SUBJECT: 4.5/5
WRITING: 4.5/5

“In India, it’s worse. The average urban, English-educated Indian Hindu since Independence is a stranger in his own land and has today brought to fruition Ananda Coomaraswamy’s prophetic warning that this Hindu is “a nondescript and superficial being deprived of all roots, a sort of intellectual pariah who does not belong to the East or the West, the past or the future.”

–        Sandeep Balakrishna, 10 Lessons from Hindu History in 10 Episodes

In the past few weeks, I’ve been on an exhilarating Kindle book hunt, diving deep into the rich realms of Hindu history and dharma. And guess what? My latest discovery is Sandeep Balakrishna’s 10 Lessons from Hindu History in 10 Episodes. Now, let me tell you, I’ve heard quite a buzz about this author, but until now, I’ve never had the opportunity to immerse myself in one of his renowned works.

About the author

Sandeep Balakrishna, a prolific writer with nearly two decades of experience in Indian history, Hindu civilization, and culture, writes in both English and Kannada. He’s a former Information Technology professional with a successful career at major multinational corporations.

Sandeep is renowned for translating Dr. S. L. Bhyrappa’s acclaimed novel “Aavarana” into English as “Aavarana: The Veil,” now in its twelfth reprint. His recent translation work includes Dr. S. L. Bhyrappa’s “Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane” titled “Orphaned” in English.

He’s also the founder and editor of “The Dharma Dispatch,” an online journal focusing on Indian civilization, culture, and history, and a contributing editor at the “Prekshaa Journal,” dedicated to Indian culture and philosophy.

So, what’s this book about, you ask?

Well, it’s a treasure trove of ten captivating episodes and stories plucked from the vast tapestry of India’s history. Originally, they made their debut as magazine-style essays in The Dharma Dispatch, but were compiled into this splendid book.

The purpose of the book

Right from the start, the author sets out with a clear mission: to unearth and present those lesser-known events that often go overlooked in the mainstream narratives of Indian history. Moreover, it’s about delving into the profound insights and invaluable lessons these events hold, not just for Hindus as a civilization but for India as a whole. In the process, the author assures that the book maintains a rigorous commitment to historical accuracy and does not stray from it.

With respect to the importance of the civilizational history, Sandeep writes,

“Perhaps no other people have fought as hard and for so long and endured centuries of humiliation and tyranny under alien despotisms and finally emerged victorious as the Hindus. This among others is a fundamental reason why a thorough and truthful study and retelling of this history is needed.

 The study of Hindu history is also a study of values and inspiration and a profound spiritual yearning that subconsciously continues to guide Hindus. It is also what makes India a unique and distinctive country which is not primarily defined by its politics but by its philosophy and spirituality.”

The Indomitable Spirit of Kshatra

A central theme of this book embarks on an earnest exploration of the enduring spirit of Kshatra—the driving force that sustains the grand engine of Bharat’s civilization.

Through a compelling array of examples, from the valiant Maharaja Jayapaladeva and the illustrious Paramara Raja Bhoja to the fearless Madakari Nayaka and the glorious Shri Krishnadevaraya, the author vividly illustrates how the unwavering Kshatra spirit has withstood monumental challenges and played a pivotal role in safeguarding our living, breathing civilization.

It becomes evident that the author’s intent is twofold: to rouse Hindus from their cultural and historical amnesia, while simultaneously imparting knowledge about the heroic struggles our ancestors endured in the name of Dharma.

Unearthing Forgotten Histories

Another significant motif coursing through this book is the poignant remembrance of the histories buried within the territories we have relinquished. From delving into the heart-wrenching Hindu and Sikh genocide in Kohat, a chapter scarcely addressed in mainstream history books and marked by disheartening responses from leaders of the time, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Motilal Nehru, to mourning the irreplaceable forfeiture of the Northwestern region, once a haven for profound Sama Veda and Atharva Veda learning (now Afghanistan-Pakistan), as well as the vanishing literary treasures and Dharma shastras authored by over five hundred scholars, poets, and intellectuals from the Sindh and Kashmir region.

Likewise, the book laments the parallel loss of literary works in the East Pakistan or Bangladesh region. The author passionately emphasizes the significance of preserving the memory of all that we have lost, championing the cause of ensuring that the forgotten histories of these lost lands remain etched in our collective consciousness.

What I Found Admirable

First and foremost, 10 Lessons from Hindu History in 10 Episodes delves into facets of history that rarely surface in conventional discussions of Indian history. Each chapter serves as a passionate account, designed not merely to impart knowledge but to ignite that same fervor in the reader’s heart.

Moreover, its concise nature sets it apart from weighty tomes, making it approachable for beginners or those new to the subject.

The author deftly weaves in quotes from notable historians and key figures like KM Munshi, RC Majumdar, Ananda K Coomaraswamy, S Krishnaswamy Aiyangar, and Sitaram Goel, while also drawing on Muslim accounts from the medieval period. This multi-faceted approach adds depth to the narrative.

The extensive research conducted for this book is evident, with comprehensive sources cited at the end of most chapters, showcasing the thoroughness of the author’s exploration.

In the end

In essence, 10 Lessons from Hindu History in 10 Episodes is a captivating starting point for anyone eager to uncover the authentic and concealed history of Bharatvarsha, spanning from the 8th century to the present. While not an exhaustive account, these narratives provide a compelling, informative, and eye-opening perspective, revealing the extent of the influence of Marxist-leaning scholars on our understanding of Indian history.

Excited to dive into this book? Get your hands on a copy now!