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Bill to revive ‘Golden Age of ancient India’

  • Published
    26th Mar, 2022
Context

MP Rakesh Sinha, moving a private member’s resolution, proposed setting up a research foundation at the State and district level to revive ancient Indian knowledge traditions, branding it as a “swaraj (self-rule) of ideas’.

About

What is Golden Age of India?

  • The period between the 4th and 6th centuries CE is known as the Golden Age of India because of the considerable achievements of Indians in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, science, religion and philosophy during the Gupta Empire.

Gupta Empire

  • Gupta dynasty, rulers of the Magadha(now Bihar) state in north-eastern India.
  • They maintained an empireover northern and parts of central and western India from the early 4th to the late 6th century CE.

Important rulers of the Gupta dynasty

  • Chandra Gupta I (320-335 or 340 A.D.): The first ruler of the empire was Chandra Gupta I, who united the Guptas with the Licchavis by marriage.
  • Samudra Gupta (Nearly 340-380 A.D.): His son, the celebrated Samudra Gupta, expanded the empire through conquest.
    • It would seem that his campaigns extended Gupta power in northern and eastern India and virtually eliminated the oligarchies and the minor kings of central India and the Ganges valley, regions which then came under the direct administrative control of the Guptas.
  • Chandra Gupta II (380-413 or 415 A.D): The empire’s third ruler, Chandra Gupta II (or Vikramaditya, “Sun of Valour”), was celebrated for extending the empire to Ujjain, but his reign became more associated with cultural and intellectual achievements than with military conquest.
    • His successors—Kumara Gupta (415-455 A.D), Skanda Gupta (455-467 A.D), and others—saw the gradual demise of the empire with the invasion of the Hunas (a branch of the Hephthalites).

By the mid-6th century, when the dynasty apparently came to an end, the kingdom had dwindled to a small size.

Why Gupta period is regarded as the classical age of India?

  • It is in this era that Indian literature, art, architecture and philosophical norms were established.
  • The period produced scholars such as Kalidas famously know for his famous plays such as Shakuntala and the greatest poetry of all time Meghaduta.
  • Kalidasa the 5th century Sanskrit poet credits Guptas for conquering about 21 kingdoms, outside and inside of India including Parasikas, Hunas, Kambojas, and others.
  • Aryabhata and Varahamihira were the first one to come up with the concept of zero and also gave the theory that the earth revolves around the Sun and studied solar and lunar eclipses.
  • The ancient Gupta text Kama Sutra was written by the Indian scholar Vatsyayana in the Sanskrit language.
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