History of India

[caption id="attachment_622" align="alignleft" width="490" caption="Jawaharlal Nehru with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1937"]Jawaharlal Nehru with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi[/caption]

Oldest living civilization

India is home to one of the richest and the most ancient civilizations in the world, existed over 5,000 years ago. This civilization originated in the Indus River Valley in sites such as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Lothal, hence the name given to it was Indus Valley civilization and it was flourished for over eight centuries. Their descendants still inhabit the far south of India.

India Invaders

India was influenced by many invasions, first invaders were the Aryans (1500BC). A group of nomadic tribes, the Aryans had originally inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, particularly the region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. They were tall, fair haired, with clear cut features, speaking a group of languages which have become known as Indo-European. Mostly settled in the region to the north west of India, known as the Punjab, the Aryans brought with them new ideas, technology and new gods, this is one of the most important epochs in the history of India.

The second invaders occurred around 500 BC when the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius, conquered the Indus Valley. After centuries of obscurity and conjecture, India was again invaded by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 327 BC. Although Alexander crossed the Indus valley and also defeated an Indian king, he turned back without expanding his power into India.

Rise of the Mauryas

The above circumstances saw the rise of the Mauryas, India's first imperial dynasty, founded by Chandragupta Maurya. Around 260 BC, the Maurya dynasty reached its peak under the famous Emperor Ashoka. In the times of Ashoka, a series of inscriptions on pillars and rocks across the sub-continent were made. The Mauryan empire gradually fell apart because the descendants of Ashoka were not as strong rulers as he was.

At the starting of the 4th century AD, India was divided into a lot of small kingdoms often invaded by Greeks. The Greeks conquered Indus Valley again but they didn't stay for long. Again the northern India was united into a great empire by King Chandragupta II.

Rule of The Guptas

Then the Guptas came to the scene. The Gupta period was the golden age of Indian history extended from 320AD to 480AD. They ruled the northern India, and under their rule, India saw the development of arts, including poetry and literature. The famous Ajanta and Ellora caves were excavated in the Gupta period. In 455 AD the Huns invaded India from the north and the Guptan Empire was destroyed and again India was split into small kingdoms until the Muslim invaders came around 1000 AD.

Empires of South India

Great empires rose in the parts of South India which included the Kalachuris, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadhavas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras and the Vijayanagar kingdom.

Mughal dynasty

Hinduism dates back to around the beginning of the Christian Era. Islam first came to India in the 8th century, and it firmly established itself in India as a political force in the 11th century. The dynasties of the Lodhis and Tughlaqs and many others were finally succeeded by the Mughal empire. Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb were some of the most famous and prominent rulers of the Mughal dynasty. The Mughal emperors presided over a golden age of arts and literature and had a passion for building, which resulted in some of the greatest architecture in India. In particular, Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal at Agra ranks as one of the wonders of the world.

The British Empire

In the 18th century the Mughal empire began to disintegrate, paving the way for creation of regional states. Nobody can forget the rebellion of 1857-58 which was done to restore Indian supremacy, was crushed; and with the subsequent crowning of Victoria as Empress of India, India was incorporated into the empire. During 20th century, a nationalist movement started and by 1919-20, the name of Mohandas Karamchand ('Mahatma') Gandhi had emerged as the most well-known and formidable architect of the movement. Successive campaigns and rebellions by India had the effect of partitioning of the country into a Muslim-majority state of Pakistan by the Britishers represented by the East India Company. India got independence and the Britishers were droved out of India in 1947.

Forming of Indian constitution

After its independence from the British on the 15th of August 1947, the British army left India in 1950. The Indian constitution came into effect on 26th January 1950 and Indians celebrate it as the Republic Day of India. Before its independence, other countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), Myanmar (formerly Burma) and distant places like Aden in present day Yemen; which are neighbors to the present day India were all parts of British India and were all considered as India. India was never considered one single country but a collection of kingdoms and authorities with no sense of unity until then. In this sense India as one single country was mainly a result of British colonial rule. As compared to present day India, earlier India word was used to mention any kingdom, culture or community that existed between present day Afghanistan, in the west, up to China and Myanmar in the east.

The history of India has seen a constant struggle between the nationalists - who assumed different names, ideologies, backgrounds and methods and the Britishers with their repressive policies in India.

Reserves of mines

There were many copper, tin, lead, brass, silver reserves and the gold mines. After the famous battle between Alexander the Great and Porus, the only gift Porus could think of giving Alexander was steel.

India's first Prime Minister

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of independent India having office tenure from 1947 until his death in 1964. During the short period of two years from 1975-77, state emergency was imposed by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and all constitutional liberties were suspended.

India’s spirit has fascinated the world with its very mystique and a civilization united by its diversity.