ANCIENT INDIA BY: Ryan Gerald O. Zaragoza Katherine Visitacion BM - 4
GEOGRAPHY• India’s name came from the Indus River• One of the oldest civilization• Is a huge triangular peninsula of South Asia, surrounded by China, the Himalayan Kingdoms, Bangladesh and Pakistan.• The huge area (3, 185, 019 sq. km) makes it larger than Europe without USSR.• It has 3 distinct landscapes: o Hindustan in the North o Deccan Plateau in the Center o Tamil South includes coastal plain on both sides
• India has great variations in elevation, land forms, and climate.• 23% is covered with forests and only 57% of the land is arable, and agricultural productivity is poor due to social problems and uneven rain- fall.• It is the world’s 7th largest industrial nation, 2nd largest textile producer in the world, and the largest exporter of jewelry.• New Delhi is the capital of India.• The most famous river in India is the Ganges River.
People• With a population of 800 million• The Indians represent a wide variety of races, religions and languages.• The majority are of Aryan (Caucasian) origin; the rest are Mongoloid or Negroid.• The dominant religion is Hinduism the rest are Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian and Parsee.• There are 14 languages and 831 dialects.• Hindi is the official language of India.
• Indian civilization began in the Indus Valley up north about 3,000 B.C.• The ruins of the acient cities are found in Mohendro-Daro and Harrapa (Pakistan)• The early dark-skinned people called the Dravidians built cities, temples, and art works.• About 2,000 BC, the fair-skinned Aryans invaded the Indus Valley. They spoke sanskrit and founded small kingdoms in the fertile plains of North India.• They gave India the Vedic Literature, Sanskrit Epics, Hinduism and the Caste System.
VEDIC LITERATURE• The Vedic Literature reflects the life and culture of the ancient Aryans of India.• It consists of four literary works: 1. Vedas – are composed of hymns, prayers, rituals, magic and poetry. They were the earliest sacred books of Hindus. 2. Brahmanas – are prose texts containing observations on religious rites. Also include legends of the exploits of ancient kings and heroes 3. Arankayas – are books of instructions for the hermits in the forests. Contains elaborate rules for the performance of religious ceremonies. 4. Upanishads – also books of instructions given by a father to his son or the teacher to pupil.
SANSKRIT EPICS• The two great sanskrit epics of ancient India were: • Mahabharata It is the longest epic poem in the world. Contains the lofty philosophical poem • Ramayana Is shorter than Mahabharata
HINDUISM• Aryans also laid the foundation of Hinduism.• Hinduism is the world’s oldest organized religion.• It began as nature worship (animism) as the Aryans prayed to forces of nature for favors. Thus, it has 300 million gods and goddesses representing natural forces and personified gods to suit human needs.• The chief Hindu god is Brahma, the creator and world soul. Lesser gods are Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer). Hindu believe that these gods intercede for men; thus their favors must be won by means of offerings, prayers, and rituals.• They also believe in karma (destiny) and reincarnation ( a good soul is reborn after each into a higher status; a bad soul into a lower status or animal).
CASTE SYSTEM• The Caste System has become part of Indian life due to the religious approval given to it by Hinduism.• It divides people into rigid caste or classes: • Brahmans – priests and scholars • Kshatriyans – rulers and warriors • Vaishyas – farmers, artists and merchants • Sudras – workers and slaves • Untouchables – persons who do not belong to any class and the dirtiest work like cleaning toilets and collecting garbage.• Began as a race prejudice of the Aryans against the Dravidians. To dominate them further, the Aryan masters made class divisions a holy law. Thus, the untouchables may not enter temples or use public baths and wells for they would desecrate or pollute other castes and offend the gods.
BUDDHISM• Started in the 6th century• The religion was named it’s founder, Gautama Buddha, Son of Rich rajah in Nepal.• Although he lived in the palace amid luxurious delights, he was unhappy because of the poverty and ignorance of the masses. At 29, he left his family and palace and wandered as a poor beggar in search of the truth.• For 45 years, he explained his teachings to the prince and masses.• He was died and was buried in Nepal around 486 BC.• Like Confucius, Buddha did not claim to found a new religion. He Intended his teachings to be a system of human philosophy, to guide men in their search for true happiness.• His aim was to reform Hinduism, with its cruel division into castes.
Buddha taught all men the “Four Noble Truths:1. Man’s life is filled with suffering.2. Man’s sufferings is caused by his selfish desires.3. Man can end his suffering by conquering his selfish desires4. After riding himself of suffering, man attains the state of NIRVANA.
EIGTH-FOLD PATH1. Right belief2. Right aspiration3. Right speech4. Right conduct5. Right livelihood6. Right effort7. Right remembrance8. Right meditation
PERSIAN AND GREEK INVASION OF INDIA• At the end of 6th century BC, the Persian hordes of Darius I conquered the Aryan kingdoms of the Indus Valley.• The Persians introduced Aramic writing, purdah (the practice of secluding women at home and women wearing a veil in the public), and Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Parsees in Bombay today.• In 326 BC, another invader appeared in northern India. He was Alexander The Great of Mecadonia. When he sadly left in 324 BC, Alexander had made a deep impression on Indian history.• India was open to European trade and Alexander praved the way for Indian unity.
