History of India

History of India has been long speculated worldwide for its richness and diversity. India has been home to some of the oldest civilizations, dynasties and kingdoms which have been of interest to historians from all across the world. The history of India can be broadly divided into five parts listed below.
  • Prehistoric History of India
  • Ancient History of India
  • Medieval History of India
  • Modern History of India
  • Post Independent History of India

Prehistoric History of India

Prehistoric Era in the history of India has been long speculated by historians across the globe. The exact time when the Prehistoric settlements evolved in the history of India is hard to determine but most historians believe them to have evolved somewhere between 200000 and 3500 BC.
Prehistoric evidences in the history of India include several Mesolithic sites which have been excavated in the Chota Nagpur region of the country. These sites are believed to have flourished between 8000 and 4000 BC. Several other pre-historic sites in the country include the Bhinbetka Caves which are located in close proximity to Bhopal and believed to be at least 12000 years old.

Ancient History of India

Ancient history of India is marked by the Indus Valley Civilization, which is one of the earliest known civilizations to mankind. As the name suggests, the Indus Valley Civilization flourished around the basin of river Indus in the northwestern parts of the nation. This civilization is believed to have flourished at around 3300 BC and it existed for about 2000 years. This civilization ended close to 1300 BC and its end was marked with the emergence of theHarappa Civilization which is sometimes also referred as the latter phase of the Indus Valley Civilization.
The Harappa Civilization existed in India between the time period of 1900 BC and 2600 BC. After Harappa, it was the Vedic Civilization which flourished on the Indian soil. This civilization was mainly spread over the fertile lands of the great Gangetic plains.
Between 300 and 400 BC, all the major parts of the Indian Sub-Continent came under the rule the Maurya Dynasty. Asoka, the famous Indian emperor, whose official symbol is today used as the emblem of India, was from this dynasty. The Maurya Dynasty was later divided into a number of smaller kingdoms in the next 1500 years. It was during this period that the nation’s economy emerged as one of the largest and potent economies in the world.
A large part of India was later re-united for about 200 years under the rule of the Gupta rulers. The Gupta Dynastyexisted in country between 300 BC to about 550 BC. This period is sometimes also referred as the ‘Golden Age ofIndia’. It was also during the Gupta Period when Hinduism flourished in the region. Today, Hinduism is the religion practiced by a majority of Indian population.
At the time when the Gupta Dynasty flourished in the northern parts of the country, most parts of the southern Indiawere conquered by the Chalukyas, the Cholas and the Pandyas. Several parts of southern India were under the rule of Pallavas too, during this period. These dynasties, like the Gupta Dynasty, were the prominent powers and economies of that time. Other historically important civilizations, kingdoms, empires and dynasties which evolved in the ancient era of the Indian history include the Vedic CivilizationKingdom of KuruNanda DynastyChera DynastyKadamba Dynasty and Rashtrakuta Empire.
It was during this phase of the history of India that India begun to spread its impact to most parts of Asia.

Medieval History of India

The medieval history of India was mainly dominated by the Mughal Dynasty and several other Muslim rulers. Kerala, a coastal state in southern part of the nation gave way to the first Muslim traders in India. It was the first exposure of Islam in the country. However, the Muslim rule laid its first feet in India after 712 AD when an Arab General, Muhammad bin Qasim, conquered some parts of Punjab in the northern part of the country. Muhammad bin Qasim successfully conquered the Sindh and the Multan which then comprised a major portion of Punjab. After this conquest, many Muslim rulers ruled on the Indian soil including the great Mughal emperor, Akbar.
The Mughal Dynasty was the most prominent dynasty during this phase of the history of India. The Mughal Empire gave country some of its great rulers such as Jalal-ud-din Mohammad, Jahangir and a few more. For his benevolence Jalal-ud-din Mohammad was named as Akbar and is usually referred as ‘Akbar the Great’ in the history of India. Mughal Dynasty is famously known for its architecture. Monuments build under the Mughal rule includes the Red Fort of Agra, the Red Fort of Delhi, the Jama Masjid and a lot more. In fact, the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, was constructed by a Mughal emperor in the memories of his beloved wife.
In the medieval history of India when the Great Mughal rulers governed most parts of the nation there were also several other dynasties and kingdoms which flourished in India. These were mostly the independent Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan, the Maratha kingdom of Maharashtra, the Sikh provinces in Punjab and a few small dynasties. The Delhi Sultanate was also prominent in medieval era of Indian history before Mughal Dynasty.Vijayanagara Empire was also a prominent power in southern parts of India during medieval phase of the history of India. The nation also witnessed several Afghan invasions during this period.

