Thursday, 17 November 2011


Indian history is associated with its own geography. India, a land of misery is also known as the land of kings, Saints and magic. The first civilization in India is the Indus valley civilization. The Indian history can be broadly divided in to five. They are the vedic period, Golden period, Muslim period, British period, and Modern India. Now this country is the largest democracy in the world. The country has emerged as the leading scientific and economic power. The British came to India after the Portuguese. The Indian leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose leads a mass movement against the British powers. Some of the leaders sacrifice their life for the independence of the country. Some of the famous emperors and patriots are listed below.
1.Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, most prominent leader of Indian Independence movement, was born at Porbander in Gujarat. He is known as the “Father of the nation”. In India, he is also known as “Bapu”. He developed the principles of courage ,non-violence (ahimsa) and truth, which lead to a new method of social action called Sathyagraha. According to him, the way of people behaves is more important than what they achieve. The Indian people called Gandhi “Mahatma”, means Great Soul. He was educated in law at University college London. He became the leader of Indian National Congress in 1934. He led Indians against the British powers. The Salt Sathyagraha in 1930 and Quit India in 1942 are his famous strikes against British Government. He was imprisoned for several times in both South Africa and India. At the age of thirteen he was married to Kasturba. His first major achievements came in 1918 with the Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha. After Salt Sathyagraha the British Government was ready to negotiate with him. The Gandhi–Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931. He was also invited to attend the Round Table Conference in London as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. But it was a disappointment to Gandhiji. He strongly believes that a person should lead a simple life. He abandoned the western style dresses. Gandhiji born as a Hindu, but he believed that, the core of every religion was truth and love. India was granted independence in 1947, and partitioned into India and Pakistan. Because of the partition he is not at all happy with the independence. He had been an advocate for a united India where Hindus and Muslims lived together. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was shot and killed by Nathuram Godse. Gandhi’s memorial is situated at Raj Ghat, New Delhi. It bears the epigraph “He Ram”, which may be translated as “Oh God”. Gadhiji shall never be forgotten.
2.Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born in 1856 at Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. He was known as “Father of the Indian unrest”. He was a popular leader of Indian Independence movement. He was a social reformer, freedom fighter, national leader, and a scholar of Indian history, Sanskrit, Hinduism, mathematics and astronomy. While he was studying in Matriculation he was married to a 10 year old girl called Satyabhama. After graduating, he joined the freedom struggle. His statement “Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it” is a famous quote among Indians. He started two newspapers,Kesari and Mahratta. Kesari was Marathi weekly while Mahratta was English weekly. In his newspapers, he highlighted the pathetic condition of Indians. He gave a vivid picture of the people’s sufferings and of actual happenings. Tilak tried to breathe life through four mantras. Boycott of foreign goods , National Education , Self Government, Swadeshi or self reliance. He was arrested in 1897 and released in 1898. After release, he took part in Swadeshi movement .Meanwhile, Congress was split into two camps, Moderates and Extremists. Extremists led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Which opposes the moderates led by Gopal Krishna. In 1906 he prison again. After the trial, he was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in Burma. Tilak spent his time in prison by reading and writing. He wrote the book ‘Gita-Rahasya’ while he was in prison. He was a critic of Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy of non-violence, civil disobedience. In 1920, he was chosen the president of the Congress, but he died in August 1, 1920 . Lokmanya Tilak was one of the greatest nationalist leaders whom his countrymen can never forget. On his death, Gandhiji remarked, “The public considers Lokmanya Tilak as a good and his words as words form the Vedas”.
