History of India


History of India


(1800 - 1933),

It is generally agreed that the cultural polarity of Indian history may be explained by the socio-religious-political diversity of India and its socio-economic status as an emerging colonial power. There were divergent views about the origin of Indian culture, mainly because of its unequal historical standing vis-a-vis other nations of the region. An Indian accepted that culture is in part derived from the religious unity of India, while the ethnocentric Indian historian Aiyar has stated that Indian culture has its origins in the Vedas. Yet there were Indian historians who did not agree with this interpretation.


Discussions of Indian culture were based on the assumption of Indian civilization having a religious unity. According to Georges Dreyfus, Hindu culture must be regarded as "an efficient system of defense-work in the general frame of culture, a survival of a tradition which by theory ... appeared at a certain moment, surpassed other traditions or conformed to them with mutual exclusion" (Posterior Analysis of an Indian System of Culture). According to Francis Fergusson, "the Hindu had clearly succeeded in reconstructing his culture at least from the ethnic polarity that existed within it".However, India's religious culture was just one element in the cultural diversity of India.


George Smith, in his 1835 History of India (published in the next year), wrote: "Intricate and admirable are the exquisite forms of ornament and arrangement, which characterize the beauty of Indian art." Yet Smith wrote, "... it is of secondary importance that Hindu art possesses color, and resembles our nature's idea rather than the strictest intellectual conception of its nature." Although Hindu art does reflect Hindu nature, that is to say, that its colors and forms evoke "spiritual, religious, or philosophical ideas", not necessarily a belief in God.


Indian culture is also not homogenous but has a multiplicity of different characteristics, such as dance styles, dress styles, cuisine, names, religious terms, utensils, musical instruments, arts and crafts. The term "Indian culture" represents a common designation used to refer to this heterogeneous culture, rather than any common essence of that culture.


Gupta, in his History of Indian Civilization (published in 1889), described Indian culture as:


In the very words of the very sage which began to spread itself with the rise of this early system Surya-Datta ... what was formed by that early sage was a system, which is such in its structure as to make it, as it were, indivisible and yet so varied in its general characteristics as to be extremely diverse.


Gupta has drawn parallels between ancient Indian civilization and modern-day culture in India. He stated:


The peculiar strength of this mode of life lies in its fertility, in its potential for constant strengthening of nature; so great and so pleasing is the strength of Indian culture in the nature of man and the environment. It is a nature indeed which has created human beings as being ultimately self-creating beings; one which is thus naturally attracted to both mental and physical creativity, which is naturally sensitive to physical phenomena. This noblest mode of living is thus inherent to the nature of man and his surroundings. A self-sustaining social system, established by spiritual perfection in people, is given them by their natural powers of intellectual activity; inasmuch as they are capable of perfecting human nature in the natural growth of existence.


Early on, in his History of India, offered a different definition:


Indian culture is considered to consist of the cultural heritage that has come to be accepted as part of India's cultural identity over the centuries.




A few years before the beginning of the seventh century the vigorous culture of ancient India started to break up and change. Thus the way in which this great culture had been built up and shaped was undermined by the wealth and power of the new imperial power.


Smith claimed in History of India that "high cultural development of India was greatly accelerated in the thirteenth century, by the conquests of Genghis Khan, when Indian kings were victorious in the outer limits of the ancient territories of the kingdom of Hind". Smith elaborated further:


The conquests of Genghis Khan and his successors overthrew the old kingdoms and laid the foundations for a massive cultural transformation in Asia, the history of which is far from being lost. The speed of progress was very great; and new modes of life and fashion were introduced which may be found in India and the rest of south Asia for a thousand years, as well as in Europe for a very short time Here too there were innovations that were commonly called cultural developments, and which are certainly linked to the formation of Indian civilization.


Geography and geography


Classical geography


One definition used in classical geography is that the center of cultural expression was the mythical city of Puruṣārgaṃha, where the original life in the universe originated. Indus Valley Civilization is considered to have been the culture of the original inhabitants. The origins of Indian culture were located in northwest India and northwest Afghanistan.


History and philosophy




A stone carving from the ancient city of Varanasi is dated to circa 2000 BCE


The earliest known archaeological evidence of human habitation in what is now India goes back to 30,000 BCE.The first instance of culture-spanning, civilization-embracing culture is around 13,000 BCE. The first period in history is traditionally considered to have been the Indus Valley civilization, established in the third millennium BCE and followed by other highly advanced civilizations. Cultural activity in India only picked up after the emergence of the Buddhist religion, whose texts are thought to have been recorded in the 1st century BCE in India and in the 3rd century CE in Tibet and China. Indian Buddhist writings reveal a rich heritage with both sophisticated philosophical theories and simple living instructions that still influence the behavior of people throughout the world. The Buddhist views of Buddhist morality are frequently combined with traditional Indian ideas. At the end of the third century BCE, the start of the classical period, Indian philosophical ideas were brought to Europe by Buddhism itself, when Indian philosophy was in its prime. However, in the later classical era, philosophy was concentrated mainly in north India, with most of the works being recorded in Sanskrit and therefore not widely translated. The Indian philosophers Bhāravi and Arya Buddha are generally regarded as being among the greatest philosophers ever.



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