Monday, November 23, 2009

India History - Europeans in India

Europeans in India
India was a British colony. The British left behind them in India a strong imprint of their philosophy and culture and even today it is evident that English which is a foreign language is the most important and respected language in India. But the British were not the only Europeans to arrive in India and have their imprint. Since ancient period even before the beginning of the Christian era there were relations between Europeans and Indians. The main Europeans to arrive in ancient India were Greeks. The Greeks are referred to in ancient Indian history as Yavanas. Even the most famous ancient Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great, arrived in India. But actually he arrived up to the present India-Pakistan border. But there were other Greeks who arrived in India and established kingdoms. Many of these Greek communities later on adopted Hinduism and integrated in the Indian caste system. Even today there are communities in Kashmir who claim to be of Greek origin. Not all Greeks arrived in India to conquer it. There were also Greek scientists who arrived in India for scientific research, especially in astronomy and mathematics.

Later on other Europeans arrived in India because of commercial reasons. The Indian sub-continent was then world famous for its spices. But when the Muslim Ottoman Empire of Turkey ruled the Middle East, they caused lots of problems to European Christian merchants who tried to pass through their land. Therefore the Europeans tried to find other routes to reach India. And so accidentally Christopher Columbus found the continent of America. Columbus tried to get to India while sailing westwards from Europe. Columbus presumed that because the earth is round he would eventually get to India while sailing westwards, instead he found the continent of America whose existence was not known then to the Europeans. Columbus thought that he had arrived in India and called the natives Indians.

From the 15th century the European representatives arrived in India, namely English, French, Dutch, Danish and Portuguese. Among these European powers the Portuguese arrived first in India in 1498 via sea after they had circled the whole of the African continent. These representatives arrived in India after they received from their country rulers charter to do business with India.
These Europeans at first requested from the local rulers permission to trade in their entities. Later on they requested from the local rulers permission to build factories. After they built factories they requested to build forts around these factories to defend them from pirates and other dangers. Then they requested to recruit local Indians to serve as guards and soldiers in these forts and so on they slowly created their own armies. And so one of the European power's representative, the British East India Company, became the ruler of India.

The British control of India was a result of several factors. The Portuguese, who along with their business tried to enforce Roman Catholicism on the Indians were defeated by local rulers sometimes in collaboration with Protestant European powers. But still the Portuguese remained in India with small pockets. Their main center in India was Goa. The Dutch, who had holds in south India and the Danes, who had holds in east India, left India for their own reasons. The two main European powers that remained in India were British and French. These two powers tried different ways to control India and to defeat each other. Each of these European powers sometimes collaborated with local Indian rulers to defeat the other European power. Eventually the British became the rulers of India. But the French like the Portuguese remained in India with small pockets and both these powers remained in India even after the British left India in 1947. 

The British East India Company was actually a trading company and it received from the British crown charter to trade with the Indian sub-continent. They arrived in India for spice trade in 1600. Like other European powers that arrived in India, they at first requested from the local rulers permission to trade in their entities. The British East India Company was more sophisticated than other Europeans who arrived in India. This company offered different sophisticated agreements to the different Indian ruling families, which made them the actual managers of the Indian kingdoms. They sometimes used their army against local rulers and annexed their territories with the result that there was lot of embitterment among the Indians against the British. After the 'Indian Mutiny' of 1857, the British Crown took back the charter from the East India Company and ruled India directly through a Viceroy. The British gave India independence in 1947, but its last soldier left India eventually in 1950. The French also left India in 1950. The Portuguese were the last to leave India in 1961. 

Even though the European powers arrived in India for commercial reasons, they also started converting local Indians to Christianity. Of the five European powers the Portuguese were most enthusiastic to baptize Indians. The Portuguese inspired by the Pope’s order to baptize people around the world not only fought wars against the local Indian rulers, but also they tried to enforce their Roman Catholic prayers on Syrian Christians who were in India before the modern European powers arrived in India.
After many wars the Portuguese were defeated by local rulers and they had only one big pocket of control in India, Goa. Goa was made the capital of Portuguese colonies in the eastern hemisphere. The Portuguese not only fought the Indian rulers, but they also fought against other European powers in India especially Dutch and English. Many Portuguese churches in Kerala were converted into English and Dutch churches after they were captured by these powers.

The English missionaries started acting in India at a much later period. The British arrived in India in 1600 and they allowed the missionaries to enter their territory only from 1813. The British allowed different churches to establish missionaries in their territory. The missionaries didn’t only spread Christianity, but they also did humanitarian deeds giving the needy the basic necessities of life like food, clothes and shelter. The missionaries also built schools in India and many of them exist even today and have Christian or European originated names.
The British church missionaries succeeded less than the Portuguese in converting Indians to Christianity, but unlike the Portuguese who tried to enforce Christianity, these Protestant converts were voluntary. The Portuguese were also aware of the Indian custom according to which the wife followed her husband’s faith and therefore married their men to Indian women. Most of the Portuguese baptized Christians in India have Portuguese oriented surnames, like Fernandez, De Silva, De Costa and others.
There is also an Anglo-Indian community in India, who are also descendants from European (English) fathers and Indian mothers, but these relations between English men and Indian women started because of romantic reasons. The Anglo-Indians are mostly Christians and have adopted English as their first language. According to the Indian Constitution, two seats in the Indian Parliament are reserved for the Anglo-Indian community members.

Monday, November 2, 2009



India is home to one of the richest and the most ancient civilizations in the world, which existed over 5,000 years ago. This civilization originated in the Indus River Valley, hence the name given to it was Indus Valley civilization. It is the origin of many of the ideas, philosophies and movements which have shaped the destiny of mankind. The civilization with its main cities Mohenjadaro and Harappa flourished for over eight centuries. Its people thought to be Dravidians, whose descendants still inhabit the far south of India.

Aryan and Greek Invasions

The country was influenced by many invasions, the Arya or Aryans (1500BC) as they are known today, are the first invaders. Aryans were a group of nomadic tribes who had originally inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, in particular the region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Tall, fair haired, with clear cut features, they spoke a group of languages which have become known as Indo-European. They settled in the region to the north west of India, known as the Punjab. They brought with them new ideas, new technology and new gods, this is one of the most important epochs in Indian history. With time, the Aryans were engaged in struggle with the dark skinned people or Dasyus. The Dasyus were the Dravidians. The superiority of the Aryans resulted in the Dravidian submission.

The second great invasion into India occurred around 500 BC, when the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius, pushing their empire eastward, conquered the prized Indus Valley. After centuries of obscurity, doubt and conjecture, India came into the full light of recorded history with the invasion of Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 327 BC. Although Alexander crossed the Indus and defeated an Indian king, he turned back without extending his power into India.

