Debashis Chakraborty
BACK TO THE BCS: LITTLE KNOWN TALES FROM WELL-KNOWN TIMES by Pavithra Sankaran Helios Books, Chennai, 2013, 48 pp., 350
November 2013, volume 37, No 11

From the raising of Mohenjodaro to the meeting of Chanakya and Thiruvalluvar, Pavithra Srinivasan’s Back to the BCs can be as engaging for a child as an adult. For instance, I can say quite unabashedly that I did not know Pareekshit was also known as Vishnurata. However, what I like most about this book is Ms. Srinivasan’s ability to blend itihasa, historiography, myth and storytelling in one compact package.

The book is divided into 6 chapters and 16 sections. While each chapter is an episode from the BC era, each section is a shift in the time/space/action continuum within the narrative. These sections have been crafted to reflect a specific day and a month of the Indian lunar calendar such that the 16 sections form the metaphorical annual cycle of stories. For instance the first story begins with ‘Day 12, Month of Jyaishtha, BC 2800. City of the Dead, Banks of River Indus’ and the last story begins with ‘Day 14, Month of Vaishakha, BC 323. Outskirts of Pataliputra’. The intended young reader is also taken on a tour of the Indian calendar’s 12-month cycle.

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