Ancient Indian Literature

India had a glorious tradition in composing literature from very ancient times. Both religious and secular literatures were composed. Alongside, books on philosophy, grammar, history and scriptures in Pali, Prakrit, Magadhi and Sanskrit were also written.

Pre-Gupta Period:

In Pre-Gupta period besides Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Ardha-magadhi etc. were medium of writing. In India, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannad were the ages in use.

  1. Onwards 3rd century B.C., the teachings of Buddha were composed in Pali. Jatakas on the life of great Buddha were also composed in this period.
  2. Maurya age witnessed remarkable progress in literature. Literary works were produced in Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit. Some of the important literary works produced during the Maurya rule include Arthasastra of Kautilya, Ashtadhyayi of Panini, and Kalpasutra of Bhadrabahu etc. Most probably great literary figures like Vasavadatta, Subamdhu, Vatsayana produced their literary works dur­ing this period. Taxila, Pataliputra were famous seat of lit­erature. A number of Jaina scholars like Jambuswami, Brabha Swarnbhova, etc. also flourished during this age.
  3. During the Sunga rule Patanjali wrote Mahabhasya.
  4. The Satavahana rulers were also patron of learning. They adopted Prakrit as official language and Brahmi as script. Hala, a Satavahana ruler composed Sattasi, in Marathi, Gunadhya, a minister, wrote Brihatkatha in Paisachi Prakrit. Sarvaraman produced Sanskrit grammar Katantra.

Kushana Period:

Large numbers of Sanskrit literature, both religious and secular, were produced in the Kushana period. Kanishka’s court was adorned with great scholars like Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna, Vasumitra, Charaka etc. Asvaghosha wrote biography of Buddha Buddhacharita. His two other famous compositions were Sundarananda kavya and Vajnasuchi. “Mahavivasa-sutra”, a commentary on Tripitakas, was written in the 4th Buddhist council convened by Kanishka.

Gupta Period:

The Sanskrit literature got boost in Gupta era. The king Samudragupta was a poet himself. He was given the title “Kaviraj”. Harisena, his court-poet, wrote Allahabad Prashasti. Chandragupta-II was famous as Vikramaditya. He had in his court the famous poet Kalidasa who produced Raghuvamsam, Kumarsambhaba, Meghdutam, Abhigyan Sakuntalam, Ritusamhara, Malavikagnimitram. These works made Kalidasa, the Sanskrit literature and India, world famous. Besides Kalidasa poet Bhababhuti, grammarian Bhartihari, Philosopher Kumaril Bhatta, Gandpad Bharbi was noteworthy scholars present in this period.

Pala Period:

In Pala regime, Sanskrit and Prakrit were mixed which became known as Goudiya style. Then during Sena era again Sanskrit came back and took the front seat. In this period Sridhar Bhatta wrote Nayakandali. Sandhyakar Nandi wrote Ramcharita. During the time of Pala regime Silbhadra, Santi Raksit, Atis Dipankar, Dansil, Kumarabajra, Dibakar Chandra were famous writers.

Sena Period:

King Sena was a writer himself. He wrote two books, namely Danasagara and Advutsagara. But he could not complete Advutsagara and his son Lakshmana Sena completed the book. King Lakshmana Sena was also a poet. He encouraged the men of letters. During his regime out of a number of poets Jayadeva was the best. He wrote the famous Geetgovindam. Halayudh was a known pundit of that time. Besides him Govardhan, Saran, Dhoyi and Umapati Dhar were very famous as writer and scholar.

 South India:

In South India, Tamil language developed in spite of dominance of Sanskrit. Many books were written in Tamil and some of them were very famous.

 Science: 

In this time religion and science were attached to each other. From the ancient times learned people watched the sky, stars and planets. So, astronomy became very popular. Beside astronomy mathematics came into prominence. The number (use of number) came out in India and reached other countries.

 Aryabhatta, Barahamihir were the famous astronomers of that time. Aryabhatta’s world famous work ‘Surya Siddhanta’ and Barahamir’s ‘Brihot Samhita’ showed the world many truths, about the Sun, the Earth, the Moon etc. Charaka and Susruta wrote books of Medical Science.

Paintings:

The most notable paintings of ancient India were seen in Ajanta, Bagh, Ellora and Badami caves. Even today these cave paintings draw lakhs of people from all over the world. Sulapani was a famous painter of that age. He illustrated many scripts in books like Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita and others.

