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  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveller55 View Post
    Because first 'documented history' we have, is somewhere around the whole Bimbisara-Prasenjit-Ajatshatru period. Prior to that, there are literally no written history of the kings and the only thing mentioned prior to it, is the Mahabharata - which is half history, half fantasy.

    There are also no epigraphical inscriptions of Indian rulers prior to this period.
    In that case , my question to you : Are the written accounts only way of knowing or corroborating a region's history?


    Tazimi Sirdar

  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    I say so because I once did research on the Maurya empire and I found that there was very little corroboration and too much reliance on legends and folklore. Even the rise of Chandragupta Maurya cannot be ascertained with a degree of reliability, let alone all the exploits later. A lot of what we accept as history is derived straight from the Vedas Hindu mythology
    Err, false.
    Ashoka is quite literally the anchor of South Asian history.
    'Devanampriya Priyadarshi' is associated with Ashoka (as in Ashoka is named with that epithet) in Kalinga inscriptions.

    Ofcourse the start of Chandragupta himself would be clouded- dynastic founders are either very well documented or very poorly.
    But Chandragupta himself is well corroborated in Greek history as Sandrocottus. So his existence is not myth either.

    For the first pan-subcontinent empire, it is natural that their rulers would suffer from a fair degree of mythification.

  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by TM Riddle View Post
    In that case , my question to you : Are the written accounts only way of knowing or corroborating a region's history?
    If not for written accounts, inscriptions or coin hoardes, there is literally nothing else to go on.

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveller55 View Post
    If not for written accounts, inscriptions or coin hoardes, there is literally nothing else to go on.
    There are no written records of IVC and their culture either (if you are gonna bring up the seals then the script hasn't been deciphered yet). Going by your logic , should we question the entire finding?


    Tazimi Sirdar

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by TM Riddle View Post
    There are no written records of IVC and their culture either (if you are gonna bring up the seals then the script hasn't been deciphered yet). Going by your logic , should we question the entire finding?
    IVC is not historical. Ie, we know nothing about them. We know nothing of their politics, who were their kings, what type of government they had, etc. etc.

    its like the same story with pre 5000 BC mesopotamia. We have Ubaid culture. Or the Samarra culture.
    Or more recently, the European cultures like Urnfield, Beaker culture etc around 1000-2000 BC.

    Yes, we have their stuff, we know how people lived in those times in that part of the world. But thats it.

    History is account of who ruled from where, what they did, how they did, etc.

    At that point, the culture just becomes an archeological find, thats it.

    What i meant to say, is we know nothing of the history of the subcontinent - apart from the fact that it was inhabited by farming peoples who made cities - prior to 500s BC. And sometimes, like in the 3000-1800 BC period, the cities were quite sophisticated.

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by TM Riddle View Post
    There are no written records of IVC and their culture either (if you are gonna bring up the seals then the script hasn't been deciphered yet). Going by your logic , should we question the entire finding?
    The claims arent the same.

    what we know about them is deciphered from artefacts, irrigation system, infrastructure etc

    the focus is not on kings and their impact or exploits etc


    #MPGA

  7. #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    The claims arent the same.

    what we know about them is deciphered from artefacts, irrigation system, infrastructure etc

    the focus is not on kings and their impact or exploits etc
    That's just one way of looking at history . To me the social , cultural and economic life of original inhabitants matter far more than just studying about a bunch of Kings and Nobles and in IVC's case we have plenty of information available about how general population lived , their religious beliefs , trades with other civilizations etc . That's plenty of info for a civilization with no deciphered written records.


    Tazimi Sirdar

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immchr View Post
    There are a lot of myths being perpetuated as true facts.

    First and foremost, the myth of India always having consisted of small kingdoms and being politically weak most of the time.

    Let us investigate what we know of Indian history -

    We are taught that the 1st pan-Indian empire in Indian history is that of the Mauryans.

    However, the Mauryans largely succeeded the empire that had been created by the Nandas 100 years earlier.

    When Alexander came to India, politically the North-West was fragmented - the reason being almost all of it had been under the Iranian Achaemenid empire which had fallen to Alexander. However, all the small kingdoms and republics that Alexander fought against were very fierce warriors and the Greeks had a very very tough time. On approaching Gangetic plains, the Greeks learnt that what awaited them was the mighty confederacy of Gangaridai and Prasii who were very powerful. The strength of these confederies deflated the hopes of Alexander's troops and they demanded instant ceasing of further conquests. Read history of Alexander's march in India for more.

    The above shows that in Alexander's time, the ancient Indians (Pakistanis & Indians) were quite a military force to reckon with, even when they had small republics & kingdoms.

    After the death of Alexander, one of his generals, Seleucus, inherited most of his Iranian empire. This Seleucus, invaded India - which had united under Chandragupta, to conquer those regions that Chandragupta had conquered from Alexander's army after his death. However, Seleucus met with a resounding loss. Rather than winning back those territories, Seleucus lost all his territories between the Indus and the Kabul to Chandragupta. A majority portion of Afghanistan and Baluchistan passed into the hands of Indian political leadership.

