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India History

The first real civilization in India was around 2500 BC, living near the Indus River valley.  From 1500 BC to around 200 BC, Aryan invaders came from central Asia, taking over control of the northern regions or India.  With them, they brought traditions for raising cattle and eating meat, along with gods.  However, in the 8th century, the caste system, which was a hierarchy governed by strict rules took back supremacy.  Historians then tell us that around 500 BC, Buddhism became the religion of India, being embraced by the Indian people while driving through Hinduism beliefs. 

During the time from 40 to 600 AD, several Indian empires rose and fell and at this time, the practice of Buddhism began to decline.  Around this time, north India separated into different Hindu kingdoms, especially after being invaded by the Huns.  These kingdoms remained segregated until the Muslims arrived in 1192 from the Middle East.  Over the next 20 years, all of Ganges basin was under the control of the Muslims and Islam was not able to penetrate the south.  Additionally, two powerful kingdoms were formed in what we know today as Karnataka.  This region consisted of two kingdoms - Vijayanagar, a Hindu kingdom and Bahmani, a fragmented Muslim kingdom. 

By 1525, the Sultan of Delhi was defeated by Mughal emperors.  As they came to Afghanistan, they brought with them a new age.  By the 17th century, Goa was controlled by the Portuguese and trading posts had been established by the Dutch, Danes, and the French.  In 1803 when the British took control over the Marathas, the majority of India was now controlled by a British East Indian Company that had created a trading post in 1612 in Gujarat.  India was looked upon only as a place to make money, setting the religious beliefs and culture aside. 

By now, the British were expanding coal mining and iron, and soon moved their focus to plantations to growing cotton, coffee, and tea.  In addition, the massive rail network of India was under construction.  Unfortunately, absentee proprietors were encouraged, which took the responsibility of tax and administration collection off them.  However, the result was a landless peasantry was created that was horribly impoverished.  Today, that very problem remains in West Bengal and Bihar.  Then in 1857, there was a mutiny in the northern part of the country, which ended the East India Company.  With that, the British government was handed over administration of India. 

When World War II erupted, Indian independence and colonialism was hit hard.  Even so, the Muslim minority declared that India would be independent but dominated by Hindu, causing communalism to grow.  This brought out a political standoff and increasing tension among the people.  Therefore, the country was divided, meaning that two powerful Muslim regions now resided on opposites ends of the country. Because of that, Pakistan would soon be divided by a hostile country.  Once the division was publicized, the most impressive exodus in history occurred when the Muslims moved to Pakistan while the Sikhs and Hindus moved to India.  At that, more than 10 million people took different sides.  Experts believe this mass exodus resulted in 250,000 people losing their lives. 

However, after this traumatic change, the country’s first prime minister named Jawaharlal Nehru, created socialist central planning and many strict policies.  Even with clashes in Pakistan from 1965 to 1971, the country continued to be led by people who cared about India and its people.  Although Jawaharlal Nehru had since left the position of prime minister, his daughter, Indira Gandhi took over in 1966.  Regarded with respect, she had a bad habit of getting involved with the democratic basis of the country, which led to her being assassinated in 1984 by Sikh bodyguards.  However, the Gandhi presence in India would continue when her son took the position.  Rajiv came in with power and determination and with him, brought new policies. 

With his guidance, India was brought out of isolationism in the 1990s but he too was assassinated while on tour for re-election when a supporter of the Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers took his life.  Sadly, unrest continued throughout the country with terrorist activity.  Then in 1998, India’s first nuclear weapons were tested even though some were outraged.  Today, India is a country still trying to set boundaries and determine leadership.  It is a beautiful country but one that should be visited with caution, especially in sight of the current war. 

What you will find when visiting India is a country with a long, rich history.  The main religion remains Hinduism, which is practiced by about 80% of the population.  In all, more than 100 million Muslims live in India, which makes this country the largest of all Muslim nations.  In all, there are approximately 18 million Sikhs, who live primarily in the Punjab.  Although there is no one language in India, you will find 18 different languages spoken there to include English.

You will discover beautiful Indian art, which usually has some type of religious theme.  Other fascinating aspects of this country include temple architecture and sculpture, classical Indian dance, miniature paintings, and mesmeric Indian music.  The people of Indian are no different from others in that they enjoy theater and film, which consists mostly of melodramas based on music, romance, and violence.  As far as diet, some Hindus are vegetarians, living mainly in the south part of the country, but not all are. 

In fact, to the north you will find meat a common part of meals.  They use what is called a Mughal style that is similar to Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.  For instance, the food is generally spices.  They also prefer breads and grains more than they do rise.  Now, the south is where rice is the main dish, often spiced with hot curry.  When eating, no utensils are used, just fingers and hands.  Just remember, it is considered impolite to eat with the left hand! 

Covering some 1.2 million square miles, India is the seventh largest country in the world, bordered by China and Pakistan.  To the north are beautiful snow-capped peaks as well as lush valleys of the Himalayas.  However, you will also find plains and plateaus that reach between 1,000 and 2,950 feet.  You will even find magnificent hills along with fertile coastlines.  The one thing you cannot take away from India is the incredible festivals.  For example, the Republic Day Festival is held every January in Delhi.  This festival is bright and colorful, featuring a magnificent procession, elephants, and much of the Indian culture on display.  Then in February, Holi is held, which is considered one of India’s finest festivals.  Taking place in the northern section, colored water and red powder are thrown on as many people as possible in one day.  Other festivals include Shi’ite Muharram, Kumbh Mela, Rath Yatra, the Nehru Cup Snake Boat Races, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra Festival, the Festival of the Gods, Diwali, Camel Festival, and more!


We offer the Internet's largest selection of Asian Arts, Crafts, and Collectibles with over 5,000 different items in stock in our Maryland warehouse. Our products are handcrafted and imported from Japan, China, Korea, Bali, India, Vietnam, Russia, Ceylon, Nepal, and Thailand. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit.

Sushi & Sake Set for Two
Sushi & Sake Sets
White Rabbits / Brown Rabbits
Chinese Snuff Bottles
Netsuke, Inro, Ojime
Gold Leaf Painted ~ 10 Inch Turnip Vase
Gold Leaf Lacquer
Pair of 10 Inch Closionne Vases

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