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[Book Review] A Wonder That Was India Vol 2 by S A A Rizvi

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Read the book named Wonder That Was India Vol 2 by SAA Rizvi second time since 2008. It is the second volume of the series of which the first volume is famously known by the name of its author A.L.Basham.  Second Volume is famous for the coverage of Medieval Indian History.

This book is a fantastic enquiry into the history ofIndiaduring the period of Islamic political dominance in the subcontinent. S A A Rizvi arranges the pieces of history together and gives a comprehensive account of the five hundred years between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, detailing the political histories of the Arabs.

From social and economic conditions to the state, religion and the fine arts, a vibrant picture emerges of a massive and fertile exchange that would influence the destiny of more than billion people.

It is a wonderfully written book divided into VII units. The first unit takes you to the foundation of Islam, how it institutionalized and what led to the rivalry between Shia and Sunni. It is such greatly written that you feel part of the story watching everything in history happening in front of you. This is the level of vibrancy of the book.

I, II and III unit cover the Indian political history of the Medieval Period. Part IV deals with State where it deals with Theory of Kingships and methods of administration. Part V deals with Social and Economic Conditions in the period, which covers social structure, women, slavery, trade, etc in a comprehensive way. Religion is dealt in Part VI and here you will learn about philosophical movements, Sufi movements, etc. It comprehensively covers the Hindu impact on Sufism. Finally, in part VII the author deals with Fine Arts and explains the architecture, paintings and music.

It is one of the most comprehensive and well-written book on history by an Indian Author.

Note for UPSC aspirants: If someone is preparing for civil services, then I would suggest going through it, but one need to take care that he/she is not entrapped in the story and read selectively from Part I, II and III. Other parts aptly cover the syllabus and the book can be a good reference book or a supplementary book with other books like Satish Chandra.

Rating 4/5.

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