The golden era of Indian History

The golden era of Indian History
Avantiputra7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

India during Mauryan Dynasty.

Maximum extent of the Maurya Empire, as shown by the location of Ashoka’s inscriptions, and visualized by historians: Vincent Arthur Smith; R. C. Majumdar; and historical geographer Joseph E. Schwartzberg.

This was The golden era of Indian History

Nanda Empire of Magadh

Magadh was the most expanded and strong empire of India. Mahapadma Nanda was ruling Magadha before 321 B.C. when Chandragupta Maurya defeated him and became the emperor of Magadh. Its expansion was from Bengal to Kashmir.

When Alexander invaded India, he was successful in defeating the King of Ambhi and with the forces given by Ambhi Kumar, he attacked Porus and defeated him. Now, with help of Porus and Ambhi forces, he planned to attack the Magadh empire, which was extended to the region of Punjab.

Chanakya, who was a teacher at Taxila university (now in Pakistan) arrived at the court of Mahapadma Nanda. Mahapadma was living in luxury and his ego, insulted Chanakya. Chanakya then took the vow to overthrow the Nanda Dynasty.

In an incident, Chanakya met Chandragupta (a poor and courageous boy) and taught him strategies, politics, and warfare, and later he succeeded in making Chandragupta the emperor of Magadh. With this began the golden era of Indian history.

The Mauryan Dynasty, The golden era of Indian History

When Alexander conquered the north-west part of India, Mahapadma Nanda was the ruling king in Pataliputra, the capital of Magadha ( Bihar ). Finding Chandragupta, a resident of Pataliputra, clever and ambitious, Nanda managed to force him out of his country.

Chandragupta went to Taxila and organized a powerful army with the support of the local tribes. He overran Punjab and drove away the Macedonians after the death of Alexander. He avenged himself on Nanda by defeating him in 321 B.C ., and established the great Mauryan Empire. Seleucus attempted to recover Punjab but was routed in 303 B.C. Chanakya was the brain behind the achievements of Chandragupta.

Chanakya is also known as Kautilya because of his extensive knowledge of politics. He is known as the father of economics. His real name was Pandit Vishnu Sharma, however, because of his clever knowledge he is well known as Chanakya.

From Panini, the grammarian of 600 B. C ., to Chanakya of 300 B.C ., it was the age of scholars who mostly fought to save the Sanskrit language and the Brahminical supremacy from the onslaught of Pali and Buddhism respectively.

After Alexander’s Death

Alexander’s empire did not last long after his death. Macedonia was raided by the Gauls in 279 B.C ., and was conquered by the Romans in 197 B.C.

Seleucids and Bactrians ruled over Persia, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor for about two centuries.

Alexandria, the capital of Egypt under the Ptolemies, with its famous library and museum became the cultural centre of the world. Euclid, the father of Geometry, was a citizen of Alexandria. Cleopatra was the queen of Egypt when it was conquered by the Romans in 31 B.C.

With the empire, Greece of the emperors died. But Greece of the philosophers and historians, of thinkers and sculptors, of writers and artists lives even to-day.

Ashoka the great, The great emperor of India

Ashoka, the son of Bindusara and the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya (Wikipedia) ascended the throne in 268 B.C. He conquered Kalinga in 256 B.C. The ravages of the Kalinga war deeply affected Ashoka. He became a Buddhist and won ‘men’s hearts by the Law of Duty.’ Ashoka sent his ambassadors to the countries of Asia, Europe, and Africa to spread Indian culture and Buddhism. During his reign, India was at the height of her all-round prosperity. Ashoka who died in 226 B. C ., inherited a part of the saintliness of his spiritual master Buddha. Through his life, actions, and words, he practiced what he preached.

Ashoka and India’s Renaissance

Ashoka occupies a unique position among the monarchs of the world. He is noted in history as a king of outstanding moral eminence. After his victory in the Kalinga war, he abandoned war for good and this is unparalleled in the history of mankind.

The remains at Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh and Harappa in Punjab, tell of the highly developed art and culture which flourished in the Indus Valley in the third millennium B.C. Little record of art has been traced for the period between the Indus Valley civilization and the Maurya period. Sculpture in the Maurya period was at its height of magnificence.

The Lion Capital at Sarnath and the railings and gateways of the monumental stupas of Bharhut and Sanchi are outstanding specimens of spontaneous eloquence of Maurya art. The period of Ashoka is the brightest in all respects. It was not only an age of peace and plenty for the people but also a moral and aesthetic renaissance for India.

After Ashoka the History of India Changed Dramatically

Ashoka was great ruler and was a great warrior. He took complete India under his control. However, the Kalinga was a tough nut. He wages a war against Kalinga and won it. However, with massacre that happened melted his heart. He accepted Buddhism and followed the path of Ahimsa. He withdrew from any battle and started spreading Buddhism.

This was when the rule became weak and India got divided into many provinces. They all wanted an independent rule. Gradually it became a reason for India to be annexed by invaders or rulers from outside. They captured India province by province and small kingdoms could not stand.

The golden era of Indian History ended here.

There came many rulers, however, they were not able to unite India as the Great King Ashoka.

Iron pillar in Qutub complex, The golden era of Indian History
Iron pillar in Qutub complex, The golden era of Indian History

This is one of the Ashokan Pillar located at the Qutab Minar, Delhi.

This iron pillar is rust-resistant. This was the science and technology that India possessed when other parts of the world were trying to get civilized. This was the golden era of Indian history.

This iron pillar is indeed reminding the golden era of indian history.

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