Most of us seem to know the depth of Indian culture, but do we really?
I just finished watching final episode, Michael Wood’s The story of India, and i can’t but sit back and feel a sense of pride. It is a well made Series, the Videgraphy is amazing. That you kind of expect from most of the BBC travel series. And trust me i have watched a lot of these from BBC, Michael Wood and other Channels.
It follows the standard chronological order of Indian history. In six episodes, it traverses from the very early movement of people from Africa to South India, and from Central asia to the nothern plains across the legendary Khyber pass.(I hope to pass that pass this maybe next year, just that thought gives me goose bumps). The Golden age of Kamasutra, Aryabhatta, the temples of Tanjaur and all.
My favorite episode is called “meeting of the two oceans”. It’s about the middle age of indian history, with the arrival of Islam to India, how it was embraced and how it embraced India and made what India is today. At some point he quips, how different India would be if Dara Shikoh would have become the Emperor instead of Aurangazeb.
It ends with the modern history of India, sans the bile for the British. And how the duo of Gandhi and Nehru came to free India. Not the same as we read in our history books.
There are a couple of things that make this series fascinating.
- It treats india as it really is, the whole subcontinent, This perspective is not what i have ever seen in the books and textbooks from school i have read.
- The author is an historian and has a slightly different perspective to the history of India, probably because he has no need to please some communities or the other.
- The passion of the author shines through, It becomes obvious that he loves india, the vagaries, the nastiness, and all of it.
There are some things that are controversial, and i had not heard about it from anybody else. Such as Vikramaditya conjuring up Ayodhya as Rama’s birth place. Another interesting theory the author propounds is the Kansa of Mathura whom Krishna kills in Indian Mythology is the same as Kanishka the great Kushan King. Fascinating stuff, if you think about it.
If you can get your hands on the Videos, spend a few hours watching it. I am sure you will come to appreciate our heritage in a wholesome way.