Mirza Firuz Shah
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HAR-ANANDPUBLICATIONS PVT LTD
Royal Mughal Ref:
This work has been in the offing for a long time. During the past several years, friends, both within the country and outside, have been asking me to write a book on Medieval India which would bring together recent thinking and research on the subject, and could be of use both to the general readers and to the students. However, 1 could not get down to the work in real earnest till I had finished my third trilogy, Historiography, Religion and State in Medieval India (1996); the two earlier ones being Medieval India: Society, Jagirdari Crisis and the Village (1982), and Mughal Religions Policies, the Rajputs and the Deccan (1993),
The present work covers only the Sultanat period from 1206 to 1526. I have adopted the traditional division, but have tried to bring out the continuities so that the self-imposed demarcation of periods does not affect an understanding of the broader movement of history.
The present book would hardly have been possible without the friendly, prompting and personal interest of Shri Narendra Kumar, Chairman, Har-Anand Publications Pvt Ltd.
Medieval India refers to a long period of the history of the Indian subcontinent between the ancient period" and "modern period". It encompasses the 6th to the 16th centuries.
The start of the period is typically taken to be the slow collapse of the Gupta Empire from
about 480 to 550, ending the "classical" period, as well as "ancient India", Although both these terms may be used for periods with widely different dates, especially in specialised fields such as the history of art or religion. Another alternative for the preceding period is "Early Historical" strectching "from the sixth century BC to the sixth century AD", according to Romila Thapar.
At least in northern India, there was no larger state until the Delhi Sultanate, or certainly the Mughal Empire, but there were several different dynasties ruling large areas for long periods, as well as many other dynasties ruling smaller areas, often paying some form of tribute to larger states. John Keay puts the typical number of dynasties within the subcontinent at any one time at between 20 and 40, not including local rajas.
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