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The History of India Podcast

A light weekly podcast covering the history of India, from 6th century B.C. onwards. Enjoying the Podcast? Please consider donating to the Snehal Sidhu-Patrick Memorial Fund (http://tinyurl.com/prkvwll)
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Oct 8, 2019

(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) For too long the empire of the east has dominated North India. Bhoja, the descendant of the western emperors is determined to bring change. But he starts with almost nothing, for the once great western empire as been reduced to just a minor kingdom. In this, the first of three episodes, we look at Bhoja's first faltering steps. Also in this episode: how to make a river go backwards, a gruesome house of the dead, and a crocodile wrestling king. *Some of the inscriptions in this episode are pretty graphic - no rude language, but may not be suitable for all*.

Aug 3, 2019

(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, we witness the build up to a great battle of the age: the Pratihara king has brought his army from the east, thick with warhorses. The Pala king has brought his army from the west, loaded with mountainous elephants. They meet for battle on the shores of the Ganges. In this episode, we spend time with a Pratihara horsemen. We hear the story of his king, we check out his equipment, and hear about his horse. Also in this episode: the first thesaurus, a cunning nut seller, and a gratuitous rant about military history (sorry).

Jun 20, 2019

(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Emperor Dharmapala constructed an education system across his empire, so great it surpassed all that had come before. For half a millennium, it shaped Eastern India. This week, we go inside the system. We follow the great Buddhist teacher Atisha in his long and uncommon adventure through the system, and we find out what it was like to live there. (This episode is reuploaded; a previous version contained the out of date claim that one of the monasteries had not been discovered by historians. A later special episode will cover this monastery.)

 

Apr 23, 2019

(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) The Umayyad armies go beyond al-Sind, trying to establish a new province in al-Hind proper. But their successes won't last. They will be driven back, twice. And shortly after, the entire Umayyad empire will collapse in on itself. This week, we piece together the story. In this episode: powerful poets send soldiers home, universities are crushed because of golden statues, a murder of governors, a king's boat takes a wrong turn, and much more.

Apr 6, 2019

(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, a tale of bridge engineering, bloodthirsty generals, widowed queens, the first mosque in South Asia, and lots and lots of gold. We tell the story of how the Ummayid caliphate came to invade Sind.

 

Oct 5, 2018

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, set sail across the ocean with Indian merchants. We follow the Chinese monk Faxian as he crosses Gupta North India. We see the rituals of sea travelers, sample the sights and sounds of the great port of ancient East India, see the biggest and smallest of Indian ships, endure wrecks, strandings, and many more trials. Not all of our fellow travelers will come out alive. But Faxian will eventually make it back to China. Listen, and hear his the end of his story. [Special credit to musicians and singers to follow in next episode].

Jul 25, 2018

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we see how the landscape of the Pallavas was shaped. We follow it from before history began, through the years as irrigation is built. Warning: some sound issues including, but not limited to, making fun of historians and saying the wrong country.

Jul 4, 2018

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com)All you ever needed to know about become an author in the court of Harsha, emperor of India. Find out a day in the life of an author. Try your hand at solving some of their puzzles. Meet the leading authors at court, each of whom are worth a book on their own.

Feb 20, 2018

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) In the marketplaces and fields of ancient India, would you notice that Buddhism was gradually disappearing? Many ancient Indians did. And we take a layman's view as the monasteries withdraw from the world and at the same time become more part of it. Come, listen to the beginning of the great decline of Buddhism in India. Bonus: interview with Peter Adamson from the Philosophy in India (HoPWAG) podcast.

Dec 21, 2017

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) When a great emperor suddenly falls, what happens to his empire? This week, we continue the story of Polekeshin II to his sudden disappearance. For 13 years, his empire is plunged into darkness. But an heir will emerge, and will rebuild the empire higher and firmer than it ever was before. Including bonus 20 seconds of self-help.

Nov 16, 2017

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, emperor Harsha tracks down a famous chinese monk. When the emperor and monk eventually meet, there is a great meeting of minds. Along the way, towers will burn down, the treasury will be emptied, and the emperor will tackle an assassin. At the end, will Harsha be the great Hindu emperor? Or will he become another Buddhist emperor? Listen and find out.

Oct 9, 2017

***reuploaded due to itunes trouble***(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of the great emperor Harsha continues with the bleakest of episodes. Harsha's family and friends will die around him. And modern historians have accused him of killing his brother. Was he guilty? You are invited to join the jury as we hear the case for the prosecution, and his defense. The judgment will, as ever, be yours.

May 10, 2017

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Ancient North East India. Cut off from the world by a ring of mountains; it's people living uneventful and simple lives. Well...not quite. This week we pay our first visit to the region; hear the stories of the folk living there. We visit temples adapted from the Guptas to the east. And we track down rumours of a dangerous winding path that heads off eastwards, all the way to china.

Feb 8, 2017

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) It's festival time, and the streets of Pataliputra are busy with the sound of celebration. But the celebrations won't last. Emperors will fall like flies. The empire will be filled with rebellious states. The Huns will invade India, and sweep aside the emperor's best protections, conquering to the very heart of the empire. Will the Gupta emperor survive? Will the empire strike back? Listen, and find out.

Jan 11, 2017

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com). The Didarganj Yakshi, a beautiful life-size statue of a woman. We hear how she was discovered, and became an international agent, and her place in ancient Pataliputra. Link to image: http://bit.ly/2jHWQ5R

Nov 16, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we go to see an ancient Indian play. (1st of 3  specials about Gupta performance art.)

Sep 15, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The Cheras: crowned kings of South India. They ruled ancient Kerala and beyond as a family estate. This episode, we hear about the Chera kings from outsiders, through the stories and lives of the smaller chieftans of South India. Also, I embarrass myself by mispronouncing north Indian words. Fourth of three specials on South India. Ops.

 

Sep 14, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The Cheras: crowned kings of South India. They ruled ancient Kerala and beyond as a family estate. This episode, we cover the first dynasty of the Cheras as told by their court poets. Third of three specials on South India.

 

 

Sep 7, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we meet the barbarians. Outsiders from tribes in the hills to kings from foreign lands. What was it like to live as an outsider? What was it like to live alongside them? Listen, and find out.

Aug 24, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) If you were an ancient Indian woman, would you choose to be a nun or a wife? This episode has all you need to decide this thorny question, from the legal facts to words of wisdom from ancient Indian women themselves. Well ok, not all you need to know, but hopefully we do get some idea of what some ancient Indian women's lives might be like.

May 5, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, the end of the Kushan empire. The old order is crumbling. Roman emperors are slaughtered, China splinters, and the Kushan empire is beaten by a new menace from the west. What was it like to live in the age when empires die? Listen, and find out.

Apr 20, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Kanishka the Great has conquered India. This week, we get to know him intimately, by getting to know his friends: the doctor, the minister and the poet-monk. We hear their stories, how they influenced the great warrior, and how ignoring their advice lead to his death.

Mar 29, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of the Kushans. An empire caught between two continents: its body is in India, but it left its heart back in central Asia. So all its central Asian customs are brought into India: warm clothes, pointy hats, and kings who think they are gods.

Mar 17, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We travel with a tribe of nomads from China across the vast grasslands to central Asia. There, they finally settle down into the cities on India's doorstep. They unite, form an empire, and get ready to invade India itself. This is the story of the Kushans.

Feb 24, 2016

(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) India is being invaded by outsiders. But the rulers of its last empire are distracted by more sensual matters. As the invaders close in, we listen to the rulers and their people on matters of love and loss. And we track the progress of the invaders as they wash over the land.

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