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Showing posts from January 18, 2010


KUSHANS In the post-Mauryan era, central Asia and north-western India witnessed hectic and shifting political scenes. The Great Yuehi-chi driven out of fertile lend in Western china migrated towards the Aral Sea. There they encountered the Sakas near Syr Darya river and evicted them. The Great Yuehi-Chi tribes settled in the valley of Oxus and with the occupation of the Bactrian lands the great hordes were divided into five principalities. A century later the Kushan section or sect of Yuehi-Chi attained predominance over the otheres. Their leader was Kadphises. Thus began the history of Kushans.The unique geographical position of the Kushans empire made it a colossus astride on the spine of Asia uniting the Greco-Roman civilization in the west the Chinese civilization in the east and Indian civilisation in the south-east.
The leader of the Kushans was kadphises and his rule probably began in 40 A.D. He attacked the regions south of Hindu Kush, conquered Kabul and annexed G…


SUNGAS The Sunga rule, extending a little over a century, is in interlude in the history of India. There is nothing extraordinary about the political events associated with the Sungas. The significance of their history, on the other hand, primarily consists in the place they occupy in the social and cultural history of India.
The founder of the dynasty, Pushyamitra Sunga, overthrew the Mauryas; either in 187 B.C. or 184 B.C. After him there were nine other rulers. Among them, Agnimitra, Vasumitra, Bhagvata and Devabhumi were the prominent ones. The names of the first two were associated with some events in political history, whereas the latter two were known for their long rule, they being 32 and 10 years respectively.
There is some controversy about the identity of Pushyamitra Sunga. It was stated in a Sutra that he belonged to a family of teachers. Patanjali claims that he was a brahminor the Bhardwaja gotra. Ivyavadana stated that the Sungas were related to the Mauryas. A Malavikagni…


HISTORY AND IMPACT OF Indo-GreeksAfter Alexander the Great, the greed seleukidan dynasty of Persia held on to the trans-Indus region. After seleukos Nikator was defeated by Chanragupta Maurya in 303 B.C. the trans-Indus region was transferred to the Mauryas. In mid third century B.C. the seleukidan rule was ended by two peoples. In Iran the parthiar became independent and their sassanians in 226 A.D. In like manner the greeks of Bactria rose in revolt under the leadership of Diodotus. These Greeks were later known as Indo-Greeks when they gained a foot-hold in the Indian sub-continent.
Bactria situated between the Hindu Kush and the oxus, was a fertile region and it controlled the trade routes from Gandhara to the West. The greek settlement in Bactria began in the 5th century B.C. when Persian emperors settled the Greek exiles in that area.
Bactria figured in history with the revolt of diodotus against Antiochus the seleukidan king. This breakaway of Bactria was recnised by the seleukid…

Post Mauryan Period,Post Mauryan art

POST-MAURYAN PERIOD (20BC - 300AD)ECONOMY AND SOCIETY In the post-Mauryan era (200 BC. To 300 A.D.) the economy moved at an accelerated tempo. Society witnessed structural reorientation as significant groups of foreigners penetrated into India and chose to be identified with the rest of the community.
The occupation of craftsmen was an important segement of the day's socio-economic milieu. The craftsment were not only associated with the towns but also villages like Karimnagar in the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh. The categories of craftsmen who were known in this period bear out the truth that there was considerable specialization in mining and metallurgy. A large number of iron artifacts have been discovered at various excavated sites relating to the Kushan and Satavahans Periods. It is surprising to notice that the Telengana region appears to have made special progress in iron artifacts - not only weapons but also balance rods, sickles, ploughshares, razors and ladels have …

The splendour of the 'Dark Centuries'

