Origin of India
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Indus Civilization

The best place to start is no doubt the beginning but the beginning of India can be traced back to thousands of years ago, somewhere in the 2500 BC with the earliest but very advanced civilization which was indigenous. Around 4,500 years ago, cities began to rise among the scattered agricultural settlements on the Indus plain. These were the cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harrapa. The ruins found show that the quality of life in those cities was higher than many Indians enjoy today. Around 1500 BC, after a continuous existence of 1,000 years, the Indus Valley Civilization vanished from the face of earth.

Aryan Invasion

In the middle of the second millennium BC, India was overwhelmed by the first of many invaders: the Aryans. They came in about 1500 BC from the grasslands of central Asia and thereby lived a nomadic life based on cattle raising. They settled in the region to the north west of India, known as the Punjab. With time, they drifted into the subcontinent and settled around the Gangetic Valley, pushing the early dark-skinned Dravidian settlers deeper into the south of the peninsula. The Aryans were the first of many invaders to India. There were constant invasions from Asia - Alexander the Great, the Scythians, the Huns, the Arabians, Persians and Afghans. Various religious groups battled for dominion. Power fluctuated between the Hindu, Muslim and Buddhists. India's rich culture and heritage has been recorded by historians through the eons of time. From Hieun Tsang who visited India around 321 BC, to Vasco da Gama who visited India in 1498 AD, all who visited India were impressed by its riches: be they material, social or cultural.

Era of the British rule

In the later part of the Indian history, the East India Company gained control until it became so powerful that the British Parliament took over and Queen Victoria became Empress. The British then ruled over India for two centuries. It was the first time that India came to be administered by one government. So far, India had never been a nation: they had been divided by religion, race, caste and language. The English conquered India with the help of the Indians: Madrasi militia against the Marathas, Bengalis and Biharis against the Sikhs, Sikhs and Punjabi against the rest. The British conquering India had a uniting effect on the nation. It created a nascent sense of unity between the people of India and gave birth to the feeling of Indianness.

Struggle for Independence

By the mid 1800’s the India’s war of Independence had started and finally gained freedom on 15th August 1947. The price that India had to pay for this freedom was the bitter partition of India and Pakistan and a legacy of rift between the two religions: Hindus and Muslims. The seed for communalism was sown with the achievement of much fought for freedom.

The other highlights of the diverse past of India are:
c. 2500 - 1500 BC Mohenjo-daro and Harrapa flourished in the Indus Valley.
1500 BC Light-skinned Aryan invaders from the Caspian Sea area begin to settle northern India.
6 c BC Cyrus of Persia was the first foreign conqueror who penetrated well inside India.
326 BC Alexander the Great invaded India.
322-182 BC Mauryan dynasty, the first historical dynasty in the history of India.
270 BC Ashoka’s coronation. Under Ashoka the Mauryan empire extended from the Hindukush to the Brahmaputra and the Himalayas to Mysore.
1498-May-17 Vasco-da-Gama arrives in Calicut.
1510-Nov-25 Afonso de Albuquerque captured Goa for the Portuguese.
1526 - 1857 Mughal rule in India.
1600 East India Company formed.
1632 - 1653 Shah Jahan, the fifth Mogul Emperor, builds the Taj Mahal in memory of his dead wife Mumtaz.
1885 Indian National Congress founded by AO Hume, a retired British civil servant. The first session of the Congress took place in Bombay with WC Banerjee as President.
1914 Gujarati-born Mohandas Gandhi returns to India after living for 21 years in South Africa.
1947-Aug-15 India gains freedom, and Jawaharlal Nehru is sworn in as the first Prime Minister of independent India. 1948 30 Jan Mahatma Gandhi assassinated by Nathuram Godse at a prayer meeting in New Delhi.
1950-Jan-26 Constitution comes into force. India becomes a Republic. Dr Rajendra Prasad is the first President of India.

On the exotic stage of India’s high plains, the greatest tragedies and the greatest glories have taken place.