About the Author
The present work has been undertaken not only to provide an adequate treatment of the position of the sudras in ancient times, but also to evaluate their modern characterizations, either based on insufficient data, or inspired by reformist or anti-reformist motives. Here an attempt has been made to present a connected and syste matic account of the various developments in the position of the sudras down to circa A.D. 600. Since the sudras were regarded as the labouring class, in this study particular attention has been paid to the investigation of their material conditions has been paid to their economic and social relations with the members of the higher varnas. This has naturally involved the study of the position of slaves, with whom the sudras were considered indentical. The untouchables are also theoretically placed in the category of sudras, and hence their origin and position has also been discussed in some detail.
This is an outstanding piece of research and an authentic history of Sudras in ancient India. Professor Sharma has made use of all published sources, literary as well as archaeological, bearing on the social and economic position of Sudras. It gives a lucid and comprehensive account of all aspects of the anguished career of Sudras community. – L. M. Joshi, Journal of Religious Studies, Vol.10, No.1 & II, 1982
The facility and confidence with which Sharma makes his arguments and conclusions comforting, it weaves together scattered references into the first connected account of the Sudras varna and place this within a broader historical framework. – Upinder Singh, Contribution to Indian Sociology, Vol.26, No.1, Jan-June, 1992
Sharma co-relates the phases of economic development with social organisation and social change. He rightly calls the Rigvedic society as ‘basically tribal’, ‘pastoral and egalitarian’ and ‘a pre-class society’ and contends that ‘the defeated and dispossessed sections of Aryans and non-Aryan tribes were reduced to the position of Sudras.’
…In ancient India, the cultural apparatus of the Sudras, more so of the untouchables or the ‘asat’ Sudras, was very primitive, consequently their response was usually of abject submission. – S.N. Mishra, The Eastern Anthropologist, Vol.37, No.4, Oct.-Dec. 1984