Book Review – Volga to Ganga

Posted: December 20, 2014 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , ,

I started with Origin of Species a few months back. I was very excited to read about evolution as I thought it’s quintessential to know about evolution when you want to create something worthwhile. You have to know in what part of evolution you are in. When it was mentioned in the preface that it’s one of the easiest books to understand the process of evolution my excitement grew a level higher. Sadly the excitement was short lived. Just few pages into the book I found the book to be all biology. I wanted a different perspective. How men thought, the culture and stuff. Not the science behind it. I hate it when people want to get answers.

Volga to Ganga

In the midst of this tyranny, Volga to Ganga happened. Out of the blue it swept me of my feet within the first few pages. Never do I remember to have remembered to so many names in a book. I read, re read the chapters to get to know about the characters better. That too doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t want to miss anything out of Volga to Ganga because it’s not that you read history with interest on all days. Even though I don’t have the habit of reading preface of the book. I somehow stumbled upon few facts about the book. Good that I got to know that this book is a mix of both fact and fiction. I would have been a disappointed man if I had known about this after reading the whole book because I tend to take things to my heart while reading something.

Till half of the book the way it was written was quite simple. Like you see in old movies where people talk both side of the conversation over phone. One person comes and tells the whole story. Somehow he is connected to previous chapter. When the evolution started there was more of violence and less of enmity. People were living together, dying together and butchering together but were never fighting against each other. Then the clan fights started when people from different places started to enter. With the evolution of minerals and metals the wars became fiercer and men more crooked. If it was about violence till that time, education made men think, with good thoughts the bad thoughts too flowed in equally. There were castes, classes, slavery etc. for the next generation.

The class difference became apparent after a few years and sub castes started to flow in. Men started to fight between each other, started becoming greedy, various theories, various means of thinking and finally there were protests everywhere to live on their own. When the book talked about early men it was more or less like a monologue with one man talking and one listening. When it transcended to the next generation various viewpoints were put forth about the same story, same person etc. There was a Rashomon type of story in one of the chapters.

Towards the end there were just the negative endings. Every climax had people failing, dying and being sad. The final two chapters dealt with history that we knew. That’s the only part I didn’t like where too many facts were presented in too little time. The reason could be, the author might have known too much information about the present generation because there would have been widespread news and information at that time and he wouldn’t have known what to take and what to leave.

One other thing I’d have liked to be different is the negativity. There was an air of negativity towards the end. There was always a feeling that we all were to be doomed. I’d have liked to read where both good and evil will co-exist even though it’s the betterment we should aim at.

I was warned about the anti-Brahmin propaganda towards the middle pages of the book so I was quite okay with it. But nowadays it has become a fashion statement to comment things against the Brahmin. That’s a disappointment.

  1. Eklavya says:

    Speaking against the brahmin is lovely

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