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There are many missing pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that is ancient India, but those that we have yield a rich tapestry.” The words are not off the mark as we flip through the pages of Nayanjot Lahiri’s latest book. The award-winning historian has presented us with her whimsical take on facets of the lives of the early inhabitants in the subcontinent, through clues they have left behind. For example, through art work found in the Bhimbetka Caves; sanitation and hygiene systems in Mohenjodaro; evidence of grains from ancient India, and textbooks where recipes and feasts are mentioned in great detail; from the writings of foreign travellers who spent time in the subcontinent; and more. There is an emphasis on Ashokan examples but that isn’t unexpected given her 2015 book, Ashoka in Ancient India. This one isn’t a guide, as clearly mentioned, but a snippet to satisfy any curiosity you may have about the country’s rich past.
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