Coromandel : A personal history of South India

Thu 13 December 2018 by Thejaswi Puthraya

"Ashoka - the search for India's lost emperor" by Charles Allen was a mind-blowing book that showed how even history can be presented to it's readers like a thriller. To better such a book is a challenging task and thankfully Charles Allen sets the tone for the kind of book in his introduction. He puts forward the disclaimer that the book is not comprehensive but mostly covers aspects of his personal choice.

Starting from the prehistoric ages, Charles Allen discusses the significant events and stages of history to the south of the Narmada. Most of these aspects are generally ignored or considered auxiliary like the impact of Buddhism and Jainism on South India or the history of early Tamil and Malayalam nations.

Despite the disclaimer, the book is a good starting point for a lot of people who wish to learn more about South India. At the end, the author exhorts the reader to go beyond the mainstream interpretations and appreciate the multi-faceted aspect of Indian culture.