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Travels in Transoxiana

Jaswant Singh (Author)
Synopsis Beyond the Amu Darya lies the “crucible of mankind”, as the author graphically terms the Central Asian region, inhabited by the Turkmen, the Uzbek, Kazakh, Tajik and the Khirghiz; recounted in nineteenth century European travelogues as Transoxiana, or beyond the Oxus. This is the wellspring of those irresistible forces which and built an empire in our country and also knocked on the gates of Christendom in Vienna. The rugged geography of the region, its environs prevented many from venturing in, as did its suffocating and paranoid rulers whether the earlier Khanates or during the lifetime of the Soviet Union. That is when Jaswant Singh, traveling without diplomatic privilege or the trappings of officialdom, decided to pay his tribute to this land of legends, antiquity; that land, which, he says, “altered the course of our history”. Travels in Transoxiana: In Lands Over the Hindu Kush and Across the Amu Darya, brings a wealth of observations etching for us a picture of place whose ancient glory and present search for identity sit uncomfortably together. The engagement that results in powerful detailing is historical, spanning centuries from the time of Chengez to the last decades of the twentieth century, but the traveler’s consciousness transcends mere historical detailing. It narrates a personal sense of kinship, empathy and also loss, lending a grand and elegiac mood to descriptions of these Travels in Transoxiana.
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About the author

Jaswant Singh

Jaswant Singh has come a long way from his home in the desert districts of Rajasthan. Commissioned in the Indian Army when barely nineteen, he went through two wars whilst in service (1962 and 1965) before resigning his commission to pursue a political career. He has served seven terms in Parliament, and, in the BJP-led governments of 1996 and 1998-2004, held charge of six ministries of the Government of India, including External Affairs, Defence and Finance. Regarded as an authority on Indian foreign policy and national security, Jaswant Singh is among the most respected names in the country's public life, and in the world of diplomacy. He is deservedly given credit for dexterously steering India out of the turbulent diplomatic seas encountered in the aftermath of the nuclear tests of May 1998. In this lay the beginning the process of a 'legitimisation' of India's nuclear standing. He is Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of India's Parliament. Jaswant Singh is visiting Professor at Oxford University, an Honorary Professor at Warwick University, and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard University. 'How do you manage?', if asked, he replies: 'Time, always expands to meet the calls made upon it'. An ardent, and a lifelong bibliophile, an antiquarian, a prolific writer, his personal library is among the most impressive in Lutyens' Delhi. Amongst his several other pursuits are chess - 'Best, he says, 'to play against a computer, you do not mind losing to it'; or golf - sadly, 'shelved these days', he says, 'too, leisurely in these demanding times', or Polo, where he is the current Patron-in-Chief of the Indian Polo Association; and the promotion of Dingal, an ancient language of Rajasthan still extant, particularly in the arid regions of Marwah and his native Barmer.

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Bibliographic information

Title Travels in Transoxiana
Author Jaswant Singh
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Rupa & Co.
Language: English
isbn 8129110024
length x+153p., Plates; 24cm.
Subjects Travel & Tourism