Monday, August 5, 2013

Land of Seven Rivers: Sanjeev Sanyal


‘Land of the Seven Rivers, A Brief History of India’s Geography’ by Sanjeev Sanyal is a genial volume that strolls, quite like the waterways it portrays, through the recognizable backdrop of the past of the Indian sub-continent and sets off to look at India and gaze at how the nations olden times was fashioned by its streams, peaks and conurbations, going across distant mountain passes, antique archaeological spots, crosses brooks in wobbly yachts and dip in aged accounts and scripts.


Touching sequentially, the author starts heritably hinting the source of most Indians while a few instants are used up at Harappan Indus Valley civilization and the stream Saraswati, the Vedas, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, tracked by Mauryan Empire and its famed ruler Ashoka, origin and development and the ultimate demise, the different conurbations of Delhi, the Mughals, the British and their mapmakers, Partition, as well as the ascent of a fresh India typifyed by the fast escalation of Gurgaon, a hub for the call-centre business south of Delhi symbolized by glassy agency towers, metro-stations, shopping centres, opulent taverns and millions of employment.

The tome spotlights on a rather diverse set of issues on the enormous deluge, the etymology of the word Bharat, the epics description regarding the manner Indians distinguished the characteristics of their state in the Iron Age, reasons behind Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath, just outside Varanasi, seafaring on an Indian Ocean trader vessel in the fifth century AD and so on.

The digest is a total record of the shape of India, opening from pre-history and the creation of the Indian Subcontinent that outlines the secede from Gondwana, the super continent, bringing in the premise of plate tectonics, and elucidate how India rammed with Asia. It draws the growth of Indian flora and fauna, and then go onto pose queries such as who were the foremost individuals in India, and who are the Indians.

Both planes of the Aryan barney have been looked at, fetching the Vedic belief with the wrapping up that the Aryans can only have been from India being hold up by inherited facts, and the writer wraps up that the Harappans were a broad-based culture, rather like India at present.

This period also swathes Raja Sudas, Bharata tribe, the other clans that fought Sudas, and what ensued to them, as well as the part of Guru Vashishtha. It also sets off to hint the connection between Avestans, the faction of the ethnic groups and attempts to conjecture the contemporary position of the same. The Rig Vedic populace could well have been part of this fizzy blend but does not desire to put down the booklover with the feeling that medieval India was just on the edifice, raiding, deserting and reconstructing conurbations.

It bestows enthralling minutiae not found in other volumes in so succinct an outline, with the topography of the era, majestic structures and statutes, conurbations, corridors, bridge setting up all hit upon a talk about alongside with the amalgamation of the Vedic means of existence and orientation to existence in those years.

The volume formulates a sturdy case for the populace of the missing watercourse, the Saraswati. He coalesces inherent, archaeological and fictional proof to inspect this issue and develop that the Saraswati ought to have coursed along with the Indus, and that the Saraswati was essential to this society. Intriguing insights have been given on existence in those conurbations and the home plan, and their trade links with the globe.

Arrival of Europeans to India and putting up their individual little stations in the coastal regions have been finely described, besides the creation of three life-size Indian metropolises of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, all of which have been re-named.

We find to be acquainted with and know how India turn into a trade superpower in the early time in the course of this reserve giving enthralling facts in appealing style. In addition, the order digs into the South Indian empires in point, which is a resolute priced count. India's naval trade and sea links find wide revelations, next to with exciting morsels of incidents and snags in those cruises.

A nice trait of the paperback is the room it dedicates to the porches of Indian society into South East Asia into realms like Vietnam, Thailand, and Java, which usual stories of this range frequently ignore and which hitherto show for the writer a move that arises in the attitude of Indians, from a risk taking industrial society that guide traders to establish fresh Indian settlements abroad to, by about 1000 AD, a further firm and bunged culture a lot less open to the potential of journey and deal further than India.

