(Notes) Civil Services (Prelims) Examination : Facts About India - Quick Revision Notes (II)

Civil Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes


Facts About India : (Indian History)

22. The first undoubted historical reference to image-worship by an Aryan tribe occurs in passage of Curtis, who states that an image of Herakles was carried in front of Paurava army as it advanced against Alexander.

23. The early Magadhan period saw development of variant languages from Sanskrit. In the towns and the villages a popular form of Sanskrit, Prakrit, was spoken. This had local variations; the chief western variety was called Shauraseni and the eastern variety Magadhi. Pali was another local language. The Buddha, wishing to reach wider audience, taught in Magadhi.


Persian and Macedonian Invasions

24. Cyrus, the founder of the Achaemenian empire of Persia, destroyed the famous city of Kapisa near the junction of the Ghorband and Panjshir rivers northeast of Kabul.

25. The successor of Cyrus, Darius sent a naval expedition to the Indus under the command of Skylax. This expedition paved the way for the annexation of the Indus valley as far as the deserts of Rajputana. The area became the most populous satrapy of the Persian empire and paid a tribute proportionately larger than all the rest—360 Eubic talents of gold dust, equivalent to more than a million sterling.

26. Once the Persian hold over Indian possessions became weak, the old territory of Gandhara was divided into two parts. To the west of Indus river lay the kingdom of Pushkalavati in the modern district of Peshawar; to the east was Takshasila in present district of Rawalpindi. Tradition affirms that Mahabharata was first recited in Takshasila.

27. In 331 B.C., Alexander inflicted heavy blows on the king of Persia and occupied his realm. In 327 B.C. Alexander crossed the Hindukush and resolved to recover the Indian satrapies that had once been under his Persian predecessors.

28. To secure his communications, Alexander garrisoned a number of strongholds near modern Kabul and passed the winter of 327-326 B.C. in warfare with fierce tribes of Kunar and Swat valleys.

29. Alexander finally crossed Indus river in 326 B.C. using a bridge of boats. Ambhi, the king of Taxila gave him valuable help in this.

30. Alexander’s march faced a major hurdle when it reached the banks of Hydaspes (modern Jhelum) river, near the town of Jhelum. Here he faced stiff resistance from Paurava king (Porus).

31. After crossing the Akesines (Chenab) and the Hydraotes (Ravi), Alexander stormed Sangala, the stronghold of the Kathaioi, and moved on to the Hyphasis (Beas). He wished to press forward to the Ganga valley, but his war-worn troops refused. Alexander erected 12 towering altars to mark the utmost limit of his march, and then retraced his steps to Jhelum.

32. During the return journey, Alexander received a dangerous wound while torming a citadel of the  powerful tribe of the Malawas. He returned to Babylon after a long and treacherous journey and died soon after in 323 B.C.

33. The Persian conquest unveiled India for the first time to the Western world and established contact between the people of both regions. 34. The introduction of new scripts—Aramaic, Kharoshti and the alphabet style Yavanani by Panini— can be traced to Greek source.

35. The Macedonian garrisons were swept away by Chandragupta Maurya. However, these were not wiped out completely. Colonies like Yavana continued to serve the king of Magadha just as they served the Macedonians, and carved out an independent kingdom only after the sun set of Magadha.

36. One positive outcome of Alexander’s invasion was that Greeks of later ages got to learn lessons in philosophy and religion from Indian Buddhists and Bhagavatas and Indians learned use of coins, honoured Greek astronomers and learned to appreciate Hellenistic art.

37. One of the most remarkable things in the foreign policy of Alexander was his encouragement of inter-racial marriages. He was the first ruler known to history who contemplated the brotherhood of man and the unity of mankind. The White Kafirs of Kafiristan, classed in Ashoka’s edicts as definitely Greeks, are said to be descended from Alexander’s men. Of the ruling Frontier families, eight claim direct lineage from the son born to Alexander by Cleophis queen of the Assakenoi.


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