By Amit Agarwal

Jute Industry in India

Indian Jute Industry

Importance of the Jute Industry:

India ranks first in the world in the cultivation and manufacture of jute – having maximum number of jute looms, maximum number of jute products produced, maximum export of jute products etc.

Uses:

Jute is used for the production of hessian, gunny bags, ropes, textiles, carpets, tarpaulin, bags, paper etc. Among fibres, jute is the cheapest so it is widely used and its importance is also very high. Similar to the cotton textile industry, the jute industry earns a lot of valuable foreign exchange and lakhs of people are dependent on it for their livelihood. Millions of people earn from jute farming and work in jute factories, trade etc.

Growth And Development:

The first jute mill was set up at Rishra in 1859, jointly, by an Englishman called George Auckland and a Bengali called Bishambar Sen. Before, jute yarn, hessian, gunny bags etc. were produced by spindles in cottage industries. After 1859, the jute industry started developing, especially after the two World Wars. After Independence, due to East Pakistan being separated from India, the jute industry was adversely affected, as the jute growing areas had gone to Bangladesh (before called East Pakistan). Within a few years this problem was overcome by increasing the production in West Bengal, Assam etc. So shortage of raw jute was removed.

Raw material of the jute industry:

The main raw material of the jute industry is the raw jute. Other raw materials are chemicals, wax, plenty of water etc.

Distribution of the jute mills:

At present, there are many jute mills operating in India and many have closed down. West Bengal has the largest number of jute mills, followed by Assam, Orissa and other states, which together.

1. Jute mills in West Bengal: West Bengal has around 81% of the operating jute mills of India. These mills lay on either bank of the Hugli River, between Kalyani – Bansberia in the North to Budge Badge -Uluberia in the south. The concentration of so many jute mills in such a small area is called the Index of Concentration of the jute industry.

The development of one type of industry in a definite area and in large numbers together with the mills being very close to each other is called the concentration of that particular industry. The concentration of so many jute mills on either side of a river for 100 km in length and 3 km in width is not seen in any other part of the world.

Many reasons have lead to the concentration of the jute industry along the river Hugli. They are:

Availability of raw jute – 75% of the total jute production of India is cultivated in West Bengal and Assam. The jute is transported cheaply via the river Hugli.

Historical reasons – Western technical know-how entered through this region. The English were responsible for setting up jute mills in the region.

Nearness to coal mines – Energy required for the jute mills was provided by coal brought via railways or roadways, easily from the Ranigunj coalfields only 190 km away. Later cheap electricity was available.

Kolkata Port Trust – Its nearness helped the development of the jute industry as jute products were exported and machines from abroad were imported.

River Hugli – The river supplied the water required in the jute mills. The jute mills were located on either side of the river so they were well connected to jute producing areas and the Kolkata Port via the river.

Developed communication system – The area is well connected to the rest of India via railway, waterways and roadways. This is necessary for the transport of the finished jute products and raw jute as raw material.

Cheap labor – The cheap labor available from West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa have helped to develop this industry. In later years, Kolkata became the main centre of trade and banking business, so the required capital for the industry was not difficult to obtain.

These benefits have helped to set up the jute industry in the region. The main centers of the industry are – Birlapur, Uluberia, Budge Budge, Howrah, Bally, Rishra, Agarpara, Naihati, Baidyabati, Bhadreswar, Shrirampur, Halisahar, Bansberia, Jagaddal, Shyamnagar, Kamarhati etc.

2. Jute mills at other places in India:  The jute mills located outside West Bengal includes –

  1. Andhra Pradesh & Telangana – one each at Chittabasal in Visakhapatnam, Nellimarla, Illuru near Vijayawada and another at Guntur;
  2. Bihar – one at Muktapur near Samastipur and two at Katiar;
  3. Uttar Pradesh – two at Kanpur and one at Sajanyat;
  4. Assam – Shilghat in Nagaon district;
  5. Tripura – at Arundhatinagar near Agartala;
  6. Orissa – at Dhanmandol in Cuttack district;
  7. Chhattisgarh – Raigarh. Generally it can be said that the mills are located in these places due to local demand, local raw material, cheap labor etc.

