Gupta and Mughal India

         These essays explore how the Gupta and Mughal in India states began with a strong warrior founder-king and went on to control about two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent (all except South India).

          The Concise Essay first looks at the origins of the empire or kingdom – how founder-kings exploited favorable circumstances to their advantage. I then turn to an examination of sources of wealth and power in the ancient world – agriculture, foreign trade, and foreign conquest. I move on to means of control – political organization and religious persuasion – used by ruling elites to retain power and extract wealth from the masses. Next I examine causes of decline in India – internal erosion of control followed by foreign incursions by competing enemies. I then summarize the key trends in the aftermath of the Gupta and Mughal states – how successful later groups were in holding on to power and creating wealth. At the end of the essay, I draw lessons for contemporary powers from the experiences of ancient empires and kingdoms.

         The Complete Essay allows the reader to go more in-depth into Egypt's past. It is divided into three parts. The first third of this essay contains an analysis of the Gupta Kingdom (320-550). The discussion centers on the two millennia of Indian history that preceded the rise of India’s first great Hindu state, the sources of power and wealth in the Gupta Kingdom, its fall in the 6th century, and the following millennium of political instability and Turko-Afghan rule in north-central India. The middle third of the essay considers the rise, rule, decline, and fall of the Mughal Empire (1526-1858) in India. A look at the rule of the five leading Mughal emperors provides insights into Mughal military strategy, cultural balancing, agricultural administration, monumental architecture, and expansionary miscalculation. The shifting role of the English East India Company (1600-1858) – from commerce to tax plundering to conquistador imperialism – is examined to explain the gradual fall of the Mughals. The final third of the essay considers political and economic developments in India after the Mughal Empire – British crown rule and the rise of Indian nationalism (1858-1947), the impact of democratic rule led by the Nehru family and their successors (1947-present), and recent economic reforms and future development challenges. A time line, an annotated bibliography, and a description of sites visited in India are appended at the end of the essay.

India Grand Tour, Treasures of the SubcontinenLand-based with Domestic Commercial Flights, Chennai and Mahabalipuram, Tanjavur, Madurai, Mumbai, Ajanta and Ellora, Varanasi and Sarnath, Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Rail-based, Aboard the Golden Chariot, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kochi (Cochin),  River-boat-based, Aboard the Bengal Ganga, Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Vikramshila, Rajmahal, Murshidabad, Kalna, Kolkata, Train-based, Aboard the Golden Chariot, Mysore and Srirangapatna, Belur, Halebid, and Somnathpur, Hampi, Badami and Pattadakkal, Goa, Voyage from Singapore to India, Aboard the Clipper Odyssey Stanford Travel/Study Program and Zegrahm Expeditions , Andaman, Islands, India, Bharatpur, Pushkar, Aboard the Palace on Wheels, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, Ranthambore, Chittorgarh, and Udaipur, Amritsar and Jodhpur, Bhubaneshwar and Calcutta, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Kanha, and Aurangabad, Kanha Tiger Reserve,