Maurya and Gupta Periods

The receding tide of Greek power led to a period of confusion and uncertainty in northern India as various rulers tried to make capital of the vacuum that Alexander had left behind. These circumstances saw the rise of Mauryas,  India's first imperial dynasty, founded by Chandragupta Maurya. Maurya dynasty reached its peak around 260 BC under the Emperor Ashoka, the most famous figures in Indian History. He left a series of inscriptions on pillars and rocks across the sub-continent. But after his death, the Mauryan empire gradually fell apart because his descendants were not as strong rulers as he was.

At the beginning of the fourth century AD, India was fragmented into a lot of small kingdoms. They were often invaded by stronger neighbors like Greeks. They conquered Indus Valley again but they didn't stay for long. Out of this seeming Chaos, King Chandragupta II united all of northern India into a great empire again.

 The Gupta period has been described as the golden age of Indian history and under their rule of northern India, arts, including poetry and literature, flourished. The exquisite Ajanta and Ellora caves were excavated in this period. Gupta period extended from 320AD to 480AD. But in 455 AD the Huns invaded India from the north and destroyed the Guptan Empire. Again India was split into small kingdoms until the Muslim invasions around 1000 AD.
In South India, great empires rose, entirely independently from those of the north. These included the Kalachuris,  Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadhavas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras and the Vijayanagar kingdom.

Muslim Invasions

The Medieval Period in Indian history began with the Muslim Invasions. While the Hindu kingdoms ruled in the south and Buddhism was fading in the north, Muslim invasions from the Middle East began, towards the end of the 12th century. The Muslim period in India began with the Turkish conquests under Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Ghori. Many famous dynasties such as the the Slave Dynasty, Khilji Dynasty, Tughlaq Dynasty,  Saiyyid and Lodhi, Bahmani Dynasty, and Others followed. In the16th century, Babur from Fergana (Uzbekistan), a descendant of Genghis Khan swept across the Khyber Pass, defeated Ibrahim Lodi the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate at the battle of Panipat and established the Great Mughal Dynasty which lasted for 200 years.
The Mughal (Mogul) period saw a remarkable blend of Indian, Persian and Central Asian influences manifested in an impressive legacy of magnificent palaces, forts, tombs and landscaped gardens-including India's magnificent edifice, the Taj Mahal. The golden era of the Mughal period was under the rule of Akbar the great.

European Invasions

The country’s riches in different cultures, wealth in spices and minerals - made it a target for invasion and colonisation by European powers from the fifteenth century onwards.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to settle in India, in Goa, in the fifteenth century (1498). The Europeans arrived even before the Mughals. The Dutch East India company was chartered in 1602 and they established spice trade and factories in Cochin, Nagapatinam and Agra. They did not have any military ambitions for India. In 1613, the British East India Company, a trading company, started its first trading post in Gujarat. Later in the century, the East India Company opened permanent trading stations at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, each under the protection of native rulers.

Meanwhile around 1644, the French established trade with India. Pondicherry was the hub of French settlements. Other French factories and settlements were at Surat, their first trading post in 1666, then Masulipatanam, Karikal, Chandernagore in Bengal and Mahe at the Malabar coast. The struggle for establishing supremacy in trade resulted in wars between the English and the French in the Deccan. The latter of the three successive Carnatic wars between them, from 1746-48, 1748-54 and 1758-63 moreover sealed the fate of the French possessions in India

In 1757, at the Battle of Plassey, Robert Clive, an employee of the British East India Company, defeated the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah and established their political sovereignty in India. It was an important step towards the eventual British dominance of the country. The First War of Independence (Sepoy Mutiny) or the first major Indian rebellion against the British after the battle of Plassey took place in 1857. Although the rebels succeeded in capturing territories in the Gangetic plain, it was recaptured by the British and the rebellion was completely crushed by mid 1858. The British government took over control of India from the East India Company. Britain then ruled India with local rulers for over three hundred years.

Indian Independence

Eventually demand grew for Indian independence. The socio- religious movements brought forth by various social reformers all over the country inspired national consciousness to improve their social condition and invoked the spirit of patriotism among the Indian masses. A national movement for independence was created. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Subhash Chandra Bosh, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Mahamana, Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel, Sarojini Naidu, Chander Shekhar Azad were the notable people of the movement. But the most relevantverent leader of the movement was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a lawyer who believed in non violent protest (civil disobedience). Gandhi worked with Jawaharlal Nehru, the secretary of the Indian National Congress and  transformed the Indian National Congress political party into a mass movement to campaign against the British colonial rule. After several years of struggle, Britain decided to quit India.

But a major problem had arisen. A large Muslim minority doubted that an independent India would also mean a Hindu-dominated India. The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah began to call for an independent Muslim region- Pakistan. On 15th of August, 1947, India became completely independent from colonial rule, ending nearly 350 years of British presence in India. Nehru became the first Prime Minister of independent India.

Following independence India was divided, to create Pakistan, which initially also included present-day Bangladesh where there were Muslim majorities. The separation escalated the brewing violence into a bloodbath. It is estimated that over one million people were killed in sectarian violence as up to six million Muslims moved towards Pakistan and up to five million Hindus and Sikhs moved towards India. Mahatma Gandhi opposed partition and in 30th January 1948 he himself was gunned down by a  Hindu fundamentalist, enraged by his support for the Muslims.
On January 26, 1950 India became a republic. The country adopted a new constitution based on the British parliamentary model. Newly independent, India worked to establish strong institutions of justice, media and bureaucracy.

Governments of India

Nehru governed India until his death in and Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded him as Prime Minister of India in 1964. He successfully repulsed Pakistan's twin attack on India-in the Rann of Kutch and in Kashmir. After India-Pakistan War of 1965, Shastri met in Tashkent with Pakistan's President and signed a “no-war” declaration.

After Shastri's death he was succeeded by Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi. She rode a wave of success in1971 with India's victory in the second Indo-Pak war (1971), resulting in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh; launching of the India's first satellite into space (1975), nuclear explosion in Pokhran (1974). Other major decisions during her tenure include the nationalization of banks and the abolition of privy purses to the princes. In her attempt to control population growth, she implemented a voluntary sterilization program. But her adversaries criticized it. In 1975, beset with deepening political and economic problems, Mrs. Gandhi declared a state of emergency and suspended many civil liberties. The Emergency was a dark night in Indian democracy.
The people also suffered a lot from this emergency rule.  In the same year India acquired Sikkim. Seeking a mandate at the polls for her policies, she called for elections in 1977.  Congress party lost the election to the Janata Party and Moraji Desai became India's new prime minister. In 1979 Desai's government crumbled and Charan Singh of the Janata Secular Party formed an interim government. But in 1980, Gandhi's government returned to power. 

