Full title – The Sceptical Patriot: Exploring The Truths Behind the Zero and Other Indian Glories
I’ll start with why I bought this book. For one thing, I found the premise to be highly interesting. The “Indian glories” are something we grow up with and also something that keeps getting reinforced through popular medium. So the prospect of investigating the truth behind them is quite alluring. But what made me finally decide to buy the book was this excerpt I read online – the humourous treatment of the subject was enjoyable enough to convince me.
From the cover and the excerpt itself we should understand that this isn’t meant to be a heavy-duty history book. The author has written it in a conversational style – almost as if he is thinking out loud. There are plenty of personal stories thrown in and tongue-in-cheek humour is consistent throughout without being overdone (thankfully!). There is nothing worse than trying too hard to be humourous.
The best chapters were the ones on the Invention of Zero, Takshashila University and the Sanskrit Language – they are not just well-researched but are also presented very well. The chapter that didn’t draw me into its narrative as effectively as the others was the ‘Wealth of Nations’. I found it to be a little disoriented compared to the better ones.
Apart from the chapters dedicated to the India facts, there are separate chapters that investigate the truth behind popular “India quotes” and one where the author puts forth his views on history education. While the former is interesting since it debunks the existence of some oft-used quotes, the latter is something I personally agree and identify quite strongly.
So is this book for you ? Sure ! Its not a detailed history lesson and its certainly not serious but it does have some very interesting facts that are worth a read. You can always check out to see if the format works for you. For me though, the premise itself was a winner.
Have you read this too ? What do you think ?