Synopses & Reviews
The history of India is a story of many states and empires which begins in the third millennium B.C. with the Indus Valley civilization. The subsequent influx of pastoral nomads, first in a long series of invasions from the northwest that included the Moghuls nearly 3,000 years later, established the Vedic religious tradition. In a gradual assimilation of popular cults, formalization of the Sanskrit language, and the institution of caste, this tradition supplied the cohesion upon which a national consciousness, in its Western sense, is a comparatively recent grafting.
In modern times, two hundred years of British ascendancy were followed in the twentieth century by India taking its place among the nation-states of the modern world. For this revised edition, a new chapter by Dilip Hiro covers the events that have taken place in India from the 1980s to the present day. The enduring distinctiveness of India, its widely recognized but often bewildering "diversity of unity, " emerges from these pages as a product of geographical simplicity and historical complexity.
"A history, less of India than of its invaders, so condensed that it is little more than an annotated chronology of battles, dynasties and monuments, all lavishly illustrated. There is no balance or perspective, no sense of cultural history or historic context and process. Watson's style is so turgid and choppy that what few insights he permits himself pass by invisibly in a morass of superfluous details and subordinate clauses; and he is so Anglocentric that one is left to wonder just what, during all those centuries when the British were busily gallumphing around India, the Indians were doing." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
A brilliant condensation of an overwhelming mass of material and manages to preserve a masterly overall balance. (History Today)
An excellent basic guide to a vast and fascinating country. (Irish Times)
A revised edition of Watson's history of India, beginning in the 3rd millennium BC with the Indus Valley civilization and ending with a new chapter on India after Nehru. It includes the influx of pastoral nomads who established the Vedic religion, the Moghul incursions, and the British influence.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
About the Author
The late Francis Watson was Director of Counter-Propaganda to the Government of India and the author of Gandhi, The Trial of Mr. Gandhi, and The Frontiers of China. A journalist and commentator on Asian affairs, Dilip Hiro's many books include Inside India Today, Dictionary of the Middle East, and Holy Wars: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism.