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Saturday, February 12, 2011
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In ancient India there are many cities and states that have a great influence in our history and very near from our place of residence but still unknown to us.Let’s find out where they lies and what is their historical significance.

In sixth century BC Large states were known as Mahajanapadas and agricultural settlements comes under them were known as Janapadas. Kashi was the most powerful state of the time and it’s capital is Varanasi.Kashi had emerged as leading textile manufacturer in the time of the Buddha.

Koshala was bounded on the west by the river Gomati, on the south by the Sarpika or Syandika(Sai),on the east by the Sadanira(Gandak) which separated it from Videha, and on the north by the Nepal hills.Ayodhya, Saketa and Shravasti were three important Koshalan cities.

Anga on the east of Magadha was separated from it by the river Champa.It comprises of the modern districts of Munger and Bhagalpur.Its capital Champa(not the river) was known for its wealth and commerce.

Between Anga and Vatsa there lay the kingdom of Magadha, corresponding to modern Patna and Gaya districts.The rulers of magadha,i.e. Bimbisara and Ajatashatru were the Buddha’s friends and disciples.Gaya was the place of the Buddha’s enlightenment and Rajagriha was one of his favourite haunts. Magadha’s Capital was Rajagriha, also known as Girivraja.

The vajji territory lay north of the Ganga and stretched as far as the Nepal hills. The Vajji state is said to have been a confederation of eight clans (atthakula), of whom the Videhans, the Lichchhavis, the Jnatrikas and the Vrijjis were the most important.

The territory of the non-monarchical Mallas was divided into two parts, each having its own capital.The two capital cities were Kushinara(identified with Kasia in Gorakhpur district), and Pava, possibly identical with Pawapuri in Patna district.

The kingdom of Chedis corresponded roughly to the eastern parts of Bundelkhand
and adjoining areas, and their king lists occur in the Buddhist birth stories.

The Shurasena Kingdom, had its capital at Mathura.

Kuru, Panchala and Matsya were the three tribal polities whose existence is traceable to the preceding period. The kurus settled in the region of Delhi-Meerut, and allied with the Panchalas; their trade cenre is said to have been visited by the Buddha. A branch of the Panchalas had a capital at Kampilla, perhaps modern Kampil in Farrukhabad district.Not much information is available about the Matsyas,who are traditionally associated with modern Jaipur-Bharatpur-Alwar region of Rajasthan; It was more suitable for cattle rearing.

Kamboja nad Gandhara were farthest away from Magadha. The first lay in Afghanistan; the second extended upto the Kabul valley with Taxila as its leading city.

The territory of the Assakas(Ashmakas) was situated on the banks of the river Godavari near modern Paithan in Maharashtra. The state of Avanti lay in central Malwa and the adjoining areas of Madhya Pradesh.Divided into two parts,its southern capital was Mahishmati and its northern Ujjain, which became more important of the two.

The Vatsa capital lay 64 km form Allahabad at Kaushambi(modern Kosam) on the bank of the Yamuna. Kaushambi and Ujjain were connected by a major trade route, and they msut have benefited from the north-Indian trade.


In the modern India there was born a hero who was desperate to fight against the British Raj and his leadership qualities are so much intensive that attracts people without a second thought.Let's meet one of the greatest heroes of Modern India.

Birsa was born in the mid-1870s. The son of a poor father, he grew up around the forests of Bohonda, grazing sheep, playing the flute, and dancing in the
local akhara. Forced by poverty, his father had to move from place to place looking for work. As an adolescent, Birsa heard tales of the Munda uprisings of the past and saw the sirdars (leaders) of the community urging the people to revolt. They talked of a golden age when the Mundas had been free of the oppression of dikus, and said there would be a time when the ancestral right of
the community would be restored. They saw themselves as the descendants of the original settlers of the region, fighting for their land (mulk ki larai), reminding people of the need to win back their kingdom.

Birsa went to the local missionary school, and listened to the sermons of missionaries. There too he heard it said that it was possible for the Mundas to
attain the Kingdom of Heaven, and regain their lost rights. This would be possible if they became good Christians and gave up their “bad practices”. Later Birsa
also spent some time in the company of a prominent Vaishnav preacher. He wore the sacred thread, and began to value the importance of purity and piety.
Birsa was deeply influenced by many of the ideas he came in touch with in his growing-up years. His movement was aimed at reforming tribal society.

He urged the Mundas to give up drinking liquor, clean their village, and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery. But we must remember that Birsa also turned against missionaries and Hindu landlords. He saw them as outside forces that were ruining the Munda way of life. In 1895 Birsa urged his followers to recover their glorious past. He talked of a golden age in the past – a satyug (the age of truth) – when Mundas lived a good life, constructed embankments, tapped natural springs, planted trees and orchards, practised cultivation to
earn their living. They did not kill their brethren and relatives. They lived honestly.

