India’s Bright History and the Arrival of Britishers
India has a rich and diverse history that spans several millennia. The country has been home to several ancient civilizations, including the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished around 2500 BCE. India has also been home to many great empires, such as the Mauryan Empire, Gupta Empire, and Mughal Empire, which left an indelible mark on the country’s history, culture, and identity.
- The Mauryan Empire was established by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya in 321 BCE. It was one of the largest empires in the world, covering most of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and parts of Afghanistan. The empire was known for its advanced administrative system, which included the appointment of governors and the establishment of a centralized bureaucracy. Emperor Ashoka, who ruled the empire from 268 to 232 BCE, is considered one of the greatest rulers in Indian history. He is known for his policy of non-violence, religious tolerance, and social justice.
- The Gupta Empire, which was established in the 4th century CE, is considered the golden age of Indian history. The empire was known for its achievements in science, mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. The Gupta period saw the development of the decimal system, the concept of zero, and the invention of the solar calendar. The period also saw the flowering of literature, with the famous Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, being composed during this time.
- The Mughal Empire, which was established in 1526 CE by Babur, was another significant empire in Indian history. The empire was known for its architectural wonders, such as the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. The Mughal period saw the flowering of art, literature, and culture, with the development of the Urdu language and the establishment of a new style of painting known as Mughal painting.
- However, the arrival of the British in India in the 17th century marked a turning point in Indian history. The British East India Company, which was established in 1600, initially traded in textiles and spices. However, it soon became involved in Indian politics and started to establish control over various parts of the country.
- In 1757, the British defeated the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula, in the Battle of Plassey. This victory marked the beginning of British political domination in India. The British gradually established control over large parts of India, and by the mid-19th century, they had established direct rule over most of the country.
- The British rule in India was marked by exploitation, oppression, and discrimination. The British viewed India as a source of raw materials and a market for their finished products. They imposed heavy taxes on the Indian people and forced them to grow cash crops instead of food crops. This led to widespread poverty, famine, and hunger in the country.
- The British also imposed their culture and values on the Indian people. They introduced English education and tried to Anglicize the Indian elite. They also introduced their legal and administrative systems, which were often insensitive to Indian customs and traditions.
- The Indian people, however, did not take the British oppression lying down. They organized several movements and protests against British rule. One of the most significant movements was the Indian National Congress, which was established in 1885. The Congress was initially a platform for Indian elites to voice their grievances against British rule. However, it soon became a mass movement, with people from all walks of life joining it.
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