What we’ve been watching lately: ‘The Story of India’

We may — emphasis still on “may” — have a trip to India looming on the horizon.

Perhaps in partial response, we’ve been making our way through the two-year old “The Story of India” series from PBS.

A link to it is here. It seems to be a pretty good resource, especially the “Ask Michael Wood” section.

Young Shiva devotee, via 'The Story of India'

The show — and we’re halfway through on this, our second watch — is pretty wide-ranging and broadly inclusive, which seems to be the most contemporary way of understanding India’s history. As a stop along both the silk and spice routes, it was a confluence of sorts from time far past. Buddhism spread out, Islam spread in — and a lot more happened well before either of those religions got going.

There is, of course, always the outsider-looking-in perspective from Englishman Michael Wood. But I don’t get the sense that there is any imperialist guilt or reductive take on India. He seems genuinely fascinated and in love with the country. (In a sense, it reminds me of how T.E. Lawrence fell in love with Arabia.)

Along with the book “The Hindus,” which we’ve mentioned before, the program demonstrates that Indian — and Hindu — history and culture aren’t simple or easy to classify.

You know, kind of how everything does once you really look at it closely enough.

Posted by Steve