The commercial intercourse between
India and West Asia can be traced out from antiquity. If one leaves out the
commercial relations between West Asia and India in the Bronze Age phase (3rd Millennium B.C.), then in the
historical period a clear picture of this trade can be presented from 6th
century B.C. with continuity.
The economic history of Indian
subcontinent was initially dominated by the study of agrarian economics. The
recognition of significance of trade became a topic of interest among the
historians in the later phase. To discuss the trade of a subcontinent like
India, spreading from the Himalayas to Kanykumari, is not an easy task.
commercial intercourse between the two lands cannot be weighed on the basis of
exchange of goods only. Therefore, researchers focus not only on trade but also
consider allied topics like social, political and cultural matters. The present
book examines various trade related activities at different levels including
social bars, which were an impediment in the path of development of trade.
Therefore, the social attitude of trade and traders and the attitude of ruling
classes towards the foreign trade are also highlighted in this book.
The book covers the period
from 6th Century BC to 3rd Century AD. The trade of India and West Asia during this
period varied from one region to another. Specifically, the work seeks to
explain (a) how the forces of exchange of commerce became an important part of
the study of Indian trade history, (b) the impact of political relations on
trade, in addition to exchange of goods, (c) the elaborate arrangement of
Mauryas to get control over trade and exchange of cultural ingredients and (d)
exchange of goods, market places, system of transport and communication etc. in
commercial relations during the period under study.