The Shortest History of India

John Zubrzycki

12 August 2022
288 pages


5,000 years of Indian history

From the ruins of ancient civilisations to an emerging global superpower

One of the oldest civilisations and the largest democracy in the world, India is an amalgam of customs, races, castes, languages and spiritual beliefs, woven together over 5,000 years of wonderfully colossal and chaotic history.

From the earliest humans and the Harappan civilisation to Muslim conquerors, the Great Mughals, British rule, the country’s struggle for autonomy and present-day hopes and challenges, John Zubrzycki masterfully condenses five millennia of deities, mutinies, wars, great empires, decadent dynasties, invasions, migrations, colonisation and independence into a fascinating, lively telling. He brings the complex and contrasting layers of Indian history to life through a well-known cast of characters – Buddha, Alexander the Great, Akbar, Clive, Tipu Sultan, Lakshmi Bai, Curzon, Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi – against a backdrop of the ever-present Ganges, the desert forts of Rajasthan, the snow-covered Himalayas and the ruins of India’s fabled civilisations.

From medicine to mathematics, philosophy to astronomy, literature to music, Buddhism to Bollywood, India has made its mark on Asia and the world. Its progress in tackling poverty and illiteracy have been impressive, but extraordinary challenges remain – not least the threat to its secular, democratic fabric. Only time will tell if India can overcome its political, social and religious tensions to rise again and become the next global superpower.