The Story of India

The Story of India

Ratings: 7.69/10 from 184 users.

The Story of IndiaIn this landmark six-part series for PBS and the BBC, Michael Wood embarked on a dazzling and exciting journey through today's India, seeking in the present for clues to her past, and in the past for clues to her future.

The world's largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many-armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world's most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory.

Like other great civilizations - Greece or Egypt, for example - over the millennia it has enjoyed not just one but several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Its great thinkers and religious leaders have permanently changed the face of the globe. But while the glories of Rome, Egypt, and Greece, have all been the subject of TV portraits, as yet there has been no television story of India on our screens.

This series sets out for the first time to do that: to show a world audience the wonders of India; the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes; and the intense drama of its past, including some of the most momentous, exciting and moving events in world history.

Beginnings. The first episode looks at identity and the roots of India's famous "unity in diversity". Using all the tools available to the historical detective - from DNA to climate science, oral survivals, ancient manuscripts, archaeology, and exploration of the living cultures of the subcontinent.

The Power of Ideas. The second episode of Michael Wood's journey through Indian history covers the last centuries BCE - the age of the Buddha, the coming of the Greeks and the rule of the emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest figures in world history.

Spice Routes and Silk Roads. The next episode in the story of India takes us to the early centuries CE, the time of the Roman Empire in the west, and to "the happiest time in the history of the world" as the historian Edward Gibbon put it.

Ages of Gold. Episode Four is the story of India in the Middle Ages. At the time of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, and the European Dark Ages, India had a series of great flowerings of culture, both in the north and the south.

The Meeting of Two Oceans. The fifth episode of the story of India takes us to the time of the Renaissance in Europe, when India was the richest, most populous civilization in the world.

Freedom. This last episode tells how a foreign multinational (the East India Company) thousands of miles away gradually and almost by chance took power over great swathes of the Indian subcontinent.

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5 years ago

@Greywall......dude how can you connect Sonia Gandhi not "heading the indian government" with India being a democracy?

5 years ago

There is nothing about the state of Maharashtra tho!!!!

Mohan Kumar
6 years ago

Suppose, if one had to write about Hitler's reign during his time, what he would written? The writer knows if he write the truth he would be killed instantly and all his writings will be torned out into pieces! The same happens with the foreign rulers in India. We know many historical works written by the writers, who actually lived during the respective kings reign. And all kings were praised in their writings. Indian History was narrow lined and peaked to the Everest with the works of Max Muller. He came up with Indus valley civilization to showcast Indians ancestry to a land which was neutralized from the mainframe society. Neglected Puranas ( means History ) and portrayed two famous Epics as Stories.
And all of a sudden Ancient Indian Technology was superior than modern world's. They know Yoga prior to this advanced society. They knew inter planetary travel, Vimana shastra (aviation engg), Jyotisha shastra, Ayurveda, Vaidya shastra, Kamasutra..Name the field of Science, Ancient Indians did not knew!
I shall remind you, very oldest and largest libraries in that world at Takshasila( or Taksila, at modern Afghanistan), Nalanda University was sacked by the Muslim Invaders. They contained lakhs of Sanskrit, Pali, and other texts which were all fired to ashes! Education was open to all over there. Though these universities were sacked, Indians legacy continued orally through Brahmin society. Unfortunately some Brahmins took it as an advantage and introduced Varna system on their advantage! They reversed some Manu dharmas on their behalf.
It is very sad that Indian history is told by Foreigners who don't even know its native languages and its society!
Yet we compromise on the things and get going..Because we are Indians and we love Peace
Thank you

6 years ago

i stopped looking it as soon as it mentioned Nepal as a part of india. Totally misleading. How could someone make a documentary without proper knowledge???????

6 years ago

As, this documentary is old now and also many IMPORTANT points wasn't mentioned in it.
The most valuable thing which Our india have HELPING Nature's of ppl And one more beautiful thing is we Celebrate al festival of al caste without any prblms. We dnt care abut what we dnt have we all Indians are satisfied with what we have. But that doesn't mean we stop here,we are developing rapidly and unstoppable. I feel so PROUD to be Indian. And i also Request team to Study Hard before posting the new documentary.

