(Online Course) Madhya Pradesh PSC: General Studies: History

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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.

Anoints History

Chalcolithic culture

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.

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Early History

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 Madhya Padesh.

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.

Post Mauryas

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. D.

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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