GS1 (Ancient Indian History)
Discuss the impact of the Central Asian contacts on India’s political system, society, and science and technology.
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India’s tryst with central Asia began with the arrival of Turks in 13th Century. The turks came to India and established various dynasties with the Mughal Empire being the most prominent one. Turks, followed by Tughluqs, KhaljI and Lodi dynasty shaped India’s political system, society and S&t in different ways.
Majority of the central Asian Rulers were Muslims. When they invaded India, India haad been granting patronages to Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. For these rulers to succeed in India, it was important that they treated these religions with respect. The politicial system followed by these rulers was such that they involved common people in day to day administration, so much so that Mohd. Bin Tughluq had appointed a Barber to a leadership role in his court. Peasants in the society were taxed for upto 50 % of their produce to account for the expenses incurred on the maintenance of a strong military. The soldiers were given Iqtas to rule over and generate revenue and their salary from them. Iqtas were the parts of the land of the empire that was divided and placed under the rules of soldier for administrative convenience.
Society: The society was divided into the four varnas and each had their specific roles to play in the society. The advent of central asian rulers saw acceptance of Persian as a language. There were various works being translated from Sanskrit into Persian and Arabic. These rulers had laid emphasis on the involvement of common masses in administration and therefore allowed common men to be a part of the emperor’s court. Initially self insulated, society gradually opened up to these rulers given their religious tolerance. The agricultural set up in India was brought under the king’s control through taxation of peasants.
Science and Technology: The prevalence of Punch-marked coins in India started under the influence of Central Asia. Astrology also gained prominence with the coming up of horoscope studies under the influence of Greeks. It is this time around that the practice of leather tanning began in India.