Rethinking Bihar and Bengal
History, Culture and Religion
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This book unravels some significant yet hitherto neglected aspects of history, culture and religion of Bihar and Bengal: two regions that were connected through an intricate network of rivers. Themes delved into are: early historic urbanisation in the Mithilā plains of North Bihar; the social history of Brahmanical religious institutions (temples and Mathas) in early medieval Bihar and Bengal; the social history of Buddhist monasticism in early medieval Bihar and Bengal; the integration of a local goddess into the institutional fabric of Mahayana Buddhism; the survival of Buddhism in the thirteenth and fourteenth century AD; pilgrimage from Central India and Deccan to a Hindu pilgrimage centre of Bihar in the medieval period; and the debate on the Islamisation of medieval eastern Bengal.
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Table of Contents
1. Urbanization in Early Historic Vaisali, c. 600 bce-400 ce 2. The Socio-Religious Dimensions of Dedicatory Inscriptions on Sculptures Donated to a Buddhist Establishment in Early Medieval Magadha: Kurkihar, c. 800 CE-1200 ce 3. A Folk Tradition Integrated into Mahayana Buddhism: Some Observations on the Votive Inscriptions on Sculptures of Pundesvari Discovered in the Kiul-Lakhisarai Area, Bihar 4. The Social Bases of Patronage to the Vikramasila Mahavihara: An Epigraphic Enquiry 5. Evolution of the Social Bases of Patronage to the Sacred Complex of Mandara Hill: An Inscriptional Enquiry 6. Brahmanical Temples, Mathas, Agraharas and a Buddhist Establishment in a Marshy and Forested Periphery of Two ‘Frontier’ States: Early Medieval Surma Valley (Sylhet and Cachar), c. 600 ce-1100 ce 121 7. A 'Nalanda Monk’ in the Late Thirteenth–Early Fourteenth Century India, Tibet, China and Korea: A Note on the ‘Poetic Inscription’ on a Korean Stupa Erected in the Memory of Dhyanabhadra 8. Pilgrimage to Gaya, c. 1200 ce-1550 ce: A Study of Some Sanskrit Inscriptions Discovered at Gaya
Birendra Nath Prasad is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.