The Buddha and the Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India’s Lost Religion by Charles Allen.
For nearly 1,000 years, from the destruction of temples and monasteries by Muslim invaders in the 11th and 12th centuries, followed by Hinduism’s increasing power, Buddhism vanished from the country of its origin. Though hugely influential throughout Asia, the religion was forgotten in India.
This is the story of the men from the British Raj who rediscovered the history of the Buddha and his teachings and the role played by key Buddhist rulers such as Ashoka. British rule brought soldiers, administrators and adventurers to India.
From the late 18th century, a handful of remarkable individuals, amateur linguists, archaeologists and explorers - who became known as the Orientalists - began investigating the subcontinent’s lost past. By deciphering scripts, excavating and dating massive stone ruins and discovering huge and richly decorated monastic cave complexes, these men returned Buddhism to its place in Indian history.
Charles Allen's audiobook is a mixture of detective work and storytelling, as this acknowledged master of British Indian history pieces together early Buddhist history to bring a handful of extraordinary characters to life.