The Indian subcontinent is known to be the cultural hub of the world because of its ancient religious history, size, diversity and population. Along with being the home to the ancient Harappa Civilization and initiator of various trade routes, India was also famous for its great commercial and cultural wealth. India is undoubtedly the mother of different races, languages, philosophies, treasure house of cultural and spiritual wealth and hence is no lesser than a wonder in itself.2. The book brings an in-depth analysis of the country’s’ golden past from early settlements in Harappa till the advent of Mughal rule.
The assortment of history initiated at the Indus valley, unfolding reasons for innovations and later developments passes through the reins of Buddha, Maurya’s, Gupta’s and others that collectively moulded the characteristics of the inhabitants. The sequence of events and progress of thoughts keeps the readers contained in the imaginations of the past and delighted with the glorious history of the wonderful Indian subcontinent. The books primary interpretation of the ancient Indian culture and its civilization, is a must read for anyone who is interested in understanding the roots and development of our magnificent civilization. 2. The civilization of the country, although influenced by many cultures and post constant evolution over million years, is amongst the oldest in the world. Its uniqueness is the fact that the culture of its citizens still remains largely unchanged, with a strong thread of continuity through the ages.
The book describes the country’s history from the Indus Valley Civilization and ascertains the probable reasons for the decline of the oldest civilization and settlements. The Aryan invasion theory is supported with research papers and findings of that time and the possibility of the Indus people having moved and settled in the southern peninsula. 3. The authors’ portrayal of the governments in the region, society & its norms, everyday life of the citizens, religion & beliefs, the arts, and finally language & literature during the magnificent empires of Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Chandra Gupta, Samudra Gupta and Vikramaditya and about some lesser-known kingdoms in detail like the Cholas or the Vijayanagar empire are enthralling and informative.
4. The book explains the developments in the way of life, which lead to evolution of a religion – Hinduism and its beliefs from the earliest times till the invasion of the Aryans. The joint influence that the oldest religion and its off shoots- Jainism and Buddhism had on each other is noteworthy. The detailed analysis of the caste system and its flexibility were exciting – more so when we find a very rigid shape that it has taken in recent times.5. The acknowledgment of the language advancement in ancient India, particularly describing how Sanskrit became a major literary choice in various eras helps the readers in understanding how such ancient poems and verses survived for a thousands of years. The noteworthy advancements in field of science owing to innovations and discoveries in fields of mathematics, metallurgy, sailing, medicine, husbandry, astrology, economics, phonetics etc. have been brilliantly validated.
The book enlightens the readers with facts making them believe that our ancestors collaborated scientific aspects and practical logics prior implementations. The elucidations in the development of statesmanship, daily life, religion, language and arts in a chronological order from Vedic period to middle ages through numerous illustrations, drawings, maps and references showcases the richness of our ancient civilization6. One major issue is that the book is factual to the very extent that the detailed description became monotonous after a while. If one can sail through those short stretches of monotony, then for sure the ancient India would seem no less than a wonder. The Wonder That Was India is certainly a great introduction into Indian history and A.
L. Basham’s passion for history as well as his expertise on the subject is very evident in this work. The book is definitely recommended for dedicated history readers, but with a word of caution to general readers.