In 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh guards in apparent retaliation for dispatching troops to the Sikh Golden Temple. The years following the assassination, saw the Sikh Terrorism in Punjab. The situation has returned to normal after a decade of bitter violence.
Within 24 hours, Indira's son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the new prime minister. But his government was brought down in 1989 by allegations of corruption. Two major scandals, the "Spy" and the "Bofors" affairs, tarnished his reputation and he resigned his position. This was followed by opposition coalition governments headed by V.P. Singh and then Chandra Shekhar. That alliance also collapsed, resulting in national elections in 1991. But Rajiv Gandhi who stood for the elections, met with a tragic end in 1991 at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai by an LTTE Suicide Bomber when he was attending an election meeting.

In the elections INC becomes the largest party and returned to power at the head of a coalition, under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. In 1996, he and his cabinet officials were subsequently indicted for major corruption. Religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims lead to bloody riots in 1992. Rao's tenure also marked extensive economic reforms under the Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the early 90s, which paved the way for  India's economy growth at a high rate.
In 1996, When general elections were held Rao and Congress were badly defeated, and he lost the prime minister ship. The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without a parliamentary majority. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP coalition government lasted only 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal formed a government with H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister but his government collapsed within a year. Another minor party leader, I.K. Gujral replaced Dev Gowda. In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support from the United Front. In new elections in February 1998, the BJP won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but fell far short of a majority. The President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government under Vajpayee. This coalition fell apart and new elections in 1999 improved the position of the BJP, Vajpayee formed a new coalition. In 1999, Pakistani infiltrators crossed the line of control in Kargil, Kashmir resulting in an armed conflict between the Indian army and Pakistani paramilitary forces, resulting in eventual withdrawal by the Pakistani soldiers. In 2004 elections, Congress formed the government under the former Finance Minister popularly known as the father of Indian Economic Reforms, Dr. Manmohan Singh.


Robert Clive

After the victory of the  English in Buxar Clive was appointed the governor and commander in chief of the English possessions in Bengal. Clive took up the task of stabilizing the political status of the territory under him. He settled relations with Oudh by the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765. In his move to settle the problem of administrating Bengal he introduced the Dual system. According to  this system the real power of jurisdiction lay with the company while the responsibility of administration was of the Nawab of Bengal. This system proved a failure. It led to breakdown of the administrative machinery. Law and order  broke down. There was economic disorder with the collection of revenue adding to the misery of the people. Agricultural depression  affected trade and commerce with the company servants monopolizing the internal trade  of Bengal thus adding to their personal wealth other than contributing to the company finances. The cottage industries of Bengal suffered as it was discouraged . The company servants increased the price of raw materials. The artisans who now found their occupation unprofitable left it.

 Robert Clive also brought reforms in the administration of the company and the organisation of the military. He is claimed as the founder of the British political dominion in India and is said to have laid the foundation of all future progresses of the British in India.
Warren Hastings

Warren Hastings was appointed the Governor of Bengal in 1772. Bengal was now a state of disorder. Warren Hastings took over the task of reforming the administration of Bengal. A Board of revenue comprising of the Governor and a council was to manage the revenue. The entire responsibility of internal administration was taken over by the company servants. To bring forth a reform in the affairs of revenue Warren Hastings introduced a five year settlement of land revenue in 1772. But owing to several defects this system was scrapped in 1776. Cornwallis resorted to annual settlement under the  supervision by a committee of Revenue. He was  thus  unsuccessful in his attempt to reform the revenue system in Bengal.

Warren Hastings built  a system of justice in 1772 at the district level by setting up a Diwani Adalat and a Faujdari Adalat. This was based on the Mughal model. In 1773 the Regulating Act was passed which provided for the setting up of a supreme court to try all British subjects. He attempted to codify the Muslim and Hindu laws .It was titled 'Code of Gentoo Laws'. In the field of commerce five custom houses were set up. He brought regulations to prevent misuse of dastaks, check the exploitation of weavers by company agents and developed trade relations with Bhutan and Tibet.

Warren Hasting faced an uphill task in dealing with the Indian rulers. He faced stiff resistance from the Marathas in the north and Hyder Ali in the south. In 1773 he concluded the treaty of Banaras with the Nawab of Oudh appeasing the emperor and getting financial gains  thus blocking alliances between the Marathas and the Nawab of Oudh. Warren Hastings's diplomacy in participating the Rohilla War 1774 was a strategy of his to include Rohilkhand  in the company's jurisdiction.

During the period 1772-1785 the territory of the East India company included Bengal. Bihar  Orissa, Banaras and  Ghazipur. It also included the Northern Sarkars, port of Salsette and the harbours of Madras, Bombay and other minor ports. The Mughal territory included  Delhi and other adjoining areas. The territory of Oudh which was autonomous were bound in an offensive-defensive alliance with the East India Company since 1765. The north western part of India was under the Sikh Misls, who controlled region around the Sultej. The Muslim chiefs ruled in North western Punjab, Multan, Sindh and Kashmir. The Marathas dominated over western India, parts of Central India from Delhi to Hyderabad and Gujarat to Cuttak. The Deccan which consisted of Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizam. Hyder Ali was ruling over Mysore. Tanjore and Travancore were under the Hindu rulers.


The court of Directors sent Cornwallis in 1786 to carry out the policy of peace outlined in Pitts in India Act , to reorganise the administrative set up of the country. He had to find a satisfactory land revenue system, reform the judicial machinery and reorganise the commercial set up of the company. Lord Cornwallis introduced several judicial reforms. He set up the criminal courts. The  lowest was the Darogas followed by the district courts headed by an European magistrate. Civil courts were also setup. The distinction between revenue and civil case was abolished. The Diwani courts could try all civil cases. At the lowest level was the Munsiff court presided over by Indian officers. Above the district courts were the four provincial courts of Appeal at Calcutta, Murshidabad, Dacca and Patna. Cornwallis brought about reforms introducing a police system. Each district had a Daroga,the district was divided in to areas under a Superintendent of police. In the matter of revenue Cornwallis divided the provinces of Bengal in 1787,each under a collector. The committee of Revenue was renamed as Board of Revenue. In 1790 Cornwallis got the approval of the Board of Directors who recognised the Zamindars as the owners of land.They were subjected to annual payment of land revenue. In 1793 the settlement was declared permanent. This Permanent Settlement introduced by Cornwallis on the basis of an enquiry conducted by Sir John Shore had its positive and negative implications.

