History of India


Home >> History of India

Ancient India

Since ancient times India has been the land of several religions. Ancient India witnessed the birth of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, but all these cultures and religions acted and reacted upon one another in such a manner that though people speak languages, practice different religic programs, obeserve different social customs, the certain common styles of life through country. This country shows a deep unity inside this great diversity.

Pre-History

The history of human settlements in India goes back to prehistoric times and no written records are available for the prehistoric India. However, plenty of archaeological records are found in different parts of India to reconstruct the history of this period. Generally prehistory of India can be devided into two category:

Stone Age:

Stone Age in India began with Early Stone Age (called Paleolithic) and ended up with the Middle Stone Age (called Mesolithic). Remains of the Homo erectus in the Narmada Valley in Central India show the presence of human life in India since middle Pleistocene, which is around 200,000 to 500,000 years ago.

The Mesolithic period in Indian subcontinent started around 30,000 years ago, covering a time span of 25,000 years. Bhimbetka Petroglyphs (10 cupules and a single groove) is the oldest (29,000 BCE) known Stone Age art that belongs to first permanent settlement of human being. It is found in Madhya Pradesh, Central India (quartzite Auditorium rock shelter at Bhimbetka). Traces of Neolithic period have been found in Gulf of Khambat in India. Late Neolithic culture was flourished in Indus Valley region from 6000 to 2000 BCE and in southern India from 2800 to 1200 BCE.

Metal Age:

The Neolithic period is followed by Chalcolithic (copper-stone) period when copper and bronze came to be used. The Bronze Age in India begins around 3000 BCE, and in the end gives rise to the Indus Valley Civilization, which had its (mature) period between 2600 BCE and 1900 BCE followed by the Iron Age, which has its period between 1800 BCE to 1000 BCE. The new technology of melting metal ore and crafting metal artifacts is an important development in human civilization. But the use of stone tools were not given up. Some of the micro-lithic tools continued to be essential items. People began to travel for a long distance to obtain metal ores. This led to a network of Chalcolithic cultures and the Chalcolithic cultures were found in many parts of India.

Indus & Saraswati Civilization

The Indus valley civilization developed about 3000BCE and flourished for about 1500 years before mysteriously going into a period of decline. The Indus Valley Civilization, as it is called, covered an area the size of Western Europe. It was the largest of the four ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. The ancient people of the Indus River Valley had a highly advanced knowledge of mathematics and a sophisticated system of weights and measures. During this time a great increase in craft technology, trade, and urban expansion was experienced. For the first time in the history of the region, there was evidence for many people of different classes and occupations living together.

Between 2800-2600 B.C. called the Kot Diji period, Harappa grew into a thriving economic center. It expanded into a substantial sized town, covering the area of several large shopping malls. Harappa, along with the other Indus Valley cities, had a level of architectural planning that was unparralled in the ancient world.

The Indus Valley Civilisation (2,600-1,900 BCE) may have been the first manifestation of the Dravidian peoples and languages in south Asia. From there they spread to south India. So at this period where Indus Valley Civilization is established in the northern India, the Dravidian Civilization was established in South India. The Dravidian languages with the most speakers are Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. Dravidians were the descendants of primitive inhabitants of India.

Vedic Period

The Vedic Period or the Vedic Age refers to that time period when the Vedic Sanskrit texts were composed in India. The society that emerged during that time is known as the Vedic Period, or the Vedic Age Civilization. The Vedic age began in India in about 1500 BC and extend up to 600 BCE with the coming of the Aryans, who scattered on the plains of northern India. This civilization laid down the foundation of Hinduism as well as the associated Indian culture.

The Vedic Age was followed by the golden age of Hinduism and classical Sanskrit literature, the Maurya Empire and the Middle Kingdoms of India. Aryans developed Vedic culture based on Vedas. The meaning of the word Veda is "knowledge", the best of all knowledge in the eyes of Hindus. It is a collection of hymns, prayers, charms, litanies and sacrificial formulae. There are four Vedas namely, Rig Veda, Sam Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. During the early part of the Vedic period, the Indo-Aryans settled into northern India, bringing with them their specific religious traditions.

