• Indian archaeology has divided Indian history into the following major periods:

Lower palaeolithic: 2 million years before present

Middle palaeolithic: 80,000 years approx.

Upper palaeolithic: 35,000 years approx.

Mesolothic: 12,000 years approx.

Neolithic, early agriculturists and pastoralists: 10,000 years approx.

Chalcolithic, fi rst use of copper: 6000 years approx.

Harappan civilization: 2600 bc

Megalithic burials, early iron: 1000 bc

Early historic: 600 bc to 400 ce

• There are wide variations in development in diff erent parts of the subcontinent.


Indus Valley Civilization (2600–1900 BC)

• One of the first great civilizations, with a writing system, urban centres and a

diversifi ed social and economic system, appeared approximately 2600 bc along the

Indus River Valley in Punjab and Sindh.

• The important sites connected with the Indus Valley civilization are Lothal near

Ahmedabad (Gujarat); Kalibangan (Rajasthan); Banwali (in district Hissar, in Haryana);

Ropar (Chandigarh, in Punjab); Mohenjodaro in Larkana district of Sind (now in

Pakistan) and Harappa in Montgomery district of Punjab (now in Pakistan).

• It covered more than 12,99,600 km2 from the borders of Baluchistan to the deserts of

Rajasthan, from the Himalayan foothills to the southern tip of Gujarat.

• Diff erent historians have proposed inclusive dates for the Indus Valley Civilization

(IVC) as Marshal (3250 to 2750 bc); Mackay (2800 to 2500 bc); DP Aggarwal (2300

to 1750 bc, used C-14 determination); Wheeler (2500–1700 bc); Dales (2900–1900 bc)

and MS Vats (3500 to 200 bc). (Publication division documents and NCERT estimates

it to be 2600 to 1900 bc.)

• Meluha was the ancient name given to the Indus region by the Mesopotamians.

• The dating system in various history books and documents is bc (Before Present or

Before Christ); bce (Before Common Era); ce (Common Era; for example, 2014 ce is

the year 2014 in present) and c. (circa meaning approximate).

• The region prior to the mature Harappan period had many archaeological cultures

with distinctive pottery, evidence of agriculture, some crafts and pastoralism; most

being small settlements with no large city.

• Harappans ate a wide range of plant and animal products including fi sh.

• Grains found at Harappan sites include wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea and sesame.

Millet was majorly found at Gujarat sites whereas rice is found rarely.

• Harappans had domesticated animals like cattle, sheep, goat, buff alo and pig. Bones of

wild animals included boar, deer and gharial.

• Most Harappan inscriptions were recorded on seals.

• Harappans were the earliest people to produce cotton.

• Harappan seals were most probably used in connection with trade. Mesopotamian

cylindrical seals and cuneiform inscriptions have been found in Mohenjo-Daro.

• Most Harappan sites are located in semi-arid lands where irrigation was probably

required for agriculture.

• Traces of canals are found at the Shortughai, a Harappan site in Afghanistan but none

in Sind or Punjab.

• Archaeological excavations at Indus valley sites show that houses had wells in


• Water reservoirs found in Dholavira (Gujarat) may have been used to store water for


• Stone implements were largely used by the Indus people but it is not known if they

used stone blades set in wooden handles or metal tools.

• The civilization seemed to have fl ourished at the maximum 1800 bc. Afterwards each

urban phase marked by systematic town planning, extensive brick work, art of writing,

use of bronze tools and red ware pottery painted with black designs practically


Harappan A rchaeology Timelines

Report of Alexander Cunninghan on Harappan Sear—1875

M. S. Vats starts excavations at Harappa—1921

Mohenjodaro excavations begins—1925

R. E. M. Wheeler excavates at Harappa—1946

S. R. Rao begins excavations at Lothal—1955

B. B. Lal and B. K. Thapar start excavations at Kalibangan—1960

M. R. Mughal starts explorations at Bahawalpur—1974

Surface exploration at Mohenjodaro (German and Italian team)—1980

Excavations by the US team at Harappan—1986

Dholavira excavations by R. S. Bisht—1990

Vedic Period: The Aryans

Early Vedic Period (1500–1000 BC)

• ‘Aryan’, the word, is borrowed from the Sanskrit word ‘Arya’, meaning ‘a good family’.

The Revolt Against Brahmanism: As Brahmins monopolized religion, the other castes

revolted against the Brahmanical exploitation.

Emergence of Kingdoms or Mahajanapadas

• From the sixth century bc, the widespread use of iron in eastern Uttar Pradesh and

Western Bihar facilitated the formation of large territorial states.

• Buddhist texts list the following 16 Mahajanapadas or major-janapadas as having been

in existence in the sixth century bc.

16 Mahajanapadas (C) → Capital

 1. Magadha Kingdom (South Bihar) (C) Pataliputra

 2. Anga and Vanga Kingdoms (East Bihar) (C) Champa

 3. Malla Kingdom (Gorakhpur region) (C) Kushinagar

 4. Chedi Kingdom (Yamuna and Narmada belt) (C) Tisvathirati

 5. Vatsa Kingdom (Allahabad) (C) Kausambi

 6. Kashi Kingdom (Banaras) (C) Varanasi

 7. Kosala Kingdom (Ayodhya)—important town in Kosala

 8. Vajji Kingdom (North Bihar) (C) Vajji; (R)

 9. Kuru (Thaneswar, Meerut and present day Delhi) (C) Indraprastha; (R)

10. Panchala Kingdom (Uttar Pradesh) (C) Kampila; (R)

11. Matsya Kingdom (Jaipur) (C) Viratanagar; (R)

12. Surasena Kingdom (Mathura) (C) Mathura; (R)

13. Assaka Kingdom (Godavari) (C) Potali; (R)

14. Gandharva Kingdom (Peshawar and Rawalpindi) (C) Taxila; (R)

15. Kamboj Kingdom (North-east Kashmir) (C) Rajapure; (R)

16. Awanti Kingdom (Malwa) (C) Ujjain-north, Mahismati-south; (R)

• The Vedic philosophy lost its original purity as the Vedic religion became complex and

degenerated into superstitions and futile rituals causing wastage of time and resources.

Growth of Buddhism and Jainism (Sixth Century BC)


• Founded by Gautama Siddhartha (Kshatriya prince of the Saka clan), who left his

family at the age of 29 in search of truth and wandered for about 6 years.

• Gautama was born in 563 bc (or 576 bc as is believed by some historians) at Lumbini

(near Kapilvastu, capital of Saka republic) in Nepal.

• Gautama attained enlightenment under a pipal tree at Bodh Gaya, delivered his fi rst

sermon at Sarnath, spread his message for about 45 years and attained mahaparinirvana

at Kusinara (Kushinagar) in 483 bc (at age of 80).

• Five great events of Buddha’s life—Lotus and Bull (Birth); Horse (the great renunciation);

Bodhi tree or Pipal tree (Nirvana); Dharmavhakra or wheel (fi rst sermon) and Stupa

(Parinirvana or death).

• Buddhism received state patronage of kings such as Ashoka the Great and it spread to neighbouring countries.

Doctrine of Buddhism

1. The four great truths: (a) The world is full of sorrow and misery, (b) the cause

of all pain and misery is desire, (c) pain and misery can be ended by killing or

controlling desire and (d) desire can be controlled by following the eight-fold path.

