Oliver's Site

6. Indus Valley

Table of Contents | 1. Earth | 2. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man | 3. Civilisation | 4. Fertile Crescent | 5. Egypt | 6. Indus Valley | 7. Yellow River (Haung He/Huang Ho) | 8. Hittites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians | 9. New World (B. C./Pre-Columban) | 10. Greeks and Persians | 11. Rome ( - B. C. - A. D. 96) | 12. Saul of Tarsus | 13. Rome ( - A. D. 275) | 14. Rome and Byzantium (Nova Roma) | 15. Islam | 16. Charlemagne | 17. Vikings | 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors | 19. Reformation, Enlightenment (1300s -1700s) | 20. Mid-1700s - early 1900s | 21. The Great War | 22. Inter-War Years | 23. The War in Europe and Africa | 24. Second World War | 25. War in the Pacific | 26. Defeating the Axis in Europe and Africa | 27. End of Japanese Imperialism | 28. Ending the War | 29. Conquest of Space | 30. Averting Nuclear War | 31. End of Empire | 32. Man on the Moon | 33. Arms Race and Limitation | 34. Lifting the Iron Curtain | 35. Outer Space | 37. | 42.

Continued from previous page, 5. Egypt

The History of India
Animated map of Inda 2800s BC from to AD 2016
(12 min. 5 sec.)


Location, Weather, Sea & Himalayan Range

Class Teacher





Rivers of India
Class teacher
Drainage System of India
Rivers of India



Indus Valley




Generally, academics place the Indus Valley civilisation, i. e., the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, ca. 3,500 - 3,300 to 

1,500 - 1,300 BC.


During and after the demise of this civilisation, the Indus River Valley was invaded by the Indo-European Aryans from the north and northwest (present-day Iran and Central Asia).


Civilisation then developed in the east   -   along the Ganges River.




Ancient Indian History

Harappan (Indus Valley) Civilisation

Harappa and Mohenjo Daro Excavations

Class Teacher




Brief description




The First Civilisation

Episode from the documentary series Secrets in the Dust (2009) 






Masters of the River


2006 episode about the the Indus Valley civilisation of India and Pakistan from the documentary series Civilisations (in English and French)




















The Empire of the Spirit


Episode about India from the 1991 documentary series Legacy on civilsation with Michael Wood












The Indus Civilisation and its contacts with Mesopotamia


Lecture by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer at the University of Chicago in 2010 (58:48)





The Indus Civilisation


Changing Perspectives on Regional Origins, Diverse Character and Complex Legacy


Lecture by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer at the University of California-Berkeley on November 6, 2016 (1:56:18)





Harappa and Mohenjo Daro


Two brief descriptions of the Indus Valley civilisation 







The Indus Valley Script


The undecyphered 4,000-year-old Indus Valley script


Rajesh Rao on TED in Long Beach, California  in March 2011 (17 min.)





The Indus River Valley Civilization


World History with Ted Hughes











The Aryan Issue


Five lectures by Michael Danino at Amrita U. on 9,10 and 11 September 2015


1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT4pUJMDV2Y


2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5lvl8GQmdc


3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9sWwqdaj4o


4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ2nC3QIuyc


5.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoKnDEjCgB8






















Test Tube News








Short lecture from the World Religions series








Episode from the documentary series Religions of the World






Hindu Mythology



The Story of the Swastika


BBC documentary






The Vedas



On the Vedas


Excerpt from the documentary series Cosmos with Carl Sagan (1980) (15:07)






Hindu Ideas of Creation 


Discussion on thr weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg (43 min.)


With guests Jessica Frazier, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad and Gavin Flood

13 December 2005



You Tube:




An Introduction to the Vedas

by Uttara Nerurkar




From the series Brief Histories





The Gods of India


Part 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJBGKcqtBXg


Part 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YldFSOmOms






From the series The Gods of India








From the series The Gods of India








From the series The Gods of India






The Hindu Trinty (Trimurti)







Brahma, the God of Creation 


From the series The Gods of India












The Ten Aavatars of Vishnu


Matsya (fish)

 Kurma (tortoise)

  Varaha (boar)

   Narasimha (half-man half-lion)

    Vamana (dwarf)

     Parashurama (warrior)

      Rama (Prince of Ayodhya)

       Krishna (cowherd)

        Buddha (priest)

         Kalki (future, eternal) 






10 Avatars of Vishnu and Darwin's Theory of Evolution






Origin of Goddess Lakshmi, Consort of Vishnu 








Discussion on thr weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg


With guests Jessica Frazier, Jacqueline Suthren-Hirst and Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad


6 October 2016






Krishna   -   The Avatar of Vishnu


From the series The Gods of India 






Krishna   -   History or Myth?


