The importance of the study of the history of Asia needs no special emphasis, particularly with the emergence of Japan, China and India as major powers of this continent.
The present book; History of Asia, is different from other books of this genre, as it connects the ancient and medieval with the modem. It deals with the account of each country in its geographical setting, highlighting those incidents in neighbouring countries which have had some impact upon it. The ancient and medieval periods cover topics like migration, early settlements, formation of kingdoms and empires, socio-economic matters, Islamic penetrations and the advent of Western powers.
The modem period is treated in great detail, especially matters like colonisation, impact of Western civilization, the rise of nationalism and the gaining of independence following the Second World War. Current history, which includes aspects like subversion of democracies, the ushering in of military rule, ethnic conflicts, movements for the restoration of democracy, oppression of minorities, economic issues and the possibility of nuclear war - right up to the end of the millennium - has been dealt with in a fascinating way, with maps and a bibliography to stimulate the reader's interest.
Born in 1936 and educated at Bellary (Karnataka), Belona Vittal Rao received his Master s Degree in History from the University of Bombay (1962), and J obtained his Ph.D., from the University of Pune (1987). He has published numerous research papers in national and international journals and has written several books, viz. History of Modem Europe (1789-1992), History of Europe (1450-1815), World History. Rao is a member of many associations promoting historical and social-science research both in India and abroad.
Although there are many textbooks available on Asian history, most of them have been written by foreigners and are, as such meant to be used by foreign students. Ofthose written by Indian authors, many are good, while others are unsatisfactory. The subject has been included in the syllabi of many universities, and students and teachers would," am sure, welcome the publication of new books. Therefore, I have ventured to present this new book with the hope that the academic community would find it useful.
What are the features of this new book? I have presented the matter in a user-friendly marmer, and added maps to enable students and teachers to easily locate countries, towns, and boundaries. In the study of Asia, the study of maps becomes very important. Again, chronology is an important matter, and therefore, I have given it wherever necessary. I have covered the history of many countries of Asia upto 1970, but in some cases it is extended up to 2000.
The book is divided into five parts, the first deals with East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea), the second, South-East Asia, covers the history of eight countries, the third is directed towards the study of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka), the fourth includes three countries (Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq), and the fifth, West Asia.
Some countries are bound to play an increasing role in world affairs as they have turned into economic giants (Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and of course, Singapore). As India enters the next millennium in a period of political uncertainty, she has to learn many lessons from the success stories of some of the countries which are experiencing an economic boom. I am sure the secret of their success may lie hidden in their history, and our students should be able to search it.
I am grateful to Mr. Venkatesh for typing the matter, and Shy am Sunder for making maps.
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