Online Course for Madhya Pradesh Public Service
General Studies: History
Before the down of history, several parts of the present
Madhya Pradesh were inhabited by primitive people called the sabaras, Pulindas,
etc, in ancient Sanskrit literature, These primitive people used to live under
shady trees or in rock-shefters. They ate fruits and roots of trees and the
flesh of animals and birds killed by them. Those having a rudimentary knowledge
of painting used to paint the walls of their shelters.
The excavations conducted at Mahishmati (Maheshwar, district
Khargoae), Nagda (Ujjain), Eran (Stgar), Tripuri (Jabafpur), Besnagar, Awra (Mandsaur),
Kayatha. (Ujjain), Azadnagar (Indore) and Mandsaur have thrown valuable light on
the proto-history of this region. The excavations have revealed that from about
2000 B.C. these sites had evolved townships with a developed material culture.
The remains unearthed at these sites include stone and copper implements,
pottery, beads made of semi-precious stones and clay, metal-ornaments and
various other objects of daily use. The post-Harappan Chalcolthic culture
developed at these and a few other places of Madhya Pradesh from the. beginning
of the second millennium B.C. to about 600 B.C. The people of these regions were
familiar with agriculture and the industries of tool-making, pottery and
ornaments of various forms. Some of these had also trade relations with the
people of Iran and Baluchistan.
Dear Candidate, This Material is from Madhya Pradesh PSC Study Kit. For
Coming to the eariy historical period beginning from C 6th
Century B.C. we find that some parts of Madhya Pradesh became thicklye
populated, There was growth of civilisation, particularly in Malwa and parts of
the northern region. Avanti, with its capital at Ujjayini, comprised the major
part of western Malwa. It was one of the sixteen great kingdoms of northern
India during the time of the Buddha. Besides Ujjayini, Mahishmati was another
important town of western Malwa. Vidisha-, on the river Betwa was the biggest
town of eastern Malwa, with Eran as its eastern military headquarters.
During the Maurya period almost.the entire Madhya Pradesh
region was included in the Maurya empire. The great emperor Asoka served as
Governor of Avanti before he ascended the imperial throne. It is mentioned in
the Buddhist works that Asoka married the daughter of a Sreshthi of Vidisha,
This queen of Asoka caused the construction of a Buddhist monastery at Vidisha.
As is well-known, Asoka did a lot for the propagation of Buddhism. He was
responsible for the erection of lofty stupas at Sanchi (near Vidisha) and
Bharhut (nearSatiia). Gradually these two sites became great centres of
Buddhism. Traces of several other stupas built by Asoka have been found in
Asoka set up an inscribed pillar at Sanchi.His other edicts
on rocks, have been found at Rupnath (Jabalpur distt), Pangudari (Sehore distt.)
and at Gujarra in the Datia district.
Afte the Mauryas come the epoch of the Sungas and the
Satavahanas.The rulers of these two dyna-sties were followers of the Vedic
religion. But a spirit of tolerance prevailed during their regime. Under their
patronage the great stupas at Bharhut and Sanchi were renovated and were
embellished with tastefully ornamented gateways, During the sunga Satavahana
age, cities like Ujjayini, Mahishmati, Vidisha, Padma vati (Pawaya) and Tripuri
grew up into commercial and cultural centres of central India,. They were linked
together by highways. The Satavahanas during their rule over major parts of
Madhya Pradesh, from the middle of the second century B.C. to about A.D. 100,
encouraged the cultural development. They had to struggle constantly with the
foreign Saka rulers for supremacy in the Malwa region and westrem India. Several
branches of the sakas had occupied, one after the other, extensive parts of
westerm India extending from Kathiawar to Vidisha. Gautami putra Satakarni, the
satavahana monarch, gave a crushing defeat to the Sakas. But soon after, the
Saka-Kshatrapa king Rudra-daman I, in the middle of second century A.D..
defeated his contemporary Satavahana king and reoccupied the lands lost by the
Sakas. Since then the Satavahanas diverted their attention to Deccan and the
South and became masters of extensive territories. The Saka-Kshatrap'as
continued to rule over western India and major parts of Malwa till they were
finally ousted by Chandra-gupta Vikramadity a at the close of the 4th century A.
The Satavahanas were succeeded by the Bodhi rulers in the
Tripuri regions, who ruled during the 2nd 3rd centuries A.D. Their
contemporaries were the Magna kings of south Kosala. During the 3rd 4th
centuries A.D. the Nagas became powerful in central India. The Naga had their
main centres at Vidisha, Kantipuri(modern Kutwar, Morena district) and Padmavati.
These independent ruling dynasties, of Madhya Pradesh, along with the several
forest kingdoms, played an important role as a bulwark against the onrushes of
foreign rulers, particularly the Sakas and the Kushanas.
The Gupta Age
In the 4th century A.D, a new power, the Gupta dynasty, arose
in northern India. One of the Gupta emperors, Samudra-gupta, made a countrywide
conquest. He uprooted several ruling dynasties of northern India and subdued the
monarchs of the south. He conquered eastern Malwa and appointed his son,
Ramagupta, to look after the newly conquered territory. The Sakas of western
India submitted to the suzerainty of Samudra-gupta. Other parts of Madhya Pradwh,
north of the Narmada, were annexed by Samudragupta to the Gupta empire. The
region south of Narmada was ruled over by the Vakatakas, with whom the Guptas
maintained friendly relation throughout.
Soon after the death of Samudragupta, the Sakas, taking
advantage of the weaknes of Ramagupta overpowered him. The Saka chief demanded
the hand of Dhruvadevi, the beautiful queen of Ramagupta in order to humiliate
the glory of the Guptas. Ramagupta yielded to this nefarious demand. But due to
timely intervention of Chandragupta, the yonger brother of Ramagupta. The Gupta
prestige was saved from disgrace. The Saka chief was murdered and the Sakas were
overthrown from easten Malwa. Soon after this episode, Ramagupta too was put to
death and Chandragupta became emperor of the Gupta dynasty. He consolidated the
Gupta empire and eventually succeeeded in putting an end to the Saka rule in
western Malwa, Gujarat and Kathiawar also. The achievements of Chandragupta II
in the field of art and culture were equally great.
The credit for developing towns like Ujjayini, Vidish and
Eran as well-known cultural centres largely goes to Chandra gupta II. dramatist,
flourished during his time.
During the region of Kumaragupta I, the son and successor of
Chandragupta II, the Gupta empire witnessed a "period of tranquility. But the
peaceful atmosphere was disturbed by the Pushyamitras and the Hunas during the
last days of this monarch. Skandagupta, the son and successor of Kumaragupta I
had to wage war against these two turbulent enemies and succeeded in defeating
them. But the Gupta empire was greaty shaken due to these incursions.
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