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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 4, p. 1.

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THE subject of this chapter is the growth and character of
the British administration in India, but the preliminary para-
graphs will give some idea of the general nature of the
Hindu and Muhammadan governments which ruled the
country in former times.
During the long ages preceding the Muhammadan supre- TheHindu
macy, the social organization of the Hindus passed through system of
gradual stages of development and decay such as are incident msent as
to all human institutions. No description could be given described
in the code
which would apply at once to the early conquerors and settlers of Manu.
on the banks of the Indus, to the Hindu kingdoms which
during a later age occupied the bulk of the Indian Peninsula,
and to their successors in the days of their decline. For the
present purpose it will suffice to select a central epoch, and
the period which is illustrated by the code of Manu will be the
most suitable. Scholars assign to this code in its present form
a date lying between the second century before and the second
century after Christ. It is a metrical recension of an older
prose code, which formed one of a number of similar works
composed by the founders of different schools for repetition by
their students. After the death of Alexander the Great,
Chandra Gupta Maurya, grandfather of the famous Asoka,
reigned over the whole of Northern India from Bihar to the
Punjab for some twenty years; and although the metrical code
was prepared at a somewhat later date, it probably portrays
fairly closely the state of society which prevailed'when this
great monarch ruled. Additional light has been thrown on
this period by Arrian, Strabo, and other Greek writers, and

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