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A History of India, Third edition


A History of India presents the grand sweep of Indian history from antiquity to the present in a compact and readable survey. This new edition has been thoroughly revised, containing extensive new research and material, as well as an updated preface, bibliography, chronology and index.

The authors examine the major political, economic, social and cultural forces which have shaped the history of the Indian subcontinent. This classic text is an authoritative and detailed account which emphasises and analyses the structural pattern of Indian history.

Hermann Kulke holds the chair in Asian History at the University of Kiel. Dietmar Rothermund is Professor and Head of History at the South Asian Institute, University of Heidelberg.

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India’s history is the fascinating epic of a great civilisation. It is a history of amazing cultural continuity which has reasserted itself again and again. Today it is the history of one-fifth of mankind which is, therefore, of importance to all of us. Both Indian and foreign historians have been attracted by this great theme and each generation has produced its own histories of India. Several histories of India have been written in recent times, thus the authors of the present volume may be asked why they have dared to publish yet another account of Indian history. First of all research in Indian history to which both authors have contributed in their own way is progressing rapidly and an adequate synthesis is needed at more frequent intervals which reflects the current state of knowledge and stimulates further inquiries. This kind of up-to-date synthesis the authors hope to have provided here. Furthermore, Indian history from antiquity to the present is such an enormous subject that it requires more than one author to cope with it. Consequently many surveys of Indian history have been presented by teams of authors, but these authors rarely have had the benefit of working together in the same department discussing problems of Indian history for many years. This has been the good fortune of the present authors who have worked together at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University for nearly twenty years. In the late 1970s they first embarked on this joint venture at the request of a German publisher. The German edition of this volume was published in 1982. The first English edition was published by David Croom of Croom Helm, London, in 1986. Subsequently the rights were acquired by Routledge, London, and ever since the Routledge editorial team has been helpful in bringing out several new editions of this text which seem to have attracted many readers. Inspired by this interest in their work the authors have prepared this thoroughly revised edition in January 1997. They updated the text not only with regard to recent history, they also tried to take into account all major new publications in the field so as to reflect the state of the art in historical research.

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