Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trade and Cultural Colonization of India

From times immmmemorial the people of India, since the age of Neolithic people, had good relation with other parts of the world and they emigrated in large numbers , both by land and sea , and settled in Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago. When a high degree of civilisation flourished in Indus valley, there was undoubtedly a familiar relations with the countries of Western and central Asia.both the races Aryans and Dravidians had come from outside India and settled permanently had trade relations with Babylonia, Syria nad Egypt.
Towards the later half of the first century, a greek sailor, living in Egypt, undertook avoyage to India along the coast of the Red sea and the Arabian sea , and recorded a minute account of his experiences in abook called The periplus of the Erythrean Sea .  It is further proved by the Indian missions sent Roman emperors . The trade to Roman and other western countries was carried through the important port of Alexandria where goods carried by the sea upto the canals of the Nile through Mediterian coast which ran through Persia, and along the shores of the Caspian, to Syria and Asia minor.During Ashoka religious expeditions  took place throughout Central asia, and S-E Asia. A map with the areas of expansion is given above. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Economic, Political and Social development of ancient India

In vedic age people had their livelihood in Agriculture and in Livestock. Use of iron was known to them. They had carriages driven by oxen  or horses. Ownership of land was gradually became practice among the Aryans. Due to this reason inequality between two sections of people broadened. Introduction of slave system also proved the inequality between two sections of people and gradually the society in vedic age was divided in classes.
The Aryan tribes lived in a society called 'Gana' of which the head waas called Ganapati. This 'ganapati' , at the beginning , was determined by election in a meeting place of all the persons of that section  people (Gana). The female members were not allowed to remain present.
At first these groups were small but gradually they became larger based on the capability of 'ganapati' who were called 'king' at that time.
In veedic religion, people believed in the existence of a number of gods.
The Vedas are the oldest written literature written in Sanskrit language.The vedic literatures not only gave rise to literary activities they also gave ideas of scientific knowledge. 
In Maurya period the share of the crops to be given to the king by the cultivators was, generally, 1/6th of the production which might vary on the basis of the natural phenomenon.
Cities came into being during Maurya period. it is known fro the report given by Maghasthinis that there were 570 forts in the capital.
Guilds, cooperatives etc of the artisans began to form during this time. Traders also formed their own organisations.
The total land of the country during Maurya period was divided into three categories.1. Private land, 2. community land,3. Land occuppied by the king. 'The society was notly the caretaker of the individual or community property but also it was the savier of the community.' Karl Marx.
At this period there were many wage labourers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Marxian interpretation of social development of ancient India

Marx and Engels' studied the way of development of human society from its primitive stage of communism upto the modern times of 19th century and came to three conclusions. 1. the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles, 2. the development of human society depends on the relation between the existing productive forces and the productive relations, 3. the status quo of the existing society is maintained till the relation between the two forces can accommodate the expansion of the productive forces gradually developing within the present society due to scientific discoveries upto the current age.
They have not only explained the development of human society upto the present stage, they have discovered the ways and means of attaining the ideal society of human being.'The success of one is the precondition of the success of the other'.
They concluded that 'the history of all the hithrto existing societies is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild master and journey man, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended , either in a revolutionary re-constitution  of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
So far as the documents revealed after excavation of Mohenjodaro-Harappa civilisation, it was found that in Indus Valley civilisation the division of classes existed. Those who had different opinions, would have no prove of documents. 
In the Indus valley civilisation excavations proved the existence of unequal status between different members of the societies.The rich persons lived in multistoried building where as the poor people lived in small thatched rooms. Even the graveyards showed the difference between a rich and a poor person. In the cities of Harappa age there were slaves. The class division in the time of Aryans had seeds in the Harappa civilisation.       

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Late Middle Kingdom - The Classical age

The classical age in India beganwith the Gupta Empireand the resurgence of the north during Harsha's conquests around the 7th century CE, ended with the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in the south inthe 13th century, due to the presure from the invaders to the north.This period produced some of India's finest art, considered the epitome of classical development, and the development of the main spiritual and philosophical systems which continued to be in Hinduism and Buddhism and Jainism.King Harsha of Kannauj succeeded in re-uniting northern India during reign in 7th century, after the collapse of the Gupta dynasty. His kingdom collapsed after his death.
From the 7th to 9th century, three dynasties contested for control of northern India; the Gurjara Pratiharas of Malwa, the Palas od Bengal, and the the Rastrakutas of the deccan. the Sen dynasty would later assume control of the Pala empireand the Gurjara Pratiharas fragmented into different into various states, a series of kingdoms which managed to survive in some form for almost a millennium , until Indian Independence from British.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Economic Development during Magadh and Maurya

