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The Gupta Age has been described as the Golden Age of ancient India. The period was from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 590 CE. it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. The factors for the prominence of Gupta rule were:
1) a powerful imperial dynasty,
2) political harmony of the country,
3) inner peace and security,
4) strong but compassionate administration,
5) economic prosperity,
6) contact with the outside world, and
7) encouragement of culture.
Samudragupta was the greatest ruler of the Gupta Empire. His period was from 335/350-375 CE. He was the son of the Gupta emperor Chandragupta I and the Licchavi princess Kumaradevi. he greatly extended his dynasty's political power.
Samudragupta’s conquests and strategies
1) Samudragupta took up strategic plans for his conquests of the north and the south.
2) He decided to suppress the neighboring Kingdoms first before going for distant expeditions.
3) His conquest against Aryavarta was his first campaign.
4) He then dashed against Dakhinapatha and in the third phase he marched on the second Aryavarta War.
5) Samudragupta also invaded Atavika or Forest Kingdoms
6) He also recognized diplomatic relations with the states situated in the frontiers of the Gupta empire
7) He exchanged political negotiations with distant foreign powers.
8) In his first campaign in north India, Samudragupta defeated:
• Achyuta, the ruler of Ahichchhator (modern Ramnagar of Bareilly district),
• Nagasena the ruler of Padmavati (near Marwar) and
9) He attained a secure position in the Ganga-Jamuna Valley
10) In the southern expedition, he encountered with twelve kings and defeated them, set them at autonomy and allowed them to rule as feudatory chiefs of the South.
11) This policy of Samudragupta is described in 3 ways:
• Digvijaya or defeating the enemy kings of the South,
• Grahana or getting the authority over the kingdoms and then
• Anugraha allowing them to rule their Kingdoms under his Suzerainty.
Samudragupta’s cultural contribution
1) Samudragupta had great affection for art literature and learning.
2) He was also a man of musical arts
3) Samudragupta was also a philosopher.
4) He was very generous and sympathetic to the poor.
5) He composed many poems in Sanskrit and earned the title of Kaviraj (the King of the poets).
6) Dr. V.A. Smith has rightly remarked Samudragupta was a man of brilliant personal capacity and usually varied gifts.
7) Many eminent scholars were there in his court and improved prestige and dignity.
8) Harisena the writer of the Allahabad inscription was an important personality of his court.
9) His court poets have adorned his polished intellect, poetic skill and proficiency in music.
10) He is described as one who wanted to go deep into the tattva or the wisdom of the Sastras to be worthy of the company of the wise men.
11) He was also a patron of Buddhist philosopher and author Vasubandhu and himself studied the inner philosophy of Buddhism under the guidance of that learned man.
12) Samudragupta was an orthodox Hindu and believer of the Brahmanical system was broad-minded to all other religions.
13) He permitted the king of Ceylon to build a Buddhist monastery at Boudh Gaya for the assistance of the Buddhist monks.
14) Dr. R.C. Majumdar has said that “Brilliant both as general and statesman.
15) Samudragupta also possessed many virtues of head and heart better suited to a life of peaceful pursuits”.
16) He congregated round himself a galaxy of poets and scholars whose services he engaged in the process of the creation of holy literature.
Thus Gupta period under the ruler Samudragupta made significant cultural and social achievements. It is still regarded as the vital period in Indian history.
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