Accommodating Pakistan and Bangladesh and other embryonic nation states like the Sikh Punjab, Muslim Kashmir and Assam, this text examines the legacy of the 1947 partition, and looks at the colonial era from the overall context of Indian history. India's history begins with a highly advanced urban civilization in the Indus Valley, regressing to a tribal and pastoral nomadism, and then evolving into a uniquely stratified society. The pattern of inward invasion plus outward migration was established early: from Alexander the Great via the March of Islam and the great Moghuls, to the coming of the East India Company and the establishment of the British Raj. Older, richer and more distinctive than almost any other, India's culture furnishes all that the historian could wish for in the way of continuity and diversity. The peoples of the Indian subcontinent, while sharing a common history and culture, are not now, and never have been, a single unitary state.
John Keay is a writer, broadcaster and historian whose books include INTO INDIA, INDIA DISCOVERED, WHEN MEN AND MOUNTAINS MEET, HIGHLAND DROVE, THE HONOURABLE COMPANY: A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY, THE GREAT ARC and (with his wife Julia) the COLLINS ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF SCOTLAND. He has travelled extensively in India and the Far East, and specialised in Asian history and current affairs.