The Indus valley civilization saw its genesis in the holy land now known as India around 2500 BC. The people inhabiting the Indus River valley were thought to be Dravidians, whose descendants later migrated to the south of India. The deterioration of this civilization that developed a culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade can be attributed to ecological changes. The second millennium BC was witness to the migration of the bucolic Aryan tribes from the North West frontier into the sub continent. These tribes gradually merged with their antecedent cultures to give birth to a new milieu.
The Aryan tribes soon started penetrating the east, flourishing along the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers. By 500 BC, the whole of northern India was a civilized land where people had knowledge of iron implements and worked as labor, voluntarily or otherwise. The early political map of India comprised of copious independent states with fluid boundaries, with increasing population and abundance of wealth fueling disputes over these boundaries.
Unified under the famous Gupta Dynasty, the north of India touched the skies as far as administration and the Hindu religion were concerned. Little wonder then, that it is considered to be India’s golden age. By 600 BC, approximately sixteen dynasties ruled the north Indian plains spanning the modern day Afghanistan to Bangladesh. Some of the most powerful of them were the dynasties ruling the kingdoms of Magadha, Kosla, Kuru and Gandhara.
Known to be the land of epics and legends, two of the world’s greatest epics find their birth in Indian settings - the Ramayana, depicting the exploits of lord Ram, and the Mahabharta detailing the war between Kauravas and Pandavas, both descendants of King Bharat. Ramayana traces lord Ram’s journey from exile to the rescue of his wife Sita from the demonic clutches of Ravana with the help of his simian companions. Singing the virtues of Dharma(duty), the Gita, one of the most priced scriptures in Indian Mythology, is the advice given by Shri Krishna to the grief laden Arjun, who is terrified at the thought of killing his kin, on the battle ground.
Mahatma Gandhi revived these virtues again, breathing new life in them, during India’s freedom struggle against British Colonialism. An ardent believer in communal harmony, he dreamt of a land where all religions would be the threads to form a rich social fabric.