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The Indus Saga: From Pataliputra to Partition

The Indus Saga: From Pataliputra to Partition
Item Code: IDF387
Author: Aitzaz Ahsan
Publisher: Roli Books
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8174364218
Pages: 487 (Maps: 2)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0" X 6.0"
weight of the book: 772 gms
From the Jacket:

The Indus region, comprising the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (now Pakistan), has always had its distinct identity - racially, ethnically, linguistically and culturally. In the last five thousand years this region has been a part of India politically for only five hundred years.

Pakistan, then, is no 'artificial' state conjured up by the disaffected Muslim elite of British India. Aitzaz Ahsan surveys the history of Indus-as he refers to this region-right from the time of the Harappan civilization to the era of the British Raj, concluding with Independence and the creation of Pakistan.

Ahsan's message is aimed both at Indians still nostalgic about 'undivided' India and at his Pakistani compatriots who narrowly tend to define their identity by their 'un-Indianness'.

About the Author:

Aitzaz Ahsan comes from a background steeped in politics, being the third generation from his family to serve as an elected member of a legislative assembly. He is a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party and has served as the minister of law, justice, interior and education in the federal government between 1988 and 1993. elected to the senate of Pakistan in 1994, he was, successively, the leader of the House and the leader of the Opposition between the years 1996 and 1999.

After his early education at Aitchison College and the Government College in Lahore, he studied law at Cambridge and was called to the bar at Grays' Inn in 1967. he is a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He is also an indefatigable human rights activist and a founder vice-president of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. He has been incarcerated under arbitrary detention laws many times by military and authoritarian regimes. During one such prolonged detention, he wrote the Indus Saga.

From the Back of the Book:

'Two generations of Pakistanis have been told that their very identity was their "un-Indianness": banish this thought from the mind and Pakistan will collapse. Moreover, the Pakistani is Muslim and the Indian is Hindu. Period. That alone was the rationale of the partition of the subcontinent. But even if valid, being "un-Indian" is a manifestly incomplete answer to any question about identity. It only purports to state what the Pakistani is not. It does not address the issue as to what indeed he isÂ… The Pakistani does not necessarily have to be an Indian, but he has to be somebody. Who is that somebody? Moreover the smug answer ascribing a singular role in the Partition to the differences between Hindus and Muslims fails to deal with the fact that the number of Muslims in India is greater than the population of PakistanÂ…

That is why some questions remain: is the centripetal pull of India an inexorable force that could again pull the Indus region(Pakistan) to itself? Or does the Indus region have a primordial existence outside India? Does it not have an identity of its own'

Acknowledgements ix
Preface xi
Part One: The Two Regions 2000 BC to AD 1800
Introduction 5
1. The Priests of Prehistory 35
2. The Man on Horseback 42
3. Iron, Krishna and Buddha Destroy the Tribe 51
4. Porus: An Indus Version 66
5. Pax Mauryana: The First Universal State 74
6. The Oxus and the Indus 84
7. The Romance of Raja Rasalu 100
8. Feudalization and the First Feudal State 107
9. An Arab Visitor 113
10. More Man on Horseback 122
11. The Second Feudal State 132
12. Turbulent North, Peaceful South and Panipat 141
13. The Second Universal State 149
14. Resistance, Opportunism and Consumerism 162
15. Bhakti, Nanak and the Sufis 179
Part Two: The Two Worlds AD 1600 to AD 1897
Introduction 195
16. The Europe that Came to India 198
17. The India that Awaited Europe 212
18. Uneasy Heads on the Peacock Throne 226
19. Tombs, Ostentation and Land Tenure 243
20. Sea Power and Military Tactics 255
21. The Sikhs and the Subsidiary States 272
22. 1857 291
23. The Third Universal State 307
Part Three: the Two Nations AD 1757 to AD 1947
Introduction 323
24. The Character of the Hindu Muslim Divide 327
25. Sonar Bangla 342
26. The Plunder 349
27. The Famine and Settlement 355
28. The Economic Divide 366
29. Whither the Muslims? 382
30. The Sons of the Indus Fight 395
31. Parting of the Ways 404
32. Towards Partition 418
Bibliography 437
Index 451

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