History of India

One of the great early civilizations made its home in the Indus River Valley around 2500 BC along the Indus River valley. Its great cities were Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. Nobody is quite sure what caused their decline. Then between 1500 and 200 BC, Aryan invaders from Central Asia came to India and pushed the original Dravidian inhabitants south.

Over the next few centuries, several kingdoms rose and fell in different parts of the country, including the Maurya kingdom and the Gupta empire. India was invaded by various people including the Huns and the Mongols. Most notable were the Muslim Ghurs in 1192, who brought the entire Gangetic basin under their control within 20 years. In the south, the mighty Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, and the fragmented Bahmani Islamic kingdom came to power.

The Mughal emperors defeated the Sultan of Delhi in 1525, and ushered in another artistic golden age. The Maratha Empire grew during the 17th century and gradually took over more of the Mughals' domain. The Marathas consolidated control of central India until they fell to the last great imperial power, the British.

The British established their power over India by 1803 and started using the country as a place to make money. Unlike the Mughals, they did not assimilate into the culture, nor did they think of the country as their own. The treated the local Indian people as ‘natives’. The Uprising (also known as the War of Independence) in northern India in 1857 was the first mark of protest.

By the turn of the 20th century, Indians had started opposing foreign rule in earnest. The struggle for freedom was fought on many fronts by many people across the country, most significant of them being Gandhi who adopted a policy of passive resistance, or satyagraha.

India finally attained independence on 15 August, 1947. Muslim parties had fought for a separate country all along and so the country was also divided to form the separate nation of Pakistan. When the dividing line was announced, the greatest exodus in human history took place as Muslims moved to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs relocated to India. Over 10 million people changed sides and even the most conservative estimates calculate that 250,000 people were killed.

In the years after independence, India struggled to grow its economy but finally started doing that only as recently as five years ago.


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