Best india history books according to redditors

We found 490 Reddit comments discussing the best india history books. We ranked the 214 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about India History:

u/bawbness · 1441 pointsr/worldnews

I've actually had really mixed feelings about child labor after reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers. The mixed feelings come because we get to feel all smug that something is made without child labor, but all that means is that they either starve or go work in trash piles / unregulated work where they are exposed to toxic materials or other issues that are every bit as dangerous.

u/ThePlumBum · 479 pointsr/todayilearned

That was the thing that always blew me away about the event: That the effects of Krakatoa on the atmosphere are observable today in landscape paintings made at the time from as far away as England.

There's a really good book on the event called Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded by Simon Winchester in case anyone is interested.

Edit:correction to book title

u/ogaat · 264 pointsr/history

Most of the answers here are providing opinions, rather than actual historical context. I am a practicing Hindu, so let me add my own voice to this.

Most Hindus believe in the supreme authority of the Vedas, the four sacred books written in Sanskrit. There are many other supplementary works around them.

The three main concepts are

  • Anant Brahma - The Unending Supreme Being, not to be confused with Brahma, the creator in the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh(another name for Shiva). Brahma is the ultimate god for all Hindus. The difference is in the attributes assigned to the other god and their position relative to the Supreme Being.
  • Atman - The soul that is within everyone.
  • Maya - The all encompassing illusion cast by the Supreme Being on all creation. The goal of all creation is to dispel the illusion and know the true nature of the Supreme Being.

    The religious belief and practices can be divided into roughly four categories -

  • Dvait - Dualism. The belief that everyone's soul is unique and different and distinct from god. In this belief system, any deity can be considered to be unique as well as supreme by their followers. They believe in Maya but believe all creation and souls are separate. Within Dvait, the concept of Bhakti (Knowing god through worship) was made popular among the masses by saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Purandardas and is the closest to Christianity.

  • Vishishta Advaita - Special Dualism. All creation is one, with everyone thinking they are distinct due to the Supreme Being's Maya. Made popular by Ramanujacharya but I don't know much more about this.
  • Advaita - Non-dualism. This is the ultimate monotheistic idea in Hinduism, where all creation and the Supreme Being are one, the idea being if god is omniscient and omnipresent then nothing can be distinct from god. In this belief system, everything is one with the Supreme Being but Maya makes us think we are distinct. Adi Shankaracharya brought prominence to this belief system.
  • Samkhya - What the previous three have in common is belief in the Vedas. People who refused to believe in the authority of the Vedas as the word of god but considered them to be just moral precepts to be adapted as necessary. One main reason for the Samkhyas opposition to the Vedas was due to their use to create and sustain the caste system, where the majority of the population was considered lower caste and barred from reading any religions books, entering temples or in any practice which would let them get higher than a menial existence. Anyone managing that was promptly found to actually have been of higher birth and just needed purification.

    Hindus believe there are 330 million gods, which is assumed that it is the founder's estimate of number of unique creatures in nature.

    Most Hindus will consider either Shiva or Vishnu or one of Vishnu's incarnations - Krishna, Ram etc. to be supreme. Among others, most will consider the goddess Durga in that position
    All belief systems in Hinduism can be seen through this lens. Some like Swami Vivekananda tried to thread the needle by saying it is hard to envision and believe in a formless omnipresent being so most people find it easier to worship through a physical form, like an idol, with the thought of eventually graduating to more complex forms of worship.

    Such a complex belief system means Hindus just assume they are Hindu at birth. There was no process of converting to Hindu (which has changed with ISKCON and some other institutions having rituals to convert people to Hinduism) When Hinduism is under threat, they simply absorb the other religion's ideas. When Buddhism was on the rise, Hindus decided being vegetarian was an important part of the religion and Buddha was made into one of the Avataras(appearings) of the God Vishnu. Hindus will also go and worship in a mosque or church or have the idol of Mother Mary or Jesus Christ next to their own religions idols in their house place of worship.

    Lastly, this post is not really worthy of being in r/history but hope the mods will let it stand or at least inform me before deleting.

    I am from Goa, a state in India which was ruled by the Portuguese, rather than the British. While the Portuguese managed to convert most people to Christianity, some people escaped by going deep in the jungles and establishing their temples and deities there. You can see it today, with most temples within a few square miles of each other.

    Here are some sources


    I find history is deeply murky on Hinduism and pre-colonial India but this is what I could find.

    Personally, I am a follower of Vivekananda.

    Edit - Edited for formatting.

    Edit 2 - Adding a link to the Goa Inquisition by the Portuguese This was used to punish those who had been converted to Christianity but had secretly returned to their original rituals and beliefs. I don't know about Muslims but converting Hindus was relatively easy. The Brahmins of the time believed in the superiority of their own religion and had numerous restrictions on the populace and ways one could be outcast. For example, traveling by sea or drinking tea in a porcelain cup or even eating bread. The Portuguese and the British missionaries would simply drop bread in the community village and whoever drank water from that would be ostracized by their own brethren and considered to have converted to Christianity. Ironically, it took the British unification of India and the liberalization of the religion to enable it to survive the onslaught.

    Even today, in Goa, if someone visits the temple and mentions their overseas trip, they have to go through a purification, involving a ritual bath, cleansing chanting by a priest and being sprinkled with a drop of cow urine before entering the inner sanctum and worshipping.
u/alfonseski · 47 pointsr/pics

This is not true. I read the book about Krakatoa

They actually heard Krakatoa over 3000 miles away but people that were close did not report it as being that loud, really muffled sounding, probably having to do with the way acoustic waves work but interesting either way. That book has some really interesting stuff in it. Krakatoa was the first truly global event since the telegraph lines had just been laid across the oceans.

u/kusukundi · 24 pointsr/india

In serious Indological studies, the existence of Saraswati has been known for a long time now.

Read, Michel Danino's Lost River and the Archaeological Survey of India's ex-chief B B Lal's Rigvedic People.

u/Nirvana_V · 10 pointsr/hinduism

Oh really ? That is debatable, you should do some more research, here :

This book by Michel Danino provides numerical arguments based on the topographical explorations, geological and climatological studies, satellite imagery and isotope analyses to trace the river bed of Sarasvati since 3500BCE.

u/GuessImStuckWithThis · 10 pointsr/ukpolitics

India was far ahead of Europe in terms of education and development before the industrial revolution kicked in.

That's one of the most ignorant comments I've ever seen to be honest. You should probably try and educated yourself a bit. This might be a good place to start:

u/emr1028 · 9 pointsr/conspiracy

Anyone who claims that the US is the most corrupt country in the world needs to get a sense of perspective. I recommend reading about India.

u/sgdbw90 · 9 pointsr/todayilearned

Any who are interested in this stuff would love Simon Winchester's book on Krakatoa. The man makes the story come alive from both the personal and historical context of it all.

Also holy hell, it was heard on an island 3000 miles away. Imagine hearing something from New York while standing on the Santa Monica pier.

u/[deleted] · 9 pointsr/Kerala

I would suggest you read The ivory throne by Manu.S.Pillai. It might be an interesting book for you Catherine.

u/MrJekyll · 8 pointsr/india

I was in Bhopal at that time, though we lived bit further away from the impact area.

My mother's best friend & her family (5 people) ran from their home to stay with us (2 bedroom sarkari house). Mother was a nurse in 1 of the best Hospitals in the city, I remember how busy she used to be, how terrible she(as a professional, who was was used to autopsies) felt at the sheer numbers/suffering.

Every day, you heard of sickening details on news, in the rumor mill - about people dead, no one to take care of them, about leaders/politicians ignoring them etc.

There were occasional rumors about wind changing direction, more leakages. We lived miles away, but I remember 1 day, we all got onto 1 scooter & went miles further away in a village outside the city.

If you get time, read Five Past Midnight, it is a great book on the topic. Especially the sacrifice/valor of railway employees.