2. Belief in Nirvana: When desire ceases, rebirth ceases and Nirvana is attained, that

is, freedom from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is gained by following the

eight-fold path.

3. The eight-fold path consists of right faith, right thought, right action, right

livelihood, right eff ort, right speech, right remembrance and right concentration.

4. Belief in ahimsa.

5. Law of karma.

6. Existence of God.

• Buddhist Scriptures: The Vinaya Pitaka, The Sutta Pitaka, The Abhidhamma Pitaka,

The Khandhakas, The Udana, Milansapanha, Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Digha Nikaya,

Majjihima Mikaya and Samutta Mikaya.

• Three types of Buddhist architecture are—(i) Stupa (for preserving the relics of

prominent monks); (ii) Chaitya (prayer halls) and (iii) Vihara (residence places).

• Famous Bhikhus During Buddha Era: Sariputta (possessed the profoundest insight

into the dhamma); Moggalana (has the greatest super natural powers); Ananda (the

devoted disciple and constant companion of Buddha); Mahakassapa (the President of

the Buddhist Council at Rajagriha); Anuruddha (master of right mindfulness); Uppali

(master of vinaya) and Rahul (the Buddha’s son).

• Buddhist Councils

1. First at Sattapanni cave near Rajagrihain 483 bc (compiled Dhamma Pitaka and

Vinaya Pitaka)

2. Second at Vaisali (383 bc) (split of the Buddhist into Sthaviravadins and


3. Third at Patliputra in 326 bc (to revise the scriptures under Presidentship of

Moggliputta Tissa)

4. Fourth at Tambapanni in 29 bc (realization that majority of monks can no longer

retain entire Tripaka in their memories)

5. Fifth at Kaniska in Kashmir in 72 ad (resulted in division of Buddhists into

Mahayanists and Hinayanists)

• There were two 4th Buddhist Councils held by two diff erent sects.

• Sacred Buddhist Shrines: Eight Ashtamahasthanas (Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath,

Kushinagar, Sarasvati, Pajgriha, Vaishali and Sankasya) and other main centres [in

Andhra Pradesh (Amravati, Nagarjuna-konda); in Gujarat (Junagarh and Valabhi);

in Madhya Pradesh (Sanchi and Bharhut); in Maharashtra (Ajanta-Ellora); in Orissa

(Dhaularigi); in Uttar Pradesh (Kannauj, Kausambi and Mathura) and in West Bengal

(Somapuri and Jagadala)].


• Jainism became the major religion under Vardhamana Mahavira who was the 24th

Tirthankara or prophet of Jainism.

• Vardhamana Mahavira was a great Kshatriya belonging to the royal family of Magadha.

• A non-Brahmanical religion like Buddhism founded by Rishabha, father of King Bharata the first  Chakravartan of India.

• He was born in 540 bc at Kundagrama (Vaishali) in Bihar. At the age of 42, he attained

perfect knowledge—Kaivalya.

• He died at the age of 72 in 468 bc.

• Doctrine of Jainism

1. Attainment of Nirvana (release from rebirth) through TriRatna (three jewels)

consisting of (i) right faith (ii) right knowledge and (iii) right conduct.

2. Belief in ahimsa in word, thought or deed towards all living beings.

3. Belief in karma through denying the existence of God and dismissal of rituals.

• The two sects within Jainism are: The Swethambaras, followers of the 23rd Tirthankara

Parasvanatha, are fl exible in their approach and clad themselves in white garments.

The Digambaras, followers of the 24th Tirthankara Mahavira, are believers of rigid

penance, which can be attained by punishment to self and body; stress on nudity and

not allowed to use cloth to cover the body.

• Jain Councils the fi rst at Patliputra third century bc; [lost 14 Purvas (former texts)

were replaced by 12 new sections (Angas) but this was acceptable by Swethambaras

only while virtually rejected by Digambaras]. Second at Valabhi in the fi fth century ad

(12 new Angas and Upangas were fi nally compiled.)

• Jain Sacred Literature: Written in the form of Patrika called Arsha or Ardha Magadhi,

classifi ed into: 12 Angas, 12 Upangas, 10 Prakirnas, 6 Chhedasutras and 4 Mulsutras.

These are not confi ned to religious matters but also include poetics, Arthashastra and

Kamasastra, etc.

• Both Buddhism and Jainism declined with the rise of the Rajputs as a military force.

Muslim invasions in the eleventh and twelfth centuries also led to further disintegration.

• Most important teachers of the time besides Buddha and Mahavira were: Nigantha

Nataputta, Pakudha Kacchayana, Purana Kassapa, Sanjaya Belatthaputta Makkhali

Gosala, Ajita Kesakambali, etc.

• Among the important sects existing during that era were: Ajivika, Tedandikas,

Jatilaka, Munda savaka, Parivrajakas, Mangandikas, Gotamakas, etc. 

Magadh Empire (Sixth Century—Fourth Century BC)

• By end of the sixth century bc, India’s north-west was integrated into the Persian

Achaemenid Empire and became one of its satrapies.

• This favourable geographical location enabled it to control the whole Gangetic


• From a small kingdom with capital Patliputra, it became a major power in north India,

embracing districts of Patna and Gaya in Bihar.

• Favourable geographical location, rich alluvial soil, close vicinity and control over

copper and iron ore deposits helped Bimbisara, its fi rst ruler, to acquire great wealth

and strength, who later built a new capital Rajagriha (near Patna).

• Notable Rulers of Magadha: Bimbisara (545–493 bc); Ajatshatru (492–460 bc);

Udayan (460–444 bc); Haryanka Kings (462–430/413 bc); Shishunaga Dynasty

(430/413–364 bc) and The Nanda (364/345–324 bc).

• The first phase of expansion and consolidation of the Magdh empire was over by the reign of Mahapadma Nanda.

• Bhadrasala Nanda, the last Nanda ruler was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya.

Magadh Empire (Sixth Century—Fourth Century BC)

• By end of the sixth century bc, India’s north-west was integrated into the Persian

Achaemenid Empire and became one of its satrapies.

• This favourable geographical location enabled it to control the whole Gangetic


• From a small kingdom with capital Patliputra, it became a major power in north India,

embracing districts of Patna and Gaya in Bihar.

• Favourable geographical location, rich alluvial soil, close vicinity and control over

copper and iron ore deposits helped Bimbisara, its fi rst ruler, to acquire great wealth

and strength, who later built a new capital Rajagriha (near Patna).

• Notable Rulers of Magadha: Bimbisara (545–493 bc); Ajatshatru (492–460 bc);

Udayan (460–444 bc); Haryanka Kings (462–430/413 bc); Shishunaga Dynasty

(430/413–364 bc) and The Nanda (364/345–324 bc).

• The fi rst phase of expansion and consolidation of the Magdh empire was over by the

reign of Mahapadma Nanda.

• Bhadrasala Nanda, the last Nanda ruler was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya.

Alexander’s Invasion (Greek Invasion 326 BC)

• Alexander, the son of Phillip of Macedonia (Greece), invaded India in 326 bc.

• Ambhi, the king of Taxila, surrendered and off ered no resistance.

• His major battle, Ballet of Hydaspes, was on the banks of river Jhelum with Porus,

the king of Punjab. Impressed with Porus’s courage Alexandra made him his ally and

restored his kingdom.

