Yesterday, 23rd August 2016, I went to Odyssey book shop – Adyar, Chennai, to attend the book release function of “The Ocean of Churn”, a non-fiction historical book written by Sanjeev Sanyal. The author is an economist, urban theorist, and a history enthusiast. He has written books on multiple subjects including an earlier historical book, “The Land of Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography“. He currently lives in Singapore.
The current book “The Ocean of Churn” was released by the famous Chess Grandmaster from Chennai – Viswanathan Anand, yesterday.
“The thing about India’s history, at least the way I learned it, is that it is heavily distorted.” – Viswanathan Anand.
Viswanathan Anand seems to have read this book and asked a few questions to the author based on the content. The author was glad to answer Anand’s questions and the questions from the audience based on his research, experience and visits to many places about which he has written in this book.
“Indian history (as it exists now) is largely about the history of Delhi. But there is much more.” – Sanjeev Sanyal.
The author says that many world-changing historical events pertaining to Indians have been deliberately undermined by European colonials. And the sad thing is, we continue to undermine them even after the colonials have left us!
For example, Marthanda Varma, a ruler in Kerala fought against the VOC Dutch — A very powerful colonial power in those days — and won a decisive battle at Kolachal. This initiated the decline of the Dutch and paved way for other powers like the French and English to explore waters in this region. Sadly, this uber-important historical event doesn’t find a mention in our text books.
He spoke about other such incidents which find a mention in the book too. The author also spoke about early Tamil Kings like Rajendra Chola and how through their naval strength, the Cholas dominated the South-East Asian region. It seems major battles were more to facilitate and profit from trade and large Temples acted like banks financing the dangerous naval expeditions. It seems people of Odisha were ardent seafarers throughout history, and it was the early Oriyans settled in Sri Lanka who later became Sinhalese.
If you want to know about the history of the world, the best place to start will be the Indian Ocean. The author has included events from a distant past and also the contemporary times. He seems to have done extensive research before writing this book and I hope to read it someday. This book has been published by Penguin India.
You can buy The Ocean of Churn Online.
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