That was bad, but the worse was yet to come - the dirty drama over compensation, about how people who didn't deserve the money, claimed & cornered money, about how the money was spend on pretentious construction. About how, some leaders claimed that their "community" wasn't given compensation money.

u/TheTurbanatore · 8 pointsr/Sikh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Everyone is welcome at the Gurdwara regardless of their gender, caste, creed, race, etc. You are more than welcome to come to the Gurdwara to pray, enjoy Langar, or talk with the community.

At the Gurdwara people are expected to converge their heads, and take off their shoes. Visible tattoos are fine.

If you would like to learn more about the Sikh faith, then Basics of Sikhi is a great YouTube channel with general videos on Sikhi, and Nanak Naam is a great Chanel that focuses more on the Spiritual/Philosophical side of Sikhi. I would highly suggest you take a look at "The Why Guru Course" which is a free video series that is a great introduction to Sikhi, and talks about Sikh history, culture, language, music, poetry, and much more. For a more in-depth cover on Sikh history read up on "A History of Sikhs" by Kushwant Singh. To access the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji online go to For Q&As check out, and for everything else you're already at the right spot: r/Sikh.

u/attofreak · 8 pointsr/india

For modern India, Ramachandra Guha's India After Gandhi. The dude digs up every memo, every administrative note, personal letter available, to narrate the story of India from around independence till current times (still have to get there). Lots of details, but it is sometimes quite gripping. The whole correspondence between Chou En Lai and Nehru, culminating in the War of '62, is particularly worth reading. Highlights the different governance of the two countries, and causes for India's defeat. There's a lot more. The story of Partition, and how Vallabhai Patel and his secretary (VP Menon) worked to accomplish the daunting task of integrating the over 500 princely states into one, democratic Indian Union is essential.

For ancient India, I am just starting. I just got into John Keay's India: A History. This is a beautiful book. Starts with India's most ancient known civilisation, the Harappas, and proceeds to chronicle the evolution of the country ever since, from the consequential "invasion" of Arya, to the skirmish with Alexander, the rise of Mauryan empire (and Ashoka the great) and the Indian "Dark Age" (that's as far as I have gotten!), and beyond (emergence of the Gupta empire is just around the corner). It is pragmatic, unbiased, thorough narrative of this subcontinent. I really enjoyed the chapter on Vedic era; finally got to know what is reliable and what isn't from that era, and a brief glimpse into how historians work to check the veracity of all the bold claims in the two great epics of Indian literature, Mahabharata and Ramayana. There is also frequent mention of the lineage of kings in Puranas (it is mostly unreliable, with little to know details of the time periods).

This is a novice beginning for me, and I will have to re-read these two books alone several times, to cement any idea of the complexity and diversity of Indian history. Maybe someday, I will get to move on to European history and everything in between!

u/rantingprimate · 7 pointsr/AskHistorians

This is a question which can only be fully answered over the pages of several books since the formation of the India Union spans nearly two centuries and the the geopolitics of the subcontinent is equally broad and complex. What ill attempt to do here is provide a summary that goes through various political, social and strategic processes that led to the contemporary situation in the subcontinent. Since I specialise in the history of the Indian Union the summary I give is primarily a history of the same entity. I wont be commenting much on Pakistan, Bangladesh and Srilanka for the same reasons.

At the end of colonial rule, British India was a vast territory that stretched from Afghanistan to Burma. Burma had been made a separate crown colony in 1916. The modern political geography of the current nation states of the Indian subcontinent derive from the British India of the early 20th century. Now British India was culmination of a variety of forms of political control. There were the Presidencies in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi and Madras and the territories under these presidencies. This was under the direct control of the monarch of England from 1858. Interspersed between this territory were the Princely States which were ruled by local monarchs but were controlled by British Resident or Political Officer. At the time of Indian Independence these Princely States numbered around 556. It is within this political system that Indian nationalism began to emerge and grow. The main political entity in the Indian national movement was the Indian National Congress founded in 1885 but it is not the only anti-colonial entity that was active in creating the Indian identity. There were a variety of regional interests that created their own discourse of nationalism, nativity and anti-colonialism . The transportation, communication and political systems of British colonialism had made it easier for the subjects of British India to interact and share ideas to form a coherent identity. The modern Indian identity is not formed overnight but it took nearly a 100 years worth of poetry, literature and political activism to create the consolidated idea. It is also not a monolithic identity there are several sub-nationalisms that contribute to the larger idea. Its better to understand the Indian identity as aggregation rather than a singularity.

Recommended Reading : Sumit Sarkar- Modern India Shekar Bandopahyay- From Plassey to Partition

In 1947 India gained Independence from colonial rule. As political negotiations to keep India integrated with the same political geography as British India fell apart and the country split into two. Pakistan(which in 1947 was west-Pakistan and east-Pakistan which is present day Bangladesh). Minus this territory most of British India began to form the Indian Union. Now the present day political map of the Indian Union is not what the country looked like in 1947. In fact constant shifts occurred in the territory of India till 1976 (2016 if you count enclaves). In fact contrary to mainstream Indian historiography the Indian Union is the product of a series of negotiations conflicts and insurgencies. Initially several princely states objected to joining the Union. The state of travancore wanted to remain independent but a popular left wing uprising overthrew the monarchy and voted to join the Union. The state of Hyderabad was annexed by the Indian army in 1948, essentially because the state would have been a country within a country with strong ties to Pakistan. The princely state of Junnagad became a site of conflict as to if it would join Pakistan (because of the interests of it muslim monarch) or join India in the interest of its hindu majority(the latter was what happened). The reverse was true of Kashmir which had a Hindu monarch who after a speedy referendum ceded to India. Stating the muslim majority argument Pakistan invaded what is today azad kashmir/Pakistan occupied kashmir. This issue as you may know is still unsettled. There were other political negotiations that the Indian Union had to undergo to tip the balance in the French controlled territories of pondicherry, yanam and mahe. These territories would referendum out of colonial rule and accede into the Union. The Portuguese colony of Goa would also be absorbed into the union in 1961 through strategic military move by the Indian army. The latest change to the map of the Indian union happened in 1976 when the princely state of sikkim was made an Indian state. Sikkim had been an Independent kingdom during British rule. The Indian union had turned sikkim into a protectorate after the Indo-china war of 1962 taking over military and diplomatic affairs of the kingdom. In 1975 a controversial referendum and social strife against the monarchy in sikkim saw it absorption into the Union.
Recommended reading-
vp menon- The Story of the Integration of the Indian States Smash and Grab- Sunanda Ray Andrew Duff-Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom

As you can see from these examples there is a complexity of factors that created the present day Republic of the Indian Union.

>How did India avoid escalation of conflicts into civil wars?

There is no real answer for this. In fact the Indian union has always contained problems that in other nations would have definitely escalated into civil wars (or in India multiple civil wars). But the fact remains that the republic has always been strong and none of India’s internal conflicts have ever caused a breakdown of the entire system. This could be primarily because of how the Indian Union is designed. Unlike a standard nation state India is not a monolithic governmental entity. One allegory(not comprehensive) is to say India is like the European Union but with a state structure similar to the United States. Like the EU India is made up of several nationalities but like the US its it has a centralised government below which function very strong state governments. These state governments are small nations in themselves but military and economic policy is with the central government. This form of power sharing is significant reason for the sustenance of the Indian Union. Though demographic differences do favour certain cultures and linguistic groups in the union the states still hold significant autonomy. In fact except for a few cases the solution in the Union for conflict is often to co-opt opposing parties and give more self governance. By doing this the Union never escalates a conflict beyond a certain point.

At the same time this system is not without its fractures. A significant number of secessionist conflicts dot the history of contemporary India. Everyone knows about kashmir so I wont delve further into that. Apart from this India has had secessionist movements for several regions. The conflicts in north-eastern india are significant in this regard. Having been mostly outside direct colonial control and not fully linked to the politics of Indian nationalism most states in north-eastern India remained socially, culturally and linguistically different from the mainland. The political entity that was once British Assam further turned into 6 different states in the Union. All of these states have their own secessionist movements. Naga nationalism which still survives today in a few small insurgent groups hoped to create a separate nation ‘Kuknalim’, joining different naga tribes in Myanmar and the Indian states of Nagaland, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. The Garo Liberation army pushed for separate state in Meghalaya and the Mizo National Liberation Front was formed to create a separate Mizo nation. Besides this there are several secessionist movements or movements that seek to form new Indian states like the United Liberation Force of Ahom, Boro Liberation Tiger Force. In the mainland there is a long history of maoist/marxist militias that span central, eastern and southern India. These groups consider the Indian state a semi-colonial, semi-feudal, capitalist entity and have been in conflict with the central government for decades.