Documentary (34:25)








From the series The Gods of India








A Traditonal Tale






Unlock the Mysteries of Shiva










From the series The Gods of India






The Upanishads


Discussion on the weekly Thursday BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg (41:30)


With guests Jessica Frazier, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad and Simon Brodbeck


8 November 2012






You Tube:






The Mahabharata


Episode from the documentary series Myths of Mankind (52:01)






The Bhagavad Gita


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg 


With guests Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Julius Lipner and Jessica Frazier


31 March 2011


BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zt235


You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuUP6Mz0K5o




The Ramayana



The Story of Rama


By Valmiki (22:05)





The Ramayana


The Legend of Prince Rama (of Ayodhya)


1992 animation (2:10:56)










The oldest known surviving texts of the Ramayana:




Caste System





Life in Ancient India





The Caste System Explained in Four Minutes






The Caste System


From the lecture series World Religions






Dailit Muslims of India


Al Jazeera World documentary






The Ganges


Gangetic Plain

Drainage basins of the Ganges (yellow), Brahmaputra (violet) and Meghna (green)


Map by Pfly based on Natural Earth data



India: Orthographical Features from the Imperial Gazetteer of India, volume 26, Atlas (Map Number 3) (1908)


The Ganges River civilization was the second major civilisation in India

Ca. 1500 BC - 500 BC.




River of Life


3-part 2007 BBC documentary (2 hrs., 25 min., 5 sec.) 


1. Daughter of the Mountains

2. River of Life

3. Waterland






1. Daughter of the Mountains




2. River of Life




3. Waterland













1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPscKFV5yKU&feature=related


2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHMQRmRKh_U&feature=relmfu


3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a96nz4DvRRE&feature=relmfu


4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=670KFhISeUk&feature=relmfu


5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbheKLJl8GI&feature=relmfu




The Buddha



The Story of the Buddha








The Buddha










Short lecture from the World Religions series






Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha


From the series The Gods of India






The Buddha


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg


With guests Peter Harvey, Kate Crosby and Mahinda Deagallee


14 March 2002


BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00548br


You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65EerWhzI8g






1972 movie based on the 1922 novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse






Ajanta Caves


200s BC - c. A. D. 650 (?)




Ellora Caves


c. A. D. 600 - c. A. D. 1000




Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World


2011 BBC-TV documentary with Bettany Hughes


Visit to famous Buddhist temples in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and the U. S.






The Power of Ideas


Episode # 2 from the 2007 6-part documentary series The Story of India with Michael Wood










Ages of Gold


Episode # 4 from the 2007 6-part documentary series The Story of India with Michael Wood


About the Gupta empire






Chandragupta Maurya


The Mauryan Empire








Warriors of the Elephant 


Episode from the documentary series Ancient Warriors






Ancient Rulers and Sects:


Unifiers of India - Chandragupta and Asoka


Lecture # 21 by Gregory Aldrete from History of the Ancient World


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwTCTvcmgHc&feature=relmfu (Removed from You Tube)




The Mauryan Empire


Class Teacher






Ashoka Chakra, one of the numerous pillars erected by Ashoka throughout the sub-continent. The edicts inscribed on the pillars are the oldest examples of writing in India. 









A clip from Michael Wood's Story of India





Ashoka, on the left, with his Queen in a relief on the Kanaganahalli stupa from the first to third century CE.

Ashoka the Great


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time with hosted by Melvyn Bragg


With guests

Jessica Frazier, Naomi Appleton and Richard Gombrich

5 February 2015






The Indians


Episode from the BBC documentary series with Adam Hart-Davis What the Ancients did for us








Episode from the 2007 documentary series What the Ancients Knew


Ancient India and planned cities, houses with bathrooms and toilets, yoga, meditation, medicine, chess, science, maths, the numbers 1 to 9 and zero, plastic surgery, eye operations and inoculation






The Kama Sutra


Discussion on the weekly Thursday BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg


With guests Julius Lipner, Jessica Frazier and David Smith


2 February 2012






You Tube:






The Huns


Hun attacks and rule of northwest

India (454 - 567)




Ancient Indian Ocean Trading Network

The Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (c. AD 930 - 950)
Dedicated to Vaikuntha Chaturmurti or Vaikuntha Vishnu, a four-headed aspect of Vishnu


Christianity in India 

There is an old tradition that Thomas and Batholomew, two of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, travelled to India and converted Jews on the southwest coast of India in the mid-first century AD.  