A regular premise that he chases is the inclusive life of survival ever since traced times gone by, sway of India on global progress and the survival of flora and fauna athwart continents and relating them to times past. He above all looks at the citing of lions and tigers in the hunting tales, in the imperial insignias and in names taken on by certain communes. One more subject is record of cartography and the job it played in the olden times and the clout it has to maintain amity or set fire to conflict.

The primary ladder of the British and the chase for Asia has been fetched to startling verve with the most charming study in this fraction of the tome is the charting of India, and the trigonometric drawing of the country tried over a 60 year phase, which crafts for a beguiling convert. Also at hand is the creation of the railway system and the tests it countenanced with the paperback seal with a check of how India draw closer to attain Junagarh, Hyderabad, other princely states, Kashmir and going onto Sikkim.

An effort to inscribe a short and assorted account of India’s natural features, it is a propos the transformation in India’s innate individual setting, concerning very old trade routes and enriching connections, the ascent and collapse of conurbations, in relation to departed waterways and the myths that stay them animate.

It is extremely a sketchy appraisal with ecological facets are deemed and consigned to tributaries, transportation, the erection of capitals but they are not included in the tale, but are events to be eminent as are others of a non geological character. There is slight existent shot to put the dealings in a biological milieu in provisos of the aid of the terra firma, the range of earth or ambience, the sort and output of cultivation, the schemes of irrigation or soil term and their link to public and political make-up.

The author hops skilfully linking provinces and progress, and his fairly raw on paper method will be amicable to a lot of booklovers alien with the matter on hand. Geography can not be free of olden times, so he segues into olden times every now and then, informing you who arrive from where, when and why, who lived back and who went back, what they carry with them and what did they seize away. The key take way is that India was by no means classified by a geological border but was forever distinct by the universal evolution.

If you discern a tad of the past, there may not be a great deal that is fresh to you, but the inscription chic is so fine and fascinating that you would still interpret the volume with the writer craft certain to take in a few unusual yarns in every episode, legends that most folks would not identify, like how did Mt Everest got its name, or the detail that shady skin was valued in India over blond ones, that will stay the booklover totally absorbed.

The main cart off is that the paperback lays bare the usually whispered idea of India being a fresh scheme, and craft a lucid case of India being a pretty earliest design, only the political detection and self is fresh. The whole reserve fruitfully shape an on the trot image in your wits of the India of those years, as every episode is fetched to vibrant being by absorbing facts in relation to the natural features and the conurbations of those years.

In the midst of fresh intelligence and aptitude, the order exposes thousands of years of the past and moreover runs to tie it to the vivid and fairly abrupt revolutions getting consign in the nation. He talks of the structural design of the realm and how with the loads of monarchs, the land altered and with some of that, our mores and olden times as well.

This is a semi scholarly effort, save for even so finely delved into and a simple page-turner with heaps of pretty insights, fresh information and a pan-Indian loom will endear this volume to all enthusiasts of India and Indian way of life. Over all, this tome upholds a bright poise among myth and truth with the writer evidently adore his nation, devoid of being prejudiced on it.

Not having stern study or the type of elements that can unlock the booklover true insights into the existence and effort faced by Indians of times of yore, it is a reserve for the broad booklover or explorer glancing for an attractive but not too serious foreword to the past milieu to modern India.

As will be obvious, this is a light-touch choosy re-examine of Indian times gone by for the common booklover with the paperback swathe a broad variety of matter in a way that does not exhaust or engulf the booklover in the means that further thorough narrations of India so frequently do.


If the convergence of the past and geography concern you, interpret it as this one is neither academic nor is it partial. It is an enjoyable paperback, great to understand, and strikingly swift in its speed especially in view of its preferred theme and goes on nearly like a story, hitherto, it does not wander off too much from time-honoured history. It is not just the trade course but the metaphors of cavalcades, populace, infrastructure, and of chronicles of primeval actions that transport the boulevard living in your wits.

Publisher: Penguin ◘ Imprint: Penguin ◘ Published: 2013 ◘ ISBN-13: 9780143420934 ◘ Language: English ◘ Binding: Paperback ◘ Pages: 352 
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