All this has led to the Central government developing a series of military divisions that are deployed for a variety of conflicts. Unlike most countries Indian armed forces are of two type. The Indian military (Army/Navy/Airforce) which is controlled by the Defence Ministry and the Reserve Police controlled by the Home ministry. The Reserve Police play a significant role in the regulation of domestic conflict. They are essentially the counter balance. Within the reserve police there are divisions for border patrol, the Border Security Force for the Bangladesh/Pakistan borders, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Sahastra Seema Bal(nepal-bhutan border), Assam rifles(Myanmar border), and the Coast Guard for the seas. For engaging in domestic often secessionist conflict the central government deploys the Central Reserve Police Force and the Rapid Action Force is a division sent for riot and crowd control. There are also division like the Central Industrial Security Force and the Railway Protection Force which is for infrastructure security. Apart from the co-optation and political/diplomatic negotiation the reserve police are the other side of how India ensures internal integrity. Most internal conflicts in India are fought by reserve police not the army.
Recommend Reading – Steven Wilkinson- Army and Nation

u/tinkthank · 7 pointsr/CombatFootage

One major point that people should know about Pakistan is that they are culturally, religiously, historically and linguistically tied to India and to an extent, Bangladesh and Afghanistan (the latter tie being stronger than the former).

India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were once a single entity under the British Raj. Most Indian nationalists at that time, and some (though a smaller component) of Greater India nationalists see these three countries as one entity.

There are many reasons as to why India and Pakistan split, some of them are very legitimate concerns, whereas there are some issues that were very clearly motivated by personal interests of several leaders.

There is more to the split between India and Pakistan aside from the Republican split from the British Raj, there are other factors playing into the division of India into India and Pakistan, such as those that pertain to the treatment of the many Princely States.

Here are some solid recommendations as far as reading is concerned on this particular part of the world:

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah and the Battle for Pakistan by Qutubuddin Aziz & Katherine Wang

Makers of Modern India by Ramachandra Guha

A Concise History of Modern India
by Barbara D. Metcalf & Thomas R. Metcalf

The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan
by Yasmin Khan

Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum by Stephen Cohen

u/SnarferX · 6 pointsr/videos

Great book on the subject: Five Past Midnight.
Offers some insights into the cause of the accident as well as the slow decline of safety in general at the plant. I was alarmed to learn that the plant in India was nearly mirrored EXACTLY by a plant in West Virginia. All the safety systems were the same, just the plant in India started to turn them all off as profits of Sevin dropped in the early eighties in India. Funny how Union Carbide didn't think to just shut the plant down and import the chemical like they did before the plant was built, rather than cut all the safety systems off when the margins got too thin.

u/_vi5in_ · 6 pointsr/india

> I wish Indira had invaded West Pakistan in 1971 and broken it to pieces.

I used to think like that. Then I read this book. Then I understood why Indira Gandhi didn't go into West Pak.

India was facing a very hostile west, especially a very hostile America. Indira Gandhi's whole reasoning was that it was beyond an internal matter of Pakistan because it was having a direct effect on India (refugee crisis). Furthermore, India said that it supported the right of Bangladeshis for self-determination.

Nixon and Kissinger, meanwhile, where paranoid that India was using this as an excuse to steamroll Pakistan and destroy it. In fact, they were convinced of it from the beginning. They were also extremely pro-Pakistani at the time because of Nixon's close personal relationship with Yahya, whom he admired. At the time Yahya was also working through back-channels with China to facilitate Nixon's rapprochement with that country.

Towards the end of the war, Nixon was starting to become increasingly unhinged. He was convinced that India would destroy Pakistan and essentially lay out a red (pun not intended) carpet for Soviet hegemony over South Asia. This is why he even sent Task Force 74 led by the USS Enterprise to threaten India.

India's goals were to crush the Pak army in East Pakistan while defending the western frontier. There is no way India could have rolled into West Pakistan and taken over territory (geopolitically; I am not saying that the Army didn't have the capability). The US would most certainly have reacted, along with other western powers. It would have also nullified India's moral stance on the war.

u/lostinsamaya · 6 pointsr/Kerala

The Ivory Throne : Chronicles of the House of Travancore

This is by Manu S. Pillai.

He recently did an AMA recently here as well

u/-tutu- · 5 pointsr/geology

I really like Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms or any book by Richard Fortey, really if paleontology and the biological history of the earth is interesting to you.

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded is also great, especially if you like volcanoes. And sort of similarly is Eruptions that Shook the World.

I also second The Seashell on the Mountaintop that /u/ap0s suggested. It's very good!

u/tinny123 · 5 pointsr/worldnews

I would believe this report because Indian army is notorious for carrying out human rights violations. A lot of rapes have occurred but the Indian government have never really bothered to punish the perpetrators. We all know that there is a rape culture in India so these things never see the light of the day. Here are few resources that contain records of rapes committed by Indian Armed Forces:-

Human rights commission report:-

Konan pushpora mass rape :-

Rape in Kashmir by Indian Military:-


Angana Chatterji, then a professor of social and cultural anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (and now a program co-chair at UC Berkeley), has described one appalling episode, uncovered by her fieldwork from 2006 to 2011 researching human rights abuses in Kashmir:

>Many have been forced to witness the rape of women and girl family members. A mother who was reportedly commanded to watch her daughter’s rape by army personnel pleaded for her child’s release. They refused. She then pleaded that she could not watch and asked to be sent out of the room or else killed. The soldier put a gun to her forehead, stating that he would grant her wish, and shot her dead before they proceeded to rape her daughter.


u/nimmajji · 5 pointsr/india

[Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud] (

u/kevinkeller11 · 5 pointsr/india

Correct, the Aryans were pastoralist nomads. Many of the things we know about them are derived indirectly. For example, they did not have a word their own word for 'plough', 'furrow', or 'threshing floor'. Hence, we can say they probably weren't into farming. They didn't care much for writing as well, but they knew all about livestock.

Source: this excellent book about India's history.

u/thevardanian · 5 pointsr/india

If only Indians would go, and read their own manuscripts that are in the millions, but I guess that's left to people like the Chancellor of UC Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks, because we're too ashamed, or worse too lazy, to find the truth for our selves even though it's right beneath our beds.

Here's a quote from his book "Caste of Minds":

>... the accounts that have become hegemonic in the West, and to some extent India itself, in which caste is the key symbol of Indian society, and in which caste is a system of social relations in which the unvarying position of the Brahman and the untouchable confirm the spiritual basis that justifies, explains, and underlies this unique institution. Dumont's muddle in the middle is the rule, not the exception. In fact, caste neither exhausted the rang of social forms, function, and identities, nor provided underlying unity. The only common social facts of caste concerned the codification of kinship relations and, to some extent, the protocols for interdining. But even these codes and protocols yielded to larger political histories of community formation, regulation, discipline, and participation within a range of larger social and political worlds - until, that is, the larger political history became dominated by a colonial power whose interest in ruling India through an indirect logic predicated on caste changed things altogether.


> ... all Kallars participated in the kingship of the royal Tondaiman family, though to varying extents. The forms of clan and subcaste structure within the group of Kallars were vitally affected by proximity to the king; the political hierarchy turned out to determine the social hierarchy as well, with alliance structures working out the political gradations and relations of proximity in fine detail... The autonomy accorded to pollution issues for Brahmans was the luxury of a particular kind of dominance, and thus, contra Dumont, could only be mistaken as the ideological principle of the hole if one was blinded by power itself... As caste had been constructed as a social system, first in the political milieu of the old regime and then increasingly Brahmanical reforms under colonial rule, the most pervasive forms of oppression were directed at women.

