“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

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“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

 

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.
Knot🟢Why are there 12 Inches in a Foot?🟢Nanotechnology🟢नवरात्रि - Navratri🟢What is Stem Cell Research?🟢The Most Dangerous Tree🟢Extinct Animals of the World🟢जातक कथा: लक्खण मृग की कहानी | The Story of The Two Deer🟢जातक कथा: महाकपि का बलिदान | The Story of Great Monkey🟢जातक कथा: छद्दन्त हाथी की कहानी | Chaddanta Elephant🟢जातक कथा: दो हंसों की कहानी | The Story of Two Swans🟢जातक कथा: रुरु मृग | The Story of Ruru Deer🟢जातक कथा: चांद पर खरगोश | The Hare on The Moon🟢जातक कथा: महिलामुख हाथी | The Story Of Mahilaimukha Elephant🟢जातक कथा: बिना अकल के नक़ल की कहानी | Akal Ke Bina Nakal🟢जातक कथा: गौतम बुद्ध और अंगुलिमाल की कथा | Gautam Budha & Angulimal Ki Kahani🟢अलिफ लैला - शहरयार और शहरजाद की शादी की कहानी🟢अलिफ लैला - अमीना की कहानी🟢अलिफ लैला - गरीब मजदूर की कहानी🟢अलिफ लैला - भद्र पुरुष और उसके तोते की कहानी

“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers……….
An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

The Knowledge Library

RISE OF MAGADHA AND ALEXANDERS INVASION

Introduction

    • The Brahmanas and Upanishads composed 800 years ago refer to the Janapada and Mahajanpadas and provide us an insight into the settlement of agricultural communities. Another source is the texts composed by Buddhists.
    • Vinay Pitaka deals with the rules of order, Sutta Pitaka deals with the collection of Buddha sermons, and Abhidhamma Pitaka a treatise on metaphysics tells us about the princes, and preachers, rich, poor, towns, and villages of this period. Jataka tales dealing with the previous lives of the buddha are a part of the Suta Pitaka. They give us graphical descriptions of contemporary society and make clear references to various regions and geographical divisions.
    • Some of the Janapadas developed into Mahajanapadas due to a series of the internal social and political structures the janapadas. The agricultural communities expanded as a result of the diffusion of new iron technologies. contemporary texts describe the land as a very important economic asset. But earlier it was jointly owned by the tribe or community, now it belonged to the Gahapati who was a big individual landowner.
    • The structure of the society was changing. Now a brahmin would own so much land that he hired laborers or slaves for tilling it. The surplus produces that earlier went to the tillers would now go to the owners of the land.
    • Gahapatis now had additional wealth and could invest it in further economic activity. This created a class of traders.
    • Traders would work from towns and cities. They had a large sphere of influence and traveled to different regions and dealt with different principalities.
    • Kings now emerged who tried to control a large area that would be visited by the traders.
    • Private property emerged as a dominant economic activity in this period.

Polity in the Pre Mauryan period

    • As the socio-economic sphere changed so did the polity. Earlier the word Raja meant a generous father figure who would ensure the prosperity of his lineage.
    • However, he did not have an independent taxation system or a standing army. This changed in the 6th Century BC and now there was a clear distinction between the raja and his Praja. The king would use his own system of taxation and have a standing army. This would then be used to acquire new territories and retain control over existing ones. Payment of the army came from the revenues imposed on activities in his territory.
    • There was thus a permanent confrontation between the raja and his Praja.
    • The Mahajanapadas did not bear the lineage of the dominant Kshatriya clans of that period.

The 6th century BC saw the rise of many kingdoms in the north. Some were Republicans where decisions were made in a public assembly by majority vote. The others were monarchies where the decisions were made by the king assisted by the advisors.

The republics were scattered in Himalayas or northwest. The monarchies were concentrated in the Gangetic plains.

The Buddhist literature talks about 16 Mahajanapadas.

The Mahajanapadas were located in distinct geographical zones and in fact 7 of them were located in the Middle Gangetic valley. This was a Rice growing plain unlike the Upper Gangetic valley which was a Wheat growing plain. It has been observed in the traditional agriculture system of India, that rice output exceeded the wheat output. Rice-producing areas had a greater population density too. The fact that so many Mahajanapadas were contiguous to each other meant that an ambitious king would try to capture the neighboring kingdoms. The flat terrain of these areas was also an asset.