• Alexander marched forward uphill Beas where his generals advised him to turn back

fearing mutiny in the troops.

• Alexander remained in India for 19 months (326–325 bc) and died in 323 bc in Babylon.

• It was the result of Alexander’s invasion that the link between India and the West was initiated.

Mauryan Empire (321–289 BC)

• Founded by Chandragupta Maurya (321–297 bc) when he overthrew the Nandas.

• It is known from the Mahavamsatika that after completing his education, Chandragupta

(son of Mura, a non-royal woman and had become wife of a Nanda king), together with

Chanakya, began to build up an army to overthrow the Nandas. He had failed in his

fi rst attempt but later succeeded.

• His son Bindusara (298–273 bc) succeeded him and annexed the south up to Mysore.

• Kautilya (Chanakya) a minister of Chandragupta, wrote the Arthashastra, a treatise on


• Megasthenes was a Greek Ambassador to Chandragupta’s court who wrote the Indica

detailing the Mauryan dynasty.

• Important Rulers: Chandragupta (24 years; 321 bc to 297 bc); Bindusara (25 years;

298 bc to 273 bc); Ashoka (36 years; 273 bc to 231 bc); Dasaratha (8 years); Samprati

(9 years); Salisuka (13 years); Devadharman (7 years); Satadhanvan (8 years) and

Brihadrath (7 years).

Ashoka The Great (273–231 BC)

• Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta and son of Bindusara and is regarded as

one of the greatest kings of all times.

• He was the fi rst ruler to maintain direct contact with the people and he ruled for over

40 years.

• He acceded to the throne in 273 bc but the formal consecration took place 4 years later

in 268 bc. Therefore, there is a controversy regarding the fi rst four years of his rule.

• During his fi rst 13 years, he carried on the traditional policy of expansion within India and

friendly relations with foreign powers. In the 13thyear of his reign, he conquered Kalinga.

• The Kalinga War: In 265 bc Ashoka invaded Kalinga (Orissa) and occupied it after

widespread destruction and bloodshed. This lead to the conversion of Ashoka and he

became a Buddhist.

• Ashoka had three brothers—Sumana, Tisya and Vitasoka; fi ve wives (Devi Vedisa;

Karuvaki; Asandhimitra; Padmavati and Tisyaraksita; four sons—Mahendra,

Tivara, Kunala, Jalauka; two daughters—Sanghamitra (married to Agnibrahma) and

Charumati (married to Devapala Kshtriya); three grandsons (Dashratha, Samprati

and Sumana (son of Sanghamitra)).

• His occupation with Buddhism weakened his administration and led to the decline of the Mauryan empire.

• Chronological order of Ashoka’s edicts/inscriptions arranged in eight groups in:

1. Two minor rock edicts (258 to 257 bc)

2. Babru edicts (257 bc)

3. Fourteen rock edicts (257 to 256 bc)

4. Kalinga inscriptions (256 bc)

5. Barabar rock edicts in caves near Gaya (250 bc)

6. Tarai’s two minor pillar edicts (249 bc)

7. Seven pillar edicts (243 bc)

8. Four minor pillar edicts (232 bc)

• Literary Sources

1. Arthasastra (Kautilya)

2. Indica (Megasthense)

3. Chadragupta Katha (Chanya)

4. Mudra Rakshasha (Visakhadatta)

5. Puranaa

6. Vamsathapakasini, Digha Nikaya and Jatakas (Buddhist literature)

7. Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa (Ceylonese chronicles)

8. Divyavadana (Tibetan sources)

9. Parisistaparvan (Jaina works)

• Archaeological Excavations: B. B. Lal (Hastinapur); Hohn Marshall (Taxila);

G. R. Sharma (Ghositearam Monastery) and A. S. Altekar (Kumrahar Pillered Hall).

Other excavations were also carried out at Rajagriha and Pataliputra.

Pre-Gupta Period

• Sungas Dynasty: Pushyamitra Sunga assassinated Brihadrata, the last Mauryan ruler

and founded the Sunga dynasty. The stupa constructed by Ashoka at Sanchi was

enlarged to nearby twice its size during the Sunga period.

• Kanvas Suserman: Vasudeva, a minister to the last Sunga ruler assassinated his king

and founded kanvas Suserman

• Satavahanas Dynasty: Pulamayi III killed the last Kanvas ruler and founded

Satavahanas dynasty. During the Satavahana period, the stupa were also constructed

in southern India. The most important of these were at Amravati, Bhattiprolu,

Gantasala and Nagarjunkonda.

• By 220 ad, Satavahanas diluted its power to local governors who were supported by

Saka rulers of western regions. Feudal practices began during this period in India.

• Hellenistoc art features in north-western India during this period.

• Indo-Greeks were the fi rst foreign rulers of north-western India in the post-Mauryan

period. Menander was the most famous of all the Indo-Greek rulers.

• Gold coins were issued for the fi rst time in India during this period.

• Saka rulers, main rulers in western India came into prominence under kings Moga

(first Saka king) and Rudradaman I. Mahapana, Ushavadatta, Ghamatika and Ghastana

were other important Saka rulers.

• Parthians, who had roots in Iran, defeated the Sakas. Gondophernes was their important ruler. 

• Kushans defeated Parthians and Kanishka was their most prominent ruler. Kushans

belonged to one of the fi ve Yenchi clans of Central Asia.

• Kanishka started the Saka era in 78 ad.

• Vasudeva I, the last Kushan ruler, was defeated by Nagas rulers.

Gupta Dynasty (AD 320–550)

• The Gupta dynasty is called the Golden Age or the Classical Age of ancient India.

• During this period foreign rule was completely reversed and peace and prosperity


• The following were the important rulers of the Gupta Dynasty:

Chandragupta I (320–335 ad)

Samudragupta (335–380 ad)

Chandragupta II (380–415 ad)

Kumaragupta I (415–455 ad)

Skandagupta (455–467 ad)

Purugupta (467–469 ad)

Buddha Gupta (477–500 approx.)

• The Gupta Dynasty is called the Golden Age of Sanskrit language and the Classical

Age of ancient India because of the following:

1. There was political unity, foreign rule was completely removed and peace and

prosperity prevailed.

2. The enlightened character of government, that is, taxes were light, punishment was

mild, etc.

3. The revival of Hinduism, while there was tolerance of all other religions.

4. Use of Sanskrit developed and art and literature fl ourished during the period.

5. Fa-hien, a Chinese pilgrim who visited India (ad 399–414) during Vikramaditya’s reign

and gave an excellent account of the Gupta Dynasty and prosperity of the country.

• The reunifi cation of North India under the Imperial Guptas in 320 ad and the reign of

Harshavardhana of Kanauj comprised India’s classical age.

• The Guptas established their base of imperial power in Magadha, where they controlled

rich veins of iron from the Barabar Hills.

• The peak of Gupta power and cultural glory was attained during the reign of

Chandragupta II (Table 1.1).

• Numismatic evidence attests to the fi nal defeat of the Shakas by the Guptas after which

the Gupta Empire had direct control over the ports of the Arabian Sea and the riches

of Western trade.

• Kalidasa’s Abhijnana Sakuntalam was a major literary work of this period.

• During the Gupta era, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths received royal support.

