1st Edition

Mahasthan Record Revisited Querying the Empire from a Regional Perspective

By Susmita Basu Majumdar Copyright 2023
    120 Pages 8 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    120 Pages 8 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A small record consisting of six to seven lines that has been published by eminent epigraphists several times, would require a fresh interpretation was almost beyond imagination. It was by chance that the Indian Museum displayed the Mahasthan stone plaque, and after seeing this record, several questions arose which demanded a fresh interpretation, and this enquiry finally culminated into this slim monograph.

    The book attempts a re-reading of this inscription and also provides a fresh interpretation. It tries to situate this record in a broader canvas by interrogating the record along with several other evidences. This finally leads us to look at the Mauryan Empire from a regional perspective.

    List of Figures



    1. Mahasthan and the Discovery of the Record

    2. Mahasthan Fragmentary Stone Record Revisited

    3. Sohgaura Bronze Plaque Contextualized

    4. More on Granary, Treasury, Grains and Money

    5. In and Out of Emergency

    6. The Mahasthan Record Reassessed

    7. Querying the Empire

    Select Bibliography


    Colour Plates


    Susmita Basu Majumdar, Professor, Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta, specializes in early Indian epigraphy and numismatics. Her research interests also include history of medicine and surgery and history of early Indian religion, especially Ājivikism and Śaivism. Her publications include: The Mauryas in Karnataka (Kolkata, 2016) and Money and Money Matters in Pre-modern South Asia (co-edited with S.K. Bose, New Delhi, 2019).

    "The slim monograph Mahasthan Record Revisited: Querying the Empire from a Regional Perspective is an excellent example of rigorous historical scholarship. Susmita Basu Majumdar takes a short inscription of which only six lines are available, critically analyses the different interpretations of it, and provides her own reading that differs on certain crucial terminological interpretations. Dismantling the record line by line, Majumdar demonstrates the need to contextualise sources keeping in mind the larger processes at play in a locality, a region, and at the trans-regional level. On the whole, this is a comprehensive coverage in terms of themes that have been picked up, and the manner in which they have been dealt with."

    - Professor Mahalakshmi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


    "A ground-breaking book reassessing history, epigraphy and numismatics; a new vision of Mahasthan-Pundranagara with regional and national perspectives."

    - Professor Osmund Bopearachchi, Emeritus Director of the CNRS at the École Normale Supérieure and Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California, Berkeley