Sir John Shore

Sir John Shore succeeded Cornwallis. He looked after the affairs of the company till 1798 when he was recalled due to failure in tackling with the mutiny of army officials of Bengal in 1785. Sir John Shore followed a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of the native states. This resulted in the Nizam employing French officers to train his army thus decreasing the English influence. The Marathas and Tipu Sultan also sought the help of the French thus undermining the British.

Lord Wellesley (1789-1805) 

Lord Wellesley is considered to be one of the most brilliant Governor General of Bengal. Under his rule from 1798 the extended the dominions of the British. During his early period the French influence in Mysore, Hyderabad Gwalior was the first task to be tackled. He introduced the Subsidiary  Alliance system to undo with the French influence and bring the Indian states within the purview of the British power of Jurisdiction. This was a very advantageous system  that asserted British supremacy in India besides expansion of the company's dominion. Under the subsidiary system the ruler who accepted  the sustem had to recognise the company ,who in return would ensured protection of the territory. In 1798 the Nizam of Hyderabad accepted it, followed by the Nizam of Oudh and Mysore. Pehwa Baji Rao also accepted this treaty after his defeat at the hands of Holkar. The rulers of the Baroda and many Rajputs accepted this system. This system increased the resources of the company besides increasing the territory of the company too . The company had the right to exercise its military power in the affairs of the native states. This made the native states dependent on the company and ended foreign influence on the native rulers. Lord Wellesley gave up the policy of the non invention followed by sir John Shore. By 1805 the East India company territory in India extended from Sind to the west coast of Cape comorin and, to the north east along the Bay of Bengal to Burma. In northern India the company exercised control over Bengal, upper Sind and Punjab. The princely states of Oudh, Nagpur, Gwalior, Indore, Baroda. Hyderabad, and Mysore formed parts of the East India company's territories.

Lord Cornwallis(1805)

In 1805 Lord Cornwallis came back as the Governor General for the second time. The directors of the company who were not in support of the policy of  extension of British dominions followed by Wellesley aspired to follow the policy of non-intervention.

Sir George Barlow

After his death in 1805 Sir George Barlow a senior member of the Governor general council became the Governor-General. He followed a policy of non intervention and withdrew the company protection for the Rajputs.

Lord Minto

George Barlow was followed by Lord Minto who was the president of the Board of control before he became the governor general of the company. Lord Minto intervened in the affairs of Berar in 1809 when it was attacked by Amir Khan. He also took strong steps to put down the French and Dutch.

Lord Warren Hastings

Lord Minto was followed by Lord Hastings who governed from 1813 to 1823. When he took up charge the prestige of the company was low. The Indian rulers were not ready to cooperate with the company. The company faced threats from the Gorkhas of Nepal. The Pindaris expanded their territories and activities by plundering, the Marathas wanted to expand their territory by recovering their lost territories. The company faced the threats of Holkar, the Sindia's, Bhonsle, the Peshawa and the Pindaris. Warren Hastings concluded that the policy of non intervention had to be done with . He involved the Gorkhas in a war from 1814 to 1816. The Treaty of Saguali was signed in 1816 and a friendly relation with the Gorkhas was established which in due course of time proved very advantageous for the company. The Pindaris were exterminated from central India. The Marathas were also defeated in the Third Maratha war . The Maratha confederacy was dissolved and their territories became the company's area of administration.

Warren Hastings brought reforms in the social, economic and political affairs of the people. In this he was assisted by John Malcolm, Sir Thomas Murnroe, Elphinstone and Sir Charles Metcalfe. In the area of Judicial reforms William Hastings suggested the setting up of more courts to dispose the cases quickly. In 1814 Lord Hastings provided a Munsif for every Thana appointed by the Judges of the Diwani Adalat. sardar Amins were appointed in every district. The power of the registrars were increased and magistrates were given the power of imprisonment. In the matters of Revenue he suggested a permanent settlement in the North western Provinces. The representatives of each village community had to adjust the share of the individual cultivators. Besides this the Bengal Tenancy Act  was passed in 1822 by which the cultivators had hereditary right of possession of the land as long as they paid the rent. In 1820 Sir Thomas Monroe who became the Governor of Madras and he introduced the Ryotwari system by which the ryots became the direct payers of revenue without the intervention of the Zamindars or other middle men. For the promotion of the Education many schools were established. A college for promotion of English language was established in Calcutta. This was followed in Bombay and Madras. Warren Hastings ensured the liberty of the press which was restricted during the time of Wellesley The first Vernacular paper was published called 'Samachar Darpan' In the year 1823  William Hastings resigned and for a period of seven months a senior member of the Calcutta Council took charge in 1823.

Lord Amherst

 After this period Lord Amherst took charge as Governor general. During his reign he was compelled by the force of circumstances to wage war against Burma. The first Burmese war started in 1824 and continued till 1826. The treaty of Yandaboo was concluded in 1826 was of great advantage for the British as they could now penetrate deep into North east.

Lord William Bentick (1828-1835)

William Cavendish Bentick succeeded Lord Amherst as Governor-General of India in 1828. He was appointed Governor of Madras in 12803. William Bentick pursued a liberal attitude. To improve the financial state of the company and the territories under the British he undertook many steps.. Firstly the sinecure jobs were abolished. Secondly Bhatta of the military personals were reduced. He abolished the provioncial court of Appeal. In 1823 the collectors were directed to check the validity of rent free lands . The opium trade of Malwa was regulated . The land revenue settlement of North west province was made in 1833. Lord William Bentick removed the ban on employing Indians, and started employing Indians to government jobs. To improve the Judicial system the provincial court of Appeal  set up by Cornwallis were abolished. The power of the Magistrates were enhanced. A system of jury was introduced. The use of Vernaculars as court languages and codification of laws were introduced. In the administrative field Indians were re-employed based on the charter Act of 1823 and separate Board of  revenue was set up at Allahabad. The educational reforms brought about by William Bentick was a milestone. He supported western education through English medium.This was supported by Indian social reforms likeRaja Ram Mohan Roy. In 1835 a medical college was started at Calcutta. In the matters of social reforms Williams Bentick abolished the practice of Sati with the support of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

The suppression of the Thuggee ,a band of robbers was another remarkable achievement. The prohibition of female infanticide was another social reform which was declared punishable. Besides this William Bentick took up Public works. Relations with the Indian states  during the time of Wiliam Bentick extended to the taking over of the administration of Mysore in 1831. In 1832, Cachar on the North east frontiers of Bengal was annexed and the plantation of tea was introduced. In 1834 Coorg was annexed and plantation of coffee was also started. Lord William Bentick established friendship with Maharaj Ranjit Singh at Rupar in  1831.A treaty with the Amirs of Sind was signed in 1832 for commercial purpose.

