ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Long Sweep of India–China History

India, China and the World: A Connected History by Tansen Sen, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp 560, ₹995.

Tansen Sen in his previous work, Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of India–China Relations, 600-1400 (2003: 388) had examined the role of Buddhism, diplomacy and commerce in the interactions between India and China from 6th CE to 14th CE.1 Sen, in this important work, had highlighted the preponderance of Buddhism and examined its role as an instrumental factor in diplomacy as well as a facilitator of trade in Sino–Indian relations. Sen’s current book, however, covers a much broader time frame, from 2nd Century BC to recent times and he aptly calls this work a study of India and China’s “longue durée connections” (p 2). Sen’s core argument in the book is that interactions between South Asia2 and China have been longitudinal, complex, variegated, multidirectional as well as transnational.

Sen draws on the concept of “circulatory history” propounded by Prasenjit Duar to advance his argument of historical connectedness of India and China. Duara had theorised that historical ideas and practices throughout history have often emerged in one corner of the world, and over a period of time, as a result of the interplay of various factors and facilitators, travelled and circulated to another part of the globe “traversing continents and visited by various transformations,” while at the same time “retaining recognizable connections” (Duara 2015: 55). It is this concept of the circulatory nature of ideas and practices that Sen employs in this book to study the nature of India–China relations from second century to current times.

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Updated On : 10th Apr, 2020
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