Religious Movements

The later Vedic age projected the dominance of Brahmanism. The rituals and sacrifices made the Vedic religion quite complicated. The common men could not follow it. The position of the Vaisyas, Sudras and other untouchables became precarious and unstable. So, Jainism and Budhism emerged to challenge the Vedic religion.

Vardhaman Mahavir and Jainism

Jainism gave a toe challenge to the Vedic religion. The origin of jainism is shrouded n mystry. Jainism was enriched by 24 tirthankaras. Vardhaman Mahavir was the 24th and final Tirthankara of Jainism. Mahavir Jaina was born in a Jnatrika family of Kundagrama in Vaisali. He married Yasoda and gave birth to a daughter named Priyadarsini. He left house and was enlightened on the river bank at Rijjupalika. He preached Jainism at different parts of India. People threw stones at him.He did not bother for it. He resorted to rigorous penace and advised people to practice it. By preaching Jainism, he died at Pave in 526 B.C. at age of 72.

The three jewels, five Vows, theory of living and non-loving, non-violence, Salvation etc. are the tenants of Jainism. Jainism gave birth to new literature, art, architecture; preached the principles of Karma and Non-violence and contributed a lot to Indian culture.

Gautama Buddha and Buddhism

Buddhism gave another blow to the Vedic religion. Its founder Gautama Buddha was born in Sakya family at Lumbini in Nepalese Tarai. After his birth his mother Mayadevi breathed her last. So Suddhodana the father of Gautama Buddha left him with the tender care of his aunt Mahaprajapati Gautami. That is why he became famous as a Gautama. He was apathetic towards he world from the very beginning. He married Yasodhara and gave birth to a son named Rahula. He saw an old man, a diseased man a corpse and a sage. These four things changed his mind. He left house, resorted to Penance and was enlightened on the river bank of Niranjana under a Pipal tree. He first preached his religion near 'Deer Park' Sarnath which was known as the 'Turning the Wheel of Law'. Buddha then pearched his sermous at different places like Sarvasti, Nalanda, Kausambi, champa, Pava, Kusinara and many other places and breathed his last at Kusinara in 487 or 486 B.C. which is known as Mahaparinirvana.

The Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, Ten Commandments, salvation, Non-violence etc. are the teachings of Buddha Buddhism opposed the Castle System and contributed a lot for the growth of Indian litrature, art, architecture etc. Hindu Society.

The Mauryan Empire

Mauryan empire was originated from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Mauryans ruled from the capital Pataliputra. Both Indian and classical sources suggest that Alexandar's retreat resulted in the reaction of a Vaccum and therefore, it was not difficult for Chandragupta to carve a kingdom for himself. Chandragupta founded the Mauryan empire by overthrowing the Nanda dynasty with the help of Chanakya, who was an important minister in the Court of Nanda Rulers.

The Chandragupta Maurya (321-298 BC)

Chandragupta, at the young age of 25, dethroned the last Nanda ruler (Dhanananda) and occupied Pataliputra in 321 BC with the help of Brahmana, Kautilya, also known as Chanakya or Vishnugupta (this fact finds mention in Mudrarakshasa of Visakhadatta).

In 305 BC, Chandragupta again moved towrds North-West for a campaign against Seleucus Nikator, which ended with the treaty of 303 BC in favour of the Mauryans. Chandragupta gave 500 elephants to Seleucus and in return, Seleusus gave him Eastern Afganistan, Beluchistan and the area West of Indus.

The Girnar record refers to Chandragupta Victory or Governer, Pushyagupta, who is said to have constructed the famous Sudarsana lake. His little was Simant Raja.