Charles Metcalfe

After William Bentick Charles Metcalfe became the Governor General from 1835 to 1836. During his rule the restriction on the press was removed. He was recalled by the Board of Directors and the Governor Generalship was conferred on Lord Auckland who governed from 1836-1842.

Lord Auckland

 It was during his period that the First Afghan War was fought in which the English suffered reverses. He was succeeded by Lord Ellenborough who governed from 1842-44. 

Lord Ellenborough

His period witnessed the end of the Anglo Afghan relations, annexation of Sind in 1843. He was also recalled by the Board of directors because his relation with them was not satisfactory. He was succeeded by Lord Hardinge. 

Lord Hardinge

Lord Hardinge governed from 1844 to 1848. During this period first Sikh was fought from (1845 -1846).

British Governors and Governor Generals 

Lord Dalhousie (1848-56)

Lord Dalhousie was appointed Governor General of India in 1848. His eight years of rule is considered one of the greatest period of British rule. His policy of Annexation was a lethal weapon of conquest which raised the rule of the East India Company to the height of glory. It was also during his rule that various reforms were brought to improve the conditions of India. Though these directly benefited the British yet they were foundations on which  the country built itself after independence. The policy of annexation known as the Doctrine of Lapse was based on the forfeiture of the right to rule in the absence of a natural heir. By this policy the state of Satara was annexed in 1848, in 1849 the state of Sambhalpur and in 1853 Jhansi was also annexed. After the death of the Raja of Nagpur in 1853 the policy claimed yet another victim. By 1854 owing to the failure to have a natural heir Nagpur too was annexed.

Another method of annexation was by conquest. In 1849 Punjab was annexed after the Second Anglo Sikh War. In 1852 after the Second Burmese Lower Burma known as Pegu was annexed. In 1850 part of the state of Sikkim was annexed on the pretext of maltreatment of English officials. Other territories were annexed on the grounds of misgovernment and Assignment.To this policy fell the territories of Berar in 1853 and Oudh in 1856.

Dalhousie proved his worth in the matters of administration by the demarcation of various departments of the administrative machinery and  appointment of Lieutenant Governor for Bengal. He introduced the non-regulation system under which the non-regulation provinces was to be under a Chief Commissioner responsible to the Governor-General in council. Punjab, Oudh, Burma were a few non-regulating provinces.

Dalhousie introduced Railways and Telegraph in India with a purpose to improve communication which was essential to administer the far flung areas of this vast country. He also reformed the postal system. To undertake works for the public benefit he introduced the public works department. In the educational field ,Dalhousie's reforms such as the system of vernacular education was praise worthy. Anglo Vernacular Schools were established. In the matters of commerce the policy of free trade was introduced by declaring free ports. Indian trade by now was dominated by the English. The military reforms of Dalhousie included the shift of the Bengal Artillery  from Calcutta to Meerut. The Army head quarter shifted to Simla from Calcutta. Sensing the dangers of the increasing Indian troops he proposed reduction of Indian soldiers. He encouraged the inclusion of Gorkhas to the Indian Army; and organised an irregular force for Punjab.

Dalhousie policy of annexations and reforms only appealed to the English interests in India and this is said to have created the grounds for a rise of the Indian opposition which reflected as the mutiny of 1857. Though started by the sepoys of the Indian army, it gave an opportunity for the discontent Indian rulers to express their discontent. It also was an attempt  aimed at erasing the British rule in India. Before the revolt of 1857 several revolts preceded reflecting the Indian opposition to the British domination. They included the Sanyasi revolt of 1770, the Chuar and Ho rebellion of Midnapur in 1768, 1820-22 and 1831. They continued their stand against the British till 1837. The Santhals of Rajmahal hills rebelled in 1855. In 1828 and 1830 the Ahoms in Assam rebelled against the company followed by the Khasi's in the Jaintia and Garo hills.

In 1817-19 the Bhils of the Western Ghats revolted and continued their struggle in 1831 and 1846. The rulers of the Kutch, the Wagheras of Okha Mandal, the Ramosis also revolted against the British. In South India the Raja of Vizianagram, the Poligars of Dindigul and Malabar rose in 1856. The imposition of the subsidiary alliance of 1805 on the ruler of Travancore led to the rise of Diwan Velu Tampi with the Nair battalion.

The revolt of 1857 broke out owing to political, administrative and economic causes besides the social and religious causes. The discontented sepoys of the British army were fuelled by the immediate reason, said to be the use of the greased cartridges. An infuriated sepoy Mangal Pandey is said to have shot dead an officer leading to punishment and disbanding of  the soldiers of that regiment. The revolt spread to the North Central part of India. Owing to poor organisation and superiority of the British forces the revolt was subdued.

The revolt of 1857 was followed by several changes that included the transfer of Indian administration from East India Company to the crown, respect of the honour, dignity and territorial possession of the native princes. Thus the revolt witnesses the end of an era of the rule of the few in the company. It also marked the beginning of an organised struggle for freedom from the British yoke.

Lord Lytton (1876-80)

Lord Lytton took charge in 1876. Though he had excelled as a poet, a novelist and essayist, he was not an able administrator. He brought reforms in trade bringing the policy of free trade. His policy towards the Afghans led to the second Afghan war. The Criticisms of the British policy led to the passing of the Vernacular press Act in 1878 and Indian Arms Act. In the field of financial reforms he brought reduction of Import duties, financial decentralization and equality of tax duties.
During 1876-78 a severe famine affected Madras, Bombay, Mysore and Hyderabad. In 1878 a Famine commission was appointed. Lord Lytton's rule was unpopular.

Lord Ripon (1880-84)

Lord Ripon was appointed the Viceroy of India in 1880. During his rule the Vernacular Press Act of 1882 was repeated. The first Factory Act was passed in 1881 to improve the condition of the factory labourers. The Financial decentralization was further extended. To make the central administration effective a system of Local Self Government was established in 1882. He also brought reforms on Land Revenue policy and the educational fields. The controversial Ilbert bill was passed in 1883 which sought to abolish every judicial disqualification based to have been favourable to India.

Lord Dufferin (1884-88)

Lord Dufferin assumed the Viceroyalty from 1884-88. He was an able administrator who averted a war between the Russian and the Afghans. The third Burmese War of 1885 during his rule resulted in the annexation of Upper Burma. It was during his period that the Indian National Congress was founded. Its first session was held at Bombay.

