... likely to be read somewhat differently depending on whether or not one is included in the title. For those who aren’t, this is a readable and personable if perhaps idiosyncratic history structured as a travelogue ... Indian history can—again, for the non-Indian, at least—seem kaleidoscopic: it can be hard to identify linear throughlines of the sort that characterize the history of the United States, Britain or even China. India, with its multiple polities, languages, scripts, religions, is more continent than country. In his careful selection of highlights, Arora manages to shape Indian history into something manageable, with a narrative arc that is graspable ... In this gentle book, Arora manages to outline the development of several strands of Indian religion as well as put down major political and cultural markers in an overall chronology. He makes little attempt to be definitive; indeed, he implies he considers himself a 'storyteller'. Arora is a deft writer: his excellent descriptions of the places he visits bring the reader along with him. Ancient is leavened with modern; the arcane made relevant. Academic historians may take issue with his approach, and others will surely say that he left many things out, but with Indians under one’s belt, one is far better prepared for a more detailed and definitive work ... Arora’s own enthusiasm is infectious.
... appears at first to be a fool’s errand, but that is only till you jump on, dig in and take the full ride ... The author’s skills and the choice of technique allow such a mega-ambitious project to take shape and flow ... The book’s treatment of Khajuraho’s erotic sculptures, the fusing of erotic with the religious and the snapping of the link later, typifies his style which makes this a comprehensive, informative and engaging account about India in just 258 pages ... This ability to compress a complex discussion on people, places, things across thousands of years and yet never let the reader once think of it as a shallow journey is a hallmark of the book ... Arora’s work assumes added significance as it comes at a time when so much about India’s present, politics and everyday conversations is an angry shouting match about its history. It is more important when so much attention of mass-media and the state is about identifying all those it does not belong to. At a time like this, just sweeping in all and being attentive to all manners of Indians today is an act of defiance. The author is clearly not shy of discussing contentious issues ... His work gets right into the heart of many flaming debates ... Among the things that this book accomplishes is to drag the reader out of ancient, medieval and modern silos, and keep her away from just talk of conquests and invasions. All in all, Indians manages to escape what historian Johan Elverskog (quoted in the book) has termed the seduction of 'a clear-cut narrative with good guys and bad', which 'avoids entirely the complex shades of grey that most often colour the messy fabric of history' ... On the contrary, the book goes straight for the messiness and is able to arrange it in all its splendour and 'complex shades' which are far from 'grey'.