Furthermore Dirks highlights the fact that the organization of caste, power, and society were not uniform, but shared an underlying feature of addressing political structures.

>From the Telugu country to Maharashtra, and from the older Rajputs of northwestern India to the new Rajputs of central India. The very dominance of these groups suggests the extent to which their own political ideologies and structures exerted influence over the organization of social relations generally, as well as the principles underlying them... My argument is that there were multiple organizing social relations - all, however, socially and politically contingent in various way. We have already noted a far more complex position for Brahmans than would be guess from the texts.

And to give perspective how nuanced of a role status played out in society:

> As Dubois put it in his inimitable style: "The rights and privileges for which the Hindus are ready to fight such sanguinary battles appear highly ridiculous, especially to a European. Perhaps the sole cause of the contest is the right to wear slippers or to ride through the streets in a palanquin or on horseback during marriage festivals. Sometimes it is the privilege of being escorted on certain occasions by armed retainers, sometimes that of having a trumpet sounded in front of a procession, or of being accompanied by native musicians at public ceremonies." These privileges were, in fact, markers of rights that were indexed to status within and between communities, to control over public space and other pubic markers of position, to relations with various groups and institutions (from powerful and dominant patrons to temples), and to connections with royal families and court personages.

There's nothing holy in the world, nor a people so spiritual to abide by a con perpetuated by a minority of the people claiming some pure divinity. No. The reality is economy, and power, those two are the only goals human history shares. Everything bows before the king, as Kautilya would be proven right when he asserts that the greatest dharma is not devotion to Kama, or Moksha, but Artha, which a King presides over as his duty. And so this very simple fact is displayed in the working of Caste as mechanism of building relationships in a society, and at the same time forging one's own values, and therefore profession in society. We can also see how, and why we have such an emphasis on family, because it is only through a tight nit group of individuals can we actually progress. Otherwise we're left alone, disparate, and without assistance in this world, and with the one's inner own demons.

With that said it also required the sacrifice of individual exploration as society was you, and you were society. The two were not separate at all. What we see with the rise of enlightenment, and liberal ideas of individualism is in many ways flawed, as Wittgenstein in Tractatus shows that there can be no private thoughts at all. So then this dichotomy, and conflict of having a feeling of individuality, in conflict with society arises, and can only be resolved through asceticism, and understanding the ascetic ideas of ones' own self.

(As for the Mahabharatha we can understand where Arjun is coming from. He's a prince taking part in a royal event, reserved only for the graduating princes of the Kingdom to display their attained knowledge from Gurukul in the Rangbhumi (A play on words of Ranbhumi where Ranbhumi denotes battlefield, and Rangbhumi translates literally as Color-Field, or a display of colors, a display of the varied abilities of the newly graduating youth.). And with the outline of how royalty in India works, I think it would make logical sense for Arjun to object Karan's participation in the event. )

u/ZackPhrut · 5 pointsr/IndiaRWResources
  1. KA Nilkanth Shashtri

    A History of South India: From Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar - Amazon Link

    The Illustrated History of South India: From Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar - Amazon Link

    Foreign Notices Of South India - Google Archives

  2. A S Altekar

    Rashtrakutas And Their Times - Google Archives

  3. AL Basham
    The Wonder That Was India: 1

    You can read this book for free on Anybooks app.

    Edit your post and add all these links.
u/aishamohammed · 4 pointsr/kuttichevuru

Machi, rajiv malhotra (northi aryan dog) idha pathi kuraithithu avan oda bookla (dravidians avoid this book by aryan propaganda master. "Malhotra" high caste brahmin surname)

Kadha enna naa, Noah's penis seen by son Ham in some Arabian/Israeli desert Sand many many years ago.

Noah curses Ham and Canaan (Ham's son) to be born with dark skin to symbolize their slave status for ever and ever.

Namma strong karuppu dravidian brothers are direct descendents of Ham and Canaan machi.

So, all Dravidians should sing "Yesuvin naadam divya prabandham." after being given 1 kg of rice.

u/EvanRWT · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians


I recommend Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India by Nicholas Dirks, Princeton University Press. He comes across as a bit strong, but he provides plenty of primary sources that you can peruse for yourself.

Also Erik Stokes wrote a bunch of papers (and a book I believe) on this topic. I don't have references handy on this computer, but I can dig them up.

u/ry4p · 3 pointsr/india

Hi! You can start with the book linked above for a summary of the events leading upto 1984. The book is quite detailed. I would also recommend this article on The Gill Doctrine.

For more Sikh history Khushwant Singh's book "History of the Sikhs" first written in 1963 remains a compelling read.

u/desi_boys · 3 pointsr/india
u/CharmingRamsayBolton · 3 pointsr/hinduism

A lot of the Hindu-Sikh "divide" is the result of the now discredited martial races theory propounded by British colonialism as part of their divide and rule strategy. It has also been intensified in recent years with British and American support for secessionist movements within India as part of their Cold War and post-Cold War foreign policy.

I am not an expert on the relationship between Hinduism and Sikhism from a theological perspective but here are a few things I would like you to consider and make your own conclusions.

Durga & Mahakaali on the cover of original Guru Granth Sahib

Cover page of Dasam Granth Sahib c.1695. Images of shiva,saraswati, Guru Nanak, Ganapati adorn the cover

Sikh painting showing Maharaja Ranjit singh worshipping Durga

Frescoes of Durga in Sikh Gurudwara at Nurungabad c.1720

Hindu Gods' images inside Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib

The standard banner of Khalsa army - many of which were captured by British. Silk Flag of red background with yellow borders and three horizontal golden strips. One side depicts Durga with her attendants and other side shows Sun.

Zoom in of the Khalsa banner. The figure on the right looks like Hanuman - not too sure of this though.

Contemporary Painting of procession of Maharaja Sher Singh.

Closer observation of the two banners basically depicts Vishnu's avatar Varaha and Kumara swamy. It is worth mentioning that Kumara aka Kartikeya and his mount Peacock is very common depiction of coins of Yaudheya gana who ruled pre Islamic eastern Punjab and Haryana and seems to have associated themselves with worship of Kartikeya

Another contemporary painting of military procession of Hari Singh Nalwa which basically shows the same flag as shown in the above picture.

Hari Singh Nalwa, for those who don't know, is one of the greatest military generals in history.

Now you tell me, is it fine to practice both Sikhism and Hinduism?

u/desiCat23 · 3 pointsr/ABCDesis

OP, I would suggest spending the next one year of your life dedicating yourself to learning about India. I do not mean superficial learning about empty customs and rituals - I mean actually learning about the history of India over the last 5000 years.

I hate, hate, hate to use quotes from Westerners who have studied India (because it goes to show that we take pride when Westerners say something good about India) - but because you have such a huge inferiority complex about your race and wish you were White, I shall resort to using these examples.

>1. If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power, and beauty that nature can bestow – in some parts a very paradise on earth – I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most full developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life – again I should point to India. - Max Muller

>2. J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist and director of the Manhattan Project, learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad Gita in the original form, citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life. Upon witnessing the world's first nuclear test in 1945, he later said he had thought of the quotation "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds", verse 32 from chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita.

>3. In the introduction to The World as Will and Representation, written in 1818, Arthur Schopenhauer stated that "the access to [the Vedas], opened to us through the Upanishads, is in my eyes the greatest advantage which this still young century enjoys over previous ones, because I believe that the influence of the Sanscrit literature will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century".

>4. In 1789 Jones published a translation of Kālidāsa's The Recognition of Sakuntala. The translation captured the admiration of many, notably Goethe, who expressed his admiration for the Sanskrit play Shakuntala. Goethe went on to borrow a device from the play for his Faust, Part One.

