Indian History
India is one of the few countries in the world, today, in which the social and religious structures, which define the nation's identity, are intact for over 4000 years. There is possibly no other country where religion is so inextricably intertwined with every aspect of life. India was the birth place of the two of the world's great religion (Hinduism & Buddhism) and one of its smallest (Jainism). India's first major civilization flourished for 1000 years from around 2500 BC along the Indus River valley. The origins of Hinduism can be traced all the way back to this early civilization. The Aryans swept south from Central Asia between 1500 and 200 BC. It was during this period of transition (1500-1200 BC) that the Hindu sacred scriptures, the Vedas, were written.

Maurya's empire came to power in 321 BC. The empire reached its peak under Emperor Ashoka who converted to Buddhism in 262 BC. Ashokan edicts and pillars can be seen in Delhi, Gujarat, Orissa, Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh and at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh. In 319 AD, Chandragupta II founded the Gupta Empire. The arts flourished during this period, with some of the finest work being done at Ajanta, Ellora, Sanchi and Sarnath.

Mughal Era - Muslim power first made itself strongly felt on the subcontinent with the raids of Mahmud of Ghazni. In 1192, Mohammed Ghori, who had been expanding his powers across the Punjab, broke into India and captured Ajmer. After Mohammed of Ghori was killed in 1206, Qutub-ud-din became the first of the Sultans of Delhi. The invasion of Muslims continued until Mughals came into power and ruled over northern India till the beginning of the 17th century. The six great Mughals were Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb and their reigns were between 1527 until 1707. Some of the wonderful monuments built during the Mughal reign are Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Fort in Agra and Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb in Delhi.

British Raj - In 1612 British made their first permanent inroad into India when they established a trading post in Gujarat and later at Madras in 1640, at Bombay in 1668 and at Calcutta in 1690. In 1672 the French established themselves at Pondicherry and stage was set for a rivalry between the British and French for control of Indian trade. The British were able to capture most of India by the early 19th century after defeating Sikhs in 1849. At the same time, Hindusim began to resurge. The main protagonists in this revival were reformers like Ram Mohan Roy, Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Other reformers such as Sri Aurobindo, Annie Beasant owed a debt to these popularizers of Hindu philosophy and mysticism. In 1915, Mohandas Gandhi returned from South Africa where he had practiced as a lawyer and devoted himself to fight against the racial discrimination, which the Indians had to face. He emerged as a new leader to fight his way to independence by adopting a policy of passive resistance "satyagraha". By the time WW II was concluded, independence was inevitable. In early 1946, India faced a major problem in terms of caste, creed powers. The demand for a separate nation, to be ruled by Mohammed Ali Jinnah became a major hurdle in declaring India as an "Independent Nation" by the British Empire. August 1946 witnessed bloody clashes between the two communities in Calcutta. In February 1947, the newly appointed viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten made an attempt to convince the rival factions for a united independent India. However, he failed in his attempt and finally India was divided in two parts - India and Pakistan.