Author: Anant Pai
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175080493 et al
This boxed collection includes 10 illustrated books on historical characters from India's past.
1. Hiuen Tsang :
Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese pilgrim who came to India in A.D. 629, was the most distinguished Buddhist scholar of his times. He stayed in India for 16 long years, traveling extensively and holding discussions with Buddhist scholars all over the country. A keen intellect, an enquiring mind, profound scholarship and, above all, a deep attachment to India, were the hallmarks of his impressive personality.
Hiuen Tsang’s services to the spread of Buddhist knowledge in China are inestimable. His story illustrates the greatness of the human spirit in the face of heavy odds.
2. SHAH JAHAN – THE FIFTH MUGHAL EMPEROR:
Shah Jahan was the fifth of the Great Mughals. He was courageous, ambitious, quick-witted and intelligent. He was the favourite of Akbar.
Shah Jahan was a lover and patron of the arts. Painting, music and literature flourished in his reign. But his fame rests mainly on the architectural wonders he created. He laid the foundation of the Red Fort at Delhi in 1638. When, after ten years of sustained work, the construction was completed, he marched into the city in a triumphal procession.
Shah Jahan’s life is a study in contrasts. It touches the heights of happiness and success – and the depths of loss and suffering.
3. Raja Raja Chola:
One of the great kings of southern India during the medieval period was Raja Raja Chola (985-1014). During his 30-year reign, he extended and consolidated an empire that spanned the seas. In fact, his reign witnessed the beginning of Chola maritime power with interests in Lanka and Sri Vijaya, which comprises modern Java, Sumatra and a few other islands. He is also reputed to have sent trading envoys to China by land.
History chronicles innumerable kings who were brave conquerors and valiant soldiers. But Ashoka stands above them all as the only one who, at the zenith o his rule, saw the futility of violence and, with great courage, renounced it.
H G Wells, in his Short History of the World, says that Ashoka’s “reign for eight and twenty years was one of the brightest interludes in the troubled history of mankind”. Well goes on to say, “Such was Ashoka, the greatest of kings. He was for in advance of his age”.
This volume is based on the original research of the author into the Mahavamsa, the Dipavamsa (the commentary on the Mahavamsa) and the edicts of Ashoka. Pali manuscripts and other secondary sources have also been extensively studied in gleaning facts that will kindle new interest in the great Emperor Ashoka.
5. RANI OF JHANSI:
Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi is among those national heroines whose name conjures up visions of tremendous bravery and dauntless courage against overwhelming odds. She was not aggressive by nature and it that she took up arms. She was also extremely shrewd and possessed all the qualities of a good leader. The unforgettable memory of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi however remained – the memory of a person of unbreakable pride and utter fearlessness.
The bards of Central India still sing of the velour and virtues of the Rani, who held her own against not only her Bundela enemies but also the mighty British.
6. The Legend of Lalitaditya:
Lalitaditya ruled over Kashmir from 724 AD to 760 AD. During his reign, the Kingdom of Kashmir became the most powerful empire in India. If the brave King Lalitaditya had not ascended the throne of Kashmir in the eighth century, alien marauders probably would have overrun India much earlier.
Of all the kingdoms in ancient India, Kashmir alone has the unique advantage of possessing a written history from very early times. This Sanskrit work in verse, called Rajatarangini (River of Kings), was written by Alhana in the 12th century. Our Amar Chitra Katha on Lalitaditya is based on Kalhana’s records.
Lalitaditya lavished great resources in decorating and beautifying his empire. He ruled for 36 years and, according to the record in Rajatarangini, he conquered Karnataka, Konkan and even reached Dwarka. Even if we take into account the poetic license in Kalhana’s literary work, Lalitaditya emerges as a great king.
7. Rana Sanga:
In the 8th Century AD, Bappa Rawal drove out the invaders from Rajasthan and united several small kingdoms into one. Rana Sanga was his worthy successor. Early in the 16th century, when a vast area of India was under the domination of foreign rulers, he made a valiant attempt to defeat them.
This indefatigable fighter sustained eight battle-scars on his body and had lost one arm and one eye. He fought a decisive battle against Babar in 1527 at Khanwa and might have won it, but for the betrayal by his trusted commander Shiladitya Sanga, Defeated in battle, he was obliged to retreat, but he made a solemn vow never to re-enter Mewar until he had avenged his humiliation. Had his life been spared, he would have redeemed the pledge, but he did not live to fulfill it. His tenacity of purpose, however, inspired many of his successors including Rana Pratap.
In the following pages is narrated the story of the valour of this iron man of India that is based on Tod’s Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan.
8. Veer Hammir:
The Rajput states had bravely withstood the repeated attempts of foreign invaders to subjugate them however, in 1303, Ala-ud-din Khilji succeeded in sacking Mewar and capturing Chittor.
Hammir’s velour and his role in founding the state of Mewar made his name a household word in Rajasthan. Many romantic tales, the most important of which is ‘Hammir-Kavya’ were woven around his heroic deeds.
9. Baji Rao – I:
As a military strategist and soldier, Peshwa Baji Rao-I is one of the greatest names in Indian history. Some historians even rank this excellent warrior with Napoleon Bonaparte. For a man born in the peace-loving and exclusively religious Brahmin community, this is indeed a remarkable achievement.
10. The Historic City of Delhi:
By tradition, the capital of the Pandava heroes is identified with Delhi, the capital of modern India. Relics found in Delhi indicate that this historic city was associated with the Maurya, Shunga, Shaka-Kushana, Gupta, Rajput and Sultanate periods.
Delhi boasts of a 5000-year-old turbulent history. Empires rose and fell, and were known by a number of different names – but Delhi always remained the essence of imperial power, of mighty rule and great ruin. Delhi thus presents a kaleidoscope of architectural design and style reflecting a fascinating and glorious past that few other capitals of the world can boast of.
1. Hiuen Tsang
2. Shah Jahan
3. Raja Raja Chola
5. Rani of Jhansi
6. The Legend of Lalitaditya
7. Rana Sanga
8. Veer Hammir
9. Bajirao - I
10. The Historic City of Delhi