Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ancient Land of Survivors

If history is to be relevant, it has to mirror and reflect and expand our consciousness. Rajmohan Gandhi’s Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten is the first book in 125 years to chronicle the undivided Punjab from Attock to Delhi. The region was seven times the size of the Punjab in India. The book evokes both feelings: a sigh of relief and a sense of vacantness. The relief is that such a bloody history is behind us and we have moved on to becoming a democracy, moved away from monarchies, and hopefully such bloodshed will not happen again. The vacantness is that, like in our long history, in a year of parliamentary elections, in a nation as populous and diverse as ours, we still have not built a culture in which political parties groom their next generation of leaders.
Part of the book’s charm lies in bringing places like Sirhind, Sarai Rohilla, Ferozepur, Multan, Kangara Hills and many more to life while portraying the intrigues in the power circles.

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