MAURYA EMPIRE• The first Hindu Empire• It was founded by Chandragupta Maurya who rallied the Indians and drove away the Greeks after Alexander died.• The Maurya Empire covered the whole India Peninsula, except South India.• Chandragupta stepped down from the throne and become a monk.• Bindusara continued the policies by his father.• Asoka, his gransdon became the greatest Mauya emperor.• He made buddhism the state religion and sent missionaries to other Asian countries.• He built inns, orphanages, and hospitals, and led an exemplary life.• Asoka is regarded as the greatest ruler in the history of India.• The prosperous and peaceful reign of Asoka is reflected in the art of period.
SUNGA EMPIRE• The Maurya Empire continued about fifty years after Asoka’s death. The government was weak.• The last Mauryan king was assassinated by his own army commander.• General Pusyamitra Sunga became king.• Sunga restored Vedic traditions such as animal sacrifice.• The government of the Sunga Empire was not centralized as that of the earlier empire.• It allowed provinces to govern themselves although as vassals of the empire.• Sunga Empire lasted 71 BC.• It was marked by frequent invasions of foreigners to into India.• A new wave of migrants arrived from north and east Asia. Among these migrants were the nomadic Sacae.
• The Sacae gained in strength until they gained control of almost the whole of northern india.• Other tribes continued to stream into India.• One of these was the Yueh-chih who were forced out of Mongolia.
KUSHAN EMPIRE• The Yueh-chih came under a strong leader Kadphises I, who led them in ovethrowing the Sacae in Kabul.• He founded the Kushan Empire• The most famous Kushan king was Kanishka.• He gained control over the whole of northern India.• He embraced Buddhisim and contributed greatly to its expansion up to China.• The empire continued until the first half of the second century when the Sassanid Dynasty of Persia reached India.• In a great war, the Persian defeated the Kushan king and and from that time on, a great part of the northwest India came under Persian influence.
GUPTA EMPIRE• In 321 AD, a strong king rose up from Patna, the former capital of Maurya Empire.• This king Chandragupta, also owed his rapid ascent to power to an advantageous marriage to a princess from a powerful family.• By this means, Chandragupta’s kingdom easily expanded upon which he founded the Gupta Empire.• The king who followed Chandragupta added to the kingdom’s territory until it came to cover the whole northern India and influenced a great part of the south.• It became a time of peace and prosperity.• The arts of painting and sculpture flowered.• The royal court supported poets, and playwrights the most famous of which Kalidasa, the foremost writer in sanskrit who is still admired today.
• In the field of science, the astronomer, Aryabhata, proposed his theory that the earth circled the sun.• Like Copernicus, he was not believed by his his contemporaries. He also calculated the length of time it took for the earth to revolve around the axis.
THE FALL OF GUPTA EMPIRE• On the 6th century, the Gupta Empire was already weak.• The central government was almost powerless while the governors of the provinces became stronger until they became as powerful as king within their territory.• New invaders called “the white huns”.• The huns massacred the population of many communities in the northwest and burned down the cities.• The Huns did not stay very long in India after massive slaughter and destruction.• The Huns could not bear the warmer climate in India.
ISLAMIZATION AND THE MOGUL EMPIRE• Islam was brought to India by the Muslims from the Persian Gulf in 711AD.• By the 14th century, Islamic kings ruled over a kingdom as large as Asoka’s Maurya Empire.• Muslim conquerers introduced Islam in the urban areas. They destroyed Hindu temples and persecuted the Brahmans.• In the long run, two new religions were introduced in the Indian subcontinent – Islam and Sikhism.• The interaction between Islam and Hinduism also brought a new language (Hindustani) and literature.• Akbar the Great is the founder of Mogul Empire.• He showed political genius by adopting a policy of reconcilliation toward the Hindus• He promoted arts and literature, encouraged industries and trade and tolerated all religions.
• His grandson, Shah Jahan, gained fame not as a dashing warrior but as a generous patron of art. He built the Taj Mahal at Agra in memory of his beloved wife, Mumatz Mahal.• By the 19th century, the glory of the Mogul faded.
INDIA’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE ASIAN CIVILIZATION1. India gave the world four great religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.2. India developed philosophy ahead of the west. Long before the Greeks and the Romans. Indian thinkers had already founded several philosophical systems, including yoga, the discipline of the mind and body by spiritual training.3. India has enriched world literature by giving mankind the first fable (Panchatantra); the first dramatic masterpieces (The Clay Cart by Sudakra and Sakuntala by Kalidasa0; the great epics Mahabharata and Ramayana; and the world’s greatest philosophical poem, Bhagavad Gita. Its poet and dramatist, Rabindranath tagore, was for many years the only Asian Nobel Prize wardee in literature.
4. The music, art and architecture of India are perhaps better known than any other forms of Oriental culture. The classical giutar playing of Ravi Shankar, a modern Indian musician, has greatly influenced the modern rock of popular music starting with the beatles in the 1960’s. Indian art is both symbolic and sacred. Since they also portray the epic loves of their gods, Indian religious art may also be the earliest examples of pornography. In the realm of architecture, India gave the world such architectural wonders as the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Mogul palaces in New Delhi, and the temple of Kailasha in Hyderabad. Indian handicrafts in cloth, wood, metals, leather, and jewelry are very much in demand all over the world.
5. Finally, India invented the zero and numerals in mathematics. The numerals were later adopted by the arabs and propagated in the west; hence they became known as “Arabic Numerals”. The first books on arithmetic and algebra were written by Indian Mathematicians.