ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Early State Formation in Tribal Areas of East-Central India

Early State Formation in Tribal Areas of East-Central India Suranjit K Saha This paper examines the processes through which the states emerged from within the tribal societies of the mountain and forest regions of east-central India over a long period from 450 to 1320 AD. It finds that the classical Hindu states to the north, particularly the Gupta empire, did indeed provide the principal ideological role model for the rise of those local and regional states, hut that the latter were in the main home grown political structures built by autochthonous leaders from below upwards. These highland states also appear to have played a crucial historical role in the gradual fusion of the lineage based local societies into a subcontinent wide pan-Indian society. In conclusion, the paper argues that an adequate understanding of the current tribal situation in the macro-region, and indeed in the rest of India, would require an understanding of the spatially differentiated processes of political and material development rooted deep in its history. At the core of that understanding must lie the realisation that India has been built from below upwards.

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