The Sohagura Copper Plate Inscription and Mahasthan Inscription deal with the relief measures to be adopted during a famine, these inscription were probably issued during the region of Chandragupta Maurya. Chandragupta went to South India with Bhadrabahu, the Jaina saint. At Sravana Belagola, he spent rest of his life and died in the orthodox Jain way by slow starvation

The Asoka (269 BC-232 BC)

Asoka is the first of the great rulers of India and undoubtedly the foremost. The greatness of this famous historical personality spread far and wide, not only in India but across the world. Asoka's name still glitters, in golden letters, in the pages of Indian history and the history of the world. The whole mankind was as much terrified by the miseries of the only battle that Asoka fought as a ruler (The Kalinga War), as it was astonished at the widespread propagation of the virtues of peace, morality and good conduct by this "beloved of Gods"- Piyadarsi Asoka. After the Kalinga War, Asoka underwent an inward transformation from 'Chandasoka' to 'Dhramasoka' and embraced Buddhism. Thereafter, he spent the rest of his life in the promotion and propagation of Buddhism not only India but in the World.

The Mauryan Administration

The Mauryan adminstration was very efficient. The state, according to Kauilya, is constituted of the 'Saptanga Theory' or the seven elements viz Svamin(King), Amatya(Minister or high officials), Janapada (Territory or Population); Durga (Fort); Kosa (Treasury), Bala (Army) and Mitra(Friend or Ally). The king was all powerful. The coucil of ministers and 'Astadasa Tirtha' helped the king in dischaging his administration. The Revenue, Judicial, Military provincial, city and village adminstration was quite efficient during the Mauryan period.

The Mauryan empire had major administrative units like the centre and the provinces, whch had various sub-units down to the village and all came under the preview of central administation. Tirthas were the highest catagories of officials. They were 18 in numbers.

The Gupta Age

Gupta age is regarded as the 'Golden age' in the annals of ancient Indian history. The flourishing trends I the field of literature, arts, science, technology, religion and philosophy were quite apparent that is why historians tend to compare it with the Periclean Age of Greece and Elizabethan Age of England. Literature, arts, science, technology, religion, and philosophy had attained new heights in this period.

Culture of the Gupta age was unique. A great path of the Gupta literature was epic. Kalidasa was the most brilliant luminary in the firmament of classical Sanskrit poetry and drama. He was the author of two epic poems- 'Raghubanmsam'. 'Kumarasambhabam', and two lyrics- 'Meghdutam' and 'Ritusambhabam'. He was also a playwriter as he wrote plays like 'Abhijnana Sakuntalam', 'Malavikaghimitram'.Visakha Datta's 'Mudrarakshasa', 'Devi chandrguptam' and 'Abhisarikavanchitam' were very famous. The Puranas and other texts on philosophy, science, Medicine and also inscription were also composed during that period. Dictionary was also composed during this period. Amarasimha wrote his famous dictionary Amarakosa. Dhanwantari, Varurachi, Katyayana and Vachaspati were other famous writer of dictionaries on various subjects. This age was the golden for the composition of Puranas. In this age 'Vishnu Purana', 'Bhagabata Purana', 'Agni Purana', 'Kurma Purana' etc. were written.

The Gupta Age has occupied an important place in the field of art and architecture. Temples were constructed for the first time making use of mortar, bricks and othersolid materials. Both 'Nagara' and 'Dravida' style of temples were constructed during this period. The temples like shiva temples at Bhumara, and Tigwa, Parvati temple at Nachaukuthara; Vishnu temple at Deogarh were built in this age. The Buddhist stupas at Damekh near Sarnath and Mir-pur-khas Chaityas at different places of our country like Ajanta, Bagh, and Aurangabad etc. speak highly of theBuddhist architecture of the period. Ajant paintings like the birth of Buddha in cave no.2 of Ajanta, the image of Bodhisattva Padmapani of cave no. 16, mother and child of cave no.17 are very famous. The paintings Apsara of Ajanta cave is marvelous.

Several religious like Saivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism, Buddhism and Jainism flourished during the Gupta Period. Besides, magic and charms were also popular inside the society. The philosophy like six systems of Hindu Philosophy, Smriti texts, works on Buddhist philosophy etc. developed during that period.

