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.
Ram Sharan Sharma (26 November 1919 – 20 August 2011), more often referred to as R. S. Sharma, was an eminent historian and academic who specialized in the history of Ancient and early Medieval India following Marxist historiography. He taught at Patna University and Delhi University (1973–85) and was visiting faculty at the University of Toronto (1965–1966). He also was a senior fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was a University Grants Commission National Fellow (1958–81) and the president of Indian History Congress in 1975. It was during his tenure as the dean of Delhi University's History Department that major expansion of the department took place in the 1970s. The creation of most of the positions in the Department were the results of his efforts. He was the founding Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and a historian of international repute.