(Last Updated on : 25/03/2009)
Indian dynasties in the present contemporaneous times entails a very much different and diversified context, referring primarily to the political dynasties in India, luminaries in these families who have for generations served their nation with untiring and relentless spirit. However, the present Indian administration, following a democratic and sovereign form of government, is rooted on terms on a very dissimilar plane; the Government of India espouses that mode of administration, which was formulated by the British Empire, largely following in their liens, with a few exceptions. As such, the notion of politics and politic view to ruling the country is entrusted generally with the ruling Indian political dynasty since India Independence. The present Republic of India, as in universally known from Indian ancient historical annals, never was governed in the present manner, with ancient Indians and the nationwide populace resorting to the monarchical system of administration, involving the dynastic form of government, ruled for time immemorial by one single dynasty, owing to his royal blood line and lineage. As such, the concept of Indian dynasties in erstwhile times entailed a much different context, pitching rulers against rulers for absolute supremacy.
Making a departure form the so called mythical and disputed dynasties in India from uncharted periods, the first ever daring dynasty that had shot to prominence was the Magadha Empire, lasting from 545 BCE – 550 (also acknowledged dates comprise c. 1700 B.C.- 550 A.D.) and containing within itself some of the most respected, venerated and undaunted dynasties. The nucleus of Magadha Empire lied in the area of Bihar south of Ganges; its first capital was Rajagaha (present day Rajgir), then Pataliputra (present day Patna). Magadha dynasty flourished further to include most of Bihar and Bengal with the take-over of Licchavi and Anga respectively, followed by much of eastern Uttar Pradesh. These empires witnessed steady progressions in ancient India`s science, mathematics, astronomy, religion, and philosophy and were weighed as the Indian "Golden Age". Magadha Empire opens its extensive chapter with the Brihadratha Dynasty beginning in c. 1700 and culminating in 799 B.C. The Brihadrathas were followed by the Pradyota Dynasty from 799 to 684 B.C., who in turn were followed by the Hariyanka Dynasty (545 B.C. – 346 B.C.).
The Shishunaga Dynasty (684 – 424 B.C.) arrived next in throne to further the esteem of Indian dynastic lineage. Next in line of ascension was the Shakya Dynasty from c. 650 to 500 B.C., followed by the Nanda Dynasty (424 – 321 B.C.). It was then time for the Mauryan Dynasty (324 – 184 B.C.) to take over the vast Indian administration, ushering a legendary period of Golden age, with men like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Bindusara or Devavarman. The Mauryas were succeeded by the Shunga Dynasty beginning from 185 and ending in 73 B.C. The Kanva Dynasty (73 – 26 B.C.) arrived next in succession to the Shungas, who were ultimately followed by the celebrated Gupta Dynasty from c. 240 to 550 A.D., under rulers like Chandra Gupta I, Samudra Gupta, or Skanda Gupta.
Amidst these advancing and progressing Indian dynasties, there did come and go numerous other dynasties of minor to semi-minor ruling, after which the Chola Empire (300 BCE – 1279 CE) ruled in a smooth manner with emperors like Aditya I, Parantaka I, Rajaraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I or Rajadhiraja Chola. The Satavahana Dynasty (230 BCE – 220 CE) was the culminating dynasty in India that had ended with it the reign of ancient Indian period. The Medieval under the Middle Kingdoms was begun with the Kushana Empire (60 – 240 CE) under rulers like Kanishka I or Vasudeva I. The Pallava Dynasty soon ascended the throne, beginning in 275 and culminating in 882. The Pala Empire (750–1174) followed next in line, who were seriously pursued by the Guptas once, after which the Indian dynasty of the Chalukyas (543–753) succeeded chronologically, under the two factions of Chalukyas of Badami and the Chalukyas of Kalyani. Excluding the in-between dynasties in India, it was Harsha Vardhana (606-648), who had single-handedly initiated the Harsha Dynasty, unifying North India and ruling for over 40 years; significantly, he was the last non-Muslim emperor to rule a co-ordinated Northern India.