3.Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru is one of the most important people among the freedom fighters in India. After independence, he became the first Prime minister of India. Nehru was extremely fond of children. His birthday, November 14, is celebrated as Children’s Day in India. Children across India remember him as Chacha Nehru. He was also a great internationalist, and one of the founders of the non aligned movement. He is also known as “Panditji” and Pandit Nehru. He was also an advocate for Fabian socialism and the public sector. Following Gandhi Nehru and his family abandoned their Western style clothes, possessions and wealthy lifestyle. He is regarded as an architect of modern India. He took part in the Non-Cooperation (1920-1922) movement. However, he was arrested for the first time. He was the President of the Allahabad Municipal Corporation and for two years as the city’s chief executive. This proved his capability in administration. He spent more than 9 years in jail. He spent much of his prison time with writing. His major works include Glimpses of World History (1934), his Autobiography (1936) and The Discovery of India (1946). He was the general secretary of a Congress party for two years. Nehru became the leader of Congress party in 1934. He was a good orator. His speech “Tryst With Destiny” addressing the people gathered in the Constituent Assembly of India in New Delhi on the night of August 15th, 1947 is a world famous. Nehru played a key role in building modern India. He set up a Planning Commission, encouraged development of science and technology, and launched three successive five year plans. However, Jawahar Lal Nehru couldn’t improve India’s relations with Pakistan and China. Jawaharlal Nehru died of a heart attack on May 27, 1964.
4.Subhas Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose known as “Nethaji” was one of the most famous and highly respected leaders of Indian independence movement. He was the president of the Indian National Congress in 1937 and 1939. He founded a nationalist force called the Indian National Army. He was strongly influenced by the words of Swami Vivekananda’s and was known for his patriotism. He topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and graduated with a First Class in Philosophy from the Scottish Churches College in Calcutta. He was disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. As a result he left his Civil Services apprenticeship and returned to India in 1921. According to him, Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence is not sufficient to secure India’s independence. He found a separate political party,  All India Forward Bloc. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times. He was jailed during Civil Disobedience movement in 1930. He was released in 1931 after Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed. He protested against the Gandhi-Irwin pact. In January 1941, he disappeared from his home in Calcutta and reached Germany via Afghanistan. He sought cooperation of Germany and Japan against British Empire. Bose was reportedly killed in an air crash over Taipeh, Taiwan on August 18, 1945. It is widely believed that he was still alive . After the air crash not much information could be found about him.
5.Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh was a famous freedom fighter in India. He is referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh. He was born in a Sikh family of farmers in the Layalpur district of Punjab on September 27th of 1907. His family stood for patriotism, reform, and freedom of the country. He did not wish to live. He refused to apologize, or even file an appeal. He was not a devotee of non-violence. He was attracted to anarchism and communism. Both communism and western anarchism had influenced him. He read the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Mikhail Bakunin. He did not believe in Gandhian philosophy. According to his view , Gandhian politics will replace one set of exploiters by another. On April 8, 1929 Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in the Central Assembly Hall while the Assembly was in a session. They were prisoned. On October 7, 1930 they were awarded death sentence by a special tribunal. Despite  the pressure from the great political leaders from India, they were hanged in the early hours of March 23, 1931.
Ashoka was a famous Indian emperor of Maurya Dynasty. He was also known as Devanampriya Priyadarsi and Dhamma. He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and the son of Bindusar. His land stretched from the Himalayas, Nepal and Kashmir to Mysore in the South. The Afghanistan in the north east to the banks of the River Brahmaputra in the East. In the West, his territory covered Saurashtra and Junagarh. He was a good administrator, and at first he made a good effort for restoring peace in his kingdom. He was a great philanthropist and worked for the welfare of his people. The Kalinga War was the war that Ashoka ever fought.It serves as a watermark in his life as it changed his course forever. Kalinga was a little kingdom lying between the river Godavari and Mahanadi, close to the Bay of Bengal. Kalinga war brought great fame to him. The battle of Kalinga made him pledge to never wage a war again. Then Ashoka embraced Budhism. He religiously followed the principles of Buddhism that of truth, charity, kindness, purity and goodness. He was died in 232 BC in Pataliputra.
