India in Kalidasa by Bhagwat Saran Upadhyaya (1947)
A good story revolves around a plot. A truly good book, it preserves a world forever. That’s what Kalidasa did in his writings. And what the author, Prof Bhagwat Saran Upadhyaya, does in India in Kalidasa is revisit that world and unlock it for anyone with more of an affinity for history than fiction.
Published in 1947, this book draws on the works of Kalidasa, considered one of the greatest playwrights and dramatists of ancient India, to unveil what daily life was like for the average Indian, about 1,500 years ago.
Kalidasa lived during the great Gupta Empire, in the 4th or 5th century CE, a period usually described by historians as the Golden Age of India. In the seven works credited to the great writer – Malvikagnimitra, Vikramorvasi, Abhijnana Sakuntala, Rutusamhara, Meghaduta, Kumarasambhava and the Raghuvamsa – Upadhyaya uncovers details about the period’s politics, flora and fauna, trade and cultural practices, diet, fashion, leisure activities and way of life.
The book is a must read for anyone interested in Kalidasa or the India of his time. India In Kalidasa was published under the patronage of the industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla.