BBC The Story of India – Episode 1 – Beginnings

BBC The Story of India – Episode 1 – Beginnings


Michael Wood travels throughout the subcontinent, tracing the richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes. Through ancient manuscripts and oral tales Wood charts the first human migrations out of Africa. He travels from the tropical backwaters of South India through lost ancient cities in Pakistan to the vibrant landscapes of the Ganges plain. Archaeological discoveries in the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex in Turkmenistan by Soviet archeologist Viktor Sarianidi, including horse-drawn carts (mentioned in the Rig Veda), cast new light on India’s past. Wood also attempts to re-create soma, an ancient drink recorded in the Rig Veda.




BBC The Story of India – Episode 2 – The Power of Ideas
(good working video)

The second episode in Michael Wood’s series moves on to the revolutionary years after 500BC – the Age of the Buddha and Mahavira. Travelling by rail to the ancient cities of the Ganges plain, by army convoy through Northern Iraq, and down Pakistan’s Khyber Pass, he shows how Alexander the Great’s invasion of India inspired her first major empire in the form of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.




BBC The Story of India – Episode 3 – Spice Routes and Silk Roads
(good working video)

Episode 3 describes how, after the West’s “discovery” and subsequent exploitation of the Monsoon winds, trading of spices and gold with the ancient Romans and Greeks put the subcontinent at the heart of global commerce. The trading of pepper, rice and silk put the West coast of India, and particularly modern-day Kerala, on the map of global business.
This episode also looks at how the invading Kushan empire from central Asia, particularly the emperor Kanishka, established major trading cities in Peshawar and Mathura, as well as helping to take Buddhism to China.




BBC The Story of India – Episode 4 – Ages of Gold


The achievements of the country’s golden age, including how India discovered zero, calculated the circumference of the Earth and wrote the world’s first sex guide, the Kama Sutra. In the south, the giant temple of Tanjore built by emperor Rajaraja Chola and traditional bronze casters, working as their ancestors did 1,000 years ago are shown. Michael Wood calls Tamil Nadu, “The only surviving ‘Classical Civilization’ in the world.
In an interview to The Hindu Michael Wood said “One that’s 2,000 years old like ancient Greece or Rome. Tamil is the last living classical Indian language. The first surviving work in Tamil, a 300 BC book on linguistics, 




BBC The Story of India – Episode 5 – The Meeting of Two Oceans
(good working video)



  The documentary series about the history of India charts the coming of Islam to the subcontinent and one of the greatest ages of world civilization: the Mughals. Mahmud of Ghazni leads an expedition to Somnath and destroys the temple of Shiva and all idols there. Michael Wood visits Sufi shrines in Old Delhi, desert fortresses in Rajasthan and the cities of Lahore and Agra, where he offers a new theory on the design of the Taj Mahal. He also looks at the life of Akbar, a Muslim emperor who decreed that no one religion could hold the ultimate truth, but whose dream of unity ended in civil war. In the narrative he movingly describes the murder of Darah Shikuh.





BBC The Story of India – Episode 6 – Freedom
(good working video)

This episode examines the British Raj and India’s struggle for freedom. Wood reveals how in South India a global corporation came to control much of the subcontinent, and explores the magical culture of Lucknow, discovering the enigmatic Briton who helped found the freedom movement. He traces the Amritsar massacre, the rise of Gandhi and Nehru, and the events that led to the Partition of India in 1947.

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