Ancient Bharat | History of India
'Bha' means Bhagwan and 'Rathi' the attachment. Thus is Bharat or India where its people have attachment towards Bhagawan. Amidst variety and diversity, from the glittering snow-peaked Himalayan range, the abode of Gods deep down to the beautiful beaches, coconut lagoons, and emerald island, it runs in North to South.
While in the East bountiful lush green forest and trees, the Bay of Bengal washes the lotus feet of Sun God, the West dazzles with color with the people in the desert land and sand dunes.
Each region is distinct and unique yet, together they create a great heritage of awe and envy. Language, music, dance, architecture, painting, costume, food, and even Gods and Goddesses in this land suit every human being and his mood.
Here is the country where the past has moved into the present; the ancient has fused in the modern. She is an ancient land but a young nation.
Around 5000 years ago, across the mighty river, Indus flourished the urbanized civilization of the Indus valley civilization based on the agricultural economy. Excavated pieces of evidence mark the cultural unity of the surrounding region.
During 1500 B.C. the sports-loving Aryans entered the country and evolved a type of rural life with a hierarchical caste system in the society which had lived up-to-day. They worshipped Sun, Moon, Rivers, and composed songs in honor of them.
Sanskrit was the origin of many subsequent languages that came with them. Their spiritual efforts enshrined in the Vedas, Upanishads, and in the epics of Ramayan & Mahabharat framed the social and religious fabric of the Hindu system which runs even today.
They introduced Rajas, generals, and priests to run the kingly administration. The religion was ritualistic based upon the notion of 'Agnihotra' reciprocal relationship of man, God, and the universe.
With the passage of time, excessive ritualism robbed the simplicity in Hindu society. Brahminism was in much crisis. At this juncture came the two great religions of Buddhism and Jainism prophecizing to lead an ethical life and to follow the principle of the golden mean. 'Ahimsa' or Non-Violence became Indian thought and philosophy.
The invasion of Alexander the Great and his retreat and subsequent downfall of the Nanda empire established Chandra Gupta Maurya as the ruler of the great Maurya dynasty. Alexander left behind legacies in art and mythology which was furthered by the Maurya rulers.
Assisted by Chanakya who authored the Arthasastra, a treatise on politics and administration, centralized bureaucracy and the judicial system came into the society.
Ashok the great who transformed himself from 'Chandashok' to "Dharmashok" in the great war of Kalinga embraced Buddhism and propagated 'Dharma' simultaneously laying the foundation of Indian Art through numerous stupas, cave temples, and pillars.
The fall of the Mauryan empire marked the end of Indian unity. Rival powers gained over in different regions. While the Kushans promoted the art of statutory and opened the silk route from China to Rome, the Cholas, the Pandiyas, and the Ceras in the Deccan constructed Buddhist Stupas, Viharas, and Chaityas. India flourished in art, literature, and science. Poets like Kalidas, astronomers like Aryabhatta, excelled. The empires encouraged poets, philosophers, artists, and also tolerated religions.
The advent of Islam in the North did not touch the South. Thus flourished there the Hinduism and the temple architecture of the Chalukyas, Pallavas, and Hoysalas. One after another came in the Arab traders, the Turks, the Afghans, and finally the Mughals.
Mughals made India their home. Excellency was achieved in miniature painting, music, dance, and poetry. Akbar the great fused the Hindu and Muslim ways of life into a single national culture.
The Mughal empire crumbled under the pressures of Marathas, the Sikhs, and the British. Sea-route was opened to coastal India. Trading expanded to the territorial occupation. The Portuguese though had trading posts on the West Coast, they could not consolidate political power.
The monopolistic trading declined successively with entries of the Dutch, the British & the French. In the struggle of power, the British could sideline the French and had a decisive victory over the Mughals at Plassey in 1857 and over Marathas in 1803.
The Sikh empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh went into the hands of the British after his death while the state of Jammu-Kashmir was sold to one Dogra General Dhyan Singh. India thereafter became a "Jewel in the Crown".
The British from 1802 onwards introduced reforms in socio-economic structures and constructed railroads and telegraph systems. English replaced the Persian language, western schools established. The British ruled the country changing every fabric of the society not before the cultural marriages of the Greeks, the Persians, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the French had taken place in Indian society.
The grumbling discontentment to live in one's own country as a slave was the dawn of the Indian freedom movement. The Indian National Congress founded in 1885 fought for legitimate civil rights. Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru, and many others carried the independence mantle till the midnight of 14th August 1947. India as a Nation was born with the speech "long years ago we made a tryst with destiny… At the stroke of the midnight hour, while the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history when we step out from the old to the new When an age ends and when the soul of a nation long suppressed, finds utterance". This is India with her National Anthem " Jana-Gana-mana, tri-color of fraternity, peace and prosperity and wheel of Dharma and National seal of 'Satyameb Jayate' - Truth alone triumphs. The journey from the Vedas to the present is a long one yet, she upholds her culture with Truth and Dharma.