Gujarat, situated in a strategic point on the Western Littoral, the presence of a large coastal belt and its related advantages has hastened the development of trade in this region. It has been a major attraction as a meeting point for the traders and foreigners alike who utilized and exploited its wealth. Gujarat being a torrid region, the merchants went out of their way to exchange goods which were not produced or available there. Thus barter system came into being within the village settlements, which was a distinct exchange. The new technologies brought about the surplus of the products which helped in trade and led to emergence of urban trade centers.
The book aims at providing regional perspective based on empirical studies of specific important cities within a socio-historical and cultural context highlighting many dimensions of trade for the growth of this region. It examines the aspects of industrial and mercantile activity along with character, composition and role of merchants in the society of Western India during 3rd century B.C. to 7th century A.D. This analysis of Western India trade facilitated us to understand the pattern of commercial activities in adjoining regions of the Indian subcontinent on one hand and the outside world on the other.
Dr. Sushmita Sen Pramanik is an Associate Professor at the Department of Archaeology &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Ancient History, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vodadara. She is specialized in Ancient Indian Archaeology, Numismatics &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Epigraphy, Art and Architecture.
In course of my student days and my teaching career in Gugarat, I was struck by the sharp and accurate knowledge of carrying out business by the people of Gujarat. This attracted attention to carry out this work about their long historical past, where archaeological evidences revealed many ancient marts and this region was thriving centre for trade and commerce among the locals and foreigners alike.
The goods which were not produced or available within one’s own locality were brought down from distant lands. The activity to satisfy human wants accounts for an extensive system of exchange between the inhabitants of different places. There existed both direct movement of goods, when an individual exchanged the goods manufactured locally, and indirect movements of goods, when the necessities used to be brought from other places. In the earliest settled societies, distribution was through sharing of agriculture produce with the labours and artisan by the farmers and form whom he obtained various services and implements.
Gujarat situated in a geographically strategic location, helped in the exchange of goods and service which was a basic requirement of economic activity from he ancient times. Thus barter system came into being within village settlements, which was a distinct exchange. The new technologies brought about the surplus of the products which helped in trade and led to emergence of urban trade centres.
I started this work under lat Dr. Sharda Srinivasan for whom I acknowledge my debt. I wish to express my deep sense of gratitude to Professor V.H. Sonawane, (Retd.Head), Department of Archaeology and ancient History, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, for his invaluable guidance and unfailing academic support throughout the course of this study, without which it would not have been possible to complete this work. I m truly grateful to him.
I deem it a pleasure o record my sincere thanks to Late Dr. Shashi Asthana , Director, National Museum, Delhi and Professor Late Prof R.N. Mehta, (retd.Head), The Maharaja Sayajirao Univeristy of Baroda who were enlightening and helpd me when my research was being carried out throughout my work. I gratefully acknowledge the helped rendered by Dr. S. Gorakshkar, Director, (retd), Prince of Wales Museum, by giving me invaluable suggestion at various stages of this research.
I also wish to thanks Professor N.C. Ghosh (retd) of Vishwabharti University, Shantiniketan, Dr. Devangna Desai, (retd) Prince Wales Museum, Bombay, Professor H.S. Thosar, (retd) Department of History, Elphiston College, Bombay and Dr. Chandrashekher Gupta (retd) Head, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Nagpur University, Nagpur, during various point in time of my research was being carried out.
I am grateful to Professor K.Krishnan, Head of the Department Archaeology and Ancient History. The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, for academic support and unvarying encouragement throughout my work. I am also indebted to Dr. Lily Srivastava, (retd) who encouraged and helped me throughout this work. Thanks are also due to all my colleagues especially Prof. K.K.Bhan, Dr. Preeti Panjwani &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Mr. Prathapa Chandran of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, for their kind help rendered during the course of my work.
I would like to thank authorities of the National Library, Calcutta, the authorities of Indian Museum Library, Kolkata, Ramkrishnamission Library, Kolkata, for permitting me use their libraries to carry out my work. Besides, a am also thankful to the Bombay University Library, Mumbai, the Librarian, Prince of Wales Museum Library, Mumbai and Mr. D. Barot, Museum Picture gallery, Baroda and The Smt.Hansa Mehta Library, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Baroda for allowing me to refer books and study.
I thank Shri A.S. Pawar (retd), Photographer, in the Department of Archaeology, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, for helping me in preparing the necessary illustration. I would like to thank Abha Tripathi, Baroda for helping me with my photographs.
I am highly grateful to Mr. Nainesh Thakor, for his constant encouragement about this work and to craft it into actuality. I am also thankful to Prof. Alok Tripathi of Assam University, Silchar who as a friend constantly encouraged me to publish my work.
