Coromandel Trade in Early South India- An Archaeological Perspective (With Special Reference to Tamil Nadu UP to Circa 12th Century AD)
|Author:||Vikas K. Verma|
|Publisher:||Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi|
|Pages:||330 (Throughout Color and B/w Illustrations with Maps)|
|Other Details||11.00x9.00 inch|
My interest to view our past from the archaeological perspective was inspired by the works of many scholars in the field. This attempt of revisiting ancient Tamil region in order to perceive trade practices of the Tamils with a fresh perspective encountered many challenges. The study is primarily based on the archaeological sources gathered from the present day sites of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry (Pondicherry). However, the corroboration of literary sources also forms a part of this exercise at points where sufficient evidence was not available. I was fortunate to benefit from the subject expertise of Professor Chattopadhyay, I also received valuable insights from Professor Venkatasubramanian in regard to situating the issues in the context of south India which imparted clarity to my thoughts and arguments. The undertaking and execution of this kind of work requires support at many fronts. Invaluable inputs were also drawn from the interaction with Professor Dilip. K. Chakrabarti, Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University.
This study presents the networks of internal and external trade on the Coromandel Coast with special reference to the Tamil region up to the 12 century AD. Although there is no dearth of scholarship on this theme, the present attempt differs from earlier endeavours in terms of its perspective. It moves beyond the confines of coastal or metropolitan centres and depicts the significance of satellite or inland centres in the development of the trade networks. It also offers a new paradigm to observe the trade pattern in the region contrary to the hypothesis reflecting the decline of trade and process of de-urbanisation as a result of the contraction of Roman contacts. The evidences, on the other hand, suggest the continuation of trading activities and emergence of new centres with shift in focus of trade towards South-East Asia, Sri Lanka and China. Revisiting earlier postulations in this regard, therefore, becomes essential. The approach employed in this study also demonstrates a shift from the predominance of observing south India with the perspective of the historical developments in the northern region of India.
The history of the settlements in coastal regions of eastern and southern India is significant on account of its antiquity. The region along with its hinterland like the Deccan plateau and Gondwana blocks of peninsular India is one of the oldest inhabited regions of the world. Its prehistory and the contacts with neighbouring regions are important constituents of research. The importance of this part is largely shaped, among other factors, by its hinterland and foreland. Scholars have already made us conscious about the unity between the land and the sea by their researches. Thus, the history of the sea cannot be separated from that of the lands surrounding it like the clay cannot be separated from the hands of the potter who shapes it.
The mutually appropriative movement of goods between hands is referred to as trade. One can observe this movement within contiguous social units (internal trade) or between groups across cultural boundaries (external trade). This can further be broadly categorized into gift trade administered trade and market trade.
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