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Showing posts from March 16, 2010

History - Jainism and Buddhism

The parents of Mahavira were Siddhartha, a Janatrika chief of Kunda­pura, and Trishala, a Ksha­triya lady related to the rul­ing families of Vaishali and Magadha.

Mahavira married a princess named Yashoda.

Mahavira forsook the world at the age of thirty and roamed as a naked ascetic in several parts of eastern India and practiced severe penance for 12 years. Half of this time was spent with a mendicant (beggar) friar (brother) named Goshala who subse­quently left him and became the leader of the Ajivika sect.

In the 13th year of penance, Mahavira attained the highest spiritual knowl­edge called Kevala-jnana, on the northern bank of river Rijupalika, outside Jrimb­hikagrama, a little known locality in eastern India. He was now known as a Kevalin (omniscient), a Jina (conqueror) and Mahavira (the great hero).

Mahavira became the head of a sect called Nigranthas (free from Fret­ters), known in later times as Jains or followers of Jina (conquer…

History - Maurya Empire

Chandragupta Mau­rya was the founder of the empire. His family is identi­fied by some with the tribe of Moriya mentioned by Greeks. According to one tradition, the designation is derived from Mura, the mother or grandmother of Chandragupta, who was wife of a Nanda king.

Buddhist writers rep­resent Chandragupta as member of Kshatriya caste, belonging to the ruling clan of little republic of Pip­phalivana, lying probably between Rummindei in the Nepalese Tarai and Kasai in the Gorakhpur district.

Chandragupta is referred to as Sandrocottos in the Greek accounts.

Chandragupta was the protege of the Brahman, Kautilya or Chanakya, who was his guide and mentor, both in acquirnig a throne and in keeping it.

Chandragupta met Chanakya in the forests of Vindhya. Chandragupta had been forced to flee to the for­est after having offended Alexander, who had ordered for him to be killed.

The Seleucid pro­vinces of the trans-Indus, which today would cover part of Afghanistan, were ced…

History - Magadhan Ascendancy and beyond

Magadha kingdom’s most remarkable king was Srenika or Bimbisara, who was anointed king by his father at the young age of 15.

The capital of Bimbi­sara’s kingdom was Giriv­raja. It was girded with stone walls which are among the oldest extant stone struc­tures in India.

The most notable achievement of Bimbisara was the annexation of neigh­bouring kingdom of Anga or East Bihar. He also entered into matrimonial alliances with ruling families of Kosala and Vaishali. The Vaishali marriage paved the way for expansion of Maga­dha northword to the bor­ders of Nepal.

Gautama Buddha and Vardhaman Mahavira prea­ched their doctrines during the reign of Bimbisara.

The modern town of Rajgir in the Patna district was built by Bimbisara. He had named it Rajagriha or the king’s house.

Bimbisara was suc­ceeded by his son Ajatsha­tru. Tradition affirms that Bim­bisara was murdered by Ajat­shatru.

To repel the attacks of the Vrijis of Vaishali, Ajat­shatru fortified the village of Patal…

history - Administration under Akbar

Like other Muslim monarchs, Akbar was, at least in theory, subordinate to the wishes of entire Muslim population (millat), which, in turn, was guided by the Muslim learned divines called the Ulema. Akbar sought to remove this check to his will and became the supreme authority over his Muslim subjects by promulgating the Infallibility Decree (Mahzar) in September 1579.

Akbar believed that the king must be absolutely tolerant to every creed and must establish universal peace in his dominion.

As per Abul Fazal’s Akbarnama, Akbar appeared three times every day for State business. Early at sunrise he used to be ready at jhroka-i-darshan to show himself to his subjects. Here he was accessible to the common people and listened to their complaints. Next, he used to hold an open court which generally lasted for four and a half hours. Peo-ple from both sexes were allowed to submit their petitions and the emperor used to decide the cases on the spot.

I…

History - Mughal Empire - 4

Mughals belonged to a branch of the Turks named after Chaghtai, the second son of Chingez Khan, the famous Mongol leader.

The foundation of the Mughal empire in India was laid by Babur, who was a Chaghtai Turk. He descended from his father’s side from Timur and was connected on his mother’s side with Chingez Khan.

In 1494, at the age of 11 years, Babur inherited the small principality of Farghana, now a province of Chinese Turkistan.

Babur was later deprived of his own patrimony of Farghana and had to spend his days as homeless wanderer for about a year. During this time, while staying with a village headman, he heard the story of Timur’s exploits in India from a old lady and this inspired him to begin preparations to conquer India.

Babur occupied Kabul in 1504 and after this it took him 12 years to advance into the heart of India.

Daulat Khan, the most powerful noble of Punjab, who was discontended with Ibrahim Lodhi, invited Babur to invade India.

Babur occupied Lah…

History - Mughal Empire - 3

Jahangir was born to Maryam-uz-Zamani and Akbar on August 30, 1569. He was named Sultan Muham-mad Salim after Shaikh Salim Chishti of Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar, however, called him Shaikhu Baba.

Abdur Rahim Khan Khana, a profound scholar of Arabic, Turki, Persian, Sanskrit and Hindi, as also a soldier and diplomat of no mean order influenced Jahangir the most and moulded his thoughts. Most of Jahangir’s education took place under Abdur Rahim.

At the age of 15, Jahangir was married to his cousin Manbai, daughter of Raja Bhagwan Dass of Amber. The ceremony was performed both according to Hindu and Muslim rites.

Jahangir gave Manbai the title of Shah Begum. She committed suicide in 1604 owing to her son Khusrav’s unfilial conduct towards her husband.

Jagat Gosain or Jodhabai, daughter of Mota Raja Udai Singh was also among the most important of several wives of Jahangir.

Salim’s loose morals and addiction to wine and other degrading pleasures enra…

History - Mughal Empire - 2

In 1577 Akbar undertook the reform of the currency and appointed Khwaja Abdus Samad Shirazi, a noted painter and calligraphist, to be the superintendent of the imperial mint at Delhi.
Besides Delhi, provinical mints were located at Lahore, Jaunpur, Ahmedabad, Patna and Tanda (in Bengal).

The silver coin issued during Akbar’s reign was round in shape, like its modern successor, and was known as rupee. It weighed 172 grains.

Akbar also introduced a square rupee called Jalali, but it was not as popular as the round rupee.
The chief copper coin was the dam or paisa or fulus. It weighed 323.5 grains or almost 21 grams.

The ratio between the dam and the rupee was 40 to 1. The lowest copper coin was jital. 25 jitals made one paisa.

The most common gold coin was the Ilahi, which was equal to 10 rupees in value.

The biggest gold coin was the shahanshah. It weighed a little over 101 tolas and was used mostly in high value business transactions.

The …