The book comprises of papers which reflect on the multiple strands of scholarship on ancient India and also explores alternate perspectives for understanding India?s past. Both textual and archaeological sources are used in framing the book, and the themes include connected histories, identities, and cultural practices, which make the book an interesting read. It is a beginning to revitalize India?s diverse and profound past with a new-found rigour to inform the reader the incredible diversity and richness of the historical construction of the past.
India?s Princely States have enjoyed only a minor place in the narrative of modern nationhood. Certain Princely States used the dynamics of transfer of power to carve autonomy from the colonial British to advance their societies. Some of the Princely States modernized their education, public health and industrial sectors way ahead of the British administered territories. Prof Washbrook provides a macro picture of the dynamics in the Princely States of South India and sees a distinctive and indigenous form of modernity. Hierarchy, religion, heredity and caste were not obliterated for rationalism and secularism. As socialism and pseudo-secularism are fading away, the significance of the indigenous forms of modernity of the Princely States becomes more relevant to understand India in the 21st century. Ten historian thought leaders provide an interesting perspective to make it a compelling read. K Sadashiva is the architect of this book. As he developed the theme and brought together historians from various parts of the world, an interesting tapestry was woven. He is a historian actively researching the Indian Union, the Princely States and the rise of political power of caste and class in independent India. D A Prasanna has an interest in history, visual art, public health and education. He has supported new initiatives in these fields and has actively nurtured ideas to result in outcomes