Beginning with the first human migrations out of Africa, host Michael Wood takes viewers from the tropical backwaters of South India to lost ancient cities in Pakistan -- the scene of India's first civilization.
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.
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I liked the DVD segmented format. It is hard to absorb all the factual and implied information in one long gulp! I also liked the interspersion of scholars and, near the end, eye witness accounts. I do not agree that the British got kid-glove treatment in the presentation. While I am not a history expert I think some glaring omissions concerning India's history and culture were allowed. The practice of "suttee" was mentioned once, as an aside comment , but never discussed. Burning widows alive with their dead husbands might be considered a significant cultural attribute! Also the rise and destruction of the "thugee" cult of murderers deserves some mention, maybe? Both actions were strongly crushed by the British army! Some credit is due! The British were exploiters and cruel but despite that, a lot of good things were left behind. Mass education was improved. Railroads were built. Opportunities for work and advancement were made available in other British colonies as well. I am not an Anglophile but I believe fair and balanced presentations are essential. Too much scope for a short series... maybe? Program really deserves a 3.5 rating!
Depicting The story of India in film, is an inherently complex endeavour owing to its vastness in time, diversity of peoples and cultures and the political sensitivities involved in any of its portrayal. Further, colonial historical discourses over the past centuries have distorted vast swathes of this history, making even many Indians confused as to the historicity of their land and culture. Many attempts at communicating indian history have suffered from the biases of the filmmaker.
However this documentary stands out as one that transcends all this. The narrative is compelling, refreshingly unbiased and the result is a visually stunning and though provoking look at one of the most continuously populated regions on earth.
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the episodes. Though I was born and raised in India, I did not know many of the wonderful details that were told in this story about India. I am a bit ashamed that it took a fantastic and objective Englishman to narrate the story of India tracing back to the early civilizations. I am truly grateful to Michael Wood for producing and narrating this beautiful story of India. Great job Michael. It gave me a lesson on the cultural diversity, strength and heritage of India. Unlike many documentaries about India, this one ends on a very positive and optimistic note which is very refresing.
This is the second time I have watched this wonderful series. It provides a broad-stroke introduction to history and to the breadth of India's diverse cultures and geography. It is inspiring, fascinating, and entertaining. I highly recommend it. The host is infectiously enthusiastic, and his participation in festivals, his entry into large gatherings, talking with Indians of all backgrounds, engaging with Pakistani citizens, is delightful.
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2016
This is a documentary series of 1 hour long episodes, about India all the way from the beginning to present day. You see people, places, hear the stories of key moments and evidence, and this combination engages both the logical and emotional senses. I work with many Indian people and was curious to learn more about the culture, so I originally watched the series last year. To prepare for my first-ever trip to India, I decided to purchase the series and watch it again
Beautifully presented. Information regarding the birth chart and date of birth of King Akbar was unusual, as historically it is noted to be ten days earlier than the information given in the video. However, the video provides a very positive and entrancing perspective on this vibrant nation and its contributions throughout time to the world.
My wife and I are so glad to have discovered this short gem of a series! We're both relatively new to Indian history/culture but from what we can see most people seem to agree that this series ROCKS. It's seven years old now but the information still seems accurate (based on the great reviews and my own limited knowledge of history) and you can really feel Michael's enthusiasm and passion for India's history. I definitely recommend this (only 6 hour-long episodes) to any documentary/history/India-enthusiast.
This is one of the best histories of India and the people of India that I have seen, including the cruel treatment by the British Commonwealth of the peoples of India, but also going way back into the earlier history of India. This should be interesting even to those who currently have no interest in India, especially considering what a huge percentage of the world lives in India.
I previously watched the series "The Story of China" also with Michael Wood and found it so enjoyable and well-produced that I decided to order this series also and, just like the other one, it was beautifully produced with the perfect balance of history and wonderful images and all condensed into a highly educative, but at the same time very accessible to all types of audience, production. From all the historical documentaries that I have watched from the BBC these ones by Michael Wood are just the best of them all and he presents all the themes with so much enthusiasm and open-mindedness that is extremely rare from a British perspective. It is impossible to watch it without feeling strong emotions throughout it. Furthermore, the background music is enchanting and it is obvious that so much hard work has gone into the making of this series. This DVD I purchased to cherish permanently in my small collection of DVDs.
Michael Wood is an engaging historian. I loved the original showing of this series and brought this DVD as a record of Indian history. It also inspired to visit this wonderful country and to study it's origins and culture.
4.0 out of 5 starsThe Story of India with Michael Wood: Complete BBC Series [DVD]
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2012
I'm fascinated by India, so almost anything about that country will appeal. However, I've never really understood the background to it's current status, so was especially pleased to find out about this set.
Because I don't know the fuller history of the country, I can't say whether this set tells the complete story. Even so, it deals with major blocks of the timeline at a level which is at least right for someone making initial discoveries. For anyone who already knows something about India's past, this set may be too superficial.
Even for me however, I found that transitions from one period to another were not always explained clearly enough to follow well. Also missing in my mind were local maps showing the location of the places Michael Wood was in / talking about: without those, the contexts of the storylines were less clear than they should have been. This was partly exacerbated by my being unable to clearly hear the names of the places MW was dealing with: he seemed to enjoy pronouncing placenames with more of an Indian accent than a British one.
Even allowing for my reservations above, I really liked this set. It's at a sensible level for me, it certainly features major era's of India's past (if not all), it evokes wonderful memories of personal visits there, and the photography is pretty good! If it was £20+, I would have been very cagey about my rating. For £7, it's a steal.
2.0 out of 5 starsDry overly talkative history of India with very few shots of scenery or architecture.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 26, 2018
If anyone bought this to see the beauties of India, its architecture and scenery, they will be sadly disappointed. It is a dry, overly talkative history of India from pre-historic times up to freedom from British rule. Very little detail is given, just generalizations and personal opinions. Not recommended.
5.0 out of 5 starsA Fascinating Educational And Illuminating Series.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2015
This was a wonderful trip through the beautiful, richly historical and cultural land that is India. Michael Wood takes you on a journey that makes you almost feel you're there with him!
It can, however, be uncomfortable watching at times as when he's talking to the Indians about the time of The British Raj. It made me squirm from thousands of miles away but he was there engaging in having what must have felt like very awkward conversations!
I have been having a love affair with India for a long time and as I cannot afford to go there just yet this was the next best thing. It has made me more determined to get over there to see it all for myself.