Maurya dynasty has been earmarked as the oldest and united kingdom when India flourished econmically, politically and culturally. Its effect persisted during the next few centuries. But the original records of its reign in southern India upto 500 BC, other than the Silalipi written in Sanskrit or in Prakrit ,  was not available . The countries, in southern India,  not under the rule of Ashok were Pandya, Chola, Chera, Satyaputra and Keralputra. Some records of Pandya kingdom was available in the description of Meghasthinis. During the reign of Maurya kingdom, Budhism were spread in South India. Maurya dynasty played a very important role in th3e economic development of ancient India. Though the development was different in different regions of the kingdom. The most developed area was northern India where the land was fertile and the underground wealth was abondant. Use of Iron took an important part inthe developmaent. Development in irrigation was rapid. Collective and individual irrigation system was in vogue. Apart from agriculture the rearing of cattle was also in practice.
Increase of trade and cottage industry induced the increase of Cities. There were 570 forts and more than 60 gates to be crossed to ereach the capital Pataliputra. System of coins was began to start. Private ownership of land was also increased at that time.
The total land of the country was divided in small quantities amongst the cultivators. these cultivators were called the free-man . These freemen unitedly prepared by donating their labour the streetsn roads, pools, ponds etc. If any body refused to do any work he or she was penalised by fines. These united body ina village not only was responsible for their own development work they were also a safety valve for any external attack, which was studied by Karl marx in 1857-58 and wrote his observation in Grundrisse .
One-sixth of the of the production from land was usually allotted as their tax payable to the King's exchequer which may icrease or decrease as per natural conditions.
Thou the slve system was started during Vedic period it graduaaly icreased in Maurya dynasty. These slaves were divided amongst the free-men according to the terms and condition. There were different types of slaves. They were being used as the furniture of the owner.
Use of daily labour was also in practice. Their wage in case land was one tenth of the production.    

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gupta Era (320-550 CE)

The north-western hybrid cultures of the subcontinent included the Indo-Greek, the Indo-Scythian, the Indo-Parthian, and the Indo-Sassinids. The first of these, the Indo-Greek kingdom, was founded when whenthe Greco-Bactirian King Demetrius invaded the region in 180BCE, extending his rule over various parts of present day Afghanistan andPakistan.
Roman Trade with India  
Roman trade with India started around 1 CE, during the reign of Augustus and following his conquest of Egypt , which had been India's biggest trade partner in West.  The Gupta Empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian subcontinent, foundeed by Maharaja Sri-Gupta.This period is called the Golden age of India and was marked by extensive inventions and discoveries in science and technology, art and literature , rreligion and philosophy and in all branches of human civilisations.Scholars of this period include Aryabhatta, who is believed to be the first to come up with the concept of zero, postulated the theory that the earth revolves round thye sun, and studied solar and Lunar eclipsees.Kalidas as a good play write who is said to have inspired by Goethe, and marked the highest point, of sanskrit literature is said to have belonged to this period.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Satavahana Dynasty and Kharavelan Empire

The Satavahana Dynasty, also known as the Andhras, ruled in southern and central India after around 230 BC. Satakarni the sixth ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty, defeated the Sunga Empire of north India.  
Afterwards, the Kharavela, the warrior king of Kalinga, ruled a vast empire  and was responsible for the propagation of Jainism in the Indian subcontinent. The Kharavellan Jain empire included a formidable maritime empire with trading routes linking it to Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bornea, Bali, Sumatra, and Java colonists from Kalinga settled in Sri Lanka, Burma as well as Maldives  and the Malay archipelago.  
the Kuninda Kingdom was a small Himalyan state that survived from around the 2nd century BCE to roughly the 3rd century CE.  The Kushans migrated from the central asia into the north western India in the middle of the 1st centuy CE and founded an empire that eventually stretched from Tajikistan to the middle Ganges.The Western Satraps (35-305 CE) were Saka rulers of the western and central part of India.They are the successors of The Inod-Scythians and contemporaries of the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian Subcontinentand the Satvahana who ruled the central and the southern India.
Different dynasties such as Pandyms, Cholas, Cheras, Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas dominated the southern part of the Indian peninsula at different periods of time.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunga Dynasty (185 BC-75 BC)

