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Roads and Kingdoms

Roads and Kingdoms

‘The landscape reminds me so powerfully of southern rural France. It is so green, so contentedly rural and achingly old with its practical canals which the Greek ambassador Megasthenes recorded over two thousand years ago, a hundred years after Alexander had brought the Macedonians to Punjab. Out of the corner of my eye I think see the 16th-century French philosopher Michel Eyquem de Montaigne riding through the fruit groves and avenues of poplars and having subcontinental-type thoughts about the nature of life.’

So begins a ground-breaking history of one of the most desired and coveted regions in the world, the western subcontinent. It has been a source of fascination for invading emperors and armies, traders and travellers and ambassadors for centuries. This is where some of the most sophisticated concepts of life were refined – metaphysics and the tradition of individual liberty of the soul – and where the ancient Greeks formulated their notions of “apatheia” or scepticism. Today this land is known as Pakistan, but it is a shape-shifting land and has had many aliases. The history of the region comes into focus through different numbers of peerhi – the Urdu word for ancestors, lineage, generation. The past has a secret. It will always mirror the present.

Roads and Kingdoms also breaks the conventional way of narrating history chronologically, and as different times of the region’s history are accessed, it builds like brushstrokes of an impressionist painting – to form a composite picture of a very old land with a distinguished history. As the narrative unfolds, the boundaries of time – and how we think we understand the past – dissolve. What is left is a subtle and intricate portrait of a little-known region and its clever, gifted and funny people.
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Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / Asian History

On Sale: 21st January 2021

Price: £20

ISBN-13: 9781474617284

Reviews

A remarkable account and insight into a country and a society that have become intertwined with our own over more than three centuries. Yet Pakistan's culture and history extend back thousands of years before that. The reader is left gasping at what most of us in the Western World never knew. This is an enlightening must-read if we are to understand the world we have inherited.
Jon Snow
The untold story of a captivating land.
Mishal Husain