Spend the next one year reading about how rich your culture is. I don't mean Bollywood culture - you don't need to learn anything about that - read about History, Philosophy, the various art forms. I know India is a messed up place in many, many ways but things will improve. Every country/region goes through ups and downs. You think the US is going to be a great country 300 years from now? There was a time when the Greeks were a mighty nation and now they are reduced to nothing. There was a time when the Arabs contributed a lot to mathematics and art - now they don't have that kind if culture.

You are never going to have true self-confidence if you don't feel proud about your origins. You are lucky that you are from India - because there are many things you can find about India's glorious past to feel pride in.

I recommend this book to get started - 'The Wonder That Was India'

You will see how in the Indus Valley there was actual town planning - this was when most of Europe was a complete mess. I agree that we shouldn't just find comfort in the past and the present is most important. The present day India is a complete, complete, complete mess. But how can we expect to get out of the mess if the youth do not even have self-confidence about their heritage? In the case of Indians, we need to teach our children about our glorious past so that they feel pride and then are able to dream big and change the country.

I don't know what your story is and whether or not your parents ever discussed Indian History with you beyond the British rule. Anyway, you are an adult now and live in a country where you have access to excellent public libraries. Go and immerse yourself in some serious study. You will come out a different person.

EDIT 1 - Regarding women : Just have self-confidence and try to be a good human being. Don't give a damn about what another person thinks of you, and this quality will attract women.

u/Xinasha · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

One thing to note -- the narrative you mention of Hinduism having some sort of "Golden Age" prior to the arrival of Islam is a narrative largely constructed by the British in order to justify their rule in India. They wanted to help Indians return to a more "civilized" time when issues like women's rights were "better" somehow.

Also, by framing issues in India as a product of Muslim influence, they could further deepen the Hindu-Muslim divide and increase their "divide and rule" policy.

See "A Concise History of Modern India" by Metcalf and Metcalf. Amazon link.

u/jeebus_focker · 3 pointsr/india

Read ex ASI chief, BB Lal's tome on this topic to know about the state of the art.

Michel Danino's study on the Saraswati may also come in handy.

In summary, Vedic civilization is organic to India.

u/bugglesley · 3 pointsr/Games

Before the British got there, the Mughal Empire was still theoretically running the place. British "Unification" proceeded apace with the disintegration of the mughals, so it's not quite like they swept into this war-torn wasteland and brought peace and harmony. Even the caste system was barely in effect in small parts of the previously diverse Indian subcontinent before the shrewd British administrators imposed it across the board to expand their control.

Even disregarding all that... The thing is, if you're saying they're bringing modernity to a backwards land, then your argument that they were "no worse" than the old regime doesn't really get you anywhere. If their mission was a civilizing one, they should be held accountable for some kind of improvement, at the very least. As to the brutality of the British administrators, I leave you the words of Edmund Burke, who, far from a bleeding heart liberal, is literally the founder of conservatism.

When it comes to slavery in Africa, it's like saying that industrial-scale farming in the Midwest couldn't possibly cause any trouble because Native Americans had been farming in the midwest for centuries. Yes, slavery had existed as a social system. The addition of massive amounts of foreign money and weapons probably had some kind of effect, though. There's also maybe a difference between hundreds of people being exchanged between tribes and tens of millions being brought across an ocean, a trip during which millions would die. Saying "slavery already existed" is true, but the way you're using it it's ridiculous--the trans-atlantic slave trade completely changed everything about the institution, and it's very difficult to claim that European involvement had no role in making Africa a far more backwards and violent place than it would have been otherwise.

Europe was a backwards and violent continent right up until the late 1700s, especially when compared to China. If someone had come on in before the industrial revolution, reinforced every ancient social hierarchy with deadly force, removed millions of able-bodied people to die half a world away (or, fine, paid and armed some groups of europeans to remove millions of other Europeans to die etc.), and otherwise callously extracted every possible bit of profit from the land and the people for centuries before leaving the shambles to fend for themselves, do you really think it'd be as developed as it is today? You're in deep as far as victim-blaming goes.

u/Chatterye · 3 pointsr/geopolitics

You can start by learning about the history of The great game. The anglo-russian rivalry in central asia and afghanistan started way back in the 1800's and continued at least till the fall of the soviet union. If you see this as a series of events across the whole region then it all makes sense. The India-pakistan angle is mostly glossed over though so I recommend you doing some original research in this domain. You may also read the book, The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of Indias Partition, written by Narendra Singh Sarila, the former ADC to the last Viceroy of British India, Lord Mountbatten. This book provides a different perspective than usually put forth. Here is a short review of the book. There is more material on the internet and in british archives but you will have to dig it out.

u/thingsbreak · 3 pointsr/geology

Are you interested in a particular aspect of geology?

Are you perhaps interested in sub/related disciplines? If so, I have some paleoclimate, geochemistry, etc. recommendations.

It might be blasphemy on this subreddit, but in a similar thread a ways back, a few people were really singing the praises of The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. I frankly found it to be more than a little boring, even taking Winchester's digression-heavy style into account.

I recently started Krakatoa (also by Winchester) and it seems a bit more like what I was hoping for.

"Light" geology reading is kind of a tough needle to thread, I think.

u/ImALittleCrackpot · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

It isn't a single survey, but Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 tells the story of that volcanic eruption and includes what amount to mini-courses in vulcanology, plate tectonics, the history of Indonesia, geology, and how Reuters was founded.

u/dwair · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

India: A History by John Keayis a good place to start

The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India by Sita Ram Goel

The Mughal Empire by John Richards is also good

Unfortunately there are few books and even fewer in print that cover India pre-east India company, partly I guess because unlike the same period in European history, few people were writing it down as it happened.

u/gamegyro56 · 3 pointsr/hinduism

There's the reading list in the side-bar, but that doesn't really have secondary books on Hinduism.

There's Gavin Flood's An Introduction to Hinduism. I haven't read it yet, but it's the only thing I got off the top of my head. If you want, I can look through the copy I found on the sidewalk and tell you about it.

But Flood seems to have a pretty good pedigree. But I don't know if he's a Hindu. I would also recommend Eknath Easwaran's translation of the Bhagavad Gita. I have it, and his intro goes into Hindu concepts. This book also seem well-received, though I don't have it.

There's a public domain book called The Religion of the Veda: The Ancient Religion of India. There's also The Wonder that was India, which is good. And apparently the same guy wrote The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism.

Most Indian history books talk about Hinduism, so maybe the Cambridge History of India?

u/therelentlesspace · 3 pointsr/malefashionadvice

As an English major in college, I've been inundated with fiction for years. Now I'm on a big non-fiction and essay kick.

At present I would recommend Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, a marvelous piece of literary non-fiction set in the slums of Mumbai, and a tidy selection of Foucault that I like to take chunks out of between other books.

u/CheckedOutDidntLeave · 2 pointsr/geopolitics

\>I've had for a while is that long term development is dependent on a stable, effective government, and not on a democratic government per se.


Agreed but you make a mistake in assuming democracy is an imposition. Democracy is a product of the system it exists in. As an Indian who has seen the country change during my lifetime, I can tell you that India's government and democracy while having large flaws is not ineffective or unstable.This is not by accident.


The INC put in a decades long effort starting pre-independence in structuring the government. The fact that democracy has been preserved is because of the values of the people who built modern India. Ambedkar, the architect of the constitution observed


\> “On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which is Assembly has to laboriously built up.”


If you want to know more, I suggest you have a look at Ramchandra Guha's [Patriots and Partisans]( Also to know the things the Indian government did to limit the ability of a military coup, you can look at [Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy since Independence]( by Stephen Wilkinson.

u/dhatura · 2 pointsr/indianews

The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of Indias Partition
by Narendra Singh Sarila

Also makes a case for this and provides evidence in greater detail.

u/Common_Man · 2 pointsr/india

Atleast we agree on the middle east issue (Big image file). The fact that "muslims" are the most alienated and divided community today has more to do with imperialism than it is understood. One cannot just bunch together all the population in a common basket of muslim ideals, it would always be inaccurate.

You may want to look beyond the history of India to see how it played out. Middle east is a oil rich region, an essential commodity for fuelling the industry and modern economy. However Middle east is the most divided region among the world powers. America and Russia(Soviet Union) and Europeans have competing interests over there.

