History, Culture and the Indian City


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Population growth rate: 1. The people of the Harappan Civilization worshipped many gods and engaged in ritual worship. Statues of various deities such as Indra , the god of storm and war have been found at many sites and, chief among them, terracotta pieces depicting the Shakti the Mother Goddess suggesting a popular, common worship of the feminine principle.

In about BCE it is thought another race, known as the Aryans, migrated into India through the Khyber Pass and assimilated into the existing culture, perhaps bringing their gods with them. While it is widely accepted that the Aryans brought the horse to India, there is some debate as to whether they introduced new deities to the region or simply influenced the existing belief structure. The Aryans are thought to have been pantheists nature worshippers with a special devotion to the sun and it seems uncertain they would have had anthropomorphic gods.

At about this same time c. Scholars cite climate change as one possible reason. The Indus River is thought to have begun flooding the region more regularly as evidenced by approximately 30 feet or 9 meters of silt at Mohenjo-Daro and the great cities were abandoned. Other scholars cite the Aryan migration as more of an invasion of the land which brought about a vast displacement of the populace. Among the most mysterious aspects of Mohenjo-Daro is the vitrification of parts of the site as though it had been exposed to intense heat which melted the brick and stone.

This same phenomenon has been observed at sites such as Traprain Law in Scotland and attributed to the results of warfare. Speculation regarding the destruction of the city by some kind of ancient atomic blast possibly the work of aliens from other planets is not generally regarded as credible. The lowest caste was the Dalits , the untouchables, who handled meat and waste, though there is some debate over whether this class existed in antiquity.

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This understanding was a reflection of the belief in an eternal order to human life dictated by a supreme deity. The underlying tenet of Sanatan Dharma is that there is an order and a purpose to the universe and human life and, by accepting this order and living in accordance with it, one will experience life as it is meant to be properly lived. While Sanatan Dharma is considered by many a polytheistic religion consisting of many gods, it is actually monotheistic in that it holds there is one god, Brahma the Self , who, because of his greatness, cannot be fully apprehended save through the many aspects which are revealed as the different gods of the Hindu pantheon.

It is Brahma who decrees the eternal order and maintains the universe through it. This belief in an order to the universe reflects the stability of the society in which it grew and flourished as, during the Vedic Period, governments became centralized and social customs integrated fully into daily life across the region. Besides The Vedas , the great religious and literary works of the Upanishads , the Puranas , the Mahabharata , and the Ramayana all come from this period.

These changes in religion were a part of a wider pattern of social and cultural upheaval which resulted in the formation of city-states and the rise of powerful kingdoms such as the Magadha Kingdom under the ruler Bimbisara. Increased urbanization and wealth attracted the attention of Cyrus , ruler of the Persian Empire , who invaded India in BCE and initiated a campaign of conquest in the region. Ten years later, under the reign of his son, Darius I , northern India was firmly under Persian control the regions corresponding to Afghanistan and Pakistan today and the inhabitants of that area subject to Persian laws and customs.

One consequence of this, possibly, was an assimilation of Persian and Indian religious beliefs which some scholars point to as an explanation for further religious and cultural reforms. One year later, Alexander had defeated the Achaemenid Empire and firmly conquered the Indian subcontinent. Again, foreign influences were brought to bear on the region giving rise to the Greco- Buddhist culture which impacted all areas of culture in northern India from art to religion to dress. Statues and reliefs from this period depict Buddha , and other figures, as distinctly Hellenic in dress and pose known as the Gandhara School of Art.

His son was Ashoka the Great lived , reigned BCE under whose rule the empire flourished at its height. Eight years into his reign, Ashoka conquered the eastern city-state of Kalinga which resulted in a death toll numbering over , Shocked at the destruction and death, Ashoka embraced the teachings of the Buddha and embarked on a systematic program advocating Buddhist thought and principles.

He established many monasteries and gave lavishly to Buddhist communities. His ardent support of Buddhist values eventually caused a strain on the government both financially and politically as even his grandson, Sampadi, heir to the throne, opposed his policies.

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The country splintered into many small kingdoms and empires such as the Kushan Empire in what has come to be called the Middle Period. This era saw the increase of trade with Rome which had begun c. This was a time of individual and cultural development in the various kingdoms which finally flourished in what is considered the Golden Age of India under the reign of the Gupta Empire CE.

As Sri Gupta is thought to have been of the Vaishya merchant class, his rise to power in defiance of the caste system is unprecedented. He laid the foundation for the government which would so stabilize India that virtually every aspect of culture reached its height under the reign of the Guptas.

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Philosophy , literature , science , mathematics, architecture , astronomy, technology, art, engineering, religion, and astronomy, among other fields, all flourished during this period, resulting in some of the greatest of human achievements. The Puranas of Vyasa were compiled during this period and the famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora, with their elaborate carvings and vaulted rooms, were also begun. Kalidasa the poet and playwright wrote his masterpiece Shakuntala and the Kamasutra was also written, or compiled from earlier works, by Vatsyayana.

Varahamihira explored astronomy at the same time as Aryabhatta, the mathematician, made his own discoveries in the field and also recognized the importance of the concept of zero, which he is credited with inventing. As the founder of the Gupta Empire defied orthodox Hindu thought, it is not surprising that the Gupta rulers advocated and propagated Buddhism as the national belief and this is the reason for the plentitude of Buddhist works of art, as opposed to Hindu, at sites such as Ajanta and Ellora.

The empire declined slowly under a succession of weak rulers until it collapsed around CE. The Gupta Empire was then replaced by the rule of Harshavardhan CE who ruled the region for 42 years.

tribebemwelde.tk A literary man of considerable accomplishments he authored three plays in addition to other works Harsha was a patron of the arts and a devout Buddhist who forbade the killing of animals in his kingdom but recognized the necessity to sometimes kill humans in battle. He was a highly skilled military tactician who was only defeated in the field once in his life. Under his reign, the north of India flourished but his kingdom collapsed following his death. The invasion of the Huns had been repeatedly repelled by the Guptas and then by Harshavardhan but, with the fall of his kingdom, India fell into chaos and fragmented into small kingdoms lacking the unity necessary to fight off invading forces.

The Muslim invasion saw an end to the indigenous empires of India and, from then on, independent city-states or communities under the control of a city would be the standard model of government. The Islamic Sultanates rose in the region of modern-day Pakistan and spread north-west. The disparate world views of the religions which now contested each other for acceptance in the region and the diversity of languages spoken, made the unity and cultural advances, such as were seen in the time of the Guptas, difficult to reproduce. Consequently, the region was easily conquered by the Islamic Mughal Empire.

India would then remain subject to various foreign influences and powers among them the Portuguese, the French, and the British until finally winning its independence in CE. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Mark, J. Ancient India.


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    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City History, Culture and the Indian City
    History, Culture and the Indian City

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