Romila Thapar. This superb book is not only the basic history of how India came to be and an introduction to how the writing of history takes shape, but also, not the least, a deconstruction of the historical myth and inventions on which is based the present intolerant and exclusivist Hindu nationalism. It is essential reading today. This one contains the accumulated research of the last thirty years and includes richly textured accounts of life in ancient India. Like its predecessor, this is indispensable reading for anyone interested in India's long and complex history.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — A History of India, Vol. A History of India, Vol. A full account of Indian history from the establishment of Aryan culture to the coming of the Mughals in A.
This work brings to life thousands of years of history, tracing India's evolution before contact with modern Europe was established: its prehistoric beginnings; the great cities of the Indus civilization; the emergence of mighty dynasties such as the Mauryas, A full account of Indian history from the establishment of Aryan culture to the coming of the Mughals in A. This work brings to life thousands of years of history, tracing India's evolution before contact with modern Europe was established: its prehistoric beginnings; the great cities of the Indus civilization; the emergence of mighty dynasties such as the Mauryas, Guptas, and Cholas; the teachings of the Buddha; the creation of heroic epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana; and the creation of regional cultures.
Thapar introduces figures from the remarkable visionary ruler Ashoka to other less exemplary figures. In exploring subjects as diverse as marriage, class, art, erotica, and astronomy, Thapar provides an incomparably vivid and nuanced picture of India. Above all, she shows the rich mosaic of diverse kingdoms, landscapes, languages, and beliefs.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published by Penguin first published More Details Original Title. A History of India 1. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A History of India, Vol. See 1 question about A History of India, Vol. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.
Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of A History of India, Vol. Oct 30, Alok Mishra rated it did not like it.
Romila Thapar is a historian within her own rights. For her, the early texts are myths generated by 'certain people' without any base. She contradicts her own thesis many times in the course of the narrative of this completely distorted history book. Many reviewers have already pointed out her shortcomings as a historian. A historical analysis requires recognizing the fragments, but relating them to a whole that determines what causes events, and formulating an explanation.
And then she does this later: "The Ramayana is more clearly an endorsement of monarchy and the heroes are of the Solar line. Within each epic, societies that do not conform to monarchy are also visible. The epics therefore give us a glimpse of that which had receded or was different from conventional kingship.
They are each concerned with events that are difficult to date since many passages were added at times later than the original composition. The versions we have today are generally placed in a chronological bracket between the mid-first millennium BC to the mid-first millennium AD.
Therefore they can hardly be regarded as authentic sources for the study of a narrowly defined period. Hence historians have abandoned the concept of an 'epic age'. Incidents from the epics, in the nature of bardic fragments, can have some historical authenticity provided supporting evidence can be found to bear them out. Attempts are therefore being made to correlate archaeological data with events described in the epics. An example of this is the flood at Hastinapur, evident from archaeology and mentioned in the epic, which has been used to date the war to c.
But such correlations remain tenuous since chronologies and locations pose insurmountable problems. Poetic fantasy in epic poetry, undoubtedly attractive in itself, is not an ally of historical authenticity. But something that they 'think' to be history even after it was not having any recorded evidence and has pure fallacy, should be passed off as history because it is what 'historians' think!
The writers like Thapar have done a disservice to the cause of history, especially Indian history and it is high time that we get our authentic records gathered once again and rewrite our history with values that these eminent historians have 'missed' deliberately.
It is because of many of bogus accounts of 'history' that Ram Setu, even after being found, becomes Adam's bridge View all 8 comments. Dec 29, Saket Niranjan rated it did not like it. Very unprofessional book of history, I must say. This does not tell what is the truth but tells what is truth according to a person's beliefs. The author forgets that this is a book of history and not of philosophy where she can act upon her whims and inclinations. Dec 29, S Sharma rated it did not like it.
Invalid history of India this is To describe Romila Thapar, I would like to employ with slight variation an unknown quote by a famous journalist for Indira Gandhi, "She is the only MAN among the Indian intellectuals" Early India is one of the best books I have read this year.
Romila Thapar is among handful of Indian intellectuals who have the courage to stand up against the cultural distortion of our history. She is not famous among Hindutava circle because her work stands between their ambition to distort the past and depres To describe Romila Thapar, I would like to employ with slight variation an unknown quote by a famous journalist for Indira Gandhi, "She is the only MAN among the Indian intellectuals" Early India is one of the best books I have read this year.
She is not famous among Hindutava circle because her work stands between their ambition to distort the past and depress the present with religious flavor. In future, when there will be a debate with misogynistic men about the self-evident fact that female writers can not only produce first-rate fictional and emotional writings but also illuminate serious historical writings by their multidisciplinary approach.
View 2 comments. Feb 17, Chitranjan Kumar rated it did not like it. An overrated book that was academically imposed upon the readers of young age for so long. I enjoy reading history, and am just becoming interested in the history of India and central Asia.
I figured a Penguin book on the topic would be just what I needed. That was not the case. I was looking for a book which told me stories about Indian history, instead I got a soulless Marxist manifesto. Both were great books which entertained me and left me wit I enjoy reading history, and am just becoming interested in the history of India and central Asia. Both were great books which entertained me and left me with a sense of having learnt something.
I may have some feeling of the great ideological battle raging to define India, but I didn't want to read a book about politics. Sadly, I feel that Thapar cannot write otherwise.
Let me fill you in on some of the conflicts I sense. Everybody knows that India has Hindu and Muslim inhabitants. If you've seen "Gandhi" you'll know there were terrible massacres perpetrated after partition in The historical question is: have Hindu and Muslim always been enemies, or have they lived together peacefully?
Your answer to that question will influence your position on the war in Kashmir, Pakistan's role within the world, and hence your opinion on what to do about Afghanistan.
Everybody knows India has a caste system. The highest caste is the brahmins, the priests; then kshatriya, the warriors; then vaishya and shudra. Brahmins have traditionally been well-educated - these days it is family tradition - so brahmins are more often professionals from wealthy families. In modern India there are quotas for non-brahmins at universities because the brahmins tend to oversupply students.
This means that there is effectively anti-brahmin discrimination, resulting in a brahmin diaspora as budding professionals travel overseas for education. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your historical perspective - did brahmins achieve their advantageous position by generations of hard work, or did they achieve it by preferential treatment by the kings who were mostly kshatriya?
Thapar takes the opportunity to mention that "brahmans" as she spells it counter to convention, were the recipients of land grants from the rulers.
Brahmins then became administrators of the land, employing the lower castes to do the labour. She then casts brahmins as a "ruling elite". Strangely she doesn't use this description of the kshatriyas. Sadly, her evidence for this judgement is so vague that I can't say whether she has a point or not. Speaking of vague, this book is infuriatingly so.
Romila Thapar born 30 November is an Indian historian whose principal area of study is ancient India. In , the US Library of Congress named Thapar a co-winner, with Peter Brown , of the Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity  In , and again in , she was awarded the Republic of India 's third-highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan , but she declined each time, citing her decision to accept only academic honours awarded for her work. The late journalist Romesh Thapar was her brother while journalist Karan Thapar is her cousin. Later she attended intermediate of arts at Wadia College, Pune.
A History of India, Vol. 1: From Origins to 1300
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