Friday, December 10

Book: A New History of India, Stanley Wolpert

Easier to read than I had initially anticipated (although I still zoned out at times), A New History provided me with the fill in info on the place where I come from. I've been looking for exactly this for a while now.

It starts with the Aryan Invasions ("Wot? We're all White then?") at around 2000BC and ending during the recent reign of the BJP (although newer editions do contain updates apparently). The bits that I noted included the introduction of Islam to the region as well as the more recent political activity including that of Ghandi and Jinnah. The parts regarding Partition and the various Indo-Pak wars were also poignant.

One fault (and it's not that of Wolpert's) is that the detail progressively gets worse as you go back in time. Understandable I suppose, and it's not like recent history isn't interesting so it's ok. It also at times takes an "Orientalist" view while discussing things like the Aryan roots of the Hindu religion and its Holy Books and Personalities. But still that can be seen as proof of the book's objectivity I suppose.

A brilliant book and much recommended if you want to know more about India. It's a shame that I may lose access to the SOAS Library (from where I borrowed this book), 'cos there's so much more I want to read... Oh, and if you've been wondering why I've been busting out the Indian history tid bits over the last few weeks, then now you know!

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