7 years ago

@James Jackson- He says world's largest democracy, not 'greatest' democracy. Whatever cooked your ears!

@Kitt clearly, any neutral observer would point out that you're the one being arrogant here. Look up Angus Madisson and his research on the history of the world economy on wikipedia. India's share of world GDP was the highest from 0 CE to 1500CE approx. (that's only the documented period-not much data is available from before but we can make reasonable assumptions) almost constantly hovering around 30% world GDP. China was almost constantly the second place holder. While America did not exist, the European powers altogether accounted for about 10% of world GDP. That' s some scale for you. That's what is called a long heyday. The dominance of the west is now clearly on the wane with the fall of European economic power and the rise of asian powers like China and India. So please ,stop posting dumb comments, go vote us hasten the process

7 years ago

The State of Divinity, The State of The Energy Creator, is Unconditionality. For those who are able to be unconditional, the following might even be true:

The Story of The Journey To The West has the following characters and their placements within Reality:

1. The Monk is The Centre. In The Divine Principle, that is, Shri Vishnu, whose Empowerment/Flow/”Tao” is Shri MahaLaxshmi;

2. The Right is “Monkey”, aka Shri Hanumana/”Brahma” whose Empowerment is Shri MahaSaraswati;

3. The Left is “Piggy”, aka Shri Bhairava/”Mahesha”, whose Empowerment os Shri MahaKali.

As for “Sandy”, which Principle of Divinity is He? More so when “The 3 Wise Men from The East” are Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesha.

The Empowerments of The Left, Right & Centre are The TreyMa, The Incarnation of The 3 Mothers The Buddha was attributed to have had said He’ll be “returning” in. The Buddha and His Constant Contemporary, The Mahavira [of The Jains, the Two being sometimes born as Twins like Hassan & Hussein of Islam] never mentioned God/Divinity other than “Nirvana”. That’s Conditionality/”Humanity” for you. But then, “To Err is Human but To Forgive, Divine”. Yes, humans cannot forgive anything unless and until they are able to forgive self. Really so and not merely “Mentally”/Relatively/Hypocritically so.

Incidentally, NO human is born with Thought, there being 2 realms to Thought, namely The Past/”Feminine”/”Hydrogen” & The Future/”Masculine”/”Oxygen”, aka Relativity/Relativism. OTOH, The Present, aka Reality, has ZERO Thought. If true, and It Is The Truth, is that telling “Thinkers”, aka “Humans”, something?

As hinted at by a “Sun Tzu”, keep your Enemy Closest and you’ll won’t fear a thousand battles. Yes, there are certainly more things in Heaven, Horatio, than are dreamt of …. “Shakespeare” being an Avatar [yes, A Divine Incarnation] and not some weaponry of “The English” which those, “Whose Father is The Devil”, use to whip[saws] The Devolvable/”Blackmail-able” with.

8 years ago

The movie promotes the much discredited and false Aryan Invasion Theory.
We do not need westerners especially the British discover India for us.
The British should celebrate events the should be proud of the killing of millions of Indians including special events Jallianwala Bagh, Bengal famine, slave trade, indenture of Indians in Guyana Fiji Mauritius etc.
We do not need their services anymore let them worry about their own decrepit British Empire and aging Queen.

Aditya Rajan
9 years ago

Violent Islamic enemies of India like Mahmud of Ghazni deserve to no praise they were violent booldthirsty Hindu hateing murderers

