Book Review: ‘The Future in the Past’ by Romila Thapar

Evocative book!

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Book Title: The Future in the Past: Essays & Reflections
Author: Romila Thapar
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-9395853149
Date Published: May. 05, 2023
Price: INR 721

The Future in the Past by Romila Thapar Book Cover

Book Review

Romila Thapar is an Indian historian and professor emerita at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. She is considered one of the most prominent historians of ancient India. Her work has focused on social and cultural history, historiography, and the relationship between society, economy, and religion. Thapar has written extensively on Indian history.

Her most notable works include Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History (editor), A History of India Volume One, and Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300. She has also edited several volumes of essays on Indian history and culture.

Thapar received numerous awards and honors, including the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India. She is also a fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Future in the Past: Essays & Reflections” by Romila Thapar transports readers on a fascinating voyage through history, offering insight into ancient Indian civilizations, medieval empires, and colonial interactions. Thapar challenges dominant narratives fosters critical thinking, and bridges the gap between the past and the present via detailed research and insightful insights.

Thapar splits the chapters in this 336-page book into six sections, each addressing a particular historical period and present concern. The author deftly reveals the multidimensional nature of India’s past, delving into its various social, religious, and political dimensions. Thapar’s ability to connect history and reality distinguishes this work.

The author reminds us, via incisive insights, that history is more than a collection of discrete events; it is a continuous debate that influences our future. Thapar delves into history to provide readers with a better grasp of our collective identity and the factors that have created our civilizations. Despite dealing with complex historical themes, the author’s style is approachable to readers of all backgrounds. Even when traversing complicated topics, Thapar’s simple, engaging language captivates readers.

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The pieces in this book have been thoroughly researched to provide the most accurate presentation of historical facts. Thapar addresses historical prejudices and challenges traditional interpretations, prompting readers to examine prevailing narratives and reassess long-held beliefs about the past. This method promotes a more sophisticated understanding of our shared human experience.

The Future in the Past: Essays & Reflections” is an outstanding work demonstrating Thapar’s historian talent. The author has created a work that will appeal to experts and ordinary readers thanks to thorough research, expressive writing, and thought-provoking insights. Whether you are a history buff or simply interested in how history has shaped our world, this book is a must-read for its fascinating and thought-provoking information.

Finally, Romila Thapar’s “The Future in the Past: Essays & Reflections” delves into history, challenges dominant narratives, and promotes critical thinking. It’s a thought-provoking book that reveals the complexity of India’s past while also linking the past and the present.