Rahul Sankrltyayan



SG # 1535 (1993)

Madhya-Asia Ka Itihas

(Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parlshad, Patna; 1956)

(Sahitya Academy Awardee-Hindi-1958)


"Sri Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan (born 1893 in Pandha, District Azamgarh, UP) is a distinguished linguist, traveller, Tibetolo­gist, and author of more than 200 books."  (Citation)

Madhya-Asia Ka ltihas is a monumental work consisting of inter­disciplinary research in pre-history, archaeology, philology, cultural anthropology, and political and economic history of a hitherto unexplored region, the like of which is neither available in English nor in any other Indian language. Most of the material has been drawn from primary Russian sources. In the introduction Rahul writes: "I undertook this arduous task as a challenge as no such history of Central Asia was available. Moreover, this history is intimately connected with the history of India. I collected major documentation for this work during my stay in Soviet Russia, from 1945 to 1947.

Dedicated to the fond memory of the great historian Kashiprasad Jaiswal, this work has numerous maps, numismatic plates, bibliog­raphies of articles, charts of ruling dynasties, an elaborate Russian-­Sanskrit-Persian lexicon and three lists of source-books. Its canvas is cast very wide-starting from first millennia B.C., it covers the account of this part of the world till 1927. Though based on material available up to 1947, the plan of the volumes and its sub-chapters is very scientific. Chronologically the first volume has eight chapters: "Pre­historic Man", “Palaeolithic Age”, “Northern Region (600-720)”, “South Region (550-673)”, “Northern Region (766-940)”, “South­ern Region (673-900)”, “Northern Region (940-121&)” and “South­ern Region (892-1229)”. The second volume has five chapters: “Northern Region (1200-1550)”, “Southern Region (1224-1743)”, “Northern Region (1590-1801)”, “Southern Region (1747-1917)”, “Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1929).”          .

"The volumes cover a colossal range of time, of corroded centuries and millenniums. They present to our mind's eyes a panorama of ethnic units, of surging masses of moving men, of settlements succeeding settlements, of civilizations rising and falling, of blended humanity" wrote Bhagavat Saran Upadhaya in a review of this work. In the Carpathian and Caucacius, the Urals and the Pamirs and the Thienshan valleys are invaded, settled and deserted by the Semites and Aryans, the Medes and Iranians, the Scythians and Yuehchis, the Nephthelites and Turks, the Mongols and the Chinese. What a remarkable story re-told by a gaint intellectual of our times!

Prabhakar Machwe

(Source: Sahitya Academy Awards – Books and Writers – 1955-1978

Published by Sahitya Academy. ISBN 81 7201 014 1)