History was never considered to be a subject that would lead to gainful employment and I dare say, rewarding matrimony. Maybe that’s why we have paid little respect to it in India.
Maybe that’s why our records are shoddy. Most museums and public places of history are disrespectfully maintained—and shabby when compared to those in other countries.
Through the ages, the lasting history of India has been principally discovered and recorded by travellers from overseas—from Megasthenes in 300BC to Al Masudi in 950 to Thomas Roe in 1615 and then so many other illustrious people during and since.
And now, there is a sudden interest in Indian history.
Of the number of books that publishers send me to consider for this podcast, a great many are about Indian history—in one form or another.
This interest in Indian history I guess was kicked off by recent western historians—and the trend is carried forward by so many wonderful Indian historians and writers—each compelling, entertaining and insightful.
Well, it’s all good. It’s a great time to be discovering ourselves—and maybe this will cause our public spaces to improve. And I pray, curated by historians and and other men and women of science and not politicians.
My guest today, is John Zubrzycki. He is the author of several great books on Indian history. His most recent book is titled The Shortest History Of India. He artfully presents thousands of years of the history of India in a little over 250 pages.
His earlier book, Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns is an amazing history of the little known but truly fantastic contribution of India to the world of magic, to such a degree that western magicians believed they needed to dress up as Indian mystics to be credible to western audiences.
So much to ask him. So let’s get right to it. Here he is joining me now from his home in Australia.
ABOUT JOHN ZUBRZYCKI
John Zubrzycki is an Australian author who has been studying Indian history for more than forty years. He has worked in India as a diplomat and foreign correspondent, taught Indian studies and written extensively on Indian society, culture and politics. He is the author of four books. He majored in South Asian history and Hindi at the Australian National University and has a PhD in Indian history from the University of New South Wales. John was the deputy foreign editor at The Australian before becoming a full-time writer.
Buy The Shortest History Of India (Picador): https://amzn.to/3RO2hwW
Buy Jadoowallahs, Jugglers And Jinns (Picador): https://amzn.to/3RXJoYv
Listen to a reading of William Jones's poem, Caissa: https://archive.org/details/AGameOfChess
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in "What's That Word?!", where they discuss the words "magic" and "hocus-pocus".
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