Mackenzie: The man who found Amarāvatī

A very long time ago, in the 3rd Century BCE, Buddhism in India was in its Golden Age. Asoka the great, a powerful Indian Emperor had converted to Buddhism after a life changing event and sent missionaries to spread the religion far and wide. But something strange happened to Buddhism in India while it thrived in its neighbouring countries. By the 13th century AD, the … Continue reading Mackenzie: The man who found Amarāvatī

The Ashokan Edicts: Trying to make things right

The year was 261 BCE, and in India the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka the Great was planning to go to war with the neighbouring state of Kalinga. By this point Ashoka had been king for 8 years and was known for his ruthless efficiency. He had killed his brothers to secure his throne, crushed rebellions and imprisoned and tortured his enemies. Once certain of his power, … Continue reading The Ashokan Edicts: Trying to make things right

Against all odds: The Danes in Tranquebar

The year was 1616. The Dutch and the English were bringing home shiploads of goods from the mystical lands of the east. News of India’s riches had spread like wildfire in Europe and everyone wanted to get on the next ship to this golden land. So, by order of the King of Denmark and Norway, admiral Ove Gjedde did just that. The journey however, turned … Continue reading Against all odds: The Danes in Tranquebar

Malik Ambar – The African who built Aurangabad

Trade between Asia and Africa in the 16th century involved precious things like spices, fabric and exotic animals. But often, the cargo included something far more valuable and tragic. Abyssinian Slaves. Purchased from the Ethiopian Empire, these slaves were shipped to large slave markets in the Persian Gulf. Here, wealthy men from Asia and parts of Europe took their pick to add to their household … Continue reading Malik Ambar – The African who built Aurangabad

The Wolves of the Carnatic

In the 18th century, the British established the Madras Presidency on the South Eastern Coast of India. The Carnatic, though part of the presidency, was ruled independently by the Nawab of Arcot, Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah. He became great friends with the British in the 1750s, after they helped him acquire larger territories by defeating his rivals during the Siege of Arcot. But everything has … Continue reading The Wolves of the Carnatic

Charles XIV John of Sweden – From prisoner in India to King of Sweden

A very long time ago, a young Frenchman came to South India to fight an American war and became a British prisoner. He would one day be appointed king of Sweden. Before confusing you any further, let me tell you how it all happened. In 1775 the Thirteen American Colonies, controlled by the British, declared independence, calling themselves for the first time, the United States … Continue reading Charles XIV John of Sweden – From prisoner in India to King of Sweden

Robert Clive and the Battle of Purasai

By S.V.Kaushik  I know what you were thinking when you read the title…. Really, did Robert Clive fight a battle in Purasai? Was he the Englishman who colonised the place we now call Purasaiwakkam? My response to the first question is: it all depends on which Purasai you are talking about. And the answer to the second question is: no, that honour goes to another … Continue reading Robert Clive and the Battle of Purasai