Lord Lansdowne (1888-93)

During the rule of Lord Lansdowne the British troops occupied Manipur. The Indian Councils Act of 1892 was passed which increased the number of members of the Legislature at the Centre and of Provincial legislatures. The second census of India was held in 1891. The boundary between India and Afghanistan was fixed, known as the Durand line this was to avert confrontations between the Afghans and the British.

Lord Elgin II (1893-99)

During the Viceroyalty of Lord Elgin II the main happenings included the Chitral expedition, the Tirah campaign. The Bubonic Plague that started at Bombay in 1896, the famine of 1896-98 was also note worthy.

Lord Curzon (1899-1905)

Lord Curzon became the Viceroy of Indian in 1899. He brought forth administrative reforms by changes in various aspects of the society. In 1902 a police commission was appointed to look into the police administration. It dealt with the various activities, from recruitment to the internal set up of the department, and the other matters like salaries etc.

To improve the educational system Lord Curzon appointed a Universities commission in 1902 and on the basis of its recommendation, the Indian Universities Act was passed in 1904.

With a view to bring economic reforms legislations regarding famine, land revenue, Irrigation, agriculture, railways, taxation, currency was passed. He also brought judicial reforms besides reorganising the army. In 1904 he passed the Ancient Monument Act with an aim to protect and preserve historical monuments.

The most important change which Lord Curzon was known for, was the partition of Bengal in 1905. This partition was vehemently opposed by the nationalists of Bengal as it sought to segregate the Mohammedan from the Hindus and create a border of separation. It worsened the Indo-British relations.

Lord Minto III (1905-1910)

Lord Minto succeeded as Viceroy when the country was in a state of political unrest owing to Lord Curzon's partition of Bengal. British goods were boycotted and there was a state of lawlessness. Repressive laws were passed to curb it. The Minto Morley reforms of 1909 increased the number of members in the central and provincial legislative councils. The system of communal electorates for Muslims was introduced.

Lord Hardinge (1910-1916)

During the viceroyalty of Lord Hardinge George V who ascended the throne in 1910 visited India in 1911. It was during this that the capital of India was transferred from Calcutta to Delhi. His period also witnesses the outbreak of the First World War. The Indians contributed their part in various battles in Europe and Central Asia.

Lord Chlemsford (1916-1921)

In the event of the on going world war and the Indian contribution in the interest of Britain ,the August declaration of 1917 was passed. It sought to increase the involvement of the Indians in every branch of administration, gradually bringing self government ,to realise a responsible government in India. In 1919 the Government of India Act 1919 was passed which sought to introduce the system of dyarchy in the provinces. The Third Afghan war was fought in 1919. The non-cooperation movement introduced by Mahatma Gandhi was in full swing. It was amidst this that the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre in Amritsar was inflicted upon by General dyer. The Indian Muslims had started the Khilafat Movement to protest the injustice shown to Turkey by the Allics of the first World War.
Lord Reading (1921-1926)

It was during the viceroyalty of Lord Reading that the Duke of Connaught came to India to inagurate the Montague-Chelemsford reforms. There was a period of boycott and demonstrations by Indian nationalists. The Prince of Wales visited India. This period also witnessed the Khilafat movement, followed by the Chawri chaura incident which resulted in the calling off of the non-cooperation movement started under Mahatma Gandhi.

Lord Irwin (1926-1931)

During this period the important events that occured in India were the appointment of the Simon Commission in 1927 to report the working of the Montague- Chlemsford reforms of 1919. There was demonstrations and boycott. This was followed by the Civil disobedience movement in 1930, led by Mahatma Gandhi. The first round table conference was held in London to discuss the report of the Simon Commission. The Gandhi Irwin pact put at rest the Civil disobedience movement and Gandhi was to attend the second round table conference.

Lord Willingdon (1931-1936)

The second round table conference was held at London. The famous communal Award was instituted by Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald in August 1932. It granted separate electorates to the depressed classes. As this basically aimed at separating Hindus the  Poona Act to eliminate the communal nature of the communal award was passed. The third round table conference was held in 1932. In 1935 the Government of India Act was passed based on the White Paper of the British government of 1933.

Lord Linlithgow (1936-1944)

The provincial part of the Government of India Act of 1935 was introduced. Elections were held in the early part of 1937. The second world war broke out in 1939. The congress split into the Moderates and Extremists. Subhash Chandra Bose formed the Forward bloc. In 1940 Lord Linlithgow offered to solve the constitutional crisis with the Congress. In 1942 Sir Stafford Cripps brought a proposal to settle the constitutional problems. The mission was a failure.
In 1942 the congress passed the Quit India Resolution which aimed to shed off the British control

Lord Wavell  (1944-1947)

Lord Wavell's period marked the end of the world war II. The Simla conference was held in 1941 to resolve the constitutional problems but it failed. In 1946 the cabinet mission plan provided for an interim government laid the procedure for the framing of a constitution for India. A Constituent Assembly was elected and it had its first meeting in 1946.

Lord Mountbatten (1947-1948)

Under Lord Mountbatten the proposal to divide India into India and Pakistan was given shape. The Indian Independence Act was passed as proposed by the June 3rd plan, under Lord Mountbatten. India became Independent on Aug 15, 1947. Lord Mountbatten became the first Governor General of Free India.


JAWAHAR LAL NEHRU (Tenure1947-1964 )

The first Prime Minister of Independent India. He was born in 1889. An intellectual who laid the foundation for a better India. Author of the famous book 'The discovery of India'. Died in 1964.

GULZARI LAL NANDA (MAY - JUNE, 1964 'acting')

A Gandhian and veteran labour leader, was born in 1898. He held several portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Received 'Bharat Ratna' in 1997. Died in 1998.


A great Indian statesman and freedom fighter, born in 1904.  He acquired the title 'Shastri' from Kashi Vidya Peetha'. The slogan 'Jai Jawan and Jai Kisan' was introduced by him. Died in 1966.

GULZARI LAL NANDA (11-24, JANUARY,1966 'acting')

A Gandhian and veteran labour leader, was born in 1898. He held several portfolios in the Union Cabinet.  Received 'Bharat Ratna' in 1997. Died in 1998.

INDIRA GANDHI (1966-1977)

Daughter of  the first P.M. of India Jawaharlal Nehru, was born at Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) in 1917. India's first women Prime Minister. Awarded 'Bharat Ratna' in 1971.  Her bold polices led India to victory in the 1971 war against Pakistan. Assasinated in 1984.