I am thankful to my friend Mr. Sabyasachi Mukherji, Director, Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, Saji Thomas and Bhamini Mahida for his valuable suggestion at various stages of my study. I would like to acknowledge a number of friends especially Padma &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Sridhar Inala who were ever ready to take care of my son when ever a need arose and listened unwearyingly to all my problems.
I am thankful to my friend group ‘Srotoswini’ especially Dr. Juin Dutta and Jayati Ghoshal who keeps me coherent and grounded to carry out my work.
My grateful thanks are also due to Mr. I.I. Shiekh (Lalabhai) and Farzana, for typing my manuscripts.
I am highly obliged and grateful to my husband Mr. Ashok Pramanik and my son Dhritiman who irrespective of my irregularities and temperamental moments adjusted with me. I am also very grateful to both my brothers who always lent their ears at the time of my need &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; thankful to their families especially Shreya Sen my sister in law for their constant encouragement and keen moral support during the course of the whole work.
It is with great pleasure that I express my thanks to the Parimal Publications, New Delhi.
Gujarat, situated in a strategic point on the Western Littoral, the presence of a large coastal belt and its related advantages has hastened the development of trade in this region. It has been a major attraction as a meeting point for the traders and foreigners alike who utilized and exploited its wealth. Gujarat being a torrid region, the merchants went out of their way to exchange goods which were not produced or available there. Moreover the very geographical and physical features of this region brought about economic prosperity which in turn influenced the growth of trade.
The monetary system with proper weight standard and spread of Buddhism &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Jainism enabled trade to develop into a specialized social activity instead of non-specialized man-to-man relationship. The locally available specialized facilities and the crafts developed in this are helped in the expansion of the trade catalyzed by man’s desire to obtain and own new things. This expansion of trade led to the development of certain industrial and commercial centers. The merchants traded goods and they moved in caravans. These activities led to the establishment of certain fixed routes as and when the need arose. As the route developed, the halting establishments blossomed into commercial centers and were thronged by prosperous traders.
Production and consumptions are the two main activities of man. Both these activities depends upon their share of circulation. This exchange if goods led to the regional contacts which in turn led to mutual and cultural dissemination. Trades also regulated the influence on the human habit of this region. On exploration and excavation large number of antiquities unearthed, gives an indication of the importance of this area as a prosperous region of trade and commerce.
The earlier works covered a much wider scale in terms of geographical are and time span. Consequently, backed by field experience, it was decided to work on these aspects, in the geographical areas of Western India in general and those of Gujarat in particular, restricting the time bracket of 3rd century B.C. to 7th century A.D. Further some conclusions were based on literary evidences only whereas others concentrated on a particular cultural period restricting a time margin. Western India being the nuclear region for overseas as well as inland trade, offered the great potential to work out in detail, the various factors involved in its growth right from the Harappan times. It was long felt desideration to highlight various facets of trade in the light of recent discoveries incorporating both archaeological and literary sources. This exhaustive survey of a wide range of sources pertaining to Western India with specific reference to Gujarat is carried out in order to give a broader perspective to the study under analysis.
The present work aims at providing perspective based on empirical studies of specific important cities with in a socio historical and cultural context highlighting many dimensions of trade for the growth of this region. It examines the aspects of industrial and mercantile activity along with character, composition and role of merchants in the society of Western India during 3rd century B.C. to 7th century A.D. This analysis of Western India trade will help us to understand the pattern of commercial activities in adjoining regions of the Indian subcontinent on one hand and the outside world on the other.
Early historic period witnessed the emergence of hinterlands, marts, coastal, towns and ports. This region developed due to second urbanization. The expansion of the seat of politics like the Mauryans and the later dynasties in Pataliputra, their influence both in administration and trading network brought about overall development in this region.
Religion (Buddhism &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Jainism) too helped in the growth of trade in this region with a formalized system of beliefs and practices which played significant role in the process of transformation in the society and enabled a certain political authority to command influence. The religious centers played an important role in this development which was seen in the movement of goods and its layout in the trade and mercantile route.
This region emerged not only because of inner trade but also due to inner regional trade. The foreign trade in Western India has been viewed as a link in the long chain of mercantile activity. While doing so, the roles of the foreigners are also highlighted, who prominence, along with the role of merchants who acted as middlemen for exchange and distribution. Through the process of commodity exchange, they were able to amass wealth and there was an upswing in profitability in this region.
This study will give more emphasis on the organization and workings of guilds and merchants on the articles traded and the trade routes are traced with the help of archaeological finds and literacy sources.
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