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History

Listen: 'Indians Should Be Proud of Contributions Made by Mughals to Art and Architecture'

In his new book 'The Shortest History of India,' Australian journalist and writer John Zybrzycki shows how Mughal emperors like Akbar had fought bloody wars but also practiced syncretism.

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History has become a battleground in India, with right-wingers arguing that the subject has long been the monopoly of Left-oriented historians, and that new ‘facts’ have emerged which upturn old research.

In his new book The Shortest History of India, Australian journalist and writer John Zybrzycki takes a more nuanced view, showing that the Mughal emperors like Akbar had fought bloody wars but also practiced syncretism. Similarly, he says, British colonialism was not all good or all bad. “There was tremendous exploitation but also some contributions.”

John’s book crams in 5,000 years of the past into around 270 pages, but manages to cover epochs and empires, ranging from the Mauryas to the Cholas. “Nehru’s point of India’s civilisational past is very important,” he says.

“History has become very contentious in India now,” he says.