Epigraphical Study of Tamil Villages

Recent publication by Noboru Karashima

A new article by Noboru Karashima  “Epigraphical Study of Ancient and Medieval Villages in the Tamil Country” was recently published in Review of Agrarian Studies, Volume 1, Number 2 (July-December, 2011).

Abstract: In­scrip­tions on stones or cop­per-plates, which occur in sub­stan­tial num­bers, are the basic source-ma­te­r­ial for the an­cient and me­dieval his­tory of India, as much of India lacks his­tory books com­piled in these pe­ri­ods. For pre-mod­ern vil­lage stud­ies as well, there­fore, we have to de­pend on in­scrip­tions.

In this paper I ex­plain how the re­mains of in­scrip­tions can be used for vil­lage stud­ies by re­fer­ring to my ex­am­i­na­tion of Tamil in­scrip­tions of the Chola pe­riod (10th to 13th cen­turies). Through their ex­am­i­na­tion I have at­tempted to clar­ify the changes that oc­curred in the land­hold­ing sys­tem in the mid­dle Chola pe­riod, and the great so­cial change and up­heaval that these rep­re­sented.

I also demon­strate the im­por­tance of sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis of in­scrip­tional data, of tech­niques that I in­tro­duced into this field of study. Many in­ter­est­ing and im­por­tant fea­tures of an­cient and me­dieval vil­lages can be known from in­scrip­tions, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion on vil­lage types, cul­ti­va­tion prac­tices, taxes on vil­lages, and the peo­ple who lived in the vil­lages.


The online version of the Review of Agrarian Studies is available for free at www.ras.org.in or www.reviewofagrarianstudies.org.

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