The Rashtrakuta Dynasty (735 - 982) under various able rulers came later, followed by the Shahi Dynasty from c. 890 to 895. The Paramara Dynasty of Malwa ruled India for an extensive period with rulers like Upendra, Bhoja I or Yashovarman. The Seuna Yadava Dynasty from Devagiri (850 - 1334) also ruled the central and western portions in India. The Hoysala Dynasty (1000 - 1346) arrived next in line in the chronology of dynasties in India, succeeded by the Southern Kalachuri Dynasty from 1130 to 1184. This primarily brought in the termination of significant Hindu rulers in clean succession, with Islamic rulers invading India from Persia, Turkey and Afghanistan.
The Delhi Sultanate (1206 - 1526) was the first to usher in the Muslim ruling in Indian dynastic tradition, clubbing several momentous Muslim dynasties, considering various capital cities in India, besides just only Delhi. The Mamluk Dynasty, also celebrated as the Slave Dynasty) were the first rulers of Delhi Sultanate, ruling from 1206 to 1290. Another distinguished dynasty under the Sultanate was the Khilji Dynasty of 1290 to 1320, followed in a sequential manner of importance and authority, by the Tughlaq Dynasty (1321 - 1398). The Tughlaqs were succeeded by the Sayyid Dynasty under the Delhi Sultanate, reigning from 1414 to 1451.
The Indian dynasty to come next in line was the Lodi Dynasty (1451 - 1526), after which the Delhi Sultanate began spreading its wings by expanding into the Malwa region, following which there arrived the dynasties of South India, under the Bahmani Sultanate (1322 - 1527). The Vijayanagara Empire (1336 - 1660) of South were next in succession in dynasties in India, divided into three ruling realms of: Sangama Dynasty (1336 - 1487), Saluva Dynasty (1490 - 1567) and the Tuluva Dynasty (1542 - 1614). The Qutb Shahi Dynasty from 1518 to 1687 under legends like Sultan Quli Qutbl Mulk or Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah brought to the authoritative period of Sultanates. They in turn, were overwhelmingly defeated by perhaps the most influential and prolific Indian dynasty ever to have been enthroned in this Oriental soil, the Mughal Dynasty. Mughal Empire ran for the most prolonged period in medieval Indian history, commencing from 1526 under Babur and ending with the degenerating Bahadur Shah II in 1857, with the Sepoy Mutiny complete of the British Empire.
Indeed this very Indian dynasty, after its arrival from Persia in the early 1500s, administration in every sphere was never to remain the same. In spite of being Islamic in nature, Emperor Babur did not arrive to India with the intention to settle down permanently. However, a stroke of luck and sheer charm for this country, the Mughals stayed back in India forever, under able hands of legends like Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and the infamous Aurangzeb. However, the Mughals could not enjoy a rosy and all smoothened rule, with various other respected dynasties invading for their self-respect and being called sub-ordinates. Three of the most daring, dauntless and never-say-die dynasties and empires were the Maratha Confederacy (1674-1818) under the hallowed Chattrapati Shivaji; the Sikh Confederacy (1716–1799) under the god-like Maharaja Ranjit Singh; and lastly the Maharanas of Mewar of Rajasthan, with the undying spirited Maharana Pratap Singh. As can be comprehended pretty well, these three dynasties were predominantly Hindu by faith, thus time and again clashing and campaigning with the Islamic Mughals, entailing various religious faiths or order of supremacy to historical light. Some of the other significant and commanding dynasties to have ruled India in various scattered parts comprise: the Nizams of Hyderabad (1720 - 1948), the Nawabs of Bengal (1707 - 1770) and the Nawabs of Oudh (1719 - 1858). However, this very system of Indian dynasties and their method of ruling was put to complete rest and crushed under pitiless feet by the arrival of the British Empire in the early years of 18th century, making India a dominion in essentiality.