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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Unified India?
    Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 15:42
Hi everyone. So, I don't know a whole heck of a lot about the history of India, which is one of the reasons I am here. I am curious:
Was there ever a time (before the British came along) when the whole of what we now call India was unified under one ruler/government? Like I said, I'm new to this, just curious.
Is someone going to tell Triple H that someone beat him to the title "King of Kings"?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 17:24
No,  most of South Asia consisted of several different states and countries. 
 
The modern state of India is more of an artificial creation establishmed by the departing British Colonialist who connected and integrated vasts swathes of territory and different peoples/cultures/ethnic groups into one new new nation called India, In essence, they can be credited with creating Indian's current national indentity and country, which is good from an economic point of view (but bearing in mind Colonial intentions, which more accurately reflected their personal requirements), but bodes poorly for regional culture and identity, many of whom are being diluted as we speak.
 
historically speaking, parts of India where often conquered by foreign invading forces and joined to their expanding empires.
 
One exception may also be the short rule of Ashoka, who was a buddhist and ruled over a vast array of lands in the region.  But his rule is an exception rather than the rule.
 
Other than that, the South Asian region particularly the areas of modern day India, where ruled by a plethora of different kings, 'governments' who operated freely and independently of each other. 
 
I would recommend reading up from different sources to help broaden your understanding of the region as a whole in order to see the regions history in its broader sense to fully understand it.
 
Wishing you well in your endeavours.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 20:51
Allahuddin Khilji and Aurengzeb also briefly (very briefly in Aurengzeb's case) unified the whole subcontinent.
The Delhi Sultanate lost control of the south shortly after Khilji died in Muhammed Tughluqs reign. Aurengzeb lost it himself.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 21:59
akbar, shah jahan,
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 23:20
Before the Islamic invasions, the subcontinent came closest to unification under the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC.  I don't think even the Delhi Sultanate or Aurangzeb ever totally unified the continent either.  The extreme South from around Madurai to Kanyakumari was pretty much always indepedent until the British conquest.  
Once you relinquish your freedom for the sake of "understood necessity,"...you cede your claim to the truth. - Heda Margolius Kovaly
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 05:09

India is oldest existing nation in this planet. Though because of it riches it was often attacked by foreign armies it kept its identity intact (or mere change). The exception is recent carve-out Pakistan that wants to take a different identity differing by religion.

 

You can see from voyages of Vasco da Gama and columbus that this nation was there even in mid-time. 

 

Vasco da Gama landed in Kochi, India on December 24, 1524 was a Portuguese explorer. He was a successful sailor who sailed directly from Europe to India and his intention was to lay a sea route to India. Why one wants to lay a sea route to India without having any idea to access the riches of here?

 

Columbus made his fourth voyage in search of the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean and he thought the land he ended up was India. Later Amerigo Vespucci's travel journals, published 1502-04, won over Martin Waldseemller that the discovered place was not India, as Columbus always believed, but a new continent, and in 1507, after Columbus' death, this new continent was named America from Vespucci's latinized name Americus.

 

So how this two more names by Indies (Amerindies and WestIndies) came in to existence. The things are before world even today to tell the ancient history and might of India. 

 

India is actually Hind-ya like of Indiana improved by the British/Europeans long before for their ease to call. Its Hindoo-s-than, the land of Hindoo people. As of today India is the only nation having rooted history.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 10:23
I don't agree.  The oldest nation on the planet is France, because that is where the concept of nationhood came from.  Otherwise nations and states are artificial entities by definition.    
Once you relinquish your freedom for the sake of "understood necessity,"...you cede your claim to the truth. - Heda Margolius Kovaly
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 15:48
In order to side-step the ongoing dispute over the word "India," I'm going to use the terms South Asia and Bharat (often translated as "India" in modern usage) instead. As Rome never conquered all of Europe but still managed to redefine the entire continent, so Bharat has redefined South Asia without ever conquering the whole of it before the British built their empire. Several incarnations of Bharat have come close to covering the subcontinent:

In the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC the Mauryas managed to build a massive state that stretched from Kabul to Bangladesh and almost as far south as Madras. But it did not include any territory further south.

In the first few centuries AD the Satavahanas ruled all of the middle half of the subcontinent, but Kush controlled the upper Ganges, the Indus, and everything up to the Aral Sea. Numerous other states controlled the rest.

By 400 AD the Guptas controlled everything from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, but again, there were large gaps. Fully a third of the subcontinent in the south was controlled by smaller kingdoms. Gupta control of the far south and far west didn't last all that long.

Various people tried to (re?)unite South Asia, including the Huns and the Gurjara-Prathiharas and the Ghurids, but none came close before the Khaljis- whose empire temporarily stretched from the north of Pakistan to Madras, but again with large gaps (such as the entire lower Ganges and eastern subcontinent. The Tughluqs came even closer, but still, there were smaller states in every corner they couldn't control.

From the 1500s to 1700s the Mughals made a good effort at uniting the subcontinent, but even at their greatest extent they never controlled the southern tip or Sri Lanka. The British were the first ones to lay claim to everything from Ski Lanka to Afghanistan to Bangladesh with only the occasional Portuguese port city outside their control.

That's the short version anyways. For most of its history, South Asia has been divided by numerous smaller kingdoms, some with ambitions to cover the entire region, others with no particular feeling of loyalty to a nation called "Bharat" or anything else.


Edited by jdalton - 06-Sep-2007 at 15:54
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 16:30
Originally posted by jayeshks

I don't agree.  The oldest nation on the planet is France, because that is where the concept of nationhood came from.  Otherwise nations and states are artificial entities by definition.    