The same does not apply for India because India of more of a market and provider of services for cheap labour. Geography, demographics and the politics have more profound effect than ideologies. Having a dictator does not help market economy. Most economies which provide essential raw materials just need a dictatorial state even in Africa. It is not out of some virtue of hinduism that hindu fundamentalism does not exist. The agricultural sector of India is yet to consolidate/collapse in India, in Afghanistan it gave rise to guerilla force called Taliban. Indonesia has much more moderate muslims because they too are a market and cheap labouring house. An industrial capitalist's who manufactures goods historically fought for people out of slavery to have wage labour to consume his goods, the fact that slavery exists under capitalism is only because the capitalist expects that there some other capitalist is paying wages to consume his goods. It all can come down to looking at which stage of capitalism that region serves.

> That is a very defeatist attitude.

What is your solution ? A religious state ? We all know how zionism has ended up betraying the genuine jewish victims of holocoust and jewish working people today while Israel is serving as a garrison for western powers in the middle east. It was known that Israel was a death trap for jews. We know how Pakistan has become a perpetual rogue state competing in an arms race, training radicals etc. had more to do with "the great game" than religion.

The point is looking beyond the lines of religion. How most lefties look is by their class interest. I agree that there are many "comrades" out there who pander religious nonsense. You are clearly annoyed at them, so am I. Atleast don't bunch them together in one basket like muslims and make gross generalisations.

u/omaca · 2 pointsr/history

This is a great book. Have you tried Tournament of Shadows?

u/lngwstksgk · 2 pointsr/books
u/barmyt · 2 pointsr/india

For history of India .. a good place to start is john keay's India

u/paranoidbot · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

Five Past Midnight in Bhopal is a good book that covers the incident from multiple perspectives.

u/EatingSandwiches1 · 2 pointsr/books

I am a Historian I think many of those books highlighted are not really a master list but a good jumping off point to delve into the region. I would suggest for India to read " India after Gandhi"

Also a good primer would be:

u/WillWorkForGin · 2 pointsr/ABCDesis

Have a read of

It's utterly immense. Best book on it

u/Shlomoh21 · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

It's not on ancient India but is about the history of India

Mythological fiction has been a favourite in India for the past decade.

You can read up on Amish Tripathi's Meluha series for mythological fiction.

Devdutt Patnaik is a good author to understand Indian mythology.

u/mini_ayush · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The wonder that was India by a l basham.

here is an amazon link.

u/rocksinmyhead · 2 pointsr/geology
u/JimeDorje · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

It was suggested I post here. I have to say it's pretty outside of my location and timeframe. Most of my reading is centered around Buddhism and what I know about India that's not political in nature is mostly centered around Buddhism. Even the concepts I know of Hinduism are usually through a Buddhist lens.

What I do know about the development I also can't provide a source. I studied at the Royal Thimphu College and once sat down with a Bengali professor who explained her own dissertation to me about the development of the Varna system in India, which ended up being a primer on "Brahmanism." (Which then led to a long discussion on the inaccuracy of the term "Hinduism" which was developed post-independence as a response to the development of Pakistan for Muslims, India for Hindus. When I presented the irony that "India" and "Hindu" both stem from the "Indus River" which is currently in Pakistan, Runa, aforementioned professor, winked at me and said "Exactly. Hindus are political, Brahmanists are religious." The logic being that Brahmanists derive religious authority from the Brahmin Varna, just as Christians derive religious authority from Christ, and Muslims from submission to God.)

Anyway, I'll just point out some of the books that have helped me in understanding this complex religion and maybe you can go on with your search from there.

Originally I was interested in Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History but found out it was full of selective information and skewed perspectives. I was more interested in a general history of India and fell upon John Keay's India: A History which he describes as "A historiography of India as well as a history." And he does go over developments of Brahmanism threaded with the rise and fall of conquerors through the region.

My introduction to Brahmanism (though he DOES refer to it as Hinduism) was Huston Smith's The World's Religions which doesn't go over the history as much of any of the religions, but is a nice starting point, especially when comparing say Buddhism with Brahmanism, which most people regularly do. It's also a good outliner for the different Brahmanist traditions (or at least the major trends in Brahmanism).

Finally, probably the most accurate to your original question though it has a broader focus and a point to make, Karen Armstrong's *The Great Transformation remains one of my favorite books on the Axial Age in which she covers the religious shifts that occurred more or less simultaneously in Greece, the Levant, India, and China. Of interest to you would be the Vedic response to the growth of Buddhism and Jainism, the development of the Mahabharata, and the changing understandings of the Vedas and Upanishads. It's a pretty great book, and Karen Armstrong can of course lead you further down the path of Indian religious history.

Hope that helps at all.

u/jomus001 · 2 pointsr/books

Yeah, it's true. Nonfiction wasn't included in their list. How about:

Is Katherine Boo a [poor, Indian, slum-dweller] (
Is Emory Thomas a [confederate sympathizer] (
Etc., etc.

It could be argued that to write about what you're faithfully familiar with is perhaps more detrimental to objective journalism or historical storytelling than what is foreign to you!

u/Dire88 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

As far as materials, not that I'm aware. That is the course, and here is the course text we used. It is a pretty easy read, easy enough that I still have it on my shelf.

u/dreadnought303 · 1 pointr/india

Since a number of people over here are asking for further reads, I would recommend this excellent book - 'The Blood Telegram', less from the Indian perspective, and more of Nixon's phobia towards India, and the resulting policies.

u/last_of_my_kind · 1 pointr/india

[The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore] (

u/vsnie · 1 pointr/unpopularopinion

Where have you been? Haiti perhaps? Maybe the Congo? How about Indonesia or the Philippines? I was born in India and grew up in 4 once-colonized countries in Asia, I spend a great deal of time across Africa for work. Comparing Australia and Canada, settler colonies, to India, Nigeria, Haiti, or Vietnam is, well, asinine and demonstrates a lack of understanding of different types of colonial conquest that took place and the resulting global economy/division of labor that was born. Does one really need to explain why countries like Canada and Australia developed while Belize and Guyana didn’t? I would assume you believe it’s because Europeans just know how to develop successful societies better than 4/5s of humanity.

A defining mark of civility? Let’s talk about civility. Shall we discuss the massacres or the many genocides? Or the fact that Britain considered Indians as such vermin that they shipped all produce abroad during the Second World War, resulting in the starvation of 3 million in the 1943 Bengal Famine. The caloric intake of Indians in Bengal during this famine was less than that of Buchenwald. Definitely the mark of civility to starve people to death more than once and then have Britain's celebrated mass murdering PM Churchill say: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.” 3 million. This was not the only British manufactured famine (a British imperial speciality, conducted in more than one dominated region), and the persistent malnutrition and starvation we see in India today is a legacy of Britain's use of food as a weapon of domination.

This idea that we were a bunch of poor backward scoundrels that were saved by the British is such a tired, vacuous delusion that I can't believe it's been resuscitated in 2017.

“And India, the world's largest democracy, and a huge, growing economy.” Have you ever been to India? Such tripe is a indicator that you have not. Home to the vast majority of the world's extreme poor. But surely the deindustrialization of India by British rule had no impact on India’s abject poverty. Surely the destruction of India’s most profitable exports by the forced imposition of tariffs and duties and the transformation of India’s market into a net importer of overpriced British manufactured goods (made from Indian raw materials) rather than a leading exporter of fine products had no impact on India’s poverty. India is growing despite Britain, not because of it. You really think this financialized system of capitalism with the metal exchange based in London and commodity trading floors in New York was built to benefit Indians or Indonesians? I suppose you're going to tell me the huge favor Britain did by building railroads.

Actually, no, before the British arrived it was not “South Asia”, the very concept of geographic designations like South Asia, the Middle East, are created from a European standpoint. The subcontinent was indeed a mosaic of various principalities and kingdoms, but saying that “so what you were rich? you were not unified” is, well, asinine. Britain’s industrialization was prefaced on the deindustrialization of what you call South Asia.

