Unformatted text preview: n enlightenment lose INDIA Essentials of Modern World History. Wk 4: South and Central Asia, 1453-1914, © D. G. Rowley, 2004. Rev. 2011. 1 artisans and an elaborate commercial network. India
was famous across Eurasia for the production of
sugar, spices, dye, ivory, wood products, and silk and
cotton textiles. India was in direct trade contact with
East Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast and East
Buddhism is a religion created by Siddhartha
Gautama (the Buddha, 563-483 B.C.E.), an Indian born
into the highest, princely caste.The Buddha accepted
the basic Hindu conceptions of the reincarnation of
souls, karma, and the ultimate extinction of the soul in
nirvana, but he rejected the caste system and believed
in the equality of all.
The essential teaching of Buddhism is that life is
suffering, that suffering is caused by desire for
material things and sense experience, that nirvana is
the escape from the cycle of suffering and blissful
unity with the cosmos.
Religious practice for Buddhists includes
meditation and observing five moral precepts: do not
kill, do not steal, do not be unchaste, do not lie, and do
not take intoxicating substances.
For several hundred years Buddhism was the
dominant religion in India, but Hinduism gradually
revived and replaced it. By the 1200s, Buddhism had
entirely disappeared in India, but it spread east where
it became the religion of elites in China and Japan and
of the majority of the population in Southeast Asia.
Islam in South Asia
Trade with the Middle East brought Islam, which
spread among Indian merchants. Large Muslim
communities grew up in the western and eastern parts
of India, and Hindus and Muslims lived side-by-side
in (relative) peace. new Hindu temples, and encouraged Hindu festivals.
The unification of most of India and the promotion of
law and order encouraged trade and the growth of
handicrafts and commercial cities.
Akbar’s achievements did not last long, however.
Aurangzeb (1658-1707), the last effective Mughal
ruler, severely weakened the empire. He allowed the
bureaucracy to decay, and he bankrup...
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