• The Gupta era also marked the apogee of cave art and sculpture.

• Commerce and Buddhism stimulated Indian intercourse with China and south-east

Asia at this time.

• The Gupta Empire was supported primarily by the land revenue ‘share’ (tax) provided

by India’s peasant villages from every harvest.

• For half a century after the collapse of the Gupta Empire, North India reverted to the

political fragmentation before the Guptas.

• Yoga, one of the six schools of classical Hindu philosophy that emerged in this era,

continues to be studied to this day.

• The political system of South India should not be thought of as a group of competing,

centrally developed bureaucratic states, as was the case in the North.

Harshavardhana (AD 606–647)

• The Gupta empire disintegrated, the kingdom of Sthaneswar emerged as a set of power

from the region of Kanauj (Thaneswar) under king Pushpabhuti.

• Harshavardhana was the last Hindu king of northern India. He came to power in 606 ad

after restoring Kanauj, his brother-in-law’s kingdom from Devagupta, king of Malwa.

• He established a strong empire conquering Bengal, Malwa, eastern Rajasthan and the

entire Gangetic plain up to Assam.

• Hieun Tsang was a Chinese traveller who stayed in India during this period (between

ad 635 and 643) and wrote a detailed account of India.

• Banabhatta, one of the court poets of Harshavardhana, wrote Harshacharita, a

biography of the king.

Rajputs (AD 650–1200)

• After Harshavardhana, the Rajputs emerged as a powerful force in Western and

Central India.

• Out of the political disarray prevalent in North India, the Rajputs chalked out the small

kingdoms of Gujarat and Malwa.

• From the eighth to twelfth century they struggled to keep themselves independent.

• But as they grew bigger the infi ghting made them brittle, they fell prey to the rising

domination of the Muslim invaders.

• Among them the Gujara of Pratihara, the Gahadwals of Kanauj, the Kalachuris of

Chedi, the Chauhans of Ajmer, the Solankis of Gujarat and the Guhilotas of Mewar

are important.

• Prithviraj Chauhan was a brave ruler who ruled over Delhi and Agra. Jai Chand Rathor

was the last Rajput king who was defeated and killed by Muhammad Ghori. The

kingdom of Delhi fell to Ghori.



• A branch of Partiharas founded by Brahmana Harichandra of Jodhpur State, Rajasthan,

which belonged to Gujaratra or Gurjara.


• Dantidurga of the Rashtrakuta family, a Mahasamanta under Chalukya Vikramaditya

II, had succeeded to capture greater portion of Deccan before 753 ad from Chalukya

Vikramaditya II and his successor Kirtiverman II.

• Dhruva (779–793) was an important king in this linage who led successful campaigns

in north India against Palas and Parthiharas.

• Other Important Rulers Include: Govinda III (793–814), Amoghavarsha (814–979) and

Krishna II (878–914).


• Gopala, founder of Pala dynasty, reigned in the third quarter of eighth century

comprising regions of Gauda, Vanga, Radha and Magadha.

• Important Rulers Include: Dharampapa (770–810), Devapala (810–850), Vigrahapala

(850–854) and Narayanapala (854–908).

• The rule of Pala dynasty came to an end about the middle to the twelfth century.

Senas of Bengal

• Originally inhabitants of Dakshinapatha and came into prominence in 1095 ad

when Vijayasena ascended the throne after wresting Ganda from the last Pala king


• Other Important Rulers: Ballasena (1158–1187), Lakshmanasena (1187–1205) and


• Muhammad-bin-Bhakhtyal-Khalji defeated Lakshhmanasena and captured Nadia

and later conquered north Bengal to establish Muslim rule in Radha and Ganda.

• By mid-thirteenth century, the Senas were overthrown by the Deva dynasty reigning

in Samantata to the east of the Brahmaputra.


• Also known as the Shathavahanas, they are considered to be among the earliest rulers

of the Deccan. They gained independence after the death of Ashoka.

• Simukha: Founder of this dynasty has a mention in Jain texts. Shathakarni I (ruled

184–130 bc), Pulumayi II (ad 130–145) and last king Yagnashathakarni (ad 175–

225) are its important rulers. ‘Krishna’ was among their earliest rulers who was a

contemporary of Ashoka.

Chalukyas (Sixth century AD to Twelfth century AD)

• History of Chalukyas, the Karnataka rulers, can be classifi ed into three eras:

1. Early Western Era—known as Chalukya of Badami

2. Later Western Era—the Chalukyas of Kalyani

3. Eastern Chalukya Era—the Chalukyas of Vengi; Pulakesin I (ad 543–567);

Pulakesin II (ad 610–642); Vinyaditya (ad 681–696); Vikramaditya II (ad 733–

745) are its important rulers

Chola Dynasty

• Founded by Rajaraja I (ad 985–1014) who ruled over Madras and parts of Karnataka

with Tanjore as his capital.

• The last ruler of the Chola dynasty was Rajendra III (ad 1246–79). He was a weak

ruler and surrendered to Pandyas.


• Muhammad Ghori’s conquests became the nucleus of a new political entity in India—

the Sultanate of Delhi—and the beginning of Muslim rule in India.

• Iban Batuta, Marco Polo and Athanasius Nikitin visited India during the Sultanate


• Of the fi ve dynasties of Delhi Sultanate, the fi rst three were of Turkish origin and the

Lodhis were Afghans.

Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526)

This can be divided into fi ve distinct periods, they are as follows:

1. The Ilbari or Slave Dynasty (1206–1290)

• Founded by Qutub-ud-din Aibak (1206–1210), was succeeded by Aram Shah (for

an insignifi cant tenure, was defeated and deposed by Iltutmish).

• Later rulers in this dynasty included:

1. Shamas-ud-din Iltutmish (1210–1236)

2. Razia Sultan (1236–1239), the only Muslim lady ruler of India

3. Nasir-ud-din Mahmud (1246–1266)

4. Balban (1266–1287)

• The fi rst sultan who introduced a purely Arabic coinage and adopted standard coins,

the silver Tanka was Iltutmish.

• Balban asserted ‘kingship knows no kinship’.

• Amir Khusro (1253–1325), known as ‘parrot of India’, was in the court of Balban.

2. Khilji Dynasty (1290–1320)

• Founded by Sultan Jalal-ud-din Khilji (1290–1296) who brought under his sway all the Rajput kingdoms.  

• Alaud-din Khilji (1296–1316) was the nephew of Sultan Jalal-ud-din, whom he killed and succeeded in 1296. 

• Alaud-din Khilji resumed several types of land grants such as Inams, Waqfs, etc.

• Khusro Khan in 1320 killed Qutub-ud-din Mubarak Shah, the successor of Ala-ud-din

Khilji and ended the Khilji dynasty.

3. Tughlak Dynasty (1320–1414)

• Founded by Ghiasuddin Tughlak (1320–1325).

• Other important rulers of the Tughlak Dynasty were:

1. Mohammed-bin Tughlaq (1325–1351) who introduced token coins of brass and copper.

2. Firoz Shah Tughlak (1351–88). Ibn Batuta was an African traveller who visited

India in 1333. He was appointed as the Chief Qazi of Delhi by the Sultan. Timur, a

Turk, invaded India in 1398 and ended the Tughlak Dynasty.

• Commercial horticulture was popularized by Firuz Shah Tuglaq.

