Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Land of the Seven Rivers by Sanjeev Sanyal

First of all, I would like to thanks Thinkwhynot group for sending me the 1st book to review. I am delighted to share my honest opinion about the book.

Before reviewing, I would also like to appreciate the author for putting the great efforts and come up with a book that involves deep diving into the wide range of subject concerning India. In short, this book is the history of India’s geography in words of author and very much true also. 

This book takes you to the journey, billions years long, starting from the times when all the present continents were once a single mass called Gondwana  that drifted apart like icebergs and that is why they neatly fit into a jigsaw puzzle to the present India. This journey from Gondwana to Gurgaon is not so smooth and simple but instead very complex having long history and Geography and this is what the author covered in 330 page novel. It cuts across amazing breadth of subjects like Rig veda, Harappan culture, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Meluhha, genetics, tectonics, rivers in ancient India, Merchants age, Sindbad, Ashoka, Akbar, Mughals, Chola empire, Trigonometry, steam,  Nehru, Jinnah, India: prior and post independence, Pakistan, Kashmir, Hyderabad and what not. Some of the subjects were discussed at great length with Author sharing his views and expert views and comparing them, analyzing them and providing insightful interesting and lesser known facts. At some of the areas, this book delivers information of top notch quality. 

Having said all that, now, I would still say that for me this book remains under delivered, although the title and summary at the last page of the book seems promising and but overall, it failed to impress me. The reason is it bombards the reader with excessive facts and information making it a very difficult read. Also, it appears to me that the book lacks purpose and does not written keeping any particular class of target audience in mind. For people who are genuinely interested in History and geography subjects, they will not like to read this book as each subject out of the amazing range of the subjects it covers has numerous books written by experts and research scholars. Figure and maps gives this novel an impression of academic book. However, I must say that if any foreigner wants to know about India in a very short time to brag about his knowledge of India, it would be a good read. 

The 2 things that really caught my attention about this project are :

  1. Amazing range of subjects covered
  2. Pg 18, where author explains why the Himalayan range is one of the most dangerous places to build large dams. This points was very important as only 45 days back, we have seen the greatest disaster in Kedarnath, Himalayas claiming more than ten thousand lives. Many ecologists claimed it is only because of the modernization in this areas which is disturbing the natural flow

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