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A.L. Basham

The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Basham

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“The Wonder That Was India” is a seminal work on Indian history and culture written by A.L. Basham, an eminent British historian and Indologist. First published in 1954, the book provides a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of India’s ancient history, civilization, and cultural achievements.

A.L. Basham was a renowned scholar with a deep interest in Indian culture, and his work reflects his extensive research and scholarship. “The Wonder That Was India” covers a vast period, spanning from the earliest civilizations in the Indus Valley to the medieval period.

Key themes and topics covered in the book include:

  1. Indus Valley Civilization: The book delves into the history and archaeology of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s earliest urban societies.

  2. Vedic Period: Basham explores the Vedic period, which encompasses the composition of the sacred texts known as the Vedas and the emergence of early Hinduism.

  3. Ancient Kingdoms and Empires: The book discusses the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires in India, including the Maurya, Gupta, and Harsha dynasties.

  4. Indian Philosophy and Religion: Basham provides insights into the major philosophical schools in ancient India, including the teachings of Buddha and Mahavira.

  5. Art and Architecture: The book showcases India’s rich artistic and architectural heritage, including the development of cave temples, stupas, and rock-cut sculptures.

  6. Literature and Language: Basham highlights the contributions of ancient Indian literature, including works in Sanskrit and other regional languages.

“The Wonder That Was India” is renowned for its scholarly approach and its ability to present complex historical and cultural information in a clear and accessible manner. Basham’s writing is engaging and informative, making the book suitable for both academics and general readers interested in the history and cultural heritage of India.

Throughout the book, Basham’s admiration for the intellectual achievements and cultural diversity of ancient India is evident. His work provides readers with a comprehensive and profound understanding of India’s past, fostering a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of its historical legacy.

“The Wonder That Was India” remains an essential and influential text on Indian history and culture, continuing to be widely studied and referenced by scholars, students, and enthusiasts of ancient Indian civilization.

Starting from Indus Valley civilization along with detailed information about Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, the book explores early time periods that throw light on India’s rich cultural heritage. It traces various time periods and eras of Indian history with extensive source of text, which is narrative, simple to understand and keeps the reader engaged.

Following massive research and findings, the author has even explained about Aryan invasion theory in the book. Furthermore, the book even talks about evolution of Hindu religion that has been followed from the Harappa times and even at the time when Aryans invaded India.

The book also highlights some common beliefs and influences in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. All regions in India are influenced by each other, but it was Jainism and Buddhism that mainly brought non-violence and vegetarian aspect into Indian religions.

For those who are looking forward to learn some interesting facts about Indian history and culture, the book contains almost everything: from traces of ancient invasions to modern-day evolution for the readers to enjoy and gain knowledge about.

 

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