For the past twenty years, the issue of Indian kingship has attracted the attention of many historians, including Burton Stein and Hermann Kulke. The 'segmentary' state theory put forward by Stein opened the way for introducing anthropological analysis into the Indian state studies by taking up the 'ritual' sovereignty for discussion. Nicholas Dirks and others have joined the discussion creating a lively polemic on the Indian kingship. the main thrust of their study seems to revive A.M. Hocart, who placed the king at the pinnacle of society in terms of the gift-giving and receiving system, by criticising Louis Dumont for his subordinating the king to Brahmins in terms of the pure/ impure opposition. These recent historico-anthropological or ethno-historical studies have added to our knowledge on Indian kingship and advanced the study of Indian state and society. this collection of nine essays by Japanese scholars is expected to contribute notably through its provision of empirical explorations in conjunction with added stimulus for impelling inquiry into the recent polemics concerning the Indian kingship.
About the Author:
NOBORU KARASHIMA is Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo and Professor of Indian Studies at Taisho University. He served as the President of the Epigraphical Society of India in 1985 and is currently President of the International Association of Tamil REsearch and of the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies. In 1995 he was awarded the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize.