I think, I am having a good run, reading history books. This book is one of them.
This book started as a thesis for M. Siraj Anwar’s doctorate. What itI think, I am having a good run, reading history books. This book is one of them.
This book started as a thesis for M. Siraj Anwar’s doctorate. What it has done, is helped us give a very specific insight into Deccan history. I enjoyed reading this book as a student of Deccan history.
I liked the sharp political focus of this book, as the title suggests. It does not waver from its objective. There is a truism about this book that is refreshing. The depth of study is respectable. The sense of interpretation is too. As a reader of Deccan history, I may disagree with some interpretations, but overall, this is a satisfying book.
By far and easily one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. This book is a masterpiece of historical investigation. There is a wonderful nerBy far and easily one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. This book is a masterpiece of historical investigation. There is a wonderful nerdiness about the presentation which is joyous and satisfying. If this is a topic that is of interest, you will love it....more
A serious problem afflicts Indian writing of history. The books are either jingoistic or utter drab collection of references. Often the texture is uneA serious problem afflicts Indian writing of history. The books are either jingoistic or utter drab collection of references. Often the texture is uneven, usually due to the author's specific areas of interest in a timeline. Worse, scant attention is paid to presentation and copy-editing by most Indian publishers of books of history.
The Era of Baji Rao, by Dr. Uday Kulkarni, thankfully, is none of the above. (Save for a few typos that could have been easily taken care of and a couple of maps that could have been clearer).
Writing a book on a person like Baji Rao I, given his life and times, is a difficult one to write, without falling in the trap of being in awe of his achievements. The author is aware of that, and says so, in the opening note. Dr. Kulkarni stays true to this submission.
From being a very well-researched book to its balance in presentation, I'd mark this book as ground breaking. Dr. Kulkarni has laid down a framework for writing a biography that does not insult the intelligence of the reader; in fact, the book respects the reader's intelligence. In a few reviews Dr. Kulkarni was congratulated for not forming conclusions. The conclusions are there; they aren't however, dumbed down as is usually the practice. They are there; they aren't obvious. And standing tall on a mountain of such irrefutable, rich, and varied references that Dr. Kulkarni has gathered, there is no reason why an author should not conclude.
Then there is context. If a book were to focus only on the achievements of a historical personality, it tends to become hagiographical. Depending on how you view that personality, it causes unnecessary chest-thumping or extreme suspicion of bias. One of the key highlights of The Era of Baji Rao is that there is rich and relevant context to the life and times of Baji Rao I. It is not written in isolation; on the contrary, the context to the why and how of any of his campaigns, initiatives, or choices is is there for the reader to see. A context to the circumstances in which a choice was made is of more value to the reader than an insipid statement of the choice. This, coupled with a deftly handled insight into Baji Rao I's character, personality, and emotion makes this one of the better non-fiction biographies.
If you have an interest in the history of India, the Deccan, the Marathas, or Baji Rao I, himself, this is a book, you should be reading now!...more
I was looking forward to this book, after the author's historical fiction debut. That one was a well-researched book, but the dramatisation in the ficI was looking forward to this book, after the author's historical fiction debut. That one was a well-researched book, but the dramatisation in the fiction wasn't to my liking; it was trite, and often unimaginative.
Challenging Destiny: A Biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji is a non-fiction book by the author, and is a very well-researched book. It refers to many of the various biographies of Shivaji that are in circulation and makes extensive use of extracts from these books. As the author tells you early on, Mehendale's biography of Chh. Shivaji is the primary source for this book; needless to say, this book borrows heavily from Mehendale's biography.
I was a bit surprised that the author has chosen to use an academic (in-text, APA) form of citation, rather then using endnotes of footnotes, especially given that there are numerous direct quotes from other authors. Perhaps, because of this, the texture of reading seems uneven, at times. There are times in the book, where references (like the definition of a gaon, mauja, and kasbah), are completely out of place, irrelevant, and do not fit in the narrative at hand.
Overall, for someone who does not know the life and times of Chh. Shivaji, it is good first book, which covers his life and career, fairly well. For someone with a more serious interest in history, there are other biographies.
I return to my pet peeve. This book is published by The Write Place, the publishing arm of Crosswords. It is a sorry state of affairs in Indian publishing where copy-editing isn't given the importance it deserves.
It's not oddicers, its officers. Not tilted, but titled. And, definitely there isn't a word called agreeded....more
This is easily one of the best books I have read so far, on the ancient history of India. This book comprises of four lectures that were given by D. RThis is easily one of the best books I have read so far, on the ancient history of India. This book comprises of four lectures that were given by D. R. Bhandarkar, when he was the Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian History and Culture in the University of Calcutta, pertaining to a very specific period: 650 - 325 BCE.
The nature, process, and approach to historical research is an interesting one, to say the least. He uses multiple references and resources to form the conclusions that he does. The second lecture, which deals with the political history of the period; I especially found fascinating. As a student of administrative systems of medieval periods, I found the the third and fourth lectures especially enlightening, which helped broaden my scope of understanding.
I’d imagine that you would need some background of ancient history; the Aryans, the Sixteen Mahajanapadas, and other Buddhist history, along with a sense of ancient geography (primarily - place names).
One thing stands out, however. I have said this before and I will say it again. The copy-editing is shoddy and does great disservice to the value that these lectures hold. It is sad, that a publisher like Rupa wouldn’t employ proper copy-editors for a book that is so important. That is a great dis-service to a book of this stature.
Loved the pace. Loved the visual storytelling. But visualisation isn't easy, given that most items/objects are described in Tamil, which assume that tLoved the pace. Loved the visual storytelling. But visualisation isn't easy, given that most items/objects are described in Tamil, which assume that the reader is Tamil or knows the language. In the beginning the author makes some effort to explain a few Tamil words, after that, it's all on assumption.
Also, towards the end, the quotes of freedom fighters seem laboriously inserted. At places, it seems that an entire chapter has been inserted for the explicit purpose of quoting someone.
If you understand Tamil, you may enjoy it more than I did.