NATIONAL NARRATIVE: The History of India


Welcome to National Narrative. My name is
Jordan M. Kersey and you are about to watch a specially made video presentation about
the history of the nation of India. Now this video can be a little lengthy, so don’t worry,
this video is divided into chapters so that if you ever need to watch specific parts of
the history of India, you can do that. I hope you enjoy! India is a country in South Asia bounded
by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on
the southeast. It is the seventh-largest country by area. The Himalaya mountain range lies north-east
of India, while the Thar Desert lies North-west on the border with Pakistan. The original Indian Plate survives as peninsular
India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as
the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the
Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand
in the east. To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau,
is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern
Ghats; the plateau contains the country’s oldest rock formations, some over one billion
years old. Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially
flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into
the Bay of Bengal. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi;
the latter’s extremely low gradient, caused by long-term silt deposition, leads to severe
floods and course changes. Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients
prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri,
and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal; and the Narmada and
the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea. India is the second-most populous country
with about 1.37 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. The Urban population as of 2011 was 31.2%. The literacy rate in 2011 was 74% India has no national language. Hindi, with
the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government. English is used
extensively in business and administration and has the status of a “subsidiary official
language”; it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education.
Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution
recognizes in particular 22 “scheduled languages”. The 2011 census reported that the religion in
India with the largest number of followers was Hinduism,
followed by Islam. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions
of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones. The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated
with Hinduism, were composed during this period. The Veda, for orthodox Indian
theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation,
and texts that have been more carefully preserved since ancient times. Most historians also consider this period
to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the
north-west. The Indo-Aryan migrations started in approximately 1800 BCE, after the
invention of the war chariot. Ecological studies reveal that in the second millennium
BCE widespread aridization lead to water shortages triggered large-scale migrations, resulting
in the merger of migrating peoples with the post-urban cultures. This period saw the rise of the caste system,
which created a hierarchy tied with Hinduism. The Brahmin class included priests, teachers,
and protectors of sacred learning across generations. Theoretically, the Brahmins were the highest
class of the social order. The Kshatriya class included rulers, administrators, and all the
warriors in society. The Vaishya class included traders, moneylenders, farmers and cowherds.
The Shudra class included the manual laborers and servants. The Dalit class, meaning “broken/scattered”,
included the indigenous people of India that were repressed by the Indo-Aryan peoples,
and any other individuals that were street cleaners, latrine cleaners, or rejects from
the other classes. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th
century BCE, the small states and chiefdom of the Ganges Plain and the north-western
regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.
Two of them were most probably ganatantras (republics). The 6th–5th century BCE is often regarded
as a major turning point in early Indian history; it saw the emergence of India’s first large
cities after the demise of the Indus Valley Civilization. The emerging urbanization gave rise to non-Vedic
religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during
the life of its exemplar, Mahavira. Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha,
attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the
life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India. In
an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal, and
both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom
of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire, which
was founded by Chandragupta Maurya. Chandragupta Maurya raised an army and overthrew the Nanda
Empire in c. 322 BCE. Chandragupta rapidly expanded his power westwards across central
and western India by conquering the satraps left by Alexander the Great, and by 317 BCE the
empire had fully occupied northwestern India. The Mauryan Empire then defeated the Seleucid
Empire during the Seleucid–Mauryan war, thus acquiring territory west of the Indus
River. Under Chandragupta Maurya and his successors,
internal and external trade, agriculture, and economic activities all thrived and expanded
across South Asia due to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration,
and security. The Maurya dynasty built the Grand Trunk Road, one of Asia’s oldest and longest
trade networks, connecting the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia. After the Kalinga
War, the Empire experienced nearly half a century of centralized rule under Ashoka.
