Indian History and Culture 1707 to 1818 AD by K M Munshi, founder Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

  • This precis covers 1707 to 1818 and includes political situation post Aurangzeb & rise of the Marathas, Changes due to influence of Western World and Economic exploitation of India by British. 

Shri V Balachandran (ex-Special Secretary Cabinet Secretariat) wrote in The Tribune Chandigarh Neglecting cultural czar Munshi’s efforts This goaded me to do a precis of Foreword of 11 Volumes of The History and Culture of Indian People. The books are a masterpiece & my constant reference book


Shri K M Munshi was an educationist, freedom fighter, founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (1938), author and worked closely with Sardar Patel. He initiated the writing of The History and Culture of the Indian People. Shri R.C. Majumdar was General Editor. V.G. Dighe is the Assistant Editor of Vol 8. It was first published in 1977.  


K M Munshiji said, “That although efforts to prepare this massive history-writing had started in 1938, it could assume concrete shape only in 1944 with generous help from GD Birla and the Shri Krishnarpan Charity Trust.”


Precis is split in parts. Each part has a number and title that represents content. Let us hope these books become part of the mainstream educational system. 


Part 1 covered period 1000-1300 and includes state of Indian society around 1000, why did it survive the earlier 2,000 years, status of Sanskrit, social impact of Muslim invasions, why lower strata of society adopted Islam, South Indian kings, rise of Desabhashas and Bhakti.


Part 2 covers period 1300 to 1526. It tells did Khilji/Tughluq rule all of India, Timur invasion, what is common between Timur and Vasco da gama, Religious Life then, Impact of Islam, Religious life and Language Literature and did Muslim or Hindu ruler of Orissa support Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Part 3 covers 1526-1707 i.e. Mughals. It includes Mughal rule esp. intolerance towards Hindus, warrior Hemu and Tansen.


Part 4 covers 1707-1818. It includes Political situation post Aurangzeb and rise of the Marathas, Changes due to influence of Western World and Economic exploitation of India by British. 


My only contribution is doing a precis of the preface. This piece is courtesy the publisher, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Mumbai.

Marathas captured Attock in modern day Pakistan. 

The Maratha Century (period 1707-1818) Preface by Dr R.C. Majumdar

This volume was published in 1977 after Shri K M Munshi passed away. So we are presenting excerpts from Preface written by General Editor, Dr R.C. Majumdar. For sake of consistency the title remains the same except the period.


I Political situation post Aurangzeb and rise of the Marathas

“This period covers the history of India from the death of Aurangzeb (1707) to the Third Maratha War (1818). It witnessed the end of Muslim rule, the rise and fall of the Maratha Empire and the foundation of the British Empire in India.


The period began with the political disintegration leading to struggle for power, not only among the Indian States but also between the French and British trading companies in India. This chaotic political situation facilitated, if not invited, foreign invasions notably those of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali, which bear comparison, in nature and effect, with of those of Mahmud Sultan and Timur.


The silver lining, is that during this period of political disruption, was the rise of great personalities that shed lustre on that age. These were Balaji Vishwanath, Baji Rao I, Nana Phadnis, Mahadji Scindia, Haidar Ali, Ranjit Singh, Robert Clive, Dupleix, Warren Hastings and Richard Wellesley.


II Changes due to influence of Western World

This period paved the way for India’s transition to the Modern Age in the 19th century. It was during this period that India first came into close contact with the Western World which had huge impact on Indian culture. It brought about changes in almost all aspects of Indian culture in the 19th century, which is generally referred to as Indian Renaissance.


It was during this period that Indians first learnt the English language resulting in far-reaching changes in India life, thought, education & social and religious concepts in the course of 100 years, such as were not witnessed during the previous 1000 years.

Famines during British rule. 

III Economic exploitation of India by British

Against this background of all-round signs of progress must be seen the deterioration in the economic condition to such an extent that India, which was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, became one of the poorest during the period under review.


The ruthless economic exploitation of India by the British was undoubtedly the cause of the deplorable poverty in India following the ruin of trade and industry by the unfair competition of British merchants and manufacturers aided by the political power of Britain.” End of quote


This was the last of the eleven volumes, finished in 1976 and was the end of the 32-year old scheme.  


The above excerpts are courtesy and copyright the publisher the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kulapati K.M. Munshi Marg, Mumbai-400007, India. eSamskriti has obtained permission to share from the Editorial Advisory Board of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.


To read full Foreword visit the Bhavan site and HERE (shall be uploaded shortly)

To buy book The History and Culture of Indian People at Bhavan’s Online Store or on Amazon

To subscribe to the Bhavan’s Journal  To read on Culture

To read Vande Mataram (English translation by Sri Aurobindo)


Also read

1. The Maratha Century

2. How India became a poor country

3. Battle of Assaye

4. Third Anglo-Maratha War

5. Life story of Mahadji Shinde

6. Impact of Bajirao Peshwa on India of the 18th century

7. Was India always a poor country

8. Madhav rao Peshwa the Great

9. Battle of Panipat 1761  

10. Famines during British Rule

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