4. Sayyid Dynasty (1414–1451)

• Timur’s nominee Khizr Khan (1414–1421) captured Delhi and was proclaimed the new

Sultan who ruled for about 7 years.

• The last Sayyid King Alam Shah (1443–1451) abdicated in favour of Bahlol Lodhi.

5. Lodhi Dynasty (1451–1526)

• Founded by Bahlol Lodhi (1451–1488), one of the Afghan Sardars who established

himself in Punjab after the invasion of Timur.

• Sikander Lodhi (1489–1517) and Ibrahim Lodhi (1517–1526) were the famous rulers

of the Lodhi Dynasty.

First Battle of Panipat (1526)

• The fi rst battle of Panipat was fought in 1526 between Ibrahim Lodhi—the ruler of

Delhi—and Babur—the ruler of Kabul.

• Babur invaded India and established the Mughal dynasty.

Decline of Delhi Sultanate

• The main causes of the downfall of the Delhi sultanate were as follows:

1. Despotic and military type of governments that did not have the confi dence of the people.  

2. Degeneration of the Delhi Sultans.

3. The sultanate became too vast and could not be controlled eff ectively.

4. Financial instability.

5. The number of slaves increased to 1,80,000 in Firoz Shah’s time, which was a

burden on the treasury.

Mughal Dynasty (1526–1540 and 1555–1857)

• Babur (1526–1530) is said to have founded the Mughal empire. He defeated Ibrahim

Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 and became the emperor of Delhi in 1527

after defeating Afghans in the Battle of Gorge.

• Humayun (1530–1540) was the son of Babur and ascended the throne in 1530.

• Sher Shah Suri (1540–1545) an Afghan, who ruled the country for a brief period after

defeating Humayun. He introduced a brilliant administration, land revenue policy and

several other measures to improve the economy. He issued the coin called ‘Rupia’ and

built the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) linking Peshawar to Calcutta. 

• Akbar (1556–1605) the eldest son of Humayun, is said to be the real founder of the

Mughal empire because Babur and Humayun could not consolidate the empire as

Akbar successfully did. He was the fi rst ruler who divorced religion from politics and

his attitude towards Hindus was very conciliatory.

• Jehangir (1605–1627) Salim, son of Akbar, ascended the throne after Akbar’s death in

1605. He is known for his strict administration of justice. He married Mehr-un-nisa in

1611, who later on was given the title of ‘Nur Jahan’.

• Shahjahan (1628–1658) son of Jehangir, ascended the throne after his father’s death.

Three years after his accession, his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 and

to perpetuate her memory he built the Taj Mahal at Agra. He is known for the

promotion of art, culture and architeture. The Red Fort and Jama Masjid are some of

the magnifi cent structures built by him. Shahjahan’s failing health set off the war of

succession among his four sons. His third son, Aurangzeb, crowned himself emperor

in 1658 and Shahjahan was imprisoned by him till he died in captivity in 1666.

• Aurangzeb (1659–1707) the son of Shahjahan ruled for 50 years. He was a Muslim fanatic

who demolished several Hindu Temples and banned all religious festivals. He executed

Guru Teg Bahadur (the ninth Guru of Sikhs) when he refused to embrace Islam.

Second Battle of Panipat (1556)

• The second battle of Panipat fought between Hemu, the Hindu leader and Akbar’s

regent Bairam Khan.

• Hemu was defeated on 5 November, 1556, captured and slain by Bairam Khan.

• This ended the Mughal-Afghan contest for the throne of Delhi in favour of the Mughals

and enabled Akbar to reoccupy Delhi and Agra.

Battle of Haldighati (1576)

• This battle was fought in 1576 near Gogundo (Haldighati) between Rana Pratap Singh

of Mewar and the Mughal Army led by Man Singh of Amber.

• Rana Pratap Singh was defeated but he continued the struggle and did not submit.

Decline of Mughal Empire

• In 1739, during the reign of Mohammed Shah, a Persian king, Nadir Shah, invaded

India and broke up the Mughal empire.

• He plundered Delhi and took the Kohinoor diamond with him to Afghanistan.

Vijayanagar Empire, Sikhs and Marathas

Vijayanagar Empire

• Founded in 1336 by Harihara I (1336–56) as a result of the political and cultural

movement against the Tughlaq authority in south India.

• Genealogically the Vijayanagar empire is classifi ed as:

1. Sangam Dynasty (1336–1485 ad)[Harihara I (1336–56), Bukka I (1356–77), Harihara II

(1377–1404), Bukka II (1404–06), Devaraya I (1406–22), Vira Vijaya (1422), Devaraya II

(1422–46), Mallikarjuna (1446–65), Virupaksha (1465–85), Prauda Deva (1485)]

2. Saluva Dynasty (1485–1505 ad) [Saluva Narasimha (1485–90), Timmaraya

(1490–91), Immadi Narasimha (1491–1505)].

3. Tuluva Dynasty (1505–70) [Vir Narasimha (1505–09), Krishnadeva Raya

(1509–29), Achyta Raya (1529–42), Venkta I (1542–43), Sadasiva (1543–70).

4. Aravidu Dynasty (1570–1652)[Tirumala (1570–72), Sri Ranga (1572–85), Venkata II

(1585–1614), Sri ranga II (1614), Ramadeva (1614–30), Ventata III (1630–42), Sri Ranga III (1642–52). 

• Vijayanagar-Bahamni conflict is one of the most important struggles for the

Vijayanagar rulers. It started on a large scale in 1367 ad during the reign of Bukka-I.

The clash of interest had three points: (i) the Tungabhadra doab, (ii) Krishna-Godavari

delta and (iii) in the Marathwada country.

• The Vijayanagar empire crumbled at the Battle of Talikota where the fi st rulers of

Bahamni sultanate combined forces and attacked Vijayanagar in 1565 ad. The later

rulers that controlled the Vijayanagar empire belonged to Aravidy dynasty and

asserted lesser impression on the history of the region.

Sikhs and Marathas


• In the fi fteenth century, the Sikhs grew into a strong community.

• Aurangzeb captured Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth guru of Sikhs, in 1675 and executed

him when he refused to embrace Islam.

• The Sikhs resented the Mughals for their religious intolerance.

• Guru Gobind Singh, son of Guru Teg Bahadur, organized his followers into a military

force called Khalsa to avenge the murder of his father.

• Guru Gobind Singh, however, was murdered in 1708 by an Afghan in the Deccan.

• Banda Bahadur, the militant successor of Guru Gobind Singh, continued the war

against Mughals but he too was murdered.


• Marathas became powerful after the departure of Nadir Shah.

• Shivaji played a pivotal role in liberating India from Muslim rule.

• It was he who initiated the strategy of guerilla warfare.

War with Shivaji

• Shivaji was the most powerful Maratha king and an arch enemy of Aurangzeb.

• When Aurangzeb could not eliminate him, he conspired with Jai Singh of Amber, a

Rajput, to eliminate Shivaji.

• In 1665, on an assurance given by Jai Singh, Shivaji visited Aurangzeb’s court. Shivaji

was imprisoned by Aurangzeb but he managed to escape and in 1674 proclaimed

himself as an independent monarch.

• He died in 1680 and was succeeded by his son Sambhaji who was executed by


• Sambhaji was succeeded by his brother Rajaram and after his death in 1700 his widow

Tarabai carried on the movement.


