This book attempts to reintegrate women into the socio-political milieu of early medieval Orissa. Its sources are inscriptions, mostly Sanskrit, that date from the seventh century to the end of the reign of the Imperial Ganga ruler, Anantavarman Codagangadeva (CE 1078-1147). The evidence indicates that royal and non-royal women had varying but undeniably important roles to play in the socio-political fabric of this prominent regional entity. The Bhauma-Kara dynasty (c. mid-eighth/ninth-late tenth century) that witnessed the rule of six women, four of them in succession, is a case in point. In addition, the palpable presence of several other royal and non-royal women is consistently documented in the epigraphic record. This is an aspect that has received very little attention in secondary works, thereby rendering this study a pioneering one.
The work follows on from Rangachari’s earlier Invisible Women, Visible Histories: Gender, Polity and Society in North India (7th to 12th century ad), which had focused on important gendered aspects of early medieval north India through an analysis of literary and epigraphic sources of Kashmir, Kanauj, Bengal and Bihar. The invisibilization of women, whereby their presence is routinely ignored or trivialized, was, similarly, its underlying essence.
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1. Introduction 2. The Political Framework of Orissa 3. A Gendered Perspective (The Bhaumakaras, Bhañjas, Śailodbhavas, Śarabhapurīyas and Pāṇḍuvaṁśīs) 4. A Gendered Perspective (The Somavaṁśīs, Early Gaṅgas and Imperial Gaṅgas) 5. Conclusion