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Showing posts with the label India

Rise of Indian Nationalism

In India , the decades after the First War for Independence (1857) were a period of growing political awareness, manifestation of public opinion, and emergence of leadership at national and provincial levels. Gloomy economic uncertainties created by British colonial rule and the limited opportunities that awaited for the increasing number of western-educated graduates began to dominate the rhetoric of leaders who had begun to think of themselves as a nation despite differences along the lines of region, religion, language, and caste. Dadabhai Naoroji formed East India Association in 1867, and Surendranath Banerjee founded Indian National Association in 1876. Indian National Congress is formed in 1885 in a meeting in Bombay attended by seventy-three Indian delegates. The delegates were mostly members of the upwardly mobile and successful Western-educated provincial elites, engaged in professions such as law, teaching, and journalism. They had acquired political experience from regio

History of India - The British Raj

British India or British Raj is the term used to refer to the period of direct British imperial rule of the Indian Subcontinent which included the present-day India , Myanmar , Bangladesh and Pakistan from 1858 to 1947. Much of the territory under British control during this time was not directly ruled by the British, but was nominally independent Princely States which were directly under the rule of the Maharajas, Rajas, Thakurs and Nawabs who entered into treaties as sovereigns with the British monarch as their feudal superior. The British abolished the British East India Company and replaced it with direct rule under the British Crown in 1858. In proclaiming the new direct-rule policy to "the Princes, Chiefs, and Peoples of India", Queen Victoria promised equal treatment under British law, which never materialized. Many existing economic and revenue policies remained virtually unchanged under British Raj. But several administrative modifications were introduced

History of India - The First War of Independence

India 's First War of Independence was a revolt of Indian soldiers and people against the British rule. Historians have used the terms like the Indian Mutiny or the Sepoy Mutiny to describe this event. The rebellion by Indian troops of the British Raj started in March 1857 and continued for months. It had diverse political, economic, military, religious and social causes. Under the Doctrine of Lapse introduced by Lord Dalhousie as part of the British policy of expansionism, if a feudal ruler did not leave a male heir through natural process the land became the property of the British East India Company. In eight years Lord Dalhousie annexed many kingdoms including Jhansi , Awadh or Oudh , Satara, Nagpur and Sambalpur to the company's territory. The feudal landholders and royal armies found themselves unemployed and humiliated. Even the jewels of the royal family of Nagpur were publicly auctioned in Calcutta , a move that was seen as a sign of abject disrespect by the remn

History of India - Trade to Colonization

The East India Company was granted an English Royal Charter by Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600 , with the intention of favoring trade privileges in India . The Royal Charter effectively gave the company a 21 year monopoly on all trade in the East Indies . The Company transformed from a commercial trading venture to one that virtually ruled India as it acquired auxiliary governmental and military functions, until its dissolution in 1858. Based in London , the company presided over the creation of the British Raj. In 1617, the Company was given trade rights by the Mughal Emperor. 100 years later, it was granted a royal dictate from the Emperor exempting the Company from the payment of custom duties in Bengal, giving it a decided commercial advantage in the Indian trade. A decisive victory by Sir Robert Clive at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 established the British East India Company as a military as well as a commercial power. By 1760, the French were driven out of India , with th

History of India - The coming of the Europeans

European colonies in India were set up by several European nations beginning at the beginning of the 16th century. Rivalry between reigning European powers saw the entry of the Portuguese, Dutch, British and French among others. The fractured debilitated kingdoms of India were gradually taken over by the Europeans and indirectly controlled by puppet rulers. By the 19 th century, the British had assumed direct and indirect control over most of India . The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in India in 1498. The closing of traditional trade routes in western Asia by the Ottomans and rivalry with the Italian states set Portugal in search of an alternate sea route to India . The first successful voyage to India was by Vasco da Gama in 1498, when he arrived in Calicut , Kerala. He proceeded to Goa . The Portuguese established a chain of outposts along India 's west coast and on the island of Sri Lanka in the early 16th century. Goa was their prized possession an

History of India - Islamic Rulers

The Deli Sultanate refers to the many Muslim dynasties that ruled in India from 1206 to 1526. Several Turkish and Afghan dynasties ruled from Delhi : the Slave dynasty (1206-90), the Khilji dynasty (1290-1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451-1526). During the last quarter of the twelfth century, Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Indo-Gangetic plain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan , Sindh, Lahore , and Delhi . Qutb-ud-din Aybak, one of his generals proclaimed himself Sultan of Delhi. In the 13th century, Shams ud din Iltumish (1211 - 1236), a former slave-warrior, established a Turkic kingdom in Delhi, which enabled future sultans to push in every direction; within the next 100 years, the Delhi Sultanate extended its way east to Bengal and south to the Deccan, while the sultanate itself experienced repeated threats from the northwest and internal revolts from displeased, independent-minded nobles. The sultanate was in co

