Trying to write about the Indian history is more difficult than trying to measure the depth and vastness of the ocean. However based on the available information we can divide the Indian History in to two broad categories as follows:
1.History as mentioned in the ancient Indian Scriptures – The time calculations of Yugas (ages) and the origin of the universe and many specific time periods along with astrological combinations and events like the Birth of Lord Rama and Ramayana, Birth of Lord Krishna and the Mahabharata war etc. are there in the Vedic scriptures of India. However the historians accept only what is conclusive evidence based on the verifiable archeological or documentary evidence. Some corroborative evidence of these periods exists according to archeological findings and points that these can indeed be true but it is not provable conclusive evidence.
2. Verifiable and recorded official history of India: This is based on the discovery of the Indus valley civilisation at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, and many other recorded documentary evidence of later years – like the invasion by Alexander, Ashoka’s ruling, Invasitions by the Persians, Mughals, British etc.
You can read the Indian History from > Indian History Index
Controversies and recent discoveries and some interesting facts: A lot of historians, especially the westerners, still study India based on the Mahenjadaro and Harappan Indus valley discoveries, which were discovered in the 1920’s and were dated by the British historians around 2500 BC. However, Mehrgarh, was discovered and excavations in the Indus valley begun by a French team led by Jean-François Jarrige; the site was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986. The earliest settled portion of Mehrgarh was in an area called MR.3, in the northeast corner of the 495-acre occupation. It is a small farming and pastoralist village dated between 7000-5500 BC, with mud brick houses and granaries. The oldest inscriptions found in the Indus Valley Civilization dating appx 2500 BC and the language is still undeciphered!!The British historians propagated the theory of Indo-Aryans which preaches that India was a by product of Aryan invasions from abroad!! However now, after the availability of the British records and the published letters of Max Muller, the following is quite clear:
Lord Macaulay said the following about India on 2nd February, 1835 in the British Parliament.
“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
To pursue his plan, Max Muller was appointed to translate the Hindu scriptures by Lord Thomas Babbinton Macaulay, who became the Chairman of the Education Board, India. Max Muller was highly paid for this job. He was paid 4 pounds per sheet of his writing which comes to about 1000 pounds of today PER PAGE!!.
Apart from translating the Vedic scriptures to show them in a derogatory light, his Indo Aryan theories on Indian civilization taught that the Vedic Indian culture was the result of foreign invasions/migrations thousands of years back. This was used as a way of legitimizing Britsh rule in India as according to this theory, India had always been ruled by foreigners and its culture was noting but a “melting pot” of different cultures and not an ancient culture of its own.
The international, multidisciplinary research team, led by Oxford University in collaboration with Indian institutions, unveiled to a conference in Oxford what it calls ‘Pompeii-like excavations’ beneath the Toba ash at Billasurgam cave complex in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. The seven-year project examines the environment that humans lived in, their stone tools, as well as the plants and animal bones of the time. Stone tool analysis has revealed that the artefacts consist of cores and flakes, which are classified in India as Middle Palaeolithic. This suggests that human populations were present in India prior to 74,000 years ago, or about 15,000 years earlier than expected based on some genetic clocks,’ said project director Dr Michael Petraglia, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford.
The discovery of the submerged ancient city Dwaraka, of the coast of Gujarat in India (the site of the legendary city of Lord Krishna, which got submerged in the sea after the death of Lord Krishna according to our scriptures), led by Dr. S.R. Rao of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the National Institute of Oceanography of India, opens a new new chapter for the historians.
Origin of the world as per the Vedic scriptures:
In the Vedic scriptures of India, The earth’s existence, according to the calculations devised by our ancient sages given in the Hindu scriptures, comes up to 1,97,29,49,101 years till date. It is interesting to note that this tallies quite well with the scientific calculations – the age of the cosmos is estimated between 15 and 20 billion years.
Ramayana time: In the Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara-Kanda (or Book 5), Chapter 4, verse 27, [Gita Press, Gorakhpur, India] it explains that when Hanuman first approached Ravana’s palace, he saw the doorways surrounded by horses and chariots, palanquins and aerial cars, beautiful horses and elephants, nay, with four-tusked elephants decked with jewels resembling masses of white clouds. The mention of the elephants with four tusks shows that Valmiki and the people of his era were familiar with such creatures. According to the historians these four-tusked elephants were known as Trilophodon Four tusked Mastodon, which are said to have evolved around 38 million years ago and became extinct about 15 million years ago.
Trilophodon Four tusked Mastodon
Adam’s Bridge, also known as Rama Setu is a chain of limestone shoals connecting Rameswaram, the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka. The bridge is 18 miles (30 km) The temple records say that Rama’s Bridge was complete above sea level until it broke in a cyclone in 1480 CE. The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man-made. Legend as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent.
This dating tallies remarkably well with the Vedic calculations – from the 24th Treta-yuga to the present age of this 28th cycle of Kali-yuga, gives the period of Lord Rama approximately 17 to 18 million years ago.
Adams bridge aerial view
A three and a half million years old Prehistoric human skull was discovered in Ahthnor village of Madhya Pradesh.
Three and half million skull of a woman
World Heritage site located in Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the Bhimbetka shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India; a number of analyses suggest that at least some of these shelters were inhabited by man for in excess of 100,000 years. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old.
Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters
According to most astrologers, the Kali Yuga started on February 17-18 midnight, 3102 BC. However there are several other dates according to other schools of thought. Aryabhata, is a famous early astronomer with contributions to science, whose estimate of p, and the time of moon revolution around the earth are so accurate, that his works are being extensively researched. Aryabhata (476-550 AD) stated that Kaliyuga started 3600 years before, when he was 23 years old, making the start as 3102 BC. Hence the period of Lord Krishna, Dwaraka and the Mahabharata war are around 3100-3200BC.
The discovery of the submerged ancient city Dwaraka, (the site of the legendary city of Lord Krishna, which got submerged in the sea after the death of Lord Krishna according to our scriptures), led by Dr. S.R. Rao of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the National Institute of Oceanography of India, has opened a new chapter for the historians.
Later discoveries reveal that Dwaraka city was about 32000 years old! See video
Pictures of underwater Dwaraka discovered by Marine Archaeology Unit (MAU) of the National Institute of Oceanography
Many of our ancient civilisations are river valley based civilisations and several got wiped out as the rivers changed course. Several others are built and rebuilt time and time again. If we dig up Varanasi plenty of history can be unearthed but its impossible to dig up this crowded city!
Whether one can prove it or not, India is certainly as old as the creation itself.