Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/10

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6 PREFACE. among the most intellectual class, the spiritual and contemplative aspects of life overpowered the practical and the political. How Hinduism, while sufficing to organize the Indian communities into social and re- ligious confederacies, failed to knit them together into a coherent nation. India was destined, by her position, to receive the human overflow from the ancient breeding-grounds of Central Asia. Waves of conquest from the north were as inevitable in early times as are the tidal waves from the ocean at the present day. But such conquests, although rapid, were seldom enduring ; and although widespread, were never complete. The religious and social organization of Hinduism never succumbed. The greatest of India's conquerors, the Mughals, were being hemmed in by Hindu confederacies before their supremacy had lasted if- centuries. So far as can now be estimated, the- advance of the British alone saved the Delhi Empire from dismemberment by three Hindu military powers, the Marathas, Rajputs, and Sikhs. The British Rule has endured, because it is wielded in the joint interest of the Indian races. But while these thoughts have long been present in my mind, I have not obtruded them on my pages. For I hope that this little book will reach the hands of many who look on history as a record of events, rather than as a compendium of philosophy. The greatest service which an Indian historian can at present render to India, is to state the facts accurately and in such a way that they will be read. If my story is found to combine truth with simplicity, it will have attained all that I aimed at. If it teaches young Englishmen and young Natives of India to think more kindly of each other, I shall esteem myself richly rewarded.