Written by Samparka Mandal
The historians again and again use religion as a weapon to break the continuity of Indian history. Even they did not dare to distort it. Once they used to call the time from ancient period to the period of Indus invasion by the Arabs as ‘Hindu era’, from Indus invasion by Arabs to the period of greater Mughal rule (up to Aurangzeb) as ‘Muslim era’ and from then up to the period of Indian independence as ‘British era’. However, now the historians have started to term the age as Ancient, Medieval and Modern period. Perhaps, this is the actual demarcation rule. Sometimes the historians measure the age based on religion and that is involved with political motives, too. May be they use religion as sedative to ting the heart of the readers. So, today, I want to discuss about the period of demarcation based on religion and how much significance it has too!
If we start from the ancient time, we can see that not only the Hinduism has been originated along with Vedic age, the Jainism and Buddhism also became popular in the society. On one hand, the famous kings of the that time were coming in contact with the Jainism and Buddhism, the common people were being influenced by these. On one hand the common people became dissatisfied with the Brahminism, the kings of big town were becoming strong supporters of Buddhism and Jainism on other hand. So, being freed from the circle of Hinduism, first the Jainism and then the Buddhism spreaded in many parts of India. The influence of Jainism could be seen from Indus valley upto Magadha and Kalinga through Anga, Videha, Koshal, Malwa and Deccan, through it had not been spreaded outside of India. In this respect it can be mentioned the names of those kings who patronised Jainism alongwith Hinduism. The most mentionable names in this category were – Magadha King Bimbisara, Ajatsatru and Chandra Gupta Maurya, Khasbel-the king of Kalinga, Mandalik-the king od Kakhiyawara and Jay Singha and Kumar Pal from Gujrat Kingdom. After the migration of many Jains to Decan under the leadership of Bhadrabahu, Chandragupta Maurya also followed him in his old age and breathed his last at Shrabonbelagola in Karnataka.
It is said that the main reason behind the spread of Jainism in the Deccan was the Jaina-affection of Chandragupta Maurya. Besides this, the kings of Chalukya, Rashtrakuta and Gangarajan were also the supporter of Jainism in the Deccan. Again, if we take care of Buddhism, the we can see that Bimbisara, the king of Magadha was a supporter of Buddhism. Even Koushal King Prasenjit and her wife Mallika became disciple of Buddhadev himself. Beside this, Ajatsatru and Kalashoka, the king of Magadha were great patronizer of Buddhism. However with the help of king Kanishka and emperor Ashoka, Buddhism became popular among the common people. To make the path of preaching Buddhism memorable, the great Ashoka made about seventy six thousand statues. To preach Buddhism, he sent his own son Mahendra and daughter, Sanghamitra to Singhal. Also sent Shon and Uttar as an Ambassader of his religion to Bramhadesh. Not only the kings, but also from a rich merchant Anathapind to Sariputra, a Bramhin scholar, Madgallayan, dacoit Angulimal and Amrapali, a prostitute were influenced by the Buddhism. Later on when Hinduism became narrow in the Gupta age, even then many Gupta rulers found confidence in Buddhism. So was the case of Pals, the kings of Banga. So it will be a very foolish indeed if we call Ancient age as ‘Hindu Era’.
Again, if we come in the case of Medieval age, it is not the age of Islam or the Sultan or the Mughals only. Medieval age means the era of the rerise of the Rajputh of North India, the era of establishment of the Vijaynagar Kingdom of the deccan. At the same time, it can be said that after the death of Aurangzeb, when the sun of Mughal era was about to set, a new sun was ready to rise in the sky of the kingsdom like the Maratha, the Sikhs and many other Hindu kingdoms. So, Medival period was as much as Muhammad Ghori, or Bahaman Shaha of Bahamani kingdom or Alauddin Khalji, the great Sultan or the Sindh attacker Md. Bin Kasim so was to Prithwiraj Chauhan or Harihara and Bukka of Vijaynagar kingdom. or the Brahmin king Dahir. Because all they are equally important in history. On the other hand, with the revival of Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs and Sufis had taken place and with this ‘Bhakti’ movement, Indian society became free from the all sackless. So if we call Medieval era as Sultanate age or Mughal age, then our steriotype thought will be forcefully imposed on the shoulder of the readers.
On the other hand, European East India companies (Portuguese, Dutch, French, English etc.) entered India to trade in India. But after British rule began, Indians used their power to divert the direction of the history. sometimes by the peasants, indigenous and religious reformist rebellions of India, . Sometimes Rammohan, Diarozio or Jyotiba Fule took the flags of the movement of social reform. In the endeavor of Indian leaders, India got the right to autonomy, sometimes they blocked the British administration’s pace by mass movements, and sometimes themselves took up the responsibility of creating a new country. But in India, there is a radical change in British rule, in that sense this period is considered to be a modern era, but it can never be called a British era.
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