Production and Export:

Just after independence, there was a fall in the production of jute goods due to the lack of raw material as most jute producing areas were in Bangladesh. Within a few years jute cultivation increased in the country so its production increased also. In 1993-94, 14.31 lakh tons of jute goods were produced and Rs. 366 crores was earned through export. In 1999-2000, India produced 15.91 lakhs tones of jute goods and Rs. 514 crores of jute goods were exported. The main countries India exports jute products to are :
a) USA
b) Russia
c) Argentina
d) Brazil
e) U.K.
f) Canada
g) Australia
h) Egypt
i) Turkey
j) Some countries of Africa

Problems in the Jute Industry:

Just after independence, India overcame the shortage of raw jute by widely cultivating jute in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. New problems started in the Jute Industry from the middle of the seventies. They are:
a) Cloth bags, paper bags, polythene, plastics etc., varieties of allied fibres were replacing jute bags so the market for jute products was shrinking. These allied fibres are costlier than jute so jute still has some prospect.
b) India faces stiff competition from Bangladesh and Thailand in the International Market. Bangladesh produces good quality jute products at cheaper rates for they have new jute mills.
c) Most Indian jute mills were set up during the British period, 100 – 125 years before. It is not possible to produce high quality products with these old machines.
d) For exporting jute products, high export duty has to be paid to the government, which increases the price of jute product.
e) Labor unrest and faulty administration system are affecting the industry.
f) Most owners of jute mills have greatly neglected their mills which have adversely affected the jute industry. This has led to the closure of some jute mills in the last few years. Therefore, India and West Bengal too have lost their fame in the jute industry.

Solutions:

Some, steps must be taken to solve these problems of the jute industry.

  1. High yielding jute must be cultivated to double the production per hectare.
  2. New machines must be used in the Jute Mill for modernization and cheap production of good products.
  3. Export duty must be withdrawn.
  4. The jute industry has an important role in the economics of India as it earns valuable foreign exchange. Today, we see many jute mills are closing down one after another. To revive this important industry, the Government must nationalize and rejuvenate it.
  5. It should be widely advertised that compared to other fibres, jute products are cheaper and long lasting.

Measures taken:

Some steps have been taken to overcome some of the problems of the jute industry. They are:

  1. To improve the quality of jute goods improved varieties of jute are being cultivated, implemented by “The Jute Development Board”.
  2. New machines have been set up to modernize the jute mills with the help of government loan.
  3. Export duty has been decreased to increase the export of jute products and jute “Export Promotion Committee” has been set up.
  4. To increase the demand and market for jute and jute-allied products research has been initiated so that besides the traditional jute bags, ropes, gunny bags etc. new products are made e.g. – jute textile, paper, carpet, decorative items etc.
  5. To increase the domestic use of jute products, thereby increasing the domestic market of jute products, the govt. has started to make it mandatory for the cement and other industries to use gunny bags.

In this way government policy and environment conscious citizens may cause an increase in the demand for jute products. Thereby the expanding market of the jute industry will save it from glut.

By Amit Agarwal

Central Highland of India

Location:

The Central Highland is bounded in the west by the Aravalli Range, to the south by the Narmada River and the Deccan Plateau beyond, to the east by Eastern Highland and to the north by the Northern Plains of India. This region covers the highlands of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh etc.

Physiographic Characteristics:

1. To the west of the Central Highland lies the Aravalli Range which is the oldest mountain range in India and one of the oldest ranges in the world. Being eroded over centuries this one-very-high mountain has two important peaks, Gurushikhar with a height of 1722 meters and Mount Abu with only 1158 meters of elevation.

2. The highlands lying to the east of the Aravalli Range has a height varying between 250 and 500 meters.

3. The most important range of this highland is the Vindhyans. The Chambal River rises from these hills. The east-west trending Vindhyan has an average elevation of 300 meters. The highest peak of this range is Manpur with 881 meters of elevation.

4. To the south of this range lies Narmada River which flows over open valleys or at places through rift valleys on its way to the west into the Arabian Sea.

5. North of the Vindhyan range lies the Malwa Plateau.

6. The North-eastern part of the Malwa Plateau consists of red granite and is called the Bundelkhand Plateau.

7. The eastern part of the Vindhyan range is called the Rewa Plateau.

By Amit Agarwal

Origin of Caste System in India

The caste system in India has evolved through phases. When the Aryans came to India, there was no social distinction among them. Basically they were divided into three social classes – the warriors, the priests and the common men. There was equality among them.

