India History by sapram123.balu

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                                                      India is a country with a rich history and
culture. Home to the Indus Valley civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast
empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much
of its long history. Four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity arrived in the first
millennium AD and mingled into the region's diverse culture. India became a modern nation-
state in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread nonviolent
resistance. The history of India can be divided into four major segments, the ancient era, the
medieval era, the modern era and the post-independence era.

The hallmark of Indian history dates back to the stone age with paintings at the Rock Shelters of
Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh. These paintings symbolise the earliest known traces of human
life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually
developed into the Indus Valley Civilization, dating back to 3300 BCE in western India. It was
followed by the Vedic Civilization, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural
aspects of early Indian society. From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms and
republics known as the Mahajanapadas were established across the country.

The empire built by the Maurya dynasty under Emperor Ashoka united most of South Asia in the
third century BCE. From 180 BCE, a series of invasions from Central Asia followed, including
those led by the Indo-Greeks, Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians and Kushans in the north-western
Indian subcontinent. From the third century CE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred
to as "The Golden Age" of Indian history. Among the notable South Indian empires were the
Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Pandyas, and Cholas. Science, engineering, art,
literature, astronomy, and philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings. Paintings at
the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra were made in the 6th century.

Following invasions from Central Asia between the tenth and twelfth centuries, much of north
India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, and later the Mughal dynasty. Mughal emperors
gradually expanded their kingdoms to cover large parts of the subcontinent. Nevertheless, several
indigenous kingdoms, such as the Vijayanagara Empire, flourished, especially in the south. In
the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the Mughal supremacy declined and the Maratha Empire
became the dominant power. From the sixteenth century, several European countries, including
Portugal, Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, started arriving as traders and later took
advantage of the fractious nature of relations between the kingdoms to establish colonies in the
country.

During the first half of the twentieth century, a nationwide struggle for independence was
launched by the Indian National Congress and other political organizations. Led by Mahatma
Gandhi, and displaying commitment to ahimsa, or non-violence, millions of protesters engaged
in mass campaigns of civil disobedience. Finally, on 15 August 1947, India gained independence
from British rule, but was partitioned, in accordance to wishes of the Muslim League, along the
lines of religion to create the Islamic nation-state of Pakistan. Three years later, on 26 January
1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect.

The history of India is a mingle between the East and the West. India has always been an
invader's paradise, while at the same time its natural isolation and magnetic religions allowed it
to adapt to and absorb many of the peoples who penetrated its mountain passes. No matter how
many Persians, Greeks, Chinese nomads, Arabs, Portuguese, Britishers and other raiders had
their way into this great country, many of them merged into the society giving rise to a country
full of diversity in terms of culture, religion, language and architecture.
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