Sunga dynasty was established in 185 BCE, about 50 years after Ashoka's death when the king Brihadrata was assassinated by the then commander-in-chief of the Mauryan armed forces, Pusyamitra Sunga, while he was taking the Fuard of Honour of his forces Pusymitra Sunga then ascended the throne.Pusyamitra died after ruling for 36 years (187 - 151 BCE). He was succeeded by his son Agnimitra.This prince was the hero of a famous drama by one of India's greatest playrights,Kalidasa. Agnimitra was the Viceroy of Vidisha when the story takes place. The power of the Sungas gradually weakened. It is said that there were ten Sunga kings. 
The Sungas were succeeded by the Kanvadynasty.
Cultural Contribution : 
While there is much debate in religious politics of the Sunga dynasty, it is recognized for a number of contribution.Art, Education, philosophy, and other learning fowered during this period. Mostly notably, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and Mahabhasa were composed in this period, Panini composed the first sanskrit grammarian Ashtadyai . It is also noted for its subsequent mention in the Malavikaagnimitra. This work was composed by Kalidasa in the later Gupta period, and romanticized the love of Malavika and the king Agnimitra, with a background of court intrigue. Artistry also progressed.
The last Sunga king was Devabhuti (83-73 BCE), he was assassinated by his minister Vasudeva Kanva who became the next king.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

English suppressed Sanskrit

It was a preplanned scheme of Jones to introduce the idea that Sanskrit was an outside language gave birth to the speculation of the imagined existence of some central Asian (Aryan) race who spoke sanskrit  and who brought sanskrit language to Indiawhen they forcefully entered the country. In this way the fiction of the Aryan invasion was created much later, sometime in the 1800's by the same group of people and was extensively promoted by Maxmuller .
It is a wellknown fact that India is called Aryabhart. Manu Smriti describes the exact location of Aryavartwhich lies from the south of the Himalayas and all the way upto the Indian ocean. Its inhabitants are called Arya.But it is not a locally spoken name. Commonly we write Bharatvarsh for India in general and scriptural writings. TSo the Ancient Iranian he territory of India  (or Bharatvarsh or Aryavart) during the Mahabharata war  (3139 BC) was up to Iran. So the ancient Iranian people also used to call themselves the Aryans. People of the British regime using this information, fabricated a story that some unknown race of Central Asia who came and settled in Iran were called the Iransand they were sanskrit speaking people.  They invaded India, established themselves permanently , and wrote the Vedas. Those who introduced this ideology never care to produce any evidence in support of their statement. which obviously does not exist.
If somee one carefully looks into the Ancient Indian history , he will find that there was no such thing as an Aryan invasion. Since th3 very beginning of human civilisation, Hindus (Aryans) are the inhabitants of Bharatvarsh which is called Aryavart. In the Bharatiya history there are descriptions of Shak and Hun invasions and also of Muslim invasionsbut never an Aryan invasion.     

Monday, September 13, 2010

Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE)

The fall of the Mauryas left the Khyber Pass unguarded, and a wave of foreign invasion folowed. The greeko-bactrian king Demetrius , capitalized on the break up, and he conquered southern Afghanistan and Pakistan around 180 BC, forming the Indo-Greek kingdom.The Indo-Greeks would maintain holdings on the trnas-Indus region, and make forays into central India, for about a century . Under thyem, Budhism flourished, and of their kings Menander became a famous figure of Budhism, he was to establish a new capital of Sagala, the modern city of Sialkot. However, the extent of their domainsand the lengths of their rule are subject to much debate . Numismtic evidence indicates that they retained holdings in the subcontinent right up to the birth of Christ. Although the extent of their successes against indigenous powers such as the Sungas, Satavahans, and Kalings are unclear, what is clear is that Scythian tribes renamed Indo-Scythians, brought about the demise of the Indo-Greeks from around 70 BCE and retained lands in the Trans-Indus , the regio of Mathura, gujarat.       

