ancient india (makkhan lal)

October 30, 2017 | Author: Anonymous | Category: N/A
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Upanishads include ltihas-Purana as one of the branches of knowledge. Kautilya in his Arthashastra (fourth century B.C.&...



Textbook For Class XI



ANCIENT Textbook for INDIA Class XI ,I


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- " ANCIENT INDIA .... . ............ . ....... . ... . .... . ................... . .................. .. .... . ......... . ........ .. . . ... ... ...... .

the Himalayas protect us from the cold Siberian winds. The great Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra plains with most fertile land, natural resources and perennial rivers is a gift of the Himalayas, for which Indians gratefully worship it as God.

Indo-Gangetic-Brahmaputra Plain To the south of the Himalayas lies the great plain ofIndia which is more than 3200 kms long and about 240 kms to 320 kms broad. It is formed by the solid waste of the Himalayas brought by hundreds of descending streams. The alluvium thus formed made the plains most fertile. There are three great river systems, originating from the Himalayas, which supply perennial water to this great plain. These are the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. But a big tract ofland to the west of Yamuna and east of Indus in this plain is devoid of any water system at present. This tract includes the states ofHaryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. Now it has been proved that in ancient times the river Saraswati and its tributaries used to flow in this area. The Sindhu or Indus rises from the Kailasa Manasarovar area in the Tibetan plateau, runs west and northwest for about l300 Kms, between the Karakoram range. Then joined by the Oilgit river, it turns south and reaches the plains where the five rivers join it to form Panchananda desha or Punjab. These five tributaries of the Sindhu from east to west are: the Sutlej (Satudri), the Beas (Vipasa), the Ravi (Parushm), the Chenab (Asikni) and the Jhelum (Vitesta). The first mentioned 28

river, Sutlej or Satudri was once a tributary of the lost river Saraswati, but changed its course. The Ganga, rising from the Himalayas, reaches the plain at Hardwar and passes through the states of Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal, then joins the Bay of Bengal. On the west of it flows the river Yamuna also rising from the Himalayas. Some Vindhyan rivers like the Chambal, the Betwa and the Ken join the Yamuna before its confluence with the Ganga at Allahabad. Another great Vindhyan river, the Son, joins the Ganga near Patna in Bihar. From the Himalayas side, rivers like the Gomati, the Sarayu, the Gandak and the Kosi join the Ganga in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. There are several mouths through which the Ganga falls into the Bay Of Bengal. The main stream is called Bhagirathi or Hooghli on which are situated the towns of Murshidabad, Hooghly and Kolkata. The eastern most mouth of the Ganga is called the Padma. The great Brahmaputra, originating from the eastern part of the lake Manasarovar in the Kailasa flows eastward through the .plateau of Tibet under the name of Tsangpo. Then it turns south and enters in India where it assumes the name Dihang. Later, the rivers Dihang and Luhit join and are called Brahmaputra or Lauhitya. Passing through Assam and Bengal it joins the eastern most mouth of the Ganga~ i.e., Padma. But before falling into the Bay of Bengal another mighty


............ . ...... . .... . .................. . ......... . ..... THE GEOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND OF INDIAN HISTORY ,"

river, the Meghna, joins it. The delta thus formed is one of the most fertile part of Bengal and is known as Sundarban delta. The Deccan Plateau and Central India Peninsular India can be studied under two distinct sections. The mountain ranges of the Vindhyas and Satpura run parallel to each other from east to west. In between these two, flows the river Narmada going towards the Arabian sea. The only other river flowing towards west is Tapti, lying a little south of the Satpura. All other rivers of the Peninsula run from west to east falling into the Bay of Bengal indicating that the plateau is titled towards east. The northern portion of the plateau, separated by the VindhyaSatpura ranges is known as the Central Indian plateau, while the southern portion is called the Deccan plateau.

