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India History Essay

Around 2000 B. C. people called Aryan started invading India. This process continued to approximately 1000 B. C. Aryan tribes were led by kings. The Aryans conquered the native population, intermarried with it and settled in peasant villages. The Aryans brought their religion to India. The various sacrifices of the Aryan cults were accompanied by chanted hymns. These hymns comprised the first great religion work of the Aryans – the Rig Veda. The Veda and the Brahmins, the priests, came to hold a most prominent place in Vedic society. By about the forth century B. C. Hinduism had supplanted the older Vedic faith and became supreme.

During this period two new religions Buddhism and Jainism developed out of Hinduism. The basic institution of the society was the extended family. The family consisted of eldest male and his wife, their sons, grandsons and heir wives and children and unmarried daughters. The majority of Hindu families lived in villages and agriculture was their basic occupation. When Aryans settled in India, their society was organized around four varnas or orders. Brahmans (priests) were the highest varna. The second varna consisted f the Kshatriyas or warriors, rulers and administrators.

The third varna consisted of the Vaishya or merchants. The Shudras belonged to the lowest varna. During classic period, hundreds of sub-varnas, jatis, developed. Membership in a caste was determined by birth and Hindus were not allowed to marry members of other castes. The village was governed by its headman and a council. Both were members of highest caste in the village. Villages compose kingdoms and empires which were ruled by monarchs. In 1018 A. D. Mahmud of Chazhi invaded India from Afghanistan. This was the date hen Muslims started to rule India.

Islam, the religion of new invaders had a great influence on Indian culture. Muslim invaders intermarried with Hindus, and this process produced a Muslim minority with Hindu heritage. During this time a new language called Hindustani emerged replacing Sanskrit. Then came European merchants looking for spices. In 1707 the British found it possible to intervene India. Alliances with native kings and usage of armies were the leading feature of this intervention. The Battle of Plessey in 1757 in Bengal, the British and their allies and established themselves as a supreme ower in India.

Gradually the British extended their control over all the territory of modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. In 1813 India was opened to the humanitarian and civilizing “mission” of the missionary and the commercial travelers. After 1813 the British were concerned with governing and improving India as they thought best. At this time the evangelists and missionaries began to build their own schools for the education of Indians. In 1857 there was a huge rebellion in India-Mutiny. The rebels were defeated. However, the rebellion did change the way the British started to rule India.

With the suppression of the Mutiny, the company that had ruled before, was abolished and India was placed under the Crown. Shortly after this the Suez Canal was opened. This meant that India economy could be better connected tho economy of Europe; communications became much more rapid. More and more Europeans started visiting India and more Indians started visiting Europe. Direct telegraphic communications were opened as well. At the same time, many new railroads and roads were built. New colleges, primarily for the British, were opened.

Being under a lot of pressure, in 1909 the British Government allowed Indians to vote. However, it was required that Hindus could vote only for Hindus, Muslims for Muslims etc. Around 1885, Indian nationalism was loyal to the British. By the end of the century, however, more and more nationalist supporters of direct actions appeared. In 1920 Mahatma Gandhi became the leader of the Congress. Under his leadership, the Congress Party became a most national party. By the end of World War ll it became clear that India would be partition into the new nations. In 1947 India was declared an independent secular republic.

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