Birsa also wanted people to once again work on their land, settle down and
cultivate their fields. What worried British officials most was the politicalaim of the Birsa movement, for it wanted to drive out missionaries, moneylenders, Hindu landlords, and the government and set up a Munda Raj with Birsa at its head. The movement identified all these forces as the cause of the misery the Mundas were suffering. The land policies of the British were destroying their traditional land system, Hindu landlords and moneylenders were taking over their land, and
missionaries were criticising their traditional culture.

As the movement spread the British officials decided to act. They arrested Birsa in 1895, convicted him on charges of rioting and jailed him for two years.
When Birsa was released in 1897 he began touring the villages to gather support. He used traditional symbols and language to rouse people, urging them to destroy “Ravana” (dikus and the Europeans) and establish a kingdom under his leadership. Birsa’s followers began targeting the symbols of diku and
European power. They attacked police stations and churches, and raided the property of moneylenders and zamindars. They raised the white flag as a symbol of Birsa Raj.

In 1900 Birsa died of cholera and the movement faded out. However, the movement was significant in at least two ways. First – it forced the colonial government to introduce laws so that the land of thetribals could not be easily taken over by dikus. Second – it showed once again that the tribal people had the capacity to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule. They did this in their own specific way, inventing their own rituals
and symbols of struggle.



The name Mughal derives from Mongol. Though today the term evokes the grandeur of an empire, it was not the name the rulers of the dynasty chose for themselves. They referred to themselves as Timurids, as descendants of the Turkish ruler Timur on the paternal side.
Babur, the first Mughal ruler, was related to Ghenghiz Khan from his mother’s side. He spoke Turkish and referred derisively to the Mongols as barbaric hordes. During the sixteenth century, Europeans used the term Mughal to describe the Indian rulers of this branch of the family. Over the past centuries the word has been frequently used – even the name Mowgli, the young hero of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, is derived from it. The empire was carved out of a number of regional states of India through conquests and political alliances between the Mughals and local chieftains.
The founder of the empire, Zahiruddin Babur, was driven from his Central Asian homeland, Farghana, by the warring Uzbeks. He first established himself at Kabul and then in 1526 pushed further into the Indian subcontinent in search of territories and resources to satisfy the needs of the members of his clan.His successor, Nasiruddin Humayun (1530-40,1555-56) expanded the frontiers of the empire, but lost it to the Afghan leader Sher Shah Sur, who drove him into exile. Humayun took refuge in the court of the Safavid ruler of Iran. In 1555 Humayun defeated the Surs, but died a year later. Many consider Jalaluddin Akbar (1556-1605) the greatest of all the Mughal emperors, for he not only expanded but also consolidated his empire, making it the largest, strongest and richest kingdom of his time. Akbar succeeded in extending the frontiers of the empire to the Hindukush mountains, and checked the expansionist designs of the Uzbeks of Turan (Central Asia) and the Safavids of Iran. Akbar had three fairly able successors in Jahangir (1605-27), Shah Jahan (1628-58) and Aurangzeb (1658-1707), much as their characters varied. Under them the territorial expansion continued, though at a much reduced pace. The three rulers maintained and consolidated the various instruments of governance.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the institutions of an imperial structure were created. These included effective methods of administration and taxation. The visible centre of Mughal power was the court. Here political alliances and relationships were forged, status and hierarchies defined. The political system devised by the Mughals was based on a combination of military power and conscious policy to accommodate the different traditions they encountered in the subcontinent. After 1707, following the death of Aurangzeb, the power of the dynasty diminished. In place of the vast apparatus of empire controlled from Delhi, Agra or Lahore – the different capital cities – regional powers acquired greater autonomy. Yet symbolically the prestige of the Mughal ruler did not lose its aura. In 1857 the last scion of this dynasty, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, was overthrown by the British.


India in it's history of 5000 years has given to the world some of the best personalities ever born.People of any country can never match the charismatic persona that are provided by this land of diversities.One such character was Chanakya.It is almost impossible to believe that his theories found an important place in the following years with no amendments and are relevant even today as their original form. Chanakya(c.350-283 B.C.) was an adviser and prime minister of the great Mauryan king Chandragupta Maurya(c. 340-293 BC).This was perhaps the toughest couple of power in the history of world.Infact,Chanakya was the main source of rise of power of Chandragupta Maurya.His other names were Vishnugupta and Kautilya as referred in his political saga Arthashastra.Some considered him Pioneer economist,others said him Indian Machiavelli,but truly he was the architect of the first Indian empire.
Chanakya was born with a complete set of teeth(an identification of kings) but due to his cast of Brahmin his teeth were broken,but rule was in his destiny,although he achieved it through Chandragupta Maurya.At a very early age little Chanakya started studying Vedas.He was proficient in religion,politics and economics. Chanakya had his education at a famous school in a city well known in those days as Takshashila (corrupted later into 'Taxila').
The Nanda king disrespected him and threw him out of his court,thus making a feel of revenge in the heart of Chanakya who met later a young Chandragupta and eventually formed a team with him and after some time dethroned the Nandas and made Amatya Rakshasa(a very intelligent minister of Nandas)the Prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya.
The great book 'Artha-shastra' written by Chanakya is world famous. Even European politicians, sociologists and economists study this book with interest. t begins with a narration of how to bring up royal princes and how their education should be. How to choose ambassadors and how to use spies is then explained. How to protect a king against dangers and risks is also dealt with. Law and order, the duties of the police, how to control the wealthy citizens and motivate them to make gifts for charitable purposes, methods of preventing wars, duties of the astrologer, the priest and others, tricks to be employed to eliminate enemy kings, ways of inducing sleep in human beings and animals-these and numerous other subjects are discussed by Chanakya in the treatise. The wide range and variety of the subjects is itself surprising.
Some of the quotes of his Niti shastra are
"A person should not be too honest.
Straight trees are cut first
And Honest people are screwed first."

