Advent of Islam in India

Islam came to India with Muslim invasions and Arab trade to the Malabar coast in the 7th-8th century. Islamic expansion arrived in India in the 12th century and has since become a part of India’s religious and cultural heritage.

Trade relations have existed between Arabia and the Indian subcontinent from ancient times. Even in the pre- Islamic era, Arab traders used to visit the Malabar region . The first Indian Mosque , Cheraman Juma Masjid was built in 629A.D in kodungallur,Kerala. In malabar , the Mapillas were the first community of Muslims in India. They descended  from from the Arabs and the local converts.

In the 8th century , the province of Sind ( in present day Pakistan) was conquered by an Arab army led by Mohammed bin Qasim . Sind became the easternmost province of the Umayyad caliphate. During the arab rule many people converted to islam. Sind and Multan were under the direct rule of Umayyad caliphate and had direct contact with Arabia.

The Islamic rule over Northern India began with the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni. The initial raids were directed towards the Hindushahi rulers who tthat time ruled Peshawar and the Punjab . He gradually advanced into the Northern and Western parts of India. He raided and looted Nagarkot, Thanesar , Mathura , kannauj , Kalinjar and Somnath . Mahmud never maintained a permanent presence in India . In 1025, he made a plan for raiding Somnath which had a fabulously rich temple and attracted lakhs of pilgrims . In the wake of these invasions a number of preachers called the Sufis  came to Punjab . The sufis spread the message of love , faith and dedication to one God . They directed their preachings mainly towards the Muslim settlers but also incfluenced some Hindus. Thus, the process of Interaction between Islam and Hindu religion and society started.

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Important events in world history between 1000 A.D and 1500 A.D

1192 A.D- Mohammed Ghori defeated Prithviraj Chauhan at the battle of Tarain.

1206 A.D-1227 A.D- Reign of Genghis Khan of the Mongol Empire, Establishment of Mamluk Sultanate under Qutubuddin Aibak.

1265 A.D – Reign of Balban.

1288,1293 A.D- Marco Polo’s visits to southern India

1325 -51 A.D – Reign of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq, Ibn Battuta visits India.

1492 – Discovery of Americas by Christopher Columbus.

1498 – Arrival of Vasco da Gama in india

Vedic civilisation

The vedic civilisation is connected with the arrival of Aryans , an Indo-European speaking population into India around 1500 B.C. Their language Sanskrit had similarities with Latin, Iranian languages, English , German etc. Most scholars like Max Muller believe that Aryans came to India from Central Asia ( precisely northern Iran , Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan ) . Genetic evidence also supports this.

The geneticist PP Majumder (2010) has recently argued that the findings of Reich et al. (2009) are in remarkable concordance with previous research using mtDNA and Y-DNA:[49]

Central Asian populations are supposed to have been major contributors to the Indian gene pool, particularly to the northern Indian gene pool, and the migrants had supposedly moved into India through what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan. Using mitochondrial DNA variation data collated from various studies, we have shown that populations of Central Asia and Pakistan show the lowest coefficient of genetic differentiation with the north Indian populations, a higher differentiation with the south Indian populations, and the highest with the northeast Indian populations. Northern Indian populations are genetically closer to Central Asians than populations of other geographical regions of India… . Consistent with the above findings, a recent study using over 500,000 biallelic autosomal markers has found a north to south gradient of genetic proximity of Indian populations to western Eurasians. This feature is likely related to the proportions of ancestry derived from the western Eurasian gene pool, which, as this study has shown, is greater in populations inhabiting northern India than those inhabiting southern India.

The Aryans however were not united . They were divided   among themselves and   fought many battles. In the battle of the ten kings there were two groups, one consisted of   Sirinjayayas and Bharatas, while the other group consisted of Yadus , Turvasas ,Druhyus, Pakhtas, Anus etc. King Sudas , the King of Bharatas emerged as victorious and gave the name ‘Bharatvarsha’ to the region they settled in. The Aryans also battled the aboriginal tribes of India whom they called Dasyus, Asuras etc.

The sources to understand Aryan culture was Vedas. The Vedas were regarded as Apaurusheyas (not composed by mortals) and srutis ( heard from the mouth of God). The Vedic literature was divided into four parts The Rigveda, The Yajurveda, The Atarvaveda and The Samaveda.

The early administrative system of  Aryans appears to be essentially tribal in nature. The chief of the tribe was called Rajan(king) and he exercised supreme authority over his tribe. The king was assisted by a number of officials such as Purohita (chief Priest), Senani(army chief) and Gramani(head of village). Popular assemblies like Sabha and Samiti also existed in the early vedic age.

