Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The earliest history - A Story of India (1)

My ongoing plea for more podcasts on the history on India resulted in a reference to the BBC series The Story of India by Michael Wood that was broadcast 2 years ago and can be viewed on Google Videos. Here is part one, with the earliest history.

The items that are touched here are the pre-Indus Valley time and a point is made about humanity spreading from India which was entirely new to me. The idea is that man first came out of Africa to South India and from there spread all over the world. The next item is of course the Indus Valley civilization. Next is the Aryan invasion and then the Mahabharata.

As much as this is truly exquisite material and beautifully brought, it has the romanticism and superficiality of video all over it. If you reduce this material to its audio it is a very shallow podcast and it contains grand statements about India that demand further elaboration, from the Out of India thesis to the ancient roots and meaning of the Vedic texts. I understand why my reader prefers this series over the UCLA lectures by Vinay Lal, because it refrains from the ongoing politicization of India's history. Yet, Lal's course has made me aware once again of the fact that historical narrative can be political and it makes me wonder about the one-liners in this BBC series.

More History of India:
History of India - the search goes on,
8 podcasts I listened to,
History of India or Europe?
History of India.
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