Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes
About India : (Indian
The first undoubted historical reference to image-worship by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.
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.
and Macedonian Invasions
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.
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 restâ€”360
Eubic talents of gold dust, equivalent to more than a million sterling.
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.
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
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.
Alexander finally crossed Indus river in 326 B.C. using a
bridge of boats. Ambhi, the king of Taxila gave him valuable help in
Alexanderâ€™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).
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
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.
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 scriptsâ€”Aramaic, Kharoshti and the alphabet style
Yavanani by Paniniâ€” can be traced to Greek source.
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.
One positive outcome of Alexanderâ€™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.
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
Ashokaâ€™s edicts as definitely Greeks, are said to be descended from Alexanderâ€™s
men. Of the ruling Frontier families, eight claim direct lineage from the son
born to Alexander by Cleophis queen of the Assakenoi.