Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes
Ascedancy And Beyond (Indian
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 s 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 istrict 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 predecessors.
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 this.
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
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 storming 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.
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 arved 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
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. Jainism and Buddhism38. The
parents of Mahavira were Siddhartha, a Janatrika chief of
Kundapura, and Trishala, a Kshatriya lady related to the ruling families of
Vaishali and Magadha.
Mahavira married aprincess named Yashoda.
40. Mahavira forsook the world at the age of thirty and roamed as a naked
ascetic in several parts of eastern India and practiced severe penance for 12
years. Half of this time was spent with a mendicant (beggar) friar (brother)
named Goshala who subsequently left him and became the leader of the Ajivika
In the 13th year of penance,
Mahavira attained the highest spiritual knowledge called Kevala-jnana, on
the northern bank of river Rijupalika, outside Jrimbhikagrama,
a little known locality in eastern India. He as now known as a Kevalin (omniscient),
a Jina (conqueror) and Mahavira (the great hero).
Mahavira became the head of a sect
called Nigranthas (free from Fretters), known in later times as Jains or
followers of Jina (conqueror).
Mahavira died at Pava in
south Bihar, after wandering for 35 years as a religious teacher, at the age of
The Jains believe that Mahavira was
not the founder of a new religious system, but the last of a long
succession of 24 Tirthankars or â€œford-makers across the stream of
The 23rd teacher, Parsav, the
immediate predecessor of Mahavira, was a prince of Benaras and enjoined on his
disciples the great four vows of non-injury, truthfulness, abstention
from stealing and non-attachment. Mahavira added the vow of
Brahamcharya or continence to this.