Chandra Gupta II

Samudra Gupta was succeeded by Chandra Gupta II around AD 375. However, some historians put Rama Gupta bwtween Samudra Gupta and Chandra Gupta II. Political marriages occupied a prominant place in foriegn policy of the Guptas. Chandra Gupta II followed the same policy when he conciliated the Naga chieftains of the upper and central provinces by accepting the hand of the princess Kubernaga and allied himself with the powerful family of the Vakatakas of the Deccan by marrying his daughter Prabhavati with Rudrasena II.

He issued silver coins (first Gupta ruler to issue silver cois)and adopted the title Vikramaditya and Sakari in memory of his Victory. The Mehrauli iron pillar inscription near Qutub Minar enumerates the exploits of a king called Chandra. During his reign the Chinese Pilgrim Fa-hein (399-414) Visited India.

Gupta Administration

Though the king possessed extensivepowers he did not rule in a tyrannical manner. A council of Ministers and several civil officials assisted the king. The most important officers in the Gupta empire were the Kumaramatyas. The royal seal bore the imprint of Garuda. Started in the Deccan by the Satavahanas, the practice of granting land and fiscal and Administrative concessions to priests and administrators became regular affairs in the Gupta times.

A new office of Sandhivigrahaka first appears under the Gupta ruler Samudra Gupta. He was the minister of peace and war.

After the downfall of Gupta empire in the middle of the 6th century, North India reverted to small republics and small monarchical states such as The Maukharis, The maitrakas, The Gaudas, The pushyabhutis etc. Harsha united the small republics from Punjab to Central India. In South India, Pallava and Chalukya dynasties fought for supermacy.

Harshavardhana (AD 606-647)

Harshavardhana was the younger son of Prabhakaravardhana. Hiuen-Tsang gave account of his reign, in his book, Si-Yu-Ki. Bana's Harshacharita, inscriptions, coins and Harsha's own writings i.e. Ratnavali, Priyadarshika and Naganada, are other authentic sources of Harsha's era. Shasanka, the ruler of Gauda killed Grahavarman (Maukhari ruler)in allience with Devagupta and imprisoned his wife Rajyahri(Harsha's sister). Later Rajyavardhana killed Devagupta, but he assisinated by Shashanka in AD 606.

The news of death of Rajyavardhana reached his younger brother Harshavardhana, who now coronated himself in AD 606 and proceeded to avenge his brother's death and release his sister. From this year started the Harsha era.

Conquests

He is said to have established his control over '5 Indies' - Odisha, Gauda, Mithila, Kanyakubja and Svarstha (Punjab). Harsha defeated Dhrubasena II Baladitya, the Maitraka ruler of Vallabhi (Gujarat). He conquered Kongoda Ganjam (Odisha) and offered its 80 township as gift to a locsal Buddhist Monk Jayasena.

Harsha was defeated by Pulakesin II on the banks of river Narmada. This is mentioned in Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II authored by Ravikirti, who describes Harsha as the lord of Northern country (Saka Lottara Patheshvara). Mostly, the feudatories seem to have accepted hi suzerainty. The Chinese ruler, Tsang, sent three embassies to Harsha's court.

Administration

Harsha shifted his capital from Thanewar to Kannauj. He governed his empire on the same lines as the Gupta's did. except that his administration became more feudal and decentralised. The Harsha empire was divided into provinces called Bhuktis. Bhuktis were further sub-divided in Visayas (Districts). Visayas were divided into Tehsils or Pathaks, Pathaks and villages or Grama.

Hiuen-Tsang

Hiuen Tsang visited India in AD 629. Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese pilgrim, started off a journey from China to India to study in the Buddhist University, Nalanda. He spent many years in the court of Harshavardhana and influenced the king to convert to Buddhism. He also reported what he witnessed in his book Si-Yu-Ki which means My Experience. It is also called records of the Western world

The Muslim Invasions

Mohammed Ghori's sudden death in 1206 resulted in a scramble for supermacy among his three generals - Qutub-ud-din Aibak, Tajuddin Yalduz and Nashiruddin Qubacha.