The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of the modern Republic
of India. The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management
of public life as for Ashoka’s renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the
Buddhism. Between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula
was ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively
with the Roman Empire and with South-East Asia. The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire
existing from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 543 CE. The ruling dynasty of the empire
was founded by the king Sri Gupta. By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had
created a complex system of administration and taxation in the greater Ganges Plain that
became a model for later Indian kingdoms. Some historians consider the Golden Age of India
to last from 319 to 543 A.D. This Golden Age was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture,
which found patrons among an urban elite. Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian
science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances. After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian
nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity
and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia’s north-western plains, leading eventually to
the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206. Qutb
al-Din Aibak, a former Turkic Mamluk slave of Muhammad Ghori was the first sultan of
Delhi, and his Mamluk dynasty conquered large areas of northern India. The Delhi Sultanate stretched
over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526). The sultanate was
to control much of North India and to make many forays into South India. Although at
first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim
subject population to its own laws and customs. The sultanate is noted for being one of the few
powers to repel attacks by the Mongols, causing the decline of Buddhism in East India and Bengal, and
enthroning one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana, who reigned from
1236 to 1240. The sultanate’s raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of
South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire. The Vijayanagara Empire was based
in the Deccan Plateau region in South India. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and
his brother Bukka Raya I of Sangama Dynasty. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination
of attempts by the southern powers to ward off Islamic invasions by the end of the 13th
century. It lasted until 1646, although its power declined after a major military defeat
in the Battle of Talikota in 1565 by the combined armies of the Deccan sultanates. The Vijayanagara
Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting
Hinduism as a unifying factor. In the early 16th century, northern India,
then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell again to the superior mobility and firepower
of a new generation of Central Asian warriors. The Mughal Empire, or Mogul Empire, was an early-modern
empire in South Asia which lasted about two centuries. At its greatest extent, it was
one of the largest empires in the history of South Asia.
The Mughal Empire is conventionally said to have been founded in 1526 by Babur, a warrior
chieftain from what today is Uzbekistan, who employed aid from the neighboring Safavid and Ottoman empires to
defeat the Sultan of Delhi in the First Battle of Panipat, and to sweep down the plains
of Upper India. The Mughal Empire was created and sustained by military warfare, but the
resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule. Instead,
it balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse
and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralized, and uniform
rule. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals
united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianized culture, to
an emperor who had near-divine status. The Mughal state’s economic policies, deriving
most revenues from agriculture and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver
currency, caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets. The relative
peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India’s
economic expansion, resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles,
and architecture. Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian
commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India. Mughal
India was a world leader in manufacturing, producing about 25% of the world’s industrial output
up until the 18th century. By the early 18th century, with the lines
between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European
trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts. The
company rose to account for half of the world’s trade, particularly in basic commodities
including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpeter, tea, and opium. The East India Company’s control
of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to
increasingly flex its military muscle and caused it to become attractive to a portion
of the Indian elite; these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain control over
the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies. The
battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left
the company in control of Bengal with the right to collect revenue, in Bengal and Bihar, and
a major military and political power in India. Its further access to the riches of Bengal
and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue
most of India by the 1820s. By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British
East India company had a private army of about 260,000, much of which were composed of native
Indian sepoys—twice the size of the British Army. India was then no longer exporting manufactured
goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British Empire with raw materials. Many
historians consider this to be the onset of India’s colonial period. Lord Dalhousie was a Scottish statesman and
colonial administrator in British India. He served as Governor-General of India from
1848 to 1856. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East
India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. He is credited with introducing
passenger trains in railways, electric telegraph and uniform postage in India which he described
as the “three great engines of social improvement”. He also founded the Public Works Department in
India. To his supporters he stands out as the far-sighted Governor-General who consolidated East
India Company rule in India, laid the foundations of its later administration, and by his sound
policy enabled his successors to stem the tide of rebellion. The Indian Rebellion
of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the
rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf
of the British Crown. The rebellion began on May 10, 1857 in the form of a mutiny of sepoys of
the Company’s army in the garrison town of Meerut. After the outbreak of the mutiny in Meerut,
the rebels very quickly reached Delhi, whose 81-year-old Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah
Zafar, they declared the Emperor of Hindustan. Many Indians rose against the British; however,
many also fought for the British, and the majority remained seemingly compliant to British
rule. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to British power in that region, and
was contained only with the rebels’ defeat in Gwalior on June 20, 1858. Even so,
the rebellion proved to be an important watershed in Indian- and British Empire history. It
led to the dissolution of the East India Company, and forced the British to reorganize the army,
the financial system, and the administration in India, through passage of the Government
of India Act 1858. India was thereafter administered directly by the British government
in the new British Raj. On November 1 1858, Queen Victoria issued a proclamation
to Indians, which while lacking the authority of a constitutional provision, promised
rights similar to those of other British subjects. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual
but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and
landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest. In the decades following,
public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian
National Congress in 1885. The Indian Army during World War I contributed
a large number of divisions and independent brigades to the European, Mediterranean and
the Middle East theatres of war in World War I.
