historyofindia

Why does India claim all of the history of the subcontinent?

when it’s the combined history of Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, since India was formed just in 1947?

India has existed in this form for 1000s of years. Just the present Republic of India is new. The culture is as old as humanity.

Why Indians claim most of the Indian Subcontinent’s history:

  1. Because others don’t. In an ideal world, one would expect the Pakistanis to learn & be proud of their great kingdoms – Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Muslim that ruled their region for 1000s of years. Instead, their school history starts with the distant Arabs and they have voluntarily given up their claim to the ancient Indian history. After the rise Talibans, Afghans didn’t take stake claim to their ancient history (the great Bamiyan was destroyed). Bangladeshis and Nepalese are still ambivalent of their ancient past (as it would require them to acknowledge the India/Hindu connections). That leaves only the Indians and Lankans who have a strong desire to talk their distant past.
  2. India lies at the center of historic action. Although Buddha was born little inside Nepal (about 20 km from the Indian border), most of his work was in present India. Although the Mughals were from Uzbekistan & created a lot of modern Pakistan, they ruled from present India. Same with the British and most kings who ruled the subcontinent. Most of the subcontinent’s freedom movement was centered in India. Most of colonial era’s important cities are in modern India. Thus India took a bigger claim over the history of the subcontinent.
  3. Finally, India resisted the claim to change the name after partition. It is alleged that Jinnah hoped that India would change its name to Hindustan. In his mind, India as a mother nation would be no more – there would be two child nations – Hindustan and Pakistan. To his chagrin, India not only kept the biggest portion of the subcontinent, but also retained the name & all its past history. Thus, instead of creating two child nations, there was one estranged nation leaving the mother mostly intact. Some in Pakistan still use the word “Hindustan” although Indians ourselves are very comfortable with our name. We also retained Bharat as a second official name, while preserving the India name intact. Thus, while Pakistan is frantically trying to put the nation in outsider’s minds, India just inherited all its rich past along with the mindshare.

    Originally Published in Quora
    Why does India claim all of the history of the subcontinent

Balaji Viswanathan

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