9 years ago

Have yet to see the series and will for sure. But I would love to talk with Michael Wood about another side of India and importantly The British Raj, EIC and the events leading up to the Mutiny of 1957. The upheaval and horrors of the period, seem to have been long forgotten by Britain and such can be readily seen in any British cemetery one would visit right across Northern India, where overgrowth and elephant grass stand 2 meters or more covering 1,000's of the most of solemn of graves. There are of course, the usual relics of British colonialism that stand as they were in 1857, like The Residency at Lucknow, frozen in time. But too, there are also hidden things ... thing's so dark and painful, that Britain and India would rather forget and indeed have made great efforts to wipe from the face of the earth. In Kanpur, there is a well, now covered over with brown concrete and is the final resting place of 220 British Women and Children (86 women and 124 children) who had suffered the cruellest abuse for 6 weeks and were hacked to death with meat cleavers and talwar's in a small bungalow, dismembered next morning and cast "the dead with the dieing" into the abyss. This happened in the early evening of July 15th 1857. Type "Bibighar Cawnpore" and search, less they be forgotten. Nearby in what is left of General Wheelers entrenchment, stands an old well with a memorial church in a 5 acre paddock, as a reminder of those who drew water there in June 1857 and who put up an exhaustive defence, while waiting for relief in the form of Major Gen Sir Henry Havelock. Temperatures in the entrenchment topped out at 130 degree F and another well nearby consumed over the 3 week siege, another 250 British men, women and children from the entrenchment, who perished from wounds, dysentery, heat stroke, hunger and whereby children with little or no drinking water were
reduced to sucking leather straps to quench the most appalling thirst. After 3 weeks of this and being shelled and shot at with over 1,200 rifles without letup, the Mutineers offered false terms and a guarantee of repatriation to Allahabad in boats that would be provided. Sadly, the garrison had no choice but to surrender to the Mutineers and on the morning of June 27th 1857, the 700 remaining, who were in an incredibly poor state, suffering from dysentery, hunger, thirst, heat stroke and with many carrying grievous wounds, made the slow, painful walk down to Sati Chaura Massacre Ghart a mile distant, where another 550 were put to the sword on the banks of the Ganges. All very reminicent of the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. These places are still pretty much as they were, although a visitor would never know, because most of the memorials and markers have been removed by common agreement between Britain and India. The story of Lucknow, Agra,
Meeret, Delhi, Allahabad, Benares, Jaipur and dozens of small settlements across northern India, tell a similar story of rape, slaughterer and absolute soul destroying desperation that the British never saw coming, although they should have. The signs were all there of an uprising, but unfortunately the EIC's policy of retaining stupid Generals, who had little or nothing to do with their Sepoy infantries, failed to note the winds of change and the destruction that would follow.
However, with the relief that eventually came, so came the most appalling revenges by the British. Hundreds of Scot's of the 78th,
viewed the carnage in the Bibighar and looked into the well that was choked to the brim with the torso's, limbs, faces and hair of their women folk and children and in the intense heat, they exacted a terrible revenge on any Indian they could lay hands on. Tens of thousands were hanged and in not a few cases, dozens were blown from 9 pound cannons. The events of 1857 in Northern India form the basis of an incredible epic journey that should be retold, less this vital piece of British Anglo Indian history be lost forever

Tamera J Edwards
9 years ago

I loved the video! We are studying about this in our Cultural Realm of India course in college. Very nice!

ehtesham khan
10 years ago

It was a great work and easy to under stand rather than reading and I think it is abase for leaners not only in current time but also to the coming generations

Prasan Dutt
10 years ago

Thanks to Micheal Wood for presenting India with such great enthusiasm. I'm really a fan of him now. Whatever the situation India living in now, but the energy he showed in presenting things is such a real work of a historian.

10 years ago

the most important chapter of who were the first inhabitants and the rise of the untouchables in India is forgotten here as it is the most important part of story of our country

10 years ago

All bout Buddha debates, the fact is he was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal. Nepal was never under any occupation ever but divided into small independent states. However saying Buddha was born in India is ridiculous in every sense. Does that mean every Indian born during British occupation was born in England, including Gandhi.

10 years ago

Seems like observational film made with a small budget and with very little research on a very good subject.

10 years ago

Annoying to watch on Youtube because of the writing in the center of the screen. I shut it off after a couple of minutes. Also, part 1 links to a brief excerpt of one of the programs, and not the whole thing. I would like to see it someday, but not this version of it.

10 years ago

The documentary is interesting, as are the comments listed below.

