Naga Chokkanathan

Land Of The Seven Rivers By Sanjeev Sanyal

Posted on: August 4, 2013

R. K. Narayan’s famous “Swami and Friends” novel has a portion where the hero looks at an Atlas and wonders how they were able to draw those complex maps accurately.

Especially, Shape of some European countries really confuses him. He starts thinking how people live in those strange countries? Do they look different from us?

Next, he starts thinking about how to really “see” those countries in the shapes they are drawn. May be he should go to the top of town hall and see around, then India will look exactly same as how it is drawn in his Atlas.

Of course, we all know this is an imaginary thought process and only kids can think like that. But in reality, how do they draw these maps? With technologies like GPS, Crowd sourcing etc., it may be easier today. But in ancient days, when these maps were originally drawn (and they remain largely unchanged till date, at least on the macro level), how they would’ve done all these.

Again, a piece of fiction. In Jeffrey Archer’s “Paths Of Glory” novel, he introduces a character who is used as a human scale, to measure and document hills.

With all these fancy (and imaginary) answers, I expected a lot in Sanjeev Sanyal’s “Land Of The Seven Rivers”, and the author gave me much more than what I wanted.

This book is a wonderful example of how a non fiction should be written. Till I read this, I was thinking Geography is a boring topic (and hence, I largely forgot it after class 10). Sanjeev Sanyal changed my perspective about this topic by wonderful research, simple narration style, and surprises in every single page. It is such an enjoyable read you won’t even realize you are digesting so much of solid data in this magical book.

“Land Of Seven Rivers” presents India’s history in a unique manner. As you read this book, you will see the familiar Indian map getting shaped in your mind’s eye. A Brilliant book and strongly recommended.

(Land Of The Seven Rivers : Sanjeev Sanyal : Penguin Books : Rs 399)

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