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Empires of the Sea: Read Of The Week

Noted historian Radhika Seshan sets out to map our age-old connections with the seas, tracing maritime linkages from the Harappan period to the long colonial era.
Last Updated 24 February 2024, 22:46 IST

The Indian Ocean world’s significance in human history is impossible to dismiss. The 1,000-odd kilometres of the subcontinent’s coastline — which underpinned some of the world’s greatest empires and shaped countless human lives — therefore is the perfect dock from which to embark on a journey through the centuries for a vital reappraisal of India’s history.

Noted historian Radhika Seshan sets out to map our age-old connections with the seas, tracing maritime linkages from the Harappan period to the long colonial era. Her re-examination of India’s past through the prism of water reveals the extent to which this conduit enabled trade and the movement of people, often leading to the establishment of crucial ports, communities, kingdoms and empires. The Chola, Chalukya and Vijayanagara empires, historic ports such as Muziris and Bharuch and accounts of travellers and monarchs who frequented India’s shores are explored here in vivid detail. Combining scholarly rigour with a storyteller’s flair, Empires of the Sea presents India afresh as a nation of pluralities made possible by its long-standing maritime relations with the world at large.

Radhika Seshan retired as Professor and Head of the Department of History, Savitribai Phule Pune University. A reputed academic writer, she is the author and editor of several books.

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(Published 24 February 2024, 22:46 IST)

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