India

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
of 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
when 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
power 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.

Category: History