Characterization of the Gupta Period as Golden is a Myth: Analysis

Pages: 4 (2913 words) Published: October 29, 2014

Analyse the view that the characterisation of the Gupta period as 'golden' is a myth. The period between 300-600 AD, the Gupta Period, is commonly known as the Golden Age of India. This grand title given to this period has been the cause of many disagreements between various historians, mainly the two schools, Nationalists and Marxists. The disagreements exist because while the Nationalists have portrayed the Gupta Period as being a Golden Age, the Marxists took a different approach to the study of the Gupta Dynasty which led them to term this alleged title as a myth. The Nationalist historians consist of those Indian historians who lived and wrote during the Nationalist resistance against the colonial rule. They glorified the Gupta Period as a reaction against the writings of Imperialist Historians. They spoke very highly of the various features of the Gupta Empire like the society, economy, political unification, art and architecture. Most of the political history of this period has been reconstructed with the help of coins and inscriptions. When one talks about the political history of the Gupta's, one usually starts by talking about Chandragupta I even though there were two Gupta rulers before him. This is because many consider Chandragupta as the real founder of the Gupta line. Chandragupta I was succeeded by his son Samudragupta. At the time of his succession, the Gupta Empire consisted of the Magadh area of Bihar and adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bengal, upto the Himalayan foothills in the north. According to the Nationalist historians, Samudragupta was a very able ruler who subdued and conquered a number of kings and territories. He extended the empire considerably through various levels of subjugation. The triumphs of Samudragupta are known due to inscriptions found on an Ashokan pillar in Allahabad. The prashasti mentions how he defeated various rulers and includes a list of the captured individuals as well as tribes. These...
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