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Empires of the Indus

Alice Albina
John Murray


One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains, flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. For millennia it has been worshipped as a god; for centuries used as a tool of imperial expansion; today it is the cement of Pakistans fractious union. Five thousand years ago, a string of sophisticated cities grew and traded on its banks. In the ruins of these elaborate metropolises, Sanskrit-speaking nomads explored the river, extolling its virtues in Indias most ancient text, the Rig-Veda. During the past two thousand years a series of invaders -- Alexander the Great, Afghan Sultans, the British Raj -- made conquering the Indus valley their quixotic mission. For the people of the river, meanwhile, the Indus valley became a nodal point on the Silk Road, a centre of Sufi pilgrimage and the birthplace of Sikhism. Empires of the Indus follows the river upstream and back in time, taking the reader on a voyage through two thousand miles of geography and more than five millennia of history redolent with contemporary importance.


This book explores the river Indus from Pakistan to it's source in the Tibetan mountains. We are taken on a wonderful journey through several civilisations, then several era's of archaeology and religion. We also learn how the people live by the river Indus today.

Alice Albina has written a wonderful evocative book, easy to read, and almost poetic at times. For me it was a cultural experience. I learned how diverse a country India really is, and have a better understanding of how things are today. Two things stand out in my mind: just how hospitable the Indian people are, and secondly their religion and culture. I cannot see that Eastern and Western cultures will ever be reconciled. Their differences are too great , which does not bode well for the future. Nonetheless a wonderful book to recommend.


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