Discovery of India
All books in the "Lost Civilization" series from Time Life Books are collector's editions. I read the book "Ancient India - A Land of Mystery" from the series. An excellent book, which describes the history of India as it was unraveled by the archaeologists.
The book talks about the work of great archaeologists (most of them Europeans) who dedicated almost their entire life in excavation work, tiring searches all over India for remains, artifacts.. Life stories of many of them are tragic. James Prinsep, whose efforts resulted in decoding of Ashoka's pillar inscriptions (which actually helped in getting to know a lot about the Emperor), died with a mental disorder after years of wanderings in the Indian subcontinent, searching for coins - in fact begging for them with the local people. Captain Robert Gill - the artist who copied the Ajantha murals on canvas, worked for 20 years and made paintings, all of which were destroyed in a fire accident during an exhibition. He restarted his work, but couldn't complete and died as a sad man. He was buried near the Ajantha caves.
There are many others - Charles Mason, who first brought Harappan Buddhist Stupa into light, Sir Alexander Cunningham, who first proposed theories regarding ancient India based on archaeological facts (though the theories were proved to be wrong later).
Not much support was provided to them by people. Bricks from Harappan remains were used for building track bed for railway lines. Local people never gave much help, on the contrary their contribution turned out to be negative in most cases. Still, without losing heart, these people worked all their life. What inspired them for that? Was it because it was like a hobby for them? Anyway, without these people, I think we would not have known much about India's past.
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