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ashoka the Great (contd-2)

Under the Indo-Greek friendship treaty, and during Ashoka's reign, an international net work of trade expanded. The Khyber pass (now in Pakistan) became a strategically important port of trade and intercourse with outside world. Greek states and Hellenic kimgdoms in west Asia became important trde partnersof India. trde also extended through the Malay peninsula into South-east Asia. India's export included silk goods and textiles,spices and exotic foods. The empire also enriched further with an exchange of scientific knowledge and technology with Europe and west Asia. Ashka also constructed thousands of roads , waterways, canals, hospitals, rest-houses and other public works.
Ashoka was followed for 50 years by a succession of weaker kings. Brihadrata , the last ruler of Mauryan Dynasty , held territories that had shrunk considerably from the time of Ashoka, although he still upheld the Budhist faith.
Brihadrata was assassinated in 185 BCE during a military parade, by the commander in chief of his guard , the brahmin general Pusymitra Sunga, who then took over the throne and established. Budhist  records such as the Asokavandana write that the assassination of Brihadrata and rise of Sunga empire led to a wave of persecution of Budhists , and a resurgence of Hinduism.The other historians such as omila Thaper said that the allegations for persecution of Budhists was lacking from archaeological sources.      

Ashoka the Great (contd-1)

The Maurya Empire (322-185 BCE), ruled by the Mauryan dynasty, was a geographically extensive and powerful political and military empire in ancient India. The empire was established by Chandragupta Maurya and flourished under Ashoka the great. At its greatest extent, it stretched to the north to the natural boundaries of the Himalayas and to the east into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces. The empire was expanded into India's cenral and Southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded extensive unexplored tribal and forested regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded extensive unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga whicg were subsequently taken by Ashoka. Ashoka propagated Budhism and established many Budhist monuments.
Chandragupta's ministers Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra, one of the greatest treaties on economics , politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion produced in Asia. Archaeologically, the period of Maurya rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are primary written records of the Mauryan times.The Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, is the national emblem of India.         

Ashoka the Great

The distribution of the edicts of Ashoka, is a concrete indication of the extent of Ashoka's rule. To the west , it went as far as Kandahar (where the edicts were written in Greek and Aramaic, and bordered the contemporary Hellinistic Metropis of Ai Khanoum.
For the first time in South Asia  Political unity and military security allowed for a common economic system and enhanced trade and commerce , with increased agricultural productivity. Chandragupta Maurya established a single currency across India, and a net work of regional governors and administrators and civil service provided justice and security for traders, farmers and merchants. During Ashoka time, according to Megasthenes, the empire wielded a military of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 war elephants.
budhist proselytism at the time of king Ashoka (260-218 BCE).

Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire . it was first founded by Chandragupta Maurya c. 320 BCE, after conquering the Nanda Empire when he was only about 20 yrs. old.
Chandragupta extended the border of the Maurya Empire towards Seleucid Persia after defeating saeucus c.305 BCE.
Chandragupta extended the borders of the empire southward into the Deccan Plateau c. 300 BCE.
Ashoka the Great extended into Kalinga during the Kalinga war c. 265 BCE , and established superiority over the southern kingdoms. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Magadha, History of India

Magadha was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (in sanskrit 'great countries') or regions in Ancient India.The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar, south of the Ganges river. Its capital was Rajagaha, known as modern day Rajgir. Magadha expanded to include eastern Uttarpradesh, most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Licchavi and Anga.The Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the sacred text Puranas all mention the ancient kingdom of Magadha. Budhist and Jain texts frequently mention it. The earliest reference to the Magadha people occurs in the Atharva-Veda , listed along with the Angas, Gandharis , and Mujavats as despite peoples. The Magadh Kingdom included republican communities such as the community of Rajakumara. Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive , judicial and military functions.
The Sisunaga dynasty ruled Magadha for more than two hundred years from circa 684 BCE to 424 BCE. Two of major religions, Jainism and Budhism, trace their beginnings to Magadha. During that time Siddhartha Gautama was born in Kosala aroud 563 BCE. Msagadha served as the backdrop for Budha's life and  the region is revered by Budhists. Jains, as well, hold the region sacred.To jains, Magadha was the scene of Vardhamana Mahavira's life, the 24th Tirthankaras of Jainism
(599-527 BCE).
Two of India's greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated from Magadha. The two empires saw the advancements in ancient India's science, mathematics , astroomy, and technology.               

Friday, September 10, 2010

Persian and Greek Invasion

Persian Achaemenid Empire in c.520 BCE, during the reign of Darius the Great brought easterh Afghanistan and Pakistan under his rule and kept so for two centuries. In 326 BCE , Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor and the Achaemenid Empire, reaching north-west frontier of the India subcontinent.There he defeated King Porus and conquered much of the Punjab.But his march towards east put him in confrontation with the Nanda Empire of Magadhaand the Gangaridai Empire of Bengal.His army exhausted and frightened by he prospect of facing larger Indian armies at the GangesRiver. Alexander decided to return.This was the first invasion from outside India as the Aryans were nomads and settled in India.