ABSTRACT

Composing prescriptive literature on gift giving was a substantial preoccupation among premodern South Asia’s religious and intellectual elites, reflecting and perhaps invigorating the centrality of gift giving as a religious and cultural practice across the subcontinent. Dāna also attracted the literary imagination and was explored as a basic theme in many myths, epic narratives, and stories. And indeed, the vast majority of inscriptions in premodern South Asia are concerned in one way or another with the recording and celebrating of gifts.