History of India - Classical Age

After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, India was ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. From the mid-seventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries, regionalism was the dominant theme of political or dynastic history of South Asia . A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule Magadha after the disintegration of the empire until ultimately ousted by the Vardhana king Harsha, who established an empire in the first half of the seventh century. The White Huns established themselves in Afghanistan by the first half of the fifth century, with their capital at Bamiyan. They were responsible for the downfall of the Gupta dynasty but much of the Deccan and southern India were largely unaffected. The classical age in India began with the resurgence of the north during Harsha's conquests around the 7th century and ended with the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire in the South due to pressure from the invaders to the north in the 13th century. This period produced some of

Decline of India

There was a time in the history of India when scientific and technological innovation flourish. This golden era of science ended by the end of the 6 th century A.D. Ancient India attracted many invaders, rulers and nations because of the wealth and fame. Some went back, some stayed and some become rulers. But the decline of the glory is not only caused by invaders but also by divisions within the society. India enjoyed relative peace from the beginning of the Maurya Empire (321 B.C – 184 B.C) to end of Gupta Empire (240 A.D. – 550 A.D.). The time of the Gupta Empire is referred to as Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and Indian philosophy. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Gupta’s enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. The invaders from northwest (Hunas) drained empire's resources and decline of India began. The caste system which stratify the society into hierarchical list of Jatis or caste and sub

Astronomy in Ancient India

Early cultures identified celestial objects with gods and spirits. They related these objects and their movements to predict things like rain, drought, seasons, and tides. The movements of Sun and Moon are used in calendars to measure the day, month and year. It is important to agricultural societies as they need to know the time to plant and harvest. Ancient societies also believed that the position of some celestial bodies have an impact on the human beings. The astronomy and the astrology of India are based upon the stars and the time it takes to make one full orbit around the Sun, relative to the stars. The earliest references to astronomy are found in the Vedas which are dated around 3000 B.C. to 1000 B.C. By 500 AD, ancient Indian astronomy has emerged as an important part of Indian studies and its affect is also seen in several treatises of that period. In some instances, astronomical principles were borrowed to explain matters, pertaining to astrology, like casting of a ho

Physics in Ancient India

Indians in the Vedic era classified the material world into five basic elements: earth, fire, air, water and ether/space. From the 6th century BC, they formulated systematic atomic theories, beginning with Kanada and Pakudha Katyayana. Indian atomists believed that an atom could be one of up to 9 elements, with each element having up to 24 properties. They developed detailed theories of how atoms could combine, react, vibrate, move and perform other actions, as well as elaborate theories of how atoms can form binary molecules that combine further to form larger molecules, and how particles first combine in pairs, and then group into trios of pairs, which are the smallest visible units of matter. This parallels with the structure of modern atomic theory, in which pairs or triplets of supposedly fundamental quarks combine to create most typical forms of matter. In the late Vedic era(9th–6th century BC), the astronomer Yajnavalkya, in his Shatapatha Brahmana , referred to an early conc

Medicines of Ancient India

Ayurveda as a science of medicine owes its origins in ancient India . The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Ayurveda is the science of life or longevity. Ayurveda constitutes ideas about ailments and diseases, their symptoms, diagnosis and cure, and relies heavily on herbal medicines, including extracts of several plants of medicinal values. Ayurveda was formally organized into eight sections or branches called Astanga (eight-armed) Ayurveda. They are Kayachikitsa Tantra(Internal Medicine), Shalya Tantra(Surgery) - Shalakya Tantra( Ears, eyes, nose and throat), Kaumarabhritya Tantra ( Pediatrics ), Agada Tantra( Toxicology), Bajikarana Tantra( Purification of the genetic organs), Rasayana Tantra( Health and Longevity), and Bhuta Vidya( Spiritual Healing). Ancient scholars of India like Atreya, and Agnivesa have dealt with principles of Ayurveda as long back as 800 BC. Their works and other developments were consolidated by Charaka who compiled a compendium of Ayurvedic prin

