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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Indian civilization is among the oldest in the world, and what is unique in that respect is that the culture of the peoples still remains largely unchanged, with a strong thread of continuity through the ages.
It explores the possible causes for the de Indian civilization is among the oldest in the world, and what is unique in that respect is that the culture of the peoples still remains largely unchanged, with a strong thread of continuity through the ages. It explores the possible causes for the decline of the Harappan civilization and settlements. The book talks about the possibility of the Harappans having moved towards the south and settled in the peninsular region.
The author also discusses the Aryan invasion theory, supporting it with various research papers and findings of that time. The evolution of Hindu religion is also talked about in this book--from the Harappan times, to the coming of the Aryans and the mutual influence that Hinduism and its off shoots Jainism and Buddhism had on each other. This book is comprehensive in its coverage of Indian history.
It looks at every aspect of Indian society and culture. The Wonder That was India covers everything from religion, governance, social evolution, literary traditions, philosophy languages, and science. The author explores the significant role the Hindu religion played on the lives of the people. All the literary compositions of ancient times had religious associations. He also puts forward the theory that the European gypsies are of Indian origin.
The Wonder That Was India also gives an insight into modern Indian society and culture, how it became a confluence of different influences from many a quarter throughout the many stages of its history.
Get A Copy. Paperback , third revised edition , pages. Published December 15th by Ingram first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Ankur Dogra Yes, you should, especially chapter no.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 02, Kushal Srivastava rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , india.
Women in ancient India roamed the streets with naked breasts. Take that, modern world! One cannot refrain from considering any work on Indian culture and history under the scanner of famed "Orientalism" as told to us by Edward Said, if the work is from an Western author.
AL Basham though seems doesn't quite fill the bill of an orientalist. This is a work of very high quality and very deep research for which the author learned nearly all the ancient Indian languages and all of its ancient literatu Women in ancient India roamed the streets with naked breasts. This is a work of very high quality and very deep research for which the author learned nearly all the ancient Indian languages and all of its ancient literature.
The work is polymathic in it's outlook and covers nearly all known aspects of the Indian civilization from its geography, its literature, governance, religion, philosophy to science and even coinage.
Indian culture and its civilization are amongst the oldest in the world and perhaps one of few which are still intact in pretty much the same form as when they were created.
This continuity is surprising and in the book Basham has tried to find out the reasons behind it. We are given a quick tour of the Harappa culture and possible reasons for its decline attack?
Natural decline? The Indian society as it stands today is certainly the amalgamation of Aryans who probably came from somewhere near the modern day Iran and the natives. It is this culture of the Aryans which has been transferred almost undiluted through centuries. Slowly the Aryans dominated the entire sub continent and every inch of India soon had their footprints. There is a lot of information on the Indian religions though not necessarily structured.
We come to know that the Aryan religion was in the beginning a sacrificial cult which was later transformed into a devotional cult or the modern day hinduism.
All the religions in India have been influenced by each other upto the coming of Muslims. The coming of Buddhism and Jainism brought the non violence and vegetarian aspect into the Indian religions. Almost all of the Indian literature has been religious and even if some were secular like Mahabharata or Ramayana they have been transformed into religious works by later writers.
Basham is clearly not much impressed by the ideas expressed in literature of the period, according to him, the literature is mostly either religious or gnomic. What has impressed him is the amazingly and almost supernatural grasp of the language ancient Indian poets have shown.
Where else in the world would you find a beauty like this Dadado dudda-dud-dadi Dadado duda-di-da-doh Dud-dadam dadade dudde Dad'-adada-dado 'da-dah Translation: The giver of gifts, the giver of grief to his foes, the bestower of purity, whose arm destroys the giver of grief, the destroyer of demons, bestower of bounty on generous and miser alike, raised his weapon against the foe.
This work is essential for anyone who is interested in knowing the Indian history. It is a brilliant reference material, even if some sections feel dated. Appendices at the end give information on Indian science and maths but is hardly of the same detail as religion or governance.
But the importance of mathematics is highlighted in the fact that author calls the unknown mathematician who gave the world the zero as the second most important son of India after Buddha.
Oh and according to Basham, the gypsies are of Indian origin, so next time you see Brad Pitt in Snatch remember he is just Rajnikant in disguise. View all 4 comments. Oct 19, Arun Divakar rated it really liked it. While getting down from a train recently, a small post-it on the wall of the coach caught my attention. It was a quote from Stephen Covey — There are three constants in life…change, choice and principles.
I do not know about principles but change and choice are always prevalent when you pause to think about life and also about history. If you were to take only a sample of Indian history prior to the arrival of the Mughals and examine it, the sheer number of dynasties and empires that passed th While getting down from a train recently, a small post-it on the wall of the coach caught my attention.
If you were to take only a sample of Indian history prior to the arrival of the Mughals and examine it, the sheer number of dynasties and empires that passed through the Indian stage are mindboggling. The timeline we are talking about is from the rise of the Indus valley civilization to the first arrival of the Mughals. Reading the book was like a trip down memory lane. This feeling was not because I am fully well versed with Indian history but more because this is written in a style that reminded me of high school history classes.
I harboured no special liking for this subject in school and to this day I have no idea how I managed to clear that paper. The dry and factual descriptions in the book brought me back to those soporific afternoon classes…sigh! But I digress and so getting back — change is the most common factor in this book. The first big chapter in the book is a brief history on the dynasties that rose and fell across the length and breadth of the subcontinent in the eras gone by.
In hindsight it all seems so fickle and tiny. The power plays, the decades of warfare, blood and glory, the opulence of the royal households are all now recorded for posterity only on files hosted on some database with the Government of India.
There are still standing testimonies scattered across the vastness of this landscape with a personal favourite of mine being Hampi in Karnataka. The grandeur of the constructions and the sheer scale of it all made me marvel at the effort that would have gone in to create such a place. Then again a stroll to the magnificent Vijaya Vittala temple or gazing at the Narasimhamoorthy statue tells you how that glorious kingdom was ravaged by the invaders following the Battle of Talikota in This gets a mention of two lines in the book but having walked those streets, the past glory was still fresh on my mind.
The most famous early empire of India of Ashoka has been all but forgotten now even though his is a very popular name in India. Thereby you get a rough picture of the scale of changes that the landscape has been witness to. On the contrary the writing style is purely dispassionate and dry. Basham is a competent chronicler who relies heavily on the available literature of his time as the base for his work.
The chapters are broadly divided into art, politics, religion and theology, culture and social structure. Summed together they give an in depth understanding of the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals arrived on the scene. A lot of criticism is levelled against Basham for the glaring omissions and errors in the book but having being first published in , this would have been pretty much obvious.
Recommended for its breadth and scope and also for the unintentional nostalgia! View 2 comments. Jun 10, Tom rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. A fine survey of Indian culture up to 15th century or so.
The Wonder That Was India by A L Basham
The Wonder that was India : Volume 1
It traces the history of India from the ancient times to just before the arrival of the Muslim invaders. Indian civilization is among the oldest in the world, and what is unique in that respect is that the culture of the peoples still remains largely unchanged, with a strong thread of continuity through the ages. It explores the possible causes for the decline of the Harappan civilization and settlements. The book talks about the possibility of the Harappans having moved towards the south and settled in the peninsular region. The author also discusses the Aryan invasion theory, supporting it with various research papers and findings of that time.