Friday, June 13, 2008

History of India

The history of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization, which boomed in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent from 3300 to 1700 BC. The Indus valley civilization is consideed as the Bronze Age civilization. This was followed by the Iron Age civilization or the Vedic period. The later vedic period saw the rise of major kingdoms that are known as the Mahajanapadas. It is during this time, in the 6th century BC, that Mahavira and Gautama Buddha were born.The Indian subcontinent was united under the Maurya Empire during the 3rd and 4th centuries.

The middle age history of India is a history of fragmentation. The process of disintergration continues for the next ten centuries. The northern regions were once united in the 4th century under the Guptas, and remained so for two centuries thereafter.

The Gupta rule is considered as the “Golden Age of India”. During that time and for several centuries afterwards, India was under the rule of the Cholas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, and Pandyas. Each of the kingdom experienced its own golden age, during which Hinduism and Buddhism spread to much of south-east Asia. With the conquest of Baluchistan and Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim Islam arrived in the early 8th century in the Indian subcontinent. Islamic invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 15th centuries brought most of northern India under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and then under the rule of the Mughals. Mughal rule, which ushered in a significant flowering of art and architecture, came to cover most of the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. Simultaneouly, several independent kingdoms, such as the Maratha Empire and the Vijayanagara Empire, flourished at the same time, in the western and southern India respectively.

In the beginning of the mid-18th century and over the next century, the history of India sees a major change. The subcontinent was gradually annexed by the British East India Company. Dissatisfaction with rule of the company led to the First War of Indian Independence, the mutiny of 1857, also known as the sepoy mutiny. After this India was directly administered by the British Crown and it underwent a period of both economic decline and rapid development of infrastructure. During the first half of the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress. The Muslim League later joined the struggle.

In 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came onto the scene, calling for unity between the two groups. The profound impact of Gandhi on the history of India and his ability to gain independence through a totally non-violent mass movement made him one of the most remarkable leaders the world has ever known The subcontinent gained independence from Great Britain in 1947 but was partitioned into the dominions of India and Pakistan. In 1971 the eastern wing of Pakistan declared its independence as an independent nation, known as Bangladesh. 26th February 1950 is an important day in the history of India. On that day India was declared republic.

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