A mish-mash of key turning points in Indian history put together under the guise of “A Brief History of India’s Geography”
Sanjeev Sanyal’s book starts off with an interesting premise, mapping Indian history through it’s unique geographical features. India is, perhaps, the only country which has a long coastline, high mountains, deep plateaus, & dry deserts; every possible natural physiographic phenomena can be found here.
The thought seemed interesting and the reason to pick up this book. However, soon after the first chapter, the author seemed to have digressed from the initial thought and veers into a mish-mash of hurriedly put together chronicle of Indian history, the facts of which any Indian layperson would already know. So in essence, the book presents nothing new to the reader.
There were only two chapters that were relatively interesting; the first which discusses the formation of the Indian subcontinent, the people movement and ‘who were the first Indians’, essentially the only chapter that addresses the title of the book; the second, The Mapping of India, that talks about how westerners and their keen interest in mapmaking gave them an edge in the race to colonisation.
Apart from this, the book lacked depth, clear direction & purpose. The author writes adequately but doesn’t bring anything new to the table. There are far more superior and exhaustive reads available on Indian history.
Publisher: Penguin India