Here’s Britain’s leading India historian, William Dalrymple:

“If you take the long view of history, the simple fact remains that for 95% of world history, India and China, between them, have dominated the world economy. As early as the time of Strabo and Nero, you had emissaries from the west pleading with the spice exporters of Tamil Nadu and Kerala about their balance of payment problems. The gold of the Roman Empire hemorrhaged towards India. In Milton's 17th-century England, when he was writing 'Paradise Lost', trying to picture what the future achievements, what the wonders of mankind would be, Milton has Adam taken by god on a tour of the cities of Mughal India - Lahore, Agra, and Delhi. So far ahead was sultanate, Mughal India over anything in the west, that it's impossible to consider this seriously without realizing just how far behind the west was for 95% of our history. The Mughal Empire, then, was immeasurably richer than anything -- London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Milan put together.

Antonio Montserrat, a Jesuit arriving for the first time in Agra said 'This city is second to none in Asia or Europe, with regards to size, population, or wealth. It is crowded with merchants who gather there from all over Asia.'

This was the pattern through nine-tenths of world history. It ends, quite simply, with the advent of European colonialism. And we drained India and the money came back to Europe. Alone, one man, Clive, brings the largest personal fortune made in Europe in the 18th century back to England on the back of one battle. The entire wealth of Bengal, then the richest country in the world, drains back to Shropshire.

Alexander Dow, a contemporary, says: 'The balance of trade was against all nations in the favor of Bengal. It was the sink where gold and silver disappeared, without the least prospect of return.' "

I’d also recommend this book, but before I do, where are my manners? I should be thanking the British governments and armies of yesteryear for civilizing and uplifting my family and people from our oh-so-backward ways. Our ancient ways and sophisticated culture can’t really stand toe to toe with the might civilization of Cornwall.

u/LocalAmazonBot · 1 pointr/videos

Here are some links for the product in the above comment for different countries:

Link text: Five Past Midnight.

u/TheContrarian2 · 1 pointr/videos

I'm Sure that this references elsewhere in this right but I'm too lazy to search for it so here is again. Read this book

u/darthrevan · 1 pointr/ABCDesis

Responding again because I've been reading this book and it just happened to cover this topic. The authors agree with what they call "fresh scholarship" which says that the varnas from Sanskrit Vedic texts and jati subcastes only had "loose regional or occupational meaning" and featured "[more] individual mobility than most commentators since the colonial period have recognized."

They argue that caste only really started to become rigidly hierarchical in the Mughal period, when the Hindu kshatriyas used the Hindu texts to show the Mughals that they were higher ranked in order to move up/gain advantage in their era's socio-economic ladder. However, the authors argue the way these kshatriyas used the texts was not how they were used previously. In other words, as the CNN article claimed, it was kshatriya culture in the Mughal era that used caste this way, not Hinduism itself that taught such discrimination. The authors sum up:

>..the image of pre-colonial India as a land of self-sufficient villages, rigid caste hierarchies, and overall stagnation, reads characteristics of colonial society into the pre-colonial past.

Now we can say "Well I disagree," but we have to admit that these scholars have studied this issue far more than we have. If they find the above argument persuasive, then I will have to side with them on it. I just don't have the expertise to challenge it, nor do I believe they have any reason to mislead us on it--especially given these authors and scholars are usually Western and not Hindu apologists of some sort.

However let's return to the question you raised on this: if the caste system wasn't so rigid or discriminatory, if it was really as loose and occupational as scholars claim, then why did people prior to the British condemn or criticize it?

I would return to the point made before: yes certain cultures in Indian history used caste as a tool for discrimination, but was it rooted in Hinduism itself? Buddha criticized the brahmins of his day, but were they too just doing what the kshatriyas during the Mughal period did: (mis)use the texts merely to enforce a socio-economic hierarchy that advanced/maintained their own power? Did the Buddha criticize Hinduism, or the corrupt priests of his day? Not saying which is which, but I think that's a key question. (I'm not as familiar with Kabir or the Gurus you mentioned, though I believe they emerged in the 14th-15th century which is just before the Mughal period/16th century.)

And also: levels of discrimination can vary within a geographic or political area, yes? As you yourself pointed out in our previous debate on racism toward Sikhs, all of America isn't one thing. Certain regions (more rural, Southern areas) have more, some (more coastal, urban areas) have less. A person who emerges as a critic of the discrimination he sees in his area may not reflect the majority of people in an entire country, right?

Anyway just throwing all this out there, as always I welcome your response.

u/ham_rain · 1 pointr/books

This does not fit exactly, but in Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, the first time it is mentioned what the "Beautiful Forevers" are really paints a very vivid picture for me.

u/mcoulton · 1 pointr/worldnews

The strict enforcement of the caste system was a result of British Colonialism

u/sudeepj · 1 pointr/videos

You could not be more wrong. There were 10 million Bangladeshi refugees pushed into India in that war, 90% of them were Hindus. Before the war, nearly 30% of Bangladeshi population were Hindu, today, only about 10% are. This is a direct result of persecution and ethnic cleansing that took place during the war and continued after the Mujib years. FYI.

u/hotasianman · 1 pointr/HongKong

I don't think I need to say anything. Just read the comments below. If the Brits were so good, why did you think George Washington led a bunch of poorly equipped militia made up by farmers and artisans to rebel against the British rule.


Read this and understand the damage the British did to India...

u/MiscRedditor · 1 pointr/history
u/disputing_stomach · 1 pointr/books

Simon Winchester is really good. I enjoyed Krakatoa and The Professor and the Madman.

u/homelessvagrant · 1 pointr/india

Arun Shourie took an entire book to refute this notion of rewriting history, instead pointing out how Marxist historians have bastardised history since independence. I wish I could TLDR it, but I simply can't, because unlike the Marxists opinions, its a fact based line by line takedown of how Romila Thapar and her ilk and how they have taken upon themselves the roles of hard selling leftist ideologies by selectively ignoring, modifying and reinterpreting history as suits them. For those who are interested, the link

One of the more interesting things that I recall is how the marxist historians created history by quoting each other in a circle jerk fashion. A writes something based on what B has written, who himself writes it based on C's writings, which if you search cites A as the harbinger of the historical fact. What remains missing are primary sources, and even when they do exist in forms of write ups made by travelling courtesans of the various invaders, they are simply refuted as exaggerations.

A quick example would the Nalanda debate which was going on some weeks back.

This is what Arun Shourie wrote -

Which was followed by DN Jha defending the marxist position -

Which was followed by Koenraad Elsdrat further refuting Jha -

For an hour, leave aside your political leanings (and ignore those of the authors), read the 3 articles in order of publication and see what you can make of it. Would be interesting to have a discussion on the same here. Either way, its a slow news day today.

u/bidriblade · 1 pointr/ABCDesis

The disaster, reaction and aftermath are all heartbreaking to read about. I hope the families affected by it are seeing brighter days as time goes on. I read this book on it a long time ago (10ish years back) but from what I remember it was a beautifully written story set against the backdrop of the tragedy.

u/NewMaxx · 1 pointr/worldnews

John Keay covers this in his book, India: A History. Whenever this fact is mentioned I feel the urge to post because he makes it clear that the mistake was remedied ASAP but the pre-existing sentiment caused rumors to linger.

u/Sybertron · 1 pointr/pics

This is everywhere in Mumbai, incredibly rich surrounded by incredibly poor. I really suggest reading the absolutely excellent (and easy read) book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo,

u/kapilkaisare · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

It's unfortunately hard to find good books on Indian history that do justice to its cultural diversity and philosophy. Most western perspectives bring all Hindu beliefs under the banner of 'Hinduism', for example, which warps one's viewpoint when comparing it to Abrahamic faiths. Indian perspectives tend to suffer from a puerile jingoism centered around the idea that India is the oldest surviving civilization in the world.

Having said that, here's a set of books I found fairly well balanced:

u/caprimulgidae · 1 pointr/european

I'm a climate change skeptic; I should probably mention that off the bat.

