Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal has adapted his book “The Ocean of Churn” for young readers, in which he describes the history and geography of the majestic Indian Ocean and its significance and relevance through the ages.
“The Incredible History of The Indian Ocean” also traces the significance of the Indian Ocean on Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and Oceania.
The Indian Ocean is an incredible big blue body of water that has connected people from the east coast of Africa to Australia for thousands of years.
“It is not possible to understand India’s history and its relationship with the world without reference to the sea. Indeed, India is the only country that has an ocean named after it. My goal here is to tell India’s story from the maritime perspective as it is the only way one can understand our cities, our culture, and, more broadly, who we are as a people,” says Sanyal.
The long history of the Indian Ocean is one where the unfolding of events is the result of complex interactions between myriad factors – the monsoon winds, geography, human migrations, technology, religion, culture, the deeds of individuals and, perhaps, occasionally the whims of the gods, he writes.
“It followed no predetermined path or grand plan, but is the story of long cycles, dead ends and unintended consequences, of human triumphs and extraordinary bravery but also of treachery and inexplicable human cruelty. There are many shades of grey along the way,” the book, published by Puffin, says.
There are many tidbits, interesting facts, extraordinary stories and maps in the book with illustrations by Nikhil Gulati.
Sanyal says he has written the book at a time when the Indian Ocean rim is enjoying a period of peace and prosperity after many centuries of colonisation, war and famine.
“However, the failed state of Somalia and renewed hostilities in Yemen remind us how fragile this peace can be,” he says.
The author seeks to answer various questions like when the Indian Ocean came into being, who were the first group of people to look out upon the Indian Ocean, how different groups came to live in the lands bordering the Indian Ocean at various times, and when the first humans arrived in India and how they got here.
The book also talks about the fearless travellers and sailors, pirates and conquerors who set out to cross the ocean in search of gold and glory, and discover how geography can shape the course of history.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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