In Rig-Vedic period, the society came to be divided into four Varnas – Brahmins, Kshatriyas or Rajanyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. Such divisions came up on the basis of duties and professions. But there was no rigidity in inter-mixing among different Varnas.

With the passage of time these, professions grew hereditarily and assumed the shape of caste system. However, as a result of intermarriages amongst members of different castes, certain new castes also made their appearance in addition to four traditional castes. Due to intermarriage of high and low castes and new hereditary professions, few sub-castes also developed in Indian society.

By Amit Agarwal

Biography of Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar

Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar

Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (also Akbar the Great, Akbar-I) was the greatest Mughal Emperor in India. When Humayun died, Akbar was a minor. Even then he sat on the throne. But, he had a very competent mentor and guardian in Bairam Khan. And in the same year Akbar the Great had to face Himu, the commander of Afghan leader Adil Shah, in the field of Panipat. That battle is known in the history as second battle of Panipat. In the battle, Akbar and his Mughal army came out winner. Himu was killed.

This win was very important to a minor king. Akbar quickly grabbed the opportunity and started to expand his kingdom. Within a short span of four years he captured Ajmer, Gwalior, and Jaunpur etc. In 1561 A.D. Malawa came under his fold. In 1964 A.D. Mughal army captured Gondwana, where Queen Durgavati gave a brief effort to resist the Mughal rath but failed. Queen Durgavati was killed in the battle.

Akbar had a very good far-sight. He understood that to run a kingdom in India, he should have the friendship of a brave race like Rajputs. He gave high positions to Bhagwan Das and Man Singh, Behari Mall’s son and grandson respectively, in his administration.

Mewar did not accept the dependence of Akbar without a fight. So Akbar lay a seize on Chitore fort (1567 A.D.). Uday Singh, the Rana of Mewar, fled to the forest after being beaten in the battle. After Uday Singh’s death his son Rana Pratap Singh tried to rescue Mewar’s independence. But in the battle of Haldighat the Rajput army was defeated by Mughal army led by Man Singh and Asaf Khan. Rana Pratap continued his fight from there. Before his death, Rana Pratap could recapture some of his forts. Akbar then occupied Gujarat (1572 A.D.), Surat (1573 A.D.) and Bengal (1576 A.D.). Man Singh, the commander of Akbar subjugated ‘Baro Bhuiya’ (twelve landlord of Bengal). Orissa, Kashmir, Sind (1592 A.D.), Baluchistan and Kandahar came under his control, one after the other.

In the case of South India, Akbar at first gave a call to the rulers there to accept his alliance of subsidy. But other than Khandesh no kingdom responded positively in his call. So he had to go for battles and attacked Ahmadnagar. Chandbibi, as the guardian of the minor Sultan of Ahmadnagar, gave away Berar and signed a treaty with the Mughals. But here the matter did not end. In 1600 A.D. Mughals occupied Ahmednagar city. Next year the Asirgarh fort came under their control. Thus, Akbar’s king­dom was spread from the Himalayas in the north to Godavari in the south and from Hindukush in the west to Brahmaputra in the east.

Akbar died in the year 1605 A.D.

By Amit Agarwal

Impact of Bhakti Movement in India

The emergence of Bhakti Movement in Medieval period is an important landmark in Indian History. We must admit the contribution and impact ­of Bhakti Cult in North and South India. Bhakti Movement did a lot to bring people closer.

  1. The idea that ‘everybody could love God’ shrunk the arm of caste discrimination and untouchability. Social differences were reduced. Assimilation of people belonging to various castes is considered to be the most important impact of Bhakti Movement.
  2. The slogan of Bhaktism that ‘Allah and God are same’ – brought Hindus and Muslims closer. Path of brotherhood became clear.
  3. As a result, the Hindu religion became powerful. Untouch­ability and caste difference decreased. They found their place in this cult of devotion.
  4. Literature in general, and zonal literature in particular, made a progress in this era. Saints propagated their feel­ing in regional languages instead of Sanskrit. As a result it became easy for common men to understand the same. Chaitanya Padabali in Bengali, made the language easy to learn, ‘Doha of Kabir’ enriched “the Hindi language. Namdev developed Marathi and Guru Nanak enriched. Gurumukhi.

By Amit Agarwal

Mughal Administration System

The Mughal emperors were not only conquerors; they were also successful in consolidating and integrating the empire. The Mughal Emperors introduced a centralized system of  administration.