At the time of Ghori's death, Aibak was at Lahore. Ghiyas-ud-din Mahmood, the successor of Ghori, acknowledgeed Aibak as the independent king and gave him the title of Sulatanate Of Delhi. The assumption of Sovereign powers by Qutub-ud-din Aibak i 1206, is regarded as the foundation of the Sultanate of Delhi and the first rulling dynasty of the Sultanate.

Qutub-ud-din Aibak (AD 1206 - 1210)

Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak was the first Muslim King in India and the founder of libary Dynasty. For his generosity he was known as Lakh Bakhsh or 'giver of Lakhs'. Aibak was a great patron of learning and patronised writers like Hasan-un-Nizami and Fakhruddin. He constructed Quwwat-ul-Mosque in Delhi, Adhai din ka Jhopda and Qutub Minar, 72 1/2 meters stone tower in Delhi. The construction of Qutub Minar was finaaly completed by lltutmish, his successor. In 1210, while playing Chaugan (Polo) at Lahore, he fell off his horse and died of injuries.

Ala-ud-din Khiliji (AD 1296-1316)

He was the greatest ruler of the Khiliji Dynasty and was the first Muslim ruler to extend his empire right upto the extreme South of India. Ala-ud-Din was the first rulr of Delhi Sultanate who did not ask for Manshur (letter of investiture) from the Caliph, but called himself the deputy of the Caliph.

Market Control

Three separate markets at Delhi for foodgrains, costly cloths, horses slaves and cattle were established. The markets were controlled by two officers, Diwan-i-Riyasat and Shahana-i-Mandi. Foodgrais werestocked at the warehouses set-up by the state itself and were released during famine or shortage of supply. The karwanis or Banjaras carried the grains from villages to Delhi. No hoarding was allowed and all merchants were registered at state daftars.

Art & Learning

Both Amir Khusrau and Mir Hasan Dehlvi enjoyed his patronage. He built a new city called Siri, enlarged the Qutabi mosque are erected a gateway. He built the Jamait Khana Masjid at th Dargah of Nijam-ud-din Auliya and Alai Dawaza near Qutub Minar. He began the construction of Alai Minar near Qutab Minar, but could not complete it.

Mohammad Bin Tughlaq (AD 1325-1351)

He has been represnted aby contemporaries as one of the wonders of the age in which he lived. He was well versed in various branches of learning i.e. astronomy, mathematics, medicine, philosophy etc. Formulated 'fsmine-code' to provide relief to famine affected people. To improve agriculture, he created the deartment of agriculture (Diwan-i-Amir Kohi). He is the first Sultan to advance loans known as Sondhar to peasants for digging well to extend cultivation. The chinese emperor, Toghan Timur sent anvoy to Delhi in 1341 seeking Muhammad's permission to build Buddhist temples in the Himalayan region. He also sent Ibn Battuta as envoy to the court of the Mongol Emperor of China.

Ibrahim Lodhi (AD 1517-1526)

There were many revolts during his reign, Bihar declared its independence under Dariya Khan Lohani. His repressive policy towards the Lohani, and Lodhi tribes and his unsympathetic treatment of Dilwar Khan, Governor of Lahore, turned the nobles against him.

Daulat Khan Lodhi (father of Dilawar Khan) and Alam Khan invited Babur the timurid ruler of Kabul, to invade India. Babur defeated Ibrahim an killed him. He became the master of Delhi and Agra. This put an end to the Sultanate and Mughal dynasty was established in North India. This was one of the earliest battles involving gunpodwer, fire arms and fiekd artillery. This battle is known as 1st Panipat Battle and it was fought in the year of 1526 AD.

The Mughal Empire

The Mughal empire, self-designated as Gurkani was as empire extending over a large parts of the Indian subcontinent. It begins with the victory of Babur over Ibrahim Lodhi with a brief interval of 15 years when Sher Shah and his successors ruled the country, the Mughal empire lasted from AD 1526 to AD 1707 for 181 years.