The Indian Army fought against the German Empire in German East Africa and on the Western
Front, and against the Ottoman Empire in Egypt, Gallipoli and Iraq against the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, in which approximately one
million Indians served, a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but
also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings
of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would
become the leader and enduring symbol. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian
lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, who employed nonviolent resistance to
lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British Rule, and
in turn inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Assuming leadership
of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing
poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability,
and above all for achieving Self-rule for India. During the Second World War (1939–1945), India was
controlled by the United Kingdom. British India officially declared war on Nazi Germany in
September 1939. The British Raj, as part of the Allied Nations, sent over two and
a half million soldiers to fight under British command against the Axis powers. Indians fought the Germans in Europe and North
Africa, and against the Japanese in South-East Asia. Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of
the Indian Army asserted the British “couldn’t have come through both world wars [World War
I and II] if they hadn’t had the Indian Army.” The Indian Army during World War II was
one of the largest contingents of the Allied forces. After the end of the war, India emerged
as the world’s fourth largest industrial power and its increased political, economic and
military influence paved the way for its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. Gandhi’s vision of an independent India based
on religious pluralism was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism
which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India. In August 1947,
Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into
two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. As many displaced
Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke
out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in
Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months
following, he undertook several fasts unto death to stop religious violence. On January
30, 1948, a Hindu nationalist shot Gandhi. Gandhi is commonly, though not formally considered
the Father of the Nation in India. The National Flag of India is a horizontal
rectangular tricolor of India saffron orange, white and India green; with the Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke
wheel, in navy blue at its center. It was adopted in its present form and it became
the official flag on August 15, 1947. Saffron orange, white and green were chosen
for the three bands, representing courage and sacrifice, peace and truth, and faith
and chivalry respectively. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful
change, and that India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. Vital to India’s self-image as an independent
nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic
republic. It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an active Supreme Court,
and a largely independent press. Economic liberalization, which began in the 1990s,
has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world’s fastest-growing
economies. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global
culture. Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding
poverty, both rural and urban; by religious and caste-related violence; by Maoist-inspired Naxalite
insurgencies; and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India. Religious
violence in India includes acts of violence generally between Hindus and Muslims, often
in the form of rioting. From 2005 to 2009, an average of 130 people died every year from
communal violence. The Naxalite–Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict between Communist
or Maoist groups known as Naxalites and the Indian government supported by right-wing
paramilitaries. The Naxalite–Maoist insurgency gained international media attention after
the 2013 Naxal attack in Darbha valley resulted in the deaths of around 24 Indian National
Congress leaders. The insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir is an uprising or revolt against
the Indian administration of Jammu and Kashmir, a region constituting the
southern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between
India and Pakistan since 1947. Some insurgent groups in Kashmir support the complete
independence of Kashmir, whereas others seek accession to Pakistan. India has unresolved territorial disputes
with China and with Pakistan. The India–Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a
head in 1998. India’s sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world’s newer
nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged
population remains a goal yet to be achieved. Cricket is the most popular sport in India. In India, several traditional indigenous sports
remain fairly popular, such as kabaddi, kho kho, pehlwani and gilli-danda. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial
arts, such as kalarippayattu, musti yuddha, silambam, and marma adi, originated in India. Chess, commonly held to have originated in
India as chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of
Indian grandmasters. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is
the space agency of the Government of India. Its vision is to “harness space technology
for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”. ISRO began in 1969. ISRO built India’s first satellite, Aryabhata,
which was launched by the Soviet Union on April 19 1975. In 1980, Rohini became
the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. ISRO sent a lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1,
on October 22, 2008, which discovered lunar water in the form of ice, and the Mars
Orbiter Mission, on November 5, 2013, which entered Mars orbit on September 24, 2014,
making India the first nation to succeed on its maiden attempt to Mars, as well as the first
space agency in Asia to reach Mars’ orbit. On July 22, 2019, ISRO launched its second
lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 to study the lunar geology and the distribution of lunar
water. Future plans include human spaceflight, a space
station, interplanetary probes, and a solar spacecraft mission. Thank you for watching my video. Feel free
to subscribe, comment, and share. Next week you can look forward to my next video presentation
which will be about the history of the nation of Germany. Until then, see you later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *