India: A Brief History
First Published: ADawnJournal.com March 10, 2010
One of the oldest civilizations in the world is the civilization of India. Like China, it is one of the founding civilizations in human history, and it has had a profound impact on our lives for thousands of years. While it is not easy to sum up the history of a country going back thousands of years, this article will go through a brief history of this amazing land.
Pre-History of India
The first settlements in India began to appear about 9,000 years ago, and throughout the early part of the history of the country, it has been a mysterious land, but also a very spiritual one. Throughout pre-history, the country has been a strong civilization as well, even being the only civilization to beat back both the Mongols and Alexander the Great during its history.
It was during the third century BC that the country united under Asoka the Great, during a time that was called India’s Golden Age. It was during this time that India made great advances in mathematics, art, language, astronomy and religion. In fact, both Hinduism and Buddhism came from India around this time.
The country was able to keep itself an independent nation for a long period of time, but by the 16th century, the countries of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Portugal began to establish themselves around India, greatly disrupting the country. By 1856, the entire country became part of the British East India Company, essentially making it part of the British Empire. From this point on, for almost 100 years, the country would be under the direct rule of the British Empire. The country tried to fight against Britain in India’s First War of Independence, but they were not successful.
The citizens of India would continually try and push Britain out of their land for the first part of the 20th century. However, it was not until the legendary figure of Mahatma Gandhi came along and led millions of India towards independence through non-violent civil disobedience. Through this action, India gained its independence on August 15, 1947, along with the region of Pakistan. In 1950, the country became a republic and created its own constitution.
The Growing Giant
While India gained its independence, it still had problems with its neighbours. It got into a dispute with China in 1962 that resulted in the Sino-India War, and the country has gone to war with Pakistan in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. However, the country is also a member of the United Nations and it is also one of the few nuclear nations in the world. In addition, the country has transformed itself through economic reforms and is now becoming a superpower along with China. Currently, the country has one of the fastest growing economies on Earth and it is expected that India will be one of the major countries of the 21st century, along the lines of how Russia and the United States dominated the 20th century.
One thing is clear, this country, which has been around in one form or another for thousands of years, shows no signs of slowing down, or going away.