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The Status of Women in the Epics by Shakambari Jayal

Review by: Romila Thapar


Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 3/4 (Oct., 1968), p. 195
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25203067 .
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of

reviews
the greater

Furthermore,

of

frequency

books

land grants

195

made

to persons

particularly

and

institu

tions associated with religion and the fiscal immunities which these grants carried must have
contributed towards a change in certain areas of the social and economic pattern of the time.
The system_of revenue collection includes a study of the fiscal units mentioned in the
sources

ciated

and
with

an attempt
the collection

the area of these units.


to define
are also given with
of revenue

Lists of the various


officials
from
information
compiled

asso
both

the literary and the epigraphical sources. The functions of the officials in so far as they arc
known

are

discussed.

There

was

noticeable

towards

tendency

the

treating

as

office

hereditary and this ismore marked towards the end of the Gupta period. The system of
assigning land grants in lieu of salaries in cash or kind must have accelerated this process.
Dr. Jha has used epigraphical evidence more widely than is usually the case in such
not

This
studies.
cross-evidence

provides
only
in certain
respects.

means
information
but acts as a valuable
of
of the book
is that the material
is well

additional
A further

merit

organized and the discussion orderly.


Romila

The

status

of womf.n
in this
i-imcs. By
1966. Rs. 25.

Jayal.

Shakambari

pp.

xvi,

Thapar.

335. Delhi

etc., Motilal

Banarsidass,

as described
of the status of women
book
is concerned
with
various
in the
The
aspects
to woman
such as the place
It covers
themes
and
the Mahdbhdrata.
assigned
Rdmdyana
an unmarried
a mother,
a wife,
in the different
of her life?as
and a widow.
woman,
stages
on the institution
on adultery
of niyoga,
In addition
and extra-marital
there are sections
a more
of some of the important
in the
detailed
consideration
female
characters
relations,
women
towards
in the two texts.
of the general
attitude
and a discussion
epics,
to interpret
that "it is necessary
the author
the data with
claims
sociological
Although

and anthropological

approach",

there is in fact little interpretation of the data. The book

a compendium
of information
the texts. The
from
of
remains
gathered
relating
essentially
or to recognizable
to a changing
social
is largely
this information
patterns
society
lacking.
with
of the epics
the dating
tend to reduce
their value as reliable
The problems
associated
In these circumstances
the analysis
and
historical
for a particular
source-material
period.

classification of the social institutions referred to in the texts could be one possible way of
attempting to sift the various sections written at different periods and reflecting changing
an investigation
some
would
at any rate provide
social patterns.
Such
stimulating
pointers
to historical
generalizations.
are on the whole
which
the author
draws
conclusions
familiar
and
The
ones,
fairly
new
into the subject.
the study
reveals
very few significant
insights
Romila
Thapar.

The

and

Mughals

the

Jogis

of

Jakhbar.

By

B. N.

Goswamy

and

J. S. Grewal.

xii,

pp.

200, 32 pis. Simla, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1967. Rs. 30 (in U.K. 705.).
This little book is the happy result of collaboration between a scholar familiar with
revenue

Indo-Persian

documents

records of the sub-Himalayan


Economic

and

Social

History

and

another

recently

with

preoccupied

the genealogical

Hindu pilgrimage centres (see B. N. Goswamy


Review,

III,

2,

174-84).

Seventeen

documents

are

in Indian

here

pub

lished, all but one relating to the land grants of the Mughal emperors to the Mahant or to
the resident Jogi community of Jakhbar. The documents are preceded by an introductory
essay,
copiously

and

then photographed,
annotated.

transcribed

in clear

nasta'liq

lithograph,

translated,

and

very

Jakhbar is a* the north-western end of the Gurdaspur district of the Punjab, adjacent
both to the Jammu foothills and to the present Indian Punjab frontier with West Pakistan.
The shrine is a math of a relatively obscure line of the Kdnphafd Jogis, whose establisher,