I just finished reading this book called 'The Sceptical Patriot: Exploring the Truths Behind the Zero and Other Indian Glories' by Sidin Vadukut. I haven't been reading as much as I'd hoped but I have been trying to change that recently.
Before starting 'The Sceptical Patriot', I read 'Lord of the Rings'. It took me a little more than a year to finish reading it and I am quite ashamed of that fact.
Anyway, I highly recommend 'The Sceptical Patriot'. It's a breezy read and yet gives you plenty to think about. It's especially relevant in this day and age of fake news and fake pride that is spouted around. The book picks up a few of the very common 'India facts' that are forwarded on emails, WhatsApp groups and Facebook by so many and examines them in some detail all the while maintaining a charming and funny tone.
It evokes a sense of awe about the study of history, specially Indian history. I felt that there are so many historical places in India that are under appreciated. One of the 'India facts' that is explored in the book is 'India has not invaded any other country in a thousand years' and in this chapter the author mentions the 'Brihadeshwara temple' in Tanjavur (or Tanjore). I have been to this temple when I was very young and have very vague memories of it, but I hadn't understood its historical significance nor appreciated how old the temple is. Reading this book made me want to visit that temple and many other such historical places.
The book takes these 'India facts' and tries to determine if they are true by searching for and examining the evidence that supports these so called 'facts'. The book purposely does not go into great detail with the research so as to not be boring. However, it does provide references to all the research papers and historical records referred, for anybody inclined to research.
I feel that we, as Indians, tend to spout, repeat and feel proud about these so called 'facts' very often. I am sure that I have done it myself many a time. And so I wanted to learn if there is any truth to them. As it turns out, some of them do and some of them don't. To varying degrees. And I shall not spoil the fun by revealing which ones are true and which ones aren't. Go ahead, read the book and, find out for yourselves.