(Guidance Programme) Combined Higher Secondary Level [CHSL] (10+2) Examination - Indian History

Indian History

The Indian History is perhaps the oldest in the world, and the sources of Indian History are the verbal history, because our ancients never did bother about putting things down on paper and archaeological evidences. Based on the evidences available today, Indian History, like the history of every ancient culture in the world, is broadly divided into four periods as mentioned below:


From the big bang, the primeval swamp to the Indus Valley civilization. Though Indus Valley civilization is included in pre-historical period. However, technical evidences shows that Indus Valley civilization did have a script, although it has not been decoded yet. So, it is generally included in Ancient History nowadays.

Ancient History

It begins from the Indus Valley civilization (for which the date is a matter of hot debate, but historians have agreed to disagree on 3000 BC) to just after the king Harsha Vardhana, which is around 700-800 BC.

Medieval History

It begins from 800 BC to mid-18th century AD.

Modern History

From mid-18th century to the independence of India, which is on August 15, 1947. The history of Modern India is farther sub-divided into two major periods:
1. The British Period.
2. The India Freedom Struggle and Partition of India.


The discovery of Mohenjodaro and Harappa by British archeologist: Marshall proved that Indian civilization is the oldest civilization in the world. Even India came before Greece, considered the oldest civilization before the discovery of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The main features of Ancient Indian History are as follows:

Indus Valley Civilization

Discovery: In 1921, R.B. Dayaram Sahani, first discovered Harappa, in the Montgomery district of the Punjab. According to radio-carbon dating, it spread from the year 2350-1750.

Indus Valley Civilization

Dr. R. D. Banerjee found the ancient city Mohenjodaro (literally, ‘city of the dead’) in Larkana district of Sindh, now in Pakistan in 1922.
The Marvelous Town Planning of Mohenjodaro: A chief feature of Mohenjodaro is its superb town planning. The streets, which divided the city into neat rectangular or square blocks, varied in width but always intersected each other at right angles. The city had an elaborate drainage system, consisting of horizontal and vertical drains, street drains and so on. The architecture of the buildings was clearly intended to be functional and minimalist, and certainly not to please the aesthete. Mohenjodaro was obviously a cosmopolitan city, with people of different races mingling with the local populace-Proto-Austroloid, Mediterranean, Alpine and Mongoloid.

The Indus Valley Civilization

Before the coming of Aryans, there was a civilization that was not only well-developed, but actually far more sophisticated than that of the Aryans. The Indus Valley civilization said its last hurray roughly in 2200 BC. The beginning and end of the Indus Valley Civilization are both a matter of debate because people could not have emerged complete with their perfect town planning, neat houses, lovely jewellery and loads of make-up. So where did they come from? and then having come, just where did they disappear? Popular theory, which is most accepted is that the people of the Harappan civilization were chased out by the Aryans and went down south. The present South Indians are their descendants.

The Vedic Period (1500 Bc-600 Bc)

Initially, they settled in the area of Sapt-Sindhu, which included Punjab, Kashmir, Sindh, Kabul and Gandhara (Kandhar). The chief sources of this period are The Vedas and the Epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which through their stories PO and hymns tell us about the expansion of the Aryans. The epic Ramayana is a symbolic tale which tells of the Aryan expansion to the south-the good, almost godly, aryaputra (an Aryan’s son) king Rama surging forth to finish off the evil Dasyu (that was what the Aryans called the natives) Ravana.

Aryans Political System

There was complex political system. They hung around together in small village settlements (which later grew to kingdoms) and the basis of their political and social organization was the clan or kula. It was very much a patriarchal society, with the man the house expected to keep his clan in control.

The King was the Supreme Power

The king was the supreme power though he had to work in tandem with the people’s wishes. He had an elaborate court of many officials, including the chief queen (Mahishi) who was elected to help in the decision making process. Two Assemblies, Sabha and Samiti further assisted the king.

No Rigidity in Caste System

The caste system was a loose social system where people could move up and down the social scale. Aryan’s worshipped nature gods-they prayed to the Usha (Dawn), Prajapati (The Creator), Rudra (Thunder), Indra (Rain), Surya (Sun) and so on. These gods and goddesses were appeased by prayers and sacrifices.

Growth of Buddhism and Jainism

Buddhism and Jainism were instant hits with the populace and became powerful clannish minorities while the bulk of the people remained with Aryanism. Not for long, however. As the two new religions which had extremely charismatic leaders and very zealous followers caught the people’s imagination, the influence of both faiths spread enough for kings to profess and actively promote them.


Buddhism founded by Gautam Budha or Siddharha.

The Buddha also known is Sakyamuni or Tathagata.

  • Born in 563 BC on the Vaishakha Poornima day at Lumbini (near Kapilavastu), in Nepal
  • His father Suddhodana was the Sakes ruler.
  • His mother (Mahamaya, of Kosala dynasty) died after 7 days of his birth, brought up by stepmother Gautami.
  • Married at the age of 10 to Yoshodhara. Enjoyed the married life for t 3 years and had a son named Ralula.
  • After seeing an old man, a sick man, a corpse and an ascetic. he decided to become a wanderer.
  • Left his palace at the age of 29 in search of truth (also called Mahabhinishkramana’ or the Cheat Renunication) and wandered for 6 years.
  • Attained ‘Enlightenment’ at Gaya in Magadha (Bihar) under the Pipal tree.
  • Delivered the first sermon at Samath where his five disciples had settled. His first Sermon is called ‘Dharmachakrapracartan’ or ‘Turning of the Wheel of Law’.
  • Attained Mahaparinirvana at Kushinagar (identical with village Kasia in Deoria district of UP), in 483 BC at the age of 80 In the Malla republic.