Mughal dynasty established and maintained, one of the largest empires in the Indian History. In terms of military power, administrative innovation, cultural developments, economic properity and political consolidation Mughal empire touched new hieghts.

Babur (AD 1526-1530)

He was the founder of Mughal rule and belonged to chaghtai section of the Turkish race. The Uzbegs taught him a novel method of warefare, called Tulughma by which the attention of the enemy was diverted by first attacking its flacking parties and thus avoiding direct clash with the main forces. Wrote his autobiogrsphy Tuzuk-i-Babri in Turki.

Humayun (AD 1530-40)

Humayun suceeded Babur to the throne at Agra. He divided the Mughal territories with his three brothers. A major problem after accession to the throne was the unsettled state of administration, the insufficient treasury and the ambition of the nobies. He constructed a grand acropolis at Dekhi known as Dinpanah.

Restoration of Humayun(AD 1556)

With the help of an able officer Bairam Khan, Humayun Defeated the weak rulers of Sur dynasty and took control over Agra and Delhi in AD 1556. He died from the effects af an accidental fail from the stair cas of his library at Dekhi in AD 1556.

Akbar (AD 1556-1605)

He was born at Amarkot in the palace of Rajput Chieftain Rana Virsal in 1542. He was the king of no land at the time of his coronation (1556) as the emperor of Hindustan. He fought the 2nd Battle of Panipat in 1556 with Hemu, the hindu Minister of Muhammad Adil Shah. One of the greatest humanitrarian measures of Akbar was abolition of Salvary and the practice of converting prisoners of war to Islam in AD 1562. He abolished pilgrimage tax in AD 1563 and Jaziya in AD 1564.

Rajput Policy

Akbar made the Rajputs not only his friends, but also took many Rajput princess as his bride. He established matrimonial alliances with the royal famillies of the Rajput states, such as Amber, Bikaner and Jaisalmer. He granted the Rajputd equal rights with the Muslims and appointed them on high and elevated positions.

Ibadat Khana

In AD 1575, Akbar ordered the construction of the Ibadat Khana near the Jami Masjid in his newly built town of Fatehpur Sikri. Only the Sunnis were initially allowed to participate in religious discussions. Abdul Qadir Badayuni and Abul Fazi were the principal debaters. Both had been trained by Abul Fazi's father, Shaikh Mubarak.

Din-i-Ilahi

Father Daniel Bartoli, a later Jesuit author, claims that after his return from Kabul, Akbar made himself the founder and head of a new religion. This religion, Bartoli continues, was discussed by a council is regarded by modern scholars as the inauguration of Akbar's new faith, the Sin-i-Ilahi (Divine Monotheism).

Jahangir (AD 1605-27)

Prince Salim assumed the title of Jahangir and adhered to Akbar's ideals of the coexistance of all religious communities. He remitted some local taxes on trade and the manufacturing of goods. He married Mehr-un-nisa, later as Nur Jahan who was an accomplished lady. She is said to have been the real power behind the throne.

Conquest of Jahangir

Jahangir defeated Amar Singh of Mewar. He conquered Ahmednagar in 1617 under prince Khurram who was rewarded with the title Shah Jahan. In AD 1622, the Mughals lost Khandhar to the Iranian King Shah Abbas. In AD 1606, Jahangir's son, Khusrau revolted, but was defeated and imprisned. Guru Arjun Dev (5th Guru of the Sikhs), one of Khusrau's well was beheaded.

Shah Jahan (AD 1627-1658)

He had to overcome the revolts of the Bundelas and the Afghan noble named Khan-iJahan Lodhi. Foreign travellers Bernier, Travernier and Mannuci visited his court. He reimposed pilgrimage tax. He revived the Jagirdari system.

Conquest of Shah Jahan

He conquered Ahmednagar, in 1633 which was under Fath Khan. Other deccan states like Bijapur, Golconda, Khandesh, Berar, Telengana and Daulatabad came under Mughal rule. Shah Jahan tried to capture Khandhar. It was lost forever in the Mughal empire. Shah Jahan also expelled Portuguese from Hooglyas they were abusing trading privileges.

