About the Book :
The volumes of the PROJECT ON THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE IN INDIAN CIVILIZATION aim at discovering the main aspects of India's heritage and present them in an interrelated way. These volumes, in spite of their unitary look, recognise the difference between the areas of material civilization and those of ideational culture. The Project is not being executed by a single group of thinkers and writers who are methodologically uniform or ideologically identical in their commitments. In fact contributions are made by different scholars with different ideological persuasions and methodological approaches. The Project is marked by what may be called 'methodological pluralism'. In spite of its primary historical character, this Project, both in its conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by many scholars drawn from different disciplines. It is for the first time that an endeavour of such a unique and comprehensive character has been undertaken to study critically a major world civilization like India. The first part of Volume I, The Dawn of Indian Civilization upto 600 BC, published earlier, traces the development of civilization in India upto the end of the Vedic Age. The second part presented here begins with the epics, the sutras formulating systems of philosophies, the sciences and the heterodox movements, and goes on to trace upto 300 AD the emergence of a new civic order in the ancient lands of Taxila and Pataliputra among others. This efflorescence is reflected in the new traditions of art beginning with the Mauryan emperor Asoka, in the enrichment of material culture as evidenced in the Arthasastra, in the expansion of oceanic trade eloquently described in the Periplus Maris Erythraei and in the new movements of universal salvation such as Mahayana. Here for the first time historians, philosophers and scientists have joined hands to help create a new understanding of the human past in the Indic context.