Story of India
For more than 2000 years, India has been a massive component in world history. But what are the country's origins and how did it come to be what it is today? These are just two of the questions behind this intrepid journey around the contemporary subcontinent. Michael Wood embarks on an expedition through today's India, looking to the present for clues to its past, and to the past for clues to its future. The journey presents majestic landscapes and reveals some of the greatest monuments and artistic treasures on earth. From Buddhism to Bollywood, from mathematics to outsourcing, Wood discovers India's impact on history.
Beginnings (#101H) Duration: 56:46 SRND51 TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Michael Wood's fascinating journey through the history of the Indian subcontinent chronicles the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes; outlines the originality and continuing relevance of its ideas; and relates some of the most momentous and moving events in world history. Beginning with the first human migrations out of Africa, using DNA and climate science, ancient manuscripts and oral tales, Wood takes viewers from the tropical backwaters of South India to lost ancient cities in Pakistan - the scene of India's first civilization. He travels on to Turkmenistan in Central Asia, where dramatic new archaeological discoveries cast fresh light on India's deep past. Finally, Wood travels to the vibrant cities of the Ganges plain, where India's ancient myths and histories still intertwine.
The Power of Ideas (#102H) Duration: 56:46 SRND51 TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Michael Wood's epic series moves into the revolutionary years after 500 BC - the Age of the Buddha. Traveling by road and rail between the ancient cities of the Ganges plain, he tells the tale of the young prince who gave up the good life and became the Buddha: "India's first and greatest protester." Then, moving by army convoy through Northern Iraq and down the Khyber Pass into Pakistan, Wood shows how Alexander the Great's invasion changed the course of India's history and inspired her first empire. He visits India's earliest capital, Patna, and using archaeology, legend and "India's Rosetta stone," explains how the ideas of the Buddha were turned into political reality by the great Indian emperor Ashoka - "one of the most remarkable figures in history" - who sowed the seeds of "history's most dangerous idea."
Spice Routes & Silk Roads/The Growth of Civilization (#103) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Michael Wood takes viewers to India in the days of the Roman Empire. In India's tropical deep south in Kerala, the spice trade opened India to the world - and gave the world a recipe for dormouse stuffed with pepper! Wood takes one of the great old sailing boats that still cross the Indian Ocean carrying pepper and cloves. He discovers the lost site of Rome's greatest trading port in India and visits the fabulous ancient city of Madurai, with its giant temple and its gold and silk bazaars that were a delight for visiting Greek traders - and still are today. Moving north, Wood takes the Silk Road from the deserts of Turkmenistan through the Khyber Pass into Pakistan to unveil the forgotten Indian empire of the Kushans, who opened up the Silk Road and built a lost Wonder of the World in the caravan city of Peshawar. "In today's world, with the Asian powers rising again," says Wood, "this time looks like the precursor - the first globalization."
Ages of Gold (#104H) Duration: 56:46 SRND51 TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Reaching the time of the Fall of Rome in the West, Michael Wood seeks out the amazing achievements of India's golden age from 300 to 1000 AD. Viewers learn how India discovered zero, calculated the circumference of the earth and wrote the world's first sex guide, the Kama Sutra. In the south, he visits the giant temple of Tanjore, meets the current "Senior Prince" and watches traditional bronze casters, working as their ancestors did 1,000 years ago. After sampling southern vegetarian food with a Tamil family, Wood goes on pilgrimage to a sacred mountain, where the annual fire festival was already famous in 700 AD. With unprecedented access to amazing festivals, age-old crafts and intimate family rituals, Wood shows how the Middle Ages laid the social and imaginative foundations of today's India.
The Meeting of Two Oceans (#105H) Duration: 56:46 SRND51 TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
This episode tells the epic story of possibly the greatest of all clashes of civilization - the coming of Islam to the Indian subcontinent. The story culminates in one of the most glamorous ages of world civilization - the Moghul Empire. Michael Wood visits the shrines of wandering Muslim Sufi saints in Old Delhi, where people of all religions come to worship; viewers see desert fortresses in Rajasthan and the fabulous cities of Lahore and Agra, where Wood offers a new theory on the design of arguably the most famous building in the world, the Taj Mahal. He tells the story of Akbar, a Muslim emperor who decreed that no single religion could hold the ultimate truth and that humans should try to find the common basis of all creeds ("an idea that would be unthinkable today," says Wood). At its height in 1600, Moghul India had the world's highest GDP, but Akbar's dream of unity ended in a savage civil war. And waiting in the wings to pick up the spoils was a new invader - the British.
Freedom (#106) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Michael Wood's "10,000-year epic" reaches the time of the British occupation of India - the Raj - and India's struggle for freedom. Wood begins in South India, where viewers learn how the forerunner of modern multinational corporations, the British East India Company, used private armies to control much of the Indian subcontinent. In Calcutta, he traces the beginnings of a world economy and describes an 18th-century British general who "went native" and adopted Hinduism. He samples the magical culture - and food - of the city of Lucknow and outlines its terrible fate in India's great rebellion against the British in 1857. He recounts the story of the enigmatic Briton, "the rebel in the Raj," who helped found the Indian freedom movement. After the First World War, the Amritsar massacre helped speed the rise of Gandhi and Nehru and the fateful events that led to the partition of India in 1947 - an episode whose repercussions are felt to this day. The series ends as India rises again to be the global giant she has been for most of her amazing history.