increase the standard of rigour in his factual and textual researc
phase of slavery;
ndology”, had to be perfected fur-ther, not thrown away or bypassed.
Combined Methods in Indology’,
osambi embarked on his ambitious project of studying Indian history on the basis of his own understanding of the ideas of his-torical materialism laid out by Marx and Engels.
Marxist perception of class struggle and its different forms the colour of universal application, the “Leningrad discussions” of the 1920s had led to the conclusion that the unilinear succession of modes of production, primitive community-slavery-feudalism-capitalism, was followed in practically all countries, except for those with very recent immigrant populations. This thesis played its part in countering the belief fostered in western social democracy that, in the words of an anti-communist propagan-dist, Karl A Wittfogel, “class-struggle far from being a chronic disease of all mankind is the luxury of multi-centred and open [that is, Western] societies”.
Taking the case of India, Kosambi summarily rejected the view that it had ever passed through a phase of slavery. Rather it was the construction of caste-society that happened here – a cruel form of bondage, but different, nevertheless, from slavery.
Kosambi directly contested Marx’s observations about the “unchangeableness” of Asiatic societies. Conceding that these remarks were “acute and brilliant”, he yet held that the proposition was “misleading” and “cannot be taken as it stands
Religion was also the means by which exploited classes could be kept reconciled to their position, believing it to be divinely ordained, and, by such consent, reducing the amount of violence(with the expenses involved) which would be otherwise needed to keep them under control
Caste is class at a primitive level of production, a religious method of forming social consciousness in such a manner that the primary producer is deprived of his surplus with the minimum coercion
ndian FeudalismKosambi has much to say in the Introductionabout the growth of the states, the rise of Jainism and Buddhism, the punch-marked coins and the economy of the Mauryan Empire. Important as many points made by Kosambi about these themes are, lack of space forbids a discussion of these here
feudalism spanning the period from that of the Guptas to the Mughals.
ow level of production techniques, growth of rusticity and decline of urban life, political decentralisation and service tenures, and that these justiﬁed one to designate the mode of pro-duction in India for well over a millennium as “feuda