Urdu and Hindsutani

Samar Abbas abbas at IOPB.RES.IN
Sat Dec 5 16:17:32 UTC 1998

On Fri, 4 Dec 1998, S Krishna wrote:
> My dear Samar, I am genuienly confused now...It is true that the Gupta
> period is called the "Golden Age of the Guptas" but which historian
> has classified the few centuries preceding the Delhi sultanate as
> "The Dark ages"? What exactly do you have in mind when you say "features
> of post-Gupta period were considered barbaric"?

Compared to the splendid Gupta empire, the period following its disruption
involved a period of almost continuous warfare among the various petty
kingdoms. The Huns invaded from India, destroying the Gupta culture.

> If, by barbaric, you are
> refering to the ravages of worthies like Mahmud of Ghazni, then I would
> agree:-)...

No doubt these were ravages, but you must realize that the Huns, and many
other allied tribes had entered into India during the post-Gupta empire.
It is recorded that Mihirakula persecuted Buddhists and was very cruel. So
Mahmud was not the first in the line, but rather a late-comer.

 By barbaric, I was only referring to post-Gupta society, not the Gupta.
Thus large-scale sati was practiced; the rigid caste system and
religious persecution as those by Mihirakula were other features. There
seems to have been constant warfare as the small `Gupta successor' petty
states fought one another.

> About the only place where I have seen something along the
> lines of the stuff you have written is in Nehru's "Glimpses of World
> History", but then Nehru can hardly be called an interpreter of
> history....

  That is true; it may not be explicitly stated in text books, but I am
not aware of any historian who classes the post-Gupta period as a Golden
Age. It is implicitly implied in the standard text-books today (ie.
`Marxist histories') that the post-Gupta period was similar to that after
the fall of any great empire: a collapse of the economy. a decline in
trade and material well-being, and general confusion. This happended after
the fall of the Roman Empire, as well as after the fall of the Soviet
Empire. Nehru may not be an interpreter of history, but his view
represented the general official line which was subsequently taken by the
Govt. of India and is still to be found (as you say, it may not be
explicitly stated, but it is implicit ) in standard text-books published
by that body today. I am also not aware of even the RSS and BJP historians
claiming that the post-Gupta period was a `Golden Age' (please correct me
if I am wrong).


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