History of North India
For centuries, North India has seen empires rise and fall, starting with the grand Indus Valley civilization, which was among the first three civilizations in the world!
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History of North India: From the ancient to the modern
Aryan migration from Central Asia forced the original Dravidian inhabitants to move southwards although North India resisted several invasions from the West, including that of Macedonian Alexander the Great.
In the 4th century BCE, Chandragupta Maurya extended his kingdom to include the whole of North India. His descendant Ashoka helped spread Buddhism throughout India and Asia.
In the Middle Ages, Muslim armies began to invade North India, starting with Muhammad of Ghazni in the 11th century CE, which paved the way for Babur – the first Mughal Emperor of India. The Mughals brought an age of enlightenment and prosperity to North India. Akbar, was known as a wise and just Mughal ruler and Shah Jahan is credited with building the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife. Several powerful groups opposed Mughal rule from time to time, including the fierce Rajputs of Rajasthan and the Marathas led by Shivaji, but were eventually subdued.
European presence in India dates back to the 15th century with the arrival of the Portuguese in the south-western coast. The British proved to be the dominant colonial power in India by the 19th century, abolishing several draconian practices, building railways and espousing education, yet their colonial rule caused some of the worst famines and genocides in Indian history. After much struggle and strife, India achieved independence in 1947 but had to pay a heavy price in the form of the partition.
North India was divided to form the Islamic nation of Pakistan and millions of Hindus migrated to for fear of persecution. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, did much to bring stability and peace to the country. When Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi ascended the throne, she faced a nation grappling with severe economic and social problems. Police brutality, unrest and upheavals continued in North India for several decades.
Delhi, the seat of the Indian government and the heart of the country, has indeed seen it all! Today, the united North is a perfect representation of diverse religions, cultures and traditions that make up India.
Did you know?
The Vedas – sacred Hindu scriptures, were penned around 1200 BCE and the Hindu social system was firmly established around this time. Even today, the rigid caste system prevails in rural areas and you will find the upper castes maintaining their distance from the lower untouchable castes.
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