(Notes) Civil Services (Prelims) Examination : Indian History (Magadhan Ascedancy And Beyond) - Quick Revision Notes (II)

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Quick Revision Notes


Magadhan Ascedancy And Beyond (Indian History)

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 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 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 istrict 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 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.

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 arved 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. 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.

39. 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 sect.

41. 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).

42. Mahavira became the head of a sect called Nigranthas (free from Fretters), known in later times as Jains or followers of Jina (conqueror).

43. Mahavira died at Pava in south Bihar, after wandering for 35 years as a religious teacher, at the age of 72.

44. 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 “ford-makers across the stream of existence”.

45. 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.


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