Political Change and Agrarian Tradition in South India
In recent years South India (particularly the medieval period) had become a subject of considerable historical debate. The decline of a State and Society, its super session by another etc. are customarily perceived to be a disjunction. Historians of South India had paid more attention in tracing the impact of political changes on agrarian organisation of the medieval period. Cognition of social and Political trends are called for. A macro view without authentic micro insights cannot provide any meaningful understanding of the situation or an unmutilated picture. Tamilkam records a set of transformations in a mono-agrarian structure that could be historically traced. A conspicuous feature is that the feeble advances in technology had not been able to set their mark on society. Political changes are relatively well marked. The institution of the Polegar system in the Tirunelveli district, Tamilnadu, South India is one such political change. The time-interval that witnessed the operations of the system (c. 1600-c. 1801) is of considerable significance. It is the meeting place of the past and the spring-board of the future. The particular time interval had escaped the notice of historicians who sought to explain the force at work prior to C. 1600 A.D. and these who sought to explain the impacts after C. 1801 A.D. An attempt has been made here to justify this claim. The experiment (Palayam System) is subjected to critical analysis and the memory of the pre-colonial past in woven in to the matrix of changes that the time-interval witnessed, attended by an estimation of the researchers so far undertaken by scholars in the field.
T.K. Venkatasubramanian is currently serving as Reader in History, at Delhi University, Delhi. A. Ph.D. in pre-modern South Indian History from the university of Madras, he has published several papers on early South Indian History, and co-authored a volume entitled Augustan Age of the Tamils. Previously he was in Tamilnadu collegiate Education Service. He is an outstanding teacher and a promising historians. He is also the treasurer of Indian History Congress.
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