Land of the Seven Rivers by Sanjeev Sanyal

Started reading this book. I will post the review of the book after finishing the book.

Now  read almost half of the book. When I started reading this book, I didn’t know that this book is about history. I pre-judged this book by the title of the book. That is why it is said that don’t judge any book by its cover. Don’t judge any person by his outward manifestation. By the way, this book is about history from geographical point of view. He has thrown some interesting insights:

  • About the mythical sarawati. According to him, the saraswati and ghaggar were same rivers. And saraswati was one of the most revered rivers of the time.
  • Something more astonishing was that he argues that Harrapan and Vedic people were same on the basis of various factors.
  • According to him, the Harrapan civilisation declined because of the drying of River Ghaggar and other natural changes in the environment and climate including the tectonic shifts.
  • As agreed by various historians as well as archeologists, many traits of Harrapan culture have survived till today.
  • One interesting thing he also highlighted that migration in the continent was not only one sided but it was multi directional and for multi purposes.
  • And most insightful view was about lion and tiger. I never saw the history from the perspective of lions and tigers. We really studied about the Harrapan seals on which various animals were inscribed and also about Ashokan pillars full of lions. But seeing Lion as a symbol of royal power and bravery was new for me. In fact, they were important in the stories of mythical kings but if we closely observe they are still playing an important role in symbolising the civilisation values of our country through our national emblems.
  • He also says through this book that how geographical factors are important in shaping the history and culture of the people in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The mapping of India also play an important role in creating conditions for spreading the information about its prosperity.
  • He concludes his book talking about the issue of urbanisation and the most insightful for me was that his view about slums. According to him, slums are evolving ecosystem s and play an important role as routers in the urbanisation process. Slums are very much part of the dynamics of any burstling city since Harrapan civilisation. He gives example of Chandigarh and Gurgaon to explain the rigid planning excluding the poor people and the chaotic and dynamic city creating jobs respectively. Here Chandigarh is a well planned city but it has no space for poor migrants and the areas of slum. Another the city of Gurgaon,which is a dynamic city providing jobs and opportunities to the poor migrants and also create space for evolving slum areas.
  • After this he discussed about the Indian diaspora and shared civilisation identity of the people separated from long distances and time.

In fact, he has written a nice book summarising the whole history of India in few pages with personal touch.

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