Image result for st thomas and st bartholomew

Saint Thomas and Saint Batholomew in a portrait from Bohemia circa 1390.

St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Tamil Nadu is believed to be the oldest church in the world, built by St. Thomas in the mid-first century A. D.

Continue to next page, 7. Yellow River (Haung He/Huang Ho)



Episode from the documentary series Mysteries of Modern Asia


About the ancient home city of Krishna (8 min. 50 sec.)






The Sunken City of Dwarka







Episode # 1 from the documentary series Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age with Graham Hancock
About Dwarka, 12,000-year-old City of Krishna (48:37)








Atlantis of the East


Documentary (40:34)












Episode from the Indian documentary series Lost Treasures of the Ancient World


From the Indus Valley civilisation to the Mughals (48:06)








The History of Hindu India
Documentary by Hinduism Today with Raj Narayan

Indian Civilisation
26-lecture course by Vinay Lal, Introduction to the History of India (History 9A), UCLA, Spring 2012
All 26 lectures:

Required reading (selections from): an history of early India by Romilla Popper; shortened versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha (William Bucks); an introduction to Hinduism by Vinay Lal; and an history of India (from the beginning to the present) by Thomas and Barbara Metcalf

Other reading (selections from): The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru; etc.

Website with additional details about South Asia: Manas: India and its Neighbours (lecturer's subject website)


Lecture 1.
Introductory lecture
- Course requirements and course overview
- General discussion about the interpretation of Indian history
- Religion in Indian history
- Indian civilisation
- The name 'India'
- Sources of study
- Problems with translation   
- Rendering one culture into terms familiar to another culture
- Possible difficulties in studying Indian history
- South Asia as a field of study
- Roland Barthes' Empire of Signs (1970)

Note: T. A. = Teaching Assistant (Teaching Fellow)



Lecture 2.  

- The problem of 'Orientalism'
- Problems in the interpretation of Indian history
- The relationship of knowledge to power
- the politics of representation and the institutionalisation of certain forms of representation, their relation to colonialism, etc.
- The nature of Orientalist discourse: 'The Black Hole of Calcutta' (1756) as an illustration 

- Physical geography of India
- Different names for India (Bharat, Aryavarta, Hindustan . . . )

- Indus Valley Civilisation: an urban civilisation with town planning (3300 BC - 1300 BC)

Lecture 3.
- Indus Valley Civilisation (Harappan Civilisation) (3300 BC - 1300 BC)
- Harappa and Mohenjo-daro (2600 BC - 1300 BC)
- Undeciphered script of the Indus Valley
- Seals and their figures
- Demise of Indus Valley Civilisation and the coming of the Aryans (c. 2000 BC)
- Import of the Aryan horse in India
- Creation of hierarchies with the horse and chariot
- The nature of the Rig Veda (1700/1500 BC - 1200/1100 BC), its status in Indian thought and some comparisons with the Koran
Note: The Four Vedas: Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda
The Rig-Veda is the oldest known text in an Indo-European language
Lecture 4.
- Aryans and the Rig Veda (1700/1500 BC - 1200/1100 BC)
- Changing nature of Indian texts
- Oral tradition

- Sir William Jones and Indo-European languages (1786) 
- Three language families in India: Indo-European (I-E), Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic
- Importance of Sanskrit

- The Rig Veda's account of creation and a comparison with the Biblical account in
- The Aryan conception of four social castes
(caturvarna)   -   Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (laborers)
- four stages of life   -   Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retirement) and Sannyasa (renunciation);
- and the four Vedas   -   Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda
- Varna, caste hierarchies, notions of pollution and purity
- Difference between varna (literal meaning of caste) and jati (actual significance of caste)
- Aryan social organisation
- Stages of life
- Distinction between sruti (revealed) and smriti (remembered)
- The four ends of life according to the Aryans: artha (money and material well-being), kama (sexual gratification), dharma (righteousness, virtue), and moksha (liberation, spiritual emancipation) 
- Indra as an Aryan God   -   chief god, destroyer of cities, god with the thunderbolt, god of rain, god of weather . . .
- Other Aryan Gods   -   Agni, god of fire; Vayu, god of wind; Varuna, god of rivers and seas . .
Note: Arya = fair-skinned, noble; dasa = slave, servant
Lecture 5.
- Aryan Society
- Early Vedic Period (c. 1800/1700 BC - c. 800 BC)
- Later Vedic period (c. 1100 BC - c. 500 BC)
- Idea of Varsnasrama Dharma
- Theory of Moksha (liberation)
- Political and social organisation of the Aryans   -   tribes, clans, rajahs (chief), sabha (assembly), and samiti
- The illiterate Aryans and the oral tradition

