UPPSC Target PT 90 days Planner

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Day 16: History - History (Day 13 to 23)

Early Medieval period

Early Medieval period

Harshavardhana

  • An important ruling family to gain prominence after the fall of the Gupta was that of the Pushyabhutis who had their capital at Thanesar (Thanesvara in Kurukshetra). The dynasty became influential with the accession of Prabhakarvardhana, who was able to defeat the Hunas and strengthen his position in the regions of Punjab and Haryana. After his death, his elder son Rajyavardhana came to the throne but he was treacherously killed by Shashanka, the king of Bengal and Bihar.
  • Harshavardhana then ascended the throne in AD 606. He was only sixteen years of age at that time. Still he proved himself to be a great warrior and an able administrator. We have two valuable sources that throw important light on the life and times of Harshavardhana (606–647). These are Harshacarita written by his court poet Banabhatta and Si-Yu-Ki, the travel account of the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsuan Tsang, who visited India during AD 629–644.
  • Besides Harshacharita, Banabhatta wrote Kadambari. Other literary figures in Harsha?s court were MatangaDivakara and the famous Barthrihari, who was the poet, philosopher and grammarian.
  • Harsha’s reign was marked by many military victories and he brought most of north India under his control as he brought the five ‘Indies (regions)’ — Punjab, Kannauj, Bengal, Orissa, Mithila and assumed the title of ‘Shiladitya’.
  • He was victorious against the ruler of Sindh in the north west and also defeated the Vallabhi king, Dhruvasena II, as mentioned in the Nausasi copper plate inscription. However, he was defeated by Pulkesin II (western Chalukyan King of Badami) on the banks of Narmada. Pulkesin II bestowed the title of “Sakalauttarapathanatha’’, meaning “Lord of the entire north”, upon him.
  • The capital of Harsha was originally Thaneswar, but he shifted it to Kannauj.The Narmada formed the southern boundary of his empire.
  • He used to celebrate a solemn festival at Prayag (Allahabad) at the end of every five years and also held the MahamokshaParishadthere.
  • Harsha was a great patron of the arts and learning. He was very talented himself as it is believed that he wrote three dramas Priyadarshika, Ratnavali (both romantic comedies), and Nagananda (based on Bodhisattva Jimutavahana). He also has to his credit a work on grammar and two Sutra works. It is presumed that he himself composed the text of the two inscriptions Madhuban and Banskhera.

Chalukyas (543 – 755 A.D.)

  • The Western Chalukyas ruled over an extensive area in the Deccan for about two centuries after which the Rashtrakutas became powerful.
  • The family of Western Chalukyas had its offshoots like the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi and the Chalukyas of Kalyani. Pulakesin I was the founder of the Chalukya dynasty.
  • He established a small kingdom with Vatapi or Badami as its capital.

Pulakesin II (608-642 A.D.)

  • The most important ruler of this dynasty was Pulakesin II.
  • The Aihole inscription issued by him gives the details of his reign.
  • Another notable achievement of Pulakesin II was the defeat of Harshavardhana on the banks of the river Narmada.
  • He put a check to the ambition of Harsha to conquer the south.
  • In his first expedition against the Pallavas, Pulakesin II emerged victorious.
  • But he suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Narasimhavarman I near Kanchi. Subsequently, the Chalukya capital Vatapi was captured and destroyed by the Pallavas.
  • The most important event in the reign of Pulakesin II was the visit of Hiuen Tsang to his kingdom.
  • The successor of Pulakesin II was Vikramaditya.
  • He once again consolidated the Chalukya kingdom and plundered the Pallava capital, Kanchi.
  • Kirtivarman II was the last of the rulers of the Chalukyas.
  • He was defeated by Dantidurga, the founder of the Rashtrakuta dynasty.

Administration and Social Life under the Chalukyas:

  • highly centralized,
  • Village autonomy was absent, great maritime power.
  • The Badami Chalukyas were Hindus but they gave respect to other religions.
  • Importance was given to Vedic rites and rituals.
  • A number of temples in honour of Vishnu, Siva and other gods were also built during this period.
  • Hiuen Tsang mentioned about the decline of Buddhism in western Deccan. But Jainism was steadily on the path of progress in this region.
  • Ravikirti, the court poet of Pulakesin II who composed the Aihole inscription was a Jain.

India between AD 750 and AD 1200

  • The period between AD 750 and AD 1200 is referred to as an early medieval period of Indian History. Treated earlier by historians as a ‘dark phase’, however, India witnessed a growth of new and rich cultural activities in the fields of art, literature and language in this period.
  • In fact, some best specimens of temple architecture and Indian literature belong to this period. Thus, far from being ‘dark’ it may be treated as a bright and vibrant phase of Indian history.
  • The period from c.750−1000 CE was marked by the growth of three important political powers, namely, the Gurjara−Pratiharas (who dominated the western India and the upper Gangetic valley till the middle of the 10th century), the Palas (who ruled over eastern India till the middle of the 9th century), and the Rashtrakutas (who dominated the Deccan and also controlled territories in north and south India).
  • These three kingdoms were constantly fighting with each other with an aim to set up their control on the Gangetic region in northern India. This conflict among these three powers is often described as the ‘tripartite struggle’.
  • Out of these three, the Rashtrakutas emerged as the most powerful and their empire lasted for the most time.

Cholas (850-1200 AD)

Chola Administration

Central

  • The emperor or king was at the top of the administration.
  • The extent and resources of the Chola Empire increased the power and prestige of monarchy.
  • The big capital cities like Tanjore and Gangaikondacholapuram, the large royal courts and extensive grantsto the temples reveal the authority of the king.
  • They undertook royal tours to increase the efficiency of the administration.
  • There was elaborate administrative machinery comprising various officials called perundanam and sirudanam

Revenue

  • The land revenue department was well organized. It was called as puravuvarithinaikkalam.
  • All lands were carefully surveyed and classified for assessment of revenue.
  • The residential portion of the village was called urnattam.
  • These and other lands such as the lands belonging to temples were exempted from tax.
  • Besides land revenue, there were tolls and customs on goods taken from one place to another, various kinds of professional taxes, dues levied on ceremonial occasions like marriages and judicial fines.
  • During the hard times, there were remission of taxes and Kulottunga-I became famous by abolishing tolls and earned the title – SungamTavirttaCholan.
  • The main items of government expenditure were the king and his court, army and navy, roads, irrigation tanks and canals.

Military Administration

  • The Cholas maintained a regular standing army consisting of elephants, cavalry, infantry and navy.
  • About seventy regiments were mentioned in the inscriptions.
  • The royal troops were called Kaikkolaperumpadai.
  • Within this there was a personal troop to defend the king known as Velaikkarar.
  • Attention was given to the training of the army and military cantonments called kadagams existed.
  • The Cholas paid special attention to their navy.
  • The naval achievements of the Tamils reached its climax under the Cholas. They controlled the Malabar and Coromandal coasts.
  • In fact, the Bay of Bengal became a Chola lake for some time.

Provincial Administration

  • The Chola Empire was divided into mandalams and each mandalam into valanadus and nadus.
  • In each nadu there were a number of autonomous villages.
  • The royal princes or officers were in charge of mandalams.

Village Assemblies

  • The system of village autonomy with sabhas and their committees developed through the ages and reached its culmination during the Chola rule.
  • Two inscriptions belonging to the period of Parantaka I found at Uttiramerur provide details of the formation and functions of village councils.

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Thermal Power Plants in Utter Pradesh

Thermal Power Plants in Utter Pradesh

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90 Days Planner (Day 16 History-Early Medieval period)

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