Rise of Autonomous States

• With the declining poser of the Mughal empire in the eighteenth century, there

emerged various autonomous states in India.

• Some of the important ones are listed here:

1. Bengal under Murshid Quli Khan

2. Oudh (Awadh) under Sadat Khan Barhan-ul Mulk

3. Hyderabad under Nizam-ul-mul Asaf Jah

4. Carnatic under Saadatullah Khan

5. Mysore under Hyder Ali

6. Jats under Churaman and Surajmal

7. Sikhs under Ranjit Singh

Coming of the Europeans

• Portuguese traders were the fi rst to discover a sea route to India free from Turkish

threat in 1498.

• They were followed by the Dutch in 1595 and the English in 1600 and fi nally the

French in 1664 who also came to India for trade.


• In 1498, it was Vasco-da Gama a Portuguese sailor who fi rst discovered a sea route to

India via the Cape of Good Hope. He arrived at Calicut on 27 May 1498.

• The Portuguese soon established political power along the west coast of India.

• He was succeeded by Captain General Alfonso de Albuquerque who conquered Goa in 1510. 


• The fi rst fl eet of the Dutch reached India in 1595 and Dutch East India Company was

formed in 1602 but their infl uence soon vanished.

• In 1605 they established their fi rst factory in Masulipattam, followed by more factories

in Pulicat (1610), Surat (1616), Bimilpatam (1641), Karikal (1645), Chinsura (1653),

Kasimbazar (1658), Baranagore (1658), Patna and Balasore (both 1658) and Cochin


• Till 1690, Pulicat was their chief trade centre and afterwards it shifted to Negapatnam.

• The Anglo-Dutch rivalry was at its peak during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth

century till the Dutch collapsed with their defeat by the English in the battle of Bedera in 1759. 

The English

• The English East India Company was formed in 1600 through a Charter signed by

Queen Elizabeth I granting permission to trade with India. Captain Hawkins paid a

visit to the court of Jehangir in 1608 but failed to secure trading rights.

• However in 1613, on Sir Thomas Roe’s visit they were permitted to established their

first factory at Surat.

• Gradually the Company established its trading centres at Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.  

• The English established their settlements/factories in Masulipattam (1611), Agra,

Ahmedabad, Baroda, Broach (all 1619), Armagaon near Pulicat (1626), Hariharpur

and Balasore (1633), Patna, Dacca, Kasimbazar in Bengal and Bihar (1835), Madras

(1639) to establish Fort St George, Hugli (1651), a network of settlements in Bihar,

Bengal and Orissa (1658), Bombay (1668), Sutanuti (1690), Kalikota and Govindpur (1698).  

• Sutanuti, Kalikota and Govindpur were later joined together into a new city ‘Calcutta’

and the factory at Sutanati was fortifi ed in 1700 and named ‘Fort William’.

• During 1686, the English declared war against Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in which the

English lost all control of its settlement and factories in India to Mughals in 1688–1689.

• In 1690, the surrendering British were pardoned by Mughal Emperor. In 1691, the

English were granted ‘farman’ by Aurangzeb which exempted the British Company

from payment of customs duties in Bengal.

• Faruk Siyar granted the British another ‘farman’ in 1717 and thus extended the

privilege to the British in Gujarat and Deccan.


• The French came to India in 1664 and set up centres near Madras and Chandernagore

on the Hooghly to trade with India.

• They also established naval bases in the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius in the

Indian Ocean.

• Initially, they fl ourished till 1706 but afterwards decline occurred till 1720 and it

was governors Lenoir and Dumas that after 1720 the French regrouped in India.

• However, during 1742 the French governor Dupleix started repulsing the English

power which resulted in ‘Carnatic Wars’ and fi nally resulted in French defeat.


• In 1616, the East India Company, Denmark, reached Indian coasts and established

settlements in Tranquebar in Tamil Nadu (1620) and Serampore in Bengal (1676).

• However, due to rising presence of the British they had to sell all their settlements to

the British during 1845.

East India Company and British Rule

• On arriving in India the East India Company had to face Dutch and French opposition

as they were the main contestants for political supremacy over India.

• But the British were successful in destabilizing them and soon the company’s functions

expanded into political ambition.

Robert Clive

• He led the English forces to capture Arcot and other regions. He was instrumental in

laying the foundation of the British empire in India.

• In the Carnatic Wars between the French and the English, the latter fi nally defeated the

French in the Battle of Wandiwash to gain control over South India.

English Conquest of Bengal

• Nawab Alivardi Khan was an independent ruler of Bengal between 1740 and 1756.

• He in fact extended protection to the European merchants in carrying on their trade.

• Alivardi Khan nominated his grandson (daughter’s son) Siraj-ud-Daula as his heir

since he had no son. He died in April 1756.

• In the meantime the company constructed fortifi cations at Calcutta and violated the

terms under which they were allowed to trade.

• Siraj-ud-Daula took prompt action and occupied an English factory at Kasimbazar and

later captured Calcutta in June 1756.

Black-Hole Tragedy

• English prisoners were said to have been crowded into a small chamber which had a

single, tiny window on a hot summer night of 20 June 1756. As a result several English Prsoners died of suff ocation and wounds.

• In December 1756, Colonel Clive and Admiral Watson reached Bengal from Madras

and captured Calcutta.

• Mir Jafar, brother-in-law of Alivardi Khan, had a secret pact with Clive who promised

him the same state of Bengal.

• Mir Jafar nevertheless also assured his support to Siraj-ud-Daula against the English.

Battle of Plassey (1757)

• Robert Clive led the company’s forces against Siraj-ud-Daula’s army on 23 June 1757

and defeated them with the help of his conspiracy with Mir Jafar.

• This proved to be the fi rst step towards territorial supremacy and paved the way for the

British conquest of Bengal and eventually the whole country.

• The Nawab was captured and executed and Mir Jafar was installed as the Nawab of


• He ceded Zamindari rights to 24 Parganas and got `1,67,00,000 as compensation. This

was the fi rst British acquisition of Indian territory.

Battle of Buxar (1764)

• At the instigation of Mir Qasim, successor of Mir Zafar, this battle was fought by

Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula of Awadh and Shah Alam II (Mughal) on one side and the

English forces led by Clive on the other side.

• Clive’s forces were victorious resulting in the capture of Bihar and Bengal.

Carnatic Wars

First Carnatic War (1746–1748)

• The French and the British companies clashed at Carnatic. Dupleix was then the chief

offi cial of the French Company at Pondicherry.

• The French opened hostilities by sacking Fort St George and expelled all Englishmen.

• The Nawab of Carnatic sent an army but was defeated.

Second Carnatic War (1751–1754)

• The British were able to consolidate themselves by taking hold of Bengal, Bihar and


• The second battle between the French and the British took place in 1760 in which the

French were defeated.

• It ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763 which foiled the dreams of the French to have

an empire in India.

War with Marathas

• The First Anglo-Maratha war (1775–1782) took place during the governor-generalship

of Warren Hastings.

• The war ended with the Treaty of Salbai, 1782 and status quo restored.

Mysore War

• Mysore was a powerful state under Haider Ali. In 1769 the fi rst Anglo-Mysore war was

fought in which the British forces were defeated.

