Book Review : The Incredible History of India's Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal with Sowmya Rajendran
posted by R's Mom , February 27, 2015
The Incredible History of India's Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal with Sowmya Rajendran, published by Puffin, is one of those magical books which manages to convert historical facts and figures into an interesting read with almost a story like feel to it.
The book explores the journey of the making of India from the ancient times to the current states wedding history with the geographical boundaries of India. The book tells us how
How the boundaries defining India changed over times, stories about importance of lions and tigers, tracing the genetic
I loved how the book is written. It's like reading a fiction book with loads of anecdotes and stories littered all over. Small incidents which will help us remember the larger historical facts. Like how the Marathas used a monitor lizard to get hold of a fort from the Mughals or how Junagadh and Hyderabad came under the Indian state. The author does not mince words and occasionally puts forth the truth about situations and people in a direct manner.
I am at awe at the kind of research that must have been undertaken to write this book and completely impressed by how the authors have made the reading so interesting.
This is the kind of book we must introduce our children to if we want them to get a sense of history and understand and assimilate Indian history. In
Buy Now: Amazon USA | Amazon India
Interview with Sanjeev Sanyal - Author of The Incredible History of India's Geography
We speak to Sanjeev Sanyal, the author of The Incredible History of India's Geography. Sanjeev speaks to us about the research undertaken for the book as well as authors who have influenced his reading and writing habits.
From Penguin Books:
Currently the global strategist of one of the world's largest banks, Sanjeev Sanyal divides his time between India and Singapore. A Rhodes Scholar and an Eisenhower Fellow, he was named Young Global Leader for 2010 by the World Economic Forum. He has written extensively on economics, environmental conservation
IMC: What prompted you to write this book and tell us how you decided to look at the geography of India from a historical point of view?
Sanjeev: I have always felt that history is more than just a series of dynasties and dates. We can also think of history in terms of how cities rose and fell, how the wildlife changed and where people migrated. For instance, we can learn about the British period as a series of colonial wars, and the freedom movement. However, we can also think about how the British mapped India, built the railways, caused severe famines and so on. It is the same history but with a different perspective. Mainstream history books
IMC: What kind of background research did you undertake to come up with such extensively researched book?
Sanjeev: I had collected a lot of material, such as old maps, over the years just for my own interest. However, it took two years of structured research and travel to write Land of the Seven Rivers. I am not a
IMC: As per you which are the three major events which changed the history of India (from the numerous ones which you have written so wonderfully about in the book)
Sanjeev: Since I do not think of history as a sequence of political events, it is not entirely meaningful for me to identify three events. I would rather identify three important factors that have impacted India throughout its history. I would say that climate and geography were very important factors. One cannot understand Indian history without reference to the annual monsoon winds that were critical for both farming and maritime trade. Similarly, the drying of the Saraswati river marks a defining shift in early Indian history. Another factor is the idea of civilizational nationhood. Without
IMC: Who have been your key influences as authors?
Sanjeev: I am a very eclectic reader and read material from many unrelated fields. Thus, I read writers as diverse as Michel Danino, Bill Bryson, Upinder Singh, Svante Paabo, Ibn
IMC: If there are three history based books you will recommend for children, which are they and why?
[pullquote]I think travel is a better way to learn about history than books[/pullquote]
Sanjeev: I must admit I may not be the best person to advise on this. When I was a child I read the entire Amar Chitra Katha series - they are a great resource. For international history, I know boys love the Horrible History series which includes all the fun stuff about pirates and gladiators (all the exciting and interesting things that boring textbook do not tell you). Having said this, I think travel is a better way to learn about history than books.
Thank you, Sanjeev for talking to us.