This book does not pretend to be a historicaltreaty, neither on India, nor on othercivilisations; it only fleetingly uses events andpeople, in an attempt to go beyond the superficialviews that have usually been held on India by manyhistorians.
Many historical books have been written about thegreatness of India's past. One of these books is ofcourse A.L. Basham's classic, "The Wonder that WASIndia". While there is no doubt that Mr Basham'sbook is a scholarly treatise, beautifully written,which casts a sympathetic and benevolent look atwhat he feels WERE some of the wonders of a bygoneIndia, my book differs totally from his for manyreasons.Firstly, he erroneously takes as final the biasedtheory of an Aryan invasion, subjugating the GoodHarappan (Dravidian) civilisation, a theory which Ipropose to dismantle in the next chapter. Then,like the majority of Western historians, he alsopost-dates most of the Vedic events - for then,their theory of, say Mohajan-daro being overrun bythe Barbarian Aryans, would stand no more. Thirdly,although Mr Basham is full of praise for Indian(pre-Muslim) culture, art, language, sciences,village life, his views of Hinduism seem to be alittle warped and reflect a strong Western bias. Heappears to have absolutely no understanding of thegreatness and importance of the Vedas, in which hesees only "a culture that bears a generic likenessto that of 'Beowulf', the earlier Icelandicsagas'...(nobody ever thought about that one)...'and was somehow less advanced than that depictedin the Iliad"...! (page 34, Wonder That was India).To flout such an ignorance and contempt for India'sculture and compare the visions of great sages wholived at least 5000 years ago, with the tales ofthe semi-barbarian Beowulf, is quite an