The volume has sixteen chapters. The first traces man’s progress through the entire phase of evolution down to the period of Indus city life. The second and third explore theological risings: Vedic, Buddhist and Jain and their impact on people. The fourth discovers people’s life during the epic period. The phase of pure history begins with the Mauryan period. The fifth chapter explores the rise of Mauryan Empire, and the Sixth and the seventh present a fine and sensitive sketch of other significant dynasties of Indian and non-Indian origins ruling the subcontinent for about six hundred years after the Mauryan rule. The eighth, ninth, part of twelfth, and thirteenth relate to the history of t he great Guptas, a full chapter devoted to king Harsh. The tenth relates to the history of three major dynasties, Pallavas, early and late Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, and the eleventh, more or less to the cultural, religious and social aspects of life in Deccan. The part of the twelfth chapter, other than devoted to Gupta rule, gives details of the travels of the Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsang. Based on his travel accounts it paints a picture of life in India those days, their religious followings in particular. It also explores the life and thought of the Brahmanical thinker Shankara-charya, and some significant social and political issues facing the contemporary society. Chapter’s fourteen fifteen and the last sixteen deal with dynasties founded n sectarian lines and ht history of various regions in south, Orissa and Bengal in Particular.
Volume two explores the history of the period after 647 AD, the year of the death of Harshavarhdana, the last of the Great Gupta kings. Within six-seven decades of his death the Arabs succeeded in occupying Sindh and Multan: the beginning of the era of Islamic occupation of Indian territories. A few early Rajput kingdoms checked. This presence of Islamic powers on Indian land continued even after great Mughal Empire disintegrated and finally collapsed giving way to regional powers.
Volume two has devoted a chapter each for the six Great Mughals, Babur, Humayu, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb. With two more chapters, one, dealing with the later Mughals, that is, those succeeding Aurangzeb- the waning phase of the great empire, and the other, its final disintegration, the history of Mughal rule extends into eight chapters. Initial chapters deal with invasions of Arabs and Turks. A chapter, or two, alludes also to local Rajput powers but split and unorganized they were hardly a defense against these invading Turks. Prahviraja Chauhan, the last Hindu ruler of Delhi, faced a series f Turkish invasions and thwarted them every time but betrayed by kin he was finally overthrown and killed in 1192 AD giving way to Islamic dynasties, Ibrahim Lodi, was overthrown and killed by Babur, the Mughal, Empire came into being and with this there began another glorious era of Indian history to end only with its disintegration.
Volume three is broadly the history of modern India which is usually considered to begin with the emergence of European powers and the Europe’s influence in everything, culture, lifestyle, education-system, art , architecture and is hence more a subject related concept, not so much the time-defined. More than the dates the volume is concerned about the spirit of an event. Least framed into periodicity it intrudes into the medieval era by centuries beginning with European navigators, such as Vasco de Gama, landing at Calicut in 1948 AD. By 1500 or 1510 AD, the Europeans had begun settling on Indian subcontinent. The volume links the beginning of modern India soil and concludes it India’s attainment of freedom, establishment of democratic rule and installation of a peoples’ Laws, ‘The constitution of India’.
The first five chapter relate to the presence of various European settlers, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British on the Indian soil, aspects such as French-British rivalry for supremacy, British gaining upper hand , establishment of British power, expansion of their dominions and the British policy of 1818 towards Indian states. It has its next two chapters on the revolute of 1857, one from British point of view, and the other, from Indian. The rest of the volume is devoted to enumerating aspirations of Indian people, their struggle for independence and finally their attainment of freedom and formation of the people’s government.
‘History of India’, divided into three volumes, volume one consisting of 16 chapter’s volume two , 25, and volume three, 17, is a brilliant study of Indian history , the ancient, medieval and modern. A factual statement lyrically made it runs like a cascade descending down a mountain peak. With scant source material, at least a regard its first volume, it has built a lifelike picture of Past rarely seen in history books. It has dealt with its material without a biased mind, racial or sectarian, and without any kid of pre-conceived notions fully respecting the dividing lines that put apart a land’s mythology, religious convictions, social conventions or popular beliefs from a land’s or race’s history. Apart that it imbues into it a song’s lyricism and the fiction’s fluency, and that the picture of life that it weaves brims with vigour and all true colours and every shade, the accuracy of science is the essential mode of the ‘History of India’. Its method is broadly elaborative but sometimes it is just suggestive. Apparently it seems to portray just the presence of the Palaeolithic man with his crude stone implements; however, in clubbing the two: man and his tool with which he gathered his food and protected him against wild animals, it also suggest s the Palaeolithic man’s initial mode and scope of functioning. In the Neolithic man and his better finished stone-tools the ;History of India’ suggests that the Palaeolithic man was now a skilled man who finished his stones, and also that unlike his earlier crude stones he valued these finished ones more dearly, perhaps his ever first treasury, and stored them with utmost care.
Te ‘History of India’, thought the history of a land and its known past, does not bind itself to a strict timeframe or geographical boundaries. The primitive man, and hence his history, had no denied geography. The political boundaries that we have today were not the boundaries of the lad even during it ancient days. Similarly, the medievalism sustains till as late as the nineteenth century but modernism begins budding in the early sixteenth. This is broadly also the perception of the ‘History of India’ in regard to its timeframe and geography. It has a Liberal and broad-based approach conceding different views and allowing scope for an opinion to differ. When required, it explores an issue at full length and examines entire related evidence academically; despite, character an introductory book’s simplenes. More than the political history in its essential spirit the ‘History of India’ is a cultural and social history exploring the mind of the age, modes of trade and commerce, agriculture, religiosity, pastimes, popular beliefs, even misbelieves, wrong notions, miracles and supernatural occurrences, functioning of educational bodies, styles of wears an ornaments, and some more significant social aspects as the status and condition of women from time to time.
Whenever a historical context required, or when talking in regard to an old issue: an entity or occurrence, the ‘History of India’, invariably uses terms or nomenclatures or variants of their spellings, concurrent to that age and context. Thus, for one tem there occur in different sections of the book different nomenclatures and spellings. Any attempt at making them uniform could destroy the book’s historical flavor, and hence, have not been changed. The ‘History of India’ seems to sometimes carry its subject-matter beyond the scope of histories, as when devoting a section to the holy Hindu thinker Shankaracharya or Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsan; however, it is largely in reverence to Shankaracharya’s role in wielding great influence on India masses: one of the basic objectives of the ‘History of India;, or in view of the travel-accounts of Hiuen Tsang, one of the subtlest sources of Indian history, that their related sections have been included, and hence, the book’s integral part, not disturbed.
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