Since the dawn of time, man has been driven by his ambition to set foot on unconquered lands. This took him to unchartered territories, nooks and corners and to the poles and back. But what might have started out as purely exploratory, over time became a matter of prestige. Kings and queens wanted to rule lands that were in their vision, and as their ambitions grew, their armies grew too. Battles were fought, leading to bloodshed and invasion.
Call it exploration, invasion or colonisation, many countries have been breached and ruled by outsiders. And even though the breach might have been destructive, what was left behind once the dust settled might have helped these countries grow.
Of all countries, India–the largest democracy in the world–is not new to wars and invasions. Over the years, the subcontinent has been ruled and colonised by rulers from the far eastern hemisphere to the extreme northern hemisphere. While some came and disappeared without leaving a trace, others left a legacy behind.
The Indian subcontinent began attracting attention following Alexander the Great’s visit in 326 BC. According to some theories, Alexander’s streak was halted in the Indian state of Punjab. Soon after this, the subcontinent was subject to foreign influxes one after the other. Some came in and left the nation battered, some made it their home for a while, and some stayed back becoming a vital part of the diversity. In little ways or large, everyone contributed something, becoming an inseparable part of India’s diverse culture and identity.
Soulveda tried to explore some of those iconic cultural phenomenon that were actually foreign to the old India, and were fascinated by what we found.
The Greek-Macedonian influx
Alexander the Great came knocking with his army in 326 BC but couldn’t spread his empire across most of the subcontinent. Later, in 180 BC, the Hellenistic kingdom also known as the Indo-Greeks, invaded parts of north-western and northern India. This period saw a blend of ancient Greek, Hindu and Buddhist practices.
The foreigners brought the Pillars of Ashoka to the country. Structured like Greek pillars, their design and markings were not native to India of that time. Today, the same design can be seen in various buildings and gated communities.
A fashion connoisseur’s wardrobe is incomplete without the regal Anarkali suit which was not a part of the Indian attire before the Mughal rule.