Thursday, January 14, 2010

The power of ideas - A Story of India (2)

You know I have been asking for podcasts about the history of India and since there is so little around and since one of the comments on my History of India posts recommended Michael Wood's BBC documentary The Story of India, I am going over that one for you too. And here is part two of that series.

This chapter takes off where the previous one, that dealt with the earliest history, left off. But in addition to carrying along the chronology it also applies a theme The Power of Ideas. What is special in the history of India is that ideas have not only played an important role in it, India also produced many ideas and in turn influenced the rest of the world. In this chapter there is a lot of attention for the Buddha and after an Intermission about the Greeks, Chandra Gupta with a passing hint at Jainism, to the Mauryan Empire with its powerful leader Ashoka, who turned back to the Buddha.

An important reason why I am reviewing a series of non-syndicated videos is because of the criticism at UCLA's podcast about the History of India. In this podcast Professor Vinay Lal is so heavily entrenched in dealing with the political implications of views on India's history, that one easily loses track of the narrative, of whatever interpretation. I would recommend to go through the BBC documentary first and that will make you better prepared for Lal's course. With regards to the theme touched upon here, the power of ideas, Lal and Wood make a fine complement. For example, Jainism is only briefly mentioned on the BBC, where at UCLA Jainism's origins and content are expanded upon.

More History of India:
The earliest history - A Story of India (1),
History of India - the search goes on,
8 podcasts I listened to,
History of India or Europe?
History of India.