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The Story Of India: The Power Of Ideas

Airs Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: A monk at Bodhgaya. Sixty years after India secured independence, Michael Wood sets out on an epic journey "over 10,000 years and 10,000 miles" to uncover the fabulous sights and sounds, the dazzling achievements and the dramatic history of an ancient, prosperous and influential civilization.

Michael Wood's fascinating journey through the history of the Indian subcontinent, the first history of India on western television, chronicles the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes; outlines the originality and continuing relevance of its ideas; and relates some of the most momentous and moving events in world history.

Photo Gallery

Explore "The Story of India" through this interactive photo gallery that weaves together a series of interrelated themes, events, and individuals that helped shape India's history.

The world's largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known in the U.S. for its mastery of computer technology and its business and industrial strength as it is for its many-armed gods and its spiritual traditions. But India is also the world's most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity stretching back into prehistory.

The Golden Temple, in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. The Harmandir Sahib, informally referred to as The Golden Temple, is the holiest shrine in Sikhism.
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Above: The Golden Temple, in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. The Harmandir Sahib, informally referred to as The Golden Temple, is the holiest shrine in Sikhism.

"The Power Of Ideas," the second episode of Michael Wood's journey through Indian history, covers the last centuries BCE—the age of the Buddha, the coming of the Greeks and the rule of the emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest figures in world history.

Beginning with incredible images of a Jain festival that takes place once every twelve years, Wood sees the Buddha as India's first protester, follows the invasion of India by Alexander the Great and ends with the birth of the first great Indian empire.

The theme of the episode is the power of ideas in Indian history, and among the people Michael Wood meets is His Holiness the Dalai Lama who explains why Buddhism is still relevant today.

Video

Video Excerpt: The Story Of India: The Power Of Ideas

Above: The second episode of Michael Wood's journey through Indian history covers the last centuries BCE—the age of the Buddha, the coming of the Greeks and the rule of the emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest figures in world history. Beginning with incredible images of a Jain festival that takes place once every twelve years, Wood sees the Buddha as India's first protester, follows the invasion of India by Alexander the Great and ends with the birth of the first great Indian empire.

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