• Haider Ali occupied almost the whole of Carnatic.

• However in 1781, Haider Ali was defeated at Porto Novo and saved Madras.

• After Haider Ali, the war was carried on by Tipu Sultan. A peace treaty was then signed.

• However in 1789 another war was launched and Tipu Sultan was defeated in 1792.

First Governor

• In 1758, Robert Clive was appointed the fi rst governor of Bengal by the East India Company.  

• Clive remained in England from 1760 to 1765 and on his return in 1765, the emperor

ceded to the Company the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

Notable Rules in India (1720–1949)

Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk (1722–1739)—Awadh

Safdar Jung (1739–1754)—Awadh

Shuja-ud-daulah (1754–1775)—Awadh

Asaf-ud-daulah (1775–1797)—Awadh

Wazir Ali (1797–1798)—Awadh

Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah (1724–1748)—Hyderabad

Nasir Jung (1748–1750)—Hyderabad

Muzaff ar Jung (1750–1751)—Hyderabad

Salabat Jung (1751–1760)—Hyderabad

Nizam Ali (1760–1803)—Hyderabad

Sikandar Jah (1803–1829)—Hyderabad

Nasir-ud-daulah (1829–1857)—Hyderabad

Afjal-ud-daulah (1857–1869)—Hyderabad

Mahabat Ali Khan (1869–1911)—Hyderabad

Osman Ali Khan (1911–1949)—Hyderabad

Hyder Ali (1761–1782)—Mysore

Tipu Sultan (1782–1799)—Mysore

Ranjit Singh (1792–1839)—Punjab

The Nawabs of Bengal (1717–1772)

Murshid Quli Khan (1717–1727)

Suja-ud-din (1727–1739)

Sarfraz Khan (1739–1740)

Alivardi Khan (1740–1756)

Siraj-ud-daulah (1756–1757)

Mir Jafar (1757–1760)

Mir Qasim (1760–1763)

Mir Jafar (1763–1765)

Najm-ud-daulah (1765–1772)


Governor-Generals of India and Reforms

Warren Hastings (1772–1785)

• Warren Hastings succeeded Clive in 1772 and became the fi rst governor-general of India.

He introduced several reforms, established civil and criminal courts and courts of appeal.

• He passed ‘The Regulating Act, 1773’ giving a legalized working constitution to

the company’s dominion in India. It envisaged a Council of Ministers headed by the


• The Pitt’s India Act of 1784 was passed by the British Parliament to put the company’s

aff airs in permanent centralized control of the British Parliament.

Governors Between Clive and Hastings

• John Zephaniah Holwell succeed Robert Clive as governor of Bengal in 1760.

• He was replaced with Henry Vansittart in the same year.

• Vansittart offi ciated as governor till 1765, till the return of Robert Clive for his second term as governor.  

• Clive’s health deteriorated in 1765, he was succeeded by Harry Verelst (1767–1769)

and then John Cartier (1769–1772) before Warren Hastings was sent to India in 1772.

Lord Cornwallis (1786–1793)

• Lord Cornwallis succeeded Hastings in 1787.

• He introduced a new revenue system under the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793

with a view to stabilize land revenue and create a loyal contented class of zamindars.

• This abolished periodic auction of zamindari rights and established permanent

zamindari rights to collect land revenue from the tenants and payment of a fi xed

amount to the government treasury every year.

Lord Wellesley (1798–1805)

• During the governor-generalship of Lord Wellesley, the Fourth Mysore War (1799) was 

fought. This was the last Mysore war.

• Tipu Sultan, after regaining lost strength, set out again on his plan to oust the British

from India with the help of Napoleon and the Persian king.

• Lord Wellesley visualizing danger, sought an alliance with the Nizam and the Marathas and defeated Tipu Sultan in 1799 who died valiantly fi ghting the British. 

• Besides war, Wellesley depended on a system of subsidiary alliances to expand British

territories whereby the ruler of an aligning state was compelled to accept permanent

stationing of a British force within his territory and pay subsidy for its maintenance.

Sometimes a territory was added in lieu of payment.

• A ruler also had to accept a British resident. They were not allowed to employ any

European without British approval nor negotiate with any Indian ruler without

consulting the governor-general.

• Thus, subsidiary allied lost sovereignty in external matters, while the British resident

interfered in internal administration, thus the rulers lost control over their territories.

Lord Hastings (1813–1823)

• Under the governorship of Lord Hastings Nepal was defeated in 1814, resulting in

Nepal ceding Garhwal and Kumaon to the British.

• In 1818, the Marathas made a last attempt to regain their independence. This led to the

third Anglo-Maratha war in which the Marathas were completely crushed.

• During Hastings’ tenure, various reforms were initiated such as the Ryotwari

settlement according to which direct settlement was made between the government and the Ryots (cultivators).

• The revenue was fi xed for a period not exceeding 30 years on the basis of quality of

soil. Half the net value of the crop was to be given to the government.

• During this period special attention was paid to education, building of roads, bridges and canals. 

Lord William Bentinck (1828–1835)

• He was famous for the social reforms he introduced, such as abolition of Sati (1829),

suppression of Thuggee, suppression of female infanticide and human sacrifi ces.

• English was introduced as a medium of higher education on the advice of his council member, Thomas Babington Macaulay.  

• Lord Bentinck also made a pact with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of Punjab.

• By the Charter Act 1833, the company ceased to be a trading company and became an administrative power.  

• He also adopted some corrective measures in the civil services. However, it was

Cornwallis who founded the British Civil Service in India.

Raja Rammohun Roy

• He lived during the period of Lord Bentinck.

• He was a religious and social reformer who helped Bentinck in the abolition of Sati.

• In 1829, a new society called Brahmo Samaj was started by Rammohun Roy which

discarded idol worship, caste system and several complicated rites and rituals.

Sir Charles Metacalfe (1836–1844)

• He was notable for removing restrictions on the press and media.

Lord Hardinge (1844–1848)

• During his period, the First Sikh War (1845) was fought between the Sikhs and the


• The Sikhs were defeated and were brought under British control.

Lord Dalhousie (1848–1856)

• Lord Dalhousie succeeded Lord Hardinge in 1848. During his period, the Second Sikh

War (1849) was fought in which the Sikhs were defeated again and the Dalhousie was

successful in annexing the whole of Punjab to the British administration.

• The Doctrine of Lapse was introduced by Lord Dalhousie, whereby in the absence of a

natural heir, the sovereignty of Indian states was to lapse to the British and such rulers

were not permitted to adopt a son to inherit their kingdoms.


• The fi rst railway line between Bombay and Thane was opened in 1853 and in the same

year Calcutta and Agra were connected by telegraph.

• Other reforms include setting up of P.W.D. and passing of the Widow Remarriage Act (1856). 

• Keshav Chadra Sen founded the ‘Indian Reform Association’ in 1870.

• Debendranath Tagore published a Bengali monthly ‘Tattvabodhini Patrika’.

• Dayanand Saraswati published pamphlet (with religious inclinations) Gaukarunanidhi in 1881.

• G. G. Agarkar started the Deccan Education Society and the journals Kesri and

Mahratta along with B. G. Tilak. Gopal Krishan Gokhale was and active member of

the Deccan Education Society.

• A Hindu Social Reform Association was started in Madras in 1892 by the ‘Young

Madras Party’.