Central Indian Plateau The Central Indian plateau stretches from Gujarat in the west to Chhota Nagpur in the east. The great Indian desert, called Thar, lies to the north of the Aravalli range. To the south of it is the Vindhyas, which rises abruptly from the Narmada side, i.e., south, and has a slopy formation in the north. The Malwa plateau and the tablelands of Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand are parts of this. As a result, all the rivers on this side flow towards north or north-east to join the Yamuna and the Ganga. The eastern stretches of the Vindhyas, known as the Kaimur ranges, extend almost up to the south of Banaras and run parallel with the

Ganga up to the Rajmahal hills. Between the Ganga and the Rajmahal is a narrow defile or a passage from Chunar in the west (i.e. Mirzapur, U.P.) to Teliagarhi in the east. This is the only high road, which connects Western and Eastern India. Its strategic importance from the military point of view was fully understood which is evident by the presence of hill forts of Rohtas and Chunar in the east and Kalijar and Gwalior in the west. It is said that the passes of Shahabad and Teliagarhi, situated at a distance of only about five kilometers from each other, served as the ga~eway to Bengal. On the Western side of the plateau and the Thar desert is situated the rich lowland of Gujarat having several low hills and watered by a number of rivers like Mahi, Sabarmati, and lower courses of Narmada and Tapti. The Kathiawar peninsula and the Rann of Kutch are marshy and dry during the hot season. /

The Deccan Plateau As we have noted earlier, the surface of the Deccan plateau slopes down from west to east. On the western side lies a range of high cliffs running south to north leaving a narrow strip of plain between it and the sea. It is called the Western Ghats, which rises up to 3,000 feet. The plateau is higher in the south being about 2000 feet in the Mysore region and about half of that in the Hyderabad. The Eastern Ghats, consisting of groups of low hills, is marked by several gaps through which many peninsular rivers join the Bay of 29



ANCIENT INDIA .............................. . ........................ . ..... ....... ....... . . . . ................................. .

Beng(l.1. The hills going southwards gradually receding from the sea turn westward to join the Western Ghats at the Nilgiri. The plain between Eastern Ghats and the sea is wider than that of Western Ghats. Except the Narmada and the Tapti, which run towards west and join the Arabian sea, all the rivers of the Peninsular India run from west to east. Most of them rise from the Western Ghat and traversing the whole breadth of the plateau, fall in the Bay. The Mahanadi forms a broad plain known as the Chattisgarh plain in the northeast. It passes through Orissa before joining the sea. The valley of Godavari with its tributaries, has a large flat land in the north but it narrows in the east before meeting the sea. Further south, the Krishna, with its tributaries like the Tungabhadra, divide the Deccan plateau into two sections. Further south, the Kaveri and its tributaries form another important river system. One thing should be mentioned here that these rivers are different from those of the north India. Devoid of a perennial water source like the Himalayas, these southern rivers are mostly dry during the hot season, hence less valuable for irrigation and navigation purposes.

.The Coastal Regions The fertile coastal plains are important because they also provide opportunities for maritime activities and trade. The western coastal plain stretches from the Gulf of Cambay in the north to Kerala ' in south. The northern part is called the Konkan while the southern one is called the Malabar 30

Coast. The rainfall in this region is very high. There are no big rivers but smaller rivers provide easy communication and irrigation. There are some good harbours in the Konkan region and also in the Malabar. On the other hand the eastern coast has a few natural harbours but during the historical period maritime activities lead to more vigorous and fruitful contacts with the south-east Asian countries. The southern tip of the peninsula is known as Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari. To its south-east is the island of Sri L?llka, which though not an integral part, has been closely associated with India. An almost continuous chain of islands and shoals connect India with this island which has been given the name of Adam's Bridge: The mango shaped island was known in ancient times by the name of Tambaparni, a corrupt word from Sanskrit Tambrapgrni, i.e., having a look or shape of tambula or betel leaf. It was also known as Simhaladvipa. Climate The Indian subcontinent is situated mostly in the tropical zone. Guarded by the lofty Himalayas from the cold arctic winds from Siberia, it has a fairly warm climate throughout the year. It has regular six ritus of two months each and three seasons offour months. Roughly March through June is the hot season when temperature goes up to 48° C or more in some regions. Then follows the rainy season for four months from July to October. The south-west monsoon brings rain in varying degrees throughout the country.




























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