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Time as a Metaphor of History: Early India – The Krishna Bharadwaj Memorial Lecture | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Time as a Metaphor of History: Early India: The Krishna Bharadwaj Memorial Lecture

Romila Thapar


This book examines the link between time and history in the Indian context. It debunks the concept of time as cyclic in early India and subsequently the denial of history. The book indicates the existence of linear time in Indian texts such as genealogies, biographies, and chronicles, where time-reckoning was recorded through generations, regnal years and eras. The volume suggests that cyclic time was used in cosmological contexts while linear time was used in historical contexts. It further argues that historical consciousness existed in early India.

Keywords: time and history, cyclic time, linear time, denial of history, early India, genealogies, biographies, chronicles, cosmological time, historical consciousness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1996 Print ISBN-13: 9780195637984
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195637984.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Romila Thapar, author
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi