Ganges: The Many Pasts of an Indian River

Front Cover
Yale University Press, Jan 8, 2019 - History - 464 pages
A sweeping, interdisciplinary history of the world's third-largest river, a potent symbol across South Asia and the Hindu diaspora

Originating in the Himalayas and flowing into the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges is India's most important and sacred river. In this unprecedented work, historian Sudipta Sen tells the story of the Ganges, from the communities that arose on its banks to the merchants that navigated its waters, and the way it came to occupy center stage in the history and culture of the subcontinent.

Sen begins his chronicle in prehistoric India, tracing the river's first settlers, its myths of origin in the Hindu tradition, and its significance during the ascendancy of popular Buddhism. In the following centuries, Indian empires, Central Asian regimes, European merchants, the British Empire, and the Indian nation-state all shaped the identity and ecology of the river. Weaving together geography, environmental politics, and religious history, Sen offers in this lavishly illustrated volume a remarkable portrait of one of the world's largest and most densely populated river basins.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
1 The World of Pilgrims
14
2 Ganga Descends
45
3 Digging Out of Prehistory
72
4 Rise of the Warring Kingdoms
109
5 Guardians of the Middle Country
150
6 The Goddess of Fortune
187
7 Crucible of Empires
224
8 The Making of the Agrarian Heartland
258
9 The Ganges in the Age of Empire
298
The Two Bodies of the River
343
Notes
355
Index
409
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2019)

Sudipta Sen is professor of history at the University of California, Davis, and the author of Distant Sovereignty: National Imperialism and the Origins of British India. He lives in Woodland, CA.

Bibliographic information