Indian Rhapsody
Harmony - Celebrate Age|December 2017

In a span of two decades, Roshen Dalal has attained renown for her painstakingly researched books on history and religions in India. The Puffin History of India and The Puffin History of the World, each in two volumes, have not just received critical acclaim but are bestsellers as well. Her other books include The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths; Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide; The Vedas: An Introduction to Hinduism’s Sacred Texts and The Compact Timeline History of the World. 

Raj Kanwar

Dalal’s latest, India at 70, Snapshots Since Independence, published by Penguin Random House, is a meticulously researched account of India’s evolution in the past seven decades with glimpses of the country’s rich and varied culture. Besides highlighting epoch-making events and developments in numerous fields such as politics, culture, science, atomic energy, sports, literature, music, television and industry, it also features in-depth profiles of eminent personalities.

With a master’s degree in ancient history, Dalal is an alumna of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She lived in Delhi for much of her professional career and moved to Dehradun in 2013 after the death of her mother, renowned author Nergis Dalal. Currently, the author, who loves the solitude Dehradun has to offer, is awaiting the publication of her first work of fiction. The first of a series (to be published by Speaking Tiger), it will examine aspects of religion and philosophy in the context of a fictional story. In an exclusive interview, Dalal talks to Raj Kanwar about her interest in philosophy, ancient wisdom, and animals.

How did you venture into writing on religions and ancient civilisations?

I have always had a deep interest in religion and philosophy; in fact, my interest in these topics is one of the reasons I decided to study ancient history. Though I am not an expert, I have a fair knowledge of Sanskrit, which was a compulsory subject in the ancient history course at JNU. Before writing anything, I read the Sanskrit text along with translations for a complete understanding. While writing my thesis, I had consulted a number of original Sanskrit texts, including the 18 volumes of the critical edition of The Mahabharata in Sanskrit.

How long did it take for you to write your latest book, India at 70? What were your main sources?

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