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Cultures Of Jindia

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Ancient India

India began as a small civilization, in the Indus Valley, on such sites as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Lothal (Keay 19). It was here that the early ancestors of Hinduism built their homes and civilization (Keay 19). Only later did Aryans arrive, signifying the change of period in India from Pre-vedic to Vedic (Keay 19). The first known invaders of India were Aryans (also mentioned sometimes as Indo-Aryans) (Keay 20). It is believed that the Aryans arrived in north India somewhere from Iran and southern Russia at around 1500 B. C. (Keay 20). It is during this Vedic Period that Hinduism takes hold as one of the major religions in this region (Keay 20). It is in the reign of the Mauryas that Hinduism took the shape that fundamentally informs the religion down to the present day (Keay 20). The most important and historically relevant section in Indian History is its long period of British Occupation which was finally lifted with the help of Mohandas Karamchand ('Mahatma') Gandhi (Keay 21). This allowed India to become today's largest Democratic government (Keay 21).

British Occupation

The British Empire's occupation of India began in the late 17th century (Keay 383). They began as merchant ventures and their holdings on the land were relatively small (Keay 383). Over the years they had expanded, creating forts for protection and larger trading stations (Keay 383). Eventually, to make certain that there would be stability and a successful trade business, Britain deployed many of its armed forces there and also raised forces of natives, thus becoming an active power in 18th Century India (Keay 384). Sometimes by their design but also sometimes by accident, the area of British control began to increase (Keay 384). Their expansion lasted until nearly the entire sub-continent was apart or effected by the empire by the year 1857 (Keay 384). It was in this year that the "great imperial war" or "Indian Mutiny" arose (Keay 384).

It began in May of 1857 with a mutiny of Indian troops at Meerut, or a matter of religious principle (Keay 384). The new rifles, which had been issued by the British army, contained a cartridge that required the soldier to bite of the end in order to load the weapon (Keay 384). To make this process easier, the cartridges were greased with the animal fat of a cow or pig (Keay 384). The rumor quickly spread throughout the Indian regiment that this process was being used, and according to ancient Hindu and Muslim religion, this practice is unclean and according to Lord Roberts, "the affair betrayed and incredible disregard of the natives' religious prejudices (Keay 385)." The mutineers took Delhi first with the help of more native regiments, and from there, the rebellion spread quickly but unevenly (Keay 385). Throughout the many battles at Delhi, Cawnpore, and Lucknow, the natives were never able to completely seize all of India (Keay 385). Britain did manage to survive the fourteen month long battle, but with severe losses (Keay 385). Both the rebels and the British looked at people of the opposite color as enemies, and would slaughter them (Keay 385). The war was fought with much ferocity and hatred (Keay 386). Both sides butchered women and children, and The Indian Mutiny of 1857 soon became to be known as the greatest of all imperial wars (Keay 386). Unfortunately, the Indian revolt was crushed and Victoria was crowned Empress of India and India became a permanent part of the British Empire (Keay 386).

By the early part of the twentieth century, a nationalist movement had emerged; and by 1920, Mohandas Karamchand ('Mahatma') Gandhi had emerged as the virtually undisputed leader of this movement (Keay 386). Successive campaigns had the effect of driving the British out of India in 1947, but not before they had partitioned it, and carved out the state of Pakistan (Keay 386).

Indian Conflicts and Emergence of Pakistan

The first test for the Indian armed forces came shortly after independence with the first Indo-Pakistani conflict (1947-48) (Keay 392). The military was called upon to defend the borders of the state of Jammu and Kashmir when tribes--principally Pathans--attacked from the northwest reaches of Kashmir on October 22, 1947 (Keay 392). India's 161st Infantry Brigade was deployed and thwarted the advance of the tribal forces (Keay 392). In early November 1947, the 161st counterattacked and successfully broke through the enemy defenses (Keay 392). Despite early successes, the Indian army suffered a setback in December because of logistical problems (Keay 392). The problems enabled the forces of Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir, as the part of Kashmir under Pakistani control is called) to take the initiative and force the Indian troops to retreat from the border areas (Keay 392). In the spring of 1948, the Indian side mounted another offensive to retake some of the ground that it had lost (Keay 393). No doubt fearing that the war might move into Pakistan proper, regular units of the Pakistani army became more actively involved (Keay 393). As the conflict escalated, the Indian leadership was quick to recognize that the war could not be brought to a close unless Pakistani support for the Azad Kashmir forces could be stopped (Keay 393). Accordingly, on the advice of Governor General Earl Louis Mountbatten (Britain's last viceroy in India in 1947 and governor general of India, 1947-48), the Indian government sought United Nations (UN) mediation of the conflict on December 31, 1947 (Keay 393). There was some opposition to this move within the cabinet by those who did not agree with referring the Kashmir dispute to the UN (Keay 394). The UN mediation process brought the war to a close on January 1, 1949 (Keay 394). In all, 1,500 soldiers died on each side during the war (Keay 394).

The second Indo-Pakistani conflict (1965) was also fought over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war (Keay 395). It is widely accepted that the war began with the infiltration of Pakistani-controlled guerrillas into Indian Kashmir on about August 5, 1965 (Keay 395). Skirmishes with Indian forces started as early as August 6 or 7, and the first major engagement between the regular armed forces of the two sides took place on August 14 (Keay 395). The next day, Indian forces scored a major victory after a prolonged artillery barrage and captured three important mountain positions in the northern sector (Keay 395).

Mahatma Gandhi and the Gandhi Name

Nationalist assassinated three important leaders in post-independent India by the surname Gandhi (Chadha 84) The first was Mahatma Gandhi who was assassinated in 1948 (Chadha 84) The second was Indira Gandhi



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