Class and Religion in Ancient India

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Anthem Press, 2007 - History - 256 pages
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A fascinating read for scholars and general readers alike, Class and Religion in Ancient India' highlights the interdependence between the class structure and the Vedic and Brahmanical form of religion in ancient India. It seeks to demolish the myth that religiosity and spirituality were the distinctive characteristics of ancient Indian civilization. The author demonstrates that religion was a superstructure of class relations used primarily by the ruling class and the state to perpetuate a predatory class structure based on exploitation and oppression. Buddhism, foreign immigrant communities, Atheist-rationalist philosophies and the rise of Shudra dynasties threatened to destabilize the class-caste structure that had come into existence in the late Rig Vedic period. However, the Brahmanical revival led by the ruling class and the state from the second century B.C. restored the Vedic religion and the class-caste structure in a slightly modified form. A thorough analysis of the Vedas and Upanishads, Manusmriti, Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas has been attempted in the context of the relevant period.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER
4
CHAPTER
9
CHAPTER 2
51
CHAPTER 3
91
CLASS DYNAMICS TIME CYCLES AND AVATAR
135
CHAPTER 5
183
BIBLIOGRAPHY
229
INDEX
237
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About the author (2007)

Jayantanuja Bandyopadhyaya is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Jadavpur University (JU), Kolkata. He has published extensively in both English and Bengali on political theory, international relations and Indology.  His recent English publications are A General Theory of Foreign Policy (Allied Publishers, 2005) and World Government for International Democracy and Justice (Manuscript India, 2003).  

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