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The Rough Guide History of India Paperback – 1 Nov 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides (1 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1858288428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858288420
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 2 x 14.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Synopsis

To paraphrase a wise observation - we will only know where we are heading if we know where we have come from - is in part the inspiration for this series of national histories. In addition to that understanding, it was the conviction of series editor, Justin Wintle, that increasing globalization makes it ever more essential to understand our own history and the history of other nations, neighbouring or worlds away. This text provides a clear and concise overview of India's often tortuous political narrative, while providing in-depth information on the country's ancient and complex cultures. Covering the history of India from the Indus Valley Civilization to present day, its continuous time-line is complemented with sidebars on the Bhagvad Gita, Hinduism, the Taj Mahal, the Nehru-Gandhi famiy and a host of other topics.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

During the second half of the 19th century, the industrial revolution – which generated railways, electricity, the telegraph, the telephone and radiotelephony – set the technological foundation for a political revolution, both in Britain and its colonies. These inventions, and the spread of anti-imperialist ideas in the wake of World War I, set the stage for the downfall of the British Empire in India and elsewhere. The Indian National Congress, founded by upper-class Indians towards the end of the 19th century, steadily became a powerful vehicle of Indian nationalism. It achieved its aim of full independence in 1947 – but only after agreeing, reluctantly, to the partition of the erstwhile Indian empire into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, whose eastern wing would emerge as Bangladesh in 1971.

Today the Republic of India has more than a billion inhabitants spread across some three million square kilometres. Containing a wide variety of races, languages and religions, it is the world’s most complex political-administrative entity. Wherever there is diversity, there is tension – latent or overt. In the Indian subcontinent, the north-south divide is sustained partly by the Vindhya-Maikal mountain range, which runs west to east. Then there is the continual refrain of Hindu-Muslim tensions within India itself, despite the formation of the Muslim-majority states of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Most recently, the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has threatened to escalate into nuclear war. Seen in the longer perspective, however, India’s history seems more like one of absorption and amalgamation rather than exclusion and rejection. Invaded and conquered by successive waves of outsiders, those cultures have enriched the subcontinent’s indigenous society, resulting in a pan-Indian identity.


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