The Vedic Culture, the Mughal, the Marathas, the Sikhas, the Coming of the Europeans

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The Vedic Culture

Tughlaq Dynasty

  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq: The first great political experiment was the transfer of capital from Delhi to Devgiri which was rechristened “Daulatabad”. Secondly, he introduced copper coins as the legal tender and putting them at par with gold and silver coins.

  • The system failed and resulted in heavy loss and trade with foreign countries came to a standstill. He was no doubt a gifted Sultan with extraordinary powers but his schemes were far advance of his time.

Sangam Dynasty

Harihara and Bukka founded the kingdom of Vijayanagar. The two foreign travellers Nicoli Conti, an Italian and Abdur Razzaq, a Persian visited during the reign of Deva Raya II.

Tuluva Dynasty

  • Krishna Deva Raya was the greatest and the most famous of the Kings of Tuluva dynasty. He himself was an accomplished scholar and did, a lot for learning. He had eight celebrated poets known as “Astadiggajas” at his court.

  • His poet laureate, Alasani-Peddanna is regarded as an author of the first rank. Domingo’s Paes, a Portuguese traveller visited his court. Sadasiva was the last ruler of the dynasty. His powerful minister Ramayana was very ambitious. Battle of Talikota (1565) Muslim kingdoms joined and defeated the Vijayanagar king. Ramayana was killed, Vijayanagar was ruined. The ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire can be found in Hampi.

The Mughal

Babar

The foundation of the Mughal rule in India was laid by Babar in 1526. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat.

Akbar

  • He was the greatest of the Mughal. He was the real founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Muslim ruler who divorced religion from politics. He created a new religion called “Din-i-Ilahi or Divine Faith”.

  • Ibadat Khana was constructed by Akbar to provide religious leaders an opportunity to express their view point. He was considered “National Monarch”.

  • The new system introduced by Akbar in military organisation is called “mansabdari system”. Akbar made the Buland Darwaza to commemorate his conquest over Gujarat.

Shah Jahan

  • Called “Engineer King” built Taj Mahal. Shah Johan’s reign is regarded as a “Glorious Epoch” in the history of the empire in architecture.

  • The famous peacock throne originally belonged to Shah Jahan.

  • Mosque building reached its peak during his reign. European paintings were introduced in the court of Jahangir.

The Marathas

  • The most powerful of the Maratha chiefs was Shivaji. Shivaji visited Aurangzeb’s court in Agra in 1666 where he was made a prisoner but escaped. He declared himself independent ruler of the Maratha Kingdom and was crowned, “Chatrapati” in 1674 in Rajgarh.

  • The Maratha State was governed by the King, advised and assisted by a; council of eight ministers - the Ashtapradhan. The Maratha Government levied two taxes. One was called the Chauth, one fourth of the total revenue paid to the Mughal Government or the Deccan Kingdoms which was taken in return for promising not to plunder and raid their territory.

  • The other one was Sardeshmukhi, which was an additional, one tenth. Shivaji successors were weak and the government gradually moved into the hands of Peshawar and later on by the Mughal king Aurangzeb called “Alamgir”.

Downfall of Mughal Rule

  • Aurangzeb captured and executed Sambhaji, son of Shivaji. Internally, Aurangzeb had to deal with the rebellion of the Jats in the Mathura region. The Rajputs were also a source of trouble. The Sikhs were the followers of Guru Nanak.

  • Nine Gurus succeeded Guru Nanak. In order to curtail their power, Aurangzeb ordered the execution of Tegh Bahadur. This naturally enraged the Sikhs. So, the tenth and the last guru, Guru Govind Sing founded the military brotherhood or the Khasla meaning “the pure”.

  • Apart from this, Aurangzeb destroyed many temples and reimposed Jazia. Aurangzeb’s death set off the rapid decline of the Mughal Empire.

The Sikhas

  • The Sikh community was founded as a religious section by Guru Nanak. Guru Govind Singh, the tenth and the last guru of the Sikhs transformed the religious sect into a military brotherhood.

  • Maharaj Ranjit Singh was the greatest Indian ruler of his time and founder of the Sikh rule in the Punjab.

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth guru of the Sikhs. He was ordered by Emperor Aurangzeb to embrace Islam, he refused and was executed.

The Coming of the Europeans

The Portuguese were the first among the European nations to trade with India. In 1498, Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India and reached Calicut. Alfonso Albuquerque laid the real foundation of the Portuguese power in India. Following them were the Dutch, the English, the Danish and the French.

The English East India Company

  • The East India Company was incorporated in 1600 to trade with India by a charter given to it by Queen Elizabeth I. In 1615, the company built the first factory at Surat with the permission of Jahangir, secured through Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador to James I. Dupleix, the last Governor General of the French possession in India, wanted to drive the English out of India but the arrival of Robert Clive on the scene dashed all hopes.

  • The French challenge to the British supremacy in India came to an end with the Battle of Wand wash. The crowning achievement of Clive was in the Battle of Plessey in 1757 in which he defeated Siraj-ud- Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal and laid the foundation of the company’s power in Bengal.

  • The conquest was complete in the Battle of Buxar in 1764. Bengal was the first province in India to be conquered by the English. Robert Clive was the first Governor of Bengal.

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