India. this very nomenclature is so misleading and alluring, converging and diverging, time-bound and timeless, wildly and unworldly, wealthy and mysterious, that it evokes nothing but a unfathomable curiosity, in the hearts of the intruders, as it did, time and again, compelling and destining the series of foreigner Others to come, see and conquer. but the distinction lies in that that some conquered strategically, some ecclesiastically and still some intellectually.Error makes an accident dulcet so was it that a few of political mistakes and blunder, some strategic blunder and slyness, some myth and some politics wove a majestic story called "India". let us navigate her irresistibly superb history. let us roam the places, places that were sites of endless social and economic ups and downs. and let us once again explore the eternally unexplored, inexplicable and misunderstood. keeping in view that a country gloriously occupying an area of more than 32000 square kilometre, it is multitudinous task to accomplish. but after all that is to be done and that is our India.
India is one nation with two names. Bharat and India. these two names open a baffling world of bi-lingual and multicultural enigma of the country. the debate and numerous other contestations remain alive even today. confined in the prison of Ahmednagar fort, Nehru was composing the Discovery of India. he wrote, "Often, as I wandered from meeting to meeting, I spoke to my audiences of this India of ours, of Hindustan and of Bharata, the old Sanskrit name derived from the mythical founders of the race.
the name bharata reminds us of its puranic heritage. the full name is Bharatvasrdha. but a historian often questions what is Bharatvarsha? was it only demarcating the boundary of north India, as the ancient south India was named 'Deccan'. India this typology though it has acquired a new juridico-political significance, after the constitution was framed, has some old roots attached to it. the Greek Indike or the Latin India. the Indike or India signified different maps or territories, and over the centuries and millenia these words not only altered their attire into a 20th century modern maiden called India but also simultaneously signifies a new geographical entity. on the other side there are terms like Hindustan, a persian nomenclature coined since 3rd century B.C, or Hnidusthan, the suffix 'Stan' comparatively lately changing into 'Sthan', a sankritised version but both meaning 'place' or more, or Al-Hind, developing into a sloganeering of 'Jai Hind', during the struggle for Independence in the 20th century, all are subject to modern historical arguments, as to how and why it changed the perception of reality down the ages. but today we are living, dying and struggling and overcoming into this new political union, which was released after the drafting the constitution in 1950, which promulgated, 'India, that is Bharat, shall be the union of states.' these two names were given constitutional legitimacy.
India has a rich and varied history as well as a rich cultural heritage. India has an elitist chronology, dynastic political glorious lineages and also indigenous tribes which have an unnoticed, neglected, unwritten long and curious histories and long stories to tell. India has always witnessed a series of onslaughts of foreigners, and has always been governed by the minority intruders. the historiography of India virtually started with the arrival of the missionaries from Europe, who saw India a land of the classic 'Other' which confronted the traditional eyes of the Europeans. Early histories of the subcontinent was composed in the form of travelogue, which were gleaned and still are gleaned and screened by the orientalists and the modern postcolonial historians to bring new perceptions of a civilization that is lost but has left a mark on the living inhabitants. The last decades of the 19th century were founding of Archaeological Society of India and that of Asiatic Society, Calcutta marked more systematic approach towards the making of a new India. a process of attaching new meaning and interpretation through an enterprise of excavation, observation, analysis and hypothesis added a new dimension in the history which through a crisscross of interpretation mobilized Indian history. still prior to the establishment of ASI and that of Asiatic Society which are autonomous bodies in 1837 , James Princep, an assay of the India mint, researched on metallurgy and wrote treatise on Indian numismatics, deciphered Ashokan Brahmi script and interpreted many scripts that were engraved on the pillars. he discovered many ancient punch-marked silver or gold coin testifying to India's unadulterated past. on the last quarter of the 20th century, a young Cambridge scholar John Marshall became the director-general of ASI and India's antiquity was dragged under captaincy of Sir Mortimer Wheeler even backward five centuries further before Christ. the various Neolithic settlements in and around Western Punjab(modern Pakistan), arose into prominence, which culminated into Harappa and Mohenjodaro settlement expanding officially and historically from 2500 to 1900 B.C. the first urban settlement in ancient India, though its script is still undeciphered. in 1931, Dayaram Sahni became first Indian director-general of the ASI, a year later the historically marked Dandy Salt march.
one of the earliest evidence of a human settlement in the form of a Mesolithic culture was discovered 48 kilometre south of Bhopal, in Raisen district, Bhimbhetka cave, in the southern fringes of the Vindhyas. it was a series of cave paintings of animal and human figures. V.S Wakankar, a erudite numismatist saw some cave paintings, and later armed with a bevy of archaeologists he discovered the pre-historic cave paintings which were later compared to the cave arts of Kalahari, or Upper Paleolithic Lascaux cave paintnig of France.
After the migration and settlement of the Pastoral Aryans, the history of India gained a different boost of continuous streaming. historians suggest a fray between the Harappans and the newly-arrived Aryans. why did the Harappan civilization collapse and disappear almoat suddenly from the scene? the critical discussion on whether it was due to a natural calamity or due to a tribal confrontation or simply a theory of Darwinian unfitness to outlive the new historical forces is not fit to be discussed over this platform. the objective of this essay is to give you an overall idea about what India is in a nutshell and what forces shaped the present cultural contour of this country.
on the verge of 5th century B.C the tribal and pastoral nature of the Aryans started to show some traits which can be perceived to be the traits which belong to city-states. the Mahajanapadas were the 16 city-states, which the European orientalists saw as an outcome of abundance of material resources like the agricultural yieldings and the possible use of iron. the settlement was also one step further into the middle basin and later the eastern basin of the Ganges. the successive intrusions of the Aryans from the upper tract of the Ganges into the eastern part of the Doab is associated with a few other characteristics. use of iron tools and artifacts, material abundance, emergence of kingship and the ideas of political sovereignty in stead of tribal chieftainship, the a shift towards a Northern Black Polishware culture. the growing urbanism, the Upanishadic trend of renunciation. the emergence of two great protestant religions i.e Buddhism and Jainism played an immensely beautiful role not only providing a philosophical base for the kingship and providing the intellectual sustenance but also providing the posterity with a more than valuable Pali source material, the various Nikayas and the eminent Suttas which amply explains and authenticates this contemporary growth. among the sixteen city-states, Magadha gained importance in the later stage, also important were Kashi, Koshala, Chedi, Avanti, Anga, Gandhara, Gandhara, Kamboja, Matsya, Panchala, Vajji, and Vatsa, taking a domineering roe in shaping the course of later stages of Ancient India.