The splendour of the 'Dark Centuries' The five centuries which passed between the decline of the first great Indian empire of the Mauryas and the emergence of the great classical empire of the Guptas has often been described as a dark period in Indian history when foreign dynasties fought each other for short-lived and ephemeral supremacy over Northern India. Apart from Kanishka's Indo-Central Asian empire which could claim to be similar in size and importance to has china, the parthians of Persia and to the contemporary Roman empire this period did lack the glamour of large empires. But this 'dark period' particularly the first two centuries AD was a period of intensive economic and cultural contact among the various parts of the Eurasian continent. Indian played a very active role in stimulating these contacts. Buddhism which has been fostered by Indian rulers since the days of Ashoka was greatly aided by the international connections of the Indo-Greeks and the K…

Asoka's Dhamma NEED OF DHARMA

Asoka's Dhamma

1. There was considered intellectual ferment around 600 B.C. healthy rivalry was apparent among the number of sects such as the Charvaks, Jains and Ajivikas, whose doctrines ranged from bare materialism to determinism. This intellectual liveliness was reflected in the elected interests of the Mauryan rulers. It was claimed by the Jainas that Chandragupta was supporter and there is evidence that Bindusara favoured the Ajivikas.

Thus, the Empire of Asoka was inhabited by peoples of many cultures who were at many levels of development. The range of customs, beliefs, affinities, antagonisms, tensions and harmonies were galore. True, Magadha and the fringes of these areas. The north was in close contact with the Hellenized culture of Afganisthan and Iran. The far south was on the threshold of a creative efflorescence of Tamil culture. The ruler of such as Empire required the perceptions were addressed to the public at large. It is in these inscriptions th…


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF ASOKADiplomacy and geographical proximity primarily determined the foreign relations maintained by Asoka. Particularly, the century in which, Asoka lived was one of continued interactions between the Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia. That is why most of Asoka's contacts were with South Asia and the West. It appears that this interest was not one sided. A fair number of foreigners lived in Pataliputra to necessitate a special committee under the municipal management to look after the needs of welfare of the visitors. Apart from these major factors determining the foreign relations of Asoka, one more parameter was the desire of Asoka to spread his policy of dhamma to distant lands.
To begin with, Asoka in his foreign relations was a realist defeat and annexation of Kalinga. Also his realism is to be seen in Asoka not annexing the southern kingdoms (Cholas, Pandvas, Satyaputras and Keralaputras) while being satisfied with theirac knowledgement of his suzeraint…

Indus And Vedic Civilisation

Indus And Vedic CivilisationThere is muc to be contrasted between the cultures of the Harappans and the Aryans. There are indeed a few points of similarities, but they are not of any significance. Why the points of contrast are more is primarily because of geographic location, economic activity and the religious practices followed by both the cultures. Far more important is the fact that the Aryans, with a plasticity of mind, made life vibrant; whereas, the Indus life looks more like stylized puppet show.
The plasticity of the Aryan mind was shown in the language as well as the way in which they adapted agricultural and settled life. The seals of the Indus Valley show that the pictographs remained statis, whereas, the Aryan language in the Rig Veda at places rises to musical levels. The success with which the Aryan writings were composed reveals the ability of the Aryan mind to grasp the mulitiple dimensions of human life. And language which exhibits immense potentialities in its vocab…

Geographical knowledge of the vedic period.

Geographical knowledge of the vedic period.The geographical evidence as to be found in the hymns of Vedas thros some light on the course of Indo-Aryan migration and the origin of Hinduism. Whether the Indo-Aryans came from Central Asia or not depends largely on the interpretation of the geographical allusions in the Rig and Yajur Vedas. The hymns in praise of rivers in the 10th blcok are interesting. The author while singing the greatness of the Sindhu enumerates at least 19 rivers including the Ganges. The fifth Stanza gives a list of 10 streams, small and great-Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, Satluj, Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum, Maruwardwan (in J&K), Sushoma (Rowalpindi District) and probably Kanshi in the same district. This system of rivers did not remain the Saraswati. The existing delta of the Indus has been formed since the time of Alexander the Great.
The Vedic hymns reveal the initial Aryan settlements in India : western tributaries of the Indus, the Gomti (modern Gomal) the Krumu (mo…