Aurangzeb (AD 1658-1707)

He was the third son of Shah Jahan. During his reign the Mughal empire reached territorial climax. His reign was marked by a gradual departure from Akbar policy of coexistence. He was a proficient player of Veena. Being an orthodox Muslim, he forbade music in the court, ended Jharokha Darsan, use of almanacs and weighing of the emperor.

Mughal Administration

Subah was the largest unit equivalent to province. The head was known as Nazim or Subedar. Sarkar was equivalent to district, headed by Faujdar or Shiqdar. Other officera were Amalgujars, Kotwal. The adminstration unit next to Sarkar was Paragana. It was headed by Shiqdar who was incharge of law and order. Other officers were Amir, Kunungo, Qazis. Village affairs were looked after by the Panchayat. Lambardar ws the head of the Panchayat.

Mansabdari System

It was introduced in 1595-96, showing a noble's civil and military capacity. Twin rank(s) zat and sawar were alloted. Salary of Mansabdar was fixed on a month scale system. They were paid through revenue assignments. During Jahngir' reign, Duaspa, Sihaspa system was introduced through which, a nole's sawars rank could be increased without affecting his zat.

The Jagir System

Jagir or tuyul was a unit of land, whose revenues were assigned to a Mansabdar in lieu of his salary. The Jagir's assigned in lieu of salary were known as Tankhwah Jagirs. Besides, there were the Watan Jagirs of the autonomous chiefs. Hence, the Jagir of the Mughal times was similar to the Iqta of the Delhi Sulatanate. Like the Iqta, the assignment of a Jagir to a Mansabdar did not confer any hereditary rights to that Jagir on the Mansabdar.

Land Revenue System

Land was classifid into four types:
(i)Polaj Continuously cultivated and very fertile.
(ii)Parauti Left fallow for a year or two to recover productivity.
(iii)Chachhar Left fallow for three or four years.
(iv)Banjar Uncultivated for five years or more and infertile land.

The British Rule

Before the East India Company establised trde in India, John Mildenhall, an english merchant came to India over land route to trade with Indian merchants in 1599. Through the charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I on 31st December,1600 AdD under the title of 'The Governer and company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies' was formed. The immidiate aim of the company was the acquisition of the species and pepper of the Eastern Archipelago and therefore the first two voyages of the company, between AD 1601-1606, were made, not to India. but to Achin (in Sumatra), Bantam (in Java) and the Malaccas.

Finally with the third voyages in AD 1608, the English initiated the process of the company' trade with India and Captain William Hawkins, who had experience in such ventures and could speak Turkish, was provided with a letter from the king James I to Akbar. After the disintigration of Mughal empire India was in a politially and territorially fragmented state. There was an oppertunity for a new power to emerge and rule India. Various native dynasties and European comapanies were in cut throat compitition.Britishers gradually defeated all powers and established its paramountary.

Warren Hastings(1772 - 1785)

Warren Hastings became Governer of Bengal in 1772 and became Governer General of India in 1773 through the regulating act of 1773. He introduced the Quinquennial settlement of Land revenue in 1772 by the method of farming out estates to the highest bidder. He created Diwani and Faujadari Adalat at the district level and Sadr Diwani and Nizamat Adalat. Codified Hindu and Muslim law known as 'Father of Juicial Reforms in India'. To remove the possible clash between the Supreme Court and Sadr Diwani Adalat, he appointed Elijah Impey, the Chief Justice of Supreme court, as Superintendent of Sadr Diwani Adalat.

Lord Cornwallis(1786 - 1793)

Lord Charles Cornwallis is called the father of civil services in India. He introduced the civil services and reforms to purify and improve administration. In his period of reign the Police system was introduced. In 1793 he introduced the permanent revenue settlement or the Zamindari system in Bengal and Bihar. He reformed the Judiciary in 1793 setting up courts at different levels and separation of revenue administration from judicial administration.