Modern History of India

The modern history of India is primarily marked by the East India Company, British Raj, Revolt of 1857 and theIndian Struggle of independence. After the later Mughals and several other dynasties and kingdoms including the Delhi Sultanate and the Sikhs, came the East India Company. It was a British company which later made a tight grip over the governance of the entire country and established its rule all over India. However, its rule faced a heavy opposition which finally evoked a revolt in 1857. In the history of India, this revolt is famously known as the ‘Revolt of 1857’. After the Revolt of 1857, the rule of India was snatched from the hands of the British East India Company and the governance of the nation came under the direct rule of Britain. Soon an independence struggle was launched in the country. This independence struggle was mainly non-violent in form and was conducted under the leadership of leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi. Under the British rule in India, there were only two major nationalist political parties in the country namely – the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress. After a long struggle, India finally achieved its independence from Britain after the Second World War in 1947. At the same time the partition of the country took place and the nation was divided into Pakistan and the Union of India.

Post Independent History of India

A new chapter was introduced in the history of India on 15th August 1947.The nation gained its independence from the British rule on this date and became a dominion within the Commonwealth. Jawaharlal Nehru of the IndianNational Congress was made the first Prime Minister and Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of the independent India. Later on January 26, 1950, India became a republic within Commonwealth by promulgating its constitution which was inspired by the constitutions of many countries such as Germany, Canada, France and United States etc.
The Congress remained in power under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru till he lived. After his death in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri was made the prime minister of the nation. Later the governance of the nation was handed to Indra Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter, after Lal Bahadur Shastri died in 1966. In 1975, as a result of deepening political and economic problems, Indra Gandhi declared a state of emergency in the nation. Under this state of emergency, many civil liberties of the citizens were suspended.
In 1977 elections, Indra Gandhi lost the seat of Prime Minister to Moraji Desai, who headed the Janta Party. The Janta Party government under the leadership of Moraji Desai crumbled in 1979 and an interim government was formed by Charan Singh. Later in 1980, Indra Gandhi led government again came into power but sadly on October 31, 1984, Indra Gandhi was assassinated and her son, Rajiv Gandhi, had to follow her political legacy. However, the Rajiv Gandhi led government could not survive the allegations of corruption and a government led by V.P. Singh came into power. Chandra Shekhar followed the political legacy of V.P. Singh.
In 1989 election polls, the Rajiv Gandhi led Congress won the highest number of seats than any other single political party, but their government could not come in power as the opposition formed a coalition government. This coalition of the left parties was named as the Janata Dal. However, this loose coalition did not lasted long and collapsed in November, 1990. Then came in power a Congress supported Janta Dal group under the leadership of Chandra Shekhar. But this alliance also did not last long resulting in the mid-term elections in 1991.
Sadly, like his mother, Rajiv Gandhi was also assassinated in Tamil Nadu on May 27, 1991 while he was campaigning for the 1991 election poll. Congress won 213 parliamentary seats in this election poll and thus a Congress led coalition government was formed under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister of this government. It was under this government that the Indian economy was opened to Globalization, Privatization and Liberalization.
The economic reform of 1991 proved benevolent for India. These resulted in a tremendous increase in the foreign investments in the nation and boosted country’s economy marginally. Today, India is a rising power in Asia with one of the fastest economic growth in the world. India is also the largest democracy in the world and is now speculated as a future world power.


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