"Even if a snake is not poisonous,
It should pretend to be venomous."

"The biggest guru-mantra is: Never
share your secrets with anybody. !
It will destroy you."

"There is some self-interest
behind every friendship.
There is no Friendship without
self-interests.This is a bitter truth."

"Before you start some work, always ask
yourself three questions - Why am I doing it,
What the results might be and Will I be
successful. Only when you think deeply
And find satisfactory answers
to these questions, go ahead."

"As soon as the fear approaches
near, attack and destroy it."

"Once you start a working on something,
Don't be afraid of failure and
Don't abandon it.
People who work sincerely are the happiest."

"The fragrance of flowers spreads
Only in the direction of the wind.
But the goodness of a person
spreads in all direction."

"A man is great by deeds, not by birth."

"Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years.
For the next five years, scold them.
By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend.
Your grown up children are your best friends."

"Books are as useful to a stupid person
As a mirror is useful to a blind person."

"Education is the best friend.
An educated person is respected everywhere.
Education beats the beauty and the youth."


Different Maratha (also called as Rastriks or Maha-rathis or Mahrattas) rulers during Medieval period (before 12th century) include Satavahana, Rashtrakuta, Yadhav-Jadhavs। They re-united into historical prominence under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji in the 17th century. Shivaji Maharaj, born into the Bhosale clan of Marathas, secured an independent state by dint of lifelong struggle and thereby founded an empire, the remnants of which lasted until the independence of India in 1947. The state thus founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji attained its zenith under the tutelage of the Peshwas in the 18th century, extending from the Indus in present-day Pakistan to Orissa in the east and from the Punjab to central Karnataka in the south. The kingdom of Thanjavur in present-day Tamil Nadu was also ruled by a Maratha dynasty, albeit outside the ambit of the main Maratha Empire. At its peak, the Maratha Empire established a protectorate over the mughal emperor and paramountcy over the numerous Rajput chieftains of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Central India and elsewhere. They had also managed to bring Punjab under their sway and end Muslim rule there and keeping the field open for the Sikhs. This vast empire declined gradually after the third battle of Panipat (1761); by 1818, all of present-day India had fallen to the British East India Company.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj gave an opportunity to fight with enemies to the people of all the castes in Maharshtra. For him, everybody was a Maratha, who helped for the freedom. So for him all his soldiers, including his Muslim soldiers (Who were in large numbers in his navy and in artillery) were Marathas.
It should be noted that Peshavas, who were Chitpavan Bramhins were also known as Maratha. The Muslim Queen of Ahmednagar Chandbibi was also known as a Maratha.
Later, Bramhins stopped to call themselves as Maratha.Today in Maharashtra a specific community who is politically strong, calls themselves as Maratha. They have 96 clans. Most of the clans are newer (Did not existed before Shivaji Maharaj) and only few clans are ancient which I will like to note here: Yadav/Jadhav, Morey, Kadam (Kadamb), Salunkhe, Rathod, Chavan, Shinde, Shelar, Sawant, Pawar, Kalchuri, Sisodia etc.
The cultivaters of Maharashtra were known as Kunabis most of whom started themselves call as Marathas before one hundred years. This increased the number of Marathas rapidly in Maharshtra. So they became politically stronger. But the Marthas are divided in several groups namely Deshmukhs, 96 Kulis, Common Marathas, Kadus and Kunabis. They do not intermarry. There are geographical divisions also and they generally do not marry outside their region.(Like a Maratha of Sangli district marries with the maratha of surrounding districts of Satara and Kolhapur but not with the Marathas of Pune district. Which is just 110 Km. from Satara).
It is said that when a Kunabi becomes stronger, he become a Maratha, When a Maratha becomes stronger he becomes a Patil, When a Patil becomes stronger he becomes Deshmukh.
Deshmukh was the highest Designation, like District Collector in this era while Patil is the chief of a village. Generally, Marathas are not interested in the history before Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. So for them, history starts with Shahaji Maharaj and ends with Sambhaji Maharaj. It can be proved that their ancestors were followers of Jainism but they will strongly deny it, even if one presents geneological proofs.


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