Cornwallis code was introduced in1793 with folling features.It was based on the concept of separation of powers. The collector was the head of the revenue administration and divested him of all the judicial and magisterial powers. District Judge was appointed as the head of the judiciary at the district level. Agradation of civil courts was set-up. The distinction between revenue and civil cases abolished.

Lord Wellesley(1798 - 1805)

Wellesley called himself as Tiger of Bengal. In 1794, Board of trade founded. Vigorously applied the policy of Subsidiary Alliance to achieve British Paramontacy in India. Fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799. The war resulted in the defeat and seath of Tipu and the annexation of many parts of Mysore. Wellesley passes a regulation for controlling the press. Christian missionaries established a printing press at Serampore. Foundation of fort Fort Williams College. Sir John Gilchirist was appointed as head of Hindustani Language Department. Wellesley took the administration of Tanjore, Surat andCarnatic. Subsidiary Treaty of Bassein (1802) and the second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-05). It resulted in the defeat of the Sindhia, the Bhonale and the Holkar.

Lord William Bentinck(1828 - 1833)

Suppression of child sacrifies and infanticide, although it had been declared illegal by the abengal Regulation XXI of 1795 and Regulation III of 1804. In 1829-1837, William Bentick suppressed the Thugi system. William Sleenman captured more than 1500 thugs in Meerut. In 189 he abolished Sati system on charter Act of 1833. In his period Educational reforms on the basis of Macaulay's Minute (1835) and introduction of English as the official language and the medium of instruction in India.

Lord Dalhousie(1844 - 1856)

Second Sikh War and annexation of Punjab. Second Anglo-Burmese War and annexation of lower Burma or Pegu in 1852. Dalhousie can be regarded as the father of the electric Telegraph in India. O'Shanghnessy was appointed the Superintendent of the Telegraph department in 1852. First telegraph line from Calcutta to Agra. Charter Act of 1853. Dalhousies' famous Railway Minute was connecting the main places with the ports and providing both for strategically needs and commercial development. The first railway line connecting Bombay and Thane was laid down in 1853. It covered a distance of twenty-six miles.

A new Post-Office Act was passed in 1854, postage stamps were issued for the first time. In 1856 Oudh was annexed on the pretext of the Misgovernment. Bengal was placed under the charge of Lt Governor. A Separate Public Works Department (PWD) was established in every province Workas on the Grand Trunk road was started. Ganges canal declared open (1854). Widow Remarriage Act of 1855-56, Santhal insurrection took place. First Engineering college, Thomson college for civil Engineering, was established at Roorkee.

Lord Canning(1856 - 1862)

Lord Canning established the universities in the Presidencies of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay in 1857. He was the Last Governer General came to be known as Viceroy. Queen victoria's proclamtion and the Goverment of India Act of 1858. It ended the rule of East India Company. The control was transfered from East India Company to the crown. Income Tax was introduced with a uniform tariff of 10% apart from convertible paper currency.

Lord Curzon(1899 - 1905)

In January 1899 he was appointed as the viceroy of India. The Viceroy brought in a new legislative measure named the Calcutta Corporation Act in 1899. By this act, the strength of the elected members was reduced and that of the official members increased. He passed the Indian Coinage and Paper Currency Act in 1899.

Lord Chelmsford(1916 - 1921)

Lord Chelmsford served as and Viceroy of India from 1916 to 1921. During his period Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa, Found Sabarmati Ashram in 1916 with the help of Ambala Sarabhai and started Satyagraha at Champaran in 1917, Ahmedabad and Khaira in 1918.

Lord Mountbatten(1947 - 1948)

He sworn in as Viceroy of India on 24th March 1947. On 3nd June 1947 he announced his plan to partition of India. On 4th June he announced the transfer of Power on 15th August. India Independece Bill was introduced in the house of Commons. On 15th August 1947, India Independence. Two boundary commission set-up for Bengal and Punjab under Cyrill Radcliff.

Facebook