Rise of Magadha

Magadha was the most powerful amongst them. There were some geographic and strategic factors too that enhanced this advantage of Magadha like

  1. Her location is between the upper and lower part of the Gangetic valley
  1. Fertile soil. Iron from Rajgir and copper from Gaya too added to her advantage.
  1. Her location at the center of the trade highways added to her advantage and increased her wealth.
  1. First to use elephants in warfare.

Bimbisara was the first important king of Magadha. He was the contemporary of Vardhaman Mahavir and Gautama Buddha.

Ajatashatru imprisoned his father and ascended the throne. His rule was strengthened by many military conquests. Initially, he was a supporter of Jainism and later became a supporter of Buddhism.

Later the Aryankas and Saisunaga followed by Nandas ruled Magadha. The last Nanda ruler was Dhana Nanda who was resented by the people.

Taking advantage of this Chanakya and his disciple Chandragupta launched a popular movement and dislodged him. This was the time when Alexander invaded India.

Persian invasions and their impact on India:

Persian invasions started from 550 BC to 450 BC and were restricted to the Northwest Provinces and Punjab.

The kings Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes led these invasions.

  1. The Persian impacted trade between India and Iran.
  1. Kharoshti script a form of Iranian writing [left to right] became famous and Asoka edicts were written in Kharoshti script.
  1. Persian art had an impact on Mauryan art, especially on Ashok’s pillars and the sculptors found on them.
  1. The idea of issuing edicts and wordings on these bore Iranian influence.
  1. Pillars of Mauryan were lustrous and polished like Persian. They had bell-shaped capitals like the victory pillars of Achaemenid emperors.
  1. The ceremonial head bath on a birthday was of Persian influence.
  1. King consulted an ascetic or physician who sat in a room of fire. This came from Zoroastrians the religion of Persia.

 Alexander’s Invasion:

The political conditions in northwest India and Punjab allowed the invasion of Alexander. The small kingdoms present in those areas were disunited and couldn’t unite in face of a common enemy. However, this doesn’t mean that Alexander’s invasion was easy.

 Causes of the invasion:

  1. He was attracted by the fabulous Indian wealth; he also wanted to conquer the entire Persian satrapy of India after defeating the Persians.
  1.  He was interested in geographical inquiry and natural history. He believed that on the eastern side of India there was a continuous sea so he had the desire of conquering the eastern border of the world.

The battle between Alexander and the tribes of Indus resulted in victory for him. But his real test was against Porus. In spite of having a strong army, Porus was defeated.

But Alexander treated him with respect and reinstated him. Alexander wanted to move further east but his soldiers were tired of prolonged hardship and wanted to return home. He relented but his return journey too was difficult.

He was attacked by republican tribes. He fell ill and died on way home.

Effect:

  1. Immediate unification of the northwest frontier under Mauryans was seen.
  1. The small independent kingdoms came to an end.
  1. It also started direct contact between India and Greece. Naval expeditions increased and additional trade routes came into existence.

Influence on architecture:

  1. The art of well-shaped, beautiful silver and gold coins came from the Greeks.
  2. Influence on Indian astrology.
  3. Ashok’s edicts were in Greek and inscribed on stone pillars made of single columns.

The effect on Persians was higher than on the Greeks.

The aftermath of Alexander’s Death

    • A considerable number of Greek colonists remained in Punjab linked by marital ties with their adopted country. One of the remarkable features of Alexander’s rule was to allow interracial marriages. His dream was to unite the East and the West by marriages and to rule over them.
    • Alexander’s campaign opened up and reinforced a number of trade routes to northwest India via Afghanistan and Iran to Asia minor and to the ports along the eastern Mediterranean.
    • By curbing the fierce tribes that resided in the hills and passes of northwest India, he created conditions for a united rule under the Mauryans.
    • The Mauryans did continue to maintain close ties with the greeks. The Bactrian Greeks continued to rule the Northwest for two centuries. Throughout this period thousands of Indianised greeks merged with Indian culture and added their own contributions to it.

 

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KAUSIK CHAKRABORTY

KAUSIK CHAKRABORTY

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