India’s History, India’s Raj: Essays in Historical Understanding highlights the myriad facets in the story of how Indians themselves participated in the construction not only of the Indian Raj but of Indian history. Due to distortions, omissions, or ideological bias, much of this story remains unbalanced or simply misunderstood. Never before in history has the whole ‘continent’ of geographic India, surrounded by mountain ranges to the north and oceans to the south, been unified under a single political system. That is—until modern times. However long each monarch reigned, neither lasted their entire length of the political system over which they ruled. Maurya Empire began with Chandragupta and lasted beyond Ashoka; and Mughal rule began with Babur and Humayun and lasted beyond Aurangzed. Yet, some micro-systems, such as villages, defied this trend and continued to flourish. How and why was this so? Within the pages of this volume are essays that, in one way or another, and from one perspective or another, seek to address this central question. Whatever the size or durability of a given political system, and however much rulers from outside India might have had a hand in its development, each political system was mainly the product of Indian manpower, Indian money, and Indian methods. The resulting structures were invariably a hybrid of cultures precariously melded together to achieve something larger. So much so that an amalgamated Indian-English (or ‘Indish’) language, and an ‘Anglo-Indian’ to ‘Indo-British’ culture spread over the entire subcontinent, and is still active and alive today, as are thick layers of blended Sanskritic and Persianate cultures that pervade and persist across almost all of the Indian subcontinent.
Robert Eric Frykenberg. India’s History, India’s Raj: Essays In Historical Understanding. Primus Books, 2023.