extra-economic form of exploitation of the masses, especially the
  cultivators. In other words, the fruits of the great achievements were
  enjoyed only by the upper crust of the society and were beyond the reach
  of the commoner. This also speaks of the futility of the search for a golden
  age in any epoch of India’s past. The validity of this standpoint cannot be
  Appreciation of Gupta Achievements
  But, in the process, the point has, however, been pushed beyond the limit
  as many of the achievements of this period are considered ‘tinsel’ in recent
  historiography. Though there is nothing to dispute the fact that the great
  achievements in the political and cultural spheres could be tasted only by
  the handful, the achievements cannot be belittled as tinsel. The Gupta
  period saw the maturation of many of the cultural traits of the immediately
  preceding Saka-Kushana-Satavahana phase, which however, are lauded in
  recent works. But their fruition in the Gupta period seems to have evoked
  a less favourable response from this genre of writings. The achievements
  and shortcomings of these three centuries may, therefore, be more
  objectively studied without these avoidable fancy labels.
  One has to appreciate in the broad canvas of contemporary events in Asia
  and Europe, that while the mighty Roman empire was declining, China
  had not yet attained its glorious days of the Tang period, the Sasanids in
  Iran were well past their prime and above all, the Huna threat caused
  chaos in settled and long-standing great powers, Indian subcontinent
  presented a striking contrast to this scenario. That ordered political society
  and more or less peaceful way of life went unhampered in India, along
  with superb creations in art, architecture and literature – amidst
  inequalities, oppressions and anomalies – cannot be lost sight of in our
  assessment of the Gupta age.
South India
Traditional Approach In conventional history writing, the nature of the
state and economy was often dealt with as a part of political or dynastic
history. This trend invariably tended    to compartmentalise state and economy