A peculiar feature of the vedic age was the varna system . In the beginning there were three classes Brahman , Rajnya and Vis  i.e , the priests , the warriors and the common people. Later it evolved into a four fold division of the society consisting of Brahmans, Kshatriyas , Vaishyas and the Shudras. The Brahmans consisted of teachers and priests , the Kshatriyas kings and warriors , the merchants and bankers were the Vaishyas and the artisans and labourers  were the Shudras. This later evolved into the caste system in Indian society we know today.

The Aryans worshipped  various deities like Prithvi, Soma , Varuna, Mitra, Dyaus, Surya, Vishnu,Savitri , the Adityas and the Ushas.Sacrifices followed by devout prayer occupied a prominent place in Rigvedic worship.

The Aryans left a huge legacy in the form of literature . The Vedas , the Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata were all composed during the Vedic period. Women also enjoyed a position of respect and honour in the society during this period. Many modern indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Odia, Punjabi , Marathi ,Gujarati etc all descended from Sanskrit , which was the language of Aryans.

References:

  1. S.R Myneni ; Indian History ; Allahabad Law Agency
  2. K.L Khurana ; Ancient India : Lakshmi Narain Agarwal Publishers.
  3. www. wikipedia.com

Important events in world history between 500 A.D and 1000 A.D

570 A.D- Birth of Prophet Mohammed

610 A.D- Quranic Revelation to the Prophet

622 A.D- Date of Hegira ( emigration to Medina)

632 A.D- Rise of Rashidun Caliphate

671 A.D – Rise of Umayyad Caliphate

712 A.D- Arab conquest of Sind

750 A.D – Rise of Abbasid Caliphate ,Pala dynasty found in eastern India by Gopala

814 A.D-  Reign of Amoghavarsha , the Rastrakuta king started

840 A.D- Rise of Gurjara – Pratiharas under King Bhoja

997 – 1030 A.D – Raids of Mahmud of Ghazni in Northern India , Alberuni in India.

Indus valley Civilisation

The Indus Valley civilisation developed along the bank of the Indus river . The two main sites of this civilisation are  Harappa located in Montgomery district ( now in Pakistan ) which is 180 km from Lahore and Mohen-jo-daro , which is situated in Larkana district in Sindh ( now in Pakistan). Other settlements of this civilisation include Channudaro in Sindh, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat, etc. The civilisation covered a large geographical area extending from Sutkagendor in Baluchistan( Pakistan) to Alamgirpur in western Uttar  Pradesh.

The Indus Valley Civilisation is famous for its urban life. The cities of Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa are known for their remarkable town planning. The overall layout of the cities is distinguished by the orientation of streets and buildings, according to the cardinal directions east-west and north-south and fortification all around .  Each city comprised of walled sectors or citadels or mounds . Inside the citadels the important institutions of civic and public life were located.

The towns of Indus Valley Civilisation had well developed drainage system. They had an elaborate system of drainage on scientific pattern as is being followed today . The small house drains were connected with the street drainage system which led the water to a pool away from the township.  Main drain of the town was 75cm to 150 cm broad which helped to drain off the rain water  from the interior of the city.

The Indus valley people were also skilled in arts and crafts . Among the figures excavated include a bull, a yogi and a  bronze dancing girl. Some fine specimens of pottery have also been excavated from Mohenjodaro.

The Indus valley people also engaged in external trade and commerce with Mesopotamia and Egypt. Agricultural produce , copper, semi-precious stones ,etc were traded .

The  prominent feature of  religion during the Indus valley period was the worship of Mother-Goddess. They also worshipped Pashupati or Shiva. He was depicted as sitting in the position of a Yogi.

The Indus valley Civilisation is still shrouded in mystery as their script has not been deciphered yet .  The decline of the civilisation may be attributed to environmental degradation . Droughts and famines might have become a recurring feature which finally led to its decline . Wheeler opined that the Aryans who came from Central Asia  may have been responsible for its destruction.

References :

  1. S.R Myneni ; Indian history ; Allahabad Law Agency.

2. Ancient India ; K.L Khurana ; Lakshmi Narain Agarwal publishers

Important historical events

Here are some important events in world history between 400 B.C and 5th century A.D(with special reference to India):

327-325 B.C-Alexander the Great in India

268-231 B.C-Reign of Ashoka

330 A.D-Rise of Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantine Empire

405-411 A.D-Visit of Fa hien to India

434- 453 A.D- Reign of Atilla , the Hun

500 A.D- Huns control North-Western India