Religion, State, and Society in Medieval India

Hasan, S. Nurul
Date published: 
July 2008

Written over the span of a lifetime, this collection of S. Nurul Hasan's essays (edited and introduced by Satish Chandra) covers a wide range of topics: historiography and new sources; state, religion, and the ruling class; and urban and rural life. The various essays demonstrate Hasan's varied interests and the evolution of his ideas on medieval Indian history. Satish Chandra's introduction familiarizes the reader with his personality, achievements, and monumental contribution to Indian history-writing. The section on historiography deals with the manner in which Indian history has been distorted, both in the past, by British imperial historians, and in more current times by Indian communal historians. It also raises the problem of nationalities in medieval India, once a subject of intense debate. Part II of the volume deals with the state, religion, and ruling classes. It offers a new interpretation of Akbar's religious views, and also includes a number of articles on the crucial role of zamindars in medieval India. There is also a well-researched essay on the theory of the Nur Jahan Junta. The third section of the book examines urban and rural life in the period and includes essays on agrarian production and prices of food grain in the territory of Amber. The final section looks at some important sources of late Mughal history, and also considers the Afghan-Mughal conflict.