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Indian History

Indian history is divided into three different parts - Ancient Indian history, Medieval Indian history and Modern Indian history. The people of India have a continuous civilization since 3300 BC, when the inhabitants of the "Indus River Valley" developed an urban culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade.

Ancient History

Indian ancient culture was as old as the other oldest cultures of the world. The people of India began to live here from the prehistoric age of 40000 BC. Most probably they came from Africa. They initially gathered in the northern part of India and hunting was their only profession. But after a long time in 4000 BC, they moved to the Indus river valley and took farming as their main profession.

After that in 2500 BC, they began to live a better life and made a number of beautiful cities and houses. There were two main cities; Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Both cities are now in Pakistan. The people of these cities lived in stone houses two and they used bronze tools. The Harappa people used an early form of writing based on hieroglyphs, like the Egyptians. By around 2000 BC, the Harappan civilization had collapsed.

Medieval Indian History

The Rajput period was an era of chivalry and feudalism. The Rajputs weakened each other by constant fighting. This allowed the foreigners (Turks) to embark on victorious campaigns using duplicity and deceit wherever military strength failed against Rajputs.

Mohammad Ghori defeated Prithviraj Chauhan, the Tomar ruler of Delhi, at the battle of Tarain in 1192 and left the Indian territories in the charge of his deputy, Qutubudin (reign - 1206 ADto 1210 AD), who had started life as a slave. Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyids and Lodis followed and this period is known as the Sultanate. When the power of the Sultans declined, the outlying provinces once again became important and the process of Hindu Islamic synthesis continued almost without any interruption. Babur(reign - 1526 AD to 1530 AD), the founder of the Mughal Empire in India, was the descendant of as Changez Khan. Ousted by his cousins, he came to India and defeated Ibrahim, the last Lodi Sultan in 1526 at the First Battle of Panipat. There was a brief interruption to Mughal rule when Babur's son Humayun (reign - 1530 AD to 1540 AD) was ousted from Delhi, by Sher Shah, an Afghan chieftain.

Sher Shah (reign - 1540 to 1555 AD) assumed power in the imperial capital for a short while. He is remembered as the builder of the Grand Trunk road that spanned the distance from Peshawar to Patna and also one who introduced major reforms in the revenue system, gratefully retained by the Mughals.

It was Babur's grandson Akbar (reign - 1556 to1605), who consolidated political power and extended his empire over practically the whole of north India and parts of the south. Jahangir (reign - 1605 to 1627 AD) who succeeded Akbar was a pleasure loving man of refined taste. Shah Jahan (reign 1628 to 1658 AD) his son, ascended the throne next. Shah Jahan's fame rests on the majestic buildings he has left behind - the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid. Aurangzeb (reign - 1658 to 1707 AD) was the last Mughal ruler. In western India, Shivaji(1637-80) had forged the Marathas into an efficient military machine and given them a sense of national identity. They adopted guerrilla tactics to maul the Mughals and put a severe drain on their economic resources.

The contenders for political supremacy in the 17th and 18th Centuries included besides the Marathas, the Sikhs in Punjab and he (reign - 1721 to 1782) in Mysore. Hyder Ali's son, Tipu Sultan (reign - 1782 to 1799) became famous to introduce the latest technical knowledge from Europe in his kingdom.

Modern Indian History

During the late 16th and 17th Centuries, the European trading companies in India competed with each other ferociously. By the last quarter of the 18th Century the English had outdone all others and established themselves as the dominant power in India. The British administered India for a period of about two centuries and brought about revolutionary changes in the social, political and the economic life of the country.

In the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress and other political organizations. Mahatma Gandhi led millions of people in several national campaigns of non-violent civil disobedience. In August 1942 he called Quite India movement; this was the biggest moment on Indian History against British Empire. On 15 August 1947, India gained independence from British rule, but at the same time the Muslim-majority areas were partitioned to form a separate state of Pakistan. On 26 January 1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect.

Since independence, India has faced challenges from religious violence, thousands of castes and sub-castes, terrorism and regional separatist insurgencies, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast India. In 1962, India was attacked by the People's Republic of China. India has a warm relation with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999.

India is a country with nuclear weapons; having conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, followed by a serial test in 1998.