MORARJI DESAI (1977-1979)

First non-congress party Prime Minister of India, was born in 1896.  He served as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1952-56.  A staunch Gandhian and naturalist. Occupied the positions as Union Minister, Deputy Prime minister and Finance Minister. Awarded Bharat Ratna in1991. He passed away in 1995.

CHARAN SINGH (1979-1980)

He was born in 1902.  Occupied the position of President of Lok Dal for many years.  He was the Deputy Prime Minister during Janata regime.  Died in 1987.

INDIRA GANDHI (1980-1984)

She was again elected as the Prime Minister in 1980. She was shot dead in 1984 at her residence. she encouraged 'scientific development' in the country.

RAJIV GANDHI (1984-1989)

Youngest Prime Minister of the World's largest democratic country, was born in 1944. Son of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. A commercial pilot turned politician, was assassinated during an election campaign in 1991. He was awarded with  'Bharat Ratna' posthumously.


He was the Union Minister in Janata party ministry, a senior leader of Janata Dal. He was born in 1931. A renowned painter. Served as Prime Minister from 1989-90.


He was born in 1927.  A parliamentarian, socialist and serving as President of Socialist Janata Party from 1977.

P.V.NARASIMHARAO (1991-1996)

He was born in 1921.  Served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1971-73, External Affairs Minister, Defence Minister and Human Resources Minister in Congress Government from 1980 onwards and later as the Prime Minister.

A.B.VAJPAYEE (16. 5.1996 - 1.6.1996)

A brilliant parliamentarian, orator, poet and journalist, Freedom fighter and social worker, was born in 1924.  Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha(1993). Founder member Jan Sangh, former President BJP.  Received Padma Vibhushan, Best Parliamentarian award.

H.D.DEVEGOWDA (1.6.1996 - 21.4.1997)

He was born in 1933.  Former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Janata Dal leader.

I .K.GUJARAL (21.4.1997 - 18.3.1998)

He was born in 1919.  Formerly in Union Cabinet from 67 - 76 and 89 - 90.  Minister of External Affairs (89-90, 96-97), Ambassador to USSR (76 - 80).

A.B.VAJPAYEE ( 19.3.1998 - 13-10-1999)

Again elected as the Prime Minister from the BJP party from the Lucknow constituency (1998, 1999). Over the decades, the veteran has emerged as a national leader who has mass appeal and commands respect for his liberal worldview and commitment to democratic ideals.

A.B.VAJPAYEE (13-10-1999- 22-5-2004)

Dr.MANMOHAN SINGH (May 22, 2004 - till date)

Present Prime Minister of India. Born in 1932, he is best known as ' father of Indian Reforms'. An academician by profession, he has taught in several universities and also held various positions in the government service. Former Finance Minister (1991) under the Congress government.


Dr. RAJENDRA PRASAD (1950-1962)

The first president of Independent India, Indian statesman and devout Gandhian, was born in 1884. He also handled the Ministry for food (1947). Awarded Bharat Ratna in 1962. Died in 1963.

Dr. S. RADAKRISHNAN (1962-1967)

Indian Scholar, Philosopher, Writer and statesman, was born in 1888. Served as the First Vice President (1952-62) and later the President. He taught at Oxford University for 16years.He was Chairman of UNESCO. 'The Hindu view of Life' and 'The India Philosophy' are his books. He was Awarded with 'Bharat Ratna' in 1954. He Died in 1975.

Dr. ZAKIR HUSSAIN (1967-1969)

A great patriot, educationalist and social worker. Born in 1897, served as chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. Received Bharat Ratna in 1963.  Died in 1969.


Born in 1905, he was the judge of high court and served as Chief Commissioner of Scouts and Guides. Died in 1992.

V.V.GIRI (1969-1974)

He was born in 1884.  Lawyer by profession,  Veteran trade unionist.  Received Bharat Ratna in 1975. Died in 1980.


He was born in 1905. He was active in the freedom movement.  Served as Union Minister from 1966 and later the President.  Died in 1977.

B.D. JATTI (FEBRUARY - JULY, 1977 'acting')

He was born in 1913 and was a Lawyer by profession. He became Chief Minister of Karnataka and Governor of Orissa.

Born in 1913. Served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Union Minister and Speaker of Lok Sabha. Freedom Fighter. President of Indian National Congress. Died in 1996.

GIANI ZAIL SINGH (1982-1987)

Giani Zail Singh was born in 1916.  The Giani's innings in public life have been long and varied - freedom fighter, social reformer, champion of the down-trodden, State Congress Leader, successful Chief Minister and Union Home Minister. He was elected to the highest office of the President of India on July 15, 1982. Died in 1994.

R.VENKETARAMAN (1987-1992)

Shri Venkataraman was born in 1910. He was elected Vice-President of India in August, 1984. Having been elected to the Office of the President of India, Shri Venkataraman was sworn in on July 25, 1987. He is the Eighth President of the Republic of India.


He was born in 1918.  Scholar, freedom fighter, was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Congress President, Union Cabinet minister, Governor and Vice-President. Died in 1999.

K.R.NARAYAN (FROM JULY 25, 1997- JULY 24, 2002)

Shri Kocheril Raman Narayanan was born on October 27, 1920 in the village of Uzhavoor in Kottayam district, Kerala.  He was elected as vice-president of India and served in this position from August 21, 1992. After that he assumed office as President of India on July 25, 1997.


Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabhudin Adbul Kalam, the present president of India was born on 15th October, 1931 at Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram district, Tamil Nadu. This genius rightfully termed as the father of India's missile technology formerly served as the scientific advisor to the government of India. He was sworn in as president on July 25, 2002.


Indian aspirations to remain as an independent entity has always remained scattered till the second half of the 19th century. These could always be subdued owing to the lack of an organised effort against the well organised masters.  The real organised effort to achieve the political social and economic liberty was felt only after the formation of the Indian National Congress. The first reason for evolving a feeling of nationalism was the political unification of India. Before the advent of the British the subcontinent presented a collage of selfish kingdoms under rival chiefs and rulers.
The coming of the British brought western influence which inspired western education. The liberal and radical ideas of Europe influenced the Indian and created a new educated class. The use of western education and English as a language for communication brought closer the population in various region. Thus it helped in exchange of ideas and aspirations for liberty from the foreign rule.
The socio- religious movements brought forth by various social reformers all over the country inspired national consciousness to improve their social condition and invoked the spirit of patriotism in the Indian masses.

The promotion of vernacular language and its use in the Indian and Vernacular papers infused a feeling of nationalism in the people.

