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PROFESSOR OF PAli AND BUDDHist Liter ATURE At university Collee; E
London

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PREFACE

N the following work a first attempt has been made to describe ancient India, during the period of Buddhist ascendancy, from the point of view, not so much of the brahmin, as of the rajput. The two points of view naturally differ very much. Priest and noble in India have always worked very well together so long as the question at issue did not touch their own rival claims as against one another. When it did—and it did so especially during the period referred to-the harmony, as will be evident from the following pages, was not so great. Even to make this attempt at all may be regarded by some as a kind of lèse majesté. The brahmin view, in possession of the field when Europeans entered India, has been regarded so long with reverence among us that it seems almost an impertinence now, to put forward the other. “Why not leave well alone P Why resuscitate from the welldeserved oblivion in which, for so many centuries, they have happily lain, the pestilent views of these tiresome people? The puzzles of Indian history have been solved by respectable men in Manu and the Great Bhārata, which have the advantage of be

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ing equally true for five centuries before Christ and
five centuries after. Shade of Kumārila! what are
we coming to when the writings of these fellows—
renegade brahmins among them too—are actually
taken seriously, and mentioned without a sneer?
If by chance they say anything well, that is only
because it was better said, before they said it, by
the orthodox brahmins, who form, and have always
formed, the key-stone of the arch of social life in
India. They are the only proper authorities. Why
trouble about these miserable heretics?”
Well, I would plead, in extenuation, that I am
not the first guilty one. People who found coins
and inscriptions have not been deterred from con-
sidering them seriously because they fitted very
badly with the brahmin theories of caste and his-
tory. The matter has gone too far, those theories
have been already too much shaken, for any one to
hesitate before using every available evidence. The
evidence here collected, a good deal of it for the
first time, is necessarily imperfect; but it seems of-
ten to be so suggestive, to throw so much light on
points hitherto dark, or even unsuspected, that the
trouble of collecting it is, so far at least, fairly justi-
fied. Any words, however, are, I am afraid, of little
avail against such sentiments. Wherever they exist
the inevitable tendency is to dispute the evidence,
and to turn a deaf ear to the conclusions. And
there is, perhaps, after all, but one course open, and
that is to declare war, always with the deepest re-
spect for those who hold them, against such views.
The views are wrong. They are not compatible

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with historical methods, and the next generation will see them, anti the writings that are, unconsciously, perhaps, animated by them, forgotten. Another point of a similar kind, which ought not in this connection to be left unnoticed, is the prevalent pessimistic idea with regard to historical research in India. There are not only wanting in India such books giving consecutive accounts of the history as we are accustomed to in Europe, but even the names and dates of the principal kings, and battles, and authors, have not been preserved in the literature—that is, of course, in the brahmin literature which is all that has hitherto been available to the student. That is unfortunately true, and some of the special causes which gave rise to this state of things are pointed out below. But the other side of the question should not be ignored. If we compare the materials available for the history, say, of England in the eighth or ninth century A.D. with the materials available for the history of India at the same period the difference is not so very marked. The more proper comparison, moreover, would be made with Europe; for India is a continent of many diverse nations. And in the earlier periods, though we have inherited a connected history of one corner in the south-east of the continent, the records handed down for the rest of Europe are perhaps as slight and as imperfect as those handed down in India. What is of more importance, in Europe, for the earlier periods, all the inherited materials have been made available for the historical student by properly edited and annotated editions, and also by

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