Title: India: History of India: From Prehistoric Settlements to the Modern Republic of India
Author: Edward Pannell
Publisher: Lean Stone Publishing
Date of Publication: 15 June 2017
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”- Mark Twain
An unbiased and concise guide that delves into the very heart of the Indian subcontinent.
Opening with the inevitable enchantment that the very name has left for ages on the minds of people, Edward Pannell vows to leave no stone unturned. Drawing on the exotic ambience that became the reason for invaders to want to occupy this land, Pannell presents a historical perspective from the days of “milk and honey”. The narrative begins with the medieval era, ever since which the rise and demise of several ruling dynasties left India to be juggled from one hand to the other only to augment its magnetism. The French, Portuguese and European naval arrivals led to the British settlements leaving the final blow to the subcontinent by forcing its split into 3 parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Noting the various impressions on this land, he dissects the evolution of Indian history in a precise and factual manner. The counter events and civil revolutions are pitched with pros and cons to the original events that have several political bases. Pannell masters the art of presenting such a vivid and vibrant picture within mere 55 pages.
The language of the book is concise with short sentences that are easily understood. His apt choice of words presents the facts in a scientific and precise manner. Everything is to the point. The book follows a chronological movement of events. Images are patterned in the order in which they actually occurred. Pannell does not provide any personal detailing or added comments. The book serves as a handy guide for those interested in visiting or are already planning a trip to India in the near future. It may even be used as an introductory course book for school.
Some interesting facts included in the book are: corruption is not the only reason for India’s regression; it is the largest democracy in the world; falls in the category of one of the top 10% of wealthy nations; though a large section of the society is lives in abject poverty struggling for access to basic necessities. For those above them in the social strata things aren’t any better. They can only avail infrastructure and employment facilities that are below average in comparison to a lot of the world. Yet, India poses to be a promising superpower on the rise. The addition of “Interesting Facts” and “Pop Quizzes” at the end of each chapter makes the book more engaging. It highlights that one of the primary characteristics of India’s rich culture and heritage is its unity in the midst of diversity. It reassures of making a visit to India a unique experience that once attracted tourists because of its well established education, cultural and spiritual centres which explains the presence of eligible Indian origin workforce abroad, the spread of Ayurveda and the global practice of yoga to name a few.
The book gives an overview into everything Indian but it does not provide any travel tips though it may complement a travel guide well. Towards the end of the book is some useful information about sight-seeing in Delhi, visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra or Jaisalmer forts and Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad though the information is limited and misses out travel tips on the whole. However, the book helps in forming a connection with India to those who are absolutely alien to its rich history and culture.
Effortless, briefly enlightening and a very helpful handbook.