History Under Your Feet — My Take
Before I start my review let me ask you a few questions.
We all know that Shivaji Maharaj was a great fighter, a man who fought and kept Mughals at bay, however, do we know that he is a great administrator too?
Or for that matter do we know that he can rightly be called as the father of Modern Indian Navy?
We all know about Param Vir Chakra and the significance that award carries in India, how many of know about the first man who earned that award with his supreme sacrifice for the nation?
Rana Pratap is a familiar name but how may of us know about Rana Sanga and other Maharanas who ruled Chittor and ensured that the Pride and Honor of Rajputs are held in High esteem.
We all would have visited the sacred Kashi Vishwanath Temple, how many of know about the great lady Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar who constructed it.
How many of know about Lachit and the Ahoms who repelled every Mughal attack and ensured that the Northeast remained Independent?
From Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and from Arunachal to Dwaraka we have our share of heroes who made their motherland proud, who constructed cities, established empires and lived & died for their dharma.
As the author, Sri Ratnakar Sadasyula says, “India is a nation where history literally lies under your feet, where every rock, nook and corner, has a story to tell.”
His book “History Under Your Feet” aims to look at the history behind some places and persons in India.
The book starts with Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj speaks about various Maratha rulers, Veer Chatrasaal and then the Ranas of Mewar. From here the author brings us to the modern era where we see the lives of Pritilata Wadedar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and other freedom fighters before we getting into the details of INA and its heroes. We then learn about the social reformers like Kandukuri Vireshalingam Pantulu, Maharshi Karve and then take a plunge into the lives of Srinivasa Ramanujan and Yellapragada Subbarow. The author closes the book with the hair-raising tales of Indian Heroes in Operation Polo, Rezang La and the Kashmir war of 1947.
What did I like in the book?
1. I loved the research that went into the book. This is not the stuff that you get on Wikipedia. The author took great pains to bring the facts to light. I commend him for doing that.
2. This book covers the events and lives of great personalities in a short and sweet way. The chapters are neither too long nor too short. They are of ideal length, the reader can read them like one chapter a day.
3. The use of simple language. The author uses simple language to convey his thought. This makes the book more readable to one and all.
4. The author does not sanitize history. We see people trying to project one facet of a person and not the other ones. The author discusses the shortcomings of Subhash Babu, the mistakes done by Maharana Sangram Singh etc. If a person took a stand against conversion he brings it to light, I never knew Lalaji took a stand against the missionaries when they tried to use famine aid as a tool to conversion. That part was sanitized from History textbooks that I read.
5. The book instills interest; I now want to read more about Satyartha Prakash after reading about Swami Dayananda Saraswati. The author instills interest in us and then moves on. I loved that approach.
What did I not like?
I am a history buff anything on history is awesome for me. Honestly, I was not able to find any shortcomings in the book.
Please read the book and know about the history of India. I would say please discuss the stories of those great events and great heroes as dinner time tales with you kids. We ought to know about our past; we ought to know about the conditions that prevailed in the country and the way the heroes were born.
We ought to know the hardships that they faced and the way they rose up to the challenges of their times. We the people of Independent India are indebted to our ancestors who fought the tyranny of the invaders from the Middle East and Europe. We ought to learn lessons from history, for, people who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Please read this book and also make your friends and children read it.
You can buy the book here.