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History of India - Jai Hind

India's first major civilization flourished for a thousand years from around 2500 BC along the Indus River valley. Its great cities were Mohenjodaro and Harappa (now in Pakistan) where an advanced urban civilization flourished. Shiva, a great symbol of Hinduism is thought to have been from this culture.

In 1500 and 2000 B.C Aryan invaders from central Asia invaded and secured control of northern India and pushed the original Dravidian inhabitants south. The Aryan rule was interrupted shortly in 325 BC when Alexander the Great attacked the Indus River region and captured large areas of North India and ruled till his death in 323 BC. The Aryan rule continued and its Gupta Empire was the most glorious with its peace and prosperity and is considered as "THE GOLDEN AGE" in Indian history.

In 1192, Muslim power arrived in India on a permanent basis and within 20 years the whole of the Ganges (North India) basin was under Muslim control. The Mughal emperors are the giants of Indian history and of Muslim rule in India. The built the Taj Mahal, combined Hindi and Arabic languages to give rise to a new language Urdu, and generally ushered another golden age of building, arts and literature.

British power in India was first exercised by the East India Company, which established a trading post at Surat in Gujarati Western India in 1612. The British were not the first or the only European power with a presence in India in the 17th century but they soon established their dominance over India which lasted about 200 years. Opposition to British rule began in earnest at the turn of the 20th century.

Gandhi, an attorney, returned from South Africa to his motherland to question British rule and insisting on India’s freedom while adopting a policy of passive resistance, or satyagraha. At the same time WWII dealt a deathblow to colonialism and Indian independence became inevitable.

Within India, however, the large Muslim minority resented the impending majority Hindu rule and tensions began to mount between the two. Faced with a political stand-off and rising tension, the viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, reluctantly decided to divide the country and set a rapid timetable for independence. When the dividing line was announced, the greatest exodus in human history took place as Muslims moved to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs relocated to India. The effects of that move are still felt in India and Pakistan today and the resentment that it caused still divides the two countries.

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