Indian History – Preface

Singapore, 13 January 2009

This is about the other part of my interest, Indian History. I would like to think that I am a very perceptive history student, not an expert, but an expert lay-man who understands more than a number of others the nuances of history. I also believe that history should not be merely the recounting of the battles fought, won and lost and the subjugation of one kingdom by another etc.

Yes, the history of the world has been one of wars, interspersed by comparative times of peace. The times of peace are perhaps more important than the wars, because it is during these times that the human race has been able to move forward intellectually and the basis for what we are today was laid during those times. The development of science is another aspect, since a number of inventions were made as a result of strident demands by the warfighters during times of war and a number of entirely peaceful inventions have been corrupted for use in war. So the developments in science I leave as a separate entity. I would like to think that, even though the human race has consistently used all developments towards annihilating each other, there still exists the bare minimum sense to ensure that the world does not go up in one glorious bang—once and for all.

So Indian history! There is no other nation that can claim to have such an unbroken and long history, recorded and studied constantly. Nor can any other country lay claim to the fact that the migrations that took place from the early settlements in the Indian subcontinent were for peaceful purposes and not for conquest of other lands. This aspect has been brought out in a book by Bhagwan Gidwani titled Return of the Aryans. For any serious student of Indian history this is a ‘must read’ even though much of it is fictionalised, I suspect for readability. This book suggests that the so-called Aryans were originally inhabitants of the Indus valley, who moved westward to assist lesser developed clans/tribes/peoples and this movement west, over a period of time became what we know today as Caucasians. Therefore, the recent eastward movement, in conquest, by Alexander the Great and a horde of others is only a ‘return’ of the native—so to speak!

Indian history, when studied in detail, has the makings of a blockbuster—there is greatness and pettiness in equal measure; there is beauty and extreme ugliness-physical and virtual-existing side by side; there is spirit and dejection; bravery and cowardice; culture and its antithesis brutality; valour and deception; honour and abject acts of dishonour; the opposites are endless. However, it is not the actual or reported deeds that by itself make the study of Indian history interesting. It is the impact that these seemingly minor incidents create in the larger movement of the nation that is interesting to analyse.

I restrict my study of ‘history’ to the year of India’s independence, 1947, because thereafter, it is perhaps too contemporary to merit the term history. Politics and the way the country has moved forward is interesting, but 1947 or 1950 was the year when one era in the history of the nation ended and another began. I plan to put up in parts my take on Indian history form the very earliest times under the title From Indus to Independence: A Trek through Indian History over a period of time, hopefully one instalment every fortnight!!!

About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Defence Analyst specialising in air power and national security. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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