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About India

-| Indian History | -

Indus Valley, India HolidaysIndus Valley Civilisation India's first major civilisation flourished for 1000 years from around 2500 BC along the Indus River Valley in what is now Pakistan. Its great cities were Mohenjodaro and Harappa, where a civilisation of great complexity developed. The major cities sites were only discovered during this century but, other lessr cities have been subsequently unearthed at sites like Lothal, near Ahmedabad. The origins of Hinduism can be traced all the way back to this earlycivilisation.

The society was ruled by priests rather than by Kings, and it was they who interceded with the gods,dictated social modes and determined such issue such as land tnure. The traditional Hindu fear of pollution and the need for ritual washing is also reflected in the intricate system of drains found at Harappa. Comparatively littel is known about the development and eventual demise of this civilisation. Theer script has still not been deciphered, nor is it known why such an advanced civilisation co;;apsed so quikly following invasion by the Aryans.

Early Invasions & the Rise of religions

The Aryan invaders swept south from central Asia between 1500 and 200 BC.They brought their own gods and cattle- raising and meet-eating traditions, But were absorbed to such a degree that by the 8th century BC the priestly caste had succeeded in reasserting its supremacy. During the period when the Aryans were consolidating their hold on northern India, the heartland narrowly missed to other invasions from the west. The first was by the persian king, Darius (521-486 BC), who annexed the punjab and sind and but went no further.

In 326 BC, alexander the great reached India in his epic march from Greece, but his troops refused to go further than the Beas River, and he returned back without extending his power into India. Buddhism arose around 500 BC and presented Brahamnical Hinuism with its greatest challenge by condemning caste.Buddhism began to drive a radical swathe through Hinduism in the 3rd century BC when it was embraced by theMauryan emperor Ashoka, who controlled more of India than any subsequent ruler prior to the Mughals.

The Mauryas & Ashoka

Buddha, India ToursChandragupta Mourya's empire came to power in 321 BC and expanded into the vacuum created by Alexander's departure. They had a very rigid and well-organised empier. They also develped an efficient system for collecting taxes and agricultural produce. There were heavy penaltiesfor those who evaded texes. The empire reached its peak under emperor Ashoka in 262 BC.

He left pillars which describe the span of his empire. His pillars can be seen in Gugarat, Orissa, Delhi, Sarnanth in Uttar Pradesh and at Sanchiin Madhya Pradesh. Under his rule, the mauryan empire cntrolled more of India than probably any subsequent ruler prior to the Mughals or the British. His empire rapidly collapsed in 184 BC after his death in 232 BC.

The far south of India had no influence of the rising and falling of kingdoms in the north. They had long established trading links with the Egyptians,Romans and South-east Asia. While the Hindu kingdoms ruled in the south and buddhism was fading in the north, Muslim power was creeping towards India form the Middle East. The Mughal emperors are the gaints of Indian History. They marched into the Punjab from Afghanistan, defeated the Sultan of Delhi at panipat in 1525, and ushered an other golden age of building, arts and literature.

Their rise to power wasQueen Victoria Statue, India Travels rapid, but their decline was equally quick. The Marahta Empire grew during the 17th century, thanks to the larger -than-life exploits of the lower-caste Shivaji,and gradually took over more of the Mughals domain. The Marathas consolidated control of central India until they fell to the last great imperial power, the British.


power in India was intially exercised by the east India Company, Which established a trading post at Surat in Gugarat in 1612. The British were not the first or the only European power with the presence in India in the 17th century: the portuguese had been in control of Goa since 1510 and the french, Danes and Dutch as well.

Britian's power grdually spread from the time that Clive retook Calcutta in 1757 until the British victory in the fourth Mysore war in 1799. The long-runing British struggle with the Marathas was finally concluded in 1803, which left almost the entire country under the control of the British East India Company.

The British came to India principally to make money, and its culture, belifes and religions were left strictly alone. The British expanded iron and coal mining, developed tea, coffee and cotton plantation, and constructed India's vast Rail network. The indian Mutiny in northern India in 1857, led to the demise of the East Indian company, and administration of the country was handed over to the British government. Opposition to British rule began in earnest at the ture of the 20th century. The 'congress' which had been established to give India a degree of self-rule now began to push for the real thing.

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