Akbar was a greatest Mughal ruler in history. When his father Humayun, died in 1556, Akbar became Badshah of  at the age of thirteen. He is praised to be the only and truly Emperor of the times, very caring and protective of his subjects. Under the guidance of Bairam Khan, he began seizing more territory . He wasn’t just a great conqueror, he also proved his capability for winning the trust and support of the Hindu population who came under his control. He also developed a very efficient system of bureaucracy and administration. A governor was put responsible of each province. This governor was responsible for any abuses of power in his area. He was most tolerant of all Mughal rulers. His subjects practice their faiths without any fear of persecution. He also encouraged marriages between Hindu Rajputs and Muslims. He also undertook the building of a new capital in Sikri and planned to move his capital from Agra to Sikri. He studied about various religions in India. He then encompassed the best elements of all religions and proposed a new one called “Din Ilahi or the Divine Faith”. Emperor Akbar died in the year 1605. He was buried with full honors and many grieved the death of this great emperor and able ruler. His magnificent tomb is located at Agra.
Kanishka was the greatest king of the Kushana dynasty. Kanishka enlarged the Kushana empire into Turkestan, Kashmir and North-east India. He was famous for his military, political and spiritual achievements. His vast empire, extended from Oxus in the East to Varanasi in the West, and from Kashmir in the North to the coast of Gujarat including Malwa in the South. He was tolerant of all the religions. He issued many coins during his rule. His coins depict Hindu, Buddhist, Greek, Persian and Sumerian-Elemite images of gods, showing his secular religious policy. He was known by the titles -King of Kings, the Great Saviour, the Son of God, the Shah, the Kushan. He  was a Buddhist convert. He is remembered in Buddhist architecture mainly for the multi storied relic tower and enshrining the relics of the Buddha, constructed by him at Peshawar. Various Buddhist such as Vasumitra, Parshva, Sangharaksha and Ashvaghosha are associated with Kanishka. Historians are uncertain about the death of Kanishka. Chinese tells the story of a Kushana king who was defeated by the General Pan Chao, towards the end of the first century AD, some people believe it to be the King Kanishka.
9. HarshaVardhana
Harsha-Vardhana or Harsha was a famous an Indian Emperor. He was the son of Prabhakar Vardhan and younger brother of Rajyavardhan, a king of Thanesar. He was born around 580 AD . His kingdom spanned the Punjab, Bengal, Orissa and the entire Indo-Gangetic plain north of the Narmada river. He proved himself a great conqueror and an able administrator. He also brought Bengal, Bihar and Orissa under his control. Harsha himself was a Mahayana Buddhist. He was a tolerant ruler and supported all faiths Buddhism, Hinduisms and Jainism.According to the Chinese Pilgrim Xuanzang, Harsha built numerous stupas by the name of Buddha. He also became a patron of art and literature. He made numerous endowments to the University at Nalanda. In 641, following Xuanzang’s visit, he sent a mission to China, which established the first diplomatic relations between China and India. He wrote three Sanskrit plays, Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarsika. We can find well documented record of his reign in the work of his court poet Banabhatta. Bana wrote Harsha Charita, the first historical poetic work in Sanskrit language. He died in the year 647 AD. He ruled for 41 years.
10.Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan was the fifth Mughal ruler in the India. The name Shah Jahan means the King of the World. He expanded his empire in all directions, he added the Rajput kingdoms of Baglana and Bundelkhand to the west, and in 1635, he captured the kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda in the Deccan. He also captured small kingdoms in Kashmir and the Himalayas. He is in the first rank of Indian rulers. Endowed with all qualities , he was a brave and good commander, a generous master who treated his servants with respect, dignity and affability and a leader with a strict sense of justice. The period of his reign was the golden age of Mughal architecture. He erected many splendid monuments, the most famous for which is the Taj Mahal at Agra built as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Pearl Mosque at Agra and the palace and great mosque at Delhi also build by him. Poetry and music flourished in his reign. In 1658, Shah Jahan became very ill. A battle for succession broke out between his four sons, Dara Shikoh, Murad, Aurangzeb and ShuJA. It was Aurangzeb who eventually triumphed in the succession struggle by methodically eliminating his brothers. Aurangzeb captured Shah Jahan on 8 June 1658, and had him jailed at the Agra Fort. Shah Jahan died in 1666 in captivity only and was entombed, along with his favorite wife, inside the Taj Mahal.

1 comment:

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