A very well put, Jayeshks.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 16:47
Treaty of Westphalia established the principal of "sovereignty of states", as well as legal equality between states, which laid the basis of "nation" or "state" as we know it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Sep-2007 at 07:43

In fact, that previous post was reply for the posts by Marco polo/Other few which were stereotyping unwanted distaste.

 

Ok! In the sub continent (India) always there was one emperor and number of kings. These kings actually survived accepting the supremacy of the emperor of their time. Like during period of Ashoka, if down south cholas/pallavas survived because they accepted the supremacy of Ashoka. This is evident in the rich literatures of India composed during different reign. It was like one federal ruler and number of autonomous rulers within forming a union virtually. Here, one cant except todays modern nation type of system to exist in that historical era but can apply and see it. Even today most nations have autonomous/special type territories within. The above is same one of those times.

 

Moreover, till date the Indian populace live the same lifestyle of Vedic (by cultural/tradition/social group). In that way, India has rooted history becoming the oldest country.

 

Otherwise a nation like France could be the early one.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2007 at 03:29

 

I try to answer the questions raised:

 

1.      Was there ever a time (before the British came along) when the whole of what we now call India was unified under one ruler/government?

 

Yes. Why such doubt arises? It is a myth that the British united India.

 

2.      One exception may also be the short rule of Ashoka, who was a buddhist and ruled over a vast array of lands in the region.  But his rule is an exception rather than the rule.

What about other Kings? We have from Tamil literature, at least three kings who were reportedly exercised their power up to Himalayas. Kharavela, interestingly defeated a Dravidian confederacy, thus, he must have ruled or exercised power throughout India. As per Puranas, we Dravidians have some reservations, still historians claim that Rama, Bharata, Yudhishistira, and others ruled.

 

3.      Allahuddin Khilji and Aurengzeb also briefly (very briefly in Aurengzeb's case) unified the whole subcontinent. The Delhi Sultanate lost control of the south shortly after Khilji died in Muhammed Tughluqs reign. Aurengzeb lost it himself.

This is totally wrong. When Khiljis were trying to rule from Delhi, in South India, Cholas were powerful. Malikkafur could only come, loot and went way. Aurangazeb never ruled India, as he could not control his own territories.

 

4.      Before the Islamic invasions, the subcontinent came closest to unification under the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC.  I don't think even the Delhi Sultanate or Aurangzeb ever totally unified the continent either.  The extreme South from around Madurai to Kanyakumari was pretty much always indepedent until the British conquest.

 

To some extent, it is OK. But historically, we have to go before Asoka. The local rulers were exercising power and influence even during the British period. After all the Europeans the Companies, one by one came here begging permission, but cheated the people and tried to rule oppressing and suppressing. Now, an article appearing in the Guardian, UK-newspaper says that nearly one billion Indians were killed during 1857
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2007 at 15:25
Originally posted by Jayachandran

What about other Kings? We have from Tamil literature, at least three kings who were reportedly exercised their power up to Himalayas. Kharavela, interestingly defeated a Dravidian confederacy, thus, he must have ruled or exercised power throughout India. As per Puranas, we Dravidians have some reservations, still historians claim that Rama, Bharata, Yudhishistira, and others ruled.


I can't seem to match the dates up with what it says on Wikipedia, but to the best of my knowledge Mahameghavahana never reached the west coast of the subcontinent. I've been working on a series of historical world maps and most of my information on South Asia comes from a very excellent book which I've just discovered also lives onlineSmile. The maps are a pain to sort through, which they should be I suppose since South Asian history is very complex, so you can look through those if you want, but here's my adapted map for the year 20 BCE (still a work in progress):

I've never seen any evidence of a 100% unified South Asia before colonialism. Though it's worth saying that I'm also not aware of any region of South Asia that has not been a part of either "Bharat" or "Delhi" at one time or another. It's just that they were never all a part of one state simultaneously.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2007 at 13:11
OK, so you folks have mentioned Ashoka...where do I learn more about him? Is there a book I can read about him? I can always try wikipedia, of course as well, but I'm curious if there any bios.
Is someone going to tell Triple H that someone beat him to the title "King of Kings"?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2007 at 07:19
Who is that Mahameghavahana?
 
What is the authority of the map posted in historical context?
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2007 at 23:48
Authority? There's no authority. I made that map myself. If you don't want to take my word on South Asian history, which is perfectly acceptable, most of the information I used came from this book. You don't have to agree with that book either of course, but it's at least more likely to be right than I am. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2007 at 02:55

3.      Allahuddin Khilji and Aurengzeb also briefly (very briefly in Aurengzeb's case) unified the whole subcontinent. The Delhi Sultanate lost control of the south shortly after Khilji died in Muhammed Tughluqs reign. Aurengzeb lost it himself.

This is totally wrong. When Khiljis were trying to rule from Delhi, in South India, Cholas were powerful. Malikkafur could only come, loot and went way. Aurangazeb never ruled India, as he could not control his own territories.


That is quite a simplistic view. Malik Kafurs campaigns effectively destroyed the Cholas. The whole of the south were tributaries to Delhi for a number of decades, and when they rebelled during Muhammed bin Tughluq's reign they had a completely different political structure (the Bahmani Kingdoms and Vijayanager). For all practical purposes the south was conquered by Delhi.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Sep-2007 at 05:52
The rule of South India even going beyond Vidhyas from the Cholas to the rise of Krishnadevaraya proves the myth of Mohammedans conquering or ruling India from Delhi.
 
This is historical fact based on documents, inscriptions and monuments.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Sep-2007 at 10:31
Only if you ignore the periods when Delhi did control the south. This wasn't for a long time, but it did happen.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Sep-2007 at 11:49
I have heard some south Indian rulers conquering malaysia, indonesia, combodia etc..If they were also accepting the superiority of the northern rulers, then the territory of those northern rulers would extend dramatically.
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