Mathematics in Ancient India

The first appearance of evidence of the use of mathematics in the Indian subcontinent was in the Indus Valley Civilization, which dates back to around 3300 BC. Excavations at Harappa , Mohenjo-daro and the surrounding area of the Indus River , have uncovered much evidence of the use of basic mathematics. The mathematics used by this early Harappan civilization was very much for practical means, and was primarily concerned with weights and measuring scales. By 1800 BC, Indian mathematicians were discussing the idea of infinity, pointing out that "if you remove a part from infinity or add a part to infinity, what remains is still infinity." By about 400 BC, Indian mathematicians were doing more work on the idea of infinity. The Surya Prajinapti defines five kinds of infinity: an infinite line beginning from an endpoint, an infinite line going directions, an infinite plane, an infinite universe, and the infinity of time. Lot of progress was made in geometry as a result

Science And Technology In Ancient India

India was not only the land of philosophy, sages and seers but also the land of scientists and scholars. Science and technology in ancient India covered many major branches of human knowledge and activities, including mathematics, astronomy and physics, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, fine arts, mechanical and production technology, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, sports and games. It is now generally accepted that India was the birth place of several mathematical concepts, including zero, the decimal system, algorithm, square root and cube root. The concept of zero originated in Indian philosophy's concept of ‘ sunya’ , means ‘void’ and the symbol for zero emerged to represent this philosophical concept. The discovery of urban settlements of Mohenjodaro and Harappa indicate existence of civil engineering & architecture, which blossomed to a highly precise science of civil engineering and architecture and found expression in i

Leaders of the Past

Last few weeks I briefly talked about some of the influential figures of the past. We still remember them because they left a mark in the history by their service to the motherland. The problems they deal with and the solution they had may not be that important in the new world, but the way they approached the problem and their leadership skills can be a lesson for everyone. There is something common about all of them. First of all, they never tried to be the master. They were always ready to serve. Secondly, they educate, energize and engage people with their message and gain the confidence of the general public. Chankya saw the invasion of Greek culture in India . He wanted to protect and preserve his own culture. He found that a King who respect truth and serve justice to the people is necessary to build a nation and defend its culture from foreign invasion. The wisdom of Chankya and courage of Chandra Gupta made that mission possible. Shankaracharya saw the division in

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

M.K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869 . He became a major political and spiritual leader of India and Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Indians recognized him as ‘Father of the Nation’ and his birthday is commemorated each year as Gandhi Jayanthi. He is commonly known in India and across the world as ‘Mahatma Gandhi’. He was a British educated lawyer. While he was working in South Africa , he used his ideas of peaceful civil disobedience in the Indian community's struggle for civil rights for the first time. After return to India , he joined the Indian independence movement. He begins with organizing the poor farmers and laborers to protest against oppressive taxation and widespread discrimination. He traveled across India and witnesses the problems the country faces. He saw the poverty stricken villages, illiterate citizens, unjust customs and religious and ethnic divisions within the society. He understood the life of India is i

Swami Vivekananda

Sawmi Vivekananda born in Kolkata , India on January 12, 1863.He studied at Presidency College and Scottish Church College in Kolkata where he studied western logic, western philosophy and history of European nations. Even at his young age he questioned the validity of superstitious customs and discrimination based on caste and religion. He worked with Brahmo Samaj, and important religious movement of that time. Later became a disciple of Sri Ramakrisha. Five years of training under Ramakrishna transformed him from a restless, puzzled and impatient youth to a mature man. After the death of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda renounced the world and started a journey that took him all over Indian Subcontinent. During his journey he stayed on King’s places as well as the huts of the poor. He came in close contact with the culture of different regions of India and various classes of people in India . He observed the imbalances in the society and problems his mother land faces. V

Adi Shankara

Shri Adi Shankaracharya is a famous eighth century Hindu philosopher who had a profound influence on the growth of Hinduism. He was a great thinker, leader and a missionary. He consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. His teachings can be summed up in the following words: Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya, Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Aparah( Brahman alone is real, this world is unreal; the Life is identical with Brahman). An illusionary power of Brahman called Maya causes the world to arise. Ignorance of this reality is the cause of all suffering in the world and only upon true knowledge of Brahman can liberation be attained. When a person tries to know Brahman through his mind, due to the influence of Maya, Brahman appears as God, separate from the world and from the individual. In reality, there is no difference between the individual soul and Brahman. Liberation lies in knowing the reality of this non-difference. Thus, the path to liberation is finally only through knowledge. Advaita Vedan