What I find most interesting is that people are still debating issues such as colonialism, imerialism, democracy and of course religion - and in particular who has more legitimacy than whom. But one one seems to acknowledge that no matter what has happened in the past, people (all peoples) are responsible and accountable for their current actions - when will people stop blaming what has happened in the past for their current situation? Oppression has happened to all and within all cultures, creeds and religions. I challenge anyone to nominate a culture, creed or religion where oppression (in all its forms) has not occured.

At some point going back hundreds and hundreds of years to blame others and upon which to based current action and views has to become irrelevant.

On Michael Wood, he suffers from a good dose of 'white guilt' which is also not helpful or appropriate from a historian.

10 years ago

Historians like Michael wood are the reason that the most important event of the Indian History of the Mughal era, the Sikh history is given very little importance. It is also the reason the West cannot understand certain issues like driving factors behind terrorism by Islamist extremists.Sikh history was the single most important event during the Mughal era, as Sikhs, outnumbered by thousands to one, performed acts of bravery and personal sacrifices probably unmatched in World history, to prevent Islamification of India. Misrepresentation of Indian history by western historians and Michael Wood’s lack of understanding of motives of people like Jinnah, who he believes to be a secular person who wanted a united India, is typical of misrepresentation of Indian history by so called Indian history experts. Jinnah wanted a united India as an Islamic state and not as a secular state. Anyone as naive as Michael Wood should undertake more research to help prevent making misleading documentaries.

11 years ago

Can you please update the link three Spice Routes and Silk Roads

Subramanyam Pn
11 years ago

Very informative and educative. For those who had some knowledge of the same, its refreshing.

11 years ago

I can't believe people arguing over whether Nepal was part of India or not. In the time of Lord Buddha, there was no concept of a nation state called India.

11 years ago

youtube link is dead.

11 years ago

this is bull...there is no way the indians travelled all the way from the USA to Asia...are we really meant to believe this?

11 years ago

darn i missed this one .. youtube user has taken it offline

12 years ago

Pretty extensive for an occidental person. Organised society started ~ a millenium before Christ. All considered, not as bloody as occidental history.
But not the case for the "Grand hoaxes", typical to the humankind.
First time I ever heard of seen great things produced by the Moguls.
I always thought that they only ransac foreign society, got drunk, rape the women and go on to the next one on their list.

Still, it reminds everyone that behind any "Modern Educated" homosapien, there's the danger of an phychotic maniac sleeping.
Here, in this document, the Brits.
I wonder if the then new Nations Society (After WWI) ever charged the Brit's officer who order his soldiers to shoot on villager?
Isn't that typical war crime?
Althought, we all now know that the Brits are as much good liars as the americans are as Blair & Powell proved to be.
Does any Brit owe anything after this?
No, he earn his life out of that.

There's more to learn about humankind in India history than in the occiental one.


12 years ago

I found this documentary, informative and inspiring. The Indians have a magnificent history and deserve respect. All too often people judge another nation without any knowledge of it. I'd recommend it for any westerner especailly high school and college students.

Sachin Dev
12 years ago

@Kitt My American friend, looks like you have to taste the essence of your own medicine soon… :P
Learn Indian history before you speak anything about it…

12 years ago

@Kitt My American friend, looks like you have to taste the essence of your own medicine soon... :P
Learn Indian history before you speak anything about it...

Templar Knight
12 years ago

it was great

12 years ago

This documentary is old and dated. A lot more has been discovered since then. Rigveda itself has been dated to before 8000 BC!! Sarasvati river has been discovered. It has also been verified in the caves of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh..that horses and horse taming has been dated to 20,000 BC...

ghost rider
12 years ago

Now i understand why the people called mother india :)

12 years ago

@verysmartindi: Just because Lumbini was not a part of Kathmandu valley does not mean that the kingdom was part of "India". And what do you mean by "India" anyway? What was India during Harsha's time? What was India during the Mughal empire? What about during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization? What do you mean by India? It looks like it's you who needs to do the studying.

