tradition that Kalidasa was the court poet of Vikramaditya of Ujjain the first century B.C. His discussion of Kalidasa's predecessors is exhaustive.

The main contribution of B.S. Upadhyaya is that he has collected the cultural data from the works of Kalidasa at one place in 'India and Kalidasa', but he has not been able to correlate it correctly. He is of the view that Kalidasa lived in the Gupta period, and considers Vikramaditya of Indian traditions to be Chandragupta II. D.R. Mankad in his work Kalidasa and the Guptas points out that Kalidasa belongs to the Gupta period because he refers to all the Gupta Kings through slesha in their names, actions, characters and compares the list of the Raghuvamsa with that of Gupta dynasty. His work is not based on actual facts.

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