e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

‘Empires of the Indus:’ The story of a river

I’ve just finished reading this book by Alice Albinia, and can recommend it to anyone who likes true-life adventure, history or travel.

The author makes a journey along the Indus from the mouth to the source. This is not easy. Much of the river’s route is through unmapped tribal country, and on the borders of India and Pakistan military tensions add to the difficulties.

As she describes her journey she also delves into the history that has passed over this river and its surroundings. Working backwards along the river, she works backwards through time, describing the peoples and events that have left their mark on this part of the subcontinent.

At the mouth she speaks of modern Pakistan, then, as she moves through Sindh, Punjab, Afghanistan and other places her descriptions progress through the British then Moghul empires, Alexander’s conquests, and the arrival of the Aryans and their Rig Veda based religion.

Along with the empires we meet the Sheedis from Africa, the ruined cities of an unknown people, numerous Muslim saints and the spread of Buddhism along the silk road. Further still, in Ladakh and Tibet, are the descendants of ancient peoples and stone-age carvings.

The book ends at what the locals claimed is the source, somewhere on the roof of the world in Tibet.

This is a complex story with many intertwining threads, but I found it easy to keep track of what was happening in the present and had happened in the past.

Not only is this an exciting and readable book, but I learned something new on almost every page – for me, one of the main reasons for reading travel or history writing.

About these ads

Single Post Navigation

4 thoughts on “‘Empires of the Indus:’ The story of a river

  1. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as clean as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

    Like

  2. There is always excitement and thrill in discovery–places,books,friendship…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 404 other followers

%d bloggers like this: