A Concise History Ofthe Indian People

A Concise History Ofthe Indian People




C.I.E., MA., F.R.Hist.S.

Indian Educational Service (Retired)

Formerly Principal, Deccan College, Poona


Published 1938

Third Impression (revised) 1946






The Geography and Prehistoric Civilization of India The Foundations of Hindu India : The Vedic Age . The Epic Age : The Rise of Buddhism and Jainism . The Rise of the Empire of Magadha

Early Foreign Invaders of North-Western India The Golden Age of Hinduism : The Guptas : Harsha The Rajput Kingdoms of Northern India

The Kingdoms of the Deccan and Gujarat The Tamil Kingdoms of Southern India


The Muslim Conquest of Northern India, 117 The Slave Kings of Delhi, 1206-90 The Khilji Dynasty, 1290-1320 . The Tughlak Dynasty, 1321-88 . The Saiyid and Lodi Dynasties, 1413-152 The Mohammedan Kingdoms of Bengal, Gujarat and the Deccan and the Coming of the Portuguese, 1340-1687 .

III The Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar, 1336-1646

IV The Foundation of the Mogul Empire : Babur, Sher

Shah and Humayun, 1526-56

V The Mogul Empire at its zenith : Jalal-ud-din Akbar, 1556-1606

79 94 109




VI The Mogul Empire at its zenith : Jahangir and Shahjahan, 1605-66

VII The Mogul Empire at its zenith : Aurangzeb Alamgir, 1659-1707•

The Decline of the Mogul Empire and the Rise of the Marathas, 1707-1800 .


I Early European Settlements in India .•. 241

II The Struggle between England and France : Clive

and Dupleix .• 251

The British Acquisition of Bengal.259

The Foundations of British Rule in India : Warren Hastings and Lord Cornwallis, 1772-93 .. 268

The Expansion of British India : Wellesley to Amherst, 1798-1828 .285

New Principles of Government : Lord William Bentinck, 1828-35.307

The Last Conquests of the Company The Afghan,

Sikh and Burmese Wars, 1836-56.. 315

VIII The Indian Mutiny and the End of The East India Company, 1856-9.

Appendix : Queen's Proclamation

India Under the Crown : From Canning to Ripon, 1858-84 .

From Dufferin to Curzon, 1884-1905 India from Lord Minto to the Present Da • 1901-45. Examination Question Index



A Young Hermit (Ajanta Painting).(Department of Archaeo-

logy, Hyderabad, Deccan).Frontispiece

Map of India—Physical Features.(George Philip & Son Ltd.) .3

Burial Urn (Tinnevelly).(Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .7

Copper Axe (Celtic).(Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India).7

Travancore) .

Excavated Houses and Street, Mohenjodaro. (Copyright Government of India, by permission of Mr Arthur Probsthain)

The Great Bath, Mohenjodaro. (Indian Railways Bureau).

Pictographic Seals and Sculpture excavated at Mohenjodaro. [(i) and (ii) Indian Railways Bureau; (iii) copyright Government of India by permission of Mr Arthur Probsthain]

Map of the Principal Countries of Ancient India. (Cambridge University Press)...

Mahavira Vardhamana. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)

Gautama Buddha. (Clarendon Press: Macdonell, India's Past)

Maurya Chariot Wheel excavated at Pataliputra. (Archaeological Survey of India)... .

Remains of Maurya Wooden Wall excavated at Pataliputra. (Arclmeological Survey of India). .

Asoka's Inscription on the Rummindei Pillar (Facsimile) (Archaeological Survey of India)

Asoka Inscribed Pillar at Lauriya Nandangarh. (India Office Library)...

Map of the Empire of Asoka, 250 B.C. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) ......

Gateway and Railing of the Bharhut Stupa with Sunga Inscription

(late Second Century B.c.). (Archaeological Survey of India)45

Alexander the Great. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. Ind4a) .49

Porus Medal. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .51

Coin of Menander. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist.52

Coin of Gondophernes. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .54

The Casket containing Relics of the Buddha Enshrined by Kaniehka. (Archaeological Survey of India) . 57


Copper Harpoon. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India).

Primitive Hill Tribes. (Oxford University Press: Hatch,



Coin of Samudrag-upta (Horse sacrifice type). (Clarendon Press, Oaford Hist. India) ... 61

Coin of Samudragupta (Lyrist type). (Clarendon Press, Oxford

Hist. India) ...61

Map of the Conquests of Samudragupta, A.D. 340 and the Gupta Empire, A.D. 400. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . 63

Column, Gupta Period. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .68

The Mehrauli Iron Pillar. (Oxford University Press : Sharp, Delhi)•

Map of India in A.D. 640. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)71

FIN-cavated Stupas at Nalanda. (Archaeological Survey of India) 74

Excavated Monasteries and Other Buildings, Nalanda. (Archaeological Survey of India).

Signature of Harsha. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . Statue of Surya, Pala Period. (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Temple of Visvanath, Khajuraho. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) ....

East Gateway and Railing of the Main Stupa, Sanchi, with Smaller Stupa in Background. (Arcbaeological Survey of India) . 96

Cave Temple, Karli. (Indian Railways Bureau)97

Head of Statue of Gomata, Sravana. Belgola. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)101

Rock-cut Kailasa Temple at Okra, c. A.D. 760. (Indian Railways Bureau)

Sculptures on Hoysalesvas

(India Office Library)

Temple, Halebid (Twelfth Century),


White Marble (A.D. 1031).

Ganesa Ratha, Oxford Hist.

Ceiling of Vimalasaha Temple, Mount Abu (Clarendon Press: Macdonell, India's Past). 107

one of the Seven Pagodas. (Clarendon Pre India) .

Delhi (early eau).

Hindu Temple, Railways Bur

Kutb Minar, Railways Bur

Madura (e eau).

ly Seventeenth Century). Indian Thirteenth Centm7). (Indian


Tomb of Altams1). (Oxford University Press: Sharp, Delhi) Tomb of Tughlak Shall. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. Inclia) Gateway of Small Golden Mosque, Gaur (c. A.D. 1500). (Kogan

:Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd.) .•

Ataladevi Mosque, Jaunpur (A.D. 1408). (A rchaeological Survey of India).




Window Screen of Sidi Saiyid's Mosque, Ahmadabad (c. A.D. 1500). (Archaeological Survey of India) . . . 146

Map of the Bahmani Kingdom in A.D. 1480 ; Khandesh and the five Sultanates of the Deccan, namely, Bijapur, Bidar, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, and Berar in A.D. 1566 after the battle of Talikota. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . . 148

Gol Guxnbaz, Bijapur, the Tomb of Muhammad _A dil Shah (mid Seventeenth Century). (Indian Railways Bureau) .


Portrait Image of Krishnaraya Deva. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .. 156

Hindu Temple at Vijayanagar. (Exclusive News Agency). 158

Babur Visiting the Palace of Jalal Khan, near Agra. (Oxford University Press : Edwardes and Garrett, Mughal Rule in India) 168

Grave of the Emperor Babur .... 169

Tomb of Sher Shah. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India). 172

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (A.D. 1565-6). (Indian. Railways Bureau) 173

Akbar. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) ... 174

Akbar Inspecting the Building of Fatehpur Sikri. (Oxford University Press: Edwardes and Garrett, Mughal Rule in India) 178

Map of India in 1605. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . 186

Abul Fazl. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)187

Jahangir. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)193

Sir Thomas Roe. (National Portrait Gallery) .. 195

The Emperor Shahjahan on the Peacock Throne. (Oxford University Press: Edwardes and Garrett, Mughal Rule in India)

Durbar of Shahjahan. (Oxford University Press : Edward.es and Garrett, Mugh,al Rule an India)

The Taj Mabal, Agra. (Director of Public Information, New Delhi)•

Aurangzeb. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)

The Rit7er Ganges at Benares, showing Aurangzeb's M (Director of Public Information, New Delhi)

Shivaji. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . Nadir Shah. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) Map of India in 1752 .

Plan of the Battle of Panipat. India)

Map of Old Overland Trade Routes from Europe to India and Vasco da Gama's Sea Route. (Oxford University Press, Cpreadon High School History of India)

Vasco da Gama. (A. Elliott Esq., Capetown)243


Page Surat Castle. (India Office Library) . . . . 245 Tomb of Job Charnock at Calcutta. (A. P. Blair Esq., London) 247 Fort St George, Madras. (India Office Library) 248

Dupleix. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India).252

Tiichinopoly Fort. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)253

Clive. (Clarendon Press, Oxford _Hist. India) .255

Battle of Plassey gained by Colonel Clive, 23rd June 1757.

(Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .... 262

Warren Hastings (in old age). (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist.

India).. 269

Fort William, Calcutta. (India Office Library) .. 271

Gwalior Fort. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India). 274

Haidar Ali. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India).. 275

Sketch-map of the Karnatak. (Oxford University Press, Clarendon

High School History of India) .. 277

Lord Cornwallis. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .. 281

Tipu Sultan. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .283

Lord Wellesley. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .. 286

Seringapatam in 1792. (Clarendon. Press, Oxford Hist. India)287

Chessmen representing Troops of East India Company's Army

and Tipu Sultan's Troops. (Victoria and Albert Museum) . 288 Map of India after Wellesley, 1805. (Oxford University Press,

Clarendon High School History of India). 293

Lord 1Vlinto. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)294

Maharaja Ranjit Singh. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) 295 Map of Ranjit Singh's Dominions in 1839. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . . . . 297

Lord Hastings. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hat. India) .299

A Nepalese Stockade. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)300

Irrigation Channel, Lower Swat Canal, Peshawar District. (H. Hargreaves Esq., Huntingdon) .. .

Bandula's Armed Observation Post. (Clarendon Press, Oxford

Hist. India) .304

Bharatpur Fort. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)305

Lord William Bentinck. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) . 308 Suttee, Memorials of Jodhpur Princesses in the Palace Gateway.

(Mrs Prances Stewart Robertson, India),.•

CoIc net Tod and His Jain Pundit. (Clarendon Press, Oxford

Hiss. India) .




Lord Auckland (from a chalk drawing in the possession of the family). (Lord Auckland).316

Dost Muhammad

• 318

Bala Hissar, Kabul. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)• 320

Aerial View of Karachi Port. (Karachi Port Trust).322

Lord Dalhousie. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .324

Lord Canning. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India) .331

Sir Henry Lawrence. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)334

Pruning Tea. (Indian Tea Association, London)343

Sir John Lawrence. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India). 344

Sir Robert Sandeman. (Oxford University Press: Dunbar, Paladins of India)... 348

Lord Ripon. (Spencer Arnold Esq., London) .. 351

Map of the Burmese Wars, 1826, 1852, 1885. (Clarendon Press,

Oxford Hist. India) .355

G. K. Gokhale. (Elliott & Fry Ltd., London) .357

Lord Curzon. (Clarendon Press, Oxford Hist. India)360

Pathans, North-West Frontier Province. (DirectorPublic

Information, New Delhi)361

The Khyber Pass. (Central Press, London)362

Lmproved Plough at work with a Tractor at Pusa366

Drying Jute. (Oxford University Press: Gangulee, The Indian

Peasant)...... 370

Memorial. Arch, New Delhi (erected to the memory of the Indiansoldiers who fell in the Great War). (Indian Railways Bureau) Lord Chelmsford. (Elliott & Fry Ltd., London) Chamber of Princes, New Delhi. (Indian Railways Bureau) The Golden Temple, Amritsar. (Indian Railways Bureau) Mahatma Gandhi. (Spencer Arnold Esq., London) View of Sukkur Barrage. (Indian Railways Bureau) Electric Train on the Bhor Ghat between Bombay and Poona.

(GIP. Railway).

The publisher& thanks are due to all those listed above for courtesy in providing copyright illustrations ; also to H. Hargreaves Esq., formerly Director-General of the Indian Archaeological Survey, for expert assistance in their selection.

THE need of a short history of India, incorporating the latest archaeological discoveries and bringing the history of the country down to the present day, has long been felt. The admirable works of the late Dr V. A. Smith, the pioneer of Indian studies, are now, both in point of fact and in general outlook, out of date, and the whole subject requires to be re-stated. The present work is intended to fill the gap. It is written primarily for the use of the student preparing for the matriculation examination of the Indian universities, and is based on the syllabuses issued by them. In view, however, of the greatly increased interest in India which is now being displayed by the English public, it is hoped that it may also appeal to the general reader who requires a simple, non-technical account of the country and its peoples.



GEOGRAPHY. Geography ', it has been said, ' is the foundation of all historical knowledge.' For this reason, before we begin to study the history of India, we must make ourselves acquainted with her leading geographical and physical features, and consider how far they have determined the course of events.

INDIA. The word India is Greek. It means the land of the river Indus (Sindhu in Sanskrit), on the upper waters of which the Aryan settlers made their earliest home. The Greeks, as we shall learn presently, first came to know of India through the Persians, who at one time ruled over a portion of the Punjab. Later on people in the West applied the name of the best known portion to the whole country, and the inhabitants were named Hindus or Indians. But the word does not occur in Sanskrit. There, the nearest equivalent is Bharata Varsha, the realm of the legendary king Bharata, who is supposed to have ruled over the whole of Northern India.

SIZE OF INDIA. Though India has from time to time been under the sway of powerful dynasties, which have brought the greater part of it under a single ruler, it is really a continent rather than a country. It is peopled by many races, with different languages and religions. Its greatest length and


breadth are roughly 2,000 miles in either direction. Its area is about l million square miles ; that is, it is as large as Europe with Russia left out, and twenty times the size of the British Isles. It has a population of 388 million people, or nearly ten times as many as England, and one-eighth of thatof the whole world. Half the inhabitants of the BritishEmpire are Hindus.

RELIGIONS. RACES. LANGUAGES. The peoples of India, if we exclude the Europeans and Parsees, fall into two main groups, the Hindus and Mohammedans. The Hindus outnumber the Mohammedans by about three to one, but this does not give a fair idea of their relative importance, as the greatest Indian rulers were the Moguls, who have left many splendid monuments of their rule in different parts of the country. Apart from a number of Hindus who were converted to Islam, the Mohammedans came from Central Asia. Their official language was Persian. Later, from a combination of Persian and Hindi, they evolved a language known as Urdu, or the language of the Camp. The Hindus consist of a number of races and sects, but nearly all of them share certain common religious beliefs and customs. They belong to two main stocks, Aryan and Dravidian. The Aryan languages are all derived from the same parent stock as Sanskrit, and a man who knows Sanskrit will not have, great difficulty in learning any of them. But the Dravidian languages are totally different in character. In the old days, owing to vast distances and lack of good roads, no feeling of common nationality was possible. But now, an ever-increasing number of people is learning to speak English, and improvements in communications by railways, motors and aircraft are bringing various parts of India into closer and closer touch, and the sense of unity is daily growing greater.

PHYSICAL FEATURES. A glance at the map will show that India is in shape an enormous triangle. Two sides are washed by the sea, which in the old days could not be crossed by largebodies of invaders. The base consists of the Himalaya mountains. This stupendous mountain-barrier, which shuts her in on the north, isolates her from the rest of Asia. In one corner, however, the north-west, this barrier is pierced by . a number of passes. The chief of these are the Khyber Pass, through which runs the road leading to Kabul, and the Bolan Pass, farther south, leading to Kandahar. These have played a great part in the history of the country, as through them have poured countless waves of invasion, Aryan, Persian, Greek, Scythic, Hun and Muslim, from the dawn of time until the middle of the eighteenth century. Now the gateway of India as these passes have been rightly named, is securely bolted and barred, and further invasions from this direction are no longer possible. The history of India is, very largely, a history of the invasions from the north-west.

Natural Divisions of the Country. If we once more consult the map, we shall see that India falls into four distinct regions. These are (1) North-Western India, (2) Hindustan, (3) The Deccan table-land and (4) Southern India. Each of these is watered by'its own river-systems. Rivers play an important part in Indian history. In the old days they acted as means of communication, when roads were rare or non-existent. Moreover, in a dry, tropical country, when the monsoon rain fails, the lives of millions of people depend upon water supplied by the rivers. Many of the great empires and capitals of India have arisen on the banks of her mighty streams, and there is little wonder that they are regarded as sacred.

(1) North-Western India. This is the Punjab or Land of Five Rivers. The rivers in question are the Indus and her four tributaries, the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej, or, to give them the names by which they were known to the Lido-Aryans, the Sindhu, Vitasta, Asikni, Parushni and Sutudri. The Punjab is bounded by lofty mountain-ranges on the north and north-west, and is separated from Hindustan on the east by the Rajputana Desert. Its well-watered lands