The present work is an attempt to delineate
the emergence and early evolution of
Indian society. The cultural history of India
goes back to pre-historic times when
numerous races entered this region one
after another leading to the formation of a
multiracial society. Its picture had become
quite clear by the beginning of the medieval
period of our history. This work not only
seeks to discuss the emergence of various
social institutions but also throws light on
such problems as the formation of social
values and ideals, conflict of pravrtti and
nivrtti ideals, role of Upanishads as a link
between Vedic and Sramanic ideologies,
etc. It throws light on the condition of
various Indian social groups such as
ascetics and social institutions such as
slavery as seen by the Greek visitors. Social
factors in the decline of Buddhism,
chronology of the Dharmasastra texts, social
and ideological factors in the emergence of
Pauranika Hinduism, social philosophy of
the Pauranika religion, Tantrika religion
as a factor of social change, social
significance of the medieval Bhakti
movement, problems of the equality of
sexes in Indian society, Manu on woman's
place in society, social justice in India and
the history of Hindu law as social history of
the country are some of the other problems
discussed herein by the author. It is hoped
that it will be received enthusiastically by
scholars and students of both history and
Professor S.R. Goyal is the retired Professor
and Head, Department of History, J.N.V.
University, Jodhpur. Described as 'one of the
five best recent historians of ancient India' by
Professor David N. Lorenzen, the great Mexian
Orientalist, Professor Goyal combines all the
qualities associated with scientific scholarship.
He has authored more than forty-five
voluminous works and over 170 research
papers which cover so diverse fields as political
history, religious history, literature,
biographies, numismatics and epigraphy. He
was honoured with the General President ship
of the Silver Jubilee Congress of the
Epigraphical Society of India held at Udupi in
April, 1999 and was elected the Honorary
Fellow of the Society. In 2006 he became the
General President of the 90th Annual
Conference of the Numismatic Society of India
held at Santiniketan, West Bengal. He was also
invited to be the General President of the 2006
Annual Session of the Indian History and
Culture Society held at Gwalior which he could
not accept because of the clash of dates.
His doctoral thesis, A History of the
Imperial Guptas (1967), was acclaimed as 'the
best analysis of the Gupta period which I have
ever read' by Professor A.L. Basham (National
Professor of Australia) and as 'imaginative',
'well-written' and 'a model of historiography'
by Professor Eleanor Zelliot (Minnesota,
U.S.A.). Among his other major works are
included a two volume study of ancient Indian
religions, a three volume study of Hinduism,
three corpus-like volumes on ancient Indian
inscriptions, a three volume study of ancient
Indian numismatics, two volumes respectively
on Kautilya and Megasthenes, a three volume
study of ancient Indian history in about two
thousand pages and four volumes on Great
Rulers of Ancient India Series.
Professor Goyal has so far been
honoured with several festschrifts, including
Reappraising Gupta History for SR. Goyal (ed.
Professor B. Ch. Chhabra et al) (1992), S R.
Goyal: His Multidimensional Historiography
(eds. Professor Jagannath Agrawal and Dr.
Shankar Goyal) (1992), a four volume
festschrift in about two thousand pages entitled
Reconstructing Indian History for SR. Goyal
(2003) and a two volume festschrift entitled
Investigating Indian Society (2013).
While the manuscript of the present work Birth and Early Growth of Indian Society was being finalized and typed, its author Professor S.R. Goyal, also my esteemed papa, gradually became sick, and, later on,
bedridden - he was running 84th year of his life at that time and was suffering from many old age ailments - and, eventually, passed away in the evening of 9th November, 2015, after a protracted illness of
about a year. But such was his devotion to our discipline that during this long depressive period he still managed to read carefully the entire manuscript and first proofs of this book but also finalized the manuscripts of his two other books Pauraniks Sects and Cults and A Comprehensive History of Hinduism. Professor Goyal was indeed a literary genius, an
institution by himself. In all he authored more than 45 voluminous works, mostly research monographs, and over 175 research papers which cover so diverse fields as political history, religious history, social
history, biographies, literature, numismatics and epigraphy. The sheer volume of his writings and the wide breadth of their coverage, not to speak of their high quality and originality, have greatly amazed his
contemporaries. It fills my heart with great pride when I discovered that he was described as a 'modern Ganesa' by Professor Lallanji Gopal and as "the one who has done more than the most of his age-group,
next, perhaps, only to R.C. Majumdar age-group scholars" by Dr. S.P. Gupta. Similar views on him have been expressed by many others time and again.
Here I do not intend to write about the contents of the book as it has already been highlighted by Professor Goyal himself. I only wish to put on record that I had promised papa just a couple of days before his
death that all his incomplete books shall be published at the earliest. In fact during his prolonged illness and the fastly deteriorating medical condition he often expressed his regret that he could not complete his
ongoing projects, including the current one. I assured him that I undertake to complete it as early as possible. And I have kept my promise. The publication of this book, therefore, is a first step forward towards my
undertaking. I have read the entire material twice or thrice with utmost care making some stylistic changes here and there and saw to it that the footnote numbers are mentioned at proper places in the text and full references to them are given. I have also prepared an exhaustive Bibliography and Index. The jacket covers of this monograph and other
two above mentioned books were printed last year when papa was alive. Still, the credit for the successful completion of this project, whatever the degree of success, goes not to me but to His grace. His other
unfinished works are also being completed fast and shall appear soon.
The present work seeks to throw light on the emergence and early evolution of Indian society. Geographically and culturally India is a vast region which includes all the countries of the Indian sub-continent. Its cultural history goes back to pre-historic times when numerous races entered this region one after another. This process resulted in the formation of a multiracial society and intermingling of various cultural elements. This is one of the basic themes of the history of Indian society which the present work seeks to delineate as much as possible chronologically upto the end of the ancient period, leaving later problems of Indian social history for another volume.
This volume is the result of constant goading by Mrs. Chitra Goyal, my putra vadhu, wife of my dear son Dr. Shankar Goyal. She is not only an ideal daughter-in-law but also a devoted wife and an ideal mother
which is reflected in her deep affection for her two daughters Meghna and Akshara. I wish her a very very happy long life. The role of my elder grand daughter Meghna in the preparation of this volume is also praiseworthy, for being a student of History she
rendered me academic help whenever I felt the need of it. My younger grand daughter Akshara, of course, always made my old age travails lighter by her brilliant smiles. I wish He will shower His blessings on both of them unreservedly.
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