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Foreign Trade and Commerce in Ancient India
– March 1, 1990
Foreign Trade And Commerce In Ancient India
by Prakash Charan Prasad Foreign trade and commerce in ancient India is one of the fascinating branches of economic study. The beginning of Indian mercantile system goes back to a very remote past. There is not yet a single comprehensive book written by any scholar on the history of foreign trade and commerce in ancient India. An examination of various archaeological objects would indicate that trade and commerce — inland and foreign, overland, riverine and oceanic — was the mainstay of Indian economy in early times. There were a number of recognised and well-planned national and international trade routes, which provided caravan serais for night halts by traders. There was a very good system of transport corporations, which was functioning under Thalaniyyamakas (land pilots) and fsla-niyyamakas (sea pilots) in ancient days. The reference about Varuna's Knowledge of the searoutes (samudriyah), Bhujya's shop-wreck and historical rescue by the Asvins with a vessel of one hundred of Dirghatamas etc. clearly allude to brisk maritime trade. It os true that the Vedic Panis who constituted the merchant class, somehow or other were associated with the Bekanalas, probably Babylonians in their commercial activities. The present work for the first time discusses in detail the systematic presentation of medium of exchange; export and import organizations as well as a good number of new topics like geo-economic features of India of profit; money circulation; gold currency standard; gold exchange standard; silver standard; relative value of gold, silver and copper; the international currency system; and theory of interest rate. It would not be out of place to mention here that the present work is the first of its kind which encompasses almost all the aspects of international trade activities of India in early days which had scholars far. About The Author: Dr. Pralash Chatan Prasad (b.2nd January, 1938) passed his B.A. (Hons.) from G.D. College, Begusarai, Bihar University in 1958 and M.A. examination in 1960 from the Patna University and was awarded D. Litt, Degree from the Magadha University in 1972. He was also awarded Patna University research scholarship for two years. Before joining the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums as Exploration and Excavation Officer he served the Patna Museum. Dr. Prakash has written several books such as, Bhartiya Srama Darsana (in Hinsi), Uma-Maheswar: A Critical Study in the Philosophy of Kama in Indian Art, Technical Manual for Modern Museum, Development of Modern Museum, Development of Metal Icons in Bihar, Kaladhana: Eka Aitihasika Samasya (in Hindi) which will come out shortly. Besides these he has published several articles on history and archaeology in Indian and foreign research journals. --This text refers to the
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