• Shibli Numani founded the Nadwah-ul-ulama in 1894.

Ramakrishna and Vivekananda

• Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836–1886) a priest at a temple in Dakshineshwar near

Calcutta emphasized that there are many roads to god and salvation and that service

to man was service to god.

• His great disciple, Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) popularized his religious message

and founded Ramakrishna Mission in 1896.

Arya Samaj

• The Arya Samaj was founded in 1875 by Swami Dayanand Saraswati in order to

reform Hindu religion in north India.

• Swami Dayanand believed that there was only one god who was to be worshipped in

spirit and not in the form of idols and images. He also wrote Satyarth Prakash.

• Great split in Arya Samaj occurred in 1892 over the question of the system of education

to be followed.


First War of Independence

• It is also known as the Sepoy Mutiny or the Revolt of 1857.

• On 29 March 1857 during the vice-royalty of Lord Canning, an Indian sepoy of the

34th regiment, Mangal Pandey, killed two British offi cers on parade at Barrackpore.

• The Indian soldiers present on parade refused to obey orders to arrest Mangal Pandey.

However, he was later arrested, tried and hanged.

• The news spread like wild fi re to all cantonments in the country and very soon a

countrywide sepoy revolt broke out from Lucknow, Ambala, Burhanpur and Meerut.

• On 10 May 1857, soldiers at Meerut refused to touch the new Enfi eld rifl e cartridges

which were said to have a greased cover made of animal fat.

• The soldiers along with other groups of civilians went on a rampage, broke open jails,

murdered Europeans and marched to Delhi.

• The appearance of the marching soldiers next morning in Delhi was a signal to the

local soldiers, who in turn, also revolted, besieged the city and proclaimed the 80 year old Bahadur Shah Zafar as the Emperor of India. 

Failure of the Revolt

• The rebels dealt with a powerful blow when the British captured Delhi on 20 September

1857 and imprisoned Emperor Bahadur Shah.

• The British military then dealt with the rebels in each centre by term. The Rani of

Jhansi died fi ghting on 17 June, 1858.

• Nana Saheb refused to give in and fi nally escaped to Nepal in January 1859, hoping to renew the struggle.

• Kunwar Singh died in May 1858, trying to escape from the British.

• Tantia Tope, who successfully carried out guerrilla warfare against the British until

April 1859, was betrayed by a fellow rebel and was captured and put to death by the

British, thus reestablishing British authority over India.

Causes of Failure of the Mutiny

• Disunity of Indians and poor organization.

• Lack of complete nationalism: Scindia, Holkars, the Nizam and others actively helped

the British.

• Lack of coordination between sepoys, peasants, zamindars and other classes.

• All participants had diff erent motives for participating in the revolt.

British Rule After the Revolt

Government of India Act (1858)

• Queen Victoria issued a proclamation on 1 November 1858 placing India under the

direct governance of the Crown.

• The proclamation was called the ‘Magna Carta of Indian Liberty’.

Indian National Congress

• The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 by A. O. Hume, an Englishman and

a retired civil servant, in association with various national leaders.

• He called for a conference in Pune in December 1885.

• The conference received the unanimous support of all Indian leaders who decided to

rename the Indian National Union as Indian National Congress (INC).

• The first session of the Congress was held in Bombay under the presidentship of

W. C. Banerjee.

• With the foundation of the Indian National Congress, the struggle for India’s

independence was launched.

Moderate Period (1885–1906)

• At fi rst, the Congress was a moderate, constitutional movement. In its early days, the

party confi ned itself to an annual debate where political issues were discussed.

• It asked the government to remedy complaints but had no constitutional role.

• However, some Congress members were also members of the Legislative Assembly,

which advised the viceroy and the executive committee on the drafting of new laws.  

• The cause of the Indian National Congress spread rapidly among middle-class Indians.

• With the founding of the Indian National Congress, the struggle for India’s

independence was launched in a small, hesitant and mild but organized manner.

• The first two decades of the Indian National Congress are described in history as one with moderate demands and a sense of confi dence in British justice and generosity.  

• Its aim was not to be aggressive in attaining independence lest the British should suppress them.  

• This resulted in the Indian Council Act in 1892 which allowed some members to be

indirectly elected by Indians but kept the offi cial majority intact.

Partition of Bengal

• To destroy the political infl uence of the educated middle class, the partition of Bengal

came into eff ect on 16 October 1905 by a royal proclamation, reducing the province

of Bengal in size by creating a new province of East Bengal which later became East

Pakistan and the present day Bangladesh.

Swadeshi Movement (1905)

• On 7 August 1905, the Indian National Congress adopted a resolution to boycott British goods.  

• Bonfi res of foreign goods were conducted on a large scale in all the major cities.

Muslim League (1906)

• In 1906, an all India Muslim League was set up under the leadership of Aga Khan, Nawab Salimullah of Dacca and Nawab Mohsinul-Mulk. It supported the partition of Bengal.  

• This led to communal diff erences between Hindus and Muslims.

Surat Session—Split in Congress (1907)

• Confrontation at the Session: The Indian National Congress split into two groups, the

extremists and the moderates, at the Surat session in 1907 held on the banks of the Tapti river.  

• The extremists were led by Lokmanya Tilak, Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal and

the moderates were led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

• At the Surat session, the moderate and extremist delegates of the Congress met in

an atmosphere surcharged with excitement and anger.

Minto–Morley Reforms (1909)

• Minto–Morley reforms were introduced when Lord Minto was the governor-general of India.  

• They envisaged a separate electorate for Muslims. The government thereby sought to

create a rift between the Hindus and Muslims.

Indian National Congress Before World War I

• However, certain changes at the turn of the century resulted in changing the mood of the Congress.  

• The most important among them was the change in the attitude of the British.

• Some of the repressive and oppressive measures of the British promoted the growth of extremism within the Congress.  

• Extremist leaders such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat

Rai called on the people to show courage and self-reliance in the cause of India’s nationalism.  

• The partition of Bengal in 1905 raised the political temper of the country.

• The Congress started getting polarized into the moderates and the extremists.

• This era of militant nationalism prevailed within and without the Congress during 1906–1919.  

• The 1906 session of Congress declared ‘Dominion Status’ to be the political goal of

the Congress and four resolutions on boycott, swadeshi, swaraj and national education were adopted. 

India After Independence

• After Lord Mountbatten, Sir C. Rajagopalachari became the fi rst and the only Indian

governor-general of India in 1948.

• Pt Jawaharlal Nehru took over as the fi rst prime minister.

• Mahatma Gandhi undertook a fast for the sake of Muslim rights. On 30 January 1948,

he was assassinated by Nathuram Vinayak Godse in a Birla House prayer meeting in Delhi. 

• Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel single-handedly dealt with the accession of all princely

states. All states were merged into neighbouring provinces. The states of Kashmir,

Hyderabad and Mysore merged later on.

• On 13 September 1948, the Indian Army marched into Hyderabad after the violent

actions of the Tazakars and the state acceded to the Indian Union.

• On 26 November 1949, the constituent assembly passed the new constitution of India.

On 26 January 1950 India was proclaimed a republic.

• Dr Rajendra Prasad took over as the fi rst president, Dr S. Radhakrishnan as the vice-

president and Pt Jawaharlal Nehru as the fi rst prime minister of India.


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