Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 11th
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Taxila

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Taxila:

Mahabharata mentions King Takshaka as the king of ‘Naga’ people. Taxila was the capital of King Takshaka. The archaeological evidence confirm that Taxila has a hoary past. It was the capital of Gandhara mahajanapada. Evidence of prehistoric people using microliths have been found at Taxila and in some caves in its vicinity. The neolithic village at Taxila was settled around 3500 B.C.E. Its remains have been found at a site called ‘Sarai-Khola’. Located about half a kilometre in the west of Kala Nala bridge on the G.T. Road and four km in the south-west of Taxila Museum, Sarai Khola was discovered in 1968. It was considered as an important discovery as it brought to light the presence of the late Neolithic and Kat Dijjan settlements in the Taxila valley. Sarai Khola gave valuable information regarding the early farming communities in Pakistan. It may be interesting to reproduce chronological sequence is Taxila valley prior to and after the discovery Sarai Khola. The archaeological remains discovered in Sarai Khola significantly contributed to the research carried out on the archeological and cultural aspects of Taxila valley. The Greek historians accompanying Alexander described Taxila as a “city full of hustle bustle of people, prosperous and the one that was under a well-established administration.” Some information about Taxila can be gathered from the Buddhist literature and from the writings of the Greek historians.

There were several learned individuals (Acharyas) staying in Taxila. Thus, Taxila had become a great centre of education. Thereby it had assumed the magnitude of a natural university. Among the subjects taught at Taxila included, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, ancillary branches of the Vedas (Vedangas), Ancient Traditions and Ethics, Philosophy, Mathematics, Music, Medicine, Puran Texts, History, Weaponry, Poetry, etc.

Acharya Chanakya is believed to have taken Chandragupta Maurya to Taxila for education when he was young. Chanakya himself hailed from Taxila. After becoming the emperor of Magadha, Chadragupta established a regional capital at Taxila. Taxila did not lose its importance even when the land suffered from the invasions of Greeks, Shakas and Kushanas. However, in the 5th century C.E. the glory of Taxila gradually waned under the pressure of Huna invasions.

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The inscription of Daryush I mention the Greeks as ‘Yauna’. The roots of this word is in the Greek word, ‘Ionia’ The terms such as ‘Yona’ (Prakrit) and ‘Yavana’ (Sanskrit) mentioned in Indian literature originally mean ‘the resident of Ionia’. These terms occur in Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puran texts and other literature. One example of changes happening in the meaning and form of the word through the cultural contacts and borrowing of words from other languages. Ancient Persian language was the official language of the Achaemenid empire. It is used in the inscriptions of the Achaemenid emperors. These inscriptions mention the people in the Indian subcontinent as ‘Hidush’ and ‘Hridush’. In the Ionian Greek language the consonant ‘h’ is not pronounced when it occurs at the beginning of a word. Hence, Scylax the Ionian Greek explorer, perhaps recorded it as ‘Indos’ and its plural as ‘Indoi’. Herodotus used these words as synonymous to Hidush and Hridush. The roots of the word ‘India’ is in this Greek usage.

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