This is a comprehensive, intelligible, and interesting portrait of Ancient Indian History and Civilization from a national historical point of view. The work is divided into three broad divisions of the natural course of cultural development in Ancient India: (1) From the prehistoric age to 600 B.C., (2) From 600 B.C. to 300 A.D., (3) From 300 A.D. to 1200 A.D. The work describes the political, economic, religious, and cultural conditions of the country, the expansionist activities, the colonisation schemes of her rulers in the Far East. Political theories and administrative organizations are also discussed but more stress has been laid on the religious, literary and cultural aspects of Ancient India. Among the more important additions may be mentioned the chapters on the prehistoric age, including the Indus Valley Civilization, more detailed account of the ancient republican clans and the various medieval local dynasties, especially those of the south and the development of art and colonisation. Important changes, though much less extensive, have been made in chapters dealing with political theory and administrative system, as well as the social and economic condition and an entirely new section on coins has been added. Considerable other modifications and rearrangements, involving re-grouping of chapters, have been made and more copious footnotes and fuller bibliography have been added for the guidance of advanced students. The book is of a more advanced type. It would meet the needs not only of general readers but also of earnest students who require a thorough grasp of the essential facts and features before taking up specialized study in any branch of the subject. It would also fulfill the requirements of the candidates for competitive examinations in which Ancient Indian History and culture is a prescribed subject.
Ramesh Chandra Majumdar (known as R. C. Majumdar; 4 December 1888 – 11 February 1980) was a historian and professor of Indian history. He was a former Sheriff of Kolkata.
Coming from a Vaidya family, Majumdar was born in Khandarpara, Gopalganj, Bengal Presidency, British India (now in Bangladesh) on 4 December 1888, to Haladhara Majumdar and Bidhumukhi. In 1905, he passed his Entrance Examination from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. In 1907, he passed F.A. with a first-class scholarship from Surendranath College and joined Presidency College, Calcutta. Graduating in B.A.(Honours) and M.A. from Calcutta University in 1909 and 1911 respectively, he won the Premchand Roychand scholarship from the University of Calcutta for his research work in 1913.
Majumdar started his research on ancient India. After extensive travels to Southeast Asia and research, he wrote detailed histories of Champa (1927), Suvarnadvipa (1938) and Kambuja Desa (1944). On the initiative of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, he took up the mantle of editing a multi-volume tome on Indian history. Starting in 1951, he toiled for twenty-six long years to describe the history of the Indian people from the Vedic Period until the Independence of India in eleven volumes. In 1955, Majumdar established the College of Indology of Nagpur University and joined as Principal. In 1958–59, he taught Indian history at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. He was also the president of the Asiatic Society (1966–68) and the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad (1968–69), and also the Sheriff of Calcutta (1967–68).
When the final volume of "The History and Culture of the Indian People" was published in 1977, he had turned eighty-eight. He also edited the three-volume history of Bengal published by Dacca University. His last book was "Jivaner Smritidvipe".
The proposal to write on the "Freedom movement" with Government sponsorship was put forth in 1948 by R C Majumdar. In 1952 the ministry of education appointed the Board of Editors for the compilation of the History. Professor Majumdar was appointed by the Board as the Director and entrusted with the work of sifting and collecting materials and preparing the draft of the history. However, the Board as consisting of politicians and scholars was least likely to function harmoniously. Perhaps this was the reason why it was dissolved at the end of 1955. The scheme remained in balance for a year until the government decided to transfer the work to a single scholar. To the disappointment of Professor Majumdar the choice of the ministry of education fell on one Dr Tara Chand, a historian but also an ex-secretary of the Ministry of Education. Professor Majumdar then decided to write independently The History of the Freedom Movement in India in three volumes.