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Books This Weekend: A history of Himalayas and Tibetans rebuilding life

Go beyond defining mountains only by their height, though the summit of a peak is nothing more than the point where it gives way to clouds and the sky; next, ponder over a paradigm shift in ancient Indian history in the modern day search for the mythical Sarasvati river; and finally, make your way through an emphatic and enhanced collection of stories about Tibetan refugees starting anew in India.

The IANS bookshelf has a mixed bag to offer this weekend. Immerse yourself as you acquire knowledge.

The Sarasvati Civilisation :Author: Maj. Gen. G.D. Bakshi (Retd); Publisher: Garuda; Pages: 240; Price: Rs 399.

“The quest for an ancient river that was irrevocably lost some 3,900 years ago, is quintessentially a quest for a lost sense of self in the Indian civilisation. It is in essence, a quest for unravelling its true identity. It is about — who are we as Indians,” writes Maj. Gen. Bakshi, a military historian and decorated combat veteran.

Then, there are questions like who were the Indo-Aryans, who laid the foundations for our present day Hindu culture in India? Were they aliens or were they indigenous? If they were aliens, where did they come from? Where is the mythical Aryan homeland? Is it in Turkey-Anatolia? Or is it the steppes of Central Asia? Where do Indians have to go in search of their roots?

“A quiet revolution has taken place in our awareness of our history as a people. As more truth seeps through the dragnet of the Leftist censors, Indians are becoming acutely conscious of their past. The Landsat satellite had beamed back images of the dried out Sarasvati river in the 1970s. Slowly, as the pieces of the jigsaw were pierced together, the Indians began to uncover a past of a lost civilisational glory; of great antiquity, sophistication and above all, an astonishing degree of cultural continuity and persistence over time and space. India has a heritage that comes unbroken from the remote past to the current era. India is beginning to discover its lost sense of self,” Bakshi writes in attempting a paradigm shift in ancient Indian history.

You don’t have to agree with everything the book says, but a change in perspective is always welcome.

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