A Brief History Of Indian Civilization

An ancient temple in Tamil Nadu, India.
An ancient temple in Tamil Nadu, India.

6. Prehistoric India

One of the world's oldest civilizations was born in India, a highly developed culture that had a profound influence on the subsequent development of the country, and reflected in a lifestyle of many inhabitants of the East. The of Asian most ancient artifacts of Paleolithic era were the stone tools and three animal bones with marks left by these tools, aged 2.6 million years old, were found 180 miles north of New Delhi. This era of the early agricultural period in the 20th Century BC. This period saw a marked development of agriculture, hunting, and incipient herding. Dravidians created the first Indian civilization, called the Indus or Harappan. Stone tools of the Lower Paleolithic discovered in many parts of the country. Two centers of Lower Paleolithic culture came into existence independently of each other. In the northern portion arose the culture of Sawan (the valley of the Indus and modern Pakistan, while in the southern the so-called culture of Madras came to be. A characteristic monument of the Mesolithic settlement with terracotta figurines, pottery and copper items in Langnadzh, Gujarat, was defined the age of 17th through 16th Centuries BC by the radiocarbon method.

5. The Vedic Period

The Harappan civilization was followed by the Vedic period, which lasted up to the 5th Century BC, yet many historians object that the carvings presumably belonging to Indus Valley Civilization, as they carry the images of women dressed in sari, a traditional Indian female clothing item which would have been impossible to be found in Harappan age period, so also were the cross-legged sitting figures with folded hands, a symbol of devotion in Vedic times. That indicates the Vedic culture preceded all others. The Vedic civilization was the basis for Hinduism as the religion, Rig Veda, the most ancient Vedic scripture, contained a large number of Indo-Iranian elements in language and in content, which was not present in the later Indian Vedas. The main texts of Hinduism and the main Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were written during this period. Mahabharata is by far the longest poem style scripture in the world. Researchers attribute the strengthening of the concept of four major castes of Indian society by the time of Vedic civilization. The scriptures of Upanishads or Vedanta (conclusion of Vedas) were coming later and defined a new stage in the strengthening of Hinduism as a religion and cultural foundation of Indian society.

4. India, 500 BC to 1100 AD

Compared with the previous periods, in the Magadhi era-dated sources written works increasingly appear, such as the notes of Seleucid ambassador Megasfenes, who was at the court of King Chandragupta. In the 6th through 5th Centuries BC, a leading force in the political arena of North India, the center of Northern Indian states union became Magadha. The first time its name was found in the "Atharva Veda." The ancient Magadha (a territory of the present South Bihar) had a favorable geographical, strategic and commercial position. The sources preserved evidence of fertility of Magadha’s land, subjected to stringent processing. The country conducted a lively trade with many areas of India, was rich in minerals, in particular metals. Rajagriha was its ancient capital. In the year 327 BCE, Alexander the Great was able to subdue a part of northwest India. The Buddhist and Jain sources tell us that the first attempt of king Chandragupta come to power failed, but when the main army of Alexander left India, Chandragupta paid all the attention to the conquest of Magadha’s throne. Later King Ashoka came to power and the Maurya Empire reached a zenith of power. In addition to Buddhism and Jainism, the most significant were the spread of Hinduism, the development of which laid the grounds for the "Golden Age" of Hinduism (known as the Early Classical period (200 BCE to 320 CE) and the Late Classical period (650 to 1100 CE)). The Vakatakas inscriptions said that the king Rudrasena was a Shivaist, and Rudrasena II a Vaishnava. This religious syncretism was one of the specific features of the cultural development of southern India in the early Middle Ages.

3. India, 1100 AD to 1858

The most significant territory conquest of medieval India was the reign of the Mughals. The Dynasty of Timur (Tamerlane) in the 14th through 15th Centuries AD inhabiting the territory of Central Asia (Uzbekistan steadily expanded its presence throughout the subcontinent and sought the riches of Indian shahs. The most famous Mongol emperor Akbar was not only a conqueror of new lands but also assisted in spreading Islam. However, having a Hindu princess, Akbar did not forbid other religions in the subordinate land. Under Akbar, as well as during the reign of his son the empire reached the peak of the unique architecture and synthesis of different traditions of ancient India and the Persian cultural heritage.

2. British Raj

After the British penetration of subcontinent in a form of presence of the East India Company in all areas of county’s economy and policy, an Indian rebellion of 1857 rose, which was the revolt of the soldiers hired by the British East India Co. against those who hired them. After the uprising and rebellion, the British Raj (1858-1947) was established under the rule of the British Crown almost throughout the whole of India, including West and East Bengal.

1. Independence, Partition, and Modern India

The end of World War II laid the groundwork for the decolonization of the world, which in India coincided with a strong liberation movement and extraordinary popularity among all segments of society the leader of the independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi. In August of 1947, the independence of India was proclaimed and resulted in the territorial division of the country into India and Pakistan. It was supposed to divide the country into two areas, professing Hinduism and Islam, respectively. Pakistan soon lost East Bengal as a result of the imposition of the language policy, and this has led to the formation of Bangladesh. To the date, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are present on the political map in the territory that had once been a unified country.


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