    Though there were ups and downs, these frontier regions always defined the western boundaries of India for outsiders up until the time of Arabs.

    The Persian empire of the Arsacids and Sasanians hardly made any conquests in that frontier region.

    When the Arabs finally conquered Sindh in 712 AD, it was after a long decades old effort which started right from 644 AD. However, the Arabs never were able to conquer the Hindu Kingdoms of Kabul and Zabul which straddled Afghanistan and Pakistan. These powerful kingdoms survived upto 870 AD when Zabul finally fell to the Safarids. The Kabul Shahis, however, existed right upto the extinction of their royal house in 1026 AD under Ghaznavi.

    So, the frontier of India fought on for more than 3 centuries against the Arabs, who eventually gave up all hope of ever conquering those regions. It was finally left to Mahmud Ghaznavi who conquered them.

    -------

    The reason why Mahmud Ghaznavi had such a great success in India was due to 2 factors :-

    1. The 1st was that he was a very gifted and energetic military leader. There was no comparable leader in India at that time who could match him in these traits.

    2. North India, where his campaigns were limited to, had fragmented into smaller kingdoms, after the fall of the mighty Gurjara Pratihara empire. If people are unware of this glorious empire, please search in google, you'll know all there is to know about it. The Pratihars were rulers of North India for more than 2 centuries and were the backbone of Kabul Shahi might in the northwest as well. The Arabs of the 8th & 9th centuries, recorded that the Pratihars were the greatest enemies of Muslims (i.e. the empire of the Caliphate) in India and the small Islamic kingdoms of Mansure & Multan in Sindh, the only remnants of Islamic power in India at that time, greatly feared them. The Arabs, after conquering Sindh, had made inroads into NW India reaching deep into Gujarat and perhaps even Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh. However, soon enough they were driven back comprehensively and the great state that arose in response to these Arab incursions was the Gurjara Pratihara empire.

    Unfortunately for these Pratihars, they had two very powerful neighbouring empires to contend with, the Palas and the Rashtrakutas. The Rashtrakutas were more powerful than the Pratihars. Infact, the Arabs considered them as one of the 4 great empires of the world. These Rashtrakutas almost always defeated the Pratihars whenever they battled each other.

    Finally in the 10th century, a great invasion by the Rashtrakutas on the capital of Pratihars, Kannauj, almost totally destroyed their power and the various feudatories of Pratihars carved their own little kingdoms. These various feudatories formed most of what later came to be known as the the Rajput dynasties.

    Hence, North India had not recovered from this fall and Ghaznavi entered the right place at the right time. had Ghaznavi met the Pratihars at their peak, he would have been easily driven back to his place and he would not have been the celebrated figure that he is today.

    ----------------

    Similar things can be said about other periods of Indian history but the post will become unreadably long.

    To come to the point, Indian civilization was a very vibrant one before the 11th century. It influenced the entire region of South East Asia comprising modern day states of Indonesia, Burma, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam etc. All of this region was so thoroughly Indianised that the Arabs considered it a part of Al-Hind.

    Similarly, the region of Afghanistan as well as vast majority of regions in Central Asia were heavily influenced by India in their pre-Islamic period. The modern Xinjiang region of China, had several kingdoms in the pre-Islamic period, all of them were heavily Indianised. Indianised also was the region of Balkh or Tokharistan. Sogdiana, a country above Tokharistan, was not Buddhist, but here the Hindu religion (for lack of a better word) deeply influenced these multi-religious people. The influence on China also goes without saying.

    Such an enormous amount of cultural influence could not have been wielded by India if it was a people of weak pusillanimous disposition. The evidence clearly shows that in the pre-Islamic period, the Indians must have been a very vibrant, adventurous & brave people.

    However all good things come to an end. That is the nature of this world. Indian civilization from the 11th century began to recede and its civilizational footprint began to shrink. It rather began to absorb influences from outside.

    There is no shame in accepting that during the period of Islamic invasions, 'Hindu' India was not politically a strong counterweight. However, we should remember that the cause of Hindus was not so hopeless as imagined here :-

    1. The powerful Vijayanagar Empire was the richest empire in India at its peak and the Delhi Sultanate or any other contemporary Islamic dynasty in India could not match its richness and affluence. It lasted from 1336 upto 1646. However its political power already greatly declined in 1565.

    2. Hemachandra Vikramaditya, also known as Hemu, was on the verge of establishing Hindu rule over Delhi before he died of a freakish arrow in the battle against the teenage Akbar which he was clearly winning.

    3. There was Rana Sanga who had defeated Ibrahim Lodhi several times and had ambitions to rule Delhi and hence North India. The greatest battle Babur had in India was not with Lodhi but with Rana Sanga.

    4. The Marathas had conquered majority of India at the expense of Mughals before the rise of the British. Infact, the 18th century in India was dominated by the Marathas.

    This is top notch post, and the best post I have read on PP. Amount of information in brief points, amazing. People should read this post who want to know what happened in India before Delhi Sultanate. Are you the original author of this post or did you take it from some one else.

    Btw I m a huge Indian history buff!! Its hard to find much information before Sultanate.

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