The History of India Podcast ●
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What was life like in the heart of the Chaulkiya empire? How did they survive in such a dry environment? How was the city defended? In this episode, we chat with Dr Hemanth Kadambi about stone horse hurdles, his youthful misadventures, must-see places if you visit Badami, and how the sacred survives the test of time.
**Special episode on the current crisis** People are stranded all across India. They left to find work. Now the lockdown has come, they are out of work, out of money and out of food. We get to talk to Anushka and Nithya who are chatting to these workers every day, and hear some of their stories. They work for SWAN - the stranded workers action network. They can help you give money to stranded workers directly here: You can get more facts and figures here: or search twitter for @strandedworkers History returns in the next episode.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week we chat to comic book author, novelist and fellow fan of the Chaulkiya period Dr. Shalini Srinivasan about the book she's been writing set in the Chaulkiyan empire. She tells us about how comic books get made, we share our favourite parts of the ruins, and I learn about how and why she writes. [Patchy audio quality in places]
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) ***Warning: contains upsetting details.*** The second special episode on slavery. This week, we hear about the lives of female slaves. We meet slaves in Buddhist monasteries. And we meet a young woman being sold into slavery. Also in this episode: how to construct a Buddhist cave, a boy survives seven attempted murders, and a vengeful woman crosses the ocean.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) ***Warning: contains upsetting details.*** This week, we learn a little about what life was like for slaves in ancient and early medieval India, from becoming a slave to being free. India might have been the best place in the ancient world to be a slave, but slave life was often still brutal. In this episode: four ways you might become a slave, bad food sends a slave running for freedom, another annoying rant about academia, and an ancient Indian slave talks about cold baths and Buddhism with her master.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, we meet some of the bogeymen of ancient India; a group among the most feared of the Barbarians. The mighty Kamboja horsemasters. And yet, these are real people. In this episode we hear the tales told about them, but we also get to know a bit about how they really lived, and even them described in their own words. Also in this episode: the moon kings rise, an ocean gets drunk up, I get lost in a rant about pacifist kings, and why you should try some dynastic identity theft. Last week of the regular episodes of season 5; special episodes start next week.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This is the week of small kings. The Pratihara empire has ruled for as long as anyone can remember. But a small king from the south will destroy the emperor's army and send him fleeing. And a small king from the north will restore him to his throne. Also in this episode: book reading in Baghdad, a rant about early medieval boasting, and our first glimpse of the world famous Khajuraho temples.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, Mahendrapala extends his empire downstream, towards the sea. But nothing is what it seems: not the emperor, nor his empire, nor his conquest. All will be revealed only half a meter down. Also in this episode: how to tell whether you are living on top of a monastery, more than twenty early medieval Indian insults, and how to call someone beautiful and aggressive at the same time.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) A journey through one of emperor Bhoja's lands. With the emperor far away in the Imperial city, we find out what life is like for the merchants and city folk under him. Also in this episode: a practical guide to salt making in medieval India, the garden of the snake kings, and the origin of candy.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) In this episode, young king Bhoja will grow into his throne. He will draw together allies and subordinates and wait patiently. When the time is right he will strike at his ancestral enemies, defeating them, and achieving what none of his forefathers could ever do: founding an empire. Also in this episode: how to misspend 2000 silver coins, why you should construct a queen's city, and what to do when you are handed a royal baby.
(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*.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The victorious Palas build their empire. Poets gather in their courts. Kings flee before their armies. All seems well, but an old enemy is regathering strength. Also in this week's episode: religious rivalry told through a hymn about toenails, a pun about grief, and a practical guide to buying and selling in medieval Assam.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, the build up to the great battle continues. We join the navy of the East, as it brings infantry and elephants up the river. Then we launch into the battle itself, following the commander's choice of battle formation. This is the battle to decide who will rule north India supreme, though the victor is not always who it seems to be. Also in this episode: hot to your elephant for war in eight simple steps, a poem about river logs, and a lesson in how to walk across a battlefield.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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).