Throughout the British rule in India there was a section of Indians who were discontented and exploited politically, socially economically and spiritually. They took up the mission of subduing the British diplomacy and hoped to revive self-rule. The development of the means of communication eased traveling and exchange of ideas that inspired freedom. 

The Indian nationalism witnesses a development in phases. In the First Phase ever since the evolution of Indian National Congress, a moderate movement with the will to co-operate for the grant of a better living atmosphere prevailed. They believed in the gradual realization of their national goals.

In the second phase owing to the repression of the moderate policy of the Congress  by the  the rise of extremism resulted. Steered by a young and vigorous  they resorted to  reaction and conflict for achieving their goals. Boycott, resistances and demonstrations were their political weapons. 

The third phase of the Indian national movement was dominated by the Gandhian ideology; non-violence, non co-operation and civil disobedience movement. All these, at that period of time worked or failed, but were revoked and modified and reapplied ultimately resulting in the freedom in 1947.


The sources of Indian history can be classified under the following heads:

1.    Inscriptions
2.    Numismatics
3.    Archaeology
4.    Literature
5.    Foreign Sources
6.    Traditions

1. Inscriptions

Epigraphy is the study of inscriptions. Epigraphic evidences form the most reliable source of ancient history. They are engraved on stone tablets, metal plates, pillars, walls of caves, etc. The inscriptions represent various languages at different places and period of time. Some inscriptions give details about the political and religious activities of that time. Others are official, commemorative and historical.
The edicts of Ashoka, the pillars of Samudragupta and Rudradaman I are religious and administrative inscriptions. Sanskrit plays at Dhar and Ajmer and musical rules found in the Pudukottai, treaties on architecture inscribed on a tower at Chittor are examples of inscriptions.

Inscriptions on metal plates also cast light on the period during the Mauryans. The Mandasor copper plates, the Sohgaura plate from Gorakpur district, the Aihole inscription of Mahendra-Varman, the Uttiramerur inscriptions of Parantaka Chola I cast light on trade, taxes, currency. Some of these are dated in the Saka and Vikrama era reflects the condition of India. It gives knowledge about the boundaries of kingdoms and empire.

2. Numismatics

Numismatics is the study of coins. Coins yield information on the condition of country. The coins made of gold, silver and copper speak of the economic situation of that place in the period. Coins gives us chronological information. It also  gives us knowledge about the extent of influence of that a particular ruler or kingdom and its relation with the distant areas. Roman coins discovered in India gives us an idea about the existence of contacts with the Roman empire. Coins are the only source of idea knowledge of the Bactarian; Indo-Greeks and Indo-Parthian dynasty. The coins of this period brings to light an improvement in the coin artistry of India. Portraits and figures, Hellenistic  art and dates on the coins of the western straps of Saurashtra are remarkable sources for reconstructing this period. The Puranic accounts of the Satavahanas is ascertained from the Jogalthambi hoard of coins.
The circulation of coins in gold and silver during the Gupta empire imparts an idea of  the healthy economic condition during the rule of the Guptas.

3. Archaeology

Archaeology is the scientific study of the remains of the past. They include buildings monuments and other material relics  that the inhabitants of that period  were associated with. The Department of Archaeology was set up by Lord Curzon  under the Director Generalship of Dr Marshal.
Excavations conducted at various sites in the valley of the river Indus, Lothal in Gujarat, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, at Sind and Punjab gives us knowledge of the civilization during about 2700 BC.
Excavations at Taxila gives an idea about the Kushanas.

Similarity in monuments excavated in India and abroad establish a relations between various areas of the globe, besides this it express the Indian migration beyond India. The fine example of this is the temple of Angkor vat in Cambodia. 

Excavations at south Indian sites such as Adichana llur, Chandravalli, Brahmagiri highlights the prehistoric periods.

The rock cut temples of Ajanta and Ellora with its sculptures and paintings express the artistic finery of that period

 Besides all these pots, pottery, seals, skeletal remains all are inseparable parts of the reconstructing  history.

4. Literature

This can be classified into

•    Indigenous literature
•    Foreign literature

Literature in the ancient period was not fuelled by the urge to preserve history but was a complication of experiences   and rules of worship. Most of the literature of this period was religious. 

(a) The Indigenous literature includes the Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Aryankas, the Upanishads, the Epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha, the Brahmashastras, the Puranas.

The Buddhist and Jain literature gives knowledge of the traditions prevalent in those periods. The literature of this period are in Sanskrit Pali Prakrit. It gives us a knowledge about  music, dance, painting architecture and administration of various kings.

Kautilya`s Arthashastra is a remarkable work on the system of administration.

The Sangam literature in south is an elaborate record of life in South India.

Though these literature lacks historical sense yet they are the main sources to venture into the facts of Indian history.

(b) Foreign Literature

The loop holes in the indigenous literature is supported by the numerous account by foreigners who were either pilgrims, travellers, traders or ambassadors in the court of various kings.

The writings of Herodotus helped in scattering the knowledge of India to Europe before the invasion by Alexander. He highlights the features of the Indo-Persian relations.

Megasthanes the Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta gives us an idea about India in his book 'Indica'.

Accounts of Fa-Hien and Hieun-Tsang who toured India as a pilgrim during the rule of Harshavardhana and the  Guptas gives us a detailed idea about the country.

Accounts by Muslims personalities also add a great insight into the history of India.

'Tarikh - e - Hind' ( 'an enquiry into India') by Alberuni  a learned mathematician and astronomer  is a remarkable document about the country. The composition of Firishta, the Ceylonese chronicle Deepavamsa of Mahavamsa of Ceylon portrays the life in the ancient period. Accounts of Pliny in the first century AD, accounts of Ptolemy in the second century AD and the  Accounts of Taranath of Tibet is an insight into the religion and history of the India in that period.

5. Foreign sources

The existence of details in the literature of the Greeks, Chinese, Persians, Romans  and  Europeans gives an account of the condition of the country then. It also speaks the truth about the conditions under which they came in contact India. The presence of various artifacts and materials of Indian origin has added to the study of Indian history.

The histories of the Chinese from 120BC to 400AD and 700AD, the accounts of Abul-Fazl in his 'Ain - i - Akbari' are a few examples of the foreign sources to know about the Indian history.
In many cases where there was a need to fill in the vagueness caused by the lack  of evidence in the study of Indian history these foreign sources have proved handy.

6. Traditions

Traditions have modulated  and synthesized the Indian life. These were practiced from the dome of civilizations and practiced through generations. Songs, dramas, fairs and festivals besides rituals are an inalienable part of the society. These are living sources of history.