1. The emperor was the head of Mughal Administration System. He was the source of all powers and activities in the state. He was the chief legislator, chief justice and supreme administrator. Emperor kept constant vigilance and control upon the developments and administration of the provinces through the mansabdars. Percival Spear remarked that the mansabdars “acted as, as it were, the emperor’s eyes and ears.”

2. The emperor with a remote control from the centre divided the administrative powers of the empire into a number of provinces, known as Subahs. Each Subah was again subdivided in smaller units. At the time of Akbar there were 15 subahs. Aurangzeb extended the number to 21.

3. An expert and organized group of employees co-operated the emperor in Mughal administration. They advised the emperor. Of course it was optional whether the Mughal emperor would accept it or not. At the beginning of the Mughal administration the post of `Vakil’ was the most important, equal to the prime minister. The `Vakil post was withdrawn and the post of `Diwan’ or `Wazir as equality dignified post of Vakil was introduced. `Diwan, Mir Bakshi, Mir Saman, and Sadar-us-Sudur—with these four posts the advisory council was formed.

  1. Diwan or Wazir was the first person of the advisory council.
  2. After Diwan was Mir Bakshi. He looked after the military battalion.
  3. The office of Mir Saman was like the office of public works and commerce.
  4. Sadar-us-Sudur or chief `Kazi’ was the principal of law and justice department.

A group of experts and active employees helped in the work of controlling government. Such as `Mithata shila’, Daroga-e-Dakchouki, Mustaufi, Mir Arje, Mir Manjil,  etc.

By Amit Agarwal

Short Paragraph on Sugar Cane

The sugarcane is a tall plant grown in warm climate. It has a long thick stem with joints and long green leaves. The cane contains sweet juice from which sugar is made. Some sugar canes cut into lengths are sold in the market. They are chewed and sucked for the juice.

The sugarcanes are sent to the mills for making sugar. They are first crushed under heavy rollers. The sweet juice poured out and squeezed out and collected. Then the juice is heated in pans and the water goes off in vapor. The solid dry grains of sugar are left in the bottom of the pan. They are brown and coarse. Then the workers of the mill remove the brown part. This brown part is called molasses or treacle. They go on doing this till white fine sugar crystals are out.

India is the home of sugarcane. Yet much of the sugars we eat come from other countries. Sugar is mixed in many kinds of sweet-meats like jalebi, barfi and other kinds of sweets.

– Ajay Soni

Short Paragraph on Tea

Tea plant is a low green bush.  It first came from China and then to India long ago. Tea is the dried leaves of the plant. The leaves are gathered by the workers from the bushes four times a year. These leaves are then dried first in the sun. Next they are rolled and roasted in iron pots and dried again over charcoal fires. In this process the leaves have become black. Afterwards they are broken up into small pieces and powders.

Tea is prepared for drinking by pouring water over a pot covered with a lid. After some time the water becomes brown and tea is ready to drink. The Indians take tea with milk and sugar. The Russians mix lemon juice. The English and the Chinese drink it neat.

Tea is a soothing and harmless drink. It is a pleasant drink and refreshes us when we are tired and thirsty. It must not be drunk too often and too much. With only some lemon juice added to tea makes a nice cool drink in summer. Tea does not give nourishment as rice and milk do. It stimulates the body and quickens it. Tea is grown in China, India, Japan Srilanka and Egypt.

By Ajay Soni

Short Paragraph on Tobacco

Tobacco is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant. Tobacco smoking is a common habit of men. Smoking has a very soothing effect on the mind. But it is injurious to health. Heavy smoking harms a lot. Tobacco is smoked in pipes, cigars, bidis and cigarettes. It is often smoked in India in Hookah.

The plant grows in hot countries. It is grown in America, the West Indies, Japan, the East Indies and India. The climate of England is not suitable for tobacco. Raw tobacco is taken to England to be manufactured. The green tobacco leaves are at first dried up and treated with chemicals and then cut by machines.

Tobacco was first brought to Europe about three hundred years ago, by Sir Walter Raleigh during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Indian tobacco is of good taste but the American tobacco is the best. Tobacco contains a small amount of nicotine, a poison not good for health. It is better not to smoke and make a habit. Many young people think that there is some adventure in smoking, but it is better not to try this adventure.

– Ajay Soni