- Transition from Vedas to the Upanishads (vedanta) (c. 800 - 200 BC )

- Social context of the Upanishads and theory of moksha (spiritual liberation) and knowledge
- Story of Svetaketu in the Upanishads
- Meaning of the word Brahmin
- Worldview of the Upanishads
- Problems in using European categories to understand Indian texts and philosophical traditions
- Upanishads as dialogic texts
- Shankaracharya's interpretation of the Upanishads (600s AD)
- Avidya (ignorance) and vidya (knowledge)
- The affinity of the atman (individual soul) and the Brahman (universal soul)
- Distinction between real and unreal, permanent
and transient
- The story of the Buddha  (563 BC - 483 BC)   -   Siddhārtha Gautama/Shakyamuni Buddha   -   birth, childhood, enlightenment, teachings, disciples and death
- Buddhism spreads on the Gangetic Plain
- Buddhism gives us the first concrete details of India
- The Buddha's conception of suffering and freedom from the trappings of life;
- his idea of the four noble truths and the eightfold path
- The four noble truths: 1. all existence is suffering, 2. the cause of suffering is ignorance, 3. if there is suffering there is a cause for it, 4. to alleviate suffering one must follow the eightfold path
- The eightfold path: 1. right beliefs, 2. right speech, 3. right conduct, 4. right mode of livelihood, 5. right effort, 6. right mindedness, 7. right meditation, 8. right aspirations 
Vedic Period: 1500 BC - 800/500 BC
Early Vedic Period: 1500 BC - 1100 BC 
Late Vedic Period: 1100 BC - 800/500 BC
Upanishads: c. 800 - 200 BC
Lecture 6.
- The Upanishads and the notion of individual moral responsibility

- Buddha (The Enlightened One) (563 BC - 483 BC) and Buddhism 
- Mahavira (The Great Hero) (599 BC - 527 BC) and origins of Jainism
- key ideas, including dharma (law), sangha (community), ahimsa (non-violence), aparigraha (non-possession)  
- Jains
- Jaina theory of
syadvada (perspective)
- John Godfrey Saxe's version of the parable of the six blind men and the elephant (1872)
- Polity in India c. 600 BC - c. 350 BC
- Patna (Pataliputra), centre of the Magadha Empire (from 400s BC)
- Taxila (a university) (400s BC)
- Indian mathematics (zero, use of letters to designate unknown quantities such as x, y ... ), astronomy, Panini's grammar of Sanskrit (300s BC) and surgery 
- Alexander the Great's invasion of India (326 BC - 324 BC)
- Alexander the Great's encounter with the gymnosophists (sadhu, fakir) in
Vikram Chandra's novel Red Earth and Pouring Rain (Love and Longing in Bombay) (1997)
Lecture 7.
- Alexander the Great (326 BC - 324 BC) and the gymnosophists (naked sage or holy man) (sadhu, fakir)
- Mauryan empire (322 - 185 BC); unites the Indus and Gangetic civilisations for the first time
- Chandra Gupta Maurya (ruled 324  -  c. 297 BC), a Brahman (Hindu), becomes a Jain;  
- The Arthasastra (Science of Material Wealth) by Kautilya (aka Chanakya and Vishnugupta) (The Machiavelli of the East) (100s - 200s AD), chief minister of Chandra Gupta, one of two 
sources for studying the Mauryan empire
- Bindusara (ruled c. 297 - 273 BC), son of Chandra Gupta, remains a Brahman (Hindu) (Brahmanism), extends empire east and south, and
- Emperor Ashoka (ruled c. 268/273 to 232 BC), son of Bindusara, extends empire to the east and south, doubling its size  
- Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism after the war in Kalinga (in Orissa) (c. 262 - 261 BC)
- Ashoka's edicts

