The Gupta Empire :-
The Gupta Empire is one of the most famous empires in ancient India and has made its mark on Indian history. The Gupta period is hailed as the ‘Golden Age of Indian History’ This gives an idea of the greatness of the Gupta Empire.
Little is known about the early history of the Gupta dynasty. Srigupta is the founder of this family. The kingdom of Srigupta and his son Ghatotkach Gupta was very small. Most likely they were Mandlik kings.
The first chandragupta Maurya:
The Gupta dynasty gained prominence during the reign of chandragupta I Maurya I (319-35 AD). He held the book ‘Maharajadhiraja’. He married the Licchavi princess Kumaradevi; He became politically advantageous. He had established his dominance over Prayag, Saket, and South Bihar. He etc. C. Gupta Samvat started in 320.
(1) During the reign of Samudragupta (335-80 AD), the Gupta Empire reached its peak of glory. He conquered many small states in northern India and established his undisputed dominance in the region.
(2) Later, Samudragupta went on an expedition to South India. In this campaign, he defeated many kings in battle, But he strategically made the southern states into territorial states without annexing them to the Gupta Empire. After this victory, Samudragupta performed Ashwamedha Yajna.
(3) Samudragupta was the patron of science and art. Scholars like Harishen (court poet), and Vasubandhu were his patrons.
The second Chandragupta:
(1) Chandragupta II (380-412 AD) is the son of Samudragupta. He contributed to the vast empire he inherited from his father. He strengthened his power by marrying Nag and Wakataka.
(2) He defeated the Saka and other enemies on his frontier. In a battle with the Sakas, he killed the Saka Kshatrap III Rudrasingh. He also defeated other enemies. He had used adjectives like Vikramaditya, Paramabhagvat, Maharajadhiraja, etc.
(3) He had minted various coins in his kingdom. He was also known as a patron of scholars.
(4) His court ‘Navaratne’ (Mahakavi Kalidas – playwright and poet, Dhanvantari – Vaidya, Kshapanak – astrologer, Ghatkarpar – sculptor and architect, Shanku – architect, Varruchi – Pandit, Varahmihira – astronomer, mathematician and astrologer And Amar Singh – a grammarian and poet are said to be nine scholars). During his career, Fashion, a Chinese traveler, visited India.
(5) After Chandragupta II, Kumaragupta I (414-55 AD), Skandagupta (455-67 AD), Purugupta, Kumaragupta II, Narasimhagupta, Buddhagupta, Tathagata Gupta, Bhanugupta, etc. became the rulers of the Gupta dynasty.
(6) No definite and reliable information can be found about the Gupta kings after Skandagupta. Probably from that time the Gupta Empire began to decline.
(7) The kings after Skandagupta were not particularly mighty and capable. It was taken advantage of by the earlier Mandlik kings. At the same time, the empire was weakened due to the invasion of Hunas and the uprising of Pushyamitra gangs.
The political and social situation:
(1) The Gupta kings established a vast empire and established peace throughout the state, enabling the people to experience long-term political stability. The power of the kingdom was concentrated entirely in the hands of the king. But, the monarchy was not of wild nature.
(2) There were ministers, ministers, etc. to advise and help the king. In some places, the organization ‘Sabha’ is also mentioned.
(3) Gupta kings were good administrators. It was Gupta who gave India a well-regulated and unified administration after the Mauryas. They had disbanded the various departments of the state administration and an independent officer was being appointed to each department. There were also different categories of officers.
(4) Considering the social system of the Gupta period, it is seen that the restrictions of the caste system were tightened during this period. Brahmins had attained a high position in society.
(5) People of the Shudra caste were being treated with contempt. The practice of untouchability had become the norm. There were strict restrictions on rotibati transactions in the caste.
(6) In the Gupta period, women were given a secondary place in society. The practice of child marriage came into existence due to the idea of reducing the age of marriage for girls from Smriti and Puranas.
(7) Women did not have the right to study the Vedas. The practice of polygamy was common.
(8) At that time, the joint family system was prevalent. Marriage was considered a sacred rite. A woman had no right to separate from her husband under any circumstances.
(1) Agriculture was the main occupation of the people in the rural areas. Crops like wheat, rice, maize, pulses, sesame, etc. were grown on the farm. Apart from this, progress was also made in small business and trade. The trade was mainly in the hands of prostitutes. Business and caste began to be linked.
(2) The Gupta period is considered the period of financial prosperity. The economic condition of the people was good. In general, people are happy. Of course, there was economic inequality in society; But people were living happily ever after. Their diet consisted of milk – milk, fruits, vegetables, and a variety of grains. Apart from Brahmins, people of other castes drank alcohol and ate meat.
(1) Gupta kings were proud of the Vedic religion. Therefore, Vedic religion gained importance once again during this period. The Gupta kings revived Vedic practices such as Yajna. Of course, the form of the ancient Vedic religion was also changing. Evanna Vedic religion was beginning to be converted to Hinduism.
(2) One of the important changes in the Vedic religion was the rise of devotional sects in this religion. The fascination with the path of devotion had increased among the common people. As a result, different sects like the Vaishnava sect, Shaivite sect, Shakta sect, and Solar sect were formed in the society. All the above sects were considered a component of Hinduism. Due to the popularity of the devotional path, temples of many deities began to be built. In short, the importance of Hinduism began to increase due to Rajashraya and Lokashraya.
(3) That is to say, the Gupta kings, like other Indian rulers, had adopted a policy of religious tolerance. Therefore, Buddhism and Jainism survived. Not only that, but the followers of that religion also continued their missionary work. However, during this period, Buddhism and Jainism began to flourish.
Literature, science, art:
(1) In this case, great progress was made during the Gupta period. Therefore, the Gupta period is also considered the golden age of knowledge and art.
(2) During this period, Sanskrit literature gained importance. Many great writers passed away during this period. Kalidasa, Visakhadatta, Shudrak, Bharavi, Vishnusharma, Buddhaghosh, Veerasena, Vatsabhatta, Siddhasena, etc. need to be mentioned in this context.
(3) Significant progress was also made in physics during this period. Aryabhata, Varahmihira, Vagbhat, Nagarjuna were all from this period.
(4) Puranas have an important place in Hinduism. Many of these Puranas were completed during the Gupta period. Memoirs like Narad, Brihaspati, Katyayan, etc. were prepared during this period.
(5) Scholars like Amar Singh, Shabar, Vasubandhu, Asang, and Chandrakirti passed away during this period. They can also be mentioned here.
(6) The arts like sculpture, architecture, painting, music, drama, etc. were also developed a lot during the Gupta period.
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