A Lesson in History

Let me start by drawing the boundaries once again. I’m not a Historian. I don’t even claim to have an extensive knowledge of History. However, I can safely call myself a History enthusiast. Reading about the past gives me a lot of pleasure and an understanding of who we are and how we got into the circumstances that we find ourselves in today.  While I like History in general, what I particularly enjoy reading are ancient and medieval Indian history, the Indian epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, ancient Hellenistic history, and various views on religion and spirituality. I also love discussing the above mentioned topics with friends and family.

Buddhist Monks

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to discuss Indian history with a historian. Among other things, we talked about Buddhism and its influence on Asia in general and India in particular. I have always been curious about the decline and almost complete disappearance of Buddhism from the land of its birth. I find it difficult to fathom that this inclusive and inherently democratic faith fell out of favor with the Indian populance. So, I asked my historian friend, if Buddhism was ‘stamped out’ of India. Continue reading

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The Greatest Legend of All was Real

I am not a historian. I don’t even claim to have an extensive knowledge of history. However, I can safely call myself a history enthusiast. I love reading about the past.

I guess it all started when I was in Class IV. My parents bought me a book  which dealt with the lives and times of some great names in history – Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Julius Caesar, Akbar, Napoleon, Garibaldi, Mahatma Gandhi. I was fascinated by the book and the personalities that it described. However, the character that captured my imagination was Alexanderos Philippou Makedonon, known more popularly, as Alexander the Great.

AlexanderWhat appealed about Alexander to my young mind, at that time, was that he had managed to conquer most of the known world of his time. I marvelled at how this man, who was crowned king when he was barely 20, muster the courage to invade Persia, one of the most poweful countries of his time. I was amazed at how he won every battle that he ever fought. Most of all, what blew me over completely was that Alexander achieved all this by the age of 32. He had quite an impact on my young mind. Now, that’s a hero, I said to myself. Continue reading