- Ashoka's rock pillar edicts in India (19 survive) - in Pakrit (vernacular language) in Brahmi script, one edict in Aramaic and Greek and one edict in Greek;  
- The Lion Capital on top of the pillar at Sarnath
- Ashoka's life, ecumenism, tolerance and non-violence
- Ashoka's attempts to put together a corpus of Buddhist texts
- A political unity in India

- The spread of Buddhism to East Asia and Southeast Asia

- South India   -   The Tamil country in South India at the time of Ashoka (Tamil inscriptions); the god Murugan (Karthikeya), son of Shiva, worshipped by Tamils;

- Development of popular Hinduism; the trinity or trimurti   -   Brahma the creator, Shiva the preserver and Vishnu the destroyer; disappearance of Brahma 
- Iconography of gods and consorts/goddesses

- Example of Ardhnarisvara (half-woman-god), Shiva as half-male and half-female; Vishnu has avatars (incarnations) but Shiva does not

- Ten incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu (dasavatara): Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar), Narasimha (half-man and half-lion), Vamana (dwarf), Parashurama (warrior), Rama (main character of the Ramayana), Krishna (main character of the Mahabharata), Buddha and Kalki (the furture and eternal god)

Note: Vedas - Upanishads - Shramanic (heterodox) religions (Buddhism, Jainism) - Classical Hinduism - Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) 

Note: Rama and Krishna are the most important avatars of Vishnu in India today


Lecture 8.
- Mauryan dynasty after the death of Asoka (322 - 185 BC)
- Political history of India   -   200 BC
- Political turmoil (200 BC -  )
- History of South India and the Sangam period (c. 300 BC - c. 300s/400 AD)
- Tamil country (c. 300 BC -  ), inscriptions
- Sangam literature (poems   -   main source on the Tamils for the period) (c. 300 BC - c. AD 400)

- Hindu myths
- Vishnu and Shiva; Followers of Vishnu are called Vaishnavite and followers of Shiva are called Shivaite; the Vaishnavite and Shivaite 
sects and conflict between them. 
- The Ramkatha or Ramayana is the story of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, and Ravana, a devotee of Shiva  
- The Puranas   -   Puranic literature   -   sectarian literature
- Vishnu Purana (Vishnu) and Shiva Purana (Shiva) and Shaktu Purana (Shakti)  
- The myth of Nara-simha (the man-lion) and story of Prahlad (story of the sectarian Vaishnavite and Shivaite conflict)

- Gods and demons (asuras)
- Liminality
- Incarnation (avatar)
- Story of Vamana (the dwarf), an avatar of Vishnu

- The idea of many Ramayanas   -   A. K. Ramanujan and a Kannada (the language of Karnataka) folktale
- Valmiki, a sage, composed the original 
Ramayana c. 500 - c. 100 BC
- Some differences between the Ramayana (a poem) and Mahabharata (a history)
- Difficulties in viewing Ramayana as a work of history
- Tendency in recent years to historicise Rama and his story
- Rama is an avatar of Vishnu
- Distinctions between history and myth
- The dispute over the Ramjanmasthan/Babri Masjid in Ayodhya:
    Babur, Mughal emperor (ruled 1526 – 1530), destroyed the Hindu temple to Rama in Ayodhya, birthplace of Rama in the Ramayana, and built the Babri Masjid mosque on the spot in 1528
    Hindu nationalists destroyed the Babri Masjid mosque in 1992
Note: Samgam literature is a collection of secular literature by literary asembies of Tamil poets from c. 300 BC to c. AD 400
Note: Ramkatha is another name for Ramayana
Lecture 9.
- Ramayana (the story of Rama)
- Many versions of the Ramayana
- Gods, humans, demi-gods and asuras (demons)
- Hanuman
- A. K. Ramanujan's article about the many Ramayanas
- Hindu nationalist readings of the Ramayana
- Agnipariksha (the trial by fire) and dharma
- The two Krishnas of Indian tradition and the view of the Bengali writer Bankimcandra Chatterjee
- The Krishna of history and myth
- Krishna and the gopis
- Episode of the vastraharana (theft of the clothes)
- Nationalists and Indian history
- The British fascination with history

- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (c. AD 200)
- Dialectic on freedom and discipline
- Yoga
- Cessation of thought
Lecture 10.
- Hindu gods and goddesses
- Iconography of the deities
- Krishna as a cowherd with a flute to lure gopis (milk maidens)
- Iconography of Rama and the masculinisation of the god by Hindu nationalsists
- Shiva, Nara-simha (lion king) and traditions of Indian miniature painting
- Shiva and his consort Parvati
- The episode of the vastraharana, the theft of the clothes of the gopis (female cowherds) by Krishna
- the idea of nakedness, being shorn of one's ego
- Krishna's Rasleela (Rasa lila or Ras Leela) 
- Dasavatara (the ten avatars of Vishnu)

- Scenes from the Mahabharata   -   the sermon called the
Bhagavad Gita
- Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
- Different conceptions of yoga   -   eight limbs of yoga,
including asanas (postures), pranayama (control of breath) and the cosmology of breath; yama, ahimsa, celibacy
- Yoga and abstentions and affirmations.
- Yoga and the understanding and attainment of freedom
- Gita and
- Schools of yoga espoused by the
- Transition from Vedas to Upanishads and Buddhism to the 
- Bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga
- Krishna's status   -   counselor to Arjuna
- Importance of devotion (bhakti)
- Krishna's universal form (Vishwarupa).
- Mahabharata, the story of Draupadi and the allegorical reading of polyandry (a woman having more than one husband) (polyandry was not an Aryan practice)
Lecture 11. 

- Mahabharata, its structure; a story within a story

- Bhagavad Gita  -  a part of the Mahabharata (a story within a story)

- The wager

- Draupadi (a non-Aryan or pre-Aryan story) at the Assembly Hall

- Aswatthama and the death of Drona

- Krishna and the death of Jayadratha

- Yaksha Prasna

- Yudisthira and his reputation for truthfulness

- Importance of vows and meaning of a


- The supreme question of dharma

- Deception by Krishna (i. e., the false sunset)


- So-called 'Dark Ages' of India (232 BC -  AD 320) (from the death of Asoka to the establishment of the Gupta empire): period of fragmentation of the empire


- Significance of the 2nd cent. AD: 

- four key texts take their final shape: 1. Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), 2. Kama sutra, 3. Arthasastra, 4. Yoga sutras

- The medium of expression becomes stone 


- End of the Mauryan empire (AD 185); the Shungas assassinate the Mauryan emperor and rule;

- The Shakas (Sakas, Scythians, Indo-Scythians) descend into India from the central Asia in the northwest and succeed the Shungas (rule: c. AD 50 - AD 405)

- Tamils in the south of India (Cholas in the north and Pandayas in the south) leave India for Southeast Asia (early first century AD)

- Indianisation of Southeast Asia (begins in early first century AD)


- The spread of Buddhism by the Silk Road over the Korakoram into Central Asia and China and by the Tamils traveling by sea to Southeast Asia


- The "poetry in stone"   -   sculpture created by Satavahanas in western India





Lecture 12. 


- Political history of India to c. AD 300 - 400  

- The Shunga Dynasty (187 - 78 BC)

Indo-Greek dynasty in Gandhara (in the northwest), Gandhara school of sculpture

- Classes of Indian literature: dharmasastras, arthasastra, nitisastras (on/about conduct) and kamasastras

- Indian writers' obsession with classification

- Vatsyayana's Kamasutra (as, for example, 

the sculptures of Khajuraho), Panchatantra (300 BC - ) (a nitisastra) and secular literature

- The marga (high-brow) and the desi (low-brow) Indian culture

- The Hindu tradition of the Goddess: Indian folktales

- Thomas Mann's Transposed Heads (1941) - the notion of identity




Lecture 13.


- Niti Sastras (1200s AD); contrast with Dharma Sastras

- Niti Sastras deal with 'conduct'

- Indian folktales; India is the source of many later folktales in other cultures, the Smith-Thompson index, the Pancatantra and the Kathasaritsagara

- A Biblical story of Solomon's justice appears in earlier Indian folktales;

- There might be a common source to the Jataka tales, Mahabharatha and Pancatantra  

- The story of the four Brahmins and the lion


- History of Indian art and architecture with slide show of images of the Buddha, Gandhara sculpture, Khajuraho, Ajanta, Ellora

- Boddhisattva painting of Ajanta


Note: Smith Thompson Motif-index of folk-literature: A classification of narrative elements in folktales, ballads, myths, fables, medieval romances, exempla, fabliaux, jest-books, and local legends Published 1955 - 1958





Lecture 14.

