Land of the Seven Rivers

I’ve barely put the book down and I’m so excited I’m already writing about this. Had any of you been following me on Twitter (just fyi you can find me at Sharmistha33) you would have had fair warning. As such, this is it. Consider yourself

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warned for I’m about to launch into an absolute fawn -fest!

Sanjeev Sanyal’s Land of the Seven Rivers is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read! I don’t know if reading a book can change your life but it can certainly change your world view. And like I was just remarking to a friend I don’t know how non-readers do it!

Yes, this is another book on history. That said, I’ve never come across a take on history such as Sanyal’s. The book traces the geo-political history of the Indian subcontinent rather than of a particular country. And, for me, reading it was a curious experience of insight and reiteration. And I’m sure my love for history is not the only reason it appealed to my sensibilities so strongly. It’s also, I know, because its answered so many questions while reinforcing several unsaid beliefs.

Retracing the history of the land of my birth right from the time of the continental drift to the India we see, think we know and try to love, the book is truly a mammoth. It traces the passage of time and sketches the millions of footprints that create this ancient land. Bringing home the point that while a fairly young Indian republic struggles to define itself in the 21st century, we are but a drop in the ocean. The civilization that we claim to be a part of is much, much bigger than all of us, our petty concerns and collective conceptions. It’s as old as the fabric of time itself and so many people have played a role in this that millions of bravehearts have been forgotten.

And this is perhaps particularly relevant to my generation. We who do not vote, and think our country has no future and no hope for redemption, we are, to borrow from Shakespeare, merely players on a stage so, so large that we forget…  That the planet has witnessed so many like us and will witness so many more that it’s ridiculous to lose hope! You have a part to play. Here and now. A part to play in tomorrow’s history. How can you sit it out!

Whether or not you belong to or have ever visited the subcontinent, read this one if the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World) fascinates you.

Need I even say 5?

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