By Colin Mason
The peoples of Asia now make up greater than 1/2 the world's inhabitants. they're more and more well-educated, and profitable in each quarter of recent exchange and expertise. Their effect within the remainder of the area can also be turning into larger. Colin Mason presents a readable and transparent advent to their heritage and traditions, from prehistory correct as much as the current day. This completely revised, up to date and multiplied re-creation contains the tremendous adjustments and additions made priceless via the fast-changing scene in Asia, rather China's expanding prominence in international affairs. There are new chapters on Afghanistan and Taiwan, and on international struggle and its importance in Asia, in addition to large remodeling of the chapters at the countries of South Asia. Maps and illustrations now additionally enhance the textual content all through, making this the basic consultant to the heritage of a desirable continent and its peoples.
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Additional info for A Short History of Asia, Second Edition
Hence, when the country was granted independence as a single state in 1948, an educated middle class existed to carry out the tasks of government. However, the largely Sinhalese government refused citizenship to almost a million Tamils, and later attempted to impose Sinhalese as the national language. This, and severe communal disturbances in 1983, exacerbated traditional tensions between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, leading to the bitter and protracted armed struggle that has continued until the present time.
The mass of the people, living in villages similar to those of today, were heavily taxed to support their masters. A complex legal code provided sweeping discriminatory provisions covering virtually every aspect of life for the lower orders. Often taxation reached such ruinous levels as to leave the peasants destitute, and even minor weather fluctuations resulted in major famines. The death penalty was imposed for a multitude of offences. 24 A Short History of Asia However, social inequality and art often flourish together, and such was the case in ancient India.
Kingdoms of consequence arose, like that of the Tamil Cholas, which dominated much of peninsular India in the eleventh century, and which became a maritime power with considerable influence in south-east Asia. The Chola state appears to have been relatively enlightened and advanced, with a system of village self-government, efficient revenue-raising, major irrigation works, and a distinctive Tamil literature and architecture. The huge pyramidal temple they built in honour of the god Shiva is still a major landmark in the city of Tanjore, and inscriptions on its walls are a major source of information – or probable information – about the Cholas.
A Short History of Asia, Second Edition by Colin Mason