But ecological disturbances (droughts, epidemics, etc.) often trigger mass migrations, which in turn trigger wars when people migrate somewhere where there are already people.

Interestingly, there's a fair amount of evidence that they can also trigger fundamentalist movements. In Krakatoa the author talks about how Islamic fundamentalism took off in Indonesia right after the famous volcano. A lot of people's lives had been completely destroyed and they were looking for something hard to hold onto.

u/ktappe · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Strongly recommended book if you want to learn more about Krakatoa.

u/rgeek · 1 pointr/india

Such data, even though it exists, will not be released. In fact, the Army has resisted political pressure from the govt to release such data several times.

The Army does this because it fears the politicization of such data; a reasonable fear since its demographics doesn't match the demographics of India due to a recruiting bias towards "martial races". Its why you see a greater proportion of Sikhs and Gurkhas in the Army.

A good book on this would be Steven Wilkinson's Army and Nation – The Military and Indian Democracy since Independence

u/nakkamukka · 1 pointr/india website has a good list on Indian history based on its readers response.

Following are the books in no particular order. I personally recommend India:A History - John keay

  • Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
  • Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
  • The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen
  • India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
  • The Wonder That Was India by A L Basham
  • The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
  • A Corner Of A Foreign Field by Ramachandra Guha
  • The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple
  • India: A history by John Keay
  • Alberuni’s India by Alberuni (Translated by Edward C. Sachau)
u/Baron_Wobblyhorse · 1 pointr/books

Apologies if these have been posted already, but I'd highly recommend Simon Winchester's work, particularly The Professor and the Madmad and Krakatoa.

Well researched, well written and thoroughly enjoyable.

u/SammyIndica · 1 pointr/Sikh

If you're looking for a historical, text book type source, then you want A History of the Sikhs Volume 1, 1469-1839 and Volume 2, 1839-2004 by Khushwant Singh. Comprehensive and well researched with plenty of footnotes.

u/cyclops1771 · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

The book Tournament of Shadowsby Karl Meyer is an excellent start. It mentions a lot of contemporary writings (Kipling is used a lot!) that can give you a feel for the culture and feel of the area during the time.
Amazon listing

Edit: formatting and link

u/J0HNY0SS4RI4N · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

This might not be in the same vein, but check out Krakatoa by Simon Winchester. It's a book on the legendary volcano explosion in the late 19th century that temporarily disrupted global weather pattern in that year.

u/uber1geek · 1 pointr/mildlyinteresting

You can begin reading to understand the history of the Kashmir conflict.
So here are some suggestions, based on where I began my own reading, and drawing on easily available publications by Kashmiris.

  1. The good old Tracts For The Times booklet by Bajraj Puri -…/…/0863113842

  2. AG Noorani's volumes on Kashmir (you can also find many articles by him, from Frontline, online)…/…/9382381155

  3. Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer -…/…/1439109109

  4. A Long Dream of Home - The Persecution, exile and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits by Siddhartha Gigoo and Varad Sharma…/…/9385436201

  5. Until My Freedom Has Come - a collection of short fiction, reportage, essays, news reports, interviews and a rapper’s song by Kashmiris, edited by Sanjay Kak…/until-my-freedom-has-com

  6. BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Indian-Administered Kashmir - a report by International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK)

  7. Do You Remember Kunan Poshpora?…/…/9384757667

  8. You can read updates from the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and JKCCS - these groups post Facebook updates also, regularly

  9. Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths of Peace by Sumantra Bose -…/sumantra-bose-k

  10. Some other good readings are included in this list compiled by HT…/story-PKmPCQ5WtigTwp85vvSpR

  11. An interesting article by Yoginder Sikand in EPW traced the shifts in the Kashmiri movement in the 1980s…/…/changing-course-kashmiri-struggle.html

  12. Agha Shahid Ali - The Country Without A Post Office (poetry)…/…/0393317617

  13. Jashn-e-Azaadi - How We Celebrate Freedom - a documentary by Sanjay Kak

    Start where you like, these are not in any particular order. It is most encouraging that so many, ignoring the ugly trolling and hate-filled propaganda, are asking to know more on Kashmir. Yesterday's silent march also saw many come forward to ask to know more. Silence can break the media-scripted cacophony, a space of quiet can allow voices of good sense, especially Kashmiri voices, to be heard, and make for a path to empathy and solidarity.
u/Dark_Lord_Sauron · -1 pointsr/worldnews

>I am asking you specifically how anti-Russian propaganda destabilizes Ukraine, to which you still have not given me an answer, which to me indicates you have none

Comments like these only show you aren't interested in rational discourse.

Your question was extremely vague, completely goes beyond the realm possible to discuss on reddit, requires extensive lecture, and just plain and simply pretty ignorant. If you are unaware of how the US destabilized politics in Ukraine, why have this conversation? You are not informed enough to have it.

The US polarized populations and supported radical groups. Simple as that. If you don't understand how that destabilizes a country and creates situations as we have seen, I'm sorry but you are plain and simply not intellectually qualified to have this conversation.

>Why would the US have an interest in destabilizing Ukrainian politics and causing the current situation and how does anti-Russian propaganda lead to the current situation in Ukraine?

If that is a serious question, you - once again - aren't qualified to have this conversation.

Start here:

Then here:

Come back after you read those books and understand that concept.

I mean, are you serious? You are trying to have a conversation about these topics and actually try and attack statements of mine but need to ask me questions like those? People like you are the reason why history keeps repeating itself. No idea what's going, no idea what other people are thinking and why, yet still having big opinions.

Why do you believe the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, etc. happened? Terrorism? Human rights? Freedom and democracy? lol

>And again, there are differences between US-Soviet and Sino-American relationships.

Who said they were the same?

>The US hasn't seriously talked about going anywhere in North Korea since the Korean War, the US interests in the peninsula has been to keep China, Russia, and N. Korea out of South Korea and that's it.

And the US interests in the Middle East have been to keep Russia out. Notice something?

u/Daemanax2 · -1 pointsr/india

Read this book.

It shows that the caste system as we know it was in part created by the British.

Its interesting that the book takes an example of a kingdom from Kerala itself.

The basic thesis of the book is that:

"Rather than a basic expression of Indian tradition, caste is a modern phenomenon - the product of a concrete historical encounter between India and British colonial rule. "

u/CongressmanX · -2 pointsr/worldnews

> If India is so great, why arent you there?

I have business interests in both India and the US. I work 6 months in each country. Apparently, I am a very useful guy and your country's firm needs me desperately.

> It's also clear your opinions are racially based (hence your comment about white people being dumb earlier).

Aww, did I hit a nerve? LOL.

> Of course hinduphobia is a thing, but the idea our media is Hindi-phobic is laughable.

You are speaking out of your ass again cowboy. There's enough documented evidence for this phenomenon in US media:

FFS, the US ignored a genocide of 3 million Hindus and actively supported the genocidal regime as recently as the 1970s.

> Lol. I ask again, if India is so great, why aren't you there? Seems funny you are in an "inferior country".

I am there, half the time. Unlike some people, I don't see countries as inferior or superior. However, I have no problems calling a spade a spade. If the US has a higher rape rate than India, then it just does. There's nothing wrong in accepting facts. Doesn't make the US any "inferior". LOL.

u/raktha_sindhuram · -4 pointsr/AskHistorians

> I am an archaeologist and I can say his theory does not fit with the archaeological evidence (unsurprisingly, since he doesn't deign to use it.)

i would highly recommend this scholarly book , please read it

The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati

amazon link

u/LikeTotesObvi · -6 pointsr/Futurology

Oh, never mind clean drinking water, rampant corruption at every level of government, industrial pollution, crushing poverty and a lack of basic sanitation.

Nice priorities there. think everyone should read Behind the Beautiful Forevers before swallowing this tripe which would not directly effect the majority of Indian people.

E: Just to be clear, my criticism is based on my love of India, warts and all. I have many Hindustani friends and their opinions also inform my own.
Also here is some video taken by Katherine Boo while she was in Mumbai.