INDIA: THE WONDER THAT LURED THE WORLD
"A land that motivated Alexander to expedite his conquest further east, a land that lured the traders of the world to reach its coast, a land that became the spiritual conscious of the globe, a land that embraced the religions of the world, Yes India is a Wonder"
Our knowledge about the greatest and oldest civilizations of the world dates back to 3500 BC.They were Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Harappan which are revered in human history for their contributions towards human civilization. Of these the Harappan civilization flourished on the banks of the Indus (sindhu) river,in the Indian subcontinent, covering a large area of modern India, Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan. The civilization was named after one of its important site ie Harappa. The harappan civilization was remarkable for their town planning compared to their contemporaries. The period ranging from 3000 BC to 2500 BC is considered to be the thriving age of Indus civilization and we have many material and other evidences of brisk trade between Harappa and Mesopotamia. A reference of term MELUHA in the Mesopotamian scripts is attributed to the Harappan civilization. Approaching the 2000 BC we can see a shift in the course of Indian History with a succession of migration of an iron using tribe from Central Asia called Aryans. The same period witnessed the dilapidation of Harappan civilization which historians relate to various theories that include floods, famine and confrontation with Aryans etc. The decrease in the incidence of the word MELUHA in the Mesopotamian scripts attest the fact that Harappa was declining in this period. The migration of Aryans was in waves that continued over a large period of time and India soon witnessed the Vedic Tradition which is classified into Early Vedic (1800bc) and later Vedic period (1000 BC). The Aryans were cattle herders by profession and the technology of iron helped them to clear forests to cut inroads towards the fertile plains of Ganges. The Aryans succeeded every where because they possessed chariots driven by horses, an animal which India was hitherto unaware of !!. The Aryans slowly settled down to transform from a nomadic tribe to lead a sedentary life style. The fertile plains of Ganges yielded them surplus grains which triggered trade among themselves. Aryans were engaged in two types of conflicts-first, they fought with the pre-Aryans and secondly they fought among themselves. According to tradition, the Aryans were divided into five tribes called ‘Panchajana’. The Bharatas and Tristu were the ruling Aryan clans, who were supported by priest Vasishtha. The country BHARATA (Ancient name of India) was eventually named after the tribe Bharata, which appears first in the oldest religious manuscript of the world, RIGVEDA. As per the tradition, the Bharata ruling clan was opposed by a host of ten chiefs, and a battle was fought between Bharata on one hand and Host of Ten chiefs on the other. The battle is described as the BATTLE OF TEN KINGS in Rig Veda and the Bharata emerged victorious and the land came to be known as BHARATAVARSHA.
India became again the centre spot of Trade activities during the early period of 500 BC. The Alexander’s conquest of the world opened up a new exchange channel with Greeks. The greeks brought Astrology to India which came to be known as ‘Horashasthra’ and took away the spiritual ideas of India which included Vedic, Buddhist and Jainist traditions.The beginning of Anno Domini witnessed brisk trade exchange between Roman Empire and Southern Indian Subcontinent. Indian exports enjoyed high privileges in the ancient international markets and it brought rich dividend to the country in the form of Gold and silver. The political turmoil within and drain of wealth of Rome later compelled them to gradually put off its thriving trade with India and for centuries there were no exchanges that the route to India was long forgotten, only to revive again in the 14th century by Portuguese navigator Vasco De Gama. The period in between saw the monopoly of Arabian traders who engaged as the middle men between the Silk Route of East and the Europe. During this time India witnessed many great ruling powers like Nanda dynasty, MAURYAN EMPIRE, Gupta Empire etc. At a time Europe was embroiled in the Dark Age India was going through her second renaissance. The advancements in the field of mathematics, architecture, astronomy, art and literature of the period signify the standard of the life enjoyed by the people. The consolidation of power and stability maintained by the Mauryans and Guptas were not continued by their successors and the result was foreign invasion from Persia, Afghanistan and a subsequent Sultanate kingdom was established followed by MUGHAL EMPIRE. Under the Mughals India rose to prominence and held high esteem among the world Empires. The bureaucrats of Emperor Akbar were the highly paid Bureaucrats of the whole world which attest how rich Hindustan was at that time. The Peacock throne and the Kohinoor diamond were enough to place the worthness of its treasury among one of the top in the entire Globe. The medieval period however became a stagnant period with the Mughals declining and a number of warring kingdoms fighting each other for power which ultimately gave way to a rising Europe to set foot in its land. Begining of the 17th century India fell completely victim to colonialist powers which drained her wealth for the rest of the period until 1947.