- Problems with the periodisation of Indian history

- James Mill, son of John Stuart Mill (both worked for the East India Company) 
- James Mill's History of British India (first published in 1818)

- Mill's division of Indian history into three periods:

ancient, medieval and modern


Hindu, Mohammedan and British


In fact, Buddhism was the dominant religion  -   or one of the two dominant religions  -  on the Gangetic Plain for the 700 years from c. 200 BC to c. AD 500/600.


The 500-year-period from the end of Ashoka's Mauryan Empire (180 BC) to the Guptas (AD 320) was one of great cultural dynamism.

- Indian history before the Guptas: Indo-Greeks (c. 2nd. cent. BC - 1st. cent. AD); Shakas, Kushanas (AD 30 - 375); and the reign of Kanishka (AD 120 - 144)

- Indian calendrical systems and the Vikrama era (began in 58 BC)

- Evidence from Pliny the
of Indian trade with Rome (Naturalis Historia [c. AD 79]);


- the Sanskrit Cosmopolis extends into Southeast Asia 

- The Guptas (c. AD 320 - 550) and the so-called "Golden" or "Classical" age of India
- Astronomy
- Chess
- Kalidasa and Indian literature
- Reigns of Chandra
Gupta I (c. 320 - c. 335), Samudra Gupta (c. 335 - c. 380
) and Chandra Gupta II (380 - c. 415)
- The political system Rajamandala
- Cultural capital (Pierre Bourdieu, 1977)
- Gradual shift from Buddhism to Hinduism (Guptas become Hindus)
- Fa-hien's observations of India (c. AD 400)





Lecture 15.


- the Guptas (c. 320 - 550); The Golden or Classical Age of Indian History

- Kalidasa (the greatest of nine court poets) (perhaps in the early 5th century);

- reign of Chandragupta II (380 - 413)  

- the consolidation of Puranic literature (in final form).


- Hun attacks (from 454 to 515) from the northwest repelled by Harsha


- Rajamandala


- the Indianisation of Southeast Asia: Borubodor, Prambanan, Angkor, Pagan;

- various theories on the spread of Indian influence to Southeast Asia


- reasons for the disappearance of Buddhism from India:

- sectariansim,

- Importance of Shankaracharya (788 - 820) and his revival of Advaita Vedanta;

- Buddhism and Brahminism;

- synthesis of Hinduism under Shankara (AD 788 - 820)




Lecture 16.

- Decline and disappearance of Buddhism from India and the different competing narratives about the causes 
- Shankaracharya (788 - 820), a Brahman from South India, and his attempt to consolidate Hinduism; 
his synthesis of popular Hinduism, Brahmanism, Mahayana Buddhism and the Upanishads; his establishment of the supremacy of Hinduism; and his establishment of a matha (monastic order) in the four corners
of India: Jyothi (north), Shringeri (south), Puri (east) and Dwarka (west); Advaita and Bhakti  
- Buddhism is driven out to the north and east (and eventually out of the east in the 900s and 1000s) 
- Political history of India   -   the political "fragmentation" of India: the Rajputs in Rajastan, the Pratiharas in Madhya Pradesh, the Chalukyas in Gujarat, the Rashtrakutas in the western Deccan and the Palas in Bengal
- The Cholas and Pandayas in south India; the Chola bronze sculptures  
- History of South India, the relationship of Tamil and Sanskrit and loan words from Sanskrit
- Indian Ocean trading network   -   the importance of the Cholas   -   the spread of Sanskrit to Southeast Asia  
- decline of trade with the Eastern Roman Empire from 200s to 400s AD
- The predominant prsence of Gujaratis in trade
- The coming of Islam to India
- Elementary aspects of Islam: monotheism, against idolatry, salat, the hajj, zakat, a month-long fast in Ramadan
- Early Islamic invasions of Sind by sea (644)
- another invasion repulsed by Chalukyas (730s)
- Theory of communalism and problems with the communalist interpretations of Indian history (Hindu and Muslim communities are formed and defined by religion and opposed to one another) 
- Mahmud of Ghazni (ruled 998 - 1030), invaded India some twenty times to loot
- Hegel (1770 - 1831) on India
- Mahmud's attack on Somnath and pillage of the temple (1024)
- The Politics of Conquest
Continued at the bottom of Page 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors

Treasures of the Champa Kingdom

Angkor Wat
Secrets of Angkor
Episode from the documentary film series Secrets in the Dust (50 min.)

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