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Emperor Dharmapala constructed an education system across his empire, so great it surpassed all that had come before. For half a millenium, 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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we find out what happened to the great prize of North India: the Imperial city of Kanyakubja. Two dynasties: the Palas (protectors), and the Pratiharas (doorkeepers) have been fighting to gain control. In this episode, a new emperor of India will win it, and then give it away. Included: a trip to a hidden great monastery, how a queen made a snake king deceive her, and two hundred hunchback maidens with quite different attitudes to marriage.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Become a student of the great Jain thinker HariBhadra. His novels have thrilled you. His satires have scanadlised you. His logics have perplexed you. Now listen to his lightening fast summary of all the important points of Indian philosophy. Featuring: the first ever summmary of the six schools of philosophy, a bonus school of philosophy just for fun, and a deep sense of bewilderment. Can you get through an early medieval philosophy lesson? Listen and test yourself.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We join the great Pratihara king Vatsaraja, at his lowest moment. With the whole of North India in his power, he is defeated and flees across the mountains into the great desert. We uncover the stories of the people and places, and find out what life was like there under his rule.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Everyone wants the imperial city of Kanyakubja lies at the center. The great Partihara king of the west wants to re-establish his family's image. The great Pala king of the west wants to become the first emperor from his land. Their armies will reach out towards the imperial city until they come upon one another in central India. There, they will both be meet a strange and indomitable new force. This week, we tell the first part of the struggle for North India.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Bengal's kings are dying daily. The land is in chaos. It's been this way for years. But, according to the legend, a man from the north will come and build a stable kingdom. This time, the legend is true. This episode, we witness an empire emerge from chaos. The Pala emperors are here.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Lalitaditya had grand plans. He would make Kashmir into an empire, spanning all of India and outside of it too. His armies would walk the deserts of the silk road, sail the seas of the bay of Bengal, and walk the Western Ghats. And they would bring back enough gold to build a house fit for God. Did he succeed in all his plans? Listen, and find out.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Travel to the top of India, the mountain valley of Kashmir. This is the story of the three brother-kings of Kashmir. The kind brother, the cruel brother, and the conqueror. Hear the story of their parents, how their kingdom was first won, and what they did to make it their own.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com)This week, the last of the Mauryan emperors. He will restore his family's glory, conquering the entire world. Well, more or less. Listen and meet a forgotten legend. WARNING: some gore, blood, descriptions of death.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, two kingdoms tie themselves together with marriage. They expand their lands, regain their independence. They do everything to imitate the glorious rise of empires past. And then they fade to nothing.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of Nepal, from the formation of the Himalayan lands, through it's earliest inscriptions, to the king who refused to be king. This episode, we get up to date with what is going on in the kingdom to the North of Pataliputra. Along the way: a mountain split by a sword, the first record of attempted sati, Nepal's oldest temple, and much more.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Emperor Harsha is dead. With him, the last great Indian empire of the first millenium collapses into chaos. Or so the story goes. Down in the ruins of Pataliputra, things seem a bit different. The old families ruled before Harsha's empire was formed, and they rule still. And one of the old families starts to build a new empire in the lands around Pataliputra.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A brief introduction to series 5: a preview as we plunge into the medieval age. We'll have a quick chat about Islam and whether there even was a medieval age. All wrapped up with one of my favorite stories.
(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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We meet one of the great characters of the age: Mahendravarman, king of the Pallavas. We get to know his wicked humour, and listen to one of his sharp-tongued plays. In this episode: drunken priests, lusty monks, booze spilling from a white skull, cunning puns, and all this to cover up for taking a second wife. Confused? Listen, and laugh with ancient Indians.
(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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, the cities of North India empty. The traders lock down their stalls and move off with their baggage. The craftsmen's tools fall silent. And the king and his generals are left in the silent husk of the city. How did these exoduses happen? How did the townsfolk make a new life away from the city? And how did life change for the country folk? Listen, and find out.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Jainism once dominated life and culture in South India: Jain kings ruled with Jain monk advisors, and at court they listened to epic tales written by Jains, and ruled over their people many of whom followed Jainism. By early modern times, all that had changed. Jains were no longer found in such big numbers, and their influence on culture had been forgotten by some. In this episode, we investigate what happened.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Jainism has shaped Indian thought over the millenia, and continues to do so today. This week, we find out what life was like as a Jain in the time of Harsha. How did they worship? Where did they fit into society? What did others in ancient India make of them? Listen, and find out. Health warning: no accurate claims about Jain theology are contained within.
(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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Second of the special episodes on ancient Gujurat. This week, we visit the internationally famous university of Vallabhi, and we hear how the story of the local kingdom weaves together with the stories of great empires. All of this is bookeneded with two scandalous tales of love and betrayal telling us how people from the period thought about love.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We kick off our special episodes for the series with a tour of the smaller kingdoms and regions emerging around India. This week, we are in the peninsular of Gujurat, in a strange kingdom where they pass the throne down to their younger brothers.
(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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A young prince flees his capital city. The prince will go on to beat the great emperor Harsha, and establish his own empire. But his is not just the story of a dynasty. For in his story, the state of Karnataka emerges and establishes itself as the seat of emperors and a major power in South India.
(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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We continue the story of Harsha, last emperor of ancient India. The thirty years of bloodshed has begun, when Harsha will send his armies around India, forging his empire. We watch Harsha's army turn east, folowing it through the deserted kingdoms and emptied cities, until at last he is able to bring his most hated enemy to battle. Also in this episode: Bengal gets its start on the world stage.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Harsha prepares for battle. We follow him through the battle day, from before he wakes up, through the inspection of his army, the preparation of his battle-line, into the battle itself. Hear the battle tactics used by ancient Indian kings. Discover how the Indian armies were able to crush the huns. (2 of 2 of military during Harsha's time)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We follow an ancient Indian king as he prepares for war. Should he fight openly and honourably? Should he use sneaky tricks? Or should he find a third way? We consider his decisions as he plans his campaign, charts his route through enemy territory, and sets up his camp. (1 of 2 of military during Harsha's time)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We continue with the story of the great emperor Harsha. He is alone. His family have almost all passed away. Only one remains: his sister, last heard of locked away in an enemy jail. We follow Harsha as he goes in search of her. His quest will lead us up into the hills and forests, to meet forest princes and sages. Will Harsha save his sister from the wilds? Listen and find out.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of the great emperor Harsha continues as he finally sits on the throne. But there is much for the young king to learn. The ministers form factions and compete for his attention. The people of the countryside reject him. He must lead an army to battle, and make alliances with foreign princes.
***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.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of the great emperor Harsha continues. This week, the man himself finally enters the world. We hear about his birth, his childhood gang of friends. And we watch as, one by one, the children around him are forced into an early adulthood. We follow the story up too the very instant Harsha's own childhood ends.
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The great Emperor Harsha's family: from its beginnings in black magic and legend, through the long hard years serving greater kings, to the emerging of the family once again into the eye of history. Along the way, we hear of Harsha's homeland, full of rivers and overflowing with rice.