Thursday, 31 August 2017


The early people of the Indian subcontinent lived on the banks of River Indus. The first civilisation sprang up in India in the valley of the Indus. As we know, all the great civilisations of the world have developed in river valleys.Similarly, the heart of historical India was developed along the rivers. Rivers served as arteries for commerce and communication. The river route, therefore, helped military and commercial transport. Above all, the rivers provided cultural and political boundaries to our country. The idea that India constituted a single geographical unit persisted in the minds of the cultural leaders, settlers and conquerors. Foreign explorers, conquerors and cultural leaders first came into contact with the people living on the Sindhu or the river Indus. Therefore, they named the whole country after this river. The word 'India' comes from the Indus, called 'Sindhu' in Sanskrit. The Iranians and the Greeks who came through the north-west called it the 'Hindu' or the 'Indos' and the land to the east of the river were called India.

In course of time, the country came to be known as 'India' in Greek, and 'Hind' in Persian and Arabic languages. The name Bharatvarsha or 'the land of Bharata' was given to the whole country after the name of an ancient tribe called India, that is, Bharata. But the name 'Hindustan' came into prominence during the medieval period because Muslim rulers referred to India by this name.

Medieval Age

  The word 'Medieval' refers to the middle Age. We use it in history to refer to the period lying between the ancient and the modern periods. We have taken the 8th century A.D. as the beginning of the medieval period, and the 18th century A.D. As its end. The medieval period ( 8th to 12th century A.D. ) and the later medieval period (12th to 18th century A.D.).

But how do we know that a particular period has ended and another has begun? We generally calculate time in terms of century, years, months, days and hour. But historians calculate the progress of man in terms of age which clearly denote man's stage of development, e.g., Iron Age, Bronze Age, etc. So as man's lifestyle changes. These changes do not occur all of a sudden. They occur gradually. But after some time, the changes can be seen and felt on a large scale. Generally, different nations take different time spans to demonstrate a change in social, economic or technological development.
Hence, the span of medieval period changes from country to country. In Europe, it is taken as the period India, the 8th century is taken as the period between 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D., whereas in India, the 8th century is taken as the beginning of the medieval period and the 18th century as its end.
   When we go through the pages of Indian history, we come to know that many changes were taking place in the political, social and economic fields in India society in and about the 8th century A.D. At the same time, Indian culture absorbed many new elements from other cultures as well. Our administrative systems, regional languages, culture and many of our religious and social traditions evolved during this period. Thus, we see that India witnessed a new stage of development. It is because of this, that the 8th century is taken as the starting point of the medieval period. In the same way, with the break up of the Mughal empire and the coming of the Europeans, the 18th century also witnessed to many sweeping changes. That is why we refer to this century as the closing point of the medieval period.

Many important changes took place in Europe and Asia after the 8th century. These changes not only altered the relationship between Europe and Asia after the 8th century. These changes not only altered the relationship between Europe and Asia but also had far reaching effects on the thinking and pattern of living of the people. These developments had an effect on INDIA as well because India had a brisk trade with the old Roman empire.