I like books that yank me out of my comfort zones. The one I am reading right now - Sanjeev Sanyal's "Ocean of Churn" clearly falls into this category.
Using the latest research evidence available - DNA profiles, population genetics and climate change data - it punctures many 'historical facts' that have long been accepted as the gospel truth.
While one can find faults with the writing style, with Sanyal's lame attempts at being humorous, the book is certainly worth the hype on social media.
It collates and presents some startling new findings:
* Iron tools were being used in central India 3800 ago, in 1800 BCE when the Egyptians and Mesopotamians were still in the Bronze Age (2500 - 800 BCE)
* Emperor Ashoka the poster boy for Ahimsa (non-violence) was anything but that. The great Kalinga War (262 BCE) was hardly an inflection point - he had already converted to Buddhism a few years earlier!
Also, the decisive battle may not even have taken place on the banks of the river Daya at Dhauli, but at Yuddha Meruda (Jajpur Distt) and the Kalingan capital city of Tosali (Dharmasala)
* The Sri Lankan Sinhala's have much stronger linkages to ancient Odisha than was known earlier
* In Peninsular India there have been instances of royalty being brought in from South East Asia...it was a two-way traffic of goods, people and ideas.
LINKS and REFERENCES
* Tiwari, Rakesh () - The origins of iron-working in India: new evidence from the Central Ganga Plain and the Eastern Vindhyas -- http://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/tewari/tewari.pdf
* Das, Prafulla (2005): Exploring an Ancient Kingdom - http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2220/stories/20051007000106500.htm
* Book Review - Mint - http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/2GYBckosLVkNrM1TMSgRAK/Book-review-The-Ocean-Of-Churn-by-Sanjeev-Sanyal.html
* Book Review - Manu Pillai (Open) - Rim of Life - http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/rim-of-life