The Book

Echoes Among Ruins takes its readers back by 14 centuries to a time when the Arab Caliphate, propelled by the zeal of a nascent Islamic faith and unfulfilled trade interests, was rapidly expanding its domain in all directions.  However, pushing its frontiers past the mighty kingdom of Sind in the Indian subcontinent's west had not proven easy. The attempts did eventually succeed, but not before the Indians had their mettle grudgingly acknowledged even in the heavily-biased chronicles of their conquerors. The endurance displayed by a lone state holding out against a mighty empire was worthy of a somewhat bigger mention on the pages of history, but political compulsions have tended to keep under wraps, in both India and Pakistan, a more balanced story of Sind's last non-Muslim Kings.

As the story unfolds,  Echoes Among Ruins helps us rediscover these rulers. Their aggressive displays of proto-Indian nationalism had reversed earlier Persian conquests at the western fringes of the subcontinent like never before, extending the frontiers of India further west than any others before or after them. It also brings out how these rather unconventional Brahmins had stood up to subsequent Arab invaders, before finally succumbing to the barrage of their onslaughts.  

This book is also about the divergent perspectives in which the Brahmin rulers of Sind have long been held.

ऐसो बलवान जान हिंद  ख़ुरासान
"aiso balvān jān hind khorasān" 

.. so say the verses of the Muhiyals, a small ethnic group of the subcontinent's northwest, about King Dahar of Sind - or more specifically, about the fame that his power commanded across India and Khorasan. Those words are a small part of a lone dissenting voice, quite remarkably carried through the ages by the most directly traceable of his descendants. The Muhiyals' sustenance of a more respectful memory required a stoic disregard of much derision heaped upon Dahar by his conquerors and by those who adopted their world-view. It was indeed no mean achievement - considering that an ancient Persian chronicle of his defeat instead prefers descriptions like:

راي داهر لعين بدوزخ رفت
"rāi dāhar la'in badozakh raft", well, gleefully inform us that the "accursed" infidel King Dahar "was sent to hell". 

Besides investigating the Brahmin dynasty's saga from an oft-disregarded perspective,  Echoes Among Ruins also tries to retrace what became of its descendants over the centuries, including their gradual branching into diverse ethnic groups.  We also discover how, far from being silenced by the Arab conquest, they kept resurfacing over the ages to sporadically leave their mark on the pages of history.