The Land of Seven Rivers is the best book I have read about India. Its a delight for anyone interested in geography and history. Sanjeev Sanyal has beautifully summed up the evolution of civilization in Indian subcontinent right from the age of major tectonic shifts when the young mountains like Himalayas were taking shape to the cycles of urbanizations right from Harappan to mordern era.

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  1. He emphasizes that geographical and climatological events have triggered significant shifts in shaping the history of mankind in this subcontinent and elsewhere on the planet. One such event was drying of once mighty river Saraswati which possibly led to the decline of Harappan civilization. The present variety of human genetics, flora, and fauna is the result of millennia of complex events, which were sometimes influenced by most arbitrary of factors. The author also deconstructs the simplistic and shallow Aryan Invasion Theory (which has dominated the Indian discourse for so long) in light of recent genetic studies and other evidences.

    The Author has touched upon a range of events which were significant and central in shaping our history which I realize that students don’t get sufficiently exposed to at pre-college level in India. Looks like there is a huge scope of improvement in history curriculum in India. The glorious Chola Empire and its trade & cultural relations with South East Asia, Kingdoms along the west coast and their cultural exchanges with the gulf and east Africa, the Vijaynagara Empire, the Ahom Kingdom, are just some of the examples.

    The major takeaways / lessons from history that author emphasizes on:

    – India/ Bharat, right from the Rig Vedic age had a sense of civilizational unity/oneness and the rulers ruling over this landmass were always aware that they were inheritors of a very old continuing civilization. This is evident from their actions, symbolism and the way they saw themselves and even British rule was no exception.

    – History has time and again shown that an old ruler who holds on the throne for long without a well-planned succession invites chaos, disruption of order and a downfall of his empire. Eg. Ashoka, Aurangzeb.

    – Man must clearly listen to the signs of nature as its these forces of nature which have brought down the civilizations time and again. Climate change should be dealt with utmost sincerity.

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serendipity !

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After 3 weeks at PBC’17 Policy Bootcamp at VIF, I was returning home.  That was a bright sunny afternoon when I reached Chandni Chowk Metro station from Sonepat, with no idea of what to do till the train comes at 7 o’clock in the evening.  Drenched in sweat, I was looking for a locker or guesthouse where I can put my luggage safely for time being and roam around. Unknown to the place, I inquired here and there but to no avail. Finally I decided that lets just have a glimpse of Red Fort, doesn’t matter even if  it meant to drag my luggage for a kilometre.

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On my way I came across this beautiful gurudwara on the other side of the busy road. One of the historical gurudwaras, Sisganj Sahib was built to commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th guru. I kept my luggage in the locker facility there ( problem solved! ), relaxed there for a while. Paid my respects  at the holy place and left to see other places in Delhi6.

On my way to the Red Fort, my next stop was the magnificient Lal Mandir, the oldest Jain temple in Delhi, dedicated to 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha. This was one temple I always got to see on Republic Day and Independence Day every year when celebrations at Red Fort were telecasted. That day I saw it live, that felt amazing !

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Just opposite to the temple stands the majestic Lal Qilla, finally I reached the splendid fort. The sunset view of the fort was just stunning.  I couldn’t visit inside of the fort, I was late for the day.

Before catching the train, I head towards the famous पराँठेवाली गली ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ for an early dinner as suggested by some of my friends. Here I came across some of the very unusual kind of paranthas such was the variety! Seems like they came up with all sorts of stuffing the could think of and made it into parantha. I Still remember the sweet ‘meva parantha’ I had, wonderful !

Despite the visit being a short and unplanned one, this memory will stay with me for a long time.

TSAONGAF : Book Review

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I am a non-fiction fan and seldom read a personal development / self help kind of books but started up with this book because of its interesting title and its short length.

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TSAONGAF is one of the best books I have ever read, its short, simple, concise and no bullshit. The concepts explained by the author are very fundamental and life changing. Author has raised very basic questions we need to repeatedly ask ourselves to have a better control over our lives. Our life is limited and the fucks we give are also limited hence we can’t give fuck just about anything, we must set our priorities right, have a clarity of mind and give limited fucks is the key takeaway. Its narrative format makes it a very easy read.

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