13 years ago

@Greywall - Hey DumbWall.... learn your history or atleast google History of Nepal before posting your stupid comments...

Nepal was just the Valley of Kathamandu and only came into existence as a unified country in the 18th century... It has numerous mention since the time of Mahabharata the great Indian Epic.... Do some study or your grades will be as low as your IQ...

13 years ago

India is unique in any age in it's own way with the rest of the world. Proud to be part of it.

13 years ago

What a dip !!!

The first humans created by Brahma lived in mother India ,
not in bloody Africa !!!

P.S. This is atheistic propaganda ( like a lot of docs on
this otherwise excellent site !!! )

13 years ago

"Nepal didn’t exist during Buddha’s time!"
Nepal is the only officially Hindu state of the world and was an independent state even at the time of Budha, ruled by his own family.
I agree with Rage, Nepal was never a part of India.

13 years ago

Further to Rage's comments to Simply Simple:
Mughals were not frpm 'Middle East', rather they were from 'Central Asia'... Now-a-days forming parts of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan etc.

13 years ago

@James Jackson
"I admire India and its history, but the title “world’s greatest democracy” seems premature. The caste system thrives and, oddly, meets acceptance by nearly all Indians. Democracy implies equal access to education, which India tacitly denies its lower castes beyond tokenism."

I fully agree with James Jacson. I would like to further add to his well identified facts that 'which democracy of the world runs only through a family dynasty'? Look at Nehru dynasty and India. Indians are perhaps addict to 'Nehru Family' like Pakistanis are addict to 'Bhuttos'.
Further, why wasn't Sonia Gandhi allowed to head the Indian Govt.? This is the real face of this largest democracy...

13 years ago

Nepal didn't exist during Buddha's time!

13 years ago

@ simply simple

As far as i know Nepal was never a part of India. Can you tell me where you got ur information from? cos i sure do want to find out more about it.

13 years ago

a great comprehensive documentary!!!

simply simple
13 years ago

Nepal was a part of India as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh (and few other small countries) were when Buddha was born.His real name was sidhharth and his father was a hindu king of a small state in India. 'India' is a name given by Britisher. India was actually called "BHARATAM " (Sanskrit) . The native pepole who lived here before Mugals (Middle east) came to India were known as "bharatkul". Buddha's father was one of them so was he too.

13 years ago

FYI ...Buddha was not born in India. He was born in Lumbini in NEPAL, which borders near India.

James Jackson
13 years ago

I admire India and its history, but the title "world's greatest democracy" seems premature. The caste system thrives and, oddly, meets acceptance by nearly all Indians. Democracy implies equal access to education, which India tacitly denies its lower castes beyond tokenism. Even visitors find themselves subtly assigned to a sort of parity in the class system based on occupation and religion. Outside observers might despair of India ever achieving equal rights for women and minorities despite the demands of modern technology; higher castes gain better employment in technology jobs than lower-caste people even with equivalent education, and, strangely, no one seems to object. Those who protest, such as the communists, remain in the periphery of society. Religion reinforces and supports this social inequality and, like all religions, pulls its adherents back into a primitive past and away from social progress. Even Gandhi refused to challenge the caste system.

13 years ago

"Brief heyday of the west" Wow, How arrogant. We fought in 2 world wars, saved entire countries from murdering dictators. Have fun with your documentary but save your comments on America for those with facts. America CRUSHES India economically, fiscally, mentally, and in every other way.Why do these left wing liberal documentaries always have to down America? Wait until another dictator tries to enslave you again. You will be back begging for us to come to the rescue.I promise you that.

Rabin Sapkota
13 years ago

There is a huge information gap !!! and is tremendiously misleading in regarding migration and population distribution. IT totally ignores the fact of orizional population and mass movement of people from Ural Mountains.

13 years ago

An excellent work. The narrative is exquisite. Does justice with the glory of India's magnificent past.

I wish somebody would put up a better version of this documentary. Many parts won't load. Spoiled the fun for me.

13 years ago

I don't think anyone is arguing that.

real indian
13 years ago