name India comes from "Indoi", a Greek word for the people
who lived beyond the Indus River. The roots of Indian civilization
lie in the country's precise and awesome natural boundaries formed
by the Himalayas in the North, and seas to the east, south and west.
These have fostered a remarkable physical and cultural unity, despite
the size and diversity of the area they enclose.
valley civilization: From 250000 BC to 1800 BC. By 7000 BC emerged
the first agricultural settlements, and then around 2500 BC appeared
a sophisticated urban civilization. This civilization declined around
1500 B.C., probably due to ecological changes.
Vedic Ages: It started around 1500BC with the immigration of
a people coming from Central Asia in the Indus valley: the Aryans.
It is in the Vedic period that Hinduism first arose: this is the
time to which the Vedas are dated. This was also the time of the
Mahabharata epic which describes a great war between two clans.
age of Buddha: The 6th century saw the Buddhism spreading to
Asia. With the rise of several urban centers in the North, and a
widespread trade in his region, Buddhism and Jainism, two religions
opened to everyone and rejecting the cast system, gained popularity.
The Mauryan Empire: This first empire
in India was founded in 321 BC. Ashoka became one the greatest rulers
extending the empire at its very most. After him, the empire declined
and successor states were more fragmented.
coming of Islam: After constant wars between the different kingdoms
in the north and in the south, Islam first came to India in the
eighth century with a new wave of invasions, and by the eleventh
century had firmly established itself in India as a political force.
These invasions were to have a lasting impact on religion, art,
culture and history in India.
Great Mughals : The North Indian dynasties of the Lodhis, Tughlaqs,
and numerous others, whose remains are visible in Delhi and scattered
elsewhere around North India, were finally succeeded by the Mughal
empire, under which India once again achieved a large measure of
political unity. This powerful and influential dynasty ruled India
for over 300 years establishing a rich culture (Taj Mahal, Jewells,
weapons...), blending the best of Islamic and Hindu traditions.
Europeans: The European presence in India dates to the seventeenth
century and it is in the latter part of this century that the Mughal
Empire began to disintegrate, paving the way for regional states.
The rise of the British: In the contest for supremacy, the
English emerged 'victors', their rule marked by the conquests at
the battlefields of Plassey and Buxar. After 1857, nationalist aspirations
began to grow. A turning point came in 1919, when a pacific demonstration
for civil liberties was crushed by the British army in Amristar.
National Movement: By 1920, Mohandas Karamchand ('Mahatma')
Gandhi emerged as the virtually undisputed leader of a non violent
resistance to British laws and institutions. After the Second World
War, the movement increased, and finally at midnight, the fifteenth
of August 1947, the Independence was declared. The birthday of India
came along with the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in two
countries (Pakistan was born), and so the mass migrations of Muslims
26 January 1950, India became a Republic, and the Constitution of
India was promulgated. The Indian National Congress, which had led
the country to freedom, remained the largest and most influential
party under Jawaharlal Nehru, who served as India's Prime Minister
from 1947 to 1964. Relations with Pakistan remained chilling after
the war in late 1947. In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by
a Hindu fanatic. In 1962 China invaded North India and inflicted
the country a severe defeat. In 1966, the daughter of Nehru became
Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was famous for its socialist policies
and its help in the struggle between East and West Pakistan, which
led to the formation of Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi was shot by her
own Sikh bodyguard in 1984.
Since Independence, significant progress has been made in the 55
years: economic reforms, reduction of poverty and unemployment,
improving of women situation