India, with an area of 32,87,263 sq.kms – world’s 7th biggest country, is the largest democratic country in the world. With 1.027 billion population (2001 census) India is the world’s 2nd largest populous country after China. It has 28 provinces (States). “Bharat” is the other name of India. India forms borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh. The country Srilanka is very near to south India. The world’s youngest mountain ranges – The Himalayas, run from southeast to northwest, separating India from China. The Ganges (The Ganga) – the largest river in India, is a sacred river for Hindus. India with more than 89,000 species of fauna and a few big wild life sanctuaries, has one of the richest natural heritages in the world. India is the only country where both lions and tigers exist. Around 20% of Indian land is covered by forests with more than 49,000 plant species. India has 7516 kms of sea coast line. India’s national animal is Tiger, national bird is Peacock and national flower is Lotus.
Indian Political Map
Indian history is associated with “Indus Valley Civilization” and its story is one of the great epics of the world history. Indus valley civilization (also known as Harappan Culture) straddling the present India – Pakistan border, is the origin of the civilization in Indian subcontinent. Nomadic tribes are the first inhabitants of this land, who cultivated the land and reared domestic animals. Particularly between 3500 – 2000 BC an urban culture developed and they established big cities, the focal centres of which became popular as “Harappan Culture” which flourished for more than 1000 years. The famous cities of that period are Mohenjodaro, Harappa (now in Pakistan) and Lothal (now in India). The Harappans at that time traded with Mesopotamia (present Iraq). They used to do items with terracotta and bronze. The decline of Harappan civilization stared from 2000 BC due to invasions, rise of other religions and anti climatic conditions. Majority historians believe Aryan tribes from Afghanistan and Central Asia started to filter in to the Northwest India and established control over vast areas o India. This caused the original inhabitants, the Dravidians, to migrate towards South India. During this period of transition (1500 – 1200 BC) the “Vedas” – the sacred scriptures of the Hindus were written. It is supposed the Vedas are the contribution of Aryans. In this time the caste system also formed in India. By this time Indian saints evolved an exemplary, unique and effective herbal medicine system – Indian Ayurveda. By 700 BC Aryan tribes spread out well up to Central India and 16 major kingdoms formed, out of which the Nanda dynasty was prominent one to come in to power in 364 BC, which controlled wide areas of India.
Dauring the ruling period of Nanda dynasty the Persian king Darius (521- 486 BC) and Alexander the great (326 BC) from Greece invaded India, but they left India very early after their victories. In the 6th century BC, two important religions – Buddhism and Jainism arose in India. Chandragupta Mourya of Mouryan dynasty was the founder of the first great Indian empire. He seized power from Nandas and came in to power in 321 BC. The mouryan king Emperor Ashoka is regarded as the greatest ruler, who advocated the peace and religious harmony. In mouryan rule India traded with the Roman Empire and the China. After Mouryans, the Gupta dynasty ruled the big areas of India, in whose realm, Poetry, Literature, Arts flourished and at the same time Hinduism became the dominant religion in India. The rule of Gupta dynasty ended with the invasions of Huns under the leadership of Toramana. During this period again North India developed a number of separate Hindu kingdoms of which Shatvahanas, Kushans were prominent. Simultaneously, in South India, the kingdoms of Cholas, Pandyas, Chalukyas, Pallavas etc. emerged powerful.
From the beginning of 11th century India started to experience the raids by Muslim forces who ruled the North India for much time. In the 3rd decade of 16th century, Mughals invaded India and they established a prolonged rule over North & Central India. In their reign, Arts, Architecture, Literature etc. flourished. Akbar was regarded as the greatest Mughal ruler whose grandson Shajahan constructed the “TAJMAHAL” – one of the wonders of the world (new). During the Mughals’ ruling period Rajpuths, Sikhs, Maratas, though confined to limited areas, were also notable ruling powers in India.
The European invasion began in 16th century and the Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish their rule in India, who captured Goa in 1510 AD. Similarly, by 1672 the French established their rule in Pondichery. In 1613 a commercial company of England, “The East India Company” established its trade in India and gradually, among many developments, it started to rule India. Within a few years, India was effectively brought under British control who ruled India nearly 250 years. But in the mean time an aspiration to attain independence was growing among Indians, which led to first “Indian Independence Movement” (known as Indian Mutiny) in 1857. After this incident, the British government assumed formal control over India. Indians’ vigorous struggle for independence under the leadership of M.K. Gandhi (known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ and he got world popularity for his Doctrine of Non-violence.)Nehru, Subhashchandra Bose and many other great leaders lasted for nine decades, ultimately to get the independence on 15th August 1947, from the British – India’s last imperial power, but with the partition of India, Pakistan emerging as a new country of muslims.
In the incidents of violence by foreign invaders, during freedom struggle and the then communal riots, unfortunately, millions of Indians lost their lives. The main reason, for frequent invasions by outsiders and for their easy victories over India, was attributed to ‘Disunity &Rivalry’ among the then Indian rulers, which was en-cashed by the invaders. However, India sustained all invasions and safeguarded its identity, sovereignty. The “zero” in Maths is one of the greatest inventions of ancient Indians.
After independence India was engaged in the wars with China in 1962 (over border issue), with Pakistan in 1965 (over Kashmir issue) and again with Pakistan in 1972(over Bangladesh issue, which led to the formation of Bangladesh as a new country.) Poverty, Casteism, Communalism, Un-employment, Corruption etc. are still among a few concerns of India. Yet, as a developing country India is struggling for a steady progress in all spheres. India excelled in many fields like,Agriculture, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Space research, Nuclear technology etc. India already emerged as a leading player in the world software industry.
For any more information on India & History please send an e-mail with your queries to: email@example.com