By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 12 India, Nations in the Northwest of the Indian Subcontinent and China students can recall all the concepts quickly.
Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 12 India, Nations in the Northwest of the Indian Subcontinent and China
Trade and Cultural Relations in the Ancient times:
It is very significant that the Indians travelling or migrating to other countries never tried to impose their culture, religions and political rule on the local people. Wherever they went, they had cultural contact and exchange with the native people and it resulted into the enrichment of the native cultures. The spread of Indian culture in the nations lying beyond the Hindukush mountains was mainly a result of the spread of Buddhist religion.
The Indian trade with distant lands is mentioned in the texts like ‘Kathasaritsagara’, Jataka Stories, ‘Deepvamsa’, ‘Mahavamsa’, etc. These texts narrate many stories of the sea travels and adventures of the Indian merchants.
India and Gandhara (Afghanistan and Pakistan):
It is apparent that geographically Afghanistan (Gandhara) was favourably situated on the trade route that linked India and Central Asia. It had close cultural connections with India from the ancient period of Janapadas till the introduction of Islam. Whether it was the invaders from the Central Asia, or the Buddhist monks sent out by Emperor Ashoka, or the Chinese monks travelling to India, all had to pass through Afghanistan.
Emperor Ashoka’s Period: We have seen that the 13th edict of Emperor Ashoka mentions the names of Greek kings, who were his contemporaries. It also mentions that people in their kingdoms were following the path of morality as outlined to his message of Dhammavijaya. Among these kingdoms, it was included v the kingdom of Kamboja in Afghanistan.
Kushana Emperor Kanishka and Post Kushana Period: Kanishka’s empire had spread from Pataliputra in the east to Kashmir in the north and further to Central Asia. Purushspur (Peshawar) and Mathura were the two capitals of his empire. Ancient Kapisha (Begram) was an additional capital of the Kushanas, which was located on the silk route at a vantage point. The trade route from Afghanistan to China was under the rule of Kushanas.
The ancient ‘Nagarhar’, modern ‘Hadda’ near Jalalabad in Afghanistan was another important centre of Buddhism. There are several remains of stupas and viharas scattered over the place. The sculptures found around the stupas are excellent specimens of Gandhara style. ‘Takht-i- Bahi’ is another important place, which is enlisted as ‘World Cultural Heritage.
The government of Afghanistan, with the help of UNESCO and various associations from countries like Japan, France, Switzerland, etc. is working to restore this World Cultural Heritage.
India and China:
The route that links Asia and Europe was referred for the first time as the ‘Silk Route’ by Ferdinand von Richthofen, German geographer. The Silk Route runs more than 6000 kilometres. One may have an impression that the Silk Route is an unbroken highway. However, in reality, this route is an intricate web of major and minor lines bifurcating and crossing each other.
It was in the 1st century C.E. that Buddhism began to spread from India to China. The ‘Han’ dynasty that arose in China in this period had expanded its empire up to Central Asia. They dominated the Silk Route Keeping in with the tradition ‘Ming-ti’ the second king of the Han dynasty had sent his representatives to India.
→ Pagoda – A Buddhist temple in India or South-East Asia.
→ Vantage Point – A place from which you have